This post will contain minor spoilers to the most recent episode of Doctor Who, “The Pandorica Opens.” But since it already aired and is easily watchable on demand, if you haven’t seen it, I’m blaming you.
This past weekend BBC America aired the first part of the Doctor Who season 5 finale. “The Pandorica Opens” is an episode that seemingly has it all: a big crazy mystery, cameos by characters from the past, lots of action, Stonehenge, and all of the Doctor’s greatest foes teaming up to destroy him. We’re told by River Song (who is fast becoming my favorite non-Time Lord character… or maybe she is a Time Lord…anyway) a litany of species the Doctor has faced through the years coming to steal the Pandorica. Among the surprises included the Draconians, a lizard-like Samurai culture only seen in “Frontier in Space” from 1973, the Zygons, a shape-shifting race of cephalopods only seen in “Terror of the Zygons” from 1975, and the Drahvins, who I had to look up because they only featured in a now-lost story from 1965 called “Galaxy 4.” Since I was born in the 80s, I hadn’t seen any of these stories (though I’m going to watch “Frontier in Space” today) and knew nothing about these races.
“Cool!” thought I for a little while, “There’s going to be a whole slew of new aliens.” And then toward the end of the episode, they all appear…and it’s the same damn aliens we’ve seen already: Cybermen, Sontarans, Autons (which were pretty cool), Sycorax, Judoon, Silurians, and the Goddamn Daleks. Seriously, I know the Daleks are the best-known villains in Who-dom, but I’d like to go a season without seeing them. Just one. And what were the Judoon doing there? Aren’t they peacekeepers? And the Silurians for Christ sake? That doesn’t make a lick of sense. It seemed to me, in an otherwise fantastic episode, the production team just went with whatever costumes they had lying around. Disappointment, thy name is Kyle.
So here is one far-too enthusiastic fan’s plea for different villains next year. I dig it when a classic series bad guy turns up because then I can rent (or buy) that DVD and get all kinds of backstory. I’ve been plowing through whatever’s on DVD for the better part of a year now and I have five adversaries I’d like to see Matt Smith take on in new Who:
1) Rutans – The Rutans are a weird sort of pod-like creature that can take over and assume another being’s form temporarily once they’ve killed it. They’re glowing green masses of grottiness. They appeared onscreen only once in “Horror of Fang Rock,” which is one of the very best stories out there for my money. The thing that I like about them is they’re in a never-ending war with the Sontarans. Give the Rutans their own story during the season and have the finale actually depict the war between the two disparate races, as we’ve never seen the two foes together.
2) Ice Warriors – These are the inhabitants of Mars and met the Doctor four times in total, twice the Second and twice the Third. The original costumes were rather lumbering, but I think with new technology, they could look pretty badass. Plus, there haven’t been a whole lot of cold-weather adventures.
3) Enormous Mutant Maggots – They were more a by-product than an actual villain, but these creatures from “The Green Death” left an indelible mark on the history of the series. I can imagine some polluter reawakening the dormant suckers and Matt Smith having to get out an equally giant can of Bug-B-Gone.
4) Sutekh – A member of an ancient extinct race called Osirans, Sutekh is the Egyptian god Set, a derivation of Satan. He’s basically a power-hungry destroyer who fought the Fourth Doctor in “Pyramids of Mars.” His power of hypnosis can make slaves of humanity and make mummies rise. That would be pretty sweet.
5) Any Time Lord who isn’t the Master – There’ve been plenty of other bad renegade people of Gallifrey who’ve fought the Doctor over the years, surely one of them didn’t die in the catch-all Time War. I’m hoping it ends up being Morbius from the story “The Brain of Morbius.” He couldn’t have fought in the Time War since he’s just a brain in a jar. His new body may have been a piecemeal monstrosity, but he nearly bested The Doctor in a battle of mental prowess. Let’s show some Morbius love, shall we?
These are just my ideas. Anyone have better ones?