Friday, 4 July 2008

Doctor Who: The Recycling Issue

So the Daleks are back once again for this season's Doctor Who finale. So far it has turned out to be a cracking piece of work and I'm eagerly awaiting it's conclusion. But when I heard of the return of Davros and the Daleks I must admit to breathing a bit of a sigh.

While seeing Daleks in action is always a treat I do feel that the current run of Doctor Who is relying too much on the Daleks and other old series species to keep the new version going. So far the Daleks have turned up in every series at least once and I'm starting to almost get a bit tired of them, though thankfully this series has delivered and got me all excited once again. And I do think it is appropriate that old enemies should return to face the new Doctor. The first appearances of the Daleks and Cybermen were exciting and the recent return of the Sontarans was also fun, though not as well executed.

Which I guess makes this a specific Dalek issue. Daleks are probably more memorable than the Doctor himself and are probably the first things I think of when the show is mentinoned. But I think the current staff are playing a little too much on this and using the Daleks as instant moneymaking devices rather than as the occasionally appearing terrifying menaces that they were in the original series. Admittedly I don't know much about the original series scheduling but I don't think the mechanical monstrosities appeared quite so often as they do nowadays.

The main problem I have with it (and a few of my friends think this too, and to give credit where it's due they probably came up with the idea!) is that it's stopping the production team from creating their own recurring villain, but instead they kill off pretty much all baddies within one or two episodes (true to Doctor Who form to be fair, but at least one or two could survive to fight another day couldn't they?) I feel that if they planned a series that didn't include Daleks or rely on the reintroduction of an old series monster they might just have to work really hard and come up with someone or something for the Doctor to do battle with across time, space and maybe a series or two.

But I've a feeling, we'll be hearing "Exterminate!" for quite some time yet - which is fine, but I hope we'll hear and see another enemy to make us duck behind the sofa and dread the words "to be continued."

Anyway - here's a list of species i think could have/could be used as recurring Who villains.

Sycorax - Good classic style enemies, obviously evil and powerful with a simple, but recognisable culture and a set of nifty weapons. Pity Earth used the Death Star on them, but I guess if thee's more they could return and the Doctor might have a harder time moralising about how Earth needs to be saved.

Krillitane - I wouldn't bring these back, but the absorbing features and the fact that they know about the time war gives them potential.

Racnoss - Lots of potential with this one. Huge monster, very scary and also ancient from when even the time lords were young. Plenty of Doctor backstory potential with this one, but no - dead within an episode. These could have made great recurring villains, but I guess spiders can't climb out of the bath so they couldn't escape the Doctor flushing them away. But if one survived - heck, there's potential, lots of it.

Weeping Angels - Included for sheer brilliance, this race were just fantastic and since the Doctor stopped, but didn't kill four of them there could well be more, or possibility for escape and return. The ending of the episode suggested there might be more out there. The terror of many Doctor Who monsters is their simplicity - the Daleks and Cybermen aren't exactly elaborate, but they're much scarier for it - that could work with these living statues.

The Trickster's Parade - my current favourites. The Trickster was an excellent villain, removing Sarah Jane completely from time and replacing her with her friend Andrea, who died as a child. Feeding off the chaos caused by removing someone from the timeline and the destruction caused by their removal. A beetle with similar, yet differing powers appeared in a recent Doctor Who episode and the Doctor identified it as related to the Trickster. The crossover was probably just a fan pleaser, but could have potential and I hope it does.

Well that'll do, but there's probably a few others, but with most enemies six foot underground it looks like we'll be back to standard format when the series returns, but with a new helmsman you never know. I haven't been half as elegant as I'd hoped, but I do hope that I've at least been interesting.

And with that, adieu

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