Doctor Who has burst back onto our screens with a new...well everything! It has been fascinating to see the new directions the show is starting to take and I'm optimistic about the future of the franchise in new hands.
For those of you maybe new to the blog, these post look at any brand new alien races introduced to the show, covering three episodes (roughly) per post - consider yourselves warned any of you behind the British timetable of the show. Thankfully along with 'new' everything else there are also some new creepy crawlies for us to examine!
Multiform / Face Tendril / Prisoner Zero
Yet another exercise in dull names by the show runners - I'm getting a bit tired of names ending in 'form' or 'kind' as it is quite a lazy way to name the monsters, essentially a posh way of saying 'wasp-type thing' or 'spider monster'. Worse still the creature has been referred to as 'Face Tendril' an even worse descriptive moniker. Anyway - what's in a name eh? It was quite a fun bit of CGI taken over by actors playing the 'disguised' form of the monster, a highlight was seeing Olivia Coleman in the role. I'd give it an 'OK' as it was fun and moved the plot along, but wasn't really the threat it should have been - rather, the Atraxi provided the real menace, whisking the beast away just after it provided some more exposition - about the 'Pandorica's Box' or something - another inventive name there!
Oh and apparently they're multi-dimensional!
The multiforms were a race capable of travelling between dimensions and taking different appearances by forming psychic connections with living, but dormant minds, such as coma patients. They possessed powerful technology such as perception-filters to further enable then to mingle with society. Even without technology they were naturally equipped with their changing ability, powerful fangs and they were able to reduce themselves to small particles to fit through tiny spaces and reach their victims. One example of this race was 'Prisoner Zero' a powerful individual imprisoned by the Atraxi until it escaped through one of the cracks in space/time and arrived on Earth.
Now that's more like it that's a proper Sci-Fi name!! They even chucked in an x for good measure! A pity then that the species was quite vague in it's design. Don't get me wrong - I loved the giant eyeball (Sauron rip-off?) but is that what the species look like? Is that (as I prefer to think) their security system - it remains unclear from the episode at least. They also seemed a bit Judoonish in function, mysterious police force arrives on Earth and causes havoc in the debut episode with a new companion - sound familiar? Nevertheless their spaceships were cool, the all seeing eye was off the wall in a traditional Who way and they gave a realistic setting for the Doctor to use his CV as a weapon.
The Atraxi were a powerful race who had a powerful security force tasked with keeping the most dangerous prisoners captive. They were able to hunt down any fugitives with giant eyes that tracked an enemy as long as they remained visible. They possessed enormous crystaline spaceships and weapons that could incinerate a planet within minutes. Despite their technology it still took them 12 years to track an escaped prisoner when it got through a crack in space-time. Though law keepers themselves they were not above breaking the law to get to their goal, breaking Shadow Proclamation conventions to get to their target.
I'm not even going to comment on the name! I think the creators had been reading Discworld and watching Star Wars before starting to have this idea of a city in space upon a creature's back and have the characters inside a giant mouth of a space creature. It was quite a fun concept and the back story behind it was intriguing, the last of it's race coming to save humans, only to be enslaved by them. I can't help querying some of the details though, like how the Doctor can be in the mouth of the whale, next to open space and yet still be able to breath and why they aren't expelled into space when the beast threw up. I suppose there's some sort of reasonable explanation. The creature also represents a similar 'whale' captured by humans in a Torchwood episode.
The Star Whales were a large, benevolent species that dwelt naturally in open space, capable of traveling at considerable speeds. They were bio-luminescent, perhaps to catch prey in the darkness of space by mimicking stars and planets, also they were covered in neural tendrils that helped them sense what went on around them and attack anything that landed on their skin. For reasons unknown the species began to die out. One remaining whale, perhaps the last of it's kind, rescued the remnants of humanity and carried them to a new world.
And that's it for now. New Daleks don't count, not even shiny ones and their overly emotional androids. We've got a few more recurring races to come so it might be slim-pickings next post, but I'll be here don't worry.