I can’t help myself—with the Doctor Who season eight premiere on Saturday, I’m doing a bit of geeking. I blame my newly acquired access to BBC America. The channel has been showing Doctor Who all week, and it’s been glorious. Anyway, here’s my little tribute to the premiere: a list of my favorite monsters from the show (excluding classic DW, as I’ve yet to see any of it…Sorry, Eric). Allons-y!
#10: The Family of Blood
Once these sinister, body-snatching aliens catch wind of the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), the chase is on. You see, they’re seeking immortality, and the Doctor holds the key to that. Of the monsters on this list, the Family of Blood are probably the least physically terrifying, but their dead-eyed stares, bloodlust, and scarecrow henchmen easily earn them their spot. Also, they don’t just call each other “Son” or “Mother,” but always “Son of Mine” or “Mother of Mine.” Who knew “of Mine” could make something sound so creepy?
Best Episode(s): “Human Nature” (S3E8); “The Family of Blood” (S3E9)
#9: The Flood
If the Flood creatures aren’t enough to give you the heebie jeebies, then you’re made of stronger stuff than I am. The Tenth Doctor happens upon the Flood during his visit to a base on Mars. When the humans at the base accidentally ingest water infected with the Flood, they turn into monsters with cracked faces, black teeth, and faded eyes. Oh, and there’s also the fact that they constantly gush water from their hands and open mouths…*shiver*
Best Episode(s): “The Waters of Mars” (S4E?—it’s smack-dab in the awkward interim between seasons)
#8: The Beast
No, I’m not talking about Belle’s boyfriend. Guys…this thing is the Devil. Like, the Tenth Doctor confronts the freaking Devil. It sounds corny, and maybe it is a little bit, but it’s also really awesome. The Beast is a giant, horned, red-skinned terror with glowing eyes and a corpse-like face. He’s scary, y’all. He identifies himself as Satan and any religious variations of him, and he has the ability to control electronic media and other life forms. The Doctor finds the Beast imprisoned at the center of a planet. An epic confrontation follows (see that here).
Best Episode(s): “The Satan Pit” (S2E9)
#7: The Ood
Funny that I was just talking about the Beast because the Ood appear right before him! These strange guys aren’t always villains, but looking how they look…well, it’s easy to make creatures with tentacle faces, red eyes, and telepathic abilities scary. The Ood are scattered all across Doctor Who, but they make their first appearance when the Tenth Doctor and Rose (Billie Piper) go along with a group exploring the Beast’s planet. The Ood are used as slaves by the humans leading the expedition, but they rebel when possessed by the Beast. When they attack en masse, it’s pretty scary…(Sidenote: the phrase “odd ood” is one of my favorite word pairings ever.)
Best Episode(s): “The Impossible Planet” (S2E8); “Planet of the Ood” (S4E3)
#6: The Cybermen
The Cybermen are among the most long-lasting Doctor Who monsters, making their first appearance in classic DW. But when the Tenth Doctor is reacquainted with them in the rebooted series, these guys start off on a severely creepy note. They give the people of Earth two choices: accept an “upgrade” or else…DELETE (their signature threat)! However, the “upgrade” involves losing your body and all emotions, so the choices aren’t exactly fair. The Cybermen can be very corny, but there’s also an undeniable creepiness there (see what you think here). They’re very Whovian in that way, I guess.
Best Episode(s): “Rise of the Cybermen” (S2E5); “The Age of Steel” (S2E6); “Doomsday” (S2E13); “Nightmare in Silver” (S7E13)
#5: The Silence
And now we’re getting to the creepiest of the creepies. The Silence may be relative newcomers to the world of Doctor Who (they were only introduced in 2011), but their existence will definitely mess with your head. What if you looked at something terrifying only to completely forget it the moment you looked away? That’s what the Silence do—they make you forget. One minute you’re looking into their long, eerie faces, the next minute you find yourself running and can’t remember why. That’s scary. The Twelfth Doctor (Matt Smith) and co. get into the habit of marking their hands every time they see the Silence so they’ll remember they’re in danger. Sometimes, they look down and see dozens of marks. Freaks me out. See various, scary Silence scenes here.
Best Episode(s): “The Impossible Astronaut” (S6E1); “Day of the Moon” (S6E2); “The Wedding of River Song” (S6E13)
#4: The Vashta Nerada
Ah the Vashta Nerada. Their appearance is brief, but they definitely leave an impression. Ever heard the expression “scared of his own shadow?” Well, that’s something to consider here. The literal translation says it all: Vashta Nerada means “the shadows that melt the flesh.” These monsters appear as shadows that shouldn’t be possible, and once they become your shadow, it’s almost certainly game over. When the Tenth Doctor, Donna (Catherine Tate), and the newly introduced River Song (Alex Kingston) encounter the Vashta Nerada in a gigantic abandoned library, it’s a terrifying struggle to stay alive.
Best Episode(s): “Silence in the Library” (S4E8); “Forest of the Dead” (S4E9)
#3: The Empty Child
Oh God the Empty Child. This is the first Doctor Who monster that made my blood run cold. I mean, a creepy child whose face has become a creepy gas mask? Stop it. Stop it now. The Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), Rose, and Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) are the unfortunate ones to encounter this terror, who constantly asks, “Are you my mummy?” in the scariest way that is humanly possible. Plus, he can control communication devices. Oh. Em. Gee. But the worst part? If he gets his hands on you, you’ll become like him…Watch the little terror here.
Best Episode(s): “The Empty Child” (S1E9); “The Doctor Dances” (S1E10)
#2: The Daleks
These are the Doctor Who monsters. Even though the Daleks aren’t my personal favorite Doctor Who monsters, they will always be the Doctor’s number one villains. They are the Joker to the Doctor’s Batman, if you will—you just can’t have one without the other. As far as their look goes, the Daleks are super hokey. I mean, they are bumpy hunks of metal with a plunger on one side and an egg beater on the other. But somehow, they just work. They’ve been around forever (since 1963), but they’re reintroduced to the Ninth Doctor in the rebooted series to awesome effect. They can zap you to smithereens and crush your skull with those plungers (see here), and their grating cry of “Exterminate!” will never, ever leave your head. Oh yeah. They’re more sinister than they look.
Best Episode(s): “Dalek” (S1E6); “The Parting of the Ways” (S1E13); “Doomsday” (S2E13); “The Stolen Earth” (S4E12); “Journey’s End” (S4E13); “Asylum of the Daleks” (S7E1)
#1: The Weeping Angels
I think it’s safe to say that the Weeping Angels scare the crap out of every Doctor Who fan. Ever since these terrifying stone monsters were introduced to Sally Sparrow (Carey Mulligan) in a rare, “Doctor-lite” episode, they’ve been the blood-chilling highlights of several DW seasons. Here’s the trick with the Angels: when you’ve got your eye on them, it’s all good; they can’t move when you see them. But the second you turn around or look away or even blink, they can get you. There have been several instances when a character has blinked or lights have flickered, and in a split second, the angels are in front of them, claws outstretched and fanged mouths open. With one touch, these terrors send you back in time and feed off the potential energy of the years you would have lived. The Doctor calls them “the only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely.” They are horrifying in every way. As such, they have earned their rightful spot.
Best Episode(s): “Blink” (S3E10); “The Time of the Angels” (S5E4); “Flesh and Stone” (S5E5); “The Angels Take Manhattan” (S7E5)
Have a good weekend, everybody! Whovians, see you in the TARDIS on Saturday! 😉