We’ve seen some of the winning ideas from Doctor Who’s Monsters and Megalomaniacs. I never cared for the word “monsters” though. It always implied something bad rather than something different. In fairness, considering the evidence from yesterday’s list, that may be warranted. But I always preferred aliens. Aliens don’t automatically come with evil plans. Some are downright angelic. And so, in the tradition of David Letterman’s Top Ten lists…
The Best Laid Plans of Aliens and Angels
#10) Credit has to be given to Erato from The Creature from the Pit. He’s made out to be this horrible monster, but his sole purpose is to create a trade agreement. For his efforts, he’s thrown into a pit and made to molest passing Gallifreyans. (Or did they molest him?) Erato’s big idea … maybe that warrants a rethink on the wording… is to come to the planet of chlorophyll and trade greens for metals. The ruling queen is just too greedy to let that happen. But all he wanted to do was create some balance in the law of supply and demand. As ideas go, it’s one worthy of merit. I should have worked with him on my Supply Chain Management class, but people might have gotten the wrong idea.
#9) Not content to leave well enough alone, some people want to find The Keys of Marinus to instill peace and calm the world over. As concepts go, it’s a nice one. Who can blame them for wanting some stability in the universe? I’d like to find The Keys of the United States, but they’ve been scatter through the Land of Make-Believe. The idea, however, is sound. Why not create a world in harmony? Well, barring that it would put the news channels out of business. “And today there was an outbreak of hugs when a man accidentally trod on a kids toe and apologized. One mother was so overcome with calm and peaceful thoughts that she started hugging everyone, and they spread like wildfire.” If only the news could be so kind.
#8) Vorg and Shirna in Carnival of Monsters get a bum rap. They wanted to bring TV to a planet where nothing like it existed. Let’s be honest, the Doctor calls it a peepshow, but as Jo points out, rather accurately, it’s exactly what we are doing watching Doctor Who – we’re watching them live their (obviously real) lives. We then write about that on blogs. Sure, things again went wrong when the Drashigs got a whiff of something and ran amok, as they do, which almost leads to an infestation of giant man-eating hand puppets, but Vorg and Shirna would be considered heroes in our books if the BBC didn’t bring us Doctor Who first! Are we accusing Sydney Newman or Verity Lambert of any wrongdoing for bringing us Doctor Who? I think not!
#7) “Just this once, everybody lives!” says the Doctor in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. These nanobots are truly little angels. They see that you’re sick and fix you. How great is that? Of course they had a bad blueprint so they made everyone suffer the same ailment but that’s not their fault! On the contrary, they did what they thought was right, as thinking goes in little computers. It was akin to cloning allergies by accident. Great job, but they were just machines programmed to do what they did. Frankly, I’d love to get my hands on these. Every time something goes wonky, boot up the old nanobot system and Robert is your parents’ male sibling, as it were.
#6) During the investigation of The Curse of the Black Spot, the Doctor finds himself on a ship in the most becalmed ocean the world has ever known. (Oh for a cruise ship to travel such waters!) In the process he and his friends encounter a Siren. She’s a lovely young lady who sings such nice melodies and her entire goal, not unlike the nanobots, (just far better looking) is to fix people. Like the nanobots, she doesn’t have the right blueprints, so everything is a major issue. When I was a kid, I was convinced that if I got cut, my mom should throw me away. Clearly, I hail from a place not far from our Siren friend because she feels the same way. Decapitation: surgery to fix it. Paper cut: surgery to fix it. Seems like there should be degrees. Still, as alien tech goes, I’d be happy to have her around. I’d just have to come up with a way to keep her singing without needing surgery all the time. Or getting mad every time I got a paper cut, because when she was mad, she was scary looking!
#5) So we don’t have metal because of a bad trade agreement and we’re all irritable because, such is life, having no keys to make us happy. We don’t have a peepshow to watch the Doctor on either and we may or may not get sick. Well, at least we have friends. Such is not the case for the Isolus from Fear Her. But the Isolus doesn’t want to hurt a soul. It wants friends. As “monsters” go, this is a pretty nice one. It wants to be back with family. So it abducts people to and makes artwork that most parents would begrudgingly put on their refrigerators until they find out that it’s where all the neighborhood kids have gone. This is a lesson on why not to go wandering off when passing inhabited planets. One moment your with you family of 15 billion and the next, you’re alone making kids draw reasonably childish artwork. On the plus side, the Isolus returns everyone to their correct place. They all seem to go back without any clue that they were gone or viewing the world through a piece of paper, but strangely every one of those people have an intimate knowledge of Chloe’s kitchen.
#4) With friendship, sometimes feelings develop. With feelings comes romance. Watching movies, singing serenades and reading Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet is the Crooked Man’s favorite book in Hide. This is a ghost story about two rather deformed and eerie people who want to be together, even though they move through stop-motion. It’s a match made in crooked heaven. And sure, why not? The universe is big and complicated and sometimes miracles happen. Love is one of those miracles and the creatures of Hide prove just how good life can be when you find your soulmate. Even in a pocket dimension that is about to close and crush you both if you don’t get out of there!
#3) When trees turn up overnight in The Forest of the Night, there’s obviously a sinister intent behind them. Unless the planet you live on is Mother Earth. Then plants can be really friendly. In fact, in the event of looming destruction from above, trees can sprout up overnight and save the day, basically as sacrificial … plants, to burn up and save the day. They could have single-branchedly changed the outcome of the movie Armageddon if they were paying attention. Here again is another convenient example of some of the otherworldly occurrences in Doctor Who. Was it divine power that saved the day? Maybe! Of course, what we don’t know is if one of the other alien races on the Earth actually had a hand in causing those trees to sprout up. If that were the case, Bruce Willis had no hope in Armageddon. Only in Doctor Who is earth home to Humans, Homo Reptilia, sleeping Racnos, Sea Devils…. The list goes on. And of course, trees determined to burn to death to save the world.
#2) Coming in very close to number 1 (but missing by a hair) is the one alien invasion that should not have been stopped. Partners in Crime gives us the Adipose invasion where… I still have a hard time forming the words… the alien race wanted to help us lose weight. If Arecibo is sending out signals to space, this episode should be part of the package with a note: “we want to lose weight, the Doctor was being sadistic… Please come help.” We’re talking: eat anything, like that ice cream sundae I’ve been eyeing, and have zero guilt about it because the fat would just walk away. Like, who thinks that’s a bad idea? Seriously? Was the Tenth Doctor just annoyed that he spent all that time looking slim and now everyone could be equally thin? And look, as alien invasions go, this was the gift that keeps on giving. There’s never going to be a time where everyone is thin and even as people get thin, they could eat whatever they want again, get fat and then give back again! Great jumping gobstoppers, what sadist stops this invasion??
#1) But without a doubt the best alien incursion we’ve seen in Doctor Who actually tops unlimited ice cream. Twice Upon a Time gives us Testimony; a race that basically makes a copy of everyone in existence at the point of their death so loved ones can still interact with them after they’ve passed. I want to eat unlimited ice cream as much as the next guy, but if I could speak to my dad again, I could just walk on the treadmill a bit more. (Or even a bit, let’s be honest. Where did the “more” come from?) Testimony comes in and effectively saves a copy of that person before they die, then puts them back in time to move on, but now, there’s a copy of that person for evermore. What can be better than that? Grandparents, parents, your old neighbor who was on the shuttle with Bruce Willis when he tried to save the earth from the impending meteor, or the guy who was eaten by a man-eating hand puppet… you could talk to them all and feel like they were still with you. Best alien race out there!
So the list was not as complicated when it comes to good alien races. In fact, I had barely enough runners-up to make the list. I guess we need to focus on the boneheaded aliens to have more fun. No, that wasn’t an anti-Minbari sentiment. Now there’s an ice cream calling my name and a treadmill gathering dust in my basement. More soon! ML