It’s that time of year when many of us go on holiday. We take time off from our busy jobs, hit the roads with the kids and head off to destinations wonderful and new. But it’s not always a picnic. Sometimes, those vacations take a turn for the worse. Things don’t always work out; we miss our connecting flights, the cruise ship sputters and dies while out at sea… It can happen to the best of us, even the Doctor. So today, let’s look at the:
The Top Ten Worst Vacation Spots in the Universe
10) The planet of The Rings of Akhaten sounds like it could be a nice place to visit. Try new food, shop in strange bazaars, barter with barking vendors, and participate in the chorus of your favorite music. But Akhaten is hiding a serious issue: it’s lorded over by a star-sized vampire. It might actually feast on all of our thoughts and memories. And if we go there after the creature has been defeated, we have a new problem: there’s no sun! So the inhabitants of Akhaten will probably freeze to death in no time, which is bound to make chorus night a bit off-putting. At least it won’t smell.
9) Castrovalva. Sure it sounds like a nice place. Adopted from the mind of artist M. C. Escher, it looks idyllic. The brochures would be enough to interest even the most reluctant travelers. Except the planet wasn’t designed by an artist. It was designed by the Master using Adric to create it out of pseudoscience. If that doesn’t scare you away on its own (I mean, come on, Adric created this world; how safe can it be?) the planet starts to fold in on itself, making it impossible to ever get to the local shops and restaurants. What kind of holiday is that? Ever heard of the Hotel California? You can check out any time you’d like, but you can never leave. Well, good luck even finding the reception desk. You hotel room door might just lead to the bathroom, or the closet, or the pool…
8.) The planet Necros, from Revelation of the Daleks, perhaps speaks for itself. Coming from the Greek root word for “dead body”, this planet sports the worst DJ in the universe and the cemetery “Tranquil Repose”. What to do when you’re there: visit the dead. Yep, that’s it! And if you’re lucky, you might just have a monument dropped on your head. You’ll thank them for it later. Unless, of course, you’re taken by the Daleks to be harvested for a Dalek labor force or made into food by Davros. Sure you heard about trying new foods, but you never expected to be the food.
7) Of course you can try Hell. Yes, Hell. When the Doctor tells Clara he’ll help her find her dead boyfriend in Death in Heaven he literally intends a trip to hell. What that says about the Doctor’s opinion of Danny Pink aside, Hell ends up being a great big company that allows people to come see the dead, not unlike Tranquil Repose. The big difference here is that the dead are kept in water, because that’s good for them and hides any surgery the person ever had. Grandma’s hip replacement need never be seen while in water! Of course, the dead may turn out to be rampaging Cybermen under the control of the most evil genius in the universe, but that’s just a chance you take with these things. If the name didn’t speak for itself, you’ve only yourself to blame anyway!
6) The planet Karn of The Brain of Morbius and Night of the Doctor offers little in the line of enjoyable places to visit. You think the Skellig Islands off the coast of Ireland are inhospitable! Just go near Karn and a crash landing is in your future! Not to mention, the planet’s surface is littered with crashed space ships and every so often a near-dead survivor might come crawling out only to be beheaded and left for all to see. There is no quick walk to the shops or nice restaurants on Karn either! Worse, there’s a good chance you’ll be drugged and have your brain removed and placed in a jar. Or roasted alive, as if you’re a witch in the 1300’s. Who needs a trip like that?
5) Peladon, of both the Curse of and Monster of fame, is great for the views, provided you don’t mind sheer drops, biting winds, and raging teddy bears roaming the halls. And believe me, that says nothing of miners revolting, political intrigue, or maniac hairdressers. By Rassilon, who thought those hairdos were stylish!? Of course, if you’re into a bit of bloodsport, you might be lucky enough to watch a few people fight to the death in the local pit, but one wrong move and you may be one of those combatants.
4) Telos, originally seen in Tomb of the Cybermen and later in Attack of the Cybermen offers little. A barren wasteland of quarry after quarry; at best, you get involved with slave mining labor, at worst, you can blow up a huge doorway that leads to an Escape Room scenario. This Escape Room works a little differently than most. First of all, you’re working you way in, only to then try to get out again. But the true winner gets to release the Cybermen and get converted into one of them. On the plus side, after that happens, you won’t care about visiting shopping centers or eating. If nothing more, it saves money for next years trip… (There’s always a silver lining!)
3) Skaro, home of the Daleks, is a no-no on every level. Petrified forests, monsters lurking in the lake, devastating whirlpools, neutron radiation, murderous natives, hand minds (land mines that pull you underground to your doom), the universes lamest pacifists, mutos, and giant clams that bite your ankles… Not to mention the planet was destroyed by a supernova. And also, not destroyed when it was rebuilt, but possibly still doesn’t exist. Also, sometimes you can’t see it because it’s invisible. Point is: avoid this vacation spot. You’re actually better off on Necros!
2) Gallifrey: the shining world of the seven systems. Red grass and silver leaves, barns of dubious ownership… it sounds lovely. The WiFi never goes out, because the technology is top notch. And yet, going there seems to lead to nothing but trouble. Power drains from antimatter universes, attacks from Vardans and Sontarans, planetary bombardment from Daleks, political intrigue and presidential assassinations…. If luck is on your side, you can find yourself in the Matrix just before being vaporized for crimes you didn’t commit. Or perhaps you can be tormented, forced to relive Groundhog’s Day for 4.5 billion years or made into a being of pure thought when the ruling party decides to bring about the end of time itself. Overall, too damned risky to enjoy a vacation there. But at least the brochures look nice!
1) The number one most awful holiday location in the Doctor Who universe is… Metebelis III. No matter what you do to gussy up the brochures, it comes down to one undeniable thing: spiders. Giant spiders. Giant, talking spiders. The Planet of the Spiders is never going to sound appealing, no matter what adjectives you use! Eight legged nightmares that don’t just crawl around the loo at the local rest-stop, which is bad enough… these are thinking, talking horrors. You think watching Arachnophobia is going to keep you up at night? These guys can control our minds, zap us with electricity and hide on our backs even when we drive a car. (How do they not get crushed?) I don’t know about you, but I’ll take planets without a sun any day over these monstrosities. Dear Rassilon, if this is the best those telemarketers have to offer, it’s no wonder I hang up on them every time they call…
I hope this helps. I’ve learned that sometimes it just comes down to doing the research. Knowing what planets to avoid may help you select better vacation spots in the future. At least you now have 10 places you know to take off the universal itinerary. Safe travels… ML