For the uninitiated, the term “Behind the Sofa” probably meant the spot where your brother and his girlfriend were while you were watching cartoons. For Doctor Who fans, “Behind the Sofa” was where they were hiding when they were little kids. What was it they were hiding from? The brilliant array of creatures which appeared on Doctor Who every week, of course! Every science fiction show has its own set of monsters, but what makes the creatures of Doctor Who stand out is the way these monsters teeter-totter between being totally surreal to being down-to-Earth, and realistic to boot. For the penultimate tribute list to the forty-fifth anniversary of Doctor Who we present the top ten most incredible monsters from the series.
10) The Slitheen
The interesting thing about the Slitheen is that their goals totally differ from any other alien menace in Doctor Who‘s history. Though they do seek to destroy Earth and destroy all of mankind, it has nothing to do with conquest. You see, the Slitheen are a family of criminal masterminds who seek to make a financial killing on the intergalactic black market. To do so they start infiltrating the establishment in a variety of positions all over the planet and manipulating governments into giving them power over their weaponry. So watch out, if a government official happens to be corpulent with a severe case of flatulence, you might want to look a bit closer at their foreheads to see if there’s a zipper. If there is, running might be a good option.
9) The Ice Warriors
The Ice Warriors are a cold blooded race who have constantly attempted to invade Earth. The funny thing is, they’re our neighbors. We always wondered what Martians look like. Well, they’re scaly, have no distinguishing facial features, and sport a chilling voice which can be described as a series of hissing noises. Strangely enough the Ice Warriors ended up turning a new leaf in the future when they engaged in peace talks with a variety of other races, including the humans.
8) The Ood
What makes the Ood stand out is that by their nature they are actually a friendly, docile race. They were never known to raise their hands in anger to others, making it easy for the human race to conquer them, lobotomize them, and sell them as slaves. Their willingness to serve made them susceptible to mental domination from The Devil himself. The Doctor’s first encounter with the Ood ended with The Doctor being forced to let the Ood go down with a dying planet. The Doctor felt compelled to emancipate the Ood from their human oppressors after failing to save them before. So The Doctor led an uprising against Ood Operations which led to the Ood being able to walk their beautiful plains of the Oodsphere free of strife.
7) The Weeping Angels
They are the perfect killers: quantum locked assassins who can kill you in the blink of an eye. If ever you walk down a street and see a tragic looking statue down the way, I’d recommend you keep your eye on it. Otherwise, you might end up trapped decades into the past, being forced to live to death in a time long before your own. The Weeping Angels have become one of the new figments of terror in the mythology of Doctor Who. Now children refuse to close their eyes when passing a cathedral.
The Zygons are a squid-like race who crash landed on Earth long ago in Loch Ness. Years later the Zygon leader Broton attempted to lead his fellow refugees in trying to colonize the Earth, using the Loch Ness Monster (aka The Skarasen) as a weapon. The Zygons have shape shifting abilities which come in useful for infiltration. Though the Zygons only appeared in one serial, their impact was definitely felt. The Zygons would reappear in some of the novels, but fans are eager to see The Zygons updated for a the new series.
One spectacular gift of Doctor Who is that it has the wonderful gift for making the ordinary extraordinary, and the Autons are a perfect example of that idea. They are a bunch of plastic mannequins which bear blank, emotionless faces and a blaster secreted in their right hands. The Autons are the product of the Nestene Consciousness, an amorphous creature composed entirely of living plastic, which also has strong psychic capabilities and can control any object made of plastic. A classic staple of Doctor Who has always been to make us afraid of everyday objects. To that end, The Autons fit in perfectly.
If ever there was a satirical personification of militaristic obsession, that would definitely be the Sontarans. The Sontarans are a bold race who never let their squat frame deter them from marching proudly into battle and facing their enemies head on. They are a clone race whose only identity is the march of war. They have battled for centuries in a seemingly endless war with the Rutans. After all that time it can be assumed that The Sontarans probably prolonged the war because of their lust for the heat of battle. Makes sense. If there’s no war to live for, then what’s the point of living?
3) The Silurians and The Sea Devils
The Doctor has always been used to dealing with alien races from other planets, but how do you handle an alien race that staked their claim on Earth centuries before humans came along? That’s the central concept of the Silurians and their aquatic cousins, the Sea Devils. They lay dormant in their subterranean labyrinths, waiting for their chance to resurface and reclaim the Earth. The Doctor has made constant attempts to negotiate a peace between the two species, but he has frequently been halted by the Silurians’ mistrust and the humans’ impulsive tendency to shoot first and ask questions later.
Before The Borg were assimilating worlds into their collective, there was another race which devoted itself to converting every living thing into their ranks. A long time ago there was a tenth planet in our solar system, a planet that was the mirror image of Earth. In order to cope with the sub-zero temperatures, the population became obsessed with hastily improving their physical form. Soon every vestige of human individuality was lost behind a mask of steel, and thus, The Cybermen were born. The Cybermen are a race who have plagued the universe with their rapidly expanding numbers, and they will not stop until every race in the universe becomes like the Cybermen.
1) The Daleks
Beneath that cold metal shell is a creature who devotes its existence towards total dominance through racial cleansing. They are ruthless, unfeeling, unapologetic, and totally single-minded in their pursuits. The Daleks have always been the essence of evil in Doctor Who. Whenever they turn up it is guaranteed that bad things will shortly follow. Unfortunately, like cockroaches, when you kill one there are many more to follow. The Daleks are the first alien race to menace The Doctor and the universe, and so long as there is a TV series called Doctor Who, there will always be The Daleks.