With the coming season and the promise of a new villain in the form of the Silence/Silents (depending on who is being interviewed), we are looking at the most legendary and dangerous foes the Doctor has bested over the years. Though there have been some great ones like the Autons, Silurians and Sontarans, these six are the most formidable that the Doctor has faced and will continue to face in the coming years.
Mutated from the Kaleds after a disastrous nuclear war between the Kaleds and the Thals, the Daleks are the NAZI-esque creations of Davros, Skaro’s greatest scientist. First encountered by the Doctor in the shows second story, the Daleks quickly became a fan favorite. Wisely, after the Second Doctor they were only sparsely seen on screen. The brilliance of the Daleks is in the rarity of their use throughout the Classic Series, only being in 15 stories over 25 seasons: when the Doctor did encounter them the stakes were high and their evil was grotesquely enhanced. When Russell T. Davies brought the show back in 2005 he was pressured to include the Daleks in episode 1 but he waited through most of the season until the brilliant episode Dalek showed a lone survivor from the Time War. Sadly, Davies quickly overused the Daleks instead of letting their evil simmer (every new story had to explain how they somehow survived the Time War when the Doctor KNEW that he was the only survivor). Though last seasons Victory of the Daleks was one of the weaker episodes of the season, Moffatt’s decision to not use them in the coming season may be what the Daleks need to reemerge as a force to be reckoned with.
First seen in the First Doctor’s final story, The Tenth Planet, the Cybermen became a menace worthy of the Doctors scorn. Constantly evolving over the Classic Series, the Cybermen always maintain their true horror: they are not just robots but are physically and metaphorically us. Like the Daleks, RTD turned them into a gag when he decided to create a 100 ft. tall Cyberman in Victorian London (thankfully, Moffatt erased this event as part of the cracks in time storyline). Matt Smith has declared that his favorite story is The Tomb of the Cybermen, so it is reasonable to assume that Moffatt will give us a great story this season when the Eleventh Doctor battles the Cybermen.
The first Time Lord and creator of the technology utilized by Time Lords for time travel, Omega was supposedly killed during his experiments. As it turns out, Omega has been trapped in an alternate universe where he has gained the power to create an entire world out of anti-matter. To thwart his attempt to return to his own universe and destroy Gallifrey, the Time Lords must recruit not just one Doctor but all three of his incarnations up to that point. Omega’s insanity and anger, partially justified, made him an imposing enemy in both The Three Doctors and The Arc of Infinity. The early trailers for Season 6 cause me believe that he may be making a comeback, though this is, sadly, just my own theory.
The mustachioed and goateed antithesis to the Doctor. Like the Doctor, the Master is a renegade Time Lord but instead of using his intellect for good he is instead bent on gaining power at any cost. When he was first introduced in 1971 he acted as the perfect counterpoint to the Third Doctor’s sense of duty as the Earth’s protector, and he evolved into an increasingly erratic and evil Time Lord. Within the new series RTD developed a reason for his malice and insanity—an absurd Time Lord means to escape the Time War—but this has only increased the threat that he poses: unlike the never-ending carnage sought by the Daleks and Cybermen, the Master has the potential to truly change, though he probably never will. For a laugh, watch Eric Roberts’ horrific portrayal of the Master in the 1996 TV Movie.
Blink and The Time of Angels/Flesh & Stone are two of the strongest stories of the New Series, and for good reason. The Weeping Angels, beings that kill by stealing the life that a person should have, represent an almost child-like fear that we all have of both religious symbols and the sense that statues are constantly watching us. Hopefully, they remain a sparsely used enemy that will not suffer the embarrassment that has befallen the Daleks. Though could that really happen? To be fair, I am highly biased in favor of the Angels (the tattoo of one on my forearm proves this) so any story involving them will probably instantly become one of my favorites.
THE DOCTOR HIMSELF (THE VALEYARD/DREAM LORD)
Time and time again the Doctor has proved his own greatest enemy, and in two cases this manifested in a most formidable foe: the Valeyard and the Dream Lord. Despite harsh criticism in the 80s (and most of it is well-deserved) the 25th season saw a unique take on Doctor Who with the Sixth Doctor placed on trial by the Time Lord’s. Each story focused on a different piece of evidence against the Doctor, intercut with the Doctor arguing against his prosecutor, the Valeyard, and the Time Lord High Council. By season’s end it is revealed that the Valeyard is in fact a potential-future incarnation of the Doctor. While the Doctor forces his own regeneration in an attempt to prevent from becoming the Valeyard (how else can we explain that random regeneration?), it is his own psyche that creates the Dream Lord after he falls victim to some psychic pollen. With the Doctor’s inner most evil toying with him and his companions, it is only through his intellect and wit that he regains control of reality.