As I was putting together the post What did the Second Doctor ever do for the show?, I realised how applicable the Oscar Wilde quote was to series 11, Jodie Whittaker’s first outing as the Thirteenth Doctor. I paraphrase: judge the Doctor by the quality of her enemies. From this (and it’s a high-level view) it’s obvious Resolution would be a crowd-pleaser.
I’m not saying use Daleks (other monsters/villains are available) in every story, but please make the villains better. On a quick survey, this is how series 11 panned out:
|The Woman Who Fell to Earth||Tim Shaw||Potential here and some horror elements but not fully realised|
|Ghost Monument||Ilin, Remnants, Sniperbots||Ilin was mostly mysterious, the Remnants had some creepy moments but were easily defeated, the Sniperbots struggled to hit a barn door at ten paces|
|Rosa||Krasko||All bluster and no physical threat, manipulative but easy to defeat through teamwork|
|Arachnids in the UK||Spiders, Jack Robertson||The spiders were just misunderstood and Jack Robertson took no blame and moved on (where to?)|
|The Tsuranga Conundrum||Pting||It was just misunderstood|
|Demons of the Punjab||Manish||Red herring enemy were just alien observers, Manish won the day (from his pov)|
|Kerblam!||Charlie Duffy||Lots of red herrings, a proper mad villain who got blown up|
|The Witchfinders||Morax, Becka Savage||Sonic on the alien tech reset the prison on yet another generic alien|
|It Takes You Away||? Moths in maze||No real villain, just a strange situation|
|The Battle of Ranskoor av Kolos||Tim Shaw||A lame ending for a villain pulled back on to booked the series (ignoring the New Year special)|
|Resolution||Dalek||I rest my case|
So really no decent villain until the Daleks. This isn’t to say a lesser villain can’t be a challenge, but too many were defeated with little effort. I do think the single episode format is a challenge, we can live on character if the villain is a bit bland, but too many of these don’t have that. Not true of the wedding in Demons of the Punjab, which did have a character arc for Yaz’s grandmother, now It Takes You Away, which did explore grief (and have a talking frog). Lot’s of bits, but more pot pourri than a seriously crafted set of stories.
We need the occasional sharply defined villain. End of!
Let me know what you think, what I’ve missed and where I’m wrong. Use the comments;-)