Since making its initial debut in 1963, Doctor Who has become a British cultural institution and part of every geek’s coming of age. While much of its success can be chalked up to good storytelling and consistently good casting of its leading man, what truly makes the show so enduring is a diverse array of bad guys and alien monsters. Such foes as the Daleks and the Cybermen have rightfully earned their place alongside of Klingons and Cylons in the pantheon of great TV sci-fi villains. But not all of the Doctor’s adversaries are so iconic. From the least menacing to the downright stupid, here’s a look at our favorite Timelord’s lamest baddies.
10) The Yeti
Yetis are a hug from Jesus. It doesn’t matter if they truly exist are only the stuff of legend. They only appeared twice on Doctor Who (in the Patrick Troughton-starring serials The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear), but it was enough to destroy the heart of any Yeti fan. In these installments, the Yeti were constructed of what appeared to be shag carpeting rescued from BBC dumpsters. They had eyeballs that looked like lightbulbs, resulting in a creature that appears to be the illegitimate child of Cookie Puss and Grimace. In a dick move that would later be echoed by the producers of The Six-Million Dollar Man during their Bionic Bigfoot episodes, the Who Yetis were actually just alien robots. That’s bullshit. Everyone knows that Yetis are ferociously proud creatures who could easily thwart the plans of a time-and-space-traveling Gallifreyan if they wanted to. To imply that they are helpless without the aid of extraterrestrials is ignorant and just plain wrong.
9) The Nestene Conciousness
Not to be confused with the Nestea Plunge, the Nestene Conciousness is an energy force that can give life to anything made of plastic. While this notion may please fans of the Charmed action figure line, it actually causes quite a bit of havoc. The big bad N.C. uses this ability to make mannequins come alive, and not in a cute Andrew McCarthy loves Kim Cattrall way either. The resulting foes, known as Autons generally wreak terror upon English shoppers before the Doctor swoops in at the last minute to save the day. The Autons (seen in Rose, the first episode of Russell T. Davies’ revived Doctor Who series) are creepy and menacing, it’s a shame the same can’t be said of their masters. The Nestene Conciousness is little more than a moving blob of CGI that can easily be defeated by a writer’s construct known as anti-plastic. Now, who wants ice tea?
8) Professor Lazarus
Whereas the original run of Doctor Who was plagued by low production values, the seemingly unlimited budget of the new series ushered in a troubling shift away from rubber suit monsters to CGI creatures. This is most apparent in the 2007 episode The Lazarus Experiment. Essentially a mad scientist tale, the story stars Mark Gatiss (The League of Gentlemen) as an elderly genius who creates a machine that reverses the effects of aging. Quicker than you can say "Brundlefly," he tests the device out on himself and is transformed into a hideous beast—made from some of the most awful CGI you’re ever likely to see. Now, I’m no anti-CGI Luddite. I understand how wonderful its utilization can be when done properly. But when a major show like Doctor Who uses it to create a monster that looks like a sub-par level boss in a PS2 game, it’s inexcusable. I can appreciate the delicious irony that a cautionary tale about the misuse of technology results in the misuse of technology, but the fact remains that the Lazarus beast is still terrible.
7) The Kandy Man
Making his sole appearance in the 1988 Seventh Doctor story The Happiness Patrol, the Kandy Man is an evil robot with the appearance of a gingerbread man who lives on a planet where being miserable is punished by death. Instead of taking sunrises and sprinkling them with dew, this Kandy Man captures rebels and drowns them in a candy confection. Eventually, a group of citizens known as the Pipe People (because they live below pipes—clever!) gang up on Kandy and murder him. Thus ends the reign of terror of one of the dumbest looking villains in the history of sci-fi.
6) The Anne Droid
While America tired of The Weakest Link fairly quickly, those wacky Brits still can’t get enough of host Anne Robinson’s acerbic witticisms. Appearing in the 2005 episodes Bad Wolf and The Parting of Ways, the Anne Droid was a robotic representation of Robinson who hosted the game show aboard the floating TV station Satellite Five in the year 200,100. Was her appearance a sly commentary on the popularity of banal mainstream programming or just an opportunity for a shameless celebrity cameo? My money’s on the latter. Laaaaaame.