Doctor Who's New Villains Are Weak - Because They're Not The Real Villain

Does Doctor Who season 11 have a villain problem or are fans (and sometimes critics) instead simply missing the point? New showrunner Chris Chibnall has relaunched Doctor Who with flair and style, and Jodie Whittaker's character is very much the Doctor of old. In general, critics have been impressed; although not every episode has been equal, they've all been solid in terms of plotting and pacing, and the series regulars have shone through in every scene. For all that's the case, though, there has been one recurrent criticism: the villains of Doctor Who season 11 are frankly a little weak.

Chibnall has chosen to ditch the classic villains like the Daleks or the Cybermen, Instead, he's introduced a whole new range of enemies - from the Stenza to giant spiders, from time-traveling white nationalists to ancient death-traps. But none of them have seemed to resonate with viewers in the way of the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Ice Warriors or the Sontarans. Is it fair to say that season 11's villains have been weak? Or, instead, it is possible Chibnall is telling a very different kind of story - and that the monsters aren't the real villains at all?

The Problems With Doctor Who's Villains

Six episodes in, Doctor Who season 11 has only had two obvious villains. The premiere, "The Woman Who Fell to Earth," featured Tzim-Sha, a would-be leader of an alien race known as the Stenza who had traveled to Earth in order to hunt down a random human. Conceptually, he was interesting enough that, when the Stenza were mentioned in the second episode too, many viewers assumed they would be the main villains of the entire season. They've since been forgotten, however, suggesting there probably isn't such an arc at all. And then there's Krasko, a time-traveling white nationalist who was attempting to subtly rewrite history in "Rosa." Although he'd apparently been responsible for the death of thousands, an implant prevented him from directly harming anyone ever again, somewhat diminishing his threat. Both Tzim-Sha and Krasko were simply beamed away.

Related: Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker (Brilliantly) Undid A Matt Smith Promise

Other than these two, the 13th Doctor has really struggled with abstract threats and impersonal monsters. "The Ghost Monument" is about survival, with Team TARDIS attempting to cross a weaponized wasteland and get to the TARDIS. In "Arachnids in the U.K.," the monsters were accidentally-enlarged spiders - including a giant arachnid that suffocated under its own weight, much to the Doctor's sorrow. "The Tsuranga Conundrum" featured a near-mindless creature that killed by accident rather than intent. Finally, in "Demons of the Punjab" it turned out the Thijarians had abandoned their murderous ways long ago, and were just trying to honor the dead by bearing witness to human tragedies.

All in all, then, it's understandable why viewers and critics alike are beginning to wonder what's going on with the villains in Doctor Who. There haven't actually been too many of them in the first place. Meanwhile, Tsim-Sha and Krasko have hardly been memorable. In fact, in the case of Krasko, he was frankly under-developed. None of these are ever going to be as influential as classics like the Daleks, Davros, the Cybermen, or the Weeping Angels. Tthey're unlikely to even be remembered in a couple of years' time.

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