47 Days of Doctor Who–Day #29: Best Alien Species

Welcome to Day 29 of my 47-day series about the revival version of Doctor Who (2005-present). I’ve come up with 47 topics / questions to answer, all of them basically positive and upbeat about the program. Each day (or as often as I can actually write these–so far so good!) I’ll pick one of them at random (using this convenient random number generator) and then write up an answer.

Why 47? It’s my favorite number.
Why Doctor Who? It’s my favorite show.
Why the modern day Doctor Who only? Simply because I remember it better.
Why only positive stuff? Because really, I write enough snark.

So, today, we spin the Random Number Generator, and it lands on 35, which means
today’s topic is

“Best Alien Species”

This one is pretty straightforward simply because I already thought about it when I wrote about the Best Monster. At that time, I decided to distinguish between singular monsters and alien races that are basically also monsters, simply because there are very few non-monster alien races in the show that are all that memorable.

Anyway, my favorite one, especially amongst those that are indigenous to the revival series of Doctor Who, are

The Silence

Or is that the Silents?

I know, we’ve since learned that the “Silence” is a religious order that includes the alien we know as the Silence as priest. This, frankly, was a stupid idea, and shows as much as anything else that by the 51st Century, the church has really gone off its rocker. The Silence are priests, we are to believe, to whom you confess your sins, and then you immediately forget that ever confessed them. Sort of the opposite of what confession is supposed to be, I think. (It would have made more sense if it was the priests that forgot, once you had received absolution). Anyway, the Silence were one of the worst victims of the cramming in of explanations that took place in Matt Smith’s last story, The Time of the Doctor. Maybe it would have worked better if he’d stayed another year?

But before we get lost in all that, let’s not forget that before all that, back in the superior Season Six, the Silence were fantastic.

Their whole shtick was that when you weren’t looking right at them, you couldn’t remember that you’d seen them. This was bad because the Silence were shown to be manipulative, destructive and evil. They could induce hypnotic suggestions and destroy people with fierce lightning powers. They drove some people insane and mercilessly obliterated others, and they’d infested the history of earth for centuries. In short, they were some of the most formidable threats that Doctor Who had brought before us in a looong time.

And then at the end of the season, they were shown to be even nastier than we thought as they were revealed to have manipulated their enemies and allies alike into wearing eyepieces that allowed them to remember the Silence, but also let the Silence to fry their brains.

In short, the Silence were a great creation by Steven Moffat, and it was a shame to see the same author later throw them under a bus in favor for a quick explanation.

Click here for a master list for this series.


2 thoughts on “47 Days of Doctor Who–Day #29: Best Alien Species

  1. I’m 100% with you here. The Silence were my favourite villain before they were “explained” away as genetically-engineered priests. The idea of the Silence as a nefarious race of alien invaders who had infested the Earth and had been manipulating Earth’s history for millennia for their own purposes was so much more impressive. I’d so much just like to ignore what Moffat did to them in The Time of the Doctor and pretend that unfortunate incident never happened (not the episode itself necessarily, which I liked well enough), but unhappily for me that would violate my personal rule against frivolously headcanoning-away things that happened onscreen that I don’t like.

  2. It seems we are of one mind today! It’s the fact that the Silence betrayed Madame Kovarian in The Wedding of River Song that gives me the freedom to imagine that genetically engineered priests or no, the Silence were ultimately creepier and more sinister than their last appearance would suggest.

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