The Empty Child vs. The Testimony [Doctor Who: Steven Moffat Monster Tournament – 1.1]

Doctor Who has generated lots of frightening monsters and creatures over its many years of existence. But out of all the writers who have ever contributed to the series, no one has invented quite so many such baddies as Steven Moffat…for the simple reason that nobody else has written as many stories (although to be fair, other writers have written more episodes).

(Daily Doctor Who #5)

For no other reason but that it’s fun, we’re going to figure out which of Moffat’s many monstrous creations is the very best, according to a strict scientific process of having a few people vote on them.

The winner of each bout will be decided on a best of seven votes, according to whatever standard that they want (though in general, it’s a contest about which one is more popular or well liked, not which one would win in a fight). The judges will be…

Ben McClure

(Myself!)

Ben McClure is an American living in Australia.  He is married with three kids, and has been a fan of Doctor Who since discovering a Program Guide in Waldenbooks next to a bunch of Target novelizations.  He loves the 11th Doctor, Ice Warriors, the Silence, Jo Grant, the 5th Doctor, Ian, UNIT, stable time loops, cliffhangers, and so much more.

Johanna McClure

(My middle daughter)

I’m Johanna McClure.  I’m 16, and I love Doctor Who, even though I often get absolutely terrified of the monsters and am scared of them for several weeks.  I adore the Doctor, most of the companions, the TARDIS and everything.

Laurelle McClure

(My youngest daughter)

Hi, I’m Laurelle, I’m 14 years old.  I like reading fantasy novels and I enjoy acting.  Dad introduced me to Doctor Who and I love it. 

Joshua McDonald

(My friend from college!)

Josh is a lifelong resident of the Northeastern United States, currently settled in Vermont. In the midst of ministerial studies, he spends much of his free time writing — especially about comic books and Catholic social teaching. He first discovered Doctor Who in reruns in the 1980s and has been hooked ever since.

Jeremiah McDonald

(My friend from college’s brother)

Jeremiah McDonald is a filmmaker, actor, artist and lifelong Doctor Who fan. He lives in New York with his wife. His work can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/ContentWithJeremiah

And then the last two votes will be drawn from a poll I will / have put upon Facebook. The monster which gets the most votes on that poll will be awarded two points.

All clear? Great, then let’s get started!

The Steven Moffat Monstrous Creation Tournament – Round 1, Bout 1

The Empty Child vs. The Testimony

(The way I am “seeding” these early rounds is simply by having the earliest appearing creature go against the last appearing creature, and then working my way inward.)

The Empty Child

(The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances, in Season One)

Technically, these are the Chula Nanogenes, or at least the creature that they created in their attempts to heal / resurrect the young boy Jamie, who had been killed in a London bombing in World War II. Young Jamie had been mistakenly created with a gas mask as part of his face, with no real consciousness except for a desire to identify his mummy. He was virtually unstoppable and would spread his physical and mental condition like a plague to anyone who touched him.

The Testimony

(Twice Upon a Time, the Christmas Special that aired in 2017, following Season Ten)

Technically, the Glass Avatars created by the Testimony Foundation to store all knowledge in the universe by uploading people’s memories immediately prior to their death. A Glass Avatar of Bill once got involved in a bizarre meeting between two different Doctors at the end of their incarnations. The Doctor threatened to put a stop to their activities until he realized that they were not up to anything sinister.

OK, Ready, Steady…go!

Ben’s vote:

The Empty Child

Comment: It’s interesting that Moffat’s first original monster and his last are both misunderstood creatures that are actually only trying to help, and that they both have to do with dead people.  Ultimately, though, the Empty Child is far scarier, and inhabits a better episode. 

Johanna’s vote:

The Empty Child

Comments: How should I put this? The Testimony kind of just felt like a thing so we could have Bill show up for a little while.  The Empty Child…that was the plot.  For some odd reason, the look is very effective…very very scary.  The ideas is super-freaky.  And it was all just done really well, so that throughout the episode there was a couple of moments where you were just absolutely horrified, like, “Oh my goodness, did that just happen?”  

Laurelle’s vote:

The Empty Child

Comments: The Testimony were kind of boring–not even much of a threat.  The Empty Child was very scary.  I was like, “Oh my goodness….”

Jeremiah’s vote:

The Empty Child

Comments: The introduction of this monster was the moment I started appreciating the 2005 relaunch of Doctor Who as more than just nostalgia, but as great television that could produce original and terrifying monsters. The Testimony left less of an impression.

The Facebook Poll

The Empty Child (72 votes) over The Testimony (7 votes)

Comments: So clearly those votes (two of them) are for the Empty Child. One comment read, I liked the concept of Testimony. Real cool idea. But you can’t beat the iconic “Are you my mummy?” It was so chilling and the best episode of the Eccleston era.

The Winner

The Empty Child

So, it turns out that Josh actually hasn’t had a chance to view Twice Upon A Time, so he wasn’t able to vote in this bout. But it’s quite clear from all the rest of the votes that Steven Moffat’s debut monster is the winner. No surprise there.

Next up (a few days from now, probably): The Clockwork Droids vs. The Monks

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