The Smilers vs. The Veil [Doctor Who: Steven Moffat Monster Tournament – 1.7]

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 #29)

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, like last time will be Ben McClure (myself), Johanna McClure (my 16 year old daughter), Laurelle McClure (my 14 year old daughter), Joshua McDonald (my friend from college) and Jeremiah McDonald (Josh’s brother–see his website here).

You can read a bit more about each of us in the post for the first bout of this competition, here.

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.

So…

The Steven Moffat Monstrous Creation Tournament – Round 1, Bout 7

(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 contestants:

The Smilers

(The Beast Below, in Season five)

The Smilers were creepy guardians who oversaw security in the dystopian world of Starship UK. They were happy and friendly carnival-style automatons…unless people were disobedient or otherwise deemed not useful. In that case they became enraged monsters capable of chasing down, capturing or killing their enemies.

The Veil

(Heaven Sent, in Season Nine)

A monster born from the Doctor’s own fears and memories which resembled a rotting corpse in funeral garb, which slowly but relentlessly pursued the Doctor across the contained environment that they were both in. The Veil was a personification of death–something you could run from but never gain any distance on, and which would eventually, inevitably catch up to you. It could only be stopped, and temporarily, by confessing a truth to it which had never before been revealed.

OK, Ready, Steady…go!

Ben’s vote:

The Veil

Comment: Heaven Sent is possibly my favorite episode of Doctor Who of all time, with its tour-de-force writing, directing, acting, and everything. The Veil itself is not especially interesting to me in its realisation, but in concept it’s fascinating. The Smilers I more found just annoying, and The Beast Below is one of my less favorite Steven Moffat episodes.

Johanna’s vote:

The Veil

Comments: The Smilers were kind of creepy for the first 20 minutes for so, but after that they weren’t really a thing. But the Veil…that wasn’t the reason the episode was great, but it was still pretty good.

Laurelle’s vote:

The Veil

Comments: The Veil is a lot cooler, and the episode is waaaay cooler.  I like how he compares it to “death”, this thing that is always coming.

Josh’s vote:

The Veil

Comments: The Smilers were just a variation on an old Doctor Who trope — the creepy automated enforcers in a creepy dystopian society. I suppose in a way the Veil was too — but it took it up a notch. The Veil gets inside its victim’s head, and its enforcements are more personal, more visceral.

Jeremiah’s vote:

The Veil

Comments: Two creepy contenders but The Veil easily takes this one.

The Facebook Poll:

The Veil (19 votes) over The Smilers (5 votes)

Comments: Once again the poll is very one-sided!

The Winner

The Veil

For the first time, one of the “later” creations takes the win!

Next up: The Star Whale vs. Colony Sarff

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