The Headless Monks vs. A Creature perfectly evolved to hide [Doctor Who: Steven Moffat Monster Tournament – 1.11]

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 #55)

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.


The Steven Moffat Monstrous Creation Tournament – Round 1, Bout 11

(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 Headless Monks

Or…some guys under some hoods….

(A Good Man Goes to War, from Season Six)

Soldiers for the “Kovarian Chapter” of the religious order known as the Silence, the Headless Monks were so committed to listening to their hearts over their minds that they went so far as to behead themselves. They were formidable and terrifying hand-to-hand combatants.

A Creature that is perfectly evolved to hide

Or…some guy under a blanket…. (Maybe these were both money saving ideas?)

(Listen, from Season Eight)

Unique on this list because it is not certain, in-universe, that this creature actually exists. The Doctor only postulates that if such a creature did exist, there would be no way to be certain of it, no way to be certain that it is not in the room with you or hiding under your bed. The Doctor becomes intermittently obsessed with this being, but never knows for sure if it is real or his imagination.

OK, Ready, Steady…go!

Ben’s vote:

The Headless Monks

I liked the idea of the Creature perfectly evolved to hide, but I found the episode a little dissatisfying for its ambiguous resolution. I thought the Headless Monks, on the other hand, were pretty frightening, although they were of course underused.

Laurelle’s vote:

A Creature that is perfectly evolved to hide

Comment: The Creature…That’s a really great episode and the whole concept is really quite interesting.  We can never know if there is a creature that’s perfectly evolved to hide, because if we find it, then it’s not.   

Johanna’s vote:

A Creature that is perfectly evolved to hide

Comments: I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Headless Monks, and I thought the first half of Listen was really scary. So I’m going for the Creature that is perfectly evolved to hide.

The Facebook Poll:

A Creature that is perfectly evolved to hide (23 votes) over The Headless Monks (2 votes)

Comments: One comment read, “…the lack of additional appearances by the Headless Monks made them mostly meh…But the idea of something evolving so perfectly it can hide anywhere, that idea sticks with you even if it never existed.”

Jeremiah’s vote:

A Creature that is perfectly evolved to hide

Comments: Oh, it’s gotta be the unknown creature. I love that we don’t actually know if there’s a monster in Listen.

Josh’s vote:

A Creature that is perfectly evolved to hide

Comments: Doctor Who’s sixth season may have started strong, but by the end it had pretty much gone off the rails, due I think mostly to Moffat’s attempt to cram the entirety of River Song’s backstory into the latter half of the season. And as I recall it, A Good Man Goes to War was the beginning of the undoing of season six. The Headless Monks might have been an interesting idea, but I don’t have much recollection of them, crammed as they were into an over-bloated storyline that was already trying to do too much. By contrast the Listen creature, which may or may not have even existed, had a kind of elegant simplicity. It had the classic Moffat psychological-horror factor which never quite resolved itself. It’s really the kind of thing he does best.

The Winner

A Creature that is perfectly evolved to hide

I had no idea the Creature perfectly evolved to hide was so popular! I think this vote was the first one where I was the lone minority voice. Or as Johanna said to me, “Loser.”

Next up: The Teselecta Antibodies s vs. The Half-Face Man

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