Daleks, Cybermen and Missy. They’re all back in season ten. The Ice Warriors are returning too, being written by perhaps their biggest fan, Mark Gatiss. We’ve also seen some new monsters in the recent trailer, which all look fantastic. But all the talk is understandably about Doctor Who’s big three. What will 2017 bring for the Daleks, the Cybermen and Missy?
Since Steven Moffat took over as the show’s head writer in 2010, the Daleks have suffered badly. It’s hard to recall a single strong Dalek story, and there have been some shockers too. Victory of the Daleks and Asylum of the Daleks were especially bad, so the Daleks are in need of a boost to their reputation. In the Russell T. Davies era, the Daleks were always trying something new, and always at their brutally murderous best. Dalek, back in season one, was almost the perfect episode, with just one solitary Dalek wreaking utter chaos and destruction. The Cult of Skaro was also a good concept and showed us how strong the Daleks’ urge to survive and conquer is, even if Dalek Sec’s storyline did finish somewhat dubiously. And Davros’ return in season four showed the Daleks at their peak as they sought to destroy reality itself. We saw a Dalek set an occupied house on fire, and it’s this sort of brutality and mercilessness that made them so feared. However, since then, they’ve been ridiculed and their reputation has suffered several huge blows. The multi-coloured Daleks were laughable, as was the Parliament of Daleks conveniently forgetting who the Doctor was. In season ten, the Daleks need to be written like they were in the classic series, and in the Davies era. Let’s see them scheming, let’s see them ruthlessly exterminate and let’s see them actually have a credible plan that will cause the Doctor and co. huge problems. Daleks have been far too easily overcome in recent years. In the Davies era, the tenth Doctor lost Rose and Donna in battles against them. Some sacrifice or pain for the Doctor would prove that the Daleks are worthy of being his most dangerous foes. Maybe the Daleks could play a part in the twelfth Doctor’s demise. I know they are due to appear early on in the season, so assuming they are defeated in that episode, (the season can’t really continue unless they are) wouldn’t it be good to see ripples from whatever they were up to come back to affect the Doctor, Bill and Nardole later on? Give the Daleks the relevance they deserve, they’re already on their way to becoming a redundant race within the Doctor Who universe, but it’s not too late to save them.
To be fair to Steven Moffat, he had put a lot of effort into developing and boosting the Cybermen. Some of what he’s done has been slightly absurd. Their ability to fly has sort of taken away from what made the Cybermen such treasured enemies. Their latest model does look more robot than Cyberman. But with the Mondasian Cybermen back, it looks like we are going to get an in-depth plot in the two part finale. Different filming pictures seem to show different designs of Cybermen, so perhaps we could be getting a story about the evolution of them, which would be fascinating. Similarly to the Daleks though, I want to see the Cybermen in ruthless form and less of them flying around like super-villains. They don’t need such special powers to be such a force. In the classic series, and even with the Lumic design, Cybermen were perfectly threatening without the ability to fly, or effectively freeze time. The Cybermen are also smart enough to lead a fight against the Doctor without being under instruction from Missy, or anyone else for that matter. Missy is set to appear with the Cybermen in the finale, but I’d love to see the two have differing agendas, and the Cybermen alone in whatever dastardly plan they may have hatched.
Finally, Missy, in what could also be her final season on the show. Nothing regarding her departure has been confirmed yet, but it’s hard to see her with any other Doctor than Capaldi. She’s a Steven Moffat creation too, so the incoming Chris Chibnall may want to recast the Master and take the character in a different direction, if he wants to use him/her at all. So if this is Missy’s last season, I want to see a plan. Surely she’s plotting a grand scheme, and her previous appearances have all been gearing up to something bigger than what we’ve so far seen? Her debut was good, but her motive of giving the Doctor an army of Cybermen as a present was bizarre. In season nine, she didn’t really have a plan, she was essentially a goody. This is the Master we’re talking about though, a character who in the past has killed innocent people at will and performed some horrific acts just to survive. I’ve been a huge fan of the eccentricity and sheer madness Michelle Gomez has brought to the role, and her performances so far cannot be faulted. However, if we don’t see her commit true acts of evil and deviousness in season ten, her character could go down as a failure. We don’t need to see her recruit Cybermen either, the Master has always been clever and powerful enough to cause problems for the Doctor on his own. Missy should be given the chance to do this. Her on screen chemistry with the Doctor has been hugely entertaining to date, and the distress she could potentially cause to him would give her character so much more credence than she currently has.
All three of the Doctor’s arch enemies appearing in the one season is undeniably exciting, for most, if not all fans of the show. Moffat, of course, has to be careful that they all aren’t there just to see him off and boost his ratings in his final year. All enemies, no matter how significant or insignificant they are in the grand scheme of the show, should have relevance in the episodes they appear. The Daleks, Cybermen and Missy alike, should all have their intentions made clear by the end of their stories at least. I’m looking forward to seeing how Steven Moffat handles the fact this is his last year. Season ten could be one of the most destructive of his era.