TV

Doctor Who is Attempting to One-Up Its Greatest Villain

Is showrunner Russell T. Davies overhyping the next episode?

One of the biggest problems facing any long-running franchise is finding room to improve. After Return of the Jedi, it’s hard to replicate the joyous victory of the Rebellion. After Endgame, it’s hard to top saving billions of lives. Doctor Who has more than 60 years of history to top, but with a new deal with Disney+ (and a new Doctor) the series is still attempting to keep things fresh.

A recent interview with returning showrunner Russell T. Davies reveals that the next episode, “73 Yards,” will contain a groundbreaking new villain, but is that even possible after an old episode contained one of the most creative monsters seen on sci-fi TV?

While we know “73 Yards” has a folk-horror tone, we still don’t know anything about the “strange” villain.

Disney+

In conversation with Radio Times, Davies teased the villain “73 Yards” in a big way. “Episode 4 has got possibly the strangest villain you’ll ever see,” he said. “You have to come and watch - even in an interview like this, it’s hard to describe. You’ve got to come and watch episode 4 to understand what’s going on.”

But calling a Doctor Who villain the strangest yet is a big statement. This is a show that’s had a lemur-esque alien, a boogeyman literally made out of boogers, and murderous robot ambulances — and that’s only been in the last few months.

The bar is set incredibly high. In 2007, “Blink,” widely considered one of the best Doctor Who episodes ever, featured the Weeping Angels, sentient statues who look like stone angels when you look at them, but the second you look away — or even blink — they move incredibly fast and erase you from your timeline.

Doctor Who has always done creative villain design, like with the Weeping Angels in “Blink.”

Disney+

It sounds like the villain of “73 Yards” will be in the same vein of The Weeping Angels, a strange alien monster with a big gimmick. It’s something Doctor Who loves to return to, like with the invisible monster in “Vincent and the Doctor” or “The Impossible Astronaut”’s Silence, who erase themselves from the memory of everyone who see them.

These villains are always memorable (yes, even the Silence) but can be more difficult to work with. “73 Yards” will be the test to see if this new iteration of Doctor Who can top its already revolutionary villain design.

Doctor Who Episode 4, “73 Yards,” premieres May 24 on Disney+.

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