Sunday, January 1, 2017

SUPER SIX LIST - "OUTER LIMITS" ALIENS WHO SHOULD ENCOUNTER THE DOCTOR


An idealized Toobworld would have no borders; characters could cross freely from one show to another.

For me, the most exciting of these possibilities would be in the realm of science fiction.  Think of all the fantastic aliens that were merely one-shot appearances in TV shows like 'Lost In Space', 'Babylon 5', 'The Twilight Zone', 'The Outer Limits', and even 'Star Trek', despite the prevalence of basic humanoids with a few bumps and ridges on their foreheads.  I would have loved to see a Minbari priest serving as the chaplain on board the starship Voyager - that's always my go-to example.

But today, we're celebrating my favorite TV show, 'Doctor Who', so I thought: why not a Super Six list of aliens from 'The Outer Limits' who could make an appearance in episodes of 'Doctor Who'?  They wouldn't have to be the same characters, merely of the same race.  And they don't have to be focused on the same causes espoused by the original versions of those aliens.  Not everybody on Earth is dedicated to the same raison d'etre, after all.

Here are the six aliens from 'The Outer Limits' who should return in 'Doctor Who':

1]  The Andromedans, "The Galaxy Being"

Transported to Earth by accident. "The Galaxy Being" inadvertently kills several people with its natural radiation, and is met with violence and hysteria from the people of Earth. 

This is one case where the plot line could be repeated, with another Andromedan coming to Earth Prime-Time and accidentally causing several humans to get severe radiation burns.  But this time, let there be a happy ending where the Doctor intervenes as saves the alien from his new galaxy being.  I could see this being the annual Christmas episode, in fact.  And to make it perhaps even more saccharine - er, Christmasy, why not let the Andromedan be a child.  Perhaps an energy being that was a little girl.

2]  The Empyrians, "Second Chance"

An alien from the planet Empyria offers a group of misfits, each of whom is refusing to confront unpleasant realities in his/her life, a second chance to better themselves - an opportunity to colonize a small planetoid called Tythra that, paradoxically, will threaten both the alien's home world and Earth, just 82 years down the line; and which, if inhabited, will have its orbital path controlled to avert the disaster.

This is a case in which I wish we could see the Doctor interact with this original Empyrian, if only because it would be nice to hear the voice of the late character actor Simon Oakland spouting new dialogue.  But the storyline would be pertinent still: it's now only 30 years until Tythra destroys both Earth Prime-Time and Empyria.  And that could be something a race like the Daleks would want to happen to both planets since they hate anyone who is not a Dalek.

In the fifty-two years since that first Empyrian took his ship full of volunteers to settle on Tythra, there have been at least two generations of Terrans living in harmony with Empyrian settlers.  But the Daleks could be working behind the scenes to scuttle their progress in altering Tythra's orbit.

3]  The Kybens, "Demon With A Glass Hand"

Trent (Robert Culp) is a man with no memory of his life before the past ten days. His left hand has been replaced by an advanced computer shaped like his missing hand and protected by some transparent material. Three fingers are missing; the computer tells him they must be reattached before it can tell Trent what is going on. Trent is being hunted by a handful of humanoid aliens called the Kyben; they have the missing appendages. The action takes place in a large rundown office building which the Kyben have sealed off from the world.

For reasons unknown to him, Trent was sent into the past via a "time mirror", located in the building. A captured Kyben tells Trent that both of them are from a thousand years in the future. In that future, Earth has been conquered by the Kyben, but all the surviving humans except Trent have mysteriously vanished. The aliens are being obliterated by a "radioactive plague" that is killing all intelligent life on the planet, apparently unleashed by the humans in a last-ditch effort to repel the invasion. In a desperate attempt to find a cure for the plague and to extract whatever knowledge is stored in the hand/computer, the Kyben have followed him back in time with the missing fingers.


This is my all-time favorite episode of the series.  And one of my top ten episodes of any genre of all time.....

Harlan Ellison has written other stories set in the world of the Earth-Kyba War, but most of them have never been adapted for television, or at the very least are only tangentially connected.  There was a time when it looked like there might be a "sequel" set on 'Babylon 5' while Ellison was a consultant for the series.  But it never came to be.

For me, the Kyben were evolved from lemur-like creatures perhaps transported to Kyba by human explorers.  The Earth-Kyba war 1,000 years in the future would make for a great backdrop for the Doctor to mediate a peace between the two warring factions.  

4]  Ikar's species from the Hive World, "Keeper Of The Purple Twilight"

Scientist Eric Plummer comes under the sinister influence of a creature from outer space, capable of materializing in human form, but lacking human emotions. As a prelude for the invasion of Earth by his kind, the extraterrestrial being Ikar studies the human race. The one thing he cannot comprehend is emotion. Meanwhile, obsessed scientist Plummer is nearing a nervous breakdown trying to complete a magnetic disintegrator that will convert matter into pure energy. As Plummer's weapon would aid Ikar's invasion force if completed, Ikar makes a deal with Plummer (who is not aware of this fact). He will help Plummer complete the invention by offering his technical knowledge, in exchange for the scientist's ability to feel emotions for a "test drive".

It is revealed that Ikar comes from a hive world with strictly defined roles, divorced from emotion and personal identity: big brains (like himself) that do the thinking; soldiers that do the fighting; and females that produce the offspring.

And then along comes Plummer's girlfriend to gum up the works.  

Ikar begins to feel emotions such as anger, and desire for Janet, eventually returning the scientist's emotions to him. Ikar is now being pursued by his own species, as a threat to the planned invasion. It is revealed the aliens' homeworld is overpopulated, and they have chosen Earth to be their new home. In the end, out of sympathy for Plummer (and possibly also because he now knows what emotions are), Ikar kills two of the soldiers, but is disintegrated himself before Plummer destroys the last soldier. In disgust, Doctor Plummer himself destroys his weapon, erasing all traces of his work and evidence of the aliens.

I think even without the weapon, the Hive World would still make an effort to take over Earth.  Since they never did, we can only assume the Doctor prevented it.  Or, if not him, the Time Lords in a way - That Hive World could have been trapped in the Time-Lock of the Gallifreyan-Dalek War like the Gelth.  And the Doctor - maybe even the War Doctor - could have helped them find a planet that suited their needs but which wasn't already populated with sentient life.  

Being a Hive-mind like the Borg, they might have tried to force their combined will upon the Doctor, but he could have been saved by a manifestation of the TARDIS out of lover for her thief/love.

5]  The Ebonites, "Nightmare"

After being attacked by the planet Ebon, a group of Earth soldiers are sent to fight the enemy on their own soil. Captured en route to Ebon, the soldiers undergo physical and psychological torture and interrogation at the hands of the Ebonites. The prisoners become paranoid when their captors claim they have received cooperation. This is further complicated by the appearance of high-ranking Earth officers among the hostile aliens. In the end, it is revealed that this was only a military test, organized by Earth to test their troops' loyalty. Unexpected accidents having occurred during the test, the Ebonites, in actuality a peaceful and honorable alien race, eventually ask for the immoral experimentation to end, but fail to prevent one last man from being killed.

I can see the Doctor struggling to prevent a hate group from hunting down and killing an innocent Ebonite.  I'm not a fan of allegories, most times they're too heavy-handed.  But I can see this as being symbolic of the growing hatred towards Muslims by emboldened Trumpeters.

6]  The Zanti, "The Zanti Misfits"

Military forces have cordoned off a ghost town, aptly named Morgue, located in a remote section in the deserts of California while awaiting the arrival of a spacecraft from the planet Zanti. The perfectionist rulers of that planet, after making radio contact with our government, have decided that the Earth is the "perfect place" to exile their undesirables and criminals in exchange for sharing technological advances with Earth. They threaten total destruction if their penal ship is attacked, or if their privacy is not maintained. 

The Zanti are revealed to be grotesque oversized antlike beings with malicious human-like faces. The Zanti regent pursues Ben's now-terrified accomplice. Believing that their privacy was violated, the remaining Zanti prisoners commandeer the penal ship and land it atop the roof of the military command post. When the Zanti prisoners attack Earth's nervous soldiers, a brutal firefight ensues, and all of the aliens are massacred.

The soldiers and airmen anxiously await the expected reprisals, but, instead, they receive a message of thanks from the Zanti leader who explains that they were incapable of executing members of their own species so they sent them into the hands of a race who possessed no qualms about killing — the human race, referring to us as "practiced executioners".

My favorite alien race on the show!

This could easily fall into the trap of just rehashing the original plot.  In fact, the showrunner could capitalize on that to make a truly memorable episode.  Remember that 'Deep Space Nine' episode, "Trials And Tribbilations", which wove a new storyline into the events which played out in the original 'Star Trek' episode "The Trouble With Tribbles".  The same could be done here, in glorious black & white, showing how the Doctor and his companion worked behind the scenes to prevent the deaths of any more humans. But of course they would have been unable to prevent the massacre of the Zantis.

I'm in the process of watching the animated restoration of the 'Doctor Who' episode "Power Of The Daleks" and I think this would be the perfect story to animate.  That way audio from the Second incarnation of the Doctor, whose adventures were mostly - and criminally! - wiped out of existence, could be re-used to build this new story.  And it wouldn't have to be dialogue just from one particulary adventure.   A producer with carte blanche from the BBC (and the copyright holders for 'The Outer Limits' of course) could cherry-pick the necessary dialogue from all of Patrick Troughton's past adventures.  And to make the story seamless, they could add in new dialogue from whoever was playing the current Doctor.

Anyhoo, it's just an idea......

(All of the above episode descriptions were adapted from their Wikipedia entries.)

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