Doctor Who: What is a Zygon?

Categories: Doctor Who

Over the weekend Whovians finally got a chance to see the full trailer for "The Day of the Doctor," and while yours truly thought it was a little underwhelming in light of how long they kept us dangling for the thing honestly, it's still the first real look at the 50th anniversary special premiering IN JUST TWO WEEKS!

There's lots going on in the trailer, but one of the things classic Whovians have been eagerly waiting for was a chance to see the Zygons back on television for the first time in almost 40 years. The question some may have is, "What the hell is a Zygon?"

It's not hard to understand why newer fans may not have heard of them. They appear on only one television story, "Terror of the Zygons," and that means that as a returning villain they have the lowest profile of any save the Macra. They've been name dropped in that in "The Power of Three" and "The Pandorica Opens," but aside from those tiny mentions they simply aren't that well-known despite their enduring popularity.

Part of that popularity has to do with the time they did appear. First, you're talking one of the most beloved Tardis crews, consisting of the Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, and Harry Sullivan. For a lot of fans, especially American ones who would discover the show because of the PBS syndication of Tom Baker's run, this was one of the first stories they would have seen.

And it doesn't ever hurt to include the Loch Ness Monster in your episode.

See also: Doctor Who: Is It Time to Break The Sonic Screwdriver Again?

zygon1.jpg
Terror of the Zygons
Zygons are a bipedal, long-lived alien race. When they are younger their skin is milky white, but adult Zygons are a sort of mottled orange. Covered in suckers and having tiny faces in large cone-shaped heads, they look much like a cross between Cthulhu and a California Raisin.

They also don't typically wear clothes... if there's anything I am eternally grateful to Steven Moffatt for it's his dedication to putting clothes on his villains.

The Zygon race is hermaphroditic, and they reproduce asexually. However, they typically only rise to the highest rank in their society, warrior engineer, by undergoing a process of sterilization. Not only does the process make Zygons more single minded and aggressive, it produces the orange skin color and iron odor that they are known for.

Like the Axos, Zygon technology is largely organic rather than mechanical, though not as completely as the Axos. They are masters of shape-shifting thanks to their body-print scanners. Subjects that are to be copied must be alive and unconscious, and the shifts generally last two-hours. Zygon clan leaders settle disputes through shape shifting contests. While their mimicry is superior as far as copying accuracy than say that of The Chameleons, its need to be renewed periodically limits its long-term effectiveness.

Piece continues on next page.

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