Doctor Who has featured countless monsters and aliens over the course of its decades-long run. There are a lot, like the Daleks and Cybermen, that have become pop culture icons. One of the most beloved and memorable monsters in Doctor Who are the Weeping Angels, who made their debut in 2007. The Weeping Angels have become popular because of how absolutely terrifying they are, because they introduced fans to interesting science fiction rules, and because they debuted in a rather unique and exciting episode. The Weeping Angels could have reached the heights of the Daleks and Cybermen, but there’s a major downside holding them back. The Angels’ main issue is that their rules are constantly changed with every appearance.
Doctor Who may be a science fiction series that has evolved greatly over the course of over five decades, but there have been many consistencies with various staples of the series. Daleks want to exterminate all weaknesses in the universe and to be known as the master race. Cybermen want to turn everyone else into more Cybermen. Both fire lasers, have almost-impenetrable armor, have gained the ability to fly, and there always seem to be more of them regardless of how they are defeated. Zygons wish to rule over Earth and can shapeshift into anyone. When the Doctor comes across any of these monsters, the viewer understands what the rules are. The same could be said for most other monsters. That’s not quite the case for the Weeping Angels.
When the Angels were first introduced in the episode “Blink,” they were aliens who resembled angel statues who wouldn’t move as long as someone was looking at them, but would move extremely quickly and silently once everyone looked away. If they were able to make contact with someone, they’d send them back in time and feed off of the remaining time energy from the victim’s life. This all made them one of the scariest creatures ever to be featured on the show, if not the absolute scariest. From their design to how they work, the Weeping Angels are pure nightmare fuel.
However, over the course of their next handful of appearances, their rules were changed and became a bit more complicated. The idea of “look away and they’ll get you” was simple, fun, and terrifying. They didn’t need anything else. Unfortunately, in their next appearance, we learn that any image of a Weeping Angel becomes a Weeping Angel. Not only is it never explained how that works, but is that how they reproduce? If that’s the case, do Angels go out of the way to create images of themselves? This second appearance also has them kill people without sending them back in time to feed off their time energy, which doesn’t seem on-brand for them.
The third story to feature them added the idea that they could take the form of literally ANY statue. The reason they were called “Weeping Angels” in the first place was because they were statues of angels that were crying. The Statue of Liberty and statues of people being Weeping Angels doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Not only does it not match their name, but every statue in the world isn’t being looked at at all times. There would be random statues suddenly being moved to the middle of the street overnight. It also takes away from their creepy original design. The idea that they could be anywhere is certainly frightening, but it takes away from what was already set up.
Stories centered around the Weeping Angels could have been kept as simple as the original, and still have found ways to be just as scary and unique. They could have just put these horrifying beings in new and interesting settings and stories. That would have been incredibly entertaining to see. By changing how they work after almost every time we see them, they lose a little of what we love about them.