Classic Rewatch: The Mind of Evil

The Mind of Evil

It doesn’t take much to rattle some people. For those poor souls, their fears and concerns weigh so heavily upon them, the slightest provocation send them reeling into fits of worry and despair. Others are made of sterner stuff — but as we’ve learned from so many stories, everyone has their limits. There have been a number of science fiction series who have toyed with the idea of criminal rehabilitation via some form of mental reconditioning (Star Trek, Fringe, The Twilight Zone, Babylon 5, just to name a few), but as in so many instances across the decades, Doctor Who was among the first to explore the concept.

This week, we consider the many important developments that occur within the Pertwee story, “The Mind of Evil”. UNIT is at the forefront, and we gain a fuller appreciation for Yates and Benton; the Doctor and the Master face off once again, with iconic performance from Delgado, and a deeper understanding of their know-thine-enemy relationship; and Jo Grant establishes herself as a valuable, adaptive, resourceful, and daresay indispensable companion to the Third Doctor. Suffice to say, we consider it encouraged, if not required Classic Who fare.

Bonus: We run down the stellar guest list for the upcoming RegenerationWho 3 convention in Baltimore, Maryland, and the number of discussion panels we’ll be hosting through the weekend. Hope you join us!

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Classic Rewatch: Terror of the Autons

Terror of the Autons

The deus ex machina trope has been explored and adapted more times in science fiction media that we could count. When Doctor Who writer Robert Holmes developed the Nestene Consciousness for “Spearhead from Space”, he paired the concept of a non-corporeal sentient being with the god-in-the-machine premise in the form of the Autons, and the Whovian world would never be the same. Not left to rest on his laurels, however, Holmes was by no means finished, and in the next appearance of the villainous beings, they are assisted by one of the greatest additions the programme has seen. Enter: the Master.

This week, we enjoy the action, adventure, and cat-and-mouse interplay between Doctor and Master in the Third Doctor story, “Terror of the Autons”. Liz Shaw has made an abrupt off-screen departure, the effervescent Josephine Grant emerges as the new companion, and the deadly plastic menace is back once again with the manipulative evil genius of the Master to help in their efforts to overthrow Earth from England outward (as its customary). We delve into the Doctor’s affinity for blowing up electronics, Jo’s prowess as a Level-30 lockpick, the boyish charm of Captain Yates, and the undeniable creepy-cool that is Roger Delgado.

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Classic Rewatch: The Ambassadors of Death

The Ambassadors of Death

♬ Just sit right back, and you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a trip to Mars
You’d better clear some time, we warn
It’s told in seven parts.
Some astronauts went missing, and
When UNIT gets involved
They call upon the Doc and Liz
And things quickly devolve. ♬

This week, we find the diamonds in the radioactive rough that is the Third Doctor story, “The Ambassadors of Death”. Liz Shaw shines, the Doctor demonstrates his ability to merge science with magic and (a dash of secret-agent-man), and Bessie becomes the go-to transportation for more characters than ever before…possibly since. We are reminded of the perils familiar to the late 1950s serial The Quartermass Experiment, and the fact that space suits are inherently creepy-looking outfits (something that Doctor Who chooses to remind us of regularly, as in the Vashta Nerada, the Impossible Astronaut…)

Bonus Segment: Keir and Haley play a bit of “This Week In Whovian History”.

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Classic Rewatch: The Silurians

Doctor Who and the Silurians

As an evolved, scientifically curious species, we Terrans are woefully ignorant on a relative interplanetary scale. Honestly, it’s a wonder our brutish, barbarian tendencies haven’t caused us to be eradicated by a greater galactic power a dozen times over by now. We find another sentient species dormant beneath our planet’s surface, and immediately fall into two camps: cringing subservience; or distrusting militant response. Leave it to a dashing (if oddly dressed) hyper-brilliant alien to point out the need for a little diplomacy…but is he paid any heed? (Guess that “scientific advisor” role isn’t the same as “scientific decision maker”.)

This week, our Third Doctor dons his best spelunking gear, and gives us our first look at what might have been our reptilian overlords in “The Silurians”. We discuss the emergence of this iconic villain, the unsettling relationship developments between Doctor and Brig, the continued bad-assery of Liz Shaw, and how a weird music score can drive us absolutely nuts. Oh, and Bessie. Always Bessie.

Bonus Segment: Ten minutes spent with Captain Yates of UNIT, the charming Richard Franklin, in our interview from L.I. Who 4!

Richard Franklin at LI Who 4

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Classic Rewatch: Spearhead From Space

Spearhead From Space

So begins another era in the wildly unpredictable history of Doctor Who. The departure of Patrick Troughton and his co-stars at the close of the sixth season added additional uncertainty to the direction (or entire future) of the show. Producers, writers, and script editors including the legendary Terrance Dicks and Derrick Sherwin set out to redefine the television programme, breathing new life with new filming techniques, supporting cast, theme and tone, and the casting of a lead actor who could carry the demands of affability, action, humour and gravitas that the change in direction called for. Enter: Jon Pertwee.

This week, we fall headlong into the debut of the Third Doctor, in “Spearhead From Space”. We discuss all the backstory components that contributed to such a monumental shift in the franchise, the “Series 6B” theory that went from fan-fiction, to ‘fanon’, to canon, the ideal selection of Pertwee at this pivotal moment, and our complete adoration for Liz Shaw.

Bonus Segment: Another lovely sit-down with “Old Sixie” himself, COlin Baker, from the hustle and bustle of L.I. Who 4!

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