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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3 Thoughts on “Classic Rewatch: Terror of the Autons”

      • Green is the right height. Can do comedy or drama. Buffy showed he can be pretty effective when reigned in. He’s clearly a major geek (huzzah!) so you’d figure he’d jump at the chance.

        Other quick ideas ….

        American Doctor. Sam Rockwell. Full stop.

        I first thought of Keiko Agena for Osgoode but would think they would probably go younger, so I figured they could take the character in a little different direction and have Mae Whitman as a more headstrong Osgoode. She’s got the acting chops to handle it and has shown, in the right role, the sort of off-beat charm to play the part.

        As for the Brig (who would have to be “The General” or something for an American show) … Tommy Lee Jones in Captain America played a variation on this role, and I could see Sam Elliott playing this role as well, but for a more realistic TV casting choice, my mind went to Nick Offerman. He comes with his own mustache, and has proven that he can wordlessly communicate the impression of, “I will tolerate your shenanigans to a certain extent because you are useful, but after a certain point, I will not put up with any more of your crap” that the Brig always seemed to be directing at the Doctor.

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