Doctor Who: Claws of Axos, The (Episode 57) (DVD)
A podlike spacecraft is on an intercept course for Earth, and nervous humans' first instinct is to shoot first and ask questions later. Instead, they discover a race of golden, beautiful aliens asking for help and offering an unlimited source of energy--with a catch. Originally this 1971 adventure was to be called "The Vampire from Space," but that was too obvious, particularly when the villainous Master (Roger Delgado) is really behind this latest threat to Earth. Can the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) discover the awful truth about Axos in time, or will his desire to free himself from the planet overcome his better judgment?
A fabulous sense of Englishness permeates this era of the series, with pretentious bureaucrats, overzealous army officers, and comic poachers among others reacting to aliens in their own backyard. And despite being the Doctor's main adversary at the time, the Master gets all the best lines, including his comment about the repairs to the TARDIS being a "botch up," and suggesting to the nervous Englishmen that "putting sticky tape on the windows" might be a good defense against a nuclear explosion. Watch for an early appearance by Tim Piggot-Smith (The Jewel in the Crown) as an army officer, as well as a sudden snowstorm during filming that is explained away as "freak weather conditions" caused by the aliens! Episodes 2 and 3 appear a bit murky due to the original British copies having to be remastered. With lots of monsters, action, and high-tech sets, stories like this were the backbone that Doctor Who's reputation in the 1970s rests on. --Ryan K. Johnson