Inevitably, The Doctor and her companions meet Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, who find themselves in the middle of an alien threat.
Title: “Nikola Tesla’s Night Of Terror”
Directed by Nida Manzoor
Written by Nina Metivier
Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor
Tosin Cole as Ryan Sinclair
Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan
Bradley Walsh as Graham O’Brien
Goran Visnjic as Nikola Tesla
Robert Glenister as Thomas Edison
Anjli Mohindra as Queen Skithra
Haley McGee as Dorothy Skeritt
Paul Kasey as Harold Green
Robin Guiver as Bill Tallow
Erick Hayden as Mr. Sorensson
Russell Bentley as Mr. Brady
Brian Caspe as Mr. Martin
Shaun Mason as Foreman
The Doctor and her companions track an energy source to Niagara Falls during the Gilded Age. Naturally, they encounter Tesla, Edison, and aliens.
I rather like the way they handle Tesla. It’s historically problematic, but he’s played well, and I like that the companions know him more by name than for anything they can name.
The alien design shows potential, especially in those creepy close-ups of the queen. The alien effects, a combination of CGI and makeup/costume, have an inconsistent look. This species is also the most conveniently clumsy in Doctor Who history.
Originality: 1/6 The Doctor and noted historical figures face an alien threat. The aliens are a scorpion turn on tech-scavenging aliens like Star Trek’s Pakleds.
Emotional Response: 4/6 I know it’s Doctor Who, and I thought the actors playing Tesla and Edison were fine. I kept tripping over the ease with which nineteenth-century humans accept the presence of monstrous aliens from another world. The show’s writers, meanwhile, remain uncertain of how to handle past attitudes towards race and culture.
Production: 5/6 Niagara Falls looks great. We get a decent recreation of Tesla’s facility on Long Island. Period New York, however, has been shot on a stunningly mediocre soundstage.
In total, “Nikola Tesla’s Night Of Terror” receives 28/42
As many of you likely know, Tesla really did wonder if he had intercepted a signal from Mars. The signal might have came from someone else’s experiments during the same era.