C048 The Seeds of Death


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Another alien invasion, killer foam, moon base, homing beacon, elderly professor, space museum and aristocrat representing the UN. Basically, it’s great.



Good News, Planet Earth, we’ve invented the magic cupboard. It’s T-Mat, the most boring way to describe transporter technology. And, like other future tech, it’s controlled from a moon base.

Holy Smokes, are those Ice Warriors? Why, yes, Jimmy. Lumbering, asthmatic and poorly organised Ice Warriors have taken over the moon Base in an effort to find a new home in the bloodiest way possible.

* * *

The Seeds of Death is an Ice Warrior serial that rehashes some of the best aspects of prior classic serials — an alien invasion, a homing beacon, killer foam, etc — and smashes them together into a pseudo remake of itself. In other words: It’s pretty great. Have a listen now, and don’t forget to rate and review us on iTunes!

 

 

And just because… here’s a behind-the-scenes photo of Sonny Caldinez, whom we’ve encountered plenty of times before (just search for him here on whobackwhen.com) with Wendy Padbury of companion-Zoe-Heriot fame.

sonny-caldinez-with-zoe-seeds-of-death-doctor-who-back-when

Here's what we think

Ponken

@ponken

2.6

Nikulele

@nikulele

2.5

Here's what you think

5 Responses to “C048 The Seeds of Death”

  1. Peter Zunitch

    From the excitable computer to the doctor taking running lessons from Charlie Chaplin, this is without a doubt one of the best Doctor Who stories.

    The sets are beautiful and interesting. T-Mat control center looks stunningly awesome. The museum is full of nods to past Who, including the “dimension link” from the Web Planet. Every Character gets their moment to shine, (with the exception of any guard…aka cannon fodder), and shine is what these actors do. I love the debate over how over-reliant Earth has become on T-Mat. When they’re deprived of its use everyone repents as society falls. Yet when it’s back, they sing its praises again as if nothing happened. Typical human behavior.

    The story is well-paced and its length is perfectly justified. There’s very little I would change from this script, except perhaps the idea of sending a water-soluble fungus to a planet that is three quarters water is pretty silly. Otherwise, the Ice Warrior plan is sound and for once and not excessively convoluted. We get a bit of the ol “we can’t navigate without a beacon” thing here, but it’s handled slightly different and is more believable, if only because it seems the Ice Warriors are not as advanced as the Cybermen.

    In closing I’d just like to say that in an ideal world I would be married to Ms. Kelly, I’d have that computer system where I work, and T-Mat to get me there. This story gets a “False Beacon” of a rating at 4.7.

    Reply
  2. Trenton Bless | @trentonbless

    Hello once again, Podcast Land! I’ve returned yet again (I’m really running out of good intro lines for this bit.) to take a quick look at “The Seeds of Death”. A sequel to the Ice Warriors, Brian Hayles delivers another tale with another Moonbase (not that one) under siege. Let’s take a look then, eh?
    This serial is the final story to feature the Ice Warriors until Season Nine of the Classic Series. I honestly thought that this serial was a bit long. I mean, it maybe could’ve been a four or maybe a five parter like The Dominators and The Mind Robber before it. But the it would’ve tacked on an episode for… no, we’ll get to that later. I need to focus on this review.
    Though it’s a perfunctory outing for the companions, Troughton is on imperious form as the Doctor, dodging his foes with a Chaplinesque bounce of the feet, touching his fingertips together repeatedly when he gets excited and repelling attempts to be executed with the words “Your leader will be angry if you kill me – I’m a genius!” And who can forget the cliffhanger for Episode Five with the Doctor bobbing around in the foam? He’s so good that he fully deserves his rather obvious holiday for the duration of episode four!
    Zoe and Jamie are pretty average again. Nothing really noteworthy from them this time. As for the supporting cast, they were decent if not clichéd. I mean, that professor has been done before. So has the woman in charge, the authority figure, etc. etc..
    Looking back on this one, I realised that this serial was a mashup of “The Ice Warriors” and “The Moonbase”. It’s basically “The Moonbase” with Ice Warriors, and it’s been extended a few episodes.
    So, what can I give this serial? Well, it’s gonna get an easy 3.0/5 from me. This serial was fairly average, but it really can’t contend with it’s predecessor, can it? For reference, I gave the original Ice Warrior story a 3.5/5. I think the original Ice Warrior serial was much better than this, but I still found this serial enjoyable.
    Next time, we have the extremely forgettable Space Pirates to get through. As you can already tell, I’m not a huge fan of that serial. We’ll get into that next time. Have fun with that one, Ponken!

    Reply
  3. Erin Zimmerman | @DoctorZedd

    This story was great. I found that by ’60s Doctor Who standards, the story was pretty tight, without too much of the pointless back-and-forth/capture-recapture type action we see in other stories. The characters seem fairly real, with clear fears, egos, and motivations. In particular, I enjoyed the characters of Fewsham the redeemed traitor and the elderly rocket scientist nursing decades-old wounds. This was maybe another incidence of poor Jamie not having much to do amongst a bunch of intellectuals, but Zoe and the Doctor were both clever and well-used here. Oh! And I loved that a female scientist was the unequivocal expert on T-MAT, and was allowed to be competent and commanding without being drawn as a bitch or having her authority constantly called into question. GOOD STUFF.

    Other random points:

    • The opening credits/music are awesome in this serial.
    • One more incidence of nobody worrying too much about who the TARDIS crew are and where the hell they came from, despite both sides claiming not to know them.
    • Doctor and JZ simulating weightlessness was hilarious, as was the fact that, when they crash land, Jamie basically dives into Zoe’s crotch, immediately followed by the Doctor resting his hand on her upper thigh. These guys are just waiting for excuses.
    • Fourteen T-MAT location buttons, and TWO are in Canada! Thanks for the shout-out Doctor Who set people. They are mistaken, however, in describing Ottawa as a “major population centre.” It definitely isn’t. And won’t be anytime soon.
    • Why is there a hall of mirrors on the moon?
    • T-MAT’s voice is the absolute best thing about this story.
    • SO MUCH Voord-hiding!! The plot practically hinges on the IWs having no peripheral vision.
    • The IW’s big weapon can be defeated by RAIN? Way to do your homework, bad guys.
    • I was struck by how much murdering the TARDIS crew did in this serial, and how many of those murders were carried out by the Doctor. He condemned an entire armada without batting an eye. Compared to new Who, I always find his lack of ethical hand-wringing refreshing. Two is a pragmatist. I found Four’s later inability to kill Davros maddening in comparison.

    So much more to say, but I’ve already gone a tad long, I think!

    4/5 from me.

    Reply
  4. Paul Fauber @wordsmithpaul

    Season 6 of DOCTOR WHO was a script nightmare in which the Powers That Were At The Time would habitually commission scripts; decide they disliked them; scrap the story; and be left with episodes needing to be written, shot, and transmitted. Problems began with ‘The Dominators’, in which writers Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln tried to replace the Daleks with Quarks and ended up fighting with the BBC. Producer Peter Bryant reduced their story to 5 episodes and Script Editor Derrick Sherwin added a wonderful first episode to the next story, ‘The Mind Robber’. Haisman and Lincoln would have brought back their creation, the Yeti, in a story set in Scotland, where Jamie would leave the TARDIS and take over his clan. Due to the dispute over the Quarks, that story was abandoned. Other ideas were “The Prison In Space” which was intended to be humorous and involve a matriarchal society; a World War II story involving werewolves; and a story involving a hostage situation and negotiation on a space station. The script problems enabled Robert Holmes’ stories ‘The Krotons’ and ‘The Space Pirates’ to be made and undoubtedly led to Brian Hayles script for ‘The Seeds of Death’ using many familiar elements.

    Travel on the Earth is exclusively handled by T-mat, transporter technology involving booths, which is controlled from a moonbase. Ice Warriors take over the moon, planning to release seed pods on the Earth below in order to reduce the amount of oxygen in the planet’s atmosphere. The invasion disrupts T-Mat and the essential Ms. Kelly determines the problem is on the moon, which cannot be reached because T-Mat is down. They could use a rocket to get there and investigate, but don’t realize they have one for a few episodes. This brings Kelly’s boss to an Earthbound space museum run by the retired Professor, who is building a rocket out back. He discovers the time travelers have arrived at his place before Kelly’s boss showing up to beg for help an being denied. The time travelers ingratiate themselves to everyone by showing an interest in rockets and volunteering to go to the moon.

    On the moon, the time travelers discover their rocket engines are damaged beyond repair as well as the Ice Warriors and their plan. They run around like Scooby Doo until the essential Ms. Kelly can T-mat to the moon and the timer travelers can T-mat back to Earth. Ms. Kelly fixes the system and the Doctor realizes one of the flaws in the Ice Warriors’ plan. The foam released by the seed pods can be destroyed with rain, but a warrior has been dispatched to put the weather control out of commission. On the moon, once again, the Ice Warriors must rely on humans to operate the equipment. The Doctor urges the essential Kelly’s boss to record the radio signal the invasion force will use to land on the moon and the essential Kelly reminds her boss they have rockets for communications after all. This information enables the Doctor to return to the moon and wipe out the warriors after repairing the weather control and killing the Ice Warror menacing his companions there.

    This sequel to ‘The Ice Warriors’ is a solid story using many familiar elements from DOCTOR WHO of the time with the exception of a helicopter. The main cast all have their moments and the suporting cast is quite good. How the planet functions when the essential Ms. Kelly is on vacation, I have no idea. Maybe after the time traveler return to the museum to admire old props from the show, rockets will make a comeback.

    Reply
  5. Quick summary:

    Pros:
    Good Pacing – most serials longer than 4 episodes feel drawn out, this was not the case
    Good Acting – I liked most of the one-off characters
    Ice Warriors – Sometimes when a villain returns a second time it feels like they just had the costume lying around, but not this time
    Zoe continues her streak of being useful.
    I like the debate of new advanced technology vs. older more reliable technology
    Airborne toxin – Germ Warfare as a plot point feels very ahead of its time.

    Cons:
    Bubbles as a prop – It wasn’t frightening in Fury of the Deep, why would it be here.
    Plot – stop the invasion plot lines was used only 2 serials ago and was better done.

    Good Serial but fairly forgettable: 3.5 (I put it a little ahead of The Faceless Ones and a little behind The Moonbase.

    Reply

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