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Die Hard meets Jurassic Park meets Johnny Mnemonic in this Underwater Base Under Siege

In the not too distant future, far below an unnamed ocean of ours, an underwater base is about to be under siege, as a bunch of disillusioned Silurians reawaken the slowest-moving gang of Sea Devils, to somehow orchestrate intercontinental nuclear war.

Well, right smack in the middle of it all, Doc & Co materialise, and with little other than their wits, must wage battle against a lumbering dinosaur creature and the human spies who have infiltrated the base. Wow! Who knew dumpsters could catch fire under water?!

(Listener Minis will be added tomorrow — watch this space! :) /Leon)

Here's what we think of C131 Warriors of the Deep

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

2.0

Jim | @jimmythewho

1.9

Here's what we think of C131 Warriors of the Deep

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

2.0

Jim | @jimmythewho

1.9

Here's what you think 9 Responses to “C131 Warriors of the Deep”
  1. Peter Zunitch

    I’m not sure I agree with the total hate for this episode. I actually enjoy it every time I watch it. I’ll admit though that there are plenty of ways to improve it, so I’m going to concentrate on some retro-rewrites and retro production changes.

    The doctor doesn’t try to prove he’s friendly by setting the base on overload.

    Coolest backflip ever, let’s keep that. But no, he’s not dead just because he falls into water.

    Love the clean look and lighting, but the emergency lights should come on when the siege begins. Make It dark for parts 3 and 4.

    Maybe flooded corridors are out of budget, but let’s at least make that foam door look a little better.

    Hate the Mryka, love the concept. Let’s give the crew more time to properly design and finish it. Then let’s never show it from the torso down, Anyway it will look better with the lights off.

    Is it just me or did we forget to add some audio and visual effects? We should do those.

    Let’s be clear that there is no Karate fighting the monster of the week. She just gets eaten.

    An important base should have at least two sync operators…that both get toasted.

    Oh and um, lose that glowing eye when they talk. It’s cool but it’s stupid.

    The best part of this is not the siege, it’s the moral dilemmas, let’s lose half the action and have, you know, any hint of character development.

    Wasted potential 2.7

  2. Ed Corbet

    The Military-base sets look busy without being cramped (at least for the opening scenes). Once the combat starts the limited size hurts them, as we see Humans and Silurians with no cover, fire barrages at each other at close range and only 1 person dies.

    The Silurian costumes have improved since the Pertwee era; they still have the slow modulated voices though, which aren’t easy to listen to (I genuinely thought one said “Excellent Smithers!” at one point).

    When they talk about the Mrykr, you can tell the writer had envisaged some sort of nightmarish chthonic leviathan. I can only imagine his emotions as Dobbin the Panto-Lizard hove into view. Do not provide long, well-lit shots of your low-budget monsters!

    Turlough actually tries to be useful in this one; it’s as if they’ve decided to try and get his unreliability over as uncaring pragmatism rather than cowardice.

    Doc seems confident that the Silurians “only want to live in peace” (heavily misremembering their previous encounters), but doesn’t need much arm-twisting to use toxic-gas (pretty sure that’s a war-crime). I like the Commander’s reaction to Doc; it’s a nice balance of letting him know he assumes he’s not hostile and is willing to work with him, but making it clear he doesn’t fully trust him.

    The new series opens going back-to-basics with a traditional base-under-attack story. I quite like those though, so fine. Enjoyable enough for Who fans; I wouldn’t use it to introduce someone to the series though.

    3.0

  3. Paul Waring | @pwaring

    This is my favourite Fifth Doctor team, with his two most interesting companions. I especially like Turlough as someone whom the Doctor never fully trusts – albeit for good reasons – and Tegan is not afraid to get involved in the action.

    The guest characters also put in a good show. Vorshak is a convincing commander, and his self-sacrifice feels in character. Nilson gets the heartless, ruthless traitor spot on, particularly his comment about locking a bothersome conscience in a box. Having an ‘enemy within’ adds an extra degree of tension to the plot, and it’s unusual to have one who is completely unconnected to the alien attackers – compare this with most Cybermen stories for example.

    As for effects and props, yes the Myrka would be more at home in a pantomime than a flagship BBC series, but you could say the same about the Shrivenzale in The Ribos Operation and Erato in The Creature from the Pit. The Sea Base sets on the other hand look great, and sufficiently varied to give you a feeling of space, rather than everything taking place in a single room.

    Overall, I don’t think a bad costume spoils what is otherwise a solid story. Would I show it as an introduction to Classic Who? Probably not. Do I watch it regularly as a fan? Absolutely. 4/5

  4. Steven from Canada | @SAndreyechen

    Here’s another one I couldn’t sit through, except this time I watched the first 5 minutes and took 3 months to reassess my life and to find the courage to finish (I started this review in November, it is now January 2021). The world events that unfolded in those three month were more interesting (though somehow less believable) that this story. Upon finishing it I really don’t have a lot of nice things to say, this story is very mediocre.

    The Doctor and Crew land on an underwater base but you can’t really tell since there is nothing there to imply that: no windows, no diving suits, nothing.

    We’re already off to a bad start as the Doctor has an awful haircut and is stuck with the B-List companions, usually I like Teagan and Turlough but in this they were really annoying.

    We then get a base under siege/ sabotage plot that drags the entire time, although I will admit the later half of the story is much better than the start. I enjoyed the last two episodes.

    Bringing back the Sea Devils and Silurians wasn’t a bad idea, and clearly the people who are behind this cared but they do nothing for me. The original Silurian story I enjoyed but the Sea Devil Story left such little impression on me the only thing I can remember was that shot of Delgado poking his head out of that orange raft in the last episode.

    What can I say that’s good… just a lot of the usual. Costumes look good but I don’t think they fit the story, the humans uniforms felt like something out of Flash Gordon. The reveal of the sea devils in storage were cool, but I’m not sure why they were dressed like pound-land samurai. The effect of the Sea Devil oozing Nickelodeon slime was also really well done.

    There’s a decent story in here but it doesn’t pick up steam or do anything to make me care about the characters until most of them are dead and the story is almost over.

    On a side note the Doctor better not leave Turlough alone in the bath if he thinks that bellyflop was enough to drown.

    Overall this story earns 2.3 TV shows I watched instead of this mess out of 5.

    Steven From Canada

  5. Kieren Evans | @kjevans2

    Hi folks

    Silurians! Sea Devils! Opening season 21 in style? Not really, this is widely considered to be one of the worst classic stories and in many ways the sign that the sun was setting on the classic era.

    Production on this one was apparently a nightmare due to disruption at BBC arising from the snap 1984 general election. The Myrka costume was only finished at the last minute with paint still wet and the operators complaining they could smell glue…Yay for solvent abuse. And Peter Davison might have got hypothermia from swimming in the water tank as they forgot to let it warm up before he swam. Jesus, no wonder it was around now he announced he was leaving.

    When Michael Grade, ex-BBC controller and the axe-man of the classic era, was on Room 101 a few years ago, he of course put Doctor Who in Room 101 and he used the Myrka as his example of the show.

    Watching it for this, I was struck by how slow it is. The Silurians are barely in it, really only couple of bits of episode 1 and then episode 4, with their third eye now just an indicator of which one is talking like a bloody dalek. And the Sea Devils? Slowly walking a corridor, having a fairly shit shootout with the base forces. And yes, everybody dies, with some of the worst death scenes ever. The only thing that I liked was the music.

    I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed 1.1/5 (not my lowest this season)

    Cheers

    Kieren

  6. Dan from Devon

    Hello again!

    I seem to recall Leon once saying (maybe about The Visitation?) that he loves it when the scenery wobbles. Oh boy. I can only imagine his tumescence during this.

    It’s the least interesting/original thing I could possibly do to call this serial a catalogue of production mishaps, overlit sets and disastrous Rentaghost monsters, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll concentrate on insulting the story itself, which does equal disservice to the humans and their reptile antagonists. A base-under-siege set-up only works when you have strong, memorable characters, but this lot are underwritten nobodies. The Silurians are vindictive bastards-of-the-week with none of their original subtlety, calling their chums ‘Sea Devils’ as though that wasn’t a human nickname for them. And as for Chekhov’s hexachromite gas (golly, could this possibly come in handy for the final episode?), the whole thing smells as fishy as Sauvix’s shoulder-pads.

    When the writing in Who is great, viewers get swept along in the story and just see any gigglesome effects and costumes as part of the fun. Unfortunately, when the story is so boring and the direction so flat that I’m thinking more about whether I like Davison’s shorter haircut than about whether he’ll save the day (spoiler: he doesn’t), it’s all just a big embarrassment. No wonder Davison and Fielding handed in their notice while this was being made.

    Most appropriate quote: Doc: ‘Anything damaged?’ Tegan (and the entire cast and crew): ‘My dignity.’

    My rating: 0.8 unexpected general election announcements out of five.

    Dan from Devon

  7. GP Haynes

    Hello again! Here is my review for “ Warriors of the Deep “

    The Silurians & Sea Devils make a return in an undersea story set on a Sea Base.

    I thought this was a great production ( Despite the BBC problems at the time) It has some amazing sets and decent costumes….more please!

    The Doc even has a new haircut. The story has plenty of interesting stuff going on, with Tegan and Turlough having plenty to do, with Turlough ( Cough, cough, surprise, surprise ) even saving the Doctor and Tegan.

    I have to say I loved the scene of the Doctor falling into the water.

    Well paced and directed and thematically on point

    And the ending? Well not every story can have a Hollywood ending right? Personally I don’t really have a problem with the high body count which seemed to be a trend in the later Davison stories and continued on into the Colin Baker serials as well.

    The negatives? Some of the computer graphics are quite dated ( to be expected ) but why do the Sae Devils waddle like ducks? Is it because the poor person inside couldn’t see properly?

    OK, OK the Myrka costume was a little daggy 😊

    And…did I miss it? Still no mention of poor Kamelion?

    All up, very enjoyable and I felt it harked back to a fourth Doctor style story

    Rating: 3.9 stinky plastic helmets

    Cheers GP Haynes

  8. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club

    Likes:

    • The Doctor kicking a guard in the face.
    • Shogun Sea Devils.
    • ‘What have you been eating?’ Is the Doctor insinuating the guard has been farting in his radiation suit?
    • Hammer Horror legend Ingrid Pitt karate kicking a pantomime horse. The Myrka has got a bad rep but I would soil myself if that thing lumbered towards me.

    Beefs:

    • Turlough is such an arse. ‘There’s nothing we can do, the Doctor’s drowned’. There’s clearly bubbles!
    • There’s probably more rubbish stuff given it’s the story that provided the ammo for the shows enemies to cancel it. But Ingrid Pitt kicking a pantomime horse is four stars right there. (I read an incredible posthumous interview with her in SFX. She escaped Nazi occupied Poland. The gas chambers weren’t working the day her and her mother were sent there. They were taken to a forest to be shot but escaped during a Russian attack.)

    Rating: 4.1/5 times I wanted to poke Turlough in the eyeball. There was a whole scene where he couldn’t even put his tie on properly! What value does he add to team Tardis!? Tell me!!!

  9. Caleb from Australia

    Hey hey hello!

    This episode reeks, seeps and heaves potential – which is all but squandered because of a rushed production. The pieces are all there, but the puzzle was put together by an 18-year-old cat with short term memory loss and poor bladder control.

    To start out with some positives as to not spiral into a depression, the model work is outstanding, built with astute detail and moving with great fluidity.

    The music from Jonathan Gibbs is memorable; I especially like the droning synths, hinting at the vastness of the oceanic landscape.

    I enjoy the banter between the TARDIS crew in this episode, with Turlough still grasping onto his hot and cold persona, and Tegan flashing her quick wit against the Doctor – suggesting a familial relationship between the two like that of a sarcastic child and parent, but never to an irritating degree.

    I’ll start the negatives with that absolute doo-doo-diarrhea stinker of a scene where Doctor Solow flexes her taught-behind-the-local-7/11 karate moves against the Myrka – stinky stuff. That scene, along with many others, were aching for a second take.

    The lack of any movement in the mouths of the Silurians and Sea Devils while talking lent them the same viability of a once and done Power Rangers villain.

    The direction seems to take a dive in quality in the latter episodes – in fact, most aspects of the episode do, suggesting a correlation between the progressing production and outwardly occurring political climate.

    Teagan’s outfit is my charity shop dream though, so 2.5/5.

    Caleb from Australia.

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