Warriors of the Deep

Chase - Posted on 18 July 2009


Wow. There's so much to say about this under rated story, I don't know where to begin. First: I don't know why the Doctor was so keen on sabotaging the reactor, that just set up things to be hostile to begin with and why he decides to start fighting physically with the basemen. The TARDIS crew ARE intruders...and just on a tour of Tegan's future. I like Tegan's dress, go figure. And Tegan and the Doctor's relationship is cracking good, a bit tense, a bit warm and caring and Tegan is still a bit difficult but in a good way. Love the "what have you been eating" gag and the gag where Turlough and the Doc are trying to open a door without any sucess but Tegan moves in without any conceit and opens it just by a wave of her hand or something.

All three cliffhangers are excellent. The Doc says, "When I say run, run."  I don't like the new looks of the Silurians or the Sea Devils as much as when they first appeared but they are not terrible looking either. The Sea Devils in their suspended state look scary and imposing. Unfortunately they are updated to look like Samurai but can't move very fast so as warriors classes they don't really impress but if you squint and use your imagination...

Also not sure about the Silurians and the Sea Devil's relationships. The production team thought of the Silurians more as fish. I really don't have a problem with the Myrka in ep2 as the way it is filmed is okay and not terrible, again if you use your imagination. I love the way it traps Tegan and how the Doc gets her out...with an inadvertent helping hand/foot of the monster and a few seconds later as the Doc says, "Brave heart Tegan."  and Janet is good here, "Brave heart? That thing's gonna kill us."   The acting is so good, I can almost feel the thrill of a cliffhanger and it's just...wonderful. Very DW.

Many people, the actors, the prod team, the writers, the producers, etc, the fans...all slag off this story but to be honest, there's nothing terrible in these first two episodes. Johnny Bryne often says he did this story on SPACE: 1999 but to be honest, it's hard to figure out which one he means. Ther'es nothing here that's deliberately the same as an entire 1999 story. And the ones that come to mind aren't his. One of his GUARDIAN OF PIRI does have a computer man interface but there is no cold war and NO rampaging monster or sea creatures...another has a rampaging lone monster and no cold war and a mystery cloud but that is not a Byrne script (BETA CLOUD) and yet another has two sides poised to fight a war across two planets with the Moon in between (THE LAST ENEMY) but again, tha'ts not his and not the same as this in any way really but the futility of war. There might even be others.

It's is kind of like nuclear warning movies such as FAILSAFE, THE BEDFORD INCIDENT ("If he fires first, I'll fire one..." "Fire one!"), and others. There are also TV shows like this such as VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA-DOOMSDAY episode. But WARRIORS is not exactly like any of these.

Many also object to the idea that the base is well lit and that it should be dark and forbidding and foreboding. Eric Saward changed that from the original script to make the base light, white, and clear and clean. I agree with his changes here. In the 1980s there was a need to make everything dark, dirty, dank and rusty due to ALIEN and other movies such as OUTLAND. This approach has merit and is gritty and realistic, however, WARRIORS' sets are really very good and I like the feel of the base, light or not. NOWADAYS, the dark dank rusty locale in space or undersea is the cliche, there are so many sci fi movies that have this it's boring already. WARRIORS is a nice change of pace.

Of course, many of these sets look suspiciously like SPACE: 1999 redecorated walls (on the ceilings!) and ceilings (on the walls!). Another link to 1999 is that a solarium was supposed to be included with Tegan and Turlough getting into bathing suits to avoid being found and caught. SPACE: 1999 had a solarium in both seasons.

The model work is by Matt Irving who did Gerry Anderson shows mostly 1999 so those look pretty good too.

All in all, two cracking good episodes, not without trouble and problems. There is no cold war on now but there are other problems and luckily the Cold War ended but who's to say that by the time this year 2080 or something, that another Cold War won't happen or there won't be other blocs going against each other, so the show is somewhat dated by this but it doesn't detract from the action. Oh, though, why does Tegan have to get so close to a supposedly dead monster and WHY didn't the Doc tell the base men that the thing could electrocute them---did he want them to get killed? 

The Doctor also seems to know alot more about the Silurians and the Sea Devils and the Myrka and the ships they use than he should have from just THE SILURIANS and THE SEA DEVILS. Perhaps other stories happened where he met them...before this one...

Again, an entertaining pair of eps... oh, and I also give Davison credit for doing his own stunts under water! It looks marvelous!        

Okay yeah there are some real production design faults, but when isn't there? Sea Devil heads are set at angles, Sea Devils bump into each other, and then there's the full bodied Myrka. Ingrid Pitt should never have been allowed to make her Dr. Solow (so low?) do karate on the Myrka (didn't the lady know it could electrify her?) as this makes for one of the worst moments of the entire Davison era but if you don't mind that too much...as well as the fact that the Doctor gives aide to the enemy..or rather tells Tegan and Turlough to and they do...revive the Silurians...so that one can grab a gun and kill the Commander and opps, the Silurians die anyway...if you can overlook all of that...

This is not too bad, certainly not as bad as everyone says. Davison is in top form and this story makes me wish...as well as the rest of this season...makes me wish he had stayed another year or two...His final line about "there should have been another way" makes this all worth it. It's a great delivery. I felt at the time and still do, that the writers and producer were going for a Blake's 7 everybody dies or at least a great many people die...I usually forget that Bulic is still alive thanks to Turlough's line, "They're all dead, you know,"  but Bulic lived.

The moral dilemmas here are well thought out even if execution isn't that great but again, it's not that bad either and these episodes are, with the ideas and the cliffhangers, watchable. Davison also gets a fair share of Davis-isms including the aformentioned  Brave Heart but there are others ("Make a wish, Tegan"; "I'm going to bring a little sunshine into the Mryka's life"; "Perhaps you can ask it to go away nicely.").

A constant Blake's 7ism (Lots of death, pointless death, sacrifices, plans going awry) isn't always right for DOCTOR WHO but sometimes...if you think about it almost any or every tone is right for DOCTOR WHO as it is flexible. Of course this all goes awry with morbid junk like ATTACK OF THE CYBERMEN, SILVER NEMESIS, TIMELASH, and others but here, it works as it did in EARTHSHOCK and will again in that Colin Baker Dalek story (REVELATION OF THE DALEKS). I have to say that Turlough seems rather tough in the first three episodes but reverts back to his near-cowardly ways and his progression seems to be headed in the right direction and he's not as awful as when he first started.

One thing is : Why did he want to return home so badly, then he doesn't, then in PLANET OF FIRE we find out he really shouldn't want that at all but...then it's all okay anyway. Can someone say, "Not thought out clearly enough."   In the dvd commentary for WARRIORS OF THE DEEP, it says that Turlough was thought out to have some sub plots that would run alongside the main one, his own adventures so to speak but that never panned out due to the DW format...what?

Anyway I can really recommend WARRIORS OF THE DEEP as I don't think it's that bad. Honestly.       

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