Reviewed By: TCar96
Review Date: 11/4/16 10:58 pm
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A real shame to score Warriors of the Deep below an average 5. After all, Warriors is far from irredeemable and in one or two areas quite exceptional.
Irvine's work as ever impresses and for once the inside of the models are half as impressive as outside! There's a great degree of verticality and one particularly impressive set with gangway over water. Meanwhile, Episode two treats us to a lavish set piece of the Doctor escaping from an aquatic death, an impressive feat that holds up very well even today. Of course, body horror is always fun and its a great squirm to see oozing pus seep from the face of a Sea Devil - and finally, when isolated, the realisation that all of our supporting cast have died; the brutal shot of corpses strewn across the base; Turlough & Tegan's duplicitous silence as to their killing of the chief Silurian and Peter's heart-breaking performance... it's just a poignant moment quite rare, particularly given the era.
Whilst these elements, as praised, really got me excited, there's just too many flaws in the foundations of WOTD.
The production, as well documented, feels cheap - but Myrka aside, there's little excuse. Towards the tail end of episode four there's darker lighting with more moody reds and yellows with a tremendous result on screen. WOTD is cheap, certainly, but feels considerably cheaper due to flat direction and poor lighting.
The plot too seems bereft of much in the way of action and opportunities for our protagonists to be proactive! Off the bat we're introduced to Silurians, waking up sea devils, whilst enemy agents commit subterfuge. No hook, no tension, no mystery. When the massive chekhov's gas canister is lobbed around early on the thrust of the narrative is effectively signposted an hour before coming to crescendo.
Finally there's a major issue with preaching and iffy character motivations. Whilst I can't get as fired up as 'Tanlee', I'd really recommend his review on this page. His central conceit, one which I wholly agree with, is that the 'noble race' babble is just incomprehensible. For one hundred years this maniacal Silurian with his crustacean chums for company has been plotting the utter and total nuclear extermination of all mankind. When our guest cast, scientists and all well meaning ones, not ideologues or despots, dare to defend themselves (ergo the whole human race) against a militaristic coup - the Doctor throws a tantrum! Far from a Pertwee 'put it into perceptive' verbal slap, there's an odd traducing of human beings and an undeserved praising of the Silurians.
By this point in the narrative, over 2/3rds of the guest cast have been murdered and the Doctor's companions threatened with death.
Frankly it makes the Doctor appear a bit off on his appraisal of the situation. There's no moral dilemma - just one militaristic hierarchical race hell bent on nuclear armageddon pitted against some well meaning albeit bland cast.
Ultimately this confused me, rather than irritated me, and it certainly didn't break the show. I love the tone finally reached of Davison's Doctor being just too naive and too good for the dank and cruel world he inhabits - I just find it infuriating it was introduced two years too late and in a story that really posits no ethically dubious dilemma.
It's not a story to grind your gears, it's just a bit dull, incomprehensible and packed with back and forth stage directions with poor dialogue falling flat.