Tuesday, September 8, 2009

LLL2 - The Sea Devils 2

Michael Briant made his Doctor Who directing debut in Season 8 with the very flat looking Colony in Space, in which he displayed to all how he had never heard of the phrase "roll-back-and-mix" when conceiving the TARDIS materialization scenes. The Sea Devils is his second effort, and what a dramatic difference a year makes. Some of Briant's camera angles for scenes are stunning, resulting in a veritable bevy of Dutch angles during the Sea Devil-Doctor chase in Episode Two. In episode one, similar angles serve to show how unnerved and on edge the two maintenance workers who are forced to bide on the sea fort are.

A subtler use of direction takes place when Trenchard brings a box into The Master's cell. The Master can be seen to open the box, but both the box and its contents are below the camera frame. The camera then cuts to Trenchard, after which, finally, it is revealed that the box contained an admiral's uniform, and that The Master is now wearing the hat. Without a big revealing shot, or any dialogue explaining what The Master's plan is, Briant has very successfully kept hidden The Master's motives until just the right time.

Not unlike its predecessor, Doctor Who and the Silurians, the eponymous Sea Devils have scarcely been glimpsed outside of the sequence where one threatens The Doctor, as this story is more keen to explore the relationships between The Doctor and The Master, The Master and Trenchard, and The Doctor and Captain Hart. Not only are all three of these pairings worth exploring, but they also add a hint of mystery to the Sea Devils. Already, the Sea Devils appear more aggressive than their Silurian cousins, and they've also developed a rudimentary clothing system consisting of blue string mesh...


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