Friday, February 12, 2010

6L1 - Warriors of the Deep 1

If you weren't sure before that Warriors of the Deep was made in the early-mid-1980s, you are once you see what the crew at the Seabase are wearing. Bulic has come straight from lining up for two hours to buy his replica of the jacket that Michael Jackson wore in the video for Thriller. Everyone else wears the same vinyl coat and pants combination, only saving embarrassment by at least altering the colour combination.

That's not the worst of what's on display here, unfortunately. The guards manage to escape having to wear the Thriller suits, but instead are clad in baggy suits with bizarre, clear plastic helmets. If the helmets are intended to protect the guards from some sort of toxic atmosphere, why aren't the rest of the crew wearing them? Or perhaps the guards are protecting themselves of the smell of freshly pressed vinyl from the Thriller suits?

The Silurians are easily the most disappointing thing about this episode, though. Their introductory shot is so underwhelming and anticlimactic that it completely undermines their intended dramatic return after 14 years away from our screens. In those intervening years, the Silurians have become robots, as they now speak in electronic monotone and walk and talk So. Bloody. Slow. Even though they appear fairly early in this episode, their plan never even gets close to getting off the ground, and it's no surprise, given their pace of movement.

The sets, though, are magnificent, designed by my favourite of all set designers, Tony Burrough. Like his earlier triumph, Four To Doomsday, his "jigsaw sets" could be repositioned in many ways, creating several different, and intricate, looks, most of which contained two floors. Another strong visual look was being able to shoot OB video at Shepperton Studios for the water tank sequences at the end of the episode which see The Doctor's dramatic fall into the water below. But does Turlough have to give up on The Doctor so quickly?

*Kamelion watch: tough to tell, but I bet he's probably a small pile of The Doctor's hair in a bin somewhere, because Peter Davison's coif is considerably shorter at the start of this episode.


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