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Doctor Who: The Seeds Of Death- Special Edition DVD Review

“The Seeds of Death” is arguably the cheesiest “Doctor Who” episode.

The story begins with the revelation that the people of Earth are now relying on a transportation device known as the T-Mat. This technological wonder can transport people and goods and has effectively eliminated the need for space exploration via rockets/shuttles. However, when the T-Mat moonbase is taken over by the Ice Warriors, the T-Mat device goes offline. The Ice Warriors, of course, are up to no good and plan to invade Earth and destroy the human population with an oxygen killing fungus from their “seeds of death.” While all of this is going on, the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe conveniently arrive at a space museum of an old Professor named Daniel who just happens to own a rocket (the only mode of transportation now able to venture to the moonbase). As you can probably guess, the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe man the rocket and travel to the Moon where they must try and stop the Ice Warriors from carrying out their evil plan and get the T-Mat back online.

Story wise, there’s a lot to admire about Brian Hayles and Terrance Dicks script. The concepts of technological dependence and the reduction of space exploration are not only interesting but all too relevant in this day and age. Unfortunately, these ideas are wasted in this slow adventure.

Clocking in at nearly 2 ½ hours, it takes a whopping 55 minutes for the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe to even arrive on the moonbase. After that, we are subjected to lots of heavy breathing from the slow moving and non-menacing Ice Warriors who seem to make the story drag even more.

The real problem, however, isn’t the padded script or the Ice Warriors, but the production values. While the costumes and makeup work for the Ice Warriors is decent, the “fungus” special f/x are some of the worst in Who history. If you’ve ever heard about the episode with exploding balloons and foam masquerading as killer fungus, this is that episode. It’s even more ridiculous than it sounds (especially when you see Troughton trying his very best to make foam seem deadly).

On the subject of Patrick Troughton, his lively performance and chemistry with the other cast members is what really drives this story. As I mentioned above, he deserves praise alone for cowering in fear from the foam and balloons. He makes an incredibly silly scene a little more credible which is high praise when you see how goofy the f/x look.

Video/Audio

The serial adventure, which is presented in fullscreen, is surprisingly in good shape. The B&W picture quality is grainy in spots, but the faces and images are clearly visible throughout. Another restoration job well done.

The Dolby Digital Mono audio track is a bit muffled and flat when it comes to the dialogue and sound f/x. It’s tolerable, but hardly worth praising

Extras:
* Trailers for “Doctor Who” series 6 and “Death To The Daleks,” info text, photo gallery, Radio Times Listings, and Tardis Cam No. 6 (which is a 40 second model F/X shot).
* A generally dry commentary by Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Terrance Dicks and Michael Ferguson.
* “Monster Masterclass”- A short interview with director Michael Ferguson talking about monsters and aliens in “Doctor Who.”
* “Sssowing The Ssseedsss”- Actors Alan Bennion and Sonny Caldinez and make-up artist Sylvia James chat about being and creating Ice Warriors.
* “Monsters Who Came Back For More!”- Actor Nicholas Briggs and editor Peter Ware talk about the monsters/aliens of “Doctor Who” (namely those who appear in multiple episodes like Daleks, Cybermen, and Ice Warriors).
* “Lords Of The Red Planet”- Ice Warriors fanatics will love this nearly half hour featurette about the famed DW villains. Interviews with everyone from Terrance Dicks to TV historian Richard Bignell are included. Expect lots of stories and information about their origin and background.

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November 6, 2012 - Posted by | DVD review | , , ,

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