Over the last few months...I've been buying Dr.Who episodes like mad, and have quite a collection now. While my favorite 3 doctors are : David Tennant (Doctor 10) , Patrick T (Doctor 2) and Tom Baker (Doctor 4), Jon Pertwee has started to grow on me. Before I found him sort of grumpy, like Hartnell was. But as the stories continued I found his doctor a good blend of brains and action. Although this story isn't the strongest, and is very similar to the second story for his doctor ( Doctor Who and the Silrunians). If I were you I would buy that episode first...its much better.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
"History books? Captain Hart, Horatio Nelson was a personal friend of mine."June 11 2008
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As the middle storyline of the middle season in Jon Pertwee's tenure as the Doctor, "The Sea Devils" somehow manages to encapsulate everything that's great about that era in microcosm. And with extensive location shooting and the friendly cooperation and involvement of the British Royal Navy, it does so with a much higher level of verisimilitude and sense of scale than usual, making for an especially memorable adventure. One that's nonetheless entertaining and thoughtful in exactly the ways "Doctor Who" should be.
From one point of view, "The Sea Devils" is a sequel to the classic "Doctor Who and the Silurians" and from another it's simply a heightened reworking of the same story just different enough to stand on its own. The same basic premise is revisited: reptilians (semi-aquatic in this case) who evolved on Earth long before humankind and went into hibernation to avert a disaster have finally awakened thanks to humanity's environmentally intrusive meddling and are seriously intent on retaking their planet for themselves. Once again the Doctor, the voice of reason on the moral high ground, tries to broker some sort of mutually beneficial compromise but to no avail. Mutual distrust and violence prevail. Of course this time we have to add into the equation the Doctor's nemesis (and former friend) the Master, villainously sowing seeds of discord wherever he goes, egging the tragedy along for his own nefarious purposes.
That said, the moral complexity characteristic of "Silurians" is more muted in this tale, hinted at and alluded to but not being allowed to interfere with the action and adventure that had come gradually to be emphasized in the show. The plot treats pragmatic military solutions less harshly, allowing them to come across as more inevitable and necessary here--even to the Doctor himself eventually. "The Sea Devils" is in fact a perfect showcase for Pertwee as the dynamic Doctor, who gets to sword fight with the Master, use his Venusian martial arts on the Sea Devils, rappel down cliffs, and drive any number of fancy water vehicles through the waves. The Master likewise is played brilliantly and inimitably by Roger Delgado, sinister and suave in a manner unique to him. This is one of the few DVD releases to feature him, and it is precious on that score alone. Katy Manning is in perfect form as Jo Grant here too--whoever claims that the Doctor's companions at this time were portrayed as passive and weak sex objects merely awaiting rescue obviously wasn't paying attention here when Jo takes out two armed guards in a matter of seconds with her bare knuckles and rescues the Doctor himself.
Nicely prototypical portrayals of the classic core characters of the series at this time, in short, along with the Doctor's wonderfully snarkish disregard for authority and the odd tension of a loose cannon like him working closely with the military establishment and the refreshingly dry humor so emblematic of "Doctor Who"--it's all here in its quintessential form in a speculative science fiction adventure that's not afraid to be at once both meaningful and thoroughly enjoyable.
P.S. As it so happens, this was neither the first nor the last time the Doctor got caught between two contending sets of Earthlings, reptile and mammal, and "The Sea Devils" can be purchased together with those other two adventures conveniently in one set: Doctor Who - Beneath The Surface (Doctor Who And The Silurians / The Sea Devils / Warriors Of The Deep).
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"It seems to be a rather interesting extraterrestrial lifeform..."July 27 2008
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Season 9's THE SEA DEVILS is a sequel to season 7's DOCTOR WHO AND THE SILURIANS and while the original is usually the more praised serial in Doctor Who fan circles, I've always preferred the follow-up. I don't have anything against THE SIULRIANS (I quite like much of it), but I find a little more to enjoy with THE SEA DEVILS.
Like the original, Malcolm Hulke's script is about an ancient species (cousins to the Silurians) who once ruled the Earth. After a hibernation period which lasted millions of years, they are slowly awakening and reclaiming ownership to a planet they believe to be their own. Mankind is not keen on giving up on a world they've grown attached to, so it's up to the Doctor to prevent an all-out war.
There are several key differences between THE SILURIANS and THE SEA DEVILS. The first time, the Earth Reptiles were alone in their planning. This time they're being covertly aided by the Master who wishes to take his revenge upon the humans who have imprisoned him on Earth.
Despite this help, the Sea Devils are in a fundamentally weaker position than the Silurians had been. While their cousins had a plague virus that could potentially wipe out all humans and a device which could destroy the Van Allen Belt, the Sea Devils are shown simply as survivors, merely capable of blowing up passing freight ships. I find this lowering of the stakes actually benefits the drama. I think it's more exciting to see the villains in a dire situation which makes them desperate. It's also a nice twist in that much of the tension in the later episodes involves the Doctor trying to save the creatures which are nominally the story's bad guys.
THE SEA DEVILS is more of a conventional Doctor Who monster story than THE SILURIANS was. Humans don't have the pure psychological dread of these creatures they way that they had in THE SILURIANS. There are no soldiers or scientists drawing primitive cave pictures after being driven mad with primeval terror. I wish the producers had retained this aspect as I thought that was one of features of the first production that was extremely well done.
However, removing the more psychological horrors did give the serial a more action/adventure flavor, which worked its benefit. The story is fairly fast moving, despite its six episode length. The Sea Devils appear early, unlike many Doctor Who adventures where the creature would be hidden in the shadows for many of the opening episodes. Trenchard's deception is uncovered quickly and the Master is shown in charge almost from the start. That said, this was the first time that I saw this serial in episode format, and I thought some of the cliffhangers were just silly.
The DVD commentary features an all behind-the-scenes crew. We have director Michael Briant, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks. They are moderated by Andrew Cartmel although I'm not convinced that this group really needed a moderator, especially given that Letts usually informally takes that role. Lacking someone from in front of the camera, the commentary has fewer on-set anecdotes and focuses mainly on information from the production side.
THE SEA DEVILS is one of the highlights of the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who. It's got great pacing, a good cast and an exciting story. This serial was made with help from the Royal Navy and the collaboration gives the sea-faring portions a very realistic flavor. Any adventure with Roger Delgado's Master is usually worth a viewing and in this story the chemistry between him and Jon Pertwee's Doctor is at its best.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Classic PertweeMay 4 2009
Nancy A. Fox
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This is a classic Pertwee episode from the middle of Jon Pertwee's tenure as the Doctor. It has an interesting villain, two actually, counting the Master; good action sequences, and an interesting story.
As other reviewers have noted, this story is a sequel to Jon Pertwee's first season story, "The Silurians". The Sea Devils, are reptilian cousins of the Silurians, who have been awakened by undersea blasting to retrofit a 19th century seafort. The Sea Devils are part of race of intelligent reptiles that used to rule the Earth long before the evolution of man, and they want their planet back. The Master wants to help the Sea Devils destroy mankind, since the Doctor is so fond of humanity.
This is a good story for companion Jo Grant, who I remember being a somewhat annoyingly helpless character. She is able to evade prison guards, come up with a plan to free the Doctor, use her escapology coursework to free the Doctor from his handcuffs, and she even knows how to drive a hovercraft-something the naval captain seems to be incapable of. It is also a good story for the Master, who is in turns menacing and charming as it suits his needs. Jon Pertwee has grown quite comfortable in his portrayal of the Doctor, and this really shows his Doctor at his action-packed best. The supporting characters are well cast, and the story moves along fairly briskly for a 6-parter.
The British Navy's involvement with this story must be mentioned. The support given through locations, seacraft, sailors, weapons, and stock footage helped give this story a rich, almost movie-like look. Without the navy's involvement it would have been a much poorer-looking show, and the fact that it was provided gratis by the navy allowed the production team to use the money elsewhere.
The extras for this DVD aren't extensive, but they are good. There is a half hour making of feature, which is quite interesting featuring production team, cast and former naval personnel. The commentary with Director Michael Briant, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks, moderated by Andrew Cartmel is quite fun and interesting, and the information notes option is always fun and quite illuminating.
Going back to the commentary, I'm beginning to agree with another reviewer on a different Doctor Who DVD who said that Terrence Dicks should be brought in to do commentary whether he had anything to do with the story or not. Terrence Dicks is delightful on the commentary tracks. He is deservedly, quite proud of a lot that they accomplished during his tenure with Doctor Who, but that doesn't stop him from saying where they failed, when something's rubbish, or just plain funny, and he doesn't hold Doctor Who up on some godlike pedestal. Terrence Dicks and Barry Letts also have a long-standing friendship and working relationship based on respect and trust, and they feed nicely off each other on the commentary tracks, as they must have in their days as script editor and producer of Doctor Who. Michael Briant jumps right in with these two, and they have quite an interesting discussing going about the story, what worked, what didn't, and why certain things happened the way they did. Andrew Cartmel was rather wasted as a moderator, since these three all knew each other and had no trouble discussing things, and I'd hazard that he was actually more of a hindrance than a help, not really bringing up any interesting questions for the others to discuss until the last two episodes.
If you like Doctor Who, get this DVD, you'll enjoy the visit back to a time when the Doctor was exiled on Earth, and the scary monsters had to come to him.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Doctor Who Versus Parrot-Pigs In Diaphanous Robes!April 28 2010
Robert I. Hedges
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"The Sea Devils," episode 62 of the legendary BBC sci-fi series "Doctor Who," stars Jon Pertwee as the Doctor, and features Katy Manning as the Doctor's sidekick Jo Grant, Edwin Richfield as the upstanding naval officer Captain Hart, and the nefarious Roger Delgado as the Doctor's old friend and current arch-nemesis, "The Master." An extra treat is the presence of an extremely young David Griffin (best known as Emmet Hawksworth from the brilliant series "Keeping Up Appearances") as Lieutenant Commander Mitchell, known onboard his nuclear submarine simply as "Number One."
The plot concerns the Master allying himself with an ancient race of aquatic beings who have long been hibernating, and assisting with their dreams of world domination. The Master is allegedly in prison, but in actuality is running the prison, and promptly breaks out of jail and into a top secret naval base without difficulty. The Sea Devils are monsters who look like crosses between parrots and pigs, and are dressed in glimmering robes or coveralls depending on the situation. A Royal Navy submarine quickly finds itself in Sea Devil-related danger, and so does the Doctor thanks to the warmongering ways of a political buffoon, despite the restraint of Captain Hart and the Royal Navy. Ultimately the Doctor grabs victory from the jaws of defeat, and the forces of good and evil are put back in alignment.
The effects and technological gadgets (like the "sonic screwdriver") also strain credulity (especially the submarine model, which was purchased at Woolworth's according to the commentary.) Noteworthy in this series is the extreme cooperation of the Royal Navy in providing access to numerous facilities, ships, and structures, which adds the most authentic element of the show. The Sea Devils themselves are rather ridiculous looking, and the six episodes of the story drag a bit (especially in episodes four and five,) but overall this is an excellent example of the genre. Further dating this episode (and the series in general) are the constant use of synthesizer sound effects at perfectly random moments throughout the entire set.
The extras on the disc are excellent, and actually are among my favorite components on the DVD. The episodes feature an extremely enlightening commentary track by director Michael Briant, producer Barry Letts, and editor Terrance Dicks, as well as an excellent "making of" featurette, "Hello Sailor!" There other smaller features (amateur eight millimeter film footage taken on location, isolated music, etc.) which add dramatically to the value of the package.
For fans of "Doctor Who," fans of weird serial sci-fi, or fans of early 1970s British television, this DVD is a winner.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Long but EnjoyableMay 12 2008
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There is no doubt Jon Pertwee's episodes are sometimes long & drawn out. The Sea Devils is no different, with the exception that I didn't actually fall asleep for once, & was able to watch it in one sitting. The reason was simple, it was enjoyable & the the enemies were interesting. The Doctor finds himself up against two former foes, the Master & the Silurians.
It starts off with the Doctor & Jo Grant visiting the Master in a secure prison, of which the Master is in complete control. The Doctor leaves believing otherwise, & while he is there, he is told of the recent disappearance of three navy ships. Naturally the Doctor's curiosity gets the best of him & he goes off to investigate. This is when he discovers the Silurians. As he did in the previous episode "Doctor Who and the Silurians" he attempts to broker a peace deal between the Silurians & humans... however the Master has other plans & the Silurians have already attacked, claiming that the Earth is rightfully theirs. Before the Doctor has a chance to intervene, the navy steps in...
You'll have to watch it for the rest of the story. Its a fun romp & an above average episode. I was certainly glued to my seat throughout the story. At times I thought the plot was a bit contrived, but overall, it was a well done production.