"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.