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4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, the plants must win! Not!
The final story of Season 13 more or less ends the Gothic motif of Doctor Who--well, not quite; there would be Season 14's Jack The Ripper story, The Talons of Weng Chiang. The Seeds Of Doom is a take on The Thing From Another World crossed with The Day Of The Triffids (murderous plants). It's also the last UNIT story until Battlefield (1989).
A mysterious pod found...
Published on Feb 27 2004 by Daniel J. Hamlow
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It Works, but Not Well
This serial harkens back to the heyday of John Pertwee's reign as the Doctor, with secret agent exploits, chases capped with last-minute rescues, and malign characters in natty suits who want something the rest of us can't understand. If Pertwee had taken the lead role here, this would have been a darned sharp episode.
Sadly, the lead here goes to Tom Baker. Though...
Published on April 27 2003 by Kevin L. Nenstiel
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, the plants must win! Not!,
A mysterious pod found by a research team in the Antarctic draws two parties. One is the Doctor and Sarah Jane, sent there by Richard Dunbar of the World Ecology Bureau. He feels sure he recognizes the pod, and says "it might still be ticking." The other is Scorby and Keeler, respectively a ruthless and armed thug and squeamish botanist. However, an accident has happened. Winlett, one of the base personnel has been attacked by a shoot from the pod and transformed into a monster, half man/half plant. Actually, Winlett was halfway towards turning into a Krynoid, an alien plant. And that's bad, because as the Doctor says, "On most planets, the animals eat the vegetation. On planets where the Krynoid gets established, the vegetation eats the animals."
After a narrow escape, the Doctor and Sarah trace another pod back to England and to the estate of millionaire Harrison Chase, someone's who boasts the finest collection of plants in the world. He's such a plant-lover he calls bonsai "mutilation and torture" and calls it "the hideous, grotesque Japanese practice of miniaturizing shrubs and trees," and his mission is to protect the plant life of Mother Earth. Not only does he play some hideous music to his plants, but he has a composting machine that pumps all organic matter into the garden. As Sarah says, "I've heard of flower power but this is ridiculous."
The process starts all over again when Keeler gets attacked by the pod, and here, Chase's fanaticism to his plants is evident, as instead of taking Keeler to the hospital, keeps him under observation, feeding him raw meat so he can evolve into a full-grown Krynoid. And how large do those things get? About the size of St. Paul's Cathedral, according to the Doctor, and when that happens, the Krynoid will germinate, and it's up to the Doctor to prevent that.
There is one unforgivable goof at the end of the story. Sarah mentions the Doctor forgetting to reset the TARDIS coordinates, but they arrived in Antarctica by helicopter, not by TARDIS.
The giant-sized Krynoid and the humanoid variation are well-realized design effects. The latter kind, where the human features are totally gone and tentacles sprout, is actually one of the costumes of the Axon monsters from Claws Of Axos painted green.
Of the guest stars, Tony Beckley comes out on top as Harrison Chase, a totally ruthless plant-lover who puts the survival of Krynoid above his fellow man. "Yes, the plants must win. It will be a new world, silent and beautiful" he says, which is topical to the 70's with its smog, traffic jams, and noise. His trance-like communication to the plants shows him totally gone.
Chase's mansion was actually Athelhampton House in Dorset and was also the same place used in Sleuth starring Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier, and the on-location shooting on the grounds made a good change.
This is one of the more violent stories, with guns fired, brandished, or pointed in threatening positions, mostly by Scorby, and even the Doctor carries a gun (though he doesn't use it). And the Doctor gets embroiled in some action and fisticuffs. In one scene, he crashes through a glass skylight to prevent Sarah from being tortured, punches Scorby, and rescues his friend. Chase wryly asks, "What do you do for an encore, Doctor?" The Doctor answers, "I win." Which he does, of course. Still, a great story with good location and the end of a season that consolidated Tom Baker as the Doctor.
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets,
I have to say the criticisms of this episode that I've read seem silly to me. Bad special effects? When were the effects in this series ever good? In my view it has only two flaws -- it's too long to watch comfortably in one sitting and there are way too many escapes and recaptures, the Doctor & Sarah spend half the episode getting tied up and the other half escaping, and there is a ridiculous Dr. Evil moment where the villain, Chase, devises an elaborate and horrible death for the Doc and then leaves the room, allowing him to escape, instead of just shooting him....sigh...don't these crazy bad guys ever learn?) -- but they are pretty minor in compared to what works.
"Seeds" begins at a lonely scientific research station in the Antarctic, a la "The Thing." And just like "The Thing" the bumbling scientists unearth something from the ice that would better have been left alone. In this case, a large seed pod. They send pics back to London, where the Doctor identifies the pod as a sentient alien plant called the Krynoid, which has unlimited growth potential and a big appetite for human flesh. He and Sarah make tracks for the South Pole to make sure the ticking green bomb stays frozen and harmless. Unfortunately, the bumbling scientists put the thing under a lamp, and before you can say "Good god, what is that thing?" one of them is infected.
More unfortunately, a flora-crazed English millionaire named Harrison Chase (beautiful performance by the late Tony Beckley) has also learned of the pod's existence and sends a sneering mercenary named Scorby (another terrific turn by big John Challis) and a biologist named Keeler to collect it by force.
"Who" always excelled at loosing multiple plot elements at each other like bumper cars, and the crash-bang of the first two episodes of "Seeds" is great, creepy fun, as the good and bad guys square off while the infected scientist, now essentially a large angry yucca plant, wanders around strangling people and not caring whether they are good or bad. And just when you think it's over -- bingo, another pod appears. D'oh!
Eventually the action shifts back to England, where Scorby has delivered the second pod to the crazy Chase. He orders Keeler to feed it, and poor Keeler ends up doing just that, in a nasty case of "being consumed by your work." Meanwhile, the Doctor and Sarah blunder around the huge mansion and grounds, getting captured and escaping so many times, you wonder why Scorby doesn't just shoot them. Eventually, however, the Krynoid (nee Keeler) gets loose, grows to gigantic proportions, and starts eating Chase's employees en route to germinating hundreds of pods which will destroy the world (or at least everything not made of salad materials). The climax comes with the Doc, Sarah & Scorby trapped inside the crumbling mansion being hunted by the completely loco Chase, while UNIT soldiers fight the Krynoid outside. One small drawback is that while this is another UNIT episode, once again, there's no Brigadier and no Benton -- that's kind of like a peanut butter sandwich with no jelly. You can do it, but why?
"Seeds" is a great episode with some tremendously wonderful dialogue ("Don't be silly, Sarah -- of course he has to kill us, we keep interfering!") that also brings up nostalgia/horror for 1970s fashion -- c'mon, where else can you see a bad guy in zippered platform boots, a turtleneck shirt and a jacket with a butterfly collar....without a time machine, that is?
5.0 out of 5 stars Mein schatz hats grun so gern,
4.0 out of 5 stars And you'll all flower happily ever after...,
The serial is longer than your average Doctor Who episode -six chapters instead of four. The premise is nothing new but is still downright creepy -slow but inevitable alien possession of a human being. The Krynoid itself, though at the low end of the BBC's already low-budget monster scale, is photographed in such a way as to make it far more terrifying -a glimpse of writhing tentacles in the moonlight. The suspense elements are played up -the hissing rattle in the dark just outside the window, the dark halls of an Elizabethan manor house, curling creeper vines that strangle their victims, and an eerie violin soundtrack. Besides the Krynoid and its supporting army of killer Earth plants, you get two center-stage villians: Chase (Tony Beckley), the eccentric millionaire who fancies himself the great protector of the entire plant kingdom; and Scorby (John Challis), the hired mercenary-turned uneasy ally. Sarah's verbal dressing-down of Scorby is priceless.
Tom Baker is in top form in this episode -he bullies civil servants around, crashes through skylight windows, coldcocks armed henchmen, and even packs both a sword and a gun (though Sarah points out he would never use the latter, he grins and replies, "True. But they don't know that, do they?"). Though the story does briefly feature an appearance by UNIT forces, none of the Pertwee-era UNIT regulars are included. My favorite character in this serial is the scatterbrained floral artist Amelia Ducat (Sylvia Coleridge), who goes from comic relief to vital plot link and back to comic relief again. The miniature visual effects are, by Doctor Who standards, actually quite impressive -you get not one but two climactic moments in which entire buildings are obliterated. Not a milestone episode for Doctor Who overall, but a must-have for Tom Baker fans.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece.,
5.0 out of 5 stars My second favorite from the Tom Baker Years,
4.0 out of 5 stars Only one thing missing....,
Except for the first part, this show has no good guys(except the Doctor and Sarah and the Krenoid at early stages of transformation). The 'story compagnion' is a hitman and somewhat of a bully and want's the chance to off the Doctor and Sarah. I do like the main villan, Chase, however. He is definitely that, and this makes it easier to have a virtually goodguyless show because everyone looks like saints compaired to the mad man, Chase and his faithful butler. Both are tollerent of each other and want to put everyone into the compost heap and kill all the animals so plants can take thier rightful place.
This is a good story with the exception that thier is a lack of good guys to help the Doctor. Two Government officials eventually come around at end of part six, however. It does show the Doctor can always prevail, regardless of the circumstances. He has, after all traveled the Universe.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good if not traditional,
Even if the story is segmented (the first two episodes take place in Antartica and form a 'mini-story'), it's a rollicking good tale with lots of fun and excitement. Tom Baker is on the top of his game as an unusually fist-happy Doctor, and even Lis Sladen gets a good piece of the action. The guest cast are also of a high standard, and the music by Geoffrey Burgon is again a welcome change (his scores for both "Terror of the Zygons" and "The Seeds of Doom" are on the "Terror of the Zygons" soundtrack CD).
There are a few downsides to this adventure. The bridge from the Antartica episodes to the England episodes is rushed at best, leaving you wondering why the Antartica material was so necessary. UNIT is called in - for no readily apparent reason - in episode six, without any of the regular UNIT characters...and that's UNIT's last semi-regular appearance! What happened there? Also, the various growing forms of the Krynoid plant creature are rather negligible, particularly the gigantic version.
Overall, though, this a great story and well worth giving your time.
5.0 out of 5 stars One Big Green Bonaza!,
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Tom Baker,
By A Customer
This episode delves into the possibilty that plants may actually have feelings. However, these are the theories as discussed by a megelomanic. But, it does get one thinking and is an interesting theme for Doctor Who.
Whether you are a first-time viewer, or a die-hard fan, you will love this serial! Purchase it!
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Doctor Who: The Seeds of Doom (Story 85) (DVD - 2011)
CDN$ 43.98 CDN$ 35.18