My Thoughts on Story 032 – “The Underwater Menace”

Atlantis, a mad scientist, and an epic battle of hats! Could there be anything better than this?

The Underwater Menace 1
[insert stupid fish puns HERE]
I can’t hate this story. It isn’t very good, but it isn’t terrible. It’s a solid C effort, I suppose, but it comes at a point in the series where the show really needed a solid A.

On the plus side, this story features one of the first instances of the Doctor playing the stupid innocent in order to manipulate his enemies. That much at least is welcome, and I really did enjoy the performance of the guy playing Zaroff.

Other good things: the set design was quite decent, the fish people costumes were interesting, and the extended sequence of them swimming around doing stuff was quite good, especially with the score they had with it. It’s also nice to see Jamie settling in and working with Ben, Polly, and the Doctor.

But actual story is all over the place, and really isn’t all that good. The evil master plan of the bad guy makes no real sense, and his motivations are murky at best. The show does other “mad scientist’ stories later that are way better. To make matters worse, long stretches are just dull.

So while I cannot hate on it entirely, I also cannot love it. This wasn’t a good story. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good, and I’m glad to have it behind me.

Writer Geoffrey Orme
Director Julia Smith
Script editor Gerry Davis
Producer Innes Lloyd
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Dudley Simpson
Production code GG
Series Season 4
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing 2 episodes (1 and 4)
Date started 14 January 1967
Date ended 4 February 1967

Next time: “The Moonbase”


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