Children of Seth reviewed

The Children of SethAnther Lost Story under the microscope and this time its the Fifth Doctor adventure Children of Seth. This tale was originally written by Christopher Bailey (Kinda and Snakedance) and adapted by Marc Platt. The high-power cast includes David Warner, Adrian Lukis, Honor Blackman and John Banks.

I have found some of the Lost Stories have left something to be desired – does this hit the spot or not? Find out…

The story

A synopsis that does little more than hint at the full complexity:

During one of Nyssa’s experiments, the TARDIS’s temporal scanner picks up a message: ‘Idra’. Just one word, but enough to draw the Doctor to the Archipelago of Sirius.

There, the Autarch is about to announce a new crusade. A mighty war against Seth, Prince of the Dark…

But who is Seth? What is the secret of Queen Anahita, Mistress of the Poisons? And what terror awaits on Level 14?

The setup is convoluted but once they arrive on the Archipelago (a hollowed out asteroid) there is plenty of intrigue. The story appears to be one of courtly intrigue in an I, Claudius style with David Warner as the ineffective Autoarch, Honor Blackman as his estranged Queen Anahita both victims of Adrian Lukis’s scheming Byzan.

Underneath this is a deeper story of manipulation of public opinion and a hidden threat from androids. The focus of the story is the human tale though the hints of a deeper threat add to this excellent story as it builds towards the ending. It’s an excellent story and well worth listening to.

The storytelling

[pullquote]Tegan for the Twelfth Doctor?[/pullquote]

There are some clunky concepts at play here – the whole beginning on the TARDIS seems to have been written just to give Nyssa something to do before she vanishes for half the story. Her part is good towards the and though. Tegan by comparison is good all the way through and left me thinking that a set of stories with just her and a Doctor along would be enjoyable. Tegan for the Twelfth Doctor? Let’s start that rumour!

Davison gets some decent moments in a production stuffed with excellent acting.

I do want to cover two other topics:

  1. The attack on the TARDIS
  2. The culture on the Archipelago

The attack on the TARDIS

How does this planet boast a defence net capable of not only withstanding a TARDIS but then has access to robot drones that can carve their way into the console room. Really? No. Not for me.

The culture on Archipelago

This is less a complaint more an observation; the Archipelago is a space empire with advanced technology and yet it feels like a very ancient society and technology is almost non-existent. This is a deliberate style and Seth is not the only example of this. In some ways the Time Lords themselves are both archaic and ultra-advanced. It’s a contrast and maybe it’s good that the science doesn’t get in the way of the fiction. Thoughts?

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