|Doctor Who Original Series 15 - The Space Museum
||[Jan. 7th, 2010|09:26 pm]
2.26 The Space Museum Pt. 1 - The Space Museum Written by Glyn Jones, Directed by Mervyn Pinfield
The crew find themselves unable to interact with the world in which they've found themselves.
The ideas are good, but whether it's the writing, acting, direction, or a mixture of the three, the first episode just doesn't manage to effectively grab the attention. It's not bad, but neither is it that good. It all just feels a bit flat, which is a shame given that the very situation they are in is in and of itself, quite intriguing.
"Time, like space, although a dimension in itself, also has dimensions of its own." - Maureen O'Brien (Vicki)
2.27 The Space Museum Pt. 2 - The Dimensions of Time Written by Glyn Jones, Directed by Mervyn Pinfield
The travellers try to find their way out of the museum before they become exhibits.
While it has a few nice moments, all of them centring around the Doctor, they aren't enough to redeem the episode. The Moroks are slow and plodding in the way of so many humanoid Doctor Who monsters, such as the Ice Warriors. The problem is, they're not monsters! And the acting of the governor isn't exactly crash hot, either.
There is also a moment where the Doctor explains the core of their problem is their future, and it doesn't make sense. It's hard to say whether Hartnell fluffed the line, or the writing is simply poor.
"The least important things, sometimes my dear boy, lead to the most important discoveries." - William Hartnell (Doctor Who)
2.28 The Space Museum Pt. 3 - The Search Written by Glyn Jones, Directed by Mervyn Pinfield
With the Doctor captured, can the others also avoid his fate?
Part three is an interesting enough run around episode. There's a nice fight scene for Ian, and Vicki gets to be proactive, too.
"Well think what your superiors are going to say. They're going to ask, 'Did you bring in the aliens?' 'No,' you're going to reply, 'I went out and shot them all.'" - William Russell (Ian Chesterton)
2.29 The Space Museum Pt. 4 - The Final Phase Written by Glyn Jones, Directed by Mervyn Pinfield
All seems lost as one by one the Tardis crew are captured.
A pretty good finish. While still slow in parts, it can't help but rock along a little as things step into high gear for the last episode.
"Four separate journeys. Four choices. That led all the time closer to here." - Jacqueline Hill (Barbara Wright)
5.25/10 The Space Museum
Space Museum isn't a bad story as such, it's just a surprisingly dull and, at times, poorly written one. Then there's the realisation of things on-screen, which doesn't help. The Moroks are shown to be fairly incompetent, which removes any real fear of them. When a guard captures Ian, Vicki, and Barbara, he lets them have a long whispered conversation before even telling them to stop talking, then lets them have some more whispered talking.
So with villains being inept, any pity for the plight of the Xerons goes right out the window. It's bad enough the native inhabitants seem a bit wet, but how bloody hopeless does a race have to be not to be able to beat the Morok soldiers stationed on their planet?
However, the initial core idea is fabulous. Seeing their own futures and trying to avoid them, a wonderfully creepy idea wrapped in a reasonable first episode. Each of the characters gets a nice talky moment in the story, pondering their situation. Ian also gets a lovely dark moment psyching out a guard. Nicest of all Vicki actually gets to shine a little brighter than most of the rest of the cast as she steers some of the action over most of the story.
However, most of the acting by the guest cast is... lacklustre. Few seem to put in any real effort, which is something of a shame, since without that the story loses a chunk of its drive.
And it's poor writing rather than bad acting that lets down the major plot element. After the Doctor makes a point of saying it's a pity Ian didn't notice if his future self in the display case had a button missing, indicating that even a small change could be significant, they start unravelling Barbara's cardigan, the same cardigan her future self was wearing! So halfway through the second episode, they have already changed their futures. But they don't realise this at any point in the entire story! So we're given the same basic indecision and confusion in each episode as the characters wonder whether their choices are driving them towards or away from their fate. And having long conversations about it! And the audience is screaming, "Babs was wearing a cardy in the case! How can you forget that?!"
All it needed to save things was for the Doctor to mention at the end that he was pretty sure they'd be okay when Barbara's cardigan got unravelled, but he didn't want to get their hopes up. Sadly it's never brought up and it genuinely feels like the writer didn't notice, or was going to make it a plot point, but forgot.
It's sad that a story with such a great central conceit is crushed under the weight of so much ordinariness.