Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Q1 - The Space Museum



For a series about time travel, Doctor Who surprisingly doesn't dabble in the concept of traveling in time and the consequences and accidents that can occur because of it. Finally, in episode one of The Space Museum, we see The Doctor and his friends having to deal with the prospect of something going wrong.

It's not that clear what is actually happening, to be fair (all this talk about jumping time tracks is a bit of technobabble, as if time is a big phonograph record and the TARDIS's needle has skipped), but it's neat to see The Doctor (and, in a sudden display of the understanding of the intricacies of the fourth dimension, Vicki) attempt to find a reason for the fact that they have, for lack of a better explanation, arrived before they have arrived.

One reason why I like Doctor Who from the 1960's is because it predates CSO (Colour Separation Overlay), which means it has to be more imaginative in the way it realizes its complicated video effects (as if CSO was the catch-all solution for such things. Well, Barry Letts seemed to think so). As such, there's two or three shots of the members of the TARDIS crew passing through solid objects. The shots look a little creaky, but there's so many metaphorical hamsters running on metaphorical wheels behind the scenes to make the shot work that I find them rather endearing.

The presence of stock incidental music (which was actually rare at this point in the series' history) indicates that this was designated the "cheap" serial for the season, and it kind of looks it. No wonder there's no actual visitors to the museum - who would want to walk around a dull, grey building like that? To hell with the impending revolution in the upcoming episodes. What about a little renovation makeover, instead?

3 comments:

36 said...

This serial has the dubious honour of being my first introduction to Doctor Who, via the Target Novelisation (well, it was either this or Doctor Who And The Cybermen) ...I remember finding it a bit confusing :)

osirun said...

I watched this particular episode a couple of months ago and it did NOT inspire me to carry on with it - more than many of the Hartnell serials, it feels like a random sci-fi concept that was probably being hawked around any and every show at the time... and it makes as little real sense (to me, anyway) as e.g. the Edge of Destruction.

It's funny that when fans first started getting nostalgic for the golden age of the 60s, all they could talk about was the planets and the space aliens, but honestly years later it's the historicals that make these 21st century eyes most excited. Sadly The Space Museum would be the thin end of a wedge that would consist of such dubious (though occasionally quite diverting) "SF" premises as Galaxy Four, The Ark, The Celestial Toymaker, The Savages...

Keir said...

I just watched this, out of solidarity at the suffering you are going through at this stage of your project. I liked this episode, but we'll see how I get on with the rest...

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