Monday, 11 March 2013

The Space Museum

This is the first story I have seen to really play around with time. I enjoyed many aspects of this story, and was a little underwhelmed by some others. I am assured by my most excellent friend Andrew, that this is a common thing when talking about this story!
Hello! That's us over there trapped in glass cases!

For those who haven’t seen it, the only talking characters in the first episode are the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki. They have arrived... before they have arrived! The TARDIS has slipped a track in time. They can’t touch anything, or hear or talk to anything. Thankfully walking is ok! They don't disappear into the ground. The museum is rather simple, but they discover themselves in glass cases as a museum exhibit. The remaining three episodes will have them desperately trying to avoid this future!
It’s a great set up, and no doubt the original audience had their interested more than well and truly pricked. However, what followed perhaps does not live up to what was promised. I watched this on one of your Earth DVDs, and also watched a piece by Rob Shearman on ‘Defending the Space Museum’. He suggested that the last three episodes are a basically a satire of the series, that it is all tongue in cheek.
The Morox were at least given interesting hair!

Either that or no-one really cared to put much time, money and effort into it. As Rob said, even the computer that guards the weapons’ store sounds bored. The production notes proudly tell of how they ran the serial well under budget, and it shows. There are no frills here on this plain, dull planet.
The first issue is that we get no sense of the planet beyond the space museum. It seems unlikely that a space museum that no one visits is basically the whole planet, yet everything seems centred around it. The writer, Glynn Jones has not taken the time nor effort to imagine what the world is like beyond the museum, so when he writes about rebels overthrowing their oppressors, and then they win and over throw them in the space of half an episode, well it’s not even vaguely believable.

The locals and their wonderful eyebrows.
No characters outside the Doctor, Ian and Vicki (Barbara has precious little to do in this one) are worth caring about. There’s no thought been put into any of the characters. Then the costume designer steps in and decides that all locals just wear black skivvies and have very bizarre eyebrows. The poor actors have had their eyebrows poorly covered with face make up and new ones drawn a centimetre higher. It looks bizarre and not slightly convincing.

The sets are all white walls with whatever bric-a-brac is lying around. They did a great job in saving money I expect but expressed nothing artistically in the look of the thing. The actors are all so bored with the one-dimensional characters they have been given nothing stands out at all.
Vicki plots revolution, to raised eyebrows! (lol - gosh I make myself laugh!)

Having ranted a bit, it’s not the worst bit of TV ever made, just very uninspiring.  It is watchable, but very hard to sit through the last three parts. Vicki (Maureen O'Brien) gets a decent part in this one at least. She defeats the bored computer and starts a revolution! Her energy and positivity towards the role is always unquestionable. In a rather dull story, she is the shining light!

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