Classic Who Retrospective: The Space Museum

Doctor_Who__The_Space_Museum

It’s funny how something you love can be sometimes mind-blowing and other times just, well, tedious.

Okay, perhaps tedious is too strong of a word, so it might be better to just say that I found ‘The Space Museum’ to be a bit of a snoozefest.

Allow me to explain my reasons, because as always, I don’t like criticising a show I love as much as Doctor Who. I didn’t even want to write this –I watched this serial more than a month ago!

The plot of TSM sees the Doctor and his companions Ian, Barbara and Vicki arriving at some sort of museum in which they are invisible to the people there. That is, because they are not really there, as they have not yet arrived. It’s the sort of dimensions of time shenanigans that Steven Moffat loves to do, and it would have played out splendidly well, had the plot not taken so long to develop.

For instance, I found the first episode slow as I started watching it, but in the end it became the most interesting one, because it was the episode in which everything was explained and it allowed the viewer to get excited about the possible consequences of the plot. But then nothing happened. Literally nothing. It is basically the main characters wandering around, waiting for something to fall upon them. And then you have the Moroks (the people living there) and the Xerons (the rebels), all equally bored. And not only that: they don’t seem to want anything to happen! The so-called rebels, for instance, don’t actually take action until a bored-out-of-her-mind Vicki forces them too. I must have dozed at some point, because I remember some parts of the story. Well, it was a long time ago.

I was so disheartened after watching what I thought had been a waste of my time, that I decided to watch that Robert Shearman short ‘Defending the Museum’, in which he explains how TSM was actually a satire, a parody of the archetypical Doctor Who serial, with the characters getting stranded in a strange place, with the villains and the rebels being parodies of the usual ones, and with things such as all the rooms looking the same as a wink to the viewer.

I must admit I thought Shearman was absolutely right about everything, and it made me realise that TSM was actually about creating a meta-serial to have Doctor Who making fun of Doctor Who, but that doesn’t make it less boring. It could have been condensed into just two episodes. Any chance Moffat can remake it with Capaldi?

 

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