I’ve been watching the First Doctor series 2 story The Space Museum. It’s not at the top of most people’s top episodes from the 1960s, but I suggest it isn’t as bad as might be thought. Yes a lot of the acting doesn’t work (and there’s debate elsewhere about it being written as a comedy then reined back). It’s easy to dismiss as an interesting beginning let down by a badly acted formulaic tale, but I think there’s more that can be said. It certainly bears watching more than some other stories I could mention. I’m working on a longer piece about this, for now some thoughts…
Thoughts about The Space Museum
There’s a big dose of predestination and the whole starts with weird happenings on a strange planet with a Space Museum in which the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki encounter themselves as exhibits! There’s a big thread of debate about the philosophy of choice and fate, and not badly done. The bulk of the running time (probably 65%) is absorbed with yet another rebellion with the youthful Xerons inspired into rebellion against the older Moroks, who are the alien occupiers of planet Xeros.
William Hartnell (despite being on holiday for episode 3) gets some great scenes, both comedy (he hides inside a Dalek shell) and also when faced with an interrogation machine gets to be superior and aloof. William Russell and Jacqueline Hill are solid, but it’s Marueen o’Brien as Vicki who steals the show with her performance stirring up the Xerons to rebel. It even ends with the hint of a budding relationship between her and Tor (one of the Xerons) but only a hint. This is not The Dalek Invasion of Earth, no leaving people behind for love. Love is the furthest thing away from the minds of the Daleks who appear in a rare epilogue, signposting the next story, The Chase.
I wouldn’t suggest you rush out to buy a copy of The Space Museum for your collection (and it seems to be only available with The Chase at present), but don’t decline the chance to see it if you get one.