The Doctor (William Hartnell), Barbara (Jacqueline Hill), Ian (William Russell), and Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) land on the planet Xeros. Due to an odd time shift, the Doctor and his companions discover that their actions might cause them to be exhibits in the museum forever if they don’t find a means to alter the future. As the Moroks seek to capture the Doctor and his companions, the Xerons work to stop the Moroks and liberate their planet forever!
Doctor Who: The Space Museum aired in second season of the long running BBC serial. The story aired in four parts from April 24, 1965 to May 15, 1965. The episodes were individually titled as “The Space Museum”, “The Dimensions of Time”, “The Search”, and “The Final Phase”. Following the partially missing Doctor Who: The Crusade, Doctor Who: The Space Museum was collected as part of The William Hartnell Years as Story #15. The series is generally collected with Doctor Who: The Chase.
Old Doctor Who is very frustrating. It is hard to get into the swing of the series with so many episodes and serials missing. Here, the serial leading into “The Space Museum” is mostly lost so despite very little set-up, it helps get a feel for how the companions and Doctor are doing. Doctor Who: The Space Museum is a good little story though, like many Doctor Who episodes, it does tend to drag.
Doctor Who is its own worst enemy. The early Doctor Who episodes aired much more like modern soap operas. Sometimes very little happens episode to episode and the plot involves either the Doctor and/or the companions being caught and released. Doctor Who: The Space Museum is no different in that sense.
What I do like about this episode is that it has an interesting concept of time. While Doctor Who rarely loops or alters time, this episode has the characters trying to prevent a vision of themselves from occurring. This leads to the question of if time is predestined and will all actions end with an undeniable fate…here, the time loop is broken, but Doctor Who explores this theory a lot.
I am still having a hard time warming up to Vicki. Hartnell was a tough sell initially with so many of the Doctors following him having larger than life personalities, but he does grow on you. Barbara and Ian are kind of generic but they aren’t really annoying…Vicki on the other hand really grates on the nerves. It is also notable that Boba Fett actor Jeremy Bulloch appears in the story.
Doctor Who in these early years are an acquired taste. The sets are cheap and mostly involve halls with doors. It took a while to be able to get into them and you can’t necessarily sit and watch the stories without taking breaks or you run the risk of burning yourself out with the repetitive plots. Doctor Who: The Space Museum is followed by Doctor Who: The Chase.