December 7, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “The Moonbase Part 1”

The Second Doctor. "The Moonbase," Episode One.

So, funny story (not really).  I splurged on some DVD copies of lost Second Doctor serials that were recreated all or in part with animation.  I saw I had three and just grabbed one and started it.

Then I looked up “The Moonbase” later and learned that the three I have all ran one after the other, and I grabbed the one from the middle.

Oh well.

So, here I am with a four part serial where half the episodes were lost, so the first and third are animated, but the second and fourth are still in live action.  Once again, an animated Second Doctor and company, and once again, a different look to them.  None of the animation has been spectacular or anything, but that doesn’t change the fact that I mostly just want to see the story.  I find the Second Doctor to be so darn charming.

Actually, there is something of interest to me here:  the Doctor’s companions.  Jamie is here for this one, but he wasn’t originally planned as a companion.  The character appeared in a serial and was both charming and had great chemistry with the Doctor such that he was added to the series as a regular.  But the Doctor already had two companions, leftover from the Hartnell era, in the form of “Ben” and “Polly”.  I saw them both in the serial where they accidentally joined the TARDIS crew, the animated recreation of the first Second Doctor serial, and…that’s it.  That first appearance seemed to exist mostly, as far as companions were concerned, to give the pair a basic introduction.  She was a secretary for an organization the Doctor was working with.  He was a sailor on leave who fell in with the group after meeting Polly and the outgoing companion Dodo Chaplet at a club for young people.  They found the TARDIS and entered just as the Doctor was leaving without knowing it wasn’t just a police box.

As for the second serial, it mostly consisted of Polly’s certainty that the weird guy in the TARDIS was, as he claimed, the Doctor while Ben took a while to believe it.

So, really, who are these two?  I’m not necessarily expecting a great deal of characterization.  I mean, these two were apparently written out in much the same way they were written in through dumb luck.  Surely they had some sort of personality of their own, right?

I don’t know, and since I have three serials that feature the pair, I hope to find out.

As for this one:  the TARDIS was headed to Mars but ended up on the Moon in the future.  Polly, Ben, and Jamie all want to get out and look around.  The Doctor gets them some spacesuits, but Jamie hurts himself near a mysterious moonbase (see serial title).  Fortunately, the people in there are friendly and bring them inside for medical attention.  Unfortunately, they’re understaffed as a mysterious illness has been striking people down, starting with the base’s doctor.  The base also controls the weather for Earth, and being understaffed, they’re having problems meeting that mission.  They’re then put on quarantine.  Jamie, a bit delirious, thinks the Phantom Piper, a ghost that appears to members of his clan before they die, might be coming for him.  But it isn’t.  It’s a Cyberman.

OK, did I learn anything about Ben or Polly?  Not really.  I actually learned more about Jamie and his superstitions.

I think I know why Jamie got to stick around.