Doctor Who: The Moonbase
(4 episodes, s04e23-e26, 1967)
The Cybermen are back, and a bit better designed than their last appearance not so long ago.
The story is about a weather control station on the moon that is being attacked by a mysterious virus. The virus, craftily hidden in their sugar supply, disables the staff of the moonbase so the Cybermen can essentially assimilate the most compatible of the infected and kill everyone on Earth with storms induced by the station’s control system. It’s pretty straightforward.
It turns out that the Doctor is an actual medical doctor who studied under Joseph Lister, and Jamie is safe because he didn’t use the sugar and has a head injury that disqualifies him from being transformed. Ben and Polly acted rather intelligently in fighting the Cybermen with a chemical attack to disable their control systems.
I noted some 1960s sexism: The making of coffee wasn’t an example, but “stay here, Polly, this is men’s work” certainly was. Luckily, Polly is a strong and independent woman… at least in most of her serials with the Doctor.
The Cybermen are a bit hard to understand in this serial. They have new voices, which are heavy treated with audio effects. Also, how do they know the Doctor’s new face? Between them and the Daleks, I’m beginning to think that the Doctor has an aura that every major antagonist recognizes over the face or physical features.
Meanwhile, the internal dialogue with the Doctor was distracting. It wasn’t terrible, but certainly not something I’m familiar with in the franchise.
The depressurization of the dome seemed a bit unrealistic, since the air rushes out, but no one is pulled with it and the coffee is still standing.
Finally, the jumping on the moon with bionic sound effects. Ugh.
Not a bad serial by any stretch, but not a top performer either.
Rating: 3/5 – “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”
UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Macra Terror
The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.
6 thoughts on “Timestamp #33: The Moonbase”
Just finished the new Who Season 2 episode in which the Cybermen return – fun to see they were tweaking the design from the start.
Funny that you mention the fact that they recognize the Doctor. This is actually explained by the fact that they’ve already met the 2nd Doctor at least twice before (discounting books and other expanded universe sources) even though this is his first encounter with them. Yeah, I doubt that the script editors were thinking that far ahead back when they wrote this but it does give a nice explanation for how they recognize him.
[…] at times. We also discover that these Cybermen are related to those from the assault on the moon base. Once again, without explanation, they recognize the Doctor despite his new persona, but they do […]
[…] Power of the Daleks – 5 The Highlanders – 4 The Underwater Menace – 2 The Moonbase – 3 The Macra Terror – 3 The Faceless Ones – 4 The Evil of the […]
[…] arrive, they find out that the Brigadier is stranded in Peru and Liz Shaw is unable to leave the moon base in time for the service. They also see a group of Groske – a blue and tame version of the Graske […]
[…] Solomon has mistaken the Time Lord for an actual medical doctor, which isn’t that far from the truth. When the Doctor offers assistance in exchange for information about Solomon’s arrival, the […]