Back in “the old days” (many years ago it seems, but not all that long ago, really) when I first started watching Doctor Who, I confused “The Moonbase” with “The Tenth Planet” as the first Cybermen story. I think that’s because “The Moonbase” has all of the hallmarks of a first appearance and does such a good job introducing the Cybermen to the audience that it seemed like a first appearance to me. It takes place in 2070, well after “The Tenth Planet” which took place in 1986. “The Tomb of the Cybermen” and “The Invasion” (the “earliest” Cybermen story to date) are also all very good introductions to the characters and good jumping on points, I think.

“The Moonbase” is not so terribly missing as far as missing episodes are concerned. Video versions of episodes one and three of the four-parter are missing, but not only are two and four available on the “Lost in Time” set, but audio version of one and three are included as well. Although I often supplement my listening to the audio versions of the missing episodes with whichever video episodes are available, when I tried to listen to one and three on my television in conjunction with two and four, I found my mind wandered. If I’m going to listen at all, I prefer to listening to all four episodes in my car.

I see “The Moonbase” as “another chance to get it right” for the production team, who took what worked from “The Tenth Planet” and retooled and refocused it, tapping into the zeitgeist of the Apollo era. The science is pretty bad, though. Jamie is still new enough to the cast that much of his dialogue is “borrowed” from Ben and Polly (when he’s not unconscious, that is, as in most of the first two episodes). He does mistake a Cyberman for the “Phantom Piper” of McCrimmon family legend. The Cybermen themselves are a more formidable looking (although a bit less creepy to my mind), with metal faceplates instead of cloth and generally more metallic overall. That’s to be expected; it has

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One fo the things I remember about the parts of this story that I've seen is the goofy "shower caps" that the guys working on the gravitron were made to wear.

NEXT: I seem to remember a lengthier wait time between volumes 1 & 2 and between 2 & 3 of “The Lost TV Episodes” collections, but V4 has already been solicited in Diamond’s latest Previews catalogue for March 28 release (which means it will be a whole lot cheaper through other retail outlets sooner). So in three months, give or take a few weeks, I will be posting reactions to…

“The Macra Terror”
“The Faceless Ones”
“Evil of the Daleks”
“The Abominable Snowmen”
“The Ice Warriors”

Watched/Listened to this over the last two days. Not too much to add to the above - some of the dialogue was a little goofy "You can get off the Moon, now!" and so on, and the "foreign" accents were a little questionable.  Also, the space suits are extremely unconvincing. And you can see the wires holding up the Cyberships. 

 

On the other hand, it does have one of my favorite bits of Second Doctor dialogue:

 

"There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things which act against everything that we believe in. They must be fought."

This was released on DVD yesterday with episodes one and three animated. The animators did a good job.  It's interesting watching it all in a row like that.  It's actually a pretty good story. For all the lame effects and costume choices, it's quite a tense, scary story in parts. The Cybermen in this are scarier tan in many of the modern stories.  Troughton's quite good in it, too. I gahte rMorris Barry leaned on him to tone down the wackiness, and it shows. You can see that Hines is still finding his character. I gather from the "making of" extra that Gerry Davis didn't like the character much, which is why Jamie spent so much of the story unconscious.   I plan to listen to the commentary track tonight, so I'm looking forward to that.

 

The DVD also says that "The Underwater Menace" is coming soon! That ought to be entertaining.

I’ve been making my way through the Fourth Doctor era lately, but I took a break last night and watched “The Moonbase” in its entirety. I was under the (obviously mistaken) impression that episodes one and three had been found, but I guess not. No matter. As Bob mentioned, the animators did a really good job. (No “puppetizing” as in one of the recent releases.) I am more familiar with this particular serial because I have experienced it in so many formats: DVD, audio only, audio with linking narration, paperback, etc. Just reading over what I said 2+ years ago and I still feel pretty much the same. [NOTE: I must have had a formatting error when I posted on December 30, 2011 and didn’t realize it, because that “NEXT” bit was the end of a lengthier post about “The Lost TV Episodes” on CD I had been listening to at the time. Oh, well.]

No matter how many times I see, hear or listen to this episode, the only two non-regular characters which stand out in my mind are the base commander (who reminds me of Craig T. Nelson) and “the French guy.” The others are pretty interchangeable.

Speaking of the shower caps (as you were two years ago), did you notice the one cyberized guy who took over the control of the weather control thingy put his on backwards? (By the time he was in shot again, he had it on right.)

The more episodes of the original series I watch, the more scenes I spot which (I believe) were updated or “re-imagined” for the new show by RTD or Steven Moffat. In this case, the opening scene of episode four (close-up of the Cybermens’ marching feet) was later re-depicted as metal-jackbooted feet in… oh, I think it must have been “The Age of Steel.”

I think Gerry Davis said the Graviton room reflected a philosophy of spending the available money on one impressive set instead of a lot of unimpressive ones.

The concept of the Cybermen as attacking by infiltration returned in several of their subsequent stories.

Is the very end of your opening review missing, Jeff?

Oh, man... that's twice in one discussion! Sometimes when I italicize, underline or, uh...  "embolden"?... I make a typo in the formatting and, depending on the typo, either the first or the second part of the post doesn't post. I usually catch it, but sometimes I'm in a hurry. I really miss not having a time limit to edit posts. :(

There's no time limit on thread-starters.

Yeah, they mention the backwards hat in the commentary track.

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