Doctor Who #240: The Space Pirates Part 1

"I'm not interested in men's comfort, Major!"TECHNICAL SPECS: Short existing clips aside, one of five missing episodes from this story, I've had to go back to reconstructions. First aired Mar.8 1969.

IN THIS ONE... Space pirates are stealing beacons and the Space Corps tries to capture them. Oh yeah, and the TARDIS shows up eventually.

REVIEW: Despite this story's reputation, Part 1 isn't TOO bad. It's just that, well, it really feels like it's another show, doesn't it? The TARDIS doesn't land until the 15-minute mark, and we're left with a Space Corps/Space Pirates space opera with lots of very pretty models and eerie space music. In New Who, we're quite used to voices in the music, but in 1969, it's like they're doing 2001: A Space Odyssey for TV. And I think that's fine. The TARDIS can materialize in any kind of story and turn it on its head. In fact, I'd love to see the police box appear on an unrelated SF program one of these days, just to say it happened and that all of TV Land is somehow connected. The interactions between the TARDISeers once they do show up is as good as usual, a mix of comedy and jeopardy, but there's just not much to it.

While the structure is questionable in the context of a program with regular protagonists, it does work on its own terms. We see how the pirates operate, so we're ready for it when the same thing happens to our heroes. Those TARDISless 15 minutes give writer Robert Holmes to explore this future world as well. Not that it makes complete sense. There are these beacons (that how you know you're in the Whoniverse, that obsession with beacon technology) and they're made of the universe's most precious metal, argonite. It's like building buoys out of gold or something, but worse still, they never figured someone would try to steal them. They're unmanned. I do like that they have the capacity to be used as emergency shelters and CAN be manned, but the 11th hour idea of manning them to catch the pirates seems all too obvious. The TARDIS distracting the Corpsmen long enough to let the pirates shoot them in the back is a good complication however.

In defense of the dodgy American accents in this episode and the rest of the story, I have to ask what kind of accents space colonies might spawn in the future. To me, it's much more distracting that Technician Penn looks like a Sgt. Pepper-era Ringo Starr.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Not enough Doctor Who for most viewers' taste, I'm sure, though a fair example of 60s space opera.


Toby'c said...

"The TARDIS can materialize in any kind of story and turn it on its head. In fact, I'd love to see the police box appear on an unrelated SF program one of these days, just to say it happened and that all of TV Land is somehow connected."

Ideally, one that's already connected to the Tommy Westphall universe.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Orville The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine