Continuing Our Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Cybermen
By Kit Peddler
“Funny. Funny. Go to all that trouble to make the men do the work. Why? Do it themselves, easy. They're using the men as tools. Why? Don't know. Yes, I do though. There must be something in here they don't like. Pressure? Electricity? Radiation? Maybe. Gravity! Now there's a thought. Gravity. Oh, yes. Gravity.”
After the events of The Underwater Menace The Doctor makes the attempt to get Ben, Polly and Jamie to Mars. Where they ended up was not Mars but in fact the moon. The travelers have fun experiencing the low gravity of the moon until Jamie gets hurt. Luckily there is a base on the moon that is there to help control the weather on Earth. But there is a problem in the base. A mysterious plague has swept over the base only infecting a certain few. The Doctor has no idea what is causing the crew of the moonbase to get infected but once The Cybermen have been seen sneaking around it becomes all the more obvious what is going on.
With the return of the Cybermen in The Moonbase it solidifies their place as a recurring character one that would be only second to the Daleks in popularity. It was the intent of the production crew back then to find a replacement for the Daleks as they believed that they would not be able to use them for much longer with Terry Nation exploring other avenues for them like a US TV series. The Cybermen would be a mainstay in the Troughton era and that all started with his fourth story as The Doctor.
The Cybermen are pretty good in The Moonbase as they used a virus to infect the members of the moonbase something they would do again in Revenge of the Cybermen. They also used mind control to control the humans to take over the Gravitron and use it successfully to destroy the Earth shuttle that was coming to help out the base. What was also pretty neat was that they shot electricity out of their arms to knock people out or kill them. The Cybermen just seemed more menacing in The Moonbase than in stories they are featured in now. How scary was it seeing the lone Cyberman lurking around in the shadows picking people off one by one. Plus how can you forget that one scene where the Cyberman is hiding in the sickbay and The Doctor asks if they searched in there and we find out the Cyberman is hiding under the covers of one of the beds. Love that scene and it is a classic cliffhanger.
While The Moonbase will not win any of the best Cybermen stories ever awards it is a pretty decent story with some cool things going on it. With Patrick Troughton, still getting into his own as The Doctor, you start to get a glimpse of how good of a Doctor he will be you can start to see the mannerisms of his Doctor starting to be more prevalent as he is getting more comfortable with the part. The Moonbase is a fun story to watch as you get a feel for the early developmental stages of the 2nd Doctor and The Cybermen.
Grade B –