After being burned a few times before, watching an episode written by Chris Chibnail which turns out to be “kind of entertaining” is rather relieving.
Of course, I’d rather Doctor Who was aiming for more than “kind of entertaining”, especially in a year where I’ll only be getting six episodes.
‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’ is the kind of story that throws everything at the wall and hopes that some of it sticks. I don’t know whose idea the story was, but it confuses me that someone thought it was a good idea. Snakes on a Plane was tremendously funny and entertaining… when it was just a title of an upcoming movie on the internet. Why you’d want to repeat that horrible mistake, I don’t know.
For the most part, this is Matt Smith’s Doctor at his most cartoonish. Which works, since this episode is Doctor Who at its most cartoonish. If I was eight I might have really loved it. At however old I am now (oh god, oh god, how did I get this old?) it’s a little underwhelming. But then there’s a strange moment at the end when the Doctor lapses into slightly murderous territory. I’m not sure what’s up with this. Has the Doctor been infected with that elusive Dalek-making virus from last week?
There’s three extra companions in this story. I didn’t really care. Well, alright, it was nice to see a member of the companion’s family; it makes me nostalgic for 2005. Come back, Jackie Tyler! Then there’s one of the more vile villains in Who history, in the sense that it’s been suggested he’s the first to actually threaten someone with rape. Which seems out of place in this story of all places, coming as it does just before the over-the-top moment when Rory and his Dad get to fly an alien spaceship due to a ridiculously contrived plot device.
The best bit of the story is Amy, as Karen Gillan gets to have great fun being a surrogate Doctor. Occasionally, Amy gets stuff to do that doesn’t involve being in trouble, and I remember just how awesome she can be. It’s something of a shame she spent most of season six being rather passive, if not actually locked in a box. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of awesome-and-in-control Amy before we see the last of Amy, period.
In short: s'okay. The dinosaurs did look very nice.
I always feel silly writing “period” when there’s clearly an actual period immediately following it. But I tried the sentence without it, and it seemed silly. I’d rejig it, but I’m a week behind in these already and we’re only on episode two. No time to lose. ↩︎