It’s episode two; Doctor Who returns with the Chris Chibnall scripted Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. Whilst never really managing to reach the heights of Series 7 opener Asylum of the Daleks, and at times feeling slightly lack-lustre, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship still manages to be a slightly enjoyable forty-five minutes of television…
While I was watching Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, I couldn’t quite shake the niggling feeling that the episode was possibly aimed at people ten years younger than myself. This isn’t necessarily a problem, I mean; we’ve all – at one time or another – watched Peppa Pig, right? It’s just at times I really couldn’t help thinking “This all seems rather silly”. Yes, I’m thinking of the scene where the Doctor and friends are riding a triceratops, which in turn is chasing a golf ball.
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was always going to have a tough task on its hands, being second to the excellent Asylum of the Daleks, (just like Curse of The Black Spot after The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon) and the identity crisis the episode seems to suffering from doesn’t help matters in the slightest.
Don’t get me wrong, there are several laughs to be had during the episode. Matt Smith seems to be having a ball, and I can imagine there were a lot of laughs to be had on set, but the lighter moments merge rather disjointedly with the episode’s darker moments.
In this week’s episode, we get to meet one of NuWho’s darkest villains in Solomon (David Bradley – who was brilliant might I add) who we later find out not only committed genocide by wiping on the Silurians, but is a bit of a nasty pirate too. Sadly, Solomon doesn’t really get treated with the ‘respect’ such a character needs and when in the company of his two robot companions – who I’m still wholeheartedly unsure about – Solomon ended up being perceived as more of a camp villain.
Another thing that manages to hinder what could have been a wonderful episode comes in the shape of big game hunter, Riddell (Rupert Graves) and Queen Nefertiti (Riann Steele). There’s no qualms with their performances, both Graves and Steele are doing the best with that they’re given; the only problem I have is their characters being included in the episode in the first place.
The Doctor has the entirety of space and time at his disposal, would these two people really be the companions he’d choose? Yes, the inclusion of Nefertiti and Riddell adds a fresh dynamic to the relationship between Rory, Amy and the Doctor. We really get to see Amy show off some of her space adventurer skills that’s she’s gained over the past two series – but other than that, the inclusion of Riddell and Neffi seems incredibly forced.
Mark Williams on the other hand, who did an absolutely fine job of playing Rory’s dad, was a bit of a revelation. Despite the differing accents, you could easily find yourself believing that they’re actually both father and son. Here’s to hoping that he definitely makes another appearance in the future.
One thing that managed to remain consistent (and looks to continue judging from the trailers of A Town Called Mercy) is the very, very high production values. The dinosaurs looked great but where the special effects really shone were on Solomon’s two pet robots; the team producing near Transformer-esque visuals. Okay, so maybe not like Transformers but you get my drift.
From my review, you may think that I really didn’t enjoy Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. This isn’t the case; it’s just far too easy to pick faults with…