S33 (7) 2 – Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

Home Forums Episodes The Eleventh Doctor S33 (7) 2 – Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

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    Craig @craig

    This is an edit as this was posted in 2013 and it is now 2019. An unmanned spaceship hurtles towards certain destruction, unless the Doctor can save it, along with its impossible cargo… of dinosaurs! By his side are a ragtag gang of adventurers: a big game hunter, an Egyptian queen and a surprised member of the Pond family.

    If you have iPlayer you can watch it here for the next 7 months: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01mm5c9/

    Here’s what you originally thought on The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2012/sep/08/doctor-who-dinosaurs-on-spaceship

    overunder @jamesunderscore

    I like this episode. I think the only thing that didn’t work for me was the Mitchell and Webb-bots. I’m sure it sounded like a great idea on paper – pair of funny robots, lets get a comedy duo to do the voices! but it drags you out of the story and breaks the suspension of disbelief – they stop being funny robots, and start being Mitchell and Webb (who I like) playing funny robots.

    The rest of the supporting cast in this one, however, are great; and it’s generally a good old romp which left me with a smile on my face. Exactly what you want for an episode 2.

    Hartnell fan @hartnellfan

    I was not very fond of this episode. I believe that it is just sort of bland and the villain is kind of unnecessary. If I have nothing else to watch then I sometimes revisit it but it is not one of my favourites.

    Missy @missy

    This was the only CC episode I didn’t mind. the rest were awful.


    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    Well, I found this episode to be pretty average, very much what-it-says-on-the-tin. Though it probably also suffers from its placement between the awesome Asylum of the Daleks with its Moffat-esque twist in the tail, and the equally striking A Town Called Mercy (Amy, pointing a gun at the Doctor and she looks as if she really means it).

    The comedy robots were genuinely funny until, shockingly, they killed a dinosaur just to make a point. That was disconcerting. After that, I didn’t even blink when the Doctor let Solomon get blown up, in fact I thought he deserved it – both emotionally (he was a repulsive character) and rationally (he did murder all the Silurians).

    Nefertiti, I loved. I would have dearly liked to see her return as an ongoing companion in later episodes, she would have made a worthy opponent for the Doctor (though, with Amy’s presence, I guess that role might have started to become crowded). I am severely un-woke, but still I disliked the implication that all it needed was a bit of macho egotism from John Riddell to win her interest/companionship. He should have had to work a lot harder than that. I think the episode would have benefitted from rather fewer companions – Amy, Rory, Brian, John Riddell, Nefertiti – too many people! It didn’t leave room to do justice to all of them. (This is reminiscent of Chibnall’s Season 11).

    That’s my 2 cents worth, anyway.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    And I see the last comment was by me. I just re-watched and, since most of my impressions were not identical to the above, I’ll post ’em.

    Queen Nefertiti, yes. Love Queen Nefertiti. And she has the hots for the Doctor, which doesn’t hurt.

    Riddell? – never. Why would the Doc, who opposes violence (except when Daleks are involved), ever hang out with an egomaniac White Hunter whose hobby/obsession is murdering innocent wild creatures for fun?

    Brian, I like, grumpy though he is.

    I do like Amy’s interrogation of the ship’s computer. She makes a thoroughly competent investigator.

    Nice bit of continuity that Solomon’s ID system can’t find anything on the Doctor. (This is a result of Oswin’s deletion of him from the Dalek database and the Doctor’s deletion of himself from the Inforarium in the short that preceded this ep).

    The ‘escaping on the triceratops’ is just farce, it makes it hard to give the story any credibility. Did someone in the production team just want to maximise the return on their animatronic half-a-triceratops? How far would a golf ball roll anyway?

    “The ship’s coming through the atmosphere. I’m going to start the missile program.” This is ridiculous. Definitions (opinions) of the atmosphere vary, but most would probably say it’s where some tangible concentration of gases exists – say 50 – 80km where meteors start to burn. If the ship is ‘the size of Canada’ (5000km across) that’s obviously virtually touching, the sentence is ludicrous. And a quick Google on Chibbers’ part could have avoided that completely. Also, how many missiles would be needed to destroy a ship that size? If Chibbers had resisted the impulse to ‘turn it up to 11’ and made the ship the size of, say, Toronto – 50km across – that would have been amply large enough to hold the population of dinosaurs and to pose a lethal threat to Earth.

    It’s almost as if Chibbers doesn’t *want* his story to appear credible.

    The ship “needs two operators of the same gene chain.” Oh how convenient for the story, making Brian useful. What was there about the Silurians that made that requirement probable? Chibbers does this sort of thing all the time, like the way Ryan had some unique knack in the Whitdoc seasons, and it’s so transparent and annoying.

    Solomon got exactly what he deserved. Oh, and Nefertiti taking him down was a nice touch.

    Brian looking over Earth was a nice image. But Queen Nefertiti shacking up with the deplorable Riddell – ugh!

    Not a terrible episode, but if only Chibnall could learn to scale things better (like the size of the Silurian ship and its proximity to Earth) it would be just so much more credible. Oh, and make Riddell less obnoxiously he-man – like, with more charisma and less ego.

    syzygy @thane16


    You thought the most worrying part was escaping on the dinosaur? Wouldn’t it be that they’re in space, in a Time Machine, and there are actual dinosaurs?  😀😆😆

    It is a weird episode though. It’s not one of my favourites but I persisted probably because I loved Amy even more than Clara and the Queen is brilliant as well. I think it’s probably supposed to be farcical comedy.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @thane16 syzygy – you raise an interesting point about credibility. I think we all have our individual ‘limits’ of what we find credible and the border is not a straight line.

    In the case of ‘Dinosaurs’, I’ll grant time travel, no problem (it’s part of the premise of the series). And the dinosaurs follow from that, the ship was built to convey them. Again, no problem. And the ship can understand commands from Amy (because, Tardis telepathic circuits, also common TV convention) – no problem.

    However, being chased by the robots and riding on a dinosaur are real-world things (well, substitute elephant for dinosaur and it would be) and you can see, visually, that it’s a painfully slow process and the robots could have shot them ten times over. Also, it looks ridiculous.

    And the other “oh, no” moment, for me, was “the ship [the size of Canada] coming through the atmosphere” – what?? ‘The atmosphere’ is generally considered to be a thin shell of gas around the Earth, any ship that size starting to penetrate the atmosphere is about to hit Earth with devastating consequences. (Technically, the ‘atmosphere’ could be defined to stretch up to maybe 10,000 km, but that’s just isolated molecules drifting around and NOT what most people would call ‘atmosphere’. And anyway, even at 10,000km, a 5000-km size ship would be far too close to deflect with missiles). Chibbers could so easily have avoided this by changing a few words.

    In general, the nearer to ‘everyday reality’ we venture, the tighter our limits on credibility. In The Snowmen, there was a horse-drawn carriage in London – fine. If someone had turned up driving a Mini, we’d want a darn good sci-fi explanation.

    Asylum of the Daleks was an excellent example – “Where does she get the milk?” Sounds trivial, but it was a genuine plot point. The fact that Oswin was a Dalek (who believed herself to be human), that teleports exist, that Daleks had utilised a whole planet for their ‘asylum’ – all that is perfectly credible science fiction, needing no special explanation, whereas an unlimited supply of milk does raise doubts (as the Moff intended, though he cunningly deflected them).

    I’m not sure if I’ve explained this very well.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @thane16 And by the way, I like Clara best, but I do love Amy too. And Nefertiti – I think she would have made an excellent Companion if the job wasn’t already taken. I would have loved to see more of her.

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