Saturday, 8 September 2012

Dinosaurs, on a Spaceship

After the excitement of last week I wasn't expecting much from this episode (I think the second and third stories of recent seasons have been poor), and whilst it rolled along quite happily, this ultimately won't be remembered for much other than a silly romp with dinosaurs, on a spaceship. It sort of stinks of Moffat throwing the poor writer the ingredients (dinosaurs, on a spaceship, oh, and Rory's Dad), and the guy has to come up with his best plan of bringing it together. The backstory, a Silurian 'ark', was a great idea. Except it wasn't as good as it should have been, wasted without the Silurians. If the ship had fake beaches why not other fake environments where the dinosaurs would have been much more at home. And without their Silurian masters the barriers could be breaking down... And why not give us a handfull of Silurian survivors into the mix as well, hiding out in different environs? So many missed opportunities. Could have been an epic two parter.

And how long had those dinosaurs been on that ship? Are we talking of the numbers necessary to maintain genetically viable breeding populations? Surely the Silurians, as experts in hibernation, would have put the big reptiles to sleep for the journey... much easier... and talking of reptiles, how exactly did those dinosaurs thermo regulate and maintain body temperature? Silly little things I know, but a good script could have covered these. And if the Doctor drops the dinosaurs off at the end on some planet 'Siluria' somewhere, what a missed opportunity to give the Silurians, if we'd had a couple, a new home planet and story concept for their furture development and use. One the biggest problems with them is the lack of potential for storylines...

I fear the Silurians are being slowly turned into a 'Star Trek' style supporting alien race and will pop up more and more. Shame, I was hoping we would have a break from green reptilian monsters before bringing back the Ice Warriors... but we certainly needed to get the Silurians into space to fit with them turning up with the Pandorica, don't we? I wonder if will we've got a Moffat after story before the pre story here, if you know what I mean, surely they won't waste the idea of Silurians, on a spaceship, with dinosaurs. Plus it would be a nice echo of the original Hartnell 'Arc' story, which also visited an ark, or be it with a different cargo, in two different time periods.

But the episode did have that 'big production' feel which they are obviously aiming for this series - so much so it almost felt like a silly christmas episode. In fact it should have been a Christmas episode, it was that light-weight. And so many elements of the story appeared overly familiar, from within the show itself, to influences from outside it. I'm all for recycling, but weren't some elements just overly Jurassic Park? I think the 'raptors should have been dumped in favour of some other threat, from the young T-rex perhaps, which would have surely woken and smelt them down.

As predicted we had the now typical jumping all over history to introduce the characters and bring Amy and Roy along. And the update on Amy's life, right at the climax of the episode, just took away all the dramatic effect that the episode had managed to built up. I like the idea of them leaving and carrying on their lives, but we don't need it every week - what was the point of dropping them off last week to pick them up again this? And did we really need the random historical characters? I'm all for historical stories, and characters, but not used like this. I really think the Doctor needs to loose control of the TARDIS again and go back to not knowing where she's taking him. What's the betting these two don;t turn up again before the end of the season, or for the end of the season!

In summary, for me, an inconsequential episode. And I didn't like the use of innuendo, it just made me cringe, epsecially in an episode aimed so obviously at the kids. But credit where credit is due - the dinosaurs were good, and so was the spaceship (although why, if it was Silurian, wasn't it very, err, Silurian on the inside?).

Shame, I'm going to put this one down as a misinterpretation of Who events, and pretend that in my version of Who it all happened the same same but slightly differently! One of the advantages of being dillusional.

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