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Doctor Who XXXIII(7).2: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

September 9th, 2012 (10:50 am)

Everything I had to say (on first viewing) can be found here:

Doctor Who Reviews: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (review 2)

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/539858.html.


Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: September 9th, 2012 01:17 pm (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

Very interesting and more detailed than my instant response, which was "Four letters, rhymes with 'snap.'" Hopefully a slightly more detailed, less vulgar response in a day or two, but there really isn't much to say. Two episodes in and it's hard to remember that last year I was suggesting that the Moffat era could become my absolute favourite period of Doctor Who. Still, early days.

Did other people pick up on the endorsement of Ood slavery too or was it just me?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 9th, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC)

I don't think that it was just you regarding Ood slavery. The numbers of people saying they loved this story are alarming. On a second viewing I thought there were more positives, but they needed to be isolated from the whole to be appreciated, always a bad sign.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: September 9th, 2012 01:57 pm (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

Abigail thought it was hilarious, but I think our relationship can survive...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 9th, 2012 02:13 pm (UTC)

That's reassuring.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: September 9th, 2012 02:32 pm (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

I'm rather used to disliking stories other people like (e.g. Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, The Stolen Earth/Journey's End, The Keeper of Traken, Logopolis, The Tomb of the Cybermen etc.) and vice versa. She liked City of Death, which is the important thing!

Posted by: tigerfort (tigerfort)
Posted at: September 10th, 2012 09:54 am (UTC)

I missed the Ood mention (I was probably busy being annoyed about something else at the time). I did manage to find a couple of positives, but they were rather overwhelmed by the negatives. And the fact that one of them was "I didn't spot any vast gaping plot-holes" is more an indictment of other stories than a plaudit for "Dinosaurs".

I imagine it was great if you're six years old, but (a) I'm not and (b) I find the Doctor's increasing habit of acting as though he is to be very annoying. He's supposed to have a child-like inquisitiveness and enthusiasm, not act like Calvin. (He doesn't even have a tiger.)

Posted by: tigerfort (tigerfort)
Posted at: September 10th, 2012 09:55 am (UTC)

I closed that italic tag, dammit. I know I did.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 10th, 2012 10:01 am (UTC)

The Ood mention was back in Pond Life, the online prequel, where the Ponds gain an Ood butler, and it's all treated as a joke, rather betraying 'Planet of the Ood'.

I'm agreed that the Doctor's childlikeness is wearing, particularly because of the falsity of it. I hope it's one of the factors which disappears with the 'new Doctor' we are promised for the 2013 episodes.

Posted by: tigerfort (tigerfort)
Posted at: September 10th, 2012 10:34 am (UTC)

Ah, OK. Yes, I was very annoyed by the jokey Ood slavery in Pond life. I was pretty annoyed by PL overall, not least because it was a terrible waste of a good idea, but that bit did stand out rather.

(I usually distinguish between "child-like", which is good things, and "childish", which is bad things, in case that's useful to you. Not that I have these discussions a lot, or anything.)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 10th, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC)

That's a distinction which I very nearly made in an earlier comment!

Posted by: Matthew (emperor)
Posted at: September 10th, 2012 09:25 am (UTC)

I watched this straight after Asylum of the Daleks, and it was a bit of a let-down. There are too many new characters at once for us to really care about them, which meant that the plot never really quite achieved traction for me.

I remain annoyed that the departure of Amy and Rory has been leaked; the "actually, we want to go home now" felt a bit out of character.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 10th, 2012 09:33 am (UTC)

The reality of the acting profession, I suspect, means that the departure of Amy and Rory has to be announced, so that it's registered that the actors are available for work; it's also a selling point for the series, where the arc title 'The Fall of the Ponds' has been mentioned.

I agree with you on the let-down front, of course; I've been surprised by the enthusiasm with which the episode has been greeted in many quarters.

Posted by: tigerfort (tigerfort)
Posted at: September 10th, 2012 09:57 am (UTC)

Also, given the technical trickery required to get a surprise debut for the new companion, it would probably have been very public knowledge even if it hadn't been announced. Since Dr Who announcements can actually make the front page on a slow news day, I don't particularly blame the BBC for wanting all the press they can get.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 10th, 2012 07:33 pm (UTC)

The arrival of a new Doctor Who companion truly is an event in the national consciousness. The ambiguity of Jenna-Louise's introduction was carefully executed, down to her last 'Remember' and sideways look at the camera, which (as more than one person of a certain age has noted) harked back to those experts in filmed Blue Peter items who would join the presenters and say 'Goodbye' in a certain way, and then was unveiled as the new presenter between programmes... (a device used from Peter Purves in 1967, to Christopher Wenner in 1978, before it became too difficult to keep the identity of the new presenters secret from the press).

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: September 10th, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

Coincidence that Purves was Steven Taylor and Wenner had a part in The Awakening?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 10th, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
Hartnell words

Entirely! (Wenner was last heard of suffering from throat cancer - he is better known in some parts of the world, especially Timor-Leste, as the investigative journalist Max Stahl.)

Posted by: firin (firin)
Posted at: September 11th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)

I entirely agree with you.

I felt disengaged with both of the ancillary non-Ponds, due to the rushed feel of their introduction and rather sparse characterisation. Nefertiti was at least a Strong Woman, but of course she merely unfolded into Strong Woman Who Rushes Into Bed With The Nearest Red Blooded Man. Not so much a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, rather something quite unsavory.

The rest of the story unfolded at a similarily rushed pace, with a little too much forced comedy and slapstick for my liking. I mean, why escape on a dinosaur when you could run faster than it did on your own two legs?

The vaunted chemistry, on screen and off, between the Ponds and the Doctor seemed to have devolved into tired and jaded familiarity. I also felt that the Ponds own relationship with each other (having been improbably and magically fixed by a single exchange of dialogue in the previous story, but I could rant cynically about that for hours) seemed equally tired and jaded. Their line about wanting to go home wasn't a surprise in that context.

Lastly, the Doctor deliberately engineering someone's death - no matter how horrible the person and, let's face it, he has met FAR worse people previously - left me irritated and feeling let down. It was uncharacteristic, unnecessary and just...killed a little bit of what it means for the Doctor to be the Doctor.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 11th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)

We were very much getting an interpretation of what Moffat's 'Drama for a light entertainment slot' means, but not a very good one, I felt. I nearly mentioned 'Disneyfication', but couldn't work out what I meant and I was writing to a deadline... but Frank Collins at Cathode Ray Tube has used the term and expanded upon it, and he is worth reading.

Moments like Solomon's death make me wonder whether Chris Chibnall has learned the right lessons from mid-1980s Doctor Who.

Posted by: Andy (alitalf)
Posted at: September 12th, 2012 10:23 am (UTC)
The good, the bad, and the daft.

From my perspective, the engine room smacked me in the face the hardest. Wave power - but what powers the waves? There is a big difference between the (almost certainly) impossible plot elements such as time travel, for which the viewer may suspend disbelief, and the known to be impossible (and just plain daft), like wave power to run a spaceship.

I wouldn't like to say that someone could not think of a barely tolerable explanation to support just one episode, but the fact is that the script *didn't*.


Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 12th, 2012 12:03 pm (UTC)
Re: The good, the bad, and the daft.

That's a good point - the image was a strong one, but it didn't need to be justified as an engine room.

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: September 14th, 2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
Re: The good, the bad, and the daft.
Liz & Pertwee

Could just have been a habitat for the pterodactyls...although that would have made it nedessary to think of a clever way of getting the characters there.