Posts Tagged With: dinosaurs on a spaceship

Have I Got Whos For You (Seasonal Edition)

This week: Doctor Who meets The League of Gentlemen, or rather doesn’t.

Elsewhere, here’s River Song, enjoying an afternoon on the beach with her grandfather.

As Hey Duggee launches a new space-themed episode, the inspiration for the titular dog’s costume is obvious.

And yes, I know the tweed-coated academic look precedes 2011. But there must have been a point in the animation studios where someone said “Hey, he looks like the Eleventh Doctor!”

Finally, Brianofmorbius duly launches its own version of Elf on the Shelf:

Well, it’s sort of Christmassy.

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Have I Got Whos For You (part 48)

This week in Whovania: in Mashups We’d Like To See, here’s Harry and his Bucketful of Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.

A leaked promotional still from the BBC reveals what actually happened after the end of ‘Boom Town’.

And here’s a never-before-seen publicity shot of Count Olaf, Robbie Rotten and the Master looking for disguises in a costume shop.

Well, even supervillains have to go shopping, right?

 

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Happy Towel Day

Well, close enough.

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Doctor Hurt

It’s been far too long since we had a video, and today I bring you not one, but two.

There’s a catch, of course. They’re two different versions of the same piece, presented in two different forms for reasons I will shortly divulge. But the lesson you need to take from this today is that less is sometimes more. There’s a reason why ‘Midnight’ is one of my favourite episodes of series four, and the first instalment of ‘The Ark in Space’ is one of the best twenty minutes of 1970s television. Budget problems have cursed Doctor Who for decades, but doing things on the cheap does allow for inspired bouts of creativity in the right hands.

Anyway. That John Hurt chap. Who is he, and does anyone really care? Well, I don’t, because whatever they do with him he will be chronically underused. Hiring big names and giving them nothing to do seems to be the hallmark of series seven (cf. Richard E. Grant, David Warner, Diana Rigg) and already there is a shedload of speculation about whether John Hurt is playing the Ninth Doctor, an aged version of the Eighth, the Valeyard or even the very First Doctor, mostly in the form of lazy, semi-coherent YouTube vlogs recorded on badly-positioned webcams. Cue a hundred comments underneath, most of which involve poor spelling and a smattering of bad language, and that’s just the ones that bother talking about the show.

The short answer is we don’t know, and it’ll probably be disappointing – so instead of looking forward, I looked backward. Because it occurred to me, almost as soon as the episode aired, that Mr Hurt’s tied to certain visual images, at least in my head. One of them is the shot of him sitting in a car with Jason Priestley in the poster for Love and Death on Long Island. Another is the time he lampooned his role in Alien by giving birth to a singing extra-terrestrial baby, in a scene which parodies both Ridley Scott and Michigan J. Frog. And the third? Well, that would be Whistle and I’ll Come To You.

Those of you who’ve followed my video posts from the outset will recall that I’ve talked about Whistle and I’ll Come To You before. It was, indeed, the very programme that kick-started this little hobby, and revisiting it in the last week or two seemed oddly circular. If you haven’t seen it, you really should, largely because it’s utterly terrifying: there is no CGI, no overwrought score, and only a bare bones cast, with Andy De Emmony favouring slow buildups and long, dialogue-free passages where Hurt sits brooding in his hotel room or imagines he’s seen a ghost on the beach. It is apparently vastly inferior to the 1968 version, which I really should get round to seeing, but as a ghost story in its own right it’s minimalist and thoroughly successful, largely as a result of leaving so many questions unanswered come the closing credits.

This basically came about because of ‘The God Complex’, a similarly creepy episode of New Who, which manages to tease out the suspense by keeping the minotaur largely hidden for most of the story (it’s only in the closing minutes, with the final deconstruction of the hotel and the tacked-on epilogue, that the episode is in danger of unravelling). No one ever found out what was in the Doctor’s room, but for me the answer was apparent more or less the moment that John Hurt turned round at the end of series seven. It just seemed an obvious gag. Then I tried to turn it into a video, and all hell broke loose.

In the first instance, this was suffering from lack of clear direction. If you could use Whistle… as a basis for that hotel scene, why not stop there? Why not stick in footage from more of Hurt’s performances? And so I thumbed through the DVD collection to see what I could find. I’d envisaged him landing on LV-426 in his space suit and encountering David Tennant in ‘The Satan Pit’, or Matt Smith in ‘Hide’. Then I remembered that Fox are notoriously picky about what they allow online (YouTube footage from Alien, in particular, seems to be pretty sparse). Or I’d thought of him running into Daleks during his death scene in Hellboy, except that this sequence is compiled chiefly from over-the-shoulder angles that make it obvious he’s being interrogated by Karel Roden. There is an earlier scene which showed promise, but at this point I was bored with the idea.

Then there’s Harry Potter. Specifically there’s the bit  in Deathly Hallows Part II when Harry interrogates Ollivander in the upstairs bedroom of Shell Cottage. Which is fine, if you can find something suitable with which to match it. But all I wound up doing was wrecking emotionally laden scenes from ‘Blink’ and ‘Vincent and the Doctor’. So I gave up, and concentrated exclusively on Whistle…, which features various bedroom scenes (and that sounds far more kinky than it actually is, unless you’re mysteriously turned on by vanishing rugs and hammering on the door, which indicates you have a bedroom farce fetish). There are also a couple of beach sequences, which lent themselves to obvious throwbacks to – well, you’ve seen it now, so there’s no need to elaborate.

Except. Except! Our poor Mr Hurt spends half his time running away from ghosts when he’s on that beach. And I immediately thought of the pterodactyls-that-aren’t-really-pterodactyls in ‘Dinosaurs’. So I stuck that in as well, and then found that the lighting was completely off key, suggesting that they filmed that scene in the middle of winter. What you can see in the video at the bottom of this post is footage that’s had the brightness cranked up and the colour saturated, and even then it doesn’t look great. But I ran with it, because it basically hung together, by the skin of its teeth. The beach and hotel room scenes didn’t seem quite enough, at least not where the rule of three was concerned, so I added a bit where Hurt climbs the stairs and comes face to face with a Weeping Angel.

And it doesn’t really work. I mean, it sort of does. But I don’t have a clue what it’s doing there. Really, it should have been Hurt coming face to face with another Doctor, who stared back – a silent Mexican standoff. Or perhaps Gabriel Woolf in a gorilla mask. The whole thing felt rather flabby, and Gareth said so when I let him see the preview. “It would work better without the Angel,” he said (and I’m paraphrasing), “because I don’t see the point of it. And it’s confusing having the two Doctors stepping out of the TARDIS, and then seeing the Eleventh turn up. And there’s a jarring contrast in lighting between the dinosaur scenes and the John Hurt scenes.”

And he’s right, of course. So I uploaded a leaner version, and that’s probably what I’ll wind up using in emails and other plugs. Nonetheless, the original stays, and is accessible below, because it gives an idea of what I was trying to do – an experiment that didn’t quite work. Paradoxically Gareth and I were talking just last week about some of the extras on the 2 Entertain Doctor Who DVDs, and how some of them contain single jokes that are stretched to breaking point (a notable example of this being The Elusive David Agnew). And that’s something I could have done with remembering here. Sometimes if you scale things back, they’re far more effective.

Still. Dinosaurs. On a beach!

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Title mash

I mean, I don’t know why I never thought of it before.

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Eggwatch, Part 2

Following on from last week’s realisation that this season’s arc is all about eggs, here’s the egg stuff from ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’.

To be precise:

And, just to confirm, here’s the shot of that sleeping dinosaur, right next to…

There we go. I think they’re dinosaur eggs, anyway. They could be really, really big sugared almonds.

Those of you who saw the episode will recall that this was the scene were Amy explores the facility with the pointless supporting characters who will turn up in a random scene next spring Nefertiti and Riddell. I do wish there were some way to make this more interesting and amusing, but I am fresh out of ideas today. To compensate, here’s a picture of a panda trying to water ski.

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What really happened after ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’

…And here, courtesy of snobbery, is where Brian Pond went on his travels. With the Weasleys.

(Thanks sj!)

 

 

Categories: New Who | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

God is in the detail (i)

“Just for fun, I scanned the script to see how many times the letter K appears. The letter K appears in this script 1,456 times. That’s perfectly divisible by 3.”
“So what’re you saying?”
“What am I saying? KKK appears in this script 486 times!”

(Kit Ramsey, Bowfinger)

You must remember this.

Specifically? It’s that scene in ‘Flesh and Stone’ where the Doctor appears in a jacket that he’d recently lost, in order to reassure Amy that she has to start trusting him. It set the internet buzzing. Many people thought it was nothing but a continuity error. Others – quite sensibly – reasoned that Doctor Who was too intricately produced to allow something so major to slip through unnoticed, and that the presence of the jacket was thus of importance. And, of course, it was, because it’s not the same Doctor: it’s a future occurrence of him, popping back through his own timeline just before he’s wiped from the universe. After ‘Flesh and Stone’, viewers were keen to see if it would happen again, and out-of-time appearances from the Doctor were apparently present throughout the series, if you look.

Arc signposting under Davies was always a fairly clunky affair. It was milked to death in the early part of his reign with the Bad Wolf / Torchwood / Saxon stuff – oh, and (courtesy of Gareth) this:

“What was his final whispered message, Doctor?”
“He said, ‘Maybe A Second Timelord Exists Really.'”
“But what could that mean?!”

The Face of Boe got another token nod right at the end of the third series, of course, thanks to a particularly clumsy dialogue exchange where Jack says “By the way, and as a complete non-sequitur, did I mention that when I was a model, they used to call me THE FACE OF BOE? Just thought I’d bring that up. And I’ll leave the conversation dangling right there“. In 2008 we had series four, and viewers were treated to nine episodes of “There is something on your back” (which wasn’t even true, because it’s only sitting on her back in an alternate timeline), and the cryptic “She is returning”, which presumably should have been followed by “to the dental surgeon”. Moffat has continued the run, with games of spot-Amy’s-crack forming the highlights of many blog discussions for series five, but he’s taken it one step further and left us clues that are not only there for the taking but that we’re actively encouraged to seek out and discover and talk about every week.

Changing viewing habits is a part of it. In the days before video, Doctor Who couldn’t afford to run storylines that demanded a second viewing before you even understood them, let alone picked up on the details. But these days, hardly anyone watches live: in my house we’re all too busy putting the kids to bed on a Saturday. The dependence on TiVo has been exploited to its fullest potential with anything Moffat produces these days – anyone who has seen the end of the second Sherlock series will recall that it climaxes with the apparently impossible, but Moffat has insisted in post-show interviews that ‘the clues are there’, indicating that we should all go back to the DVD rips and scan through until we find them. The same thing occurs in Who, with various things that you don’t always notice first time. I, for one, did not notice the jacket until it was pointed out to me. But again, I missed Rose’s appearance in ‘The Poison Sky’, at least the first time. Perhaps I just don’t pay attention.

The problem is that many of the clues are frankly silly, or obscure. For example, at the end of ‘Night Terrors’, Amy and Rory are reunited with the Doctor, who remarks “Well, here we are again…in the flesh”. At a basic level, this refers to Amy’s transformation into a doll (and back), but given the episode’s original sequencing (it was supposed to occur in the first half of the series just before the Gangers story*) it’s almost certainly a not-so-covert reference to Amy’s abduction by The Silence. Or it could have just been a coincidence. The Silence remark that she has “been here many days” just before the Doctor rescues her in ‘Day of the Moon’, which implies that she was replaced by a Ganger Amy when she was kidnapped by them in the orphanage, and then taken back in time, but the other school of thought was that this happened earlier, before the series even started. The point is you don’t know, so you either run yourself into the ground trying to work it out, or you just dismiss the lot as unnecessary silliness and try and enjoy the show without feeling the need to concentrate on all the hints. The problem is that Moffat has written drama and actively asked us to analyse it for clues he’s inserted – often at the expense of the narrative – and the more we do so, the less sense it makes.

Years ago, there was another drama that was supposedly full of ‘clues’. It was called Twin Peaks, and it did it much better, because it was a murder mystery and the clues, when they arrived, were transparent and important and discussed by the characters rather than left solely for the viewer. There was plenty going on, but there was appropriate pacing (some episodes might even have been called sedate) and – up until the time Laura’s killer was unmasked – there was consistency and momentum. On the other hand, I watched Twin Peaks in my early twenties, when I was a carefree arts student with a multitude of unfilled hours in which I could read through the alt.tv newsgroup digests and plough through the books and rewind and fast-forward through the rented VHS tapes I’d got from Blockbuster. These days, I simply don’t have the time to analyse Who to the extent that the chief writer seems to expect of his would-be-serious viewers. I just want a story. At least with Davies you knew you’d just get that, even if half the time it was dreadful.

Bearing all this in mind, then, here is the opening instalment of a new series: my list of trivial things in the last two episodes THAT WILL TURN OUT TO BE IMPORTANT. Some are more trivial than others. BUT THEY WILL ALL TURN OUT TO BE IMPORTANT.

‘Asylum of the Daleks’

Here’s a rotating ballerina from Oswin’s ‘shuttle’. As the shuttle exists in Oswin’s head, this is a particular memory that she’s retained: as such it is clearly IMPORTANT. Presumably when the Doctor meets Clara, when he travels back to Victorian London, she will turn out to be a ballerina.

Right, here’s Amy. In a photoshoot. With the word ‘HATE’ written on one hand. She has ‘LOVE’ written on the other, but it’s the ‘HATE’ we see first. A recurring theme of this series will thus be the Doctor wrestling with his capacity to forgive and redeem versus his ability to destroy without remorse, as epitomised in the closing scenes of ‘Dinosaurs’ where he leaves Solomon to a grisly, missile-up-the-arse fate. Also note that Amy has hair that looks a bit like River Song. This cannot be a coincidence.

Ah. Oswin. And notice what looks like a red flower in her hair. This is clearly significant. Perhaps when the Doctor eventually encounters Clara, she won’t be a ballerina but will be a simple flower-seller who dreams of becoming a ballerina. And I’m no horticulturalist, but doesn’t that flower look rather like a Rose….?

Finally, here’s the Doctor looking at his watch. This is clearly IMPORTANT as he’s obviously waiting for a past occurrence of himself that he knows is already there to finish some kind of technical trickery behind the scenes elsewhere in the Parliament.

—-

‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’

Here’s that broken light. It’s not the bulb. It might be the fitting. But it is clearly IMPORTANT that this light is broken. What did the Weeping Angels do in ‘Blink’ when they wanted to cross the cellar? That’s right, they turned out the lights. Just you wait. You’ll see.

Brian and his balls. He has two golf balls, and we are led to believe that this is so that Chris Chibnall can make a silly joke. But it is obviously significant that he only loses one of them. That second golf ball is going to turn up later in the series at a crucial moment, probably when Rory has had all knowledge of his father wiped from his brain before finding the ball in his pocket, at which point the light bulb will come on – or at least the one in his head.

Queen Nefertiti. Notice that she is wearing headgear that LOOKS A BIT LIKE THE TARDIS. We know that she and Riddell will turn up in a crowd-pleasing walk-on later in the series when the Doctor presumably assembles another band of people we don’t really know in order to do something dazzling, but there’s more to it than that. Could she be another incarnation of the Rani?

Postcards from Brian. Note the one in Rio. WITH A STATUE.

I rest my case.

* Apparently this was done to improve sequencing. ‘Night Terrors’ was considered too similar to ‘Curse of the Black Spot’ in the first half, presumably owing to the fact that as Gareth pointed out, the pirate story has people who are seemingly killed when dragged off somewhere else, in which we think “Oh no!” when Amy and Rory ‘die’, and which ends with a dreary father and son scene. So they moved it next to ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’, in which Amy and Rory are miniaturised and menaced by automaton creatures, the Doctor resolves a few parent-child issues and a nasty thing gets shut in the wardrobe.

Categories: God is in the Detail, New Who | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Review: ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’

Watching ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’ was, I thought this morning, rather like ordering the mixed starters in a Chinese restaurant. Rather than offering us a coherent narrative, Chris ‘mixed episodes of Torchwood’ Chibnall offered up a platter of random elements which more or less fit together. It was a stark contrast to last week, which at least tried to be consistent (even if it was dull). Chibnall didn’t even try here: there was, instead, a series of comedy vignettes loosely strung together by a frayed piece of string that we might call a plot. It was forty-odd minutes of insanity. And – let’s get this out of the way – I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This one was plugged as Snakes on a Plane, without the plane, or the snakes. Such comparisons are inevitable but not really fair: the snakes, in David Ellis’s 2007 misfire, are the whole point of the film, whereas the dinosaurs in this installment of Who, while impressive, are a McGuffin of comparatively little importance. Because what this episode is really about is Rory’s Dad. It had to happen: we’ve had two and a half years of the Ponds managing more or less by themselves, with Amy’s parents resurrected at the end of series five only to vanish into complete obscurity, while her husband hasn’t even got a look-in until now. Credit should go to Moffat for keeping away from the soap opera family sagas that dogged Davies’ run, but perhaps it’s the very absence of detail that’s made me curious: who is Rory’s family? Does he have one? Last night, we sort of found out.

After a madcap opening which saw us go from ancient Egypt to the plains of Africa, which echoed ‘A Good Man Goes To War’ and which, I feared, was setting us up for a catastrophic fall from grace, we visit the Ponds. Some time has elapsed since ‘Asylum of the Daleks’, and Rory’s dad, Brian Pond Williams, is fixing a light bulb, which is something that Rory apparently can’t do himself. Brian’s a gruff, grumpy character quite unlike Arthur Weasley (who, for some reason, I somehow expected him to be playing) – quite stunned to find himself suddenly inside the TARDIS, which has materialised around them all. The Doctor takes everyone into the bowels of a colossal spacecraft “the size of Canada” (which enables them to go from beaches to jungles to grimy steel without worrying about the tone) and immediately jumps on Brian, before getting cross with Rory for bringing him along, much to Rory’s annoyance.

It’s all a bit Byzantium, isn’t it?

No one has time to be grumpy for long, because that’s when the main door opens, and we find out what the vessel is being used for. “Dinosaurs!” exclaims the Doctor. “On a SPACESHIP!” Which would be a wonderful reveal to take us into the opening credits, were it not for the fact that a) it’s the episode title, b) it’s been on all the promotional posters, c) it’s been flogged to death in the press releases.

So much for spoilers. There was at least one surprise in store, although given Chibnall’s Who-related history perhaps we should have seen it coming: the ship is an ark formerly piloted by the Silurians (presumably to escape the disaster that wiped out the dinosaurs, which the Doctor really should remember). Unfortunately, the one Silurian actually present in the episode is visible on camera in a thirty-second pre-recorded video, which we can’t really see properly anyway because Amy is blocking the view, and that’s yer lot. I know that the new Silurians shamelessly rip off V (at least physically; otherwise we’re in chicken and egg territory), but it’s hard not to feel a bit cheated. Perhaps more surprising is the revelation that it’s pronounced ‘sy-loor-ian’, which means I’ve been saying it wrong all these years. At first I thought Amy was bringing a Scottish lilt to things, in the manner of Kevin Lindsay’s mispronunciation of ‘Sontaran’ in ‘The Time Warrior’, but apparently not. Still, I suppose the occasional clanger on my part is to be expected when you do your Who correspondence over the internet.

Make the most of this. There won’t be any more.

There are no Silurians hanging around because, as it turns out, they’ve all been killed by the evil Solomon, who is nursing his injuries in a shuttle hidden in the depths of the ship. Solomon is played with sinister flair by David Bradley, recently seen in Harry Potter.

Specifically –

You can almost hear the phone call.

“David? It’s Keith. Got something. They want you to play an evil trader in Doctor Who. The writer describes it as ‘Half businessman, half Somali pirate’.”
“Sounds fun.”
“There’s a problem: They blew the entire costume budget on CGI and they want you to bring your own outfit. Do you still have the Filch costume?”
“Yes, as it happens. Warner Brothers didn’t want it for the museum. Apparently sadistic caretakers just aren’t glam enough for the displays.”
“Every cloud, though.”

On the other hand…

Well, we could be here all day.

In the absence of any other plan, the gang (as the Doctor refers to them – “It’s new”) – decide to split up and look for clues. It’s not entirely on purpose; an inconvenient teleport zaps Rory, Brian and the Doctor down to Glamorgan, only as it turns out they haven’t actually left the ship – the beach is nothing but an enormous engine, as we discover when the Doctor asks them to dig, and Brian inexplicably (but amusingly) produces a trowel from his pockets, in much the same manner as Mick pulls out salt and pepper from his jacket in The Caretaker. Or, on the other hand –

These scenes are really designed to give the three men a chance to Be Funny together, which – to be fair – they manage quite successfully. Smith seems to have regained his sense of humour after last week, boyishly declaring “I’m going to look at rocks!” before wandering off, although it isn’t long before they’re back and looking at a swanky computer screen.

We have to overlay it like this, of course, to make it really obvious that they’re looking at a screen.

While the Three Stooges are running away from pterodactyls, Amy has the rather tedious job of wandering round the rest of the ship, stumbling across a sleeping dinosaur that can’t be much bigger than a rhino before musing “At best guess, a tyrannosaurus rex”, suggesting that either she doesn’t know her dinosaurs or it was just a really, really small one. Her main role in this episode, however, consists of interacting with the two supporting characters, both of whom are there to provide crucial narrative support at one particular moment, rendering the rest of their appearance entirely pointless.

Riddell. The only Riddell here is ‘What the hell is he doing in this story? Really?’

Amy deals with this by having the two of them argue about gender politics, before drawing their attention to the screen.

There’s something awfully familiar about this.

It really is mind-numbingly tedious. And so is Amy, who seems to have been so drastically rewritten this series it makes me wonder what on earth I saw in her the first place. Last week she was laughing in the face of danger; this week she’s pressing buttons, because apparently that’s the sort of thing the Doctor does. Rarely has Karen Gillan had me looking at my watch, and it isn’t really her fault, but for the first time last night I found myself grateful that we’re facing the imminent departure of the Ponds.

Meanwhile, the Doctor et al. appear to have met a triceratops, which, in This Week’s Funny Moment, slobbers all over Brian.

Which, in turn, calls to mind this little moment of comedy gold.

The triceratops, of course, behaves exactly like a dog, adhering to dinosaur film principle #1: any herbivorous creature must be friendly, sweet and not in the least intimidated by humans. The canine-like behaviour extends to the point that it runs to fetch the golf balls that Brian throws for it. The whole thing is very silly, but it’s hard not to raise a smile when the Doctor, Rory and Brian leap on its back and gallop through the halls of the spaceship, or feel a pang of sadness when Solomon and his robotic cronies subsequently gun it down.

Tally ho, and all that. Apologies for the blurring.

Ah, yes. Those robots. I have no idea what the casting directors were playing at here, but bringing in Mitchell and Webb was a mistake: amusing for one line, when David Mitchell faces down the Doctor and says “We’re very cross with you”, and then swiftly grating. (Besides, if we’re going with hulking monstrosities with silly voices, Suburban Commando got there first.) Reduced to a one-scene cameo with amusing dialogue this could have been another celebrity cameo in the manner of Billy Crystal in The Princess Bride, or Bill Bailey in ‘The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe’. As it stands, their pre-recorded patter swiftly becomes tiresome: the robots-behaving-like-children thing ages faster than Sara Kingdom at the end of ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’, and Mitchell saying “You’re going straight to the naughty step” would have been funny if he hadn’t said more or less exactly the same thing to Webb in the Mac advert campaign.

The ship is still speeding towards Earth, where the military has No Choice But To Shoot It Down, despite the Doctor’s reassurances that everything is OK. The ethical ‘dilemma’ as faced by the Earth is epitomised by the pained look of one particular commander.

Because even Indian people experience angst.

Up on the ship, the Doctor has a plan, but he has time to chat to Amy first and reassure her that he’ll never leave her. “You’ll be there until the end of me,” he promises, to which Amy quips “Or vice versa”. This grants the Doctor the opportunity to give her a Very Serious and Worried Look.

Said look is presumably designed to dangle the prospect of Amy’s death in front of our noses until ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’, in which Moffat will reveal that it was all a bluff just before he actually kills Rory.

Speaking of death, the end of the episode sees some dubious moral choices: the Doctor saves the dinosaurs by freeing Solomon’s ship, allowing him to escape, but reversing the signal so that the missiles pursue him instead of the dinosaurs. It’s technically possible for him to escape, just as it was technically possible for Johnny to have escaped at the end of Mad Max, but this is the closest the Doctor’s come to outright murder in a while, and it’s not a comfortable place for him to be. Meanwhile, Riddell the hunter has taken care of the approaching velociraptors – with the help of Amy, who has inexplicably developed fantastic shooting skills in the same manner that washerwomen and market traders develop chorographical skills in musical numbers. This is an excuse for another bit of fancy gunplay, as rather than take a side of the room and stick to it the two embark on a dazzling display of shooting-past-each-other, while finishing – as Gareth pointed out – in the middle of the room, whereas standing right by the door would surely have been the safer option. Riddell is, of course, using tranquilisers, which absolves him of moral responsibility so presumably we won’t feel bad when he heads back to Africa and starts shooting real animals again.

Things have thankfully come on a bit since ‘Invasion’.

Brian gets to be a hero, piloting the ship out of danger with the help of his son, although Chibnall missed a trick here – there was the potential for more banter in the manner of parent-child driving lessons, but instead all we get is Williams shouting “I’M FLYING A SPACESHIP”. Nonetheless, he’s the focus of the nicest scene in the episode, which consists of nothing more than a quiet sandwich lunch (with Thermos) at the open door of the TARDIS, looking out over the Earth. It’s wordless, understated and really rather lovely.

Brian’s experience on the ship, of course, has given him the travel bug, and one of the final images in the episode is Amy and Rory’s kitchen wall, adorned with photoshopped postcards of his excursions. Well, being chased by pterodactyls and getting shot by robots is one way of curing hodophobia. It does rather recall the subplot in Amelie where the titular heroine gets her father out of the house by kidnapping his gnome.

This was cliched, hackneyed and immediately obvious from the moment they first appeared on screen together.

For all its structural issues and inconsistencies, ‘Dinosaurs’ was a riot. It was silly, and outrageous, miscast and occasionally poorly written. It was also very, very hard to dislike (and I wanted to. I really did). Because stories like this need to be fun, in the way that Snakes on a Plane wasn’t. Regular readers here may remember that a couple of months ago I predicted that ‘Dinosaurs’ would be rubbish. And I stand by that, because it was, but it was a fun, silly, highly amusing sort of rubbish, and so in many ways not really rubbish at all. Perhaps it was the Chardonnay, but I enjoyed last night’s Who more than any other I’ve seen since 2010. That can’t be a bad thing.

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