Review: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

WARNING: There may be spoilers ahead

Last night, the second episode of the new Doctor Who series was aired. It starred Harry Potter alumni Mark Williams and David Bradley. I won’t go through the entire story this time, like I did with Asylum of the Daleks, as that makes for really long posts. I’ll do that for more plot-integral episodes only.

First of all, I think all the characters in the Doctor’s gang were great. We had John Riddell, a turn-of-the-century explorer of the African Bush, along with Queen Nefertiti of Egypt. Their personalities clashing made for some good lighthearted scenes, which fit the tone of this episode in general.

It has been ten months since the Doctor last saw Amy and Rory, and this time Rory’s dad gets brought along. I think Mark Williams plays the character of the bumbling old man quite well. He is a cheerful and funny old man (not very unlike Wilfred Mott, in fact) who has sort of been dragged into the situation.

The monsters promised in the episode are, of course, dinosaurs. I think it was a nice throwback to the Classic Who days, but dinosaurs don’t really fit the New Who series. Luckily, dinosaurs only played a small role in this episode. The real antagonist, Solomon (played by David Bradley), is a trapped space trader who is looking to make a profit from the creatures aboard. He, too, is portrayed very well, with a little bit of spooky selfishness which comes with being trapped on the ship for too long.

Although Riddell and Nefertiti’s flirting was a little unnecessary, I thought that the characters were well managed. Where this episode misses out is the story. While there is a nice backstory featuring the destruction of the Silurians by Solomon to get their cargo, this is a rather silly episode. The dinosaurs really changed the tone from what could have been an eerie story about a trader who would do anything to save himself, to a kiddish run-away-from-the-dinosaurs episode.

I still thought that this was a good episode. The beauty of Doctor Who is that the episodes each have their own theme, and we haven’t really seen a good silly one from Moffat (except maybe the Craig Owens episodes). This episode will no doubt balance the series, since we know there are darker episodes ahead.

What do you think about this episode? Did you like Mark Williams’ portrayal of Rory’s dad? Tell us in the comments!

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