Saturday, September 8, 2012

Doctor Who - Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (Some spoilers)

Dinosaurs On A Spaceship

Review by Ken Parker

For me to say that Asylum of the Daleks is everything that I like in Doctor Who may not be 100% accurate but it certainly had much that I liked and don't mind experiencing with the show. To say that Dinosaurs On A Spaceship is everything I DON'T hate in Doctor Who is probably a more accurate statement. WOW – It has been a while since I truly and fully hated an episode like this. I certainly had major problems with the last two seasons with many episodes being very much subpar or bad. Dinosaurs On A Spaceship made me angry, it made me shake my head and made me ill on every level.

I know, you are saying, if this kid a break, it is his first time writing a story. For those who don't know, the author of this story submitted this and won it in a contest. His story was then made into a Doctor Who episode........... oh, wait a minute, my mistake. It was written by Chris Chibnall (Torchwood: Countrycide).

The effects were good.
First off, take this episode and break it down – everything you see in this story I hate in Doctor Who. I already mentioned this but I say it again and it is true. The Doctor runs around collecting people from history – seen it before and it is childish and stupid writing. The Doctor is being hit on by the Egyptian Queen – yet again we see this happening again. Oh, and throw in the unknowing companion relative that is supposed to be a funny addition to the story – great. Now have that clever funny like dialog among the characters that viewers will confuse with real chemistry and humor. Throw in 'cool' scenes with the dinosaurs and you are on a roll. You have to have a message and a sad moment to make the bad guy seem worse and killable, okay, check but surrounding that with jokey 'humor' really derails any chance of this story being salvageable. Mr. Chibnall, thank you for delivering all of theses elements and pushing Russell T. Davies up on my worst new Doctor Who writer to second worst.

The effects were good.
Chris Chibnall may not be the most popular writer but he has done some good things. Not only did he work on Life on Mars (WOW, how did he get that job?) but he did write a couple of good Doctor Who episodes (42, The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood) and he did write a couple of okay Torchwood episodes. But he has written some horrible ones. Torchwood – Countrycide is responsible for a few of my friends giving up on Torchwood as I almost did.

Anyhow, the Doctor riding a dinosaur was the one moment I was least looking forward to and it turned out to be one of the least objectionable moments in the story. That is saying a lot!! I hated the flirty Queen and if I saw her in the end with the hunter as a couple, I was going to be justified in my decision – and I was – thank you!

Amy and Rory had no chemistry which was a shame because things worked so well in Asylum and speaking of that, how can we go from so good to so bad. That is Doctor Who for you. The guts of the story was pretty good actually – the idea that a Silurian ship survived and was now heading back to Earth but you mix in all of these bad ingredients and blast the horrible music and go back to the last two season's way to frantically present a story and there you have it, one of the worst Doctor Who stories of all time. I know, you were thinking it but I actually wrote it.

The robots were just awful and the entire story followed suite. Btw, why didn't the Doctor use his magic wand, uh, I mean sonic screwdriver to take out the robots. Anyhow, the juvenile level of writing for this story was very low. Chibnall's writing was less sophisticated and engaging than writing for Dino Dan on Nick Jr. Oh and he is writing another episode this season. Great!!!

I was really hoping the series had turned the corner and this episode found new ways to dig deeper into the levels of badness I did not think possible. I know many fans will love it because it has that crazy, no logic tone that people just allow dictate what is good or bad. At least the worst stories from last year did not have such a high level of camp and silliness.

I continue with some minor comments. Good that the production team is saving money with a spaceship with cobwebs and dust. I have expected to see a Dalek in the background, forgotten from the previous days shooting.

How long has this ship been traveling? How have the dinosaurs survived? Has it been millions of years? What is going on??

The effects were good... there I said a few good things about  this episode
I have already spent too much time on this. I have taken a break from my writing to read others on our blog and found much of their criticisms to be valid. I do try to recognize things that are good in bad stories but I feel there is nothing much to bring up. Oh, yea, my favorite part was when the power went off at my house for a few minutes while watching the episode. This gave me time to think about whether to continue to watch this or just cut my losses right then and there. I did watch the rest and will regret this decision forever.

Please, please, can the rest of the series be more like Asylum? Or are we going to continue with the pattern and have only one excellent story a season?

EDIT - what was up with those postcards.  That was the worse photoshop job I have ever seen and the final one - was that artwork?  It looked so fake.

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