Air Date: 8th September 2012
Writer: Chris Chibnall
The title alone tells you exactly the type of episode this will be. If you were expecting a huge 'Jurassic Park' type romp but with spaceships well, you've pretty much got it spot on. Okay so it's not really like that. The dinosaurs themselves are only supporting artists really, taking a sideline to the main plot of a mad collector named Solomon (played by David Bradley of 'Harry Potter' fame).
Arthur and Karen as Amy and Rory are back to being their usual selves and this, plus the addition of Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley in 'Harry Potter')who plays Rory's dad Brian and Matt's boundless energy as the Doctor certainly make this episode the lighter and softer follow up to 'Asylum of the Daleks'. Among this all-star cast is another BBC famous face, Rupert Graves (best known as DI Lestrade in 'Sherlock') playing a big game hunter (no prizes for guessing why he's around).
The plot doesn't quite match up to the premise of the episode however, with time spent exploring Rory's relationship with his dad which, though important, feels a bit out of place with the rest of the episode. The characters of Riddell and Queen Nefertiti do seem shoe-horned in and they don't really add much other than give Amy a chance to show off what she's learned from the Doctor.
The special effects are very good however, with each of the dinosaurs being as accurate as possible (the Velociraptors have feathers!) while still being close to the stereotypical images we all know. Admittedly, the Triceratops behaves a little less like you'd expect it to but that's all played for laughs at poor Brian's expense and is not actually a blanket behaviour for the species.
The Doctor makes a few questionable decisions that do fit in with the darker character Matt plays him as and indeed, has been playing him as since series six's 'A Good Man Goes To War'. This, combined with the in and out nature of the Ponds' travels with him, definitely puts the audience on edge as to what's going to happen in a few episodes time and alienates the Doctor enough that we can't really predict what he'll do any more.
Sandwiched between two drama filled episodes, 'Dinosaurs on a Spaceship' lightens the mood enough to get a lot of laughs but still keeps the underlying tension that runs through the series as we lead up to Amy and Rory's goodbye.
Next Review: A Town Called Mercy