It's actually quite rare that I find a story so bland and useless that it has no value to me, but this happened to be one of those delightful stories. The horrifically gimmicky title promised so many things, and of course the well-worn destructive hands of Chris Chibnall failed to do anything with any form of competancy whatsoever. Dinosaurs In A Spaceship was never actively offensive (except with certain gender politics issues that the show's been suffering from recently,) but it did fail on nearly every level - as entertainment, as drama and, most importantly, as Doctor Who.
|The Doctor has a "gang" which means the standard, "I'm Chris Chibnall,|
look at me create a load of hollow side-characters" thing.
The episode's incredibly rushed pace also leant to it it's biggest weakness - none of the characters seemed to have a real reason to be there, and their convenient uses felt more contrived than deliberate. I have enjoyed Chibnall's work before on Life On Mars and one or two episodes of Torchwood, but here it didn't even feel like his writing; more the combined ramblings of an over-excited five-year-old and someone desperately unaware of what the series is. Had this been an episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures... I might have understood. But it was just so empty of any meaning or themology - it didn't even try to say anything or do anything particularly interesting.
So what do you do if you can't do anything interesting? Hey, let's replace it with annoying! First of all are the Mitchell and Webb robots, whose dialogue is absolutely excruciating and belongs more in a parody of science fiction than anything else. Then there's the issue of gender politics, which is treated as subtlely as we've come to expect of Moffat Who - Solomon treats Queen Nefetiti like an object (literally,) Amy has to tell of the misogynistic Riddell, it's all stuff we've seen before, done better. The humour, especially from Mark Williams' character, was incredibly crude and mindless, and I had notable flashbacks to The Dark Times of Red Dwarf. The dinosaurs were either really bag CGI or useless animatronics, and they played such a little part in the story that it feels like the Let's Kill Hiter title fiasco all over again.
|The only decent thing in the episode was Amy's writing,|
which is miles better than under Moffat. Shame the same
couldn't be said of all the other characters.
In his element, Chibnall is not a bad writer, but when it comes to this show he has a track record of producing complete and utter tosh. Dinosaurs On A Spaceship continues this track record with ferver, and makes me very, very nervous not only for the fourth episode of this series, also written by him, but also for the rumours that Chibnall is being lined up to Moffat's successor. If this episode is anything to go by, I won't be tuning in. It was crude, heartless and completely pedestrian despite the abnormality of its premise, and that is the greatest failing of all.