Doctor Who Series 7: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

by Helena Baker

I have, let’s be politically correct and say, a scientifically curious friend, who if provoked will explain ad nauseam the long list of scientific inaccuracies in Doctor Who. How the mere fact that Doctor Who exists breaks all the rules of physics because there is no such thing as the time vortex, and the closest analogy is ‘time dragging.’ If you were unfortunate enough to be near this phenomenon it would pull you apart atom by atom.

However, I have stoically stood by my beloved Doctor. I’ve even forgiven the weird hybrid pig-human race and the ‘retro’ Daleks from previous series (frankly I have had significantly scarier maths classes). But even I am shocked by the absurdity of the latest series of Doctor Who.  Matt Smith has finally gotten into his stride and is believable as a 909 year old Lord of Time.  He is even challenging the great, magnificent, resplendence of David Tennant (I was a bit of a fan). There seems to be some chemistry between Rory (Arthur Darvill) and Amy (Karen Gillan) but the plot is falling apart at the seams.

The first episode of the season could be seen either as a potentially promising start or a stark reminder that without the writing genius of Russell T Davies, the show is on a downward trajectory.  This week’s offering was terrible, pure and simple.   We had dinosaurs, the Doctor, his faithful companions which included an Egyptian queen and an Indiana Jones inspired figure (whose borderline sexism and barrage of euphemisms didn’t stop him getting the girl), incredibly strange robots, and an even stranger ‘baddie.’ If anyone is interested, which I frankly can’t imagine you are; if the eco-system was right the dinosaurs did not pose a scientific problem, although the sea within the spaceship is harder to explain.

Obviously, no-one is really watching Doctor Who for the science, so I will return to the plot.  Considering it was entitled ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’ it was, unsurprisingly, neither imbued with much sense, or a great deal of coherence. Admittedly, there were funny moments, and even some touching ones between Rory and his father (Mark Williams).  However, these were easily outnumbered by the moments spent squinting at the screen with a similar feeling to the one I have when people tell me of their daring escapades up hill and through the snow to reach Klute –  I just didn’t get it.

I fear that Stephen Moffat has gone a tad too far with the basic principle of writing for Doctor Who. Just because one can transcend the boundaries of time and space, just as one can trek to Klute in the winter, it certainly does not mean one should.

Photograph: BBC

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