Since I mostly find big dumb two-parters somewhat tiresome it is a bit difficult to pinpoint why I think this story works when so many similar stories don't. I'm sure the fact it doesn't outstay its welcome helps, as do the dinosaurs. But, to a certain extent, this is worth it just for Rory's dad and so I think the key is that it is aware that it is ridiculous. It's called Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and it does exactly what it says on the tin.
We made tame layman watch this. He missed the start of series 7 first time around so we actually made him watch both this and Asylum of the Daleks. He thought Asylum was good but wasn't particularly excited by it, but he enjoyed Dinosaurs on a Spaceship a great deal even though (as a professional dinosaur type) he thought the triceratops was a little small.
Once you accept this is a silly story, there is a great deal to like here: Brian Williams; Neferti and Riddel; the triceratops; Amy with companions; I could go on.
In this context the ending in which the Doctor deliberately condemns Solomon to death is jarring and I was interested that NLSS Child instantly picked up on this - "but the Doctor doesn't do that". Tame Layman, interestingly, liked it. I think that honestly deciding to get rid of someone who was dangerous and unrepentant was better than all Ten's false choices in which he offers a route out before revealing that he has the upper hand and condemning someone or something to death. I think Tame Layman's response is more informed by the ethics of working with experimental animals. He felt that, given we have no problems seeing the Doctor condemn Daleks or Cybermen to death, we should have no compunction over him condemning even humans to death. At any rate, surprising as the Doctor's treatment of Solomon is, I don't think it undoes the charm of the rest of the story.
*Shrug* There are dinosaurs on a spaceship and, in that context, the family is very, very easy to please.
This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/171365.html.