Serial Review: Invasion of the Dinosaurs (Season 11)
“Invasion of the Dinosaurs” is much maligned for the quality (or lack thereof) of it’s special effects, and rightly so. The dinosaurs were probably a bit overly ambitious for its time, but as far as I’m concerned this is still a really strong serial. After being deeply disappointed by “The Time Warrior” (see The Raggedy Podcast Episode #008) I wasn’t expecting much from this. I ended up being pleasantly surprised, though. This is the great Malcolm Hulke’s last script for the show, and although it is no “The Silurians,” I really enjoyed it.
The Doctor and Sarah Jane return to modern England to find all of London deserted except for some looters. They are mistaken to be among those stealing from the abandoned homes, and arrested, just as they begin to see that dinosaurs are the cause of the problems in London. The first part is perfectly directed and written to build the mood and sense of impending doom despite the sparcity of the score. It’s abnormally well-paced for the era.
Malcolm Hulke wrote characters like no one else while he was on Doctor Who; there is never a clear good or evil here, it is all gray areas. He also manages to develop existing characters well, giving Captain Yates an interesting arc that most characters, even long term ones, don’t really get the chance to have. I had liked Yates prior to this story, but it is nice to see him with some more depth.
In the end I think this is one of the better serials of the latter few seasons of Pertwee’s era. Nothing I have seen indicates that they were ever able to recreate the outstanding consistency of season seven, but there are still some gems in the other four seasons of the Pertwee reign. I’m sure I will be vehemently disagreed with but I really liked this one.