Doctor Who abandoned Daleks and instead delivered “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” in this week’s episode, bringing guest stars Mark Williams, David Bradley and Rupert Graves along for a rip-roaring adventure – but did it match up to the high standards of the series 7 premiere? This article contains episode spoilers.

With series 7, the producers aimed to make every episode of Doctor Who a cinematic installment in the series’ canon, with showrunner Steven Moffat being quoted as saying “write it like a movie poster.” On the evidence so far, they’ve certainly gone a long way to maintain that mantra. However, the world of movies is big and diverse with a range of different genres – and within those genres there’s a lot of variation in quality. If “Asylum of the Daleks” was The Empire Strikes Back, then “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” was more like Transformers: incredible special effects, lots of action and amusing one-liners, but no real impact. The sort of entertainment that’s great with a bag of popcorn and a significant other, but not all that wonderful if you were looking for something with a lasting impression.

Doctor WhoImage: BBC

That’s not to say Doctor Who series 7’s sophomore effort was bad (it did exactly what it said on the tin), just that “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” adds little to the show’s legacy other than some excellent CGI and prosthetic work. Writer Chris Chibnall (“42,” “The Hungry Earth”/”Cold Blood”) litters the script with amusing gags throughout, keeping the tone light but also reducing most of the threat. More could have been made of the Silurian spacecraft’s impending destruction, which was largely glossed over – resulting in a sudden denouement that seemed rushed and out of place. That said, the imaginative strands of the narrative do (sort of) tie together.

Director Saul Metzstein leaps straight from Pond Life into his show debut, balancing the stylish visuals with limited computer effect time confidently. He directs the all-star cast with aplomb, focusing as much on the character moments as he does the episode’s surprisingly few set pieces. Major props must also go to the actors themselves, particularly to Harry Potter alumni David Bradley (Solomon) and Mark Williams (Brian), who steal nearly every scene they’re in. We can’t forget Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill who continue to excel as The Doctor, Amy, and Rory in spite of less meaty roles than recent escapades have brought. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Sherlock star Rupert Graves’ Riddell and Riann Steele’s Queen Nefertiti. Despite excellent performances from both, the writing fails to develop the characters leaving us with one-dimensional cutouts. That’s always the danger of ensemble pieces, though – some balls will always be dropped in the juggling act.

Doctor WhoImage: BBC

“Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” doesn’t really add up to the sum of its parts, a surprise for an ensemble adventure with a mash-up of narrative devices and ideas. Assured directing, imaginative writing, excellent acting and impressive effects deliver an exciting romp with popcorn appeal but no weight or lasting legacy. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessor, the episode remains an entertaining adventure with plenty of laughs and a rip-roaring pace.

“Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” analysis

As stated above, the latest installment doesn’t contribute too much to the canon of Doctor Who, but we’re still left with a few tidbits to analyze. First of all we met Brian Williams, the first parent of a companion to travel in the TARDIS since Matt Smith took the keys to the blue box. Actor Mark (also Williams) had great chemistry with Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, building a genuine father figure with far less high-emotion and screaming fits than the parents of Rose Tyler and Donna Noble. He warms to the concept of time travel fairly quickly, and before long he’s making plans The Doctor couldn’t fathom and pulling an assortment of bits, bobs and balls (cue an awkward yet hilarious testicle joke) from his pockets to spectacularly save the day. Enlightened by his adventure aboard the crashing cargo ship, Brian ventures out to see the world and universe beyond. While we’re not quite sure if his travels in the TARDIS make him a fully-fledged companion we’ll say this – it’s a shame the character has been introduced this late into the Ponds’ tenure, and we can’t wait to see him in “The Power of Three.”

“Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” picks up ten months after episode 1, and as the Doctor has continued exploring obliviously, the Ponds have continued growing older. Rory reveals he is now 31, meaning ten years have passed since Amy first stepped into the TARDIS the night before her wedding. Young Amy and Rory aren’t quite so young anymore, and a few exchanges between Mrs. Pond and the Doctor seem to foreshadow their eventual departure – River’s “The Angels Take Manhattan” quote about the Time Lord not liking endings will definitely seem all the more significant as we see the couple grow older. With Amy and Rory now living in 2020, who knows how many years will have elapsed when their swansong eventually arrives?

Doctor WhoImage: BBC

A brief though significant cameo from Silurian Malohkeh expands the species history, though largely leaves them in the same retired state that they started the episode in. The spectacular return (and survival) of dinosaurs shows them relocate the former planet of homo reptilia. This certainly leaves the door open for a return in the near future, with the pre-historic population potentially growing and becoming a major threat.

Finally, the Doctor’s increasing ambiguity to the universe’s inhabitants is once again referenced in a tense – albeit short – scene. That thread has frequently been expanded upon since “the question” was revealed in “The Wedding of River Song” – we know it’s leading somewhere, but exactly WHERE we’re going and WHEN the show’s title will become significant still remain a mind-boggling mystery.

What did you think of “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”? Will it make a memorable impression on your Doctor Who experiences or do you agree that it’s nothing but rip-roaring popcorn fluff?

DCOM marathon schedule: See full list of movies and when they air

The mega marathon begins Friday, May 27 and runs into June!

10:00 am EDT, May 27, 2016

The highly-anticipated Disney Channel Original Movie marathon began Friday, May 27 at 10 a.m. eastern and runs through the holiday weekend. See the complete DCOM marathon schedule here!

When Disney Channel says they’re running a DCOM marathon, they mean it. The network will be airing 51 DCOMs from Friday to Monday ahead of this summer’s release of their 100th DCOM, Adventures in Babysitting (debuting June 24). Who needs Memorial Day festivities when you can sit inside and enjoy Disney Channel classics all weekend?!

After Monday they’ll continue to air a couple more movies every night until they eventually air all 100 DCOMs. That’s right! Every single one of ’em is returning to television between now and late June.

Below is the complete list of DCOMs airing from Friday, May 27 into the middle of June. Since many are airing in the overnight hours, you’ll probably want to set up your DVR. Or in case you want to watch them again. And again.

DCOM Marathon Schedule

Friday, May 27

10:00AM Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama
11:20AM Read It and Weep
12:55PM Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior
2:40PM Jump In!
4:15PM Lemonade Mouth
6:15PM Zapped
8:00PM High School Musical 2
9:55PM The Cheetah Girls 2
11:45PM Zenon the Zequel
1:25AM Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge
2:55AM Twitches Too
4:25AM Alley Cats Strike!

Saturday, May 28

6:25AM You Wish!
8:05AM The Proud Family Movie
9:50AM Quints
11:25AM Horse Sense
1:10PM Cow Belles
2:50PM Twitches
4:30PM The Even Stevens Movie
6:15PM Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie
8:00PM Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam
9:50PM Princess Protection Program
11:30PM The Cheetah Girls: One World
1:05AM Zenon: Z3
2:40AM Halloweentown High
4:20AM The Thirteenth Year

Netflix DCOMs High School Musical

Sunday, May 29

6:00AM Right On Track
7:45AM Full-Court Miracle
9:35AM Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off
11:20AM Brink!
1:10PM Double Teamed
2:55PM Rip Girls
4:35PM Motocrossed
6:20PM Cloud 9
8:00PM Teen Beach 2
9:55PM Bad Hair Day
11:40PM How to Build a Better Boy
1:20AM Pixel Perfect
2:55AM The Other Me
4:30AM Genius

Monday, May 30

10:00AM Stuck in the Suburbs
11:30AM Halloweentown
1:05PM Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century
2:55PM Smart House
4:25PM High School Musical
6:15PM Camp Rock
8:00PM Descendants
10:05PM Teen Beach Movie
11:55PM Cadet Kelly
1:50AM The Cheetah Girls
3:35AM Johnny Tsunami

Camp Rock DCOM

After Memorial Day Weekend, Disney Channel will air two more DCOMs each night. Here’s the schedule so far (again, set your DVRs because these air late!)

Wednesday, June 1
12:00AM Return to Halloweentown
1:40AM Can of Worms

Thursday, June 2
12:00AM Going to the Mat
1:40AM Miracle in Lane 2

Friday, June 3
12:00AM The Suite Life Movie
1:40AM Ring of Endless Light

Saturday, June 4
12:00AM Invisible Sister
1:40AM Now You See It…

Sunday, June 5
12:00AM Girl vs. Monster
1:40AM Phantom of Megaplex

Monday, June 6
12:00AM Tru Confessions
1:40AM Tiger Cruise

Tuesday, June 7
12:00AM Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire
1:40AM Under Wraps

Wednesday, June 8
12:00AM Den Brother
1:40AM Go Figure

Thursday, June 9
12:00AM Avalon High
1:40AM Jett Jackson: The Movie

Friday, June 10 and beyond
As of right now Disney Channel hasn’t released the schedule beyond June 10.

Which DCOMs do you plan to watch during the Disney Channel Marathon?

Next week we’ll be launching a fun new game here on Hypable where we’ll seek your help in ranking every single DCOM in the history of DCOMs. It’s probably a good idea to watch as many of these as possible so you can brush up on your knowledge base and rank them accurately!

James Cameron’s Battle Angel adaptation has found its lead in Maze Runner standout Rosa Salazar.

According to Collider, Salazar has been officially confirmed as the lead in Alita: Battle Angel, beating out Maika Monroe and Zendaya for the titular role. The manga adaptation was developed by James Cameron, and will be directed by Robert Rodriguez.

Battle Angel Alita is a manga series by Yukito Kishiro, which takes place in the 26th century and follows a cyborg girl with amnesia. Designed with spectacular martial arts skills, Battle Angel becomes a bounty hunter, who makes a living tracking down violent criminals.

As Brenda in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and Lynn in Insurgent, Rosa Salazar is already well-known in dystopian YA circles. She’s also had recurring roles in Parenthood and American Horror Story, and you can currently catch her in FXX’s Man Seeking Woman.

alita

James Cameron has been tinkering with this project for a while, but his extensive and all-consuming work on the Avatar sequels led him to hand over directorial duties to Robert Rodriguez last year. Rodriguez previously served as showrunner on From Dusk Till Dawn (after directing the movie of the same name in 1996), and his versatile directorial resumé includes Sin City, Spy Kids and The Faculty.

When Cameron picked Rodriguez as Battle Angel director, he said in a statement, “Robert and I have been looking for a film to do together for years, so I was pumped when he said he wanted to do Battle Angel. He’s very collaborative and we’re already like two kids building a go-kart, just having fun riffing creatively and technically.

“This project is near and dear to me, and there’s nobody I trust more than Robert, with his technical virtuosity and rebel style, to take over the directing reins. We’re looking forward to learning a lot from each other while we make a kick-ass epic.”

Alita: Battle Angel has no release date yet, but we’ll keep you posted. Here’s the official synopsis from IMDb:

“Alita is a creation from an age of despair. Found by the mysterious Dr. Ido while trolling for cyborg parts, Alita becomes a lethal, dangerous being. She cannot remember who she is, or where she came from. But to Dr. Ido, the truth is all too clear. She is the one being who can break the cycle of death and destruction left behind from Tiphares. But to accomplish her true purpose, she must fight and kill. And that is where Alita’s true significance comes to bear. She is an angel from heaven. She is an angel of death.”

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is set to continue Harry, Ron and Hermione’s story. Downside: The characters that survived Deathly Hallows are suddenly no longer safe!

Details about Cursed Child, the Harry Potter play opening in London next month, are being kept tightly under wraps.

But one teaser J.K. Rowling did let slip? It’s designed to make you cry.

Answering the Twitter question, “Will the Cursed Child make me cry?” Rowling strongly implied that the answer is yes — “or we’ll be checking your vital signs.”

Bombarded with worried follow-up questions, Rowling (randomly) chose to answer “why are you like this” by reminding fans of what she believes her primary responsibility is as an author: To make us feel things.

Of course there’s no reason to assume the “OMG RON IS DEFINITELY DYING AKSDJFSHFJ” position (even if that is the first instinct of this writer), but it is an indisputable fact that for many authors — Rowling included — evocative storytelling is synonymous with, “I’m going to make you love something, and then I’m gonna kill it.”

Cursed Child takes place 19 years after the conclusion of the Harry Potter saga. Not only are there many elderly characters we might reasonably fear for (including McGonagall, Hagrid, and Molly and Arthur Weasley), but J.K. Rowling’s Potter series has set a strong precedent for killing off parental figures to usher in a new generation of characters.

Related: England’s biggest bookstore announces first Cursed Child midnight release party

On the other hand, we could just be traumatized by the original Potter series, and everything is actually gonna be fine. Maybe J.K. Rowling simply expects us to cry tears of happiness because we get to return to the fantastic, magical world she has created.

What do you think? Is someone we love dying in Cursed Child, or will the plot make us emotional in other ways?