Tyrannosaurus Rex’s Appearances in Popular Culture/ Part 2/ Television

Tyrannosaurus Rex has appeared in many television series over the years ranging from classic science fiction series to award winning documentaries.

Though it doesn’t always have a staring role its appearance on tv is always treated as a special moment.

Overall T-Rex has had just about as varied a tv career as film career.

Doctor Who

Tyrannosaurus Rex has made many appearances in the worlds longest running science fiction series.

Its first possible appearance is in the story Doctor Who and The Silurians  In this story the main villains, The Silurians who are ancient reptiles that existed from before the dawn of man have a pet Dinosaur.

The Dinosaur is never identified however and in other media it has been identified as an Allosaurus rather than a Tyrannosaurus.

However in the novelisation of the story it is referred to as a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Since the novelisation was written by the same man who wrote the actual story on television Malcolm Hulke this seems to suggest to me at least that it was meant to be a Tyrannosaurus in the episode.

However its worth noting that Malcolm Hulke whilst being an excellent writer seemed to know fuck all about prehistory. For instance the main villains of the story could not possibly be from the Silurian era. The Silurian era came long before any reptiles had evolved. Thus perhaps he like many people got T-Rex and Allosaurus mixed up.

Regardless of whether or not the Silurians pet was a T-Rex, the king of the Dinosaurs would go on to make an appearance in the story The Invasion of the Dinosaurs. In this adventure several mad scientists bring many Dinosaur species including Tyrannosaurus Rex through time to modern day London.

The T-Rex is badass. It smashes its way through buildings, kills other giant Dinosaurs, fights off UNIT, an organisation that has taken on the worst monsters in the entire Universe and is only scared away by grenades which still don’t manage to kill it!

No greater an authority on monsters than the Doctor himself even says that the Tyrannosaurus Rex was the most vicious and powerful predator ever to live on the earth.

It would be an awesome appearance by T-Rex if it wasn’t for the fact that the effects used to bring it to life are so fucking shit.

Seriously these are without doubt the worst Dinosaur effects I have ever seen. They are so bad the Dinosaurs can’t do anything. They literally just wobble from side to side. They cant even die properly they just collapse into themselves.

The worst scene is the “fight” between the Tyrannosaurus and the Brontosaurus which actually reminds me of when as a five year old I used to make my dinosaur toys fight with one another. Even by the standards of the special effects in classic who these are pretty bad and sadly they drag the quality of the story down terribly.

40 years on and the makers of the story are still ashamed of it.

Tyrannosaurus next appeared in the 1984 story The Mark of the Rani. Here the nefarious timelady villain the Rani has captured several Tyrannosaurus embryo’s and keeps them in storage. Unfortunately at the end of the story when the Doctor sends the Rani and the Master hurling through the time vortex in the Rani’s TARDIS one of the jars containing the Rex is broken and time spillage causes it to grow to full size where it promptly devours the two villains, though despite this they would both appear again with no explanation. Considering the Master would be horribly overused after this I sometimes wish the T-Rex had finished him for good.

A better T. Rex than the one in the Pertwee story. But that’s not saying much.

Tyrannosaurus would also go on to appear in the revival on two occasions as well. In the story Dinosaurs on a Spaceship a sleeping child T-Rex makes a small cameo whilst in the recent series 8 premier Deep Breath a Tyrannosaurus is accidentally brought forward through time by the Doctor. The T-Rex is portrayed more sympathetically. It doesn’t attack anyone or even cause any damage during its time in modern day and in a strangely poignant scene the 12th Doctor translates its roars to reveal that it is scared in this strange new environment and feels alone.

A much better T-Rex than the one in The Invasion of the Dinosaurs. Even if it is far too big.

The Doctor promises to bring the Dinosaur back to its own time, only for it to be killed instantly by the main villain of the story. An half android, half human monster called the Half face man who kills his victims so that he can collect pieces of their bodies and attach them to himself. It is revealed that he killed the Dinosaur just for a small piece of it. Its optic nerve. The Doctor actually feels immense guilt for the Dinosaurs death.

As I already mentioned the T-Rex in Deep Breath is much, much bigger than a real life T- Rex. This is acknowledged by several people that its much bigger than it should be, but Vastra who is a Silurian, and whose species thus lived at the same time as T-Rex’s says that apparently they were all this big.

Here is the size of the Deep Breath T-Rex compared to a real one.

[​IMG]

[​IMG]

Now Spinosaurus, King Kong and Jack Horner lets see you call the Moffat T-Rex a cocksucker.

As to why the T-Rex’s were all this size in Vastra’s lifetime but not on other occasions such as during the invasion of London I have my own explanation.

I think that the Silurians genetically modified them and presumably other Dinosaur species to be larger. Perhaps they did so in order to fend off an alien invasion. This could explain why the earth was never invaded during the time of the Dinosaurs but always keeps getting invaded in the modern age. Its hard to imagine any race of aliens being willing to take on the Silurians when they have an army of T-Rex’s that size to defend them. I would love to see a story where the Doctor travels back to the time of the Silurians and helps them defeat an army of aliens that want to invade the earth and we get to see an army of T-Rex’s that big slaughter their way through the aliens.

I also think the Silurians modified the Tyrannosaurus’s to be more intelligent too. That would explain why the giant T-Rex in Deep Breath was not shown to attack anyone when it wandered through London and how it was intelligent enough to have its own language. When you think about it if the Silurians did modify a T-Rex to be that big they’d have to make sure it was more placid or else they’d be fucked. I think that they modified its brain to the point where it was as intelligent as a human being and thus wouldn’t attack other sentient creatures such as human beings and Silurians, only other animals.

Tyrannosaurus has gone on to appear in numerous pieces of spin off material related to Doctor Who as well such as comic books and audio stories. In the Audio story “The Five Companions” several T-Rex’s appear in the death zone on Gallifrey where they manage to kill several Daleks saving the Doctor and his companions in the process. Its like the ending of Jurassic Park but with Daleks instead of Raptors.

In the novel Made of Steel a Tyrannosaurus serves as the main hero when the Tenth Doctor uses it to destroy the evil Cybermen. This can be seen as a payback I suppose considering that in the Doctor Who universe it was the Cybermen who wiped out the Dinosaurs. The Cybermen didn’t actually mean to wipe out the Dinosaurs. They sent a huge freighter into the earth to wipe humanity out, but it went backwards in time by accident and instead brought about the Dinosaurs extinction. This is revealed in the story Earthshock.

T-Rex would also clash with the Daleks again in a short Doctor Who tidbit comic book story.

The Tyrannosaurus in this story however was in fact an alien from the planet Raxas. Raxas it is established is a planet where the life forms have evolved to look exactly like the Dinosaurs on earth. There are not only T-Rex’s but also raptor’s, Pteranodon’s, Apatosaurus’s and Triceratops’s on Raxas.

I actually quite like that idea as it kind of makes sense. In Doctor Who and pretty much all of science fiction we see hundreds of aliens that look like human beings such as as obviously the Doctor himself with the explanation being that they have simply evolved to look like humans as that is obviously a very successful form to take.

So with this in mind why wouldn’t some aliens evolve into Dinosaurs on other planets too. I mean the Dinosaur form is clearly very successful. They ruled the earth for 150 million years. Really if you want to be able to kill lots and lots of things what better form to take than a T-Rex?

The idea of life on other planets evolving in exactly the same way as on earth is not such a far fetched idea believe it or not. In fact there are many leading scientists who believe that many planets may be actual duplicates of the earth rather than just having similar life forms.

Here is the theory. Mediocrity Principle

So with this in mind maybe somewhere out there in the infinite recesses of space there is a planet where Dinosaurs still roam.

The Daleks try to conquer Raxas only for the Dinosaurs to kick their asses. The T-Rex’s in particular crush several of them in their Jaws and under their feet. Though the Daleks are able to build a base on the planet they never manage to conquer it.

It is established in other Doctor Who stories that Dinosaurs have evolved on billions of other planets around the universe.

On Skaro the home planet of the Doctors enemies the dreaded Daleks, Dinosaurs ruled the planet before the Daleks humanoid ancestors the Kaleds emerged. Even after the Kaleds became the Daleks dinosaurs still roamed certain area’s of Skaro and the Doctor later used several of them to destroy a Dalek squad that had captured them.

Skaro Dinosars

Skarosian Dinosaur thrashes a Dalek squad.

Sadly we didn’t get to see any T-Rex’s on Skaro, but it is established that there were T- Rex’s on plenty of other planets.

On the Doctors home planet of Gallifrey there were gigantic creatures called Gargantosaurs that lived long before the Doctors humanoid people the Time Lords evolved. The only Gargantosaurs we saw looked like T-Rex’s and were extremely dangerous.

Gargantosaur

T-Rex’s on Gallifrey

It is established that the Gargantosaurs died out before the Time Lords emerged however.

Dinosaurs also existed on the planet Mondas where the Doctors other main enemies the Cybermen came from. The Cybermen much like the Daleks originally began as humanoids, before transforming themselves into cybernetic creatures. The Dinosaurs on Mondas unlike on Gallifrey were shown to live alongside the human race. After the humans transformed themselves into the Cybermen they also began to cyberconvert the Dinosaurs as well.

Mondasian Dino

A T-Rex on Mondas that has been cyber converted. Cyber T. Rex!

By far and away the best appearance by T-Rex in the Doctor Who franchise however is in the 11th Doctor comic books where we are introduced to Kevin a gigantic robotic T-Rex who becomes the Doctors companion.

Kevin the Robot Dinosaur

Kevin the Doctors pet robot T-Rex. Technically he should have 2 fingers instead of 3, but I’ll let that go, as the idea of a gigantic robot T-Rex that travels through time saving the universe is just too awesome.

Kevin would help the Doctor battle Sontarans and also a gigantic evil squid that takes control of people’s minds. Why this was never an episode of the tv show I’ll never know.

Personally I am rooting for Kevin to be the next companion alongside the lovely Osgood after Clara leaves.

Who wouldn’t want to see that on the small screen? It would have to be with Capaldi now, but again who wouldn’t want to see Malcom Tucker riding on the back of a T-Rex fighting alien monsters?

Of course Kevin would have to look like this

and not like this

cause that’s just shit.

Tyrannosaurus also appeared in a special feature for the story Earthshock. In this story the Doctor’s companion Adric is killed when he is trapped on the freighter by the Cybermen that crashes into the earth. No one really liked Adric very much as he was an irritating boy genius who thought he was smarter than the Doctor himself. However the people that made this special feature I guess hated him so much that they decided his previous death was too good for him. So they had him survive the crash only to be killed seconds later by a T-Rex.

Red Dwarf

Red Dwarf was doing the whole Dinosaurs on a Spaceship thing first.

In the Red Dwarf episode “Pete” the crew discover a time machine of sorts that has the ability to age or deage someone. It can even bring the dead back to life. When a crew member simply named Birdman’s pet bird called Pete passes away Kryten tries to use the time machine to bring him back to life. Unfortunately he turns him into what he was several million years ago. A Tyrannosaurus Rex. Birds are descendants of meat eating Dinosaurs remember, though they did not evolve from T-Rex itself.

Still anyway Pete now a T-Rex goes on a rampage across the shop killing his former owner birdman. The T-Rex however seems to cause more of a rampage through vomiting, burping and having a diarrhea attack which very nearly kills the captain who is part of a group who try to ambush the creature from behind when it has its attack.

At the end of the episode the T-Rex is turned back into a bird and Bird man is even brought back to life using the time machine. He is even reunited with his beloved Pete too so its seemingly a happy ending for once. “Pete ate me he must be really out of sorts he’s never eaten me before never.” Unfortunately it soon turns out the Pete was in fact pregnant. His or rather her new offspring who is still a Tyrannosaurus escapes and goes on to lick the captains back whilst he is in the middle of a massage which leads to him having a complete mental breakdown. It doesn’t matter as the captains a bit of an asshole anyway.

The Land of the Lost 1974 tv series

This somewhat overlooked campy 70’s classic featured a Tyrannosaurus Rex named Grumpy as the main villain. Grumpy was the undisputed king of the land of the lost who pursued our heroes across nearly every episode.

The only creature that he never attacks is a large female Allosaurus named Big Alice. It is hinted that the reason he never attacks her is because she is in fact his mate and thus her children are Tyrannosaurus/Allosaurus hybrids like Gwangi.

The Land of the Lost 1991 tv series

New intro with new and improved Dinosaurs

This 90’s remake of the 70’s series once again featured a Tyrannosaurus named Scarface as the main villain. Just like Grumpy Scarface constantly pursued the main characters and was at the top of the food chain in the Land of the Lost.

There is one episode however which sees it battle a gigantic alien cyborg. This fight was modelled on the Kong vs T-Rex fight from the original King Kong.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World

Tyrannosaurus appeared frequently in this 90’s television adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel. It doesn’t play that big a role. The Lost World often unlike the book and other adaptations went far beyond just Dinosaurs. The Lost World had everything from alien monsters to portals to other dimensions to supernatural creatures. One episode even featured John Roxton turning into a Vampire like creature and drain the blood of a Velociraptor!

Still T-Rex made quite a few appearances in the series, with one episode involving a mother T-Rex chasing the main characters after Challenger and Malone steal one of its eggs. It also plays a large role in the pilot episode too and appeared in the opening credits as well for all 3 seasons.

This series was quite overlooked. It was somewhat comparable to Xena the Warrior Princess in terms of its tone and style, in that it never really took itself too seriously. and was really good fun. Its definitely worth a look if you are a fan of Conan Doyle’s novel or are a Dinosaur enthusiast in general.

Dinosaur!

This one off documentary was hosted by Christopher Reeve. One of my earliest memories was watching this documentary over and over again.

It still holds up as great entertainment even though so much of it is dated in terms of Dinosaur knowledge. To start with Christopher Reeve is the perfect host. Not only is it great having Superman himself host a documentary about Dinosaurs, but I think Reeve was a good host for this documentary in particular as he loved Dinosaurs in real life. Unlike some of the other hosts for Dinosaur documentaries he is really passionate about the subject. Also the stop motion sequences featuring the Dinosaurs which were animated by Phil Tippet are spectacular.

They are at places genuinely frightening such as when the Deinonychus rip apart the Strothiumimus or the scene where the T-Rex corners the Monoclonius. It builds up almost like a horror movie as the hapless Monoclonius wanders into a jungle munching on leaves only to notice the rotting and mutilated corpses of several Hadrosaurs around it. At the same time we also the Tyrannosaurus slowly creep up behind it with the blood of its previous victims still smeared all over its mouth.

I have never felt so sorry for a Dinosaur as I do for the Monoclonius. At first you think it might have a chance against the Tyrannosaurus when it wounds it in the leg, but when the Rex shrugs it off and corners the Monoclonius you realise all it has done is anger the Rex and the poor Monoclonius has absolutely no way of defending itself from the Tyrannosaurus.

The Simpsons

That’s actually quite sad.

Tyrannosaurus has appeared a few times in this classic animated comedy.

In Treehouse of Horror 6 Tyrannosaurus appears in the second segment Time and Punishment. Here it attacks Homer Simpsons when he travels backwards in time using a toaster causing several comical changes to the future in the process.

This segment is obviously a parody of the classic Ray Bradbury story A Sound of Thunder which revolved around people travelling back to the time of the Dinosaurs and causing a change in history simply by crushing a seemingly insignificant butterfly without even realizing it. 

Tyrannosaurus also appeared in the episodes Bart Sells His Soul where Bart imagines Lisa being devoured by a Tyrannosaur and in the more recent Days of Future Future where it is shown to be a part of Cretaceous Park an obvious parody of Jurassic Park, and also an allusion to the fact that the most famous Dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park franchise; T-Rex and Velociraptor both come from the Cretaceous era.

Cretaceous Park

Futurama

Tyrannosaurus has also appeared in Matt Groening’s other memorable animated series Futurama a number of times.

In the episode “I Dated A Robot” Philip J Fry who is from the 20th century fulfils one of his life long dreams which is to ride a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Unfortunately by this point not only have Dinosaurs been brought back, but they have now been domesticated so much that children ride them and thus Fry looks rather odd getting so excited at taking part in Jurassic Kiddie Park.

Despite this though the T-Rex does still end up biting his hands off.

A robot Tyrannosaurus also appeared in the later episode A Clockwork Origin where it very nearly devours Fry and fights with several other robo dinosaurs

However its most notable appearance in the series is when it appears in the series that Fry and Bender watch called The Scary Door. Here the Tyrannosaurus is shown to fight off an alien invasion by itself in a parody of War of the Worlds where the Martian invaders where destroyed by the smallest, most harmless bacteria which they had no immunity too after all of our most powerful weapons had failed.

Family Guy

Its always his little arms they go for

Tyrannosaurus has appeared in Family Guy a few times. My favourite cutaway gag is in Stewie Griffin The Untold Story where Peter Griffin was once show to have had a pet Tyrannosaurus Rex

The thing is you probably could teach a Tyrannosaurus tricks as they were more intelligent than cats and dogs. According to some experts they were more intelligent than even Lions. Thus you could have easily taught a T-Rex a trick or two provided you were brave enough to teach it tricks and provided it was not in a populated area.

Mr Bean

In a classic scene from the Christmas special Mr Bean recreates the birth of the baby Jesus and adds in tanks, a T-Rex and a Dalek! Of course its not the first time T-Rex has fought a Dalek but still its brilliant. I think Rowan Atkinson must like Dinosaurs since he has had a T-Rex in both of his most famous creations, Blackadder and Mr Bean

This should be the plot for the next Christmas Doctor Who story. Steven Moffat please try and make this work as a story!

Primeval

Tyrannosaurus appears in this ITV series about anomalies, portals to the past opening up in modern times allowing prehistoric creatures to emerge in modern times.

In this sequence below you see a Tyrannosaurus rampage its way across a huge city killing people. Its a brilliant sequence. The later episodes of Primeval were sadly in my opinion not quite as strong as its earlier series. I think it was the loss of Douglas Henshall’s Nick Cutter that really affected the series. I think he was simply a more interesting character than either of his successors. Still the Rex rampage here is one of the last big hurrah’s for me.

Personally I would have left her. Some people like those who run around when a ravenous Tyrannosaurus is running about are just too stupid to live.

Walking with Dinosaurs

A female Tyrannosaurus appeared as the main protagonist in the final episode of this ground breaking BBC series. Its a testament to the popularity of the T-Rex that it is the only meat eating Dinosaur who is given the role of the main protagonist in the series. All the other leading dinosaurs are herbivores or at the very least small inoffensive fish eaters or omnivores like the cynodonts.

Its hard to make a large super predator into a sympathetic character, but as T-Rex is the most famous Dinosaur there is no way they could have made the focus on any other Dinosaur.

In this story the Tyrannosaurus is shown to care for her young and even dies defending them. Despite this however they still thankfully don’t play down the Dinosaurs vicious nature as we see it tear a helpless Hadrosaur to pieces. The young T-Rex’s even turn on and kill their younger sibling.

This episode is definitely my favourite episode of the series. I’ll never forget the image of the young Tyrannosaurs standing around their mother wanting her to wake up as the asteroid that would eradicate the Dinosaurs from the face of the earth forever comes hurtling towards the earth.

The only thing I dislike about the Walking with T-Rex is the way it looks. It just doesn’t have as pleasing a shape as other versions of the Tyrant Lizard King. Perhaps its its colour scheme, but it just looks duller than other Tyrannosaurs.

T-Rex A Dinosaur in Hollywood

This documentary produced by the Walking with Dinosaurs team charts T-Rex’s history on the big screen. It is a spoof documentary featuring interviews with some of T-Rex’s co-stars including King Kong.

Still its a fun and informative documentary nonetheless.

At the end of the docu Robert Vaughn is eaten by a Tyrannosaurus. Bob Vaughan is probably the most famous person to ever be eaten by a Tyrannosaurus. He is also probably the first person to be eaten by a feathered T-Rex.

Barney the Dinosaur

Sorry I have to mention this. This is without doubt the low point of Tyrannosaurus’s long career on television even if it is one of its most famous representations. In my opinion Barney is an evil creation. How could anyone reduce such a fearsome and powerful creature to something like this. A purple cuddly annoying kids entertainer. Even if you are not a Dinosaur fan at least show some respect to the king of the Dinosaurs Jack Horner couldn’t have done a better job of smearing T-Rex’s image.

Dino Riders

Tyrannosaurus appeared in this animated series frequently. The shows premise revolved around a race of aliens known as the Valorians who have been conquered by the evil reptile like Rulons. One group of Valorians however manages to escape backwards in time to the age of the dinosaurs. Unfortunately however one group of Rulons becomes trapped back in the past with them. Both the Valorians and the Rulons decide to fight each other by riding on the backs of Dinosaurs and strapping laser beams to them.

Its exactly as stupid and amazing as it sounds.

T-Rex appears in many episodes of the series and the main villain of the series the leader of the Rulons, Krulos naturally rides on the back of a Tyrannosaurus.

Sliders

Tyrannosaurus appeared in an episode of this classic sci fi series called Dinoslide. The premise of Sliders revolved around a group of people being lost in the multiverse and having to travel through multiple realities to try and reach their own reality. In this episode as you can see they arrive in a reality where the Dinosaurs never died out and naturally a Tyrannosaurus is waiting for them. This wasn’t the only episode to feature an earth where Dinosaurs still ruled however the previous time it was an Allosaurus that was the main meat eating that pursued the main characters.

Extreme Dinosaurs

Tyrannosaurus was the main hero in this classic 90’s cartoon series. The premise for this series saw an interdimensional criminal named Argor Zadrok increase the intelligence of several Dinosaurs to carry out his evil plans. The T-Rex, the Stegosaurus, the Pteranodon and the Triceratops all rebel against him as do the Raptors. However the Raptors remain evil nonetheless and try and wipe out humanity in order to allow reptiles to rule the earth once more.

The T-Rex was named T-Bone.

Originally these characters appeared on the series Street Sharks as the Dino Vengers, though in that series their origins were different in that they were aliens from another world.

In many ways Extreme Dinosaurs was just Street Sharks with Dinosaurs.

The Truth About Killer Dinosaurs

This 2005 documentary hosted by Bill Oddie attempted to show us how powerful Tyrannosaurus really was. The documentary revealed that T-Rex had a bite force of over four tons which would have enabled it to crush a car easily. In the ten years since the documentary was released it is now believed that Tyrannosaurus may have had a bite of over 23 tons almost six times what this documentary claimed.

Much like Christopher Reeve, Bill Oddie proves to be the perfect host, because like Reeve he was a Dinosaur fan himself in real life and thus I think he brings a similar passion and enthusiasm to the documentary that make it enjoyable even when there are no Dinosaurs on the screen.

Dinosaucers

Dinosaucers-Title.jpg

This series followed a similar premise to the much later Extreme Dinosaurs revolving anthropomorphic Dinosaurs saving the world. Here however Tyrannosaurus Rex was the main villain. The T-Rex was named Genghis Rex and his archenemy was Allo a heroic Allosaurus. He commanded the ruthless Tyranno’s.

Not the best series in the world but still insane enough to be a minor classic nonetheless.

The Land Before Time series 

A Tyrannosaurus named Red Claw appeared as the main villain in this television adaptation of the famous film franchise.

Red Claw is accompanied by two Utahraptors named Screech and Thud. However they are more tolerated by the Tyrannosaur instead of being his actual companions.

It is speculated that this is the same T-Rex as the Sharptooth from the first film, though this has never been conformed it is possible considering he has a damaged eye like the Tyrannosaur from the first film.

Thanks for reading. Next up a look at T-Rex’s appearances in video games.

3 thoughts on “Tyrannosaurus Rex’s Appearances in Popular Culture/ Part 2/ Television

  1. Regarding the Silurians, the Doctor does mention in ‘The Sea Devils’ that “the chap who discovered them must have gotten the period wrong. Strictly speaking, they should’ve been called the Eocenes.” Since that’s after the non-avian dinosaurs died out, perhaps the Silurians managed to save a few and keep them.

    I think if I was caught between a real T Rex and Barney, I’d take my chances with the big one.

    Like

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