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Doctor Who XXXIII(7).0.i: Pond Life, part one

August 27th, 2012 (03:54 pm)

On the basis of this first instalment, Pond Life seems to be a cheap(ish) and cheerful reintroduction of viewers to Doctor Who, aimed very much at the wider fanbase but not to the exclusion of others. The strategy in a lot of modern Doctor Who seems to be to go beyond parody. The companions, bereft of the Doctor's presence, have turned to drink, while Matt Smith's Doctor is even more than before a spirit of chaos, a perpetual adolescent unable to cope with a naked Mata Hari, or thrilling to laying down tracks in the studio. This is a boy hero who surfs over suns and has women undressing at a glimpse of his toasting fork. I feel like a late-70s fan complaining at the perceived excesses of the Graham Williams era, but I wonder whether there is a little too much ill-judged slapstick here. Still, on less than a minute of material it is perhaps wisest to reserve judgement until later.

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/537209.html.

Comments

Posted by: Matthew (emperor)
Posted at: August 27th, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
Phoenix

It was a bit gratuitous, wasn't it? Rather like the sort of thing they put in the trailers, or that "Doctor trying to signal to Rory and Amy throughout history" thing they did last series (or was it n-2?). I thought with the Doctor trying to lie low for a bit after last series, we might have rather less of that.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 27th, 2012 04:51 pm (UTC)
MattKarenPlain

Yes, this was so reminiscent of the Doctor-hiding-under-woman's-skirts sequence from 'The Impossible Astronaut' as practically to be an extension. I suppose it means that the Doctor's relationship with the Ponds has sunk into a fixed pattern, which the events of their final five episodes together will tear apart in a succession of ways.

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: August 27th, 2012 10:04 pm (UTC)
Liz & Pertwee

hmmmm..er..yes, probably best to reserve judgement...

The companions, bereft of the Doctor's presence, have turned to drink,

Nothing wrong with a glass of wine - I sounded like a friendly toast to me (although I wouldn't rule out a drinking game entirely...).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 27th, 2012 10:49 pm (UTC)
Styre

I was being somewhat frivolous with the drink comment, but I think there is a juxtaposition between the Doctor's escapist lifestyle and the Ponds' domestic existence which the wine underwrites.

Or, it could just be my Methodist heritage talking... ;)

Posted by: Lady Summerisle (strange_complex)
Posted at: August 27th, 2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
Penelope

I've just watched it, and couldn't quite catch the Doctor's final sentence on the Ponds' answering machine. It sounded to me like "Oh dear - I appear to have *incomprehensible* Greece", which makes me wonder if it's some reference to ancient Greece - but I can't figure out the exact words. Did you catch it?

Posted by: ePepys (e_pepys)
Posted at: August 27th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
Broken Cameron

I heard it as "Oh dear, I appear to have collided with ancient Greece. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh".

Posted by: Lady Summerisle (strange_complex)
Posted at: August 28th, 2012 08:13 am (UTC)
Sleeping Hermaphrodite

Ah, yes - that would make sense of the confused mass of phonemes which I heard! So it is a Classical reference of a sort, but not one that gives us anything very much to go with.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 27th, 2012 10:57 pm (UTC)
Arthurian Logo

I concur with e_pepys.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: August 27th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)

It's a Chris Chibnall script, what do you expect?

I wouldn't judge the forthcoming series as a whole on such a short mini-episode, especially something of... if not exactly dubious canonicity (whatever that means), of lower budget and fewer resources than the TV episodes.

I still think Matt Smith's great, anyway. He has shenanigans.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 27th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
MattKarenArthur

Not much more, to be honest... and Jennie has said some pithier things about Chibnall and this mini-episode - with more forthright vocabulary than I think you or I would use too!

I am making no assertions about the quality or content of the forthcoming series based on these, though I imagine the tone will complement it.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: August 27th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)

Heh, when Jennie and I used to read each others' blogs, I used to wind her up about Chibnall's TV appearance criticising The Trial of a Time Lord... I only did it because I can't stand Chibnall's writing either, for the derivative nature and for the sex obsession (I haven't studied them closely enough to be able to spot the alleged sexism, especially as I only saw one of his Torchwood episodes).

Re: tone, I'm not sure it's much different to anything since 2005, except less angsty, presumably because it's not part of the season-proper. Such innuendos, pop cultural references and schoolboy pranks are not what I want, but I've had to live with them, especially as most TV seems to be like that. Moffat is doing enough right for me to be very happy with the series. And at least the Doctor is shocked and confused by the sex now, rather than encouraging it (despite Jennie's comments).

I saw your comment about Chibnall being groomed as the next show runner and I'd thought exactly the same thing when I read last month's DWM; a scary thought, you'll agree. To be honest, I'm not sure who I want after Moffat.