Doctor Who: Pond Life review

Review

Pond Life

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The Doctor: Hello Ponds.

Doctor Who Season: Between S32 and S33 (mini-adventure).
Story Number: n/a, though mini-adventure between 225 and 226.

The story of Amy and Rory Pond, it’s been the story of Doctor Who for the past two-and-a-half years…

Thanks to the extensive BBC publicity about the future of the programme, we know there won’t be a new companion until Christmas, so it will be three years of “the Pond era” of Doctor Who. (That’s kind of amazing considering the last three “main companions” were on our screens in that role for: two years; one year; one year. Classic era companions were rarely companions for three years; the Ponds have their parallel with Jamie and Jo and Sarah Jane and Tegan and Peri though. That sounds a lot but there are really are a lot of Classic companions.)

Two seasons over two years, and the next season “series” will begin broadcast (tomorrow) 5 months later than “the norm”[1] – though it will be a 14-episode series rather than the 13-episode norm – two-and-a-half years of the Ponds.

5 months later than “the norm”? For those that think Doctor Who was “supposed” to be on-screen in April then Pond Life is quite an elegant reply.

The first episode is captioned “APRIL”, with 5 months in total, “MAY”, “JUNE”, “JULY”, “AUGUST”. So there’s an immediacy to the cliffhanger of the final episode as we know there’s more in SEPTEMBER. (Tomorrow and Asylum of the Daleks.)

For the Doctor the status quo is maintained during Pond Life as it has been with the three episodes since The God Complex: Amy and Rory have left the TARDIS but that doesn’t mean the Doctor has quite left them, he still calls to say hello, in person and via the TARDIS phone.

That cliffhanger: the status for the Ponds at the end of Pond Life isn’t that which it started it.

Along the way before what bbc.co.uk/doctorwho describes as the “shocking finale” (and it is!), we have a glimpse of “Pond Life”, that is, the Ponds as they live their lives over those five months on the “slow path” while the Doctor whizzes about in the TARDIS, intersecting with their everyday lives in various ways.

The juxtaposition of something fantastical and the everyday – expressed as the essence of Doctor Who with the phrase “Yeti on a loo in Tooting Bec” – is shown by Part 3 and Part 4 as the old phrase is given a new 21st Century twist.

Part 2 functions as a mini-preview of the season soon to come. There’s so much in this it’s astounding it’s five parts each of just 60 or 90 seconds or so.

A great use of the Web for the digital era to prepare us for the final chapter of the Pond era of Doctor Who.
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(Pond Life on bbc.co.uk/programmes/)

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Footnote

1. ^

Doctor Who‘s Season 14 and Season 19 were also broadcast without “the norm” as their schedule and they were great seasons.
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