Confessions

Confession #116: I Dig the New TARDIS Team

Nov
08

In the past week or so, several (shall we say) less-than-awesome things have been making news in Whovian circles (e.g., Nicholas Pegg getting fired from DWM, the public revelation that someone well-known in the US con community is a sexual predator, and the death of Dudley Simpson). It made me glad I had some happier news to discuss here. Sometimes it pays to be late to the game...

I'm referring, of course, to the two-and-a-half-week-old news that there will once again be a crowded TARDIS when Thirteen begins her tenure at the controls. In a press release on the official website, the BBC announced that there would be three regular cast members accompanying the Doctor on her travels (as well as someone in a "returning [recurring] role").

Even putting aside the fact that I think a larger cast can make for more interesting character interactions, and thus better stories overall, I love the way that it recalls TARDIS crews of old. When we first met the Doctor fifty-odd years ago, he traveled with his granddaughter and two humans who eventually became friends; Susan, Ian, and Barbara remain one of my favorite TARDIS teams.

Similarly, I know a lot of folks who became fans during the Fifth Doctor's run. He, too, traveled with a posse (Nyssa, Tegan, and Adric). I can't help but think that reminding those fans of their favorite era by stuffing the TARDIS with a variety of friends for the Doctor might tempt them to give this new version of the show a try, even if they've been more reluctant of late.

Of course, as someone who has been wholeheartedly on board these past three seasons anyway, I'm probably not the right person to ask about how to bring back disgruntled older-era fans. Instead, I'm going to look ahead to the coming changes and celebrate them, because I think we've got some really exciting possibilities in the works.

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Confession #115: I'm Considering Cutting Corners

Oct
11

My daughters have continued to expand their Doctor Who horizons in the past few months (we're currently on a Seven-and-Ace kick), which has led them to a broader awareness of my own fannish activities. The last time I mentioned some breaking guest news from Gallifrey One, for example, one of them pouted, "I really want to go to Gally..."

It dawned on me last weekend that although getting them to Gally with me is unlikely to prove financially feasible any time soon (flying roughly 2000 miles isn't cheap for one, let alone three or four—never mind the cost of lodging, food, and souvenirs), we have a local Doctor Who con (CONsole Room) where they could dip their toes into the experience.

So I wandered over to the CONsole Room site to see what the con might have in store for my girls, should we decide to go. At this early stage (we're still seven months out), there isn't a lot of detail to be had. However, there is a headliner who's been announced, and having seen her myself at Gally, I can vouch for her being a great guest: Neve McIntosh (a.k.a. Madame Vastra). I bet the girls would love her.

Except they currently have no idea who Vastra is.

Now I'm in a bit of a pickle. I have been trying hard not to force any viewing on my kids, because I want them to want to watch my favorite show, rather than to feel pressured into it, thereby enjoying it less. I've presented some options throughout the Classic/pre-Hiatus run, and let them choose among those curated offerings. My reasoning is sometimes peculiar, but so far they haven't come away disliking anything, even the more esoteric and oft-disparaged serials.

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Confession #114: I've Come Full Circle on Rose

Sep
13

Several months ago, I got my daughters to agree to watch an episode of Doctor Who with me—just one. I told them if they didn't like it, they didn't have to watch any more. It turned out, though, that they did quite like it, and we ended up watching another right away.

Since then, we've watched a number of stories together, from Series Ten to The Monster of Peladon to Dalek. With the summer holidays winding down and a new school year starting, we've come to something of a viewing standstill (though I'll admit to not being overly anxious to push forward, as the next two episodes in the queue are Love & Monsters and Fear Her...), but now that we are ~85% through Rose's time as a (regular) Companion, I have to say it's made me think about her differently—again.

When I first started watching, Rose was my everything. I fell in love with the show and the Doctor through her, totally reading their relationship—starting with Nine—as romantic. I even had my own headcanon about exactly when each fell for the other, and when each ~realized~ they'd fallen for the other. I made notes (I'm that kinda nerd).

I spent a great deal of Series Four (which was airing as I caught up to it) waiting with bated breath for Rose's return. It couldn't come fast enough for me. Although Donna replaced her as my favorite modern Companion (until Series Ten), for several years I had nothing but fondness for Rose. Then I started interacting with The Fandom.

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Confession #113: I Like In-Doctor-nating Newbs

Aug
09

When I started writing this blog several years ago, I still considered myself a new fan. The original concept of the blog was to talk about the show—particularly the Classic/pre-Hiatus era—from the perspective of someone who'd only "discovered" it ~2.5 years before. It was also less common at that time to see women blogging about Who, so it seemed like a nice little niche I could carve out for myself in fandom writing.

Somewhere along the way, I seem to have morphed into something more akin to Old Guard. I'll certainly never have the same kind of cred as fans who grew up with the show in the UK, or even those here in the US who had to scramble for access via many-times-copied VHS tapes. (Along those lines, I'm really looking forward to the release of Red White and Who: The Story of Doctor Who in America by Steven Warren Hill et al., due out in less than two weeks.) However, I've noticed that as the show evolves and gains new young viewers, I have more in common with those long-term fans than the new.

I think that commonality has much to do with the fact that I am of an age with the fans who grew up with the show. As such, I relate to television in much the same way. Having been raised on 70's and 80's television, I don't find those periods of Doctor Who as foreign or off-putting as many fans of younger generations do. Nor does 60's Who seem as far out of my norm.

These are things I have to keep in mind when I want to introduce new people to our show. Depending on the kind of television the individual in question is used to, I might have to make different selections or give a different set of preparatory comments.

The general openness of a subject to the entire experiment is also important. For example, there is a big difference between a thirty-something fan who's seen all of modern/post-Hiatus Who and is interested in exploring more of the older Doctors; a twenty-something who came in with Smith's Eleven and doesn't really connect to Capaldi's older, crankier Twelve—and is pretty dubious about that whole black-and-white nonsense; and a pre-teen who mostly only knows about the show because their parent(s) watch. That necessary customization is part of the fun for me.

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Confession #112: I'm Psyched for Thirteen

Jul
19

As I scrolled through my news digest from The Washington Post on Sunday around noon, I came across a headline saying that Roger Federer had won an unprecedented eighth time at Wimbledon. "What?" I screeched. "The men's final is over?"

I scrambled for a new browser tab so I could search for the announcement. If I'd been clever, I'd have gone right to the BBC's Doctor Who page so I could watch the announcement trailer myself, but I was in too much of a rush. And then—there it was, in picture after picture splashed across my Google results page: the Thirteenth Doctor will be played by a woman. Chibnall actually had the ovaries to break with tradition and cast a woman.

I'm not even sure what sort of noise I emitted; it was enough to make my 11-year-old daughters ask what was up. When I told them they'd announced who would play the next Doctor, they scrambled to look over my shoulder—and started screaming. They jumped up and down. They made their own set of incoherent excitement noises (driving their poor father from the room in a desperate act of self-preservation). I had almost managed to calm them enough to save my own ears when it dawned on them that she'd be number Thirteen—their favorite number(!)—and they went hypersonic again.

Needless to say, our household is on the pro-change side of the equation.

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