Confessions

Confession #100: I'm Still a Neowhovian

Apr
13

Five plus years ago, when I decided to start this blog, it seemed to me that most of the opinions I was reading online about Doctor Who were being offered up by "old school" fans—the ones whose formative years included watching Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, or Peter Davison and who really seemed to know their shit. I'd been searching for a way to talk to more people about what I thought of the show, and figured writing a blog that came at it from the POV of a newb (I'd been a fan for only about two-and-a-half years at that point) could be my niche.

Since then, of course, fandom has continued to grow. Being "new to Who" is hardly uncommon these days—there's even a Twitter hashtag about it. Further, as time marches on I have moved gradually toward that Old Guard territory, especially as I include the entirety of the pre-Hiatus/Classic run in my personal brand of fandom. I feel like some sort of weird hybrid (no Series Nine capital letter there, though) between those drawn in by the modern revival and those forever faithful to whichever flavor of the original run they grew up with.

At my core, though, I know I am still a neowhovian. Much as I adore the serial format and other hallmarks of the pre-Hiatus years (not least the various Doctors), I still view those stories through a lens of history rather than one of nostalgia. For me, nostalgia comes firmly in the form of the Ninth Doctor and Rose. Every time I hear the synthesizer sting screaming into those brass-heavy bars and the frenzy of the strings' "Chase," a sense of rightness and anticipation washes over me. To my brain, nothing will ever be so quintessentially Doctor Who as Series One.

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Confession #99: I'm as Fangirly as Anyone Else

Mar
09

In midst of the announcements of the upcoming regime change in Doctor Who land, one major detail was left unresolved: the status of Peter Capaldi's position as the lead. This week we learned that Capaldi has been asked to stay on, but hasn't yet made a decision about whether or not to accept that invitation.

My reaction to this revelation was a combination of elation that the door hadn't been closed entirely on the possibility of seeing Capaldi under a different showrunner and extreme wariness; I know how uncertain my desired outcome is. I recognize that there are plenty of folks on the other side of that fence, but that fact baffles me. I have never for a moment wished anything less than a T.Baker-esque tenure for Capaldi's Doctor, so when I run across folks who think he's the Worst Doctor Evar, I just can't relate at all. As I reflected on that chasm of differing opinion, I realized that I am, in fact, a Capaldi Fangirl.

I almost hesitate to apply the label "fangirl" to myself, simply because of the vitriol that seems to come with it. For some people, being a fangirl is the worst possible thing another fan can be, a close cousin to the "fake geek girl."

I find it interesting to note that there is a strongly gendered component to this particular struggle. It's almost unheard of for someone to disparage another as a "fanboy" when it comes to expressing love for a thing (though it's not uncommon when discussing certain anti-social behaviors), nor do you hear accusations that someone is a "fake geek guy."

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Confession #98: I'm Wary of Change

Feb
10

Moffat's out; Chibnall's in.

The news is now weeks old, and every podcaster and other blogger seems already to have offered their thoughts in some shape or form. Having spent these weeks taking in others' opinions, I can't say for sure that giving myself time to stew on it all has allowed my own views to mature, but they have at least solidified.

My initial reaction was twofold. On the one hand, I was ecstatic to hear Moffat's time was finally coming to an end. Regular readers will know I have long since tired of Moffat's style of arc storytelling, though I have still enjoyed individual stories (or pieces of them) and one-liners, so this should come as no surprise.

On the other hand, I was none too thrilled with the choice of Chibnall as heir to the throne, despite having been braced for it for months based on speculation in various corners of the Internet. Why did I feel that way? Let's review Chibnall's writing credits.

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Confession #97: I Love Being Fannish

Dec
23

With the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens this past weekend, there's been a frenzy of Star Wars fannishness around the Internet, with calls to avoid revealing spoilers interspersed with endless memes, think pieces, and quizzes. I consider myself a Star Wars fan (among many other fandoms), so all this felt normal to me.

Then I saw someone say something about how overwhelming it all was. Is this, the person wondered, how everyone else feels when we get all in a tizzy about the latest Doctor Who news du jour? The very idea turned them off so much they felt chagrined about participating in the hoopla in the past and talked of turning off all their social media accounts to avoid subjecting the rest of the world to such nonsense in the future.

I think this startled Who fan has taken the wrong lesson from the experience. There are two major classes of reactions one can have when presented with this sort of behavioral mirror: recoil or embrace. The former is the route my unfortunate acquaintance took, and springs from an exterior perspective. When seen from the outside, fannish behavior can appear irrational, overzealous, and occasionally even militant—in short: fanatical.

When one is confronted with another fandom's behavior for the first time, the intensity can be really frightening. That's true whether said fandom is based on a particular flavor of SFF like Who or Star Wars, on a video game franchise, on a sports team, or on any other Thing-someone-else-loves-but-about-which-you-don't-give-a-rat's-ass. This is why die-hard sports fans and SFF-convention-goers tend to give each other such serious side-eye. Each group is thinking, "it's normal for me to dress up and get rowdy about my team/my show, but those weirdos are incomprehensible!"

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Confession #96: I'm Not Listening

Sep
16

With a brand new series nearly upon us, teaser trailers, images, and episode titles for Series Nine are everywhere. If one spends any time at all online, they're easy to find, and difficult-to-impossible to avoid. I'm not a complete spoiler-phobe (which is good, because I wouldn't be able to use the Internet if I were), but I do like to maintain a certain level of surprise going into a new season. It makes me feel like a stick in the mud, but with all the publicity on social media (which is where most of my Internet experience happens), I've gotten to the stage where I pretty much stick my fingers in my ears and shout, "LA LA LA!" to keep from learning things ahead of time.

I do watch trailers put out by the production team—that's part of the show, in my opinion—and there is some news that I could only miss if I were oblivious to other fans online (e.g., return or casting of certain characters/actors). For the most part, though, I ignore the hype: I don't go look at the behind-the-scenes, on-set photos that the BBC spams out; I've only watched two trailers once each (I don't even know if that's all of them or if there are more); and I have not read the titles of any of the episodes beyond the first two (which were plastered all over the prologue video), though I mistakenly glanced at a couple that I didn't scroll past fast enough in my Twitter feed. (By the way, I'd like to offer hearty thanks to the others in the FB groups of which I am a member for only linking to the list, rather than posting it outright.)

Although I recognize that there are those out there who like to skip to the last page first to find out whodunnit when they're reading a mystery, or who need to read the ending of their book after the first chapter or two to learn whether or not their favorite character survived the slaughter, I do not actually understand such people—not at a gut level. I'll to do the whole "live and let live" schtick with someone who wants to know everything possible ahead of time, but the idea that it's fun to learn every twist before even knowing the story just baffles me.

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