The Complex and Terrifying Reality of Doctor Who Fandom.

Inspired by this, found here.

I don’t have a girlfriend so I don’t know what she’d think of me liking Doctor Who. Not too long ago it wasn’t actually something you would talk to girls about unless they were fans as well and you wouldn’t know that unless they inexplicably mentioned the indomnitability of something. But it’s never something that’s impossible to justify and hardly a handicap.

There is an explicable twist to Doctor Who fandom, that is completely understandable and in the life-blood of all Doctor Who fans. It is this:

Doctor Who fans love Doctor Who.

If you run into somebody who tells you they thought the franchise was quite enjoyable, and they very-much liked the originals as well as the new series, and even own everything on DVD, and a few of the books, these too are Doctor Who Fans.

Doctor Who fans love Doctor Who.

The primary fulcrum for the Doctor Who fan’s love (including my own) are Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert, creators of Doctor Who. Like Browncoats who adore Firefly creator Joss Whedon, Doctor Who fans love the parents of their obsession. We love that Sydney and Verity got it right from the beginning, creating a time machine in the shape of a police box. We love the fact that Verity was clever enough to see that Sydney was wrong about bug-eyed monsters and hired Terry Nation who created the Daleks, even though the name had nothing to do with the pages of a dictionary no matter what the Trivial Pursuit question says. We love the entire existence of literally all of the Doctor Who stories, often only blaming John Nathan Turner’s later flawed ‘vision’ for everything.

We believe that Tom Baker should live forever.

Doctor Who fans also love the original Doctor Who series. We think Peter Davison’s acting was authoritative, the pacing was structured, and the first fifteen years were better than the second, making the end of the series a let-down. We love the way Adric died, and we love the cantankerous, articulate duel between Pertwee and Troughton in The Three Doctors. We don’t understand why people thought Daleks couldn‘t go up stairs, and we don’t get why the empire building Cybermen can create bloodthirsty Cybermats yet be beaten so easily by a lack of gravity in The Moonbase. Doctor Who fans love omnipotent war-machines that get the name of their hero wrong especially since there’s never really been conclusive proof that WOTAN was wrong. They love Sylvester McCoy’s face and that 'wonderful' spoon playing. Doctor Who fans also love the original Doctor Who series.

There is also, as you probably know, a series of dvds that have remastered the original Doctor Who stories, and these are also loved by Doctor Who fans with an even more scorching fervor. Doctor Who fans love the glaring CG changes made to scenes we already loved to begin with. We love that The Ark In Space’s exteriors now match the interiors, even though nothing could be done with the roll of bubble rap that is the Wyrrn lavae. We love the fact that the cardboard space ships in The Dalek Invasion of Earth (whose name is an anagram of ‘Ski Into A Halfhearted Oven‘, by the way) are replaced by canonical flying saucers that look like they‘ve been borrowed from a fifties b-movie. Doctor Who fans are unsure if these forgive the Restoration Team‘s mistakes, but we love the dvds of the series just the same.

There is of course also the sequel programme to Doctor Who. It is newer, more epic, more expensive, and more visually stunning than the original series. Doctor Who fans know this, and so we love it even more. We love it with the burning passion of a living sun. Jackie Tyler, Moxx of Balhoon, technology that is blatantly less sophisticated than the “earlier” original series…we embrace all of it. There’s nothing a Doctor Who fan loves more than the new series. They demystified the Master, contradicted countless lines in the original series (Sarah-Jane: “Did I do something wrong? Because you never came back for me. You just... dumped me.” Doctor: “I told you. I was called back home and in those days humans weren't allowed.” Sarah-Jane: “I waited for you. I missed you.” (Doctor: (not in script) “Oh right, and sending fucking K9 to help you and all the stuff we went through in The Five Doctors never bloody happened did it?”)

Doctor Who fans think Christopher Ecc … uh … David Tennant’s acting is superb. And the pacing is flexible.

Beyond the television series, there are also various audio-related Doctor Who endeavors which Doctor Who fans enjoy. Starting with that atmospheric “The Sirens of Time” in which Colin Baker appeared dynamic and tried to prove he was the best Doctor of them all now that we couldn‘t see his costume. We think “The Chimes of Midnight” was a classic, The Bernice Summerfield Adventures is an extension of everything we loved about the New Adventures, and we’ve heard both seasons of Gallifrey which we loved because we believe them to be immensely consistent with the classic series we also love.

Doctor Who fans think that Doctor Who Magazine is a storehouse of trivia written for archive purposes by people who know everything about Doctor Who. Every gimmick imaginable to capture the excitement of the new series and token regular articles about the classic series spring forth from the magazine, and Doctor Who fans can’t get enough of it. Doctor Who fans have read the one in which Ben Cook interviews McFly and we were pretty impressed.

Then, naturally, there are the websites. Doctor Who fans love bbc.co.uk, and the innovative content that comprises most of the interactive apexes found in the Doctor Who mini-sites that they publish every week while the new series is being broadcast. Doctor Who fans know that podcast commentaries can be a very good thing, we yelled at our PCs when the third series trailer came out, and we kind-of like Outpost Gallifrey, even more since it returned. Doctor Who fans even like Behind The Sofa, unless they are RTD fans. This does not count. Doctor Who fans love Doctor Who websites.

The final main elixir of Doctor Who folklore is the ever-growing library of Doctor Who books. These have managed to make a complex main character out of practically every background monster seen in the series, and expanded the universe into a colossal, self-perpetuating chronology. Doctor Who fans love this. We love how complex and canonical the books were getting during the New Adventures series, and we love the BBC Books series for being so radically different, and perhaps even more complex and canonical. Doctor Who fans love it when previously-deceased characters are brought back to life, and we also love Lance Parkin for bringing all of mythology to life. Some Doctor Who fans did not love Sam Jones, but they do now, because she is dead. The Doctor Who series also contradict and completely ignore droves of information within the Doctor Who novels. Doctor Who fans now know that Russell T Davies has every idea what a kronk burger is, and it makes us very happy. Doctor Who fans love Doctor Who books.

Now that I have covered all of this, you can finally begin to compute why I could prove to a potential girfriend Doctor Who is a monumental epic worth devoting one’s life to. The very nature of the argument means I have to describe Doctor Who, and since I am a Doctor Who fan, I totally understand how to do that.

Maybe I’ll put it like this. To be a Doctor Who fan, one must possess the ability to see a million different failures and downfalls, and then somehow assemble them into a greater picture of perfection. Every true Doctor Who fan is a companion, looking at his boisterous, effervescent timelord friend, and always seeing good.

My earlier statement needs slight revision. We love everything about Doctor Who.

And the idea of Doctor Who…the idea we love.

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