Doctor Who Thing

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Enjoying Doctor Who



I like Doctor Who. I enjoy watching it. I mean,  I really look forward to watching it. I go into each episode hopeful that it’s going to be a good one. Thinking about the show brings a little joy to my tired, battered little heart. It may not always be the ‘best’ show on TV, but it’s always my favourite. I watch because I love it. All of it. Oh sure, there are some eras I prefer over others, and I’m not blind to faults, but every season has good stuff in it. Even season 24.

I just fucking love Doctor Who.

I know, to some sections of Who ‘fandom’, those opening few sentences WILL NOT COMPUTE. Doctor Who is something they love part of. A show that they now endure because…. because…? Because there is that part of it they used to love. And they hope it’ll be just like it was again for that specially selected period of time. But a little heads up: it probably won’t be like that again. Not quite. It can’t be. It’s not just one thing this show, it’s been made by too many different people, people who must bring themselves to it. Who must steer the ship in a slightly different direction.

So some fans claim it as their favourite show, but because it won’t conform to their specific taste anymore, they feel like they are justified in ‘hate watching’. In identifying themselves as a fan, but then putting nothing but negative thoughts about the show out into the world. Retweeting others who share their opinion in an attempt to show they very rightness of their opinion. “Look! Look! Someone else on Twitter didn’t like it, therefore I am right and justified!”

I popped onto the festering boil that is Gallifrey Base (I know, daft of me) just to check something I already assumed would be true. For each of the two recent episodes, there are threads titled ‘General Praise’ and ‘General Disdain’; two guesses for with thread gets the most action? People want to moan. Pick at. Belittle. Pretend what they just saw was the worst abomination ever created. Nothing bad, or illogical, or underwhelming, or just plain shit ever went down on their show for the period they deign praiseworthy. But NOW? Fuck me, the show can do no right. It’s an end to end crap-heap.

What happened to the pure joy of sitting down to watch this daft, fun show?

Let’s be clear, just like in the 80s, there are people who consider themselves fans who would dance a delighted jig and laugh in the faces of people who watch if the show were to be cancelled. Because then that would somehow be proof that they were ‘right’. Not that Who doesn’t work for them anymore, but that it was objectively terrible. They point at the ratings joyfully each week and make claims of the audience deserting the show. They WANT the audience to desert the show. They’d rather the show died than carry on as something that has stepped outside of their own personal tastes. Selfish? Entitled? You betcha. They don’t enjoy the game anymore so want to take the ball home. Doesn’t matter that it’s not their ball and plenty of others are happily kicking it around.

Doctor Who fans can just be THE WORST.

I’d like to think if I ever became so curdled, I’d step away from the show, because why put myself through it? ‘Oh, the old if you don’t like it you shouldn’t watch it anymore argument. How shallow, how silly, how…’ SHUT UP. Watch it if you want. Complain and complain if you have to. But by gosh, it’s a strange way to want to carry on.

In our bid to poke at, critique, bash, highlight ‘problems’, and declare it imperfect, many of us forget to simply revel in the sheer joy of this daft, scary, goofy, bold, unique show. We think it’s more important to scold its imperfections, or decry it for failing to squeeze into the tiny mold we decide it best fits in. In our rush towards the disdain, we give short shrift to the praise. Too much ‘I want it to do this and it won’t’, and not enough taking the show as presented.

No, jerk, I’m not saying we should not critique the show. Just realise that Who not being exactly like you want it to be does not automatically mean it is terrible.

Now maybe I’m easy. There is no era of the show that I would ever put the word ‘Hate’ close to. All of it has moments to treasure. Stories to cheer for. Yeah, I even like BOTH the RTD era and the Moffat era. I KNOW! Incredible. I am a special and unique flower.

Watching Doctor Who should be fun. If it isn’t for you, then that sucks, but it can’t always be what you demand of it.

‘I just want my show back!’ Some of the slack-jawed miseries screech as they stamp their feet. Sorry, bub, but it’s not your show.

Oh, one more thing: I fucking LOVE Doctor Who! It’s often silly, often scary, sometimes it’s even brilliant. I hope I always have more joy than misery for it.


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Author: Matthew Stott


7 thoughts on “Enjoying Doctor Who

  1. Preach it. Doctor Who “fans” can be the worst. We’re the only fandom who are notorious for how much we hate on our show. I’m continually bewildered by why the “fans” who insist that they hate everything about the show now keep watching, let alone visit forums and comment threads to write extended rants about a show they apparently consider a complete waste of time.

  2. THANK YOU!!!!! You have put perfectly into words what I and many, many others have been feeling for some time now.
    Watch the show, or don’t. Critique it, or don’t. Hate it, or love it, or be indifferent. But continuously going on and on about how MUCH you hate it, especially as it becomes more popular around the world, doesn’t make you the cool, edgy kid. It just makes you dull and annoying.
    I’m going to be an old biddie for a moment: I started watching at the age of 12, in the early 80’s, on PBS. It was really hard to find other fans in those days in the U.S. I would’ve loved to have had a platform with which to discuss the show. But lately there’s so much whining in social media that it sucks all the joy out. I’m back to just watching and loving the show, avoiding the “fan” pages. And that makes me a bit sad.

  3. So glad to hear of another who love the various era of Doctor Who! I love it all, from the imperfections of the “An Unearthly Child” pilot to the wonderous, if completely implausible, Sonic Sunglasses. There’s just so much fun to be had with every single version of the Doctor and his companions, and it always hurts when people criticize and hate on the show simply because it doesn’t conform to their expectations. I thought the last two-parter was brilliant, especially Julian Bleach’s Davros, that range of emotion in such a small period of time.

    Hopefully some hate fans will either pull their heads in and accept the show’s changed and will continue to do so, or do us all a favour and watch their ideal version on DVD!

  4. Thank you. I have unliked so many fan pages on Facebook due to the utter bile I see day after day. I have been watching the show since the 70’s and prior to social media its been polite and constructive criticism. Now its trolling nonstop it makes watching the show such a downer. It seems to me that fans these days have forgotten how to enjoy and have fun with the show. So what if The Doctor does not have a screwdriver and has sunglasses? He didn’t have one for 14 years! The show changes and its so astonishing to see this fandom so resistent to change. Sometimes I wonder if those so called “fans,” actually watch the show or just want to be in the hating bandwagon.

  5. Thanks, all! SO good to see people thinking as I do. Doctor Who is something to CHEER, not jeer!
    Doc Who Thing.

  6. Oh yes! Agree with this. I have grown so tired of “Bring David back!” and “Moffatt should go” and so on. I loved David Tennant as the Doctor. I enjoyed the RTD era (in fact the only thing he did that annoyed me was write that the sound of drums was present in all the Master’s incarnations because I couldn’t see Roger Degaldo rocking out to Voodoo Child, but that’s for another time). I enjoy the current series and adored Matt Smith before the wonderful Peter Capaldi took over. But then, when I go onto Twitter (why, why do I do this after every episode??) I see “Oh, that was crap, I want David back!!!” It’s been years, people, and he was fantastic, but so is Peter. Why tweet hate about it? It’s still pulling a huge number of viewers and I would rather Who was on screen than “rested” thanks to an excess of negative feedback. There are things I love and loathe in most of the series (I’m slowly revisiting Doctors 5 through 7 just to check what I missed) but oh – the fact there is Doctor Who in the world makes it just that little bit better! The fact I change my mind about who gets the coveted second favourite Doctor slot on a weekly basis (Tom Baker is number 1) is a GOOD thing. Genuinely wondering if I’ve seen enough of Missy to bump John Simm’s master into fourth place in my rankings? Also excellent! Arguing with the other half about the best companion? Wonderful! Debating the need for the sonic sunglasses – fine, but keep it light and fun, people! It’s a fun, entertaining, thought-provoking show that is unique. We should be celebrating that Doctor Who is still going. Thank you for this article.

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