Yes, I’m a Whovian, but I’m one of the nice ones
Guest contributor Alex Lawrence looks at the current state of fandom.
There has been plenty in the news recently about Doctor Who’s fandom (or “Whovians” as we are now more commonly known) concerning the general opinion of Steven Moffat and how he feels he is making everyone unhappy. There has even been a well done, in-depth article on this site about how the fandom needs to improve. However, I would like to reveal the truth about us Whovians and our true feelings for the show, which will hopefully enlighten you to spread the message.
Firstly, I would like to apologise for the seriousness of this article. I prefer to write quirky, up-beat and jolly little tales with a title something along the lines of “How many Nimon’s HAVE you seen today?” but right now I feel like I need to spread my opinion to the rest of you online to hopefully show you that things aren’t as bad as you think.
The main thing I currently see people talking about in relation to this topic is how the show is gaining hate from the majority of fans and how far we’ve fallen as a fanbase in our ways of speaking and respect, especially online. Day after day I (and I’m sure most of you) see comments moaning about how Moffat has ‘ruined the show’ and how much people want David Tennant back (despite him leaving Doctor Who 4 years ago and Moffat only writing a fraction of the episodes in his era) and there is no denying that this is a problem that’s going on as we speak, and it must be stopped. What I would like to say, however, is that there is no major need to worry. This is only a fraction of the fanbase. I don’t mean only a fraction use Doctor Who TV or any other fansite, I mean every Whovian on the net.
People who disagree with something are more likely to speak out than the people who agree. I don’t want to start a talk about politics here and will stay completely un-biased while writing, but evidence of this can be see with UKIP’s recent success here in the UK. The media made out that everyone was against the party, and over the past few weeks I heard non-stop shouting about how bad their policies are and how they are a “Racist party” yet when the votes came in, they still took a pretty good fraction. I’m sure there are many other factors that played into this such as their attention in the press getting their policies across much clearer than the other parties and perhaps people just wanted change (I don’t know, I’m not a politician), but the fact that their supporters stayed quiet also helped quite a lot. Of course some supporters were very loud in their opinions but this will play out later in this article.
Now comparing this to what we have in out fandom, we can see many similarities. All over the internet people are shouting at the show, and even the head-writer believes that we all hate him. But if the fandom was as bad as it is made out to be, then would The Day of The Doctor have won the Audience appreciation award at the BAFTA’s? It’s clear from the reactions at the acceptance speech that even the crew weren’t expecting to triumph there. The truth is, everybody that we see shouting and raging at Steven are just the percentage who do happen to be against him, and generally seem to be a bit more vocal in their responses. We as fans need to get this message across to the others we know, we need Moffat to see this so he can see that we really do appreciate his work, even if he has had a few bumps along the way.
I am also able to see where people come from when saying that we have declined in quality as a fandom. It can appear that even those defending the show can be just as vocal and offensive as those who express their opinions against it, and all those who aren’t like that waste their time making points that have no impact on the “important” world around them (rather like me right now) and again, this is true. But this is also where I get to my most important message that I hope is passed on through our society. On the internet, we only see the extremes of both sides of the Whovian fanbase. We see those who hate the show, those who love the heck out of it but rarely do we see any others. It may become easy to think that this must be all our fandom is, people who hate it and people who won’t stop until everyone else loves it too. But this isn’t the truth. It’s all too easy to feel like we know the whole fandom online, knowing who the big, respected fans are and who not to like but in reality we don’t. In reality, the average fan…probably hasn’t posted a Doctor Who related comment in their life.
You see, the average fan won’t spend their time checking for updates on Doctor Who TV, and won’t be subscribed to the Doctor Who YouTube channel or squealing about Peter Capaldi on Tumblr (dare I mention it). They will be all around you. When you walk down the street, the people around you may not be wearing a “bow ties are cool” T-shirt or have a TARDIS phone-case cover, and they may not even want to say much about the show if you questioned them about it. But when August comes and the opening credits roll, plenty of them will be sitting down on the sofa with a nice cup of tea and a smile on their face as they enjoy the longest running Sci-Fi show in the world. This is our gift of a secret community.
And that’s my point. We are not the screaming savages we often see ourselves as. We are normal people.
Except that’s not all. Because if it were, I wouldn’t be here writing this now. We are part of a special community of the fans. The online community. And while it is true that we, the online community, need to sort ourselves out, it is also true that we have something truly unique. We have each other. Yes, I know, that’s an utterly cringe-worthy line but it’s true. We are the section of the online community who over-talk things as I mentioned earlier, but that is still better than being the average commenter on YouTube. We talk to each other, and debate and discuss (not shout or argue) and we appreciate each others opinions. I would like to think that although we aren’t perfect (nobody is) we are at the upper-end of our community within a fandom.
Furthermore, the average online fan probably won’t post anything big either. They just won’t be noticed, and will be getting on with their life liking cat video’s while we natter on about the U.N.I.T dating system. We need to let people see this. Because if we don’t, then that’s what Moffat will see us as, and he’ll spend so much time making sure the script is perfect for a raging small boy on the internet and satisfies all of what that boys wants, then he won’t spend enough time doing what he does best. Writing stories. Thank you for reading.
I apologise for the shortness of this article, but this truly is all I need to say. It’s a message more than anything and it can be shortened to 2 A4 pages of paper. Just remember that things aren’t as bad as the press makes out. That’s what the press does. It wouldn’t be an interesting title to say “Doctor Who fans actually like the show” and as they say, “the only good news is bad news”. I would also appreciate some feedback as this is my first proper article. Now, off to comparing Peter Cushing to Richard E Grant I think!