Tony Fyler embraces the madness of the fan spectrum.
Fandom is a wonderful thing. It can be a community of support, it can be a lifeline in hard times, it can be a beehive of rumour and nitpicking fun. It can be just a bunch of geeks hanging out together in the simple pleasure of enjoying a particular show or movie.
But my word, don’t we think we’re important?
I’m as guilty as the next geek of this – after all, I’m regularly posting a bunch of story ideas right here for ‘future stories using old monsters.’ If that’s not a rampant ego, I don’t know what is.
Sometimes though, we probably need to checkity-check ourselves before we end up sounding like we take our own arbitrary positions more seriously than anything else in the world, or demanding that our lines in the sand be taken seriously by programme-makers in charge of massive budgets and deadlines and franchises. Whodaman17 of Buttcrack, Missouri thinks Capaldi’s coming off unfriendly, so the series is in danger in the States. Tony Fyler of Skintsville, South Wales thinks Omega should come back – make it so, Mr Moffatt, and be quick about it if you please!
There’s a real danger in online fandom of taking ourselves waaaaay too freakin’ seriously. There are groups on Facebook now that warn they are STRICTLY for Classic Fans WHO HATE NEW WHO. There are groups that have to label themselves Uncensored – presumably because censorship has become necessary in other groups. I’ve recently come across groups where the idea of instantly deleting any post that uses the collective noun ‘Whovian’ was seriously entertained. Fans threatening to ban other fans for pointing out that not every Matt Smith episode was a pearl of rarest beauty, and so on.
I even encountered this a few nights ago – someone who posted a question: ‘So can someone finally tell me – is Capaldi the last Doctor of the first regeneration cycle, or the first Doctor of a new cycle?’ That person received several answers to the effect that Capaldi’s Doctor was the first of a new cycle, as mentioned specifically by the Smith Doctor prior to his change. ‘Why?’ he demanded, and the in-show explanation of the Tenth Doctor’s regeneration at the end of The Stolen Earth counting as a legitimate ‘life’ was given. ‘Well, I don’t accept that,’ he said, ‘so he’s the last Doctor of the first cycle. And anyway, what about the Valeyard?’
*Sigh* What do you say to someone like that? I merely wished him well in his world, and asked him to let me know how he was doing when Capaldi’s Doctor eventually regenerated, because surely, that would break his world apart.
Even here on WarpedFactor, we all have diverse opinions, and we sometimes believe they’re valid simply because we hold them. A pal of mine – and I think of them that way, despite fundamentally disagreeing with almost everything they write (my first friend in real-world fandom and I disagreed about almost everything but the pleasure of watching the show too) – recently claimed Capaldi’s Doctor was coming off as mean and like a stern granddad, and that somehow this was a problem for anyone other than those who found him that way. ‘I've heard no one say "he's brilliant" or "the best." I think I like him better than all the geek and academic Whovians I know!’ she said, going on to prescribe changes that would hopefully be made to address this perception. That’s groovy, we’re all allowed to speculate about how we’d change the show if we had any say in it whatsoever. As I say, I put forward story ideas, which is pretty much the same thing.
What interests me though is that the net is also full – and I mean full to bursting point – of people saying ‘he’s brilliant’ and that Capaldi is ‘the best Doctor ever!’ You can pretty much type ‘Peter Capaldi best Doctor’ into Google and be smothered by people thinking that. I guess if it really concerns you that no-one you know thinks that way, and you do, or you want to be surrounded by people who do, then the Who fans you know really aren’t the Who fans you’re looking for.
Likewise, I’m going to bet there are plenty of people out there who don’t believe the show-stated solution, and think Capaldi’s Doctor is the last incarnation of the Doctor’s first cycle. There are absolutely BOUND to be shedloads of people out there like me, putting story-ideas together, knowing full well they will never be made. Fandom is that fabulous thing – a spectrum. On the spectrum, evvvvverybody’s out there somewhere. Always be proud of your position on it, even if gits like me say ‘but it was stated in the show!’ But never be under the illusion that your experience is everyone’s experience, or that the show-makers have to listen to your view. And, as I say, if the Who fans you know aren’t the Who fans you’re looking for, Google is your friend.
Tony Fyler lives in a cave of wall-to-wall DVDs and Blu-Rays somewhere fairly
nondescript in Wales, and never goes out to meet the "Real People". Who,
Torchwood, Sherlock, Blake, Treks, Star Wars, obscure stuff from the
70s and 80s and comedy from the dawn of time mean he never has to. By
runs an editing house, largely as an
excuse not to have to work for a living. He's currently writing a Book.
With Pages and everything. Follow his progress at FylerWrites.co.uk