Very soon now, we that are Whovians will be celebrating the show’s 50th anniversary. And with the release of the prequel mini-episode, “Night of the Doctor,” I’ve been manically watching old documentaries and begging Bones to let me show him things that I think are relevant to what’s in store for us in this fandom after watching:
which is a brilliant 7 minutes of geekery, and I may be a little hard to live with right now because I am overflowing with woo and curiosity, and so much HELL YEAH OLD SCHOOL WHO!! because my heart has remained a little broken by every New School Whovian that dismisses the decades of stuff that’s come before..that hasn’t wanted to hear about the 1996 movie, or the Big Finish audios..that have said, “Oh, I know the show,” but are now missing things because they didn’t think the old stuff was important enough to watch/listen to/read.
And absolutely this is me yelling, “YOU KIDS! GET OFF MY LAWN!”
And it’s more than that. The Doctor is a character I loved and followed at a time when so few people around me knew what the hell I was prattling on about. I loved a character whose story I only barely knew because we were totally at the mercy of whatever packages of episodes the BBC chose to make available to American PBS stations. I went around my high school asking people to sign a petition to bring the show back from hiatus, and even managed to get more than a few people to sign, though I’m honestly not sure how that happened. I’m poking through old stuff now, and in some ways Old School Who breaks my heart in a whole new aching way because of all the unrealized promise, all the production issues and budget cuts, the unexpected hiatus, the unanticipated cancellation. I’m watching bits of “Trial of a Time Lord” and remembering what it was like to watch that on crappy VHS tapes, trying to make sense of storylines that were mimicking what was happening to the show in real life, and I can understand now how hard that was for the cast and crew.
It wasn’t that long ago that people openly teased me for my fandom – people that have come to embrace the Doctor as their own. Part of me wants to slap those people and say, “No. You’re not good enough for the Doctor.” The people that want to say, “Oh, Old School Who was so bad. How can you watch it?” are people I want to slap across the face with copies of the last season of Doctor #7 and say, “You’re an idiot, and this is why.” (Although I frankly doubt that most of the critics have ever bothered to sit in front of a TV and actually watch what they’re so quick to dismiss.)
I friggin’ LOVE that there’s so much Old Who there. Part of me wants to dance around and yell, “HA! I *TOLD* you the history was important!” And, seriously, all y’all that want to say, “Oh, Moffat is a monster,” or “RTD sucked moose,” – ya know what? They have NOTHING over the hatred from so many fans for John Nathan-Turner, so STFU.
Get off my lawn, indeed.
I have such sorrow about my fandom. I didn’t see the 1996 movie when it aired because I didn’t have access to the station airing it, and my own housemate left me at home while she went out to see the movie at someone else’s home. When new Who became available, a boyfriend got his hands on it and shared it with other people before me. It was excitement about something new and shiny – I understand that – but it was frustrating and made me feel even lonelier.
My fandom, and I wasn’t able to join in the celebration. I’m not able to see the 50th anniversary stuff in the theatre, and I am more heartbroken about that than I can relate.
So I am trying not to make Bones too crazy with my pleas to let me show him just this one story, just these few episodes, just..ok, and “An Unearthly Child”…because it is so damned happy-making to me to have someone in my life that gets it, that has the interest, and that wants to SHARE it with me…and that I want so much to get as many of the Old School references as possible.
And of course, truth be told, despite my grousing, I love that so many people have come to love my Doctor.
(I’m….not as gracious about my Sherlock. But that’s another rant for another time.)