Doctor Who: 5 Worst Things About Getting Someone Hooked on Doctor Who
Now, it's probably escaped regular readers' attentions because I hardly ever talk about it, but I'm a tiny bit obsessed with Doctor Who. Seriously, though, it almost never comes up in my written work.
That said, I've led more than a few people into Whovian fandom, and that's great because I'm basically a hardcore Southern evangelist who never had a religion he liked well enough to bother people about before. I love it when people join up with this magical little crew and go off exploring space and time with the rest of us. It's truly one of the greatest stories ever told, and it's still being told today.
There's an unfortunate side, though, to bringing people in.
5. They're Going to Lose Some Facebook Friends: Whovian fandom is a pretty intense thing. I mean, it's not as mind-bogglingly wacky as, say, things Jared Leto fans do, but it's still way up there. This is manifest mostly in an endless cycle of fan art shares, theory discussions and Saturday nights full of cursing Steven Moffat's name on social media.
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And I promise you, it will annoy the ever-loving Skaro out of every non-Who fan on your friends list. One of the most persistent things I see from people every time the show returns from hiatus is a wish for a Doctor Who filter for posts. Just as I started to hide people who built their lives around Texans games, some of your friends are going to limit some online association with you...at least until that freshly discovered show adrenaline rush wears off and you start talking about other things again.
4. Some of Us Are Kind of Dicks: It's never been a better time to be a geek, mostly because geek things are now million-dollar franchises instead of niche markets. That means there is plenty of sci-fi, fantasy and the like to go around for all! Hell, I've been in two chain bookstores this month alone that had actual Tardis bookshelves in them. Doctor Who, like a lot of other previously hard-to-find, nerdy things, has never been more accessible.
Fandom has a dark side, though. Some people are just obsessively passionate it, but there are some who basically become strangely fundamentalist, applying near-Calvinist fervor to the subject in what is probably an indicator of rather stunted emotional growth. Aspects of this to watch out for include: fans of the classic series who disdain anyone who has watched only the reboot; misogynists who are appalled by any female who might have started watching because David Tennant is, well, yummy; and definitely older fans who look down on young kids liking the show for some weird reason.
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3. They're About to Be Broke: The annoying thing about Doctor Who is that it's sort of like a drug dealer. When I first started watching the show, the entire run of the modern series was available on Netflix streaming. That's 80-plus episodes all for pretty much free! You can't beat that?
Eventually, though, you're going to come to big gaps between seasons, and it's going to make you want to try out the old series. Nothing wrong with that, except that even used the DVDs generally run at least $15 a pop, and more for the special editions. Audio stories are cheaper, often as low as $3, but just as iTunes knows that you're more willing to download something for $10 than you are to go out to a store and buy it for $15, it can become an insidious habit.
Same with the books, and that's not even taking into account how pretty much every fan I know gets addicted to cheap shirts from Tee Fury and Epic Embrace. Screaming, "It must be mine!" and throwing money at the screen is a problem in any fandom, but with Doctor Who it just never ends.
2. You're Dooming Them to Not Being Taken Seriously Ever Again: If there is anyone I feel really sorry for sometimes, it's my wife. She goes to a nursing school where the emergency call boxes accidentally look exactly like miniature Tardises, practices nursing techniques on mannequins that are essentially Autons, and one of her professors looks so much like River Song it almost has to be deliberate.
She has no one to share this with, and mentioning it pretty much brings either blank stares or more severe looks like maybe she might be a little simple.
Over 50 years of the show, Doctor Who has explored pretty much every aspect of modern history and pop culture at some point, not to mention influencing a fair amount in its own right. You can see Doctor Who references everywhere if you keep an eye out, and doing so to the uninitiated tends to make them consider you childish. To quote Tom Baker, "There's no point in growing up if you can't be childish." Still, it's hard to assert maturity among the normals when you mark your arm for sightings of the Silence when you're bored.
1. You Know You're Going to Break Their Hearts: Here's a conversation every old Whovian has with a new one.
OW: Which episode are you on?
NW: Oh, I just finished "Boom Town." Going to watch the two-parter tonight. It's Eccleston's last episode, right?
Doctor Who is probably the only artistic work in the history of fiction where the lead character is guaranteed to die. It's his defining characteristic, and no, it's not a change. It's death. He dies to save others and is reborn like that one guy all the churches are so keen on. So every three or four years we get to watch our favorite character get offed...unless you're a new fan watching the whole thing at once. Then you get to watch it happen rapid-fire over the course of a few weeks or months. That's not even counting other emotional roller coasters like "Doomsday" or "Journey's End."
It's a great show, but you do spend a lot of it feeling really sad. Seems a bit mean to inflict that on others sometimes.
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