The Family That Watches Bad Television Together

What, Gentle Readers have been presumably asking, did Your Humble Blogger hate most about the recent season of Doctor Who? The answer is everything. Everything was the thing I hated most about this season.

Yes, but what else? you ask. And the answer is: Everything else.

So, both things?

Yes. Both things were the worst, my friends. Everything was the worst, and also everything else. Ugh.

And yes, I watched the whole thing. Does this make sense? Mostly, for a show—or a dystopian novel trilogy, an album, a series of lithographs, whatever—my way of thinking is that if I don’t like it, I shrug and move on. There is an effectively infinite number of books to read; if I’m not enjoying one, it’s on to the next for me, and no hard feelings. There’s no sense in being cranky about things not being to my taste, is there?

Digression: I’m not going to write here about how much I hated the shows, and why, and what could be better. I could just say that as far as my own experience goes, it has only been downhill since Last Christmas. I will take a momentary digression, though, to acknowledge that it has to do with my own Sources of Viewer Irritation and Viewer Pleasure. I also recently watched Web of Fear, an episode from 1968, and enjoyed it quite a bit, despite its obvious flaws. The filming is terrible, dark and murky; the makeup is amateurish; the acting is… not all up to a high standard; the pacing is beyond terrible, and the special effects, my goodness gracious me, the special effects. Oh, and the robot yeti are clearly guys in big fuzzy suits. My tolerance for that sort of thing turns out to be very high, and in fact the terrible special effects are a sort of Source of Viewer Pleasure of their own. I cannot (and don’t want to) justify my high tolerance for that sort of thing in comparison with what turns out to be a very low tolerance for clever-clever-stupid plots and clumsy-important retconning, not to mention my now-pretty-much-zero tolerance policy for Long Farewell Scenes. I understand that people are different, one to another, which is what makes the universe interesting and fun, so if you enjoyed this stuff, Gentle Reader, I’m glad you enjoyed it. End Digression.

Doctor Who is different, for me. Not because I’m a fan, because my fandom is at this point mild and nostalgic; I have written before about my fandom and the new series. I dropped out of the community of fen twenty-five years ago, and while I did watch and mostly enjoy the new shows, I am not part of the fandom generally.

My daughter, though, is a trufan. Well, not really, I suppose, by mimeo-zine standards, but certainly an honest-to-goodness, fanfic-writing, talking-about-this-week’s-episode-at-school, dressing-up-for-the-con Whovian. Part of a community, in fact, more or less the exact same way I was in 1986. Which is awesome! I believe I saw Castrovalva for the first time on the same day as the other forty or fifty fans in my metropolitan area did, and went to the fan club meeting in the back of the used bookstore and talked about what we liked and what we didn’t. Those club meetings were somewhere between fantastic and awful, like high school generally, but balanced more toward the fantastic. Had I missed the episodes, I would have missed the party. I figure much the same for my daughter. Giving up on the newly-produced Moffatt-era episodes as they are broadcast pretty much would mean separating herself from the community and its conversations. That’s not something my Perfect Non-Reader is ready to do. I support her in that.

And, it turns out, I watch the episodes with her, because it’s a thing we do together. It’s a different kind of community I am part of, now, and it is so worth it.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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