By popular demand, we are taking on Doctor Who for our next Falling Into A Fandom series’ post. Admittedly I am a fan of Doctor Who… I own all the series and soundtracks, some action figures and t-shirts, a Doctor Who mousepad, and have written some Doctor Who stories and an episode script. But mostly I keep my Doctor Who love to myself and my real life friends who also watch the show. I’m not really part of the fandom. I don’t read blogs about the show or books or audio adventures (yes, there are books and audio adventures). I don’t create fan art gifs on tumblr or mash ups of Amy and the Doctor to pop songs for youtube. I don’t tweet Steven Moffat (the Head Writer and Executive Producer) my opinions on his casting decisions or continuity errors I’ve found. In fact, I didn’t even know that Steven Moffat deleted his twitter account way back in fall of 2012 until I began researching for this blog post. And I can’t blame the dude, Twitter is a scary place.
In the comments of the Tom Hiddleston Falling Into A Fandom post, Nikki admits to her fear of taking on the Doctor Who fandom due to its scope. As one wise That’s Normal commenter noted, the Doctor Who fandom has had 50 years in the making. That’s more than Star Trek and Star Wars, guys… and we KNOW what their fandoms are like. It does have quite the scope, but the show itself is somewhat confusing as well, which is why as a fan–but not an active fandom participant–I make a good rabbit hole diver… (that sounds worse every time I read it).
So, tighten your scarf, straighten your bowtie, and buckle up, because this is all of time and space, all that ever was and ever will be, and it’s gonna be a tricky one…
First things first, a little Doctor Who history for the gang:
It first aired in 1963 as a 25-minute children’s show. The second storyline featured the Daleks and drove the show into record high ratings, increasing popularity each week. The show ran until 1989 going through 7 different Doctors before going off the air. In 1996 there was a movie featuring the 8th Doctor. In 2005 the show re-booted, starting more or less where it left off, with the 9th Doctor. This November marks its 50th Anniversary. Since 2005, we have had 3 Doctors. Why so many Doctors? The character the Doctor is an alien species called Time Lords (they are the lords of all of time, basically). When a Time Lord dies their body regenerates into a new one. They are not immortal, but the current Doctor is over 900 years old, and he’s got a penchant for Earth Girls. Oh, and he has a magical box that can travel anywhere in time and space called the TARDIS. And he wants to take YOU for a ride in it. Yeah, I think we have an audience…
My favorite historical tidbit about the series? Its original producer was… a woman! Oh, and that nifty theme song they have that hasn’t really changed since 1963? Also produced by a woman using no instruments at all — only electronics. In 1963. Innovator!
Second things second, there’s at times a division of fandom between Classic Who and New Who.
Classic Who being the first 8 Doctors and New Who being the last 3 Doctors. The show took on an entirely different look and feel once it rebooted in 2005, and many Classic Who hardcores are NOT fans of it. I still blame Tom Baker for single-handedly causing this division. But for the most part, we will look at the New Who fandom here, which is generally inclusive of [though often uneducated about] Classic Who.
Third things third, the uber short glossary done sort of pictorially:
1, 2, 3, 4 … 11 = how the Doctors are referenced (by which number they are), unless they’re referenced by their actor name
Companion / Assistant=how the people who travel with the Doctor are referenced. He has a lot of female companions, but not always, and they’re not always human or from that time period either, even if they look human and from that time period. Sometimes they are robots, like K-9. You know what, don’t worry, someone in the fandom has already made you a pie chart:
The core New Who companions (Left to right from the top: Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Mickey Smith, Jack Harkness, Donna Noble, Wilfred Mott, Rory Williams, Amy Pond, Clara “Oswin” Oswald, River Song)
TARDIS = Time And Relative Dimension In Space, aka, the Doctor’s space ship time machine. It’s bigger on the inside.
Exterior of the TARDIS:
Interior of the TARDIS:
Bowties = cool (yeah, like purple)
They’re Called Whovians. They’re a mash up of fairly equally male and female Sci-Fi and Fantasy Adventure lovers who run the gamut of Nerds You Google’s Chris Hardwicke to that quiet pale guy who sat behind you in Algebra 2 and was always playing games on his T86 calculator. Lots of high schoolers and kids, too. It does strive to maintain its original children’s show friendliness, after all. I mean, they even offer lesson plans for teachers! For SciFi, I will say that there’s a lot of ladies, and I don’t wonder why…
Whovians are probably best described as the people who wrote their own Choose Your Adventure books when the one they were reading didn’t work out as planned. They’re imaginative, resourceful, funny, full of wanderlust, generally interesting, and a wee bit intense.
Are There Awkward Romance Situations That People Ship?
Impossibly old supernatural creature who’s had at least 12 bodies + likes Earth Girls in the plenty + approved for Youth audiences = KEYBOARD MASH AMOUNTS OF UNREQUITED LOVE/SEXUAL TENSION.
With so many rotating female leads, time travel, and a male lead who apparently gets sexier with age, it’s impossible for there not to be shipping. Shipping across ALL time and ALL galaxies. It’s like… beyond. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a peek at some *real* fan art…
Rose and 10 is always going to take the cake…
But let’s not forget Rose and 9!
Or Rose and 11! The moment of “Oh hale no, they’re officially a WHOA DEEP fandom”:
What About Secondhand Embarrassing Photoshop Mashups?!
I mean sure, anyone can sit down and paint a water color of their fave Doctor/companion relationship to put on their DeviantArt site, but can they photoshop their shipping to the secondhand embarrassing level of Jacob/Nessie?
Serious? Whovians are people who do things like write computer code for a living. They’re the person in the government paid to hack your emails. OF COURSE THEY CAN USE PHOTOSHOP! And they youtube mash! It’s pretty hilarious…
Finally, a tolerable version of a Ke$ha song! (yes, I will admit to having watched this like 100 times drunk one night… the editing is so well timed! And look at her username!!)
I kind of want to do one of these to Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance”… no?
Do Other Fandoms Like Them?
Apparently so… not like “like like”, but a lot of Whovians seem to be crossovers and vice versa from another fandoms. The female grouping of the fandom seems to seriously overlap with Sherlock and Cumberbatch fandoms, which probably has to do with the shows sharing the same head writers (Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss). The amount of Sherlock-Doctor, ahem, art, is overwhelming. The younger fans seem to also super heart Harry Potter, but many seemed to view that as their “younger” obsession “before” they “discovered” Doctor Who. You know, age 13=Slytheran4eva and age 14=owns a sonic screwdriver and a fez.
And then I found this…
I can’t… I just can’t. Let’s move on to things like…
2nd Hand Embarrassing Tattoos!
Since Doctor Who has its own language, Gallifreyan, it’s only natural to get something in that language…
And clearly you need a small, clever non-obvious Doctor Who reference somewhere on your body…
And then there is the obligatory face-on-my-calf option, featuring the faves Rose and 10, along with the TARDIS and a dalek
But this one will always be my personal fave… sonic screwdriver at the ready!
But Does Your Fandom Have This?
Just sit down if you’re not already. And stop drinking whatever you’re drinking.
Does your fandom have BBC-endorsed action figure movies?
What about a worldwide fan orchestra that records separately (wearing mostly cosplay) and is mixed by one guy in England, that is supported by the series’ actual composer who helps them transcribe his work if they have issues?
One Whovian’s reaction on youtube basically sums up what being in a fandom means…
And with that, I’ll leave you with some of the splendidly M-rated passages from the Doctor Who Fan Fiction world, spruced up with a little bit of photoshop love from me…
In reality, most of the fanfiction isn’t sexy times, and isn’t even rated M. Since the premise of the show is traveling anywhere in time and space, it basically opens up endless possibilities for story concepts.
So, there you have it. Doctor Who fandom running wild on its journey through space and time, fifty years and counting… I can’t imagine anything but it continuing to grow. There’s so many crazies and normals within it, a very healthy mix of people, helping to support each other’s creativity and passion, while simultaneously telling people why they’re wrong and stupid in the comments section of episode reviews. Just like any good fandom 🙂
Are you a Whovian? Do you collect Classic Who VHS tapes? Are you totally lost on wth this is about?
Written by Lorena
Lorena’s current obsessions: Chobani Greek yogurt in passion fruit flavor, floppy eared dogs, Klauroline, visiting Thailand, Clara’s theme song, Stanley Cup Playoffs, DWFO (for real amazing!), taking sneaky photos of hot guys on the subway, my sage green skinny jeans, french horns, Tom Hiddleston’s laugh, Tillamook cheese, and Ben Foster (the orchestrator, not the goalie or the actor).