I have become a Whovian. Well... most true Whovians might say I'm a Julia-come-lately and that I'm not a true Who Fan because I only started with the 9th Doctor, not the entire show from the 60's. That's fair. But I had to start somewhere!
Honestly, I couldn't stand not knowing what all the wacky references were on the internets. I kept seeing things about Daleks (costumes, birthday cakes, silly hats, people saying "exterminate!" in funny voices) but didn't know what they meant. Same for the Tardis. And Sonic Screwdrivers and Weeping Angels and Cassandra. And on and on. I thought I knew a thing or two about some pop culture sci-fi stuff, but I had missed this whole side of the world and felt it was time to get on board. Thanks to Netflix, it was easy to drink the kool-aid and step into the Tardis.
And now I'm hooked!
Bingeing Vs. Real Time
In the precious few moments between Harper going to bed and me going to bed (it's a very small window as I'm such an early to be/early to rise kind of person) I like to watch a bit of mindless tv. And Doctor Who has filled that bill for me over the last few months. I understood going in that there is a giant machine of fandom behind this show and that I couldn't hope to grasp it all in just a few weeks or months. I also understood that Doctor Who is mainly a show for a younger audience. It's on during family time on Saturday nights. It's a bit goofy. It can be scary but not bloody or violent. I think it's wonderful.
The hard part about bingeing a show like this (or any show that really strikes your fancy I guess) is twofold:
1) Once you catch up to where the actual show is in real time, you have to WAIT for more episodes! (or sadly if it is a show with no more episodes, it ENDS!!!) I just finished the last episode of Matt Smith's era. I have all the new episodes waiting on my DVR, but I can't bring myself to start them yet. I need a bit of mourning for the loss of that bow-tied goof. And I don't want this binge ride to end. Of course it's not like the show is over, I will just have to wait like everyone else for the next season. (Christmas Special notwithstanding.)
2) With bingeing you don't get that deep investment of time that comes with "from the start" fandom. I love Star Wars and I had to wait YEARS! before I got to see what happened to our intrepid rebels after they (spoilers) blew up the Death Star and Darth Vader got away. Then I had to wait MORE YEARS to see what happened to Han when he got frozen in carbonite! (I love you. I know.)
(And when you are such a deep fan of something, words like carbonite are so much a part of you that when I typed it just now, I wasn't sure if it was the right word because it is a real word to me. "Kurt, can you pick more carbonite at Trader Joe's?"))
Oh and the kids today! They can just watch all the movies at once if they like. (I'm not really talking about the prequels, mmmmkay?) Don't even get me started on Harry Potter and again, waiting YEARS before the next book came out. The anticipation was fantastic! (And yes, I was in my 30s, waiting with bated breath for the next book to come, always rereading the previous book just before the new one was published so that I was PRIMED! I think I read the last two almost straight through...)
Yes, there are new books and movies and series coming out now that people are huge fans of and they do get the experience of the waiting, the anticipation. These are good things. The waiting is what creates the deep fan experience. But with bingeing, there is the loss of that experience. Or it is squeezed into days (or hours in some cases) and can't, therefore, be as rich.
When you watch something from the start, there is time to talk/argue/reflect/defend while waiting for the next. The next episode, The next season, the next Doctor. But maybe that is a plus for bingeing -- not so much argument. I have Whovian friends who go RABID when discussing Matt Smith and Steven Moffat. I loved David Tennant but was frankly ready for something new when he was done. (Though I would have happily had another year of him and Donna together and I will argue that while she got married and got rich, she should have gotten to remember all she had done and experienced so that she knew what an incredible person she really was.)
The beauty of today, 2014, is that a) we can binge on shows and b) there is so much to read out there online. While I don't have the years of investment in Who that others have, I can certainly read and watch and enjoy all kinds of Who related things and feel a part of this community right away. There will be those in the community who might think me a Doctor Who Dilettante (A Wholettante?) but that's okay, there are always those kinds... I have enough respect for the show, the world of Doctore Who to at least not be this.
In Part Two, I will explore the curiosity factor and how it should never stop being a part of your life. Oh and Nerds. And also letting your freak flag fly!