Kyle Rath deep-dives into what it means to be a Doctor Who fan with hopes and expectations when time is a scarce commodity.
You may ask yourself:
How did I get here?
You may ask yourself:
Am I right? Am I wrong?
The answer is always:
Same as it ever was
Time isn’t holding up; Time isn’t after us
Same as it ever was
Time is fleeting.
It is also a conceptual buzz word that we reach for when we need to organize our experiences into easily digestible morsels of self-pity and shallow grief.
It passes, regardless of our observations, and eventually we go from here to there as a result of that motion.
Not that there is actual motion. We just tell ourselves that, and all kinds of other weird shit to keep the darkness at bay.
So it seems almost ridiculous to continue to talk about a show, and its cumulative impact or lack thereof, while it currently does not electrify the airwaves and tantalize our hearts and minds.
But here I am, so here it goes.
Doctor Who is currently on another year long break, between Jodie Whittakers’ inaugural Series 11, and Series 12. There may be a Christmas Special later this year, but in the meantime, the BBC and Big Finish continue to furnish us with scraps and leavings to keep appetites whetted.
And I really couldn’t care less.
I barely glanced at the Paul Spragg Memorial Contest press release. I have submitted entries in years past. There is still time, of course, but honestly, I don’t know if I can be bothered.
I should be hopeful. I should be excited. I should be appreciative and supportive and enthusiastic and all the good things I’m certain most of the fan base exhibits.
But I’m not.
The MCU has dominated the box office for ages now. New offerings under well-loved other titles bear little to no resemblance to the imaginary worlds I used to plan whole dreams around.
But maybe it’s not the fault of old familiars.
Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s always been me.
So while 13 steadies herself and prepares to find her footing, heading into a new round of televised stories, I find myself asking myself an important question?
Am I a good fan?
Should I throw myself upon the feet of the franchise, prostrated and ready to wash? Should I find comfort in my place, as a viewer, rather than push back at the edges, hoping for something even greater under the Big Top of imagination?
Maybe I’m just getting too old for this shit.
I have loved Doctor Who for a very long time. I also love Star Trek and Star Wars; Marvel and DC Comics; I do not distinguish, because each has a diverse and unique perspective to consider, to extol, to enjoy.
But is it possible that I am arriving at that point where I recognize I can only invest so much of my fleeting time into things that are ultimately distractions, designed to take up portions of the easily digestible morsels of my life?
My children are growing up. Already, it has to be something pretty epic to bring them all together like days gone by, and delight in sharing a whole new world with them.
They see the trailers on their own. They go out with their friends. They have their own adventures.
And it breaks my heart just a little each time.
So I find myself adrift a bit. Trying to get a sense of “Who Am I?”, after childhood ends. Who was I before all this?
Most importantly, I think, is I still owe it to them to ask the tough questions of myself, so I can try to help them when it’s their turn.
Am I still a good fan, if I can’t be all in, all the time?
I’d like to think so. That I am sat here, putting digital ink to the paperless paper; trying to wrestle the right words into the right order; to carefully craft my truest truths, warts and all; to philosophically check myself before I wreck myself.
Because it matters to me. Because I care about what happens to people who don’t actually exist. Because if I can believe in the possibility of a life better lived, then it means I’m not totally broken. Not a complete waste. Not written off yet.
And there is still a hell of a lot I don’t know; a hell of a lot I have not experienced: so much life left to live.
So as I once again exorcize the demons that have been putting down security deposits on my heart and mind, allow me to try and end this entirely selfish and introspective entry on the upswing:
Doctor Who may return in a Christmas Special in just under 6 months. So get ready.
Fan service, FTW.