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Thursday 26 December 2013

Doctor Who Christmas: Responding to the Nerds that Don't-Get-It

So, I have watched "The Time of the Doctor".  And I loved it.  What a magnificent sendoff for the 11th (or 12th? Or was it 13th?) Doctor!  In many ways, it was far better done than The End of Time; both for not having a first-part that sucked ass, and for doing much more to tie in with everything that the 11th doctor had been all about, to tie up loose ends, and to have this Doctor sign out doing something other than whining like a little bitch about not wanting to go.

Plus we got our first five seconds or so of Peter Capaldi.  If there's one thing to be pissed off about is that the BBC is now seriously expecting us all to wait until September to get any more.

I thought that as an ending it was touching and iconic and very right.  And then, imagine my surprise when I log onto the interwebs, and find that there's a string of uber-nerds out there, the type that dislike the popularization of nerd culture because it means they might have to interact with humans, and talk about dumb things like feelings instead of discussing Aquaman, who have been shitting all over the final episode of the Matt Smith doctor and the new series in general.

"The plot made no sense!", they whine.
"there were humans on that planet for no reason!" they bitch.
"Scientifically, they would all freeze to death" they moan
"Alien #17 doesn't act in the way he should based on a book I have from a semi-canonical source!" they agonize.
"the technology makes no sense and is all over the place" they cry
("you know what I love about Doctor Who?" I answer, snickering with glee "he has a sonic screwdriver; just one piece of tech, and it does whatever the fuck he wants, unless its better that he can't then it doesn't. And it was invented by Jehovah just to drive all the fucking mouth-breathing tech-nerds nuts!")

"They never explained point x that no one else cares about now but I refuse to stop obsessing about like the pathetic little self-diagnosed-aspergerite I am!!" they wail.

Fuck all of you.
I love the ones saying "the new Doctor Who isn't science-fiction!"; inevitably comparing it to some infinitely more boring series like one of the horrible Stargate franchises, those shows written for people who need to know all the specs for the guns everyone is wearing but could only make a vague shot-in-the-dark guess as to how normal people feel about each other.

Yes, you dumbfuck, if that's what you imagine as "science fiction", then I suppose that Doctor Who is not that.  But we're taking even that away from you now. You don't deserve it. No one gives a shit about 'Canon', no one cares about your obsessive-compulsive insistence on 'consistency', and absolutely no one gives a flying fuck about the fact that you're stupid enough to think that 'stargate' is a superior work of human storytelling than Doctor Who.
Most people don't even remember there was a 'stargate'.  500 years from now, people might still be studying Doctor Who. Shit, they might still be telling his stories.

So yeah, Doctor Who isn't 'science fiction', in the sad limited sense you imagine that term; Doctor Who is MYTH.  He is a modern motherfucking God. Its not science, its Religion.  Its not about being 'consistent' its about being Amazing.

Matt Smith was amazing. And I'm sure Peter Capaldi will be too. Because at this point, its not just about acting. Its about embodying an archetype.

Now we wait, in the dark of the long night these nine months to come, waiting for the new man in the old blue box, wondering what he'll be, and what he'll show us.


Currently Smoking Gigi Bent Billiard + Dunhill 965


  1. I agree and disagree. I thought that Matt Smith was really good, but I also thought the majority of stories were crap. Both Davies and Moffat turned the franchise into a soap opera. That said, the Christmas special was pretty good.

  2. Well, I'm afraid I have to disagree with part of your criticism. I would prefer a rousing debate about Aquaman to a discussion concerning feelings any day. I also find it curious that you refer to this group - the pathetic little self-diagnosed-aspergerites - and than claim that noone cares about consistency of plot, canon/non-canon an son forth. You really can´t have it both ways, either there is a group of people - the pathetic little self-diagnosed-aspergerites - that care about such things or there isn´t.

    This doesn´t mean that I didn´t care for the Christmas episode. I found it quite good. Sure there were plotholes and things that were just plastered over, but all in all I think it tied up a lot of loose ends. The backstory to the Silence was fascinating, the scenes were the Doctor keeps calling on aliens carrying parts of their bodies (Daleks and Cybermen) were hilarious and the death of Handles was truly touching.

    I also like the longrunning arc of how the Daleks have come to fear the Doctor. This is a race that has no feeelings. They were removed when they were first built. The Doctor seems to be teaching them fear by destroying their plans again and again. Awwesome.

    I do consider Doctor Who to be Science Fiction, just not hard scifi. The show has it´s inconsistencies and some of them are huge, but you have to watch it knowing that you will have to overlook a lot of stuff, or make a drinking game of it or something. It´s always annoying when they pull something like the Daleks killing each other because Gallifrey suddenly disappeared, but it´s nowhere near the worst offenders on TV.

    I wouldn´t hold up Stargate as the paragon of hard scifi. It has it´s moments, but it has inconsistencies to. Truly good hard scifi is hard to find on film, but there is a recent release that was truly wonderful: "Gravity". A wonderful film that gets most of the Newtonian physics right when it comes to null-G. It suffers a bit from feelings and storyarc, but the rest of it is purely gold.

    Finally I would like to say a few words about the sonic screwdriver. I don´t find it irritating at all. I simply think of it as an object from an incredibly advanced civilisation, that is neither notably sonic or much of a screwdriver. I think the entire name comes from the Doctor trying to explain something to people that simply has no reference to the object. Like a modern man who is trying to descibe an Iphone to a bunch of cavemen might describe it as a "make sound, talk long"-device. That said, it´s function is obviously to be a handy deus ex Machina when ever the plot needs one.

  3. When I said "no one", I meant no one that matters in the bigger picture. Even in "nerd culture" there's been a generational shift. The nerdy millenials mostly don't care, to them Doctor Who is sci-fi, and the old fat smelly nerds who think its yucky that the Doctor kisses girls are just strange incomprehensible relics, leftovers in a world that is no longer theirs.

    1. I must complement you on your ability to peg me from a continent away. I will celebrate my 50th birthday in a few weeks, I weigh 130 kg and i smoke a packet a day which probably makes me smelly as well. Cudos. So the group we´re discussing is the Old Fat Smelly Nerds (OFSN). A far better name than "pathetic little self-diagnosed-aspergerites" since I doubt most of us could be described as little.

      So do the OFSN matter? Well, about as much as any subgroup on the internet. Since the release of the 50th anniversary episode I´ve seen several reviews of it and they seem to be somewhat evenly divided between the two viewpoints. Maybe it´s simply that the OFSN and possible allies who do not fit into the OFSN- demographic, are louder in their complaints than the people who simply want to praise the show.

      Do they matter in the sense that they might eventually swing public opinion around and we will start getting public support for harder scifi with less yucky kissing. Probably not. This type of debate is neither new nor original and TV-producers will always try to lure in young viewers - such as the nerdy millenials you referred to above.

      But from that standpoint we would be faced with a situation in which only studioexecutives matter. This is clearly unacceptable and we´re forced to consider in which way it is possible to matter as a Doctor Who fan.

      If we go simply by how loud the voice of the group is, then you have already proven that the OFSN does indeed matter. You found them after looking on the net to see what people thought of the Christmas episode, and found them in large enough numbers to be moved to write about it.

      If we go by how big and how influential the group is among the doctor Who-fandom, then you might have something. It used to be that the show had far less yucky kissing and most of the people who object were hooked at that time. Inevitably this group will become smaller and the fanbase of the new series will keep growing. In this sense the OFSN will have less and less impact as time goes on. Well that´s how it goes I suppose.

      I would like to question however your statement that the OFSN consist of "strange incomprehensible relics, leftovers in a world that is no longer theirs". When exactly did the world belong to the OFSN?

      To conclude, I think this discussion is interesting partly because it shines a light on the different reasons people watch scifi. Outside of Dr Who-fandom the OFSN-group expands in diversity of age and odour to become the hard scifi-crowd. A group that is generally positive to the correct depiction of scientific principles and not neccessarily against yucky kissing.

      To really conclude: I really liked the Christmas episode, I do think scifishows could do with harder science and less teenage-romance, but I will keep watching either way.

  4. The world of Sci-fi belonged to them, once. The world of gaming too, for that matter. They're increasingly displeased that it doesn't. For them, the mainstream success of Nerd Culture has been a catastrophe, because it ruins their ideas of that subculture as being their own personal feifdom apart from mainstream society.

    1. Fan are SLANs, eh. Damn those young whippersnappers and their newfangled dicepools.

      Well, I´ve seen some of that, but the debate on hard vs soft sf doesn´t suddenly start with this generation or mainstreem nerddom. Have you seen any classical "Lost in space". Now there was a show that couldn´t keep any scientific facts straight, and that was so far before fashionable nerddom that it ist even funny. The argument between hard and soft has been going on since slightly after Jules Verne and it will probably continue as long as there is scifi. Dr Who is a special case in that it has been going so long that you can see it change into softer territory and the people seeing it tend to be of a different generation from those that are new to the show.

      It isn´t about sf and nerddom being more popular now, it´s about that it is still hard to find any good hard scifi to watch. I do have hopes that the sinking costs of production and the new possibilities inherent in the net will make it possible for shows to be produced specifically for the OFSN.

      I would still watch the Doctor though. Not for its science, but for its imagination and charm.

  5. I am not a big Doctor Who fan, but the episode had me when The Companion said, "Why can't we have both!" in the first few minutes. I laughed. Priceless.

  6. I read your blog all the time and most times I don't agree with you and sometimes I think you are just flat out wrong.

    But not today. Today we are in 100% agreement!

  7. Well I like both. Stargate has far more to it than you may think.