With the announcement of actor Peter Capaldi as the 12th regeneration of the Doctor in “Doctor Who,” the excitement of Whovians all over the world has been renewed. Fans have a lot to look forward to: the 50th anniversary of the “Doctor Who” series will be marked by a special episode and the return of 10th Doctor David Tennant and his companion Rose Tyler (played by Billie Piper). As the show appeals to fans of fantasy and science fiction alike, there is a lot of crossover between fandoms. Despite the popularity of many other competing franchises, I believe that “Doctor Who” takes the cake. After all, it holds the record for the longest running television series ever. Here are a few other reasons why “Doctor Who” trumps your fandom (spoilers!):
- Doctor Who is notorious for cycling out not just supporting characters, but also the Doctor himself. While this leaves many fans pining for favorites, mainly it allows for a huge range of diversity. In any fandom, interesting and endearing characters are a must. For nerds everywhere, it is extremely important to have characters you can relate to – not just for costuming purposes, but because we view our fandoms as a form of escape. Having a character similar to you (or one you admire) helps draw fans even further into the story.
- This show quotes all other fandoms. The 11th Doctor called himself “an outer-space Gandalf,” the wizard from the Lord of the Rings franchise. He also claimed to have met Spock from Star Trek in a previous incarnation. The 10th Doctor admitted to crying after reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the same episode that Martha suggested William Shakespeare use the spell “expelliarmus” in his writing. Rory quoted The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when he called an asteroid, “the junkyard at the end of the Universe.” I’m hoping for some Game of Thrones references in the future.
- Old characters have a habit of returning. After Rose was trapped in an alternate universe at the end of the second season, I watched the next 23 episodes as fast as I could so that I could return to her storyline. This is not uncommon: it happens with Jane Smith, Donna, Martha, Amy and Rory, Clara, and many other characters. It will happen again for the 50th anniversary episode, which is already confirmed to have David Tennant (the 10th Doctor) and Billie Piper (Rose) in it. So even if your favorite characters are cycled out of the show, there is always the possibility that they might return later.
- There’s very little competition. I’m not going to say that the Doctor Who fandom is completely free of any competition, but I think it comes as close as nerd culture can. The major reason behind this is because hardly any Doctor Who fans are “original” fans. The very first episode of the franchise aired in 1964, before many fans were even born. The show crosses many generations, meaning that one could hardly say “I liked it before such-and-such event.” I would venture to say that most fans latched on to the series after the hiatus from 1989 to 2005. This makes it extremely difficult for anyone to claim that they are a “true” fan.
“Doctor Who” is beloved by both children and adults, fantasy and science fiction nerds, Anglophiles and the indifferent. By incorporating many different characters, elements of science fiction, writers, creators, and more, this franchise has found a way to appeal to a wide range of audiences – which is why it’s better than your fandom.
“Cultural references from the real world.” http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Cultural_references_from_the_real_world. (5 August 2013).