Series Four thoughts

This is the second DW series I’ve watched from the standpoint of a fan and it’s quite striking how many similarities I’m spotting in fan behaviour and psychology.

I remember very vividly the outbreak of bad-tempered sniping roundabout the Eurovision break. It figures. Whatever you’re hoping for, chances are that by E7 you’re having a reality check. It’s almost a year to the day since Martha fandom exploded at the words, “You’re not my plus one”. I was foolish enough to put it in a Martha-centric fic and ended up getting thrown out of two communities, one on each side of the divide. I remember going into work almost in tears because of some of the shit that was flying around, and how personal it got.

So what have I learned, apart from more respect for those who moderate communities, and a healthy awareness of the limits of shipping communities (not necessarily two mutually exclusive things)?  Well, sadly I’ve a bad feeling about the way fandom will go over the next few weeks. I think we’ll see people behaving badly in all the ways we saw last year. The outbreak of rage that greeted Martha’s departure from the Doctor’s life could well be equalled by similar howls of anguish from all those who, for whatever reason, hope to see the Doctor and Rose romance brought to a conventionally happy conclusion (I choose my words with care). And it’s a fair bet that people will be looking around for someone to blame, rationally or otherwise, if the outcome isn’t to their liking.

It appears that in some quarters this is being seen as an RTD vs Moffett fight. RTD is the shipper, the romantic, the one we trust to do right by the Doctor and Rose. Moff is the mysogenist canon junkie who can’t wait to get his fundamentalist hands on our beloved show and purge it of all that emo crap like the Doctor crying and falling in love. Yes, that’s ridiculously simplistic but who said fandom was rational? Personally, I trust both parties about as much as I trust the public pronouncements of any TV professional, and that’s all I’m saying.

All this will no doubt be further explained by the recent spoiler announcement about the upcoming two-parter.

Okay, my first reaction to this was WTF? Another Reinette figure just before the return of Rose? Get that man’s filthy hands off my fantasies. And indeed, if it isn’t done well, it could go very wrong indeed. No doubt that’s why they put this story in such experienced hands.

It’s very unlikely that Moffatt has thought up this particular story line to spite a particular group of fans. Whatever happens in 2010, he isn’t yet in charge, and the most he can do is express an influential enthusiasm for a particular storyline. Rewind to S1 and imagine the reaction if news had leaked that Rose was going to fall head-over-heels for a handsome third wheel and Nine would be jealous as hell but have him on the TARDIS anyway. You begin to see how much depends on the way a story’s presented – and you can rely on the tabloids to be as inflammatory as possible.

Is it true? Probably – the news of a serious leak came out several months ago and was downplayed, but admitted to by the POTB. But what exactly is the situation? Are we so obsessed with Rose as the OTL that we’d deny the Doctor any possibility of any other romantic relationship, even centuries after she’s dead and gone? I don’t think even Rose would want that.

Besides, there are several hints, including a very clear one in the trailer just recently aired, that we’ve looking at a scenario with several alternative timelines, and therefore futures. The Doctor may have control over which one he chooses, or he may not. A relationship centuries ago in his past may be in another character’s future. For him, it might be a done deal.

Or it could be canon. In the New Adventures he’s linked with an archaeologist from the future, admittedly a different century and a different name, but it’s a fascinating possibility. Particularly as the lady I have in mind (Bernice Summerfield) is also very close to Irving Braxiatel, who might be the Doctor’s brother and is definitely a Time Lord. I’m really quite excited about the possibilities of this particular plotline, and the mysterious doctor character from the Library who seems so familiar with the old timey-wimey stuff.

I still think they may pull a really clever one and split off into two Doctors in two different universes, allowing them to have Ten and Rose as a spin-off. One argument in favour of this is I can’t see RTD letting go completely so willingly – he’s the sort who’d always want to pop back for another outing now and then, and this would give him the opportunity to do so without undermining a new direction S5 onwards.

But after a few viewings of the trailer, another thought occurred to me. Rose seems to be taking on a lot of the Doctor’s characteristics. It may be that they both end up outgrowing an exclusive relationship with one another. So long as they stay in touch, I can deal with that.

Whatever the outcome, one thing I can confidently predict – that some people won’t manage to stay civil to one another, and they’ll behave as if the show belongs to them. I’ll be over here in my bunker.

16 thoughts on “Series Four thoughts

  1. Are we so obsessed with Rose as the OTL that we’d deny the Doctor any possibility of any other romantic relationship, even centuries after she’s dead and gone? I don’t think even Rose would want that.
    No, but then that’s hardly the scenario, is it? I know they’ll write a romance with the Doctor again, eventually. I just object to it being now(if it actually is), instead of waiting until the Doctor/Rose story is over. I’m assuming that will be the case after this season. And there’s the fact, that I do feel Steven Moffat tends to undercut the story RTD writes, deliberately or not. He’s got his own story to tell and doesn’t bother to make it fit.

  2. Okay, my first reaction to this was WTF? Another Reinette figure just before the return of Rose? Get that man’s filthy hands off my fantasies. And indeed, if it isn’t done well, it could go very wrong indeed. No doubt that’s why they put this story in such experienced hands.
    Whoa, HOLD THE PHONE.
    Another Reinette figure? Is that a rumor, or official BBC confirmation?

  3. I think SM might spin it a particular way, because he’s mischievous like that, but I still think there are an awful lot of “if”s – if the story’s true, if RS is from his future (not necessarily the same as hers), if it’s the only possible timeline. In general, I think we can rely on RTD to bring things to his favoured conclusion – though it might not be the one we’d prefer.

  4. It refers to a story in a British newspaper – that the Doctor meets his future wife in the two-parter. Treat with caution, but SM admitted in an interview with DWM last year that a script for the story had gone missing.

  5. Okay editing out what I said cause I just realized you said the two-parter. *snort* Please excuse my stupidity.
    Well, dude, if the Doctor gets to have a wife in the future, they better damn well give us some Ten/Rose snoggin’ in the finale!!! *stomps foot*
    And what does “gone missing” mean??

  6. A copy of the script ended up in the hands of a tabloid newspaper.
    Agree totally about the finale snogging. Poor bloke shouldn’t have to wait until the 51st century. What a waste.

  7. Hmmm. Well, this all sounds rather fishy to me. I guess we’ll have to wait and find out. I couldn’t possibly imagine RTD allowing this to happen right before Rose’s return, though. That sort of…screws everything up, doesn’t it? Even if Ten/Rose don’t get a happy ending, something like this would really detract from the finale, imo. :/

  8. Okay, my first reaction to this was WTF? Another Reinette figure just before the return of Rose? Get that man’s filthy hands off my fantasies.
    Oh, that made me laugh so loudly I scared the cat. I feel Moffat will always write things that jarr with the episodes around it, until he’s in charge of all of them. When RTD leaves, I feel a lot of the emotional heart of the show and our deep attachment for character’s wellbeing will go with him.
    The best theory I’ve come across for the Moffat two parter, speculating on the tabloid spoilers, is River being the daughter of Donna/Jack. After all, it’s the 51st century, Jack is missing two years of memory and River is a red head. Failing that, River has a fob watch. But even so, I’m hoping for an exchange between River and Donna of “I’m his future wife/How soon? He’s only just lost a daughter.”
    But Moffat isn’t known for continuity. Sadly, he tends to write women who are defined by men’s feelings for them, or lack thereof. First with Jack causing sexual competition for Rose, which he loses. Second, Reinette always hoped the Doctor would visit again. Third, Sally Sparrow’s romantic life stalled until she had resolved her meetings with the Doctor. Now there is a future wife the Doctor has only just met.
    Whatever happens, I hope River is a strong woman in her own right, and isn’t defined by the Doctor’s feelings. But maybe that’s a contrast we need, to illustrate that Rose is ‘special’ because she gets on with her life defending the Earth on her own, because she wants to, not because a man wants her to.
    But yes, I’ll be in my bunker.

  9. A future wife? If that’s true, then even for me that’s messing with the character too far. But then Moffat always does like to mess things up, I feel. It’ll be interesting, to say the least, to see what he does with the overall story direction when he takes over… and whether fans like me notice it and don’t like it.

  10. I know what you mean about staying in your bunker – I’ve done my level best to stay away from fandom and ship-wars ever since S2, really. There are extremists on all sides of fandom, and I don’t find any of them particularly appealing. I find those the Doctor loves Rose and always will and any other woman in his life just gets in the way shippers every bit as irritating as those who couldn’t wait to see the back of Rose, reiterate Martha’s awesomeness at every turn and now keep whining about Rose coming back. I read a short fic last week which just made me roll my eyes in despair: the whole point appeared to be to have the Doctor snap at Martha about not wanting to get over Rose – just like an adolescent boy who hasn’t yet learned that life goes on. Yes, I ship Rose with the Doctor (and Jack), but that doesn’t mean I want to read endless ‘I miss her so much and don’t want to live without her’ fics, especially when we see him making the best of things and getting on with life.
    Sigh. And /rant.
    And, really, they’re getting so repetitive with these storylines. We had Reinette in S2. Joan in S3. Now this person – the character’s actually called River? Weird.

  11. Actually what amazes me, in both official trailers etc and in fandom right now, is how little we’re hearing about Jack! He’s got every bit as much unfinished biz with Rose as the Doctor and if we don’t get at least a meaningful conversation I’ll feel very short-changed.

  12. Maybe Moffat is writing the ‘shag or die’ cliche, only this time it’s ‘marry or die.’ Given that River is played by a 40-something red head, combined with Donna (mature red head) constantly denying she’s married to Ten, it makes for great comedy that Ten would marry someone who looks like Donna. Marriage probably isn’t all that important to the Doctor, because marital bonds tend to be fixed in time and place. Once he’s on the TARDIS, the marriage ceases to apply.
    Yes, it sounds like fanfic, or rather crack!fic. But I’m writing plausible Ten/Donna ‘marry or die.’ I mean, how many of us overlook Girl in the Fireplace fic because we’re expecting Rose to have a teenage strop, Reinette to be an evil cow and Ten to be the whore of Rassilon? There are the odd stories from that episode that are true to canon and/or good.
    What concerns me is River’s potential attitude. I remember a comedy sketch where a woman says, “You look a lot like my fifth husband.” The man asks, “How many husbands have you had?” She replies, “Four.” Moffat’s track record for writing women as strong and independent, rather than defined by romance, is sadly poor. I fear River will say, “We’ll be married in the future” to mean she has her mind set on making that happen, rather than my-past-your-future timey wimey.

  13. More thoughts.
    I’ve remembered the Ood saying “Your song will end soon.” How much of a coincidence is this character being called River Song? The more I think about her name, the more I think she’s a Time Lord. River Song almost sounds as unnatural as The Doctor for a given name.
    This future wife might actually enhance Ten/Rose. If she’s far enough in the future, she might tell Donna about the people the Doctor loved before they got married, including Rose post-Void. This might be where the comment, “Rose is coming back, isn’t that wonderful?” comes from.
    Ah, imagination. Where would I be without thee?

  14. I reserve judgement on whether they do get married. That could well be tabloid exaggeration. Plus, we know it’s a library full of all possible futures – who knows whether he picks that particular one?
    And, you know, even if he did marry, the vast majority of human civilisations regard marital union as being far more about policy than romance.

  15. I’ll be over here in my bunker.
    I’ll be hiding out with you. I ended up in fandom because no one I know in real life is as obsessed with this show as I am…but I am decidedly unimpressed by the negativity I see around and about, at times. Generally I just steer clear of it. I’m here to squee, mostly, and write fic and do some thinking about a show that I really enjoy. There are certainly things “wrong” with it all–plot holes and what have you, but I choose to overlook that type of stuff, and while I’m happy to engage thoughtfully with someone about it…none of this bitching and moaning.
    I just skimmed over the spoiler stuff you posted, since I’m a spoilerphobe, but, meh. I’m not too worried. Moffatt’s a fantastic writer, and no sense in getting mad about something you can’t control. I’m still looking forward to it. :)

  16. Oh, ditto! After what we got in Utopia I think it would be astounding if Jack and Rose don’t have at least one one-to-one conversation. It better damn happen!

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