Thursday, 14 August 2014

Why Doctor Who Does Not Need A Tenth Anniversary

Finishing off this small trilogy of articles covering points of Steven Moffat's recent Q&A in Cardiff, one notable question he took the time to answer was the possibility of a tenth anniversary. Not one covering the series itself per-say but one celebrating its return to television in 2005. While Moffat denied that they would do this thanks to the amount of effort that went into The Day of the Doctor, not to mention the two anniversaries being too close together for his liking, there is a greater underlying reason not to do this.

To put it simply there is something of a divide among the fanbase, separating groups into distinct parties. This is true with just about any fandom (Transformers, Warhammer 40,000, Star Wars etc) but what is especially notable is that the divide comes from one specific point: Where the classic run ended and the new series began. For many fans of the older decades, even while Doctor Who was off the air, it was classic episodes which introduced them to the mythos. There were still re-runs, video tapes, audio dramas and novels being produced and built around the series, so it still had a strong niche following. 

When the show was restarted, it suddenly popularised the series again, far more so than it had been for several incarnations of the Doctor. Many fans were far more attached to the new incarnation, and some have gone so far as to claim it's an entirely separate series from the Classic show and the two should not be counted together.

The issue is that the situation is not exactly peaceful in many places. Both sides have legitimate reasons to have their problems with one another, but things can be worked out over time. Overall it's a far better relationship than can be found with, say, fans of JJ Abrams' Star Trek and fans of the rest of Star Trek. However, this would only serve to further the divide but seeming to deem one part of the show worthy of celebrating among all others. It could seem to some fans as if they were severing all connections with the program which they happily use as a source for new ideas. Something which could easily turn communities into far more hostile places.

We have seen this already happen to a degree. While The Day of the Doctor did make serious concessions to classic fans, there's little denying that the main episode itself was firmly focused upon the new series. Plot threads related to new points which were introduced with its return, the classic Doctors were limited to a brief cameo, and opportunity to feature a classic Doctor was passed up to have an entirely new one. This isn't to say The Day of the Doctor was a bad episode, but if you look online you can see legitimate criticisms from people about it being an actual celebration of the series as a whole. Adding one more anniversary only furthering that would start to seriously fragment the fandom.

This is, of course, also not getting into the fact that no other Doctor or run on the series needs its own anniversary to celebrate it. The Fourth Doctor is the series' most iconic incarnation of the character and had the longest run, yet there is no episode put side for him or his companions.

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