Doctor Who Media Saturation – Too much Who?

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There’s so many voices out there now with Doctor Who being an “in” thing.
The loudest voices at the moment are:
Emergency Awesome, a fast-talking mid-twenties hyperfocused and well-versed fan spewing all the facts and spoilers he can muster in 7 minute video-chunks, with comments by obessive fans pointing out the minutae he may have missed;
Blogtor Who – a UK fan-turned-publicist with ins at the production team who always has the latest spoilers
BBC America – Once they took the helm from the SciFi channel they went full throttle with marketing and have become a juggernaut of Doctor Who marketing — they’ll always be specials, featurettes, and never-ending hype just as long as they have rights to the show. I see this as a necessary evil.
Tumblr GIFs – Of all the incarnations of fandom in the modern era, I actually despise tumblr gifs, for the most part. I know the quotes, I get the jokes, I understand the relationships. The endless repetition of timey wimey, 10-shipping, 11-shipping, it’s really really banal.
“apply every currently hip meme to Who” t-shirts – exploitative money-makers that range from the extremely clever (Rare) to extremely dumb (less rare.) Anyone can take a meme, substitute the words “Doctor Who” into it and make a t-shirt. It’s derivative and too much — like eating junk food and nothing else. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate them, I just can handle them in only extremely limited doses — like pork rinds.
Big Finish audios – my Lord. 100s of Doctor Who adventures with previous Doctors and companions. Listening to these is very much like reading any novelizations for a television series. Some are brilliant. Some are obviously filler. Some you wonder how ever they got published. Some are SOO derivative and reachy that you could tell they were grasping hard to find something new to hang on to. (The Gallifrey series, with ex-time lord companion Romana in charge of Gallifrey and ex-companion Leela, for example.) No rock left unturned, no minor tiny plot element not turned into it’s own 2 hour drama. For some ideas, it works. For some, ….you look in the mirror and ask, how did I get here? Shouldn’t I be caring about what is going on in Gaza rather than if the Doctor is facing Fenric again, and I know all the previous appearances of Fenric DESPITE hating the scripts of the Sylvester McCoy era?? What has become of me?? Female doctor? You got it. Doctor Who: Unbound. Animal companions? How about a penguin named Frobisher? OK. I’l l stop now. There’s a reason that Doctor Who fans created the word FANWANK. Look that one up in urban dictionary.
Fan-made self-love books – Chicks Dig Time Lords; Doctor Who cookbooks; Doctor Who witty quote books; Doctor Who factoid books (Who-ology comes to mind)…rinse, repeat. The former is cool because at least you get personal stories about how the show has changed lives for the better. The latter, MORE FANWANK. But at least in the case of Chicks Dig Time Lords, you see how Doctor Who affects people’s lives for the better. And herein is why I keep watching —

Though the media machine may have spun out of control — Doctor Who continues to give hope to the hopeless; whether it be a depressed person who stops thinking about suicide because an escape in the TARDIS; a South Korean who can only imagine a happy life in the time machine’s confines; political rebels looking for hope in a war-torn world, and of course, “The Triumph Of Intellect And Romance Over Brute Force And Cynicism” – a necessary construct in a world full of Gazas and Syrias.

Torchwood: Then and Now – No spoilers — UPDATED!

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UPDATE: I was very disappointed with Torchwood: Miracle Day. The plot and characters had much potential, and the actors gave all the script provided them, but in the end, what could have been a lot of brilliant storytelling ended up very convoluted and story. If you do watch it, watch for the big ideas, and be ready to skim past irrelevant scenes or even whole episodes…

I’ve written this article for people who have heard of, but may have never seen, the scifi show Torchwood. As such, I have made it completely spoiler free!

Torchwood is one of these shows that constantly reinvents itself. Perhaps unintentionally it seems to go through different stages, almost like a person growing up. Allow me to explain.

Season 1 of Torchwood was written back in the day when Doctor Who writers had no creative outlet for the most prurient of their interests. Sex. Violence. Gore. Death. Thus the series emerged as a bunch of horny, moody teenagers let loose from their parents for the first time, with Jack as the Residence Hall Assistant. As such, much of the series has the kind of things college freshman love — everyone hooking up with everyone, feelings from euphoria to angst and morbidity, and the writing quality of fan fiction. If you go in with this understanding, you will enjoy it, though I have always seen it as an indulgence food. What if you gave a college dorm access to alien tech, supercomputers, a big hidden base, and a Black SUV? Look no further! And just remember, even college freshman have moments of brilliance.

Season 2 saw Torchwood growing a bit. Sophomores suddenly have to up their game or they will get kicked out, or in this case, cancelled. Being the smart bunch they are, the stories got noticibly smarter. Whedon-like one-liners, a snappier pace and more interesting takes on what it means to have an adult show with few boundaries would set the tone for the next series.

Children of Earth was the sober, heart wrenching and truly adult season, using the boundaries of adult themes not for gratuitous interests but instead to push the boundries of storytelling into disturbing, compelling adult territory. All grown up, this series was a masterpiece, and deserved all the praise it got.

This brings us to Torchwood: Miracle Day, the current season. Like a person who has found their voice and wants to expand on a theme, Miracle Day almost feels like an “attempted sequel” to Children of Earth, in that it is a season length story based on a novel and adult theme – what if everyone stopped dying? So far I’d say it’s pretty good, but I long for the first 3 series’ cast that didn’t make it to this one.

Given all this, I would recommend newcomers start from the beginning so you can watch the show blossom into what it is now — wacky, engaging adult scifi television.