Home Culture Doctor Who and the Curse of the Fickle Fandom

Doctor Who and the Curse of the Fickle Fandom

This article may contain spoilers!
If you have not seen the latest episode of Who we strongly advise you go watch!



The Penultimate episode of the latest season of Doctor Who aired last Saturday, and the big question of this season was answered. Who is Missy?
Well Missy is the latest incarnation of one of the Doctors oldest foes The Master, but this time obviously thanks to a gender change during a regeneration The Master is now The Mistress. The look on the Doctor’s face said it all. The Master was last seen being trapped back on Gallifrey with Rassilon and the High council of Timelords.
So how did the Master escape?
Did that escape result in the regeneration into the Mistress?
Is Gallifrey coming back?
Will we see more Time lords appearing?
Does this mean Romana is alive?
Will we see Timothy Dalton reprise his role as Rassilon? 
All of these questions were buzzing through my head as the credits rolled, excited I took to the internet to see if my fellow Who fans were also asking these questions, I hit Facebook, the forums, by Omegas Rusted Helmet I nearly shouted into the Time Vortex itself screaming for answer to my theories and wonderments, but to my horror and disbelieve I found something else. moffat1The torrent of bile and hate that greeted me was astounding. “Fans of the Show” had gotten on their internet powered soapboxes to cry foul at the latest plot twist that had been dealt out by the vile and evil Steven Moffat and his team of dastardly putrid writing staff. The rallying cry of an army of trolls screaming “The Master is now a Woman! How Dare Moffat pull such a stunt! Such a blatant disregard of 50 years of mythology and tradition” I sat and read in disbelief as self proclaimed lifelong fans of a series whose central theme is one of constant change and wonder declared that Moffat was destroying life time of back story by performing such a depraved and shock baiting gender swap!
Folks were posting their knee jerk reactions so fast it’s as if they already had them typed out and ready to go before the episode was even over, only waiting to press the post button and send their rage filled opinions across the World Wide Web. I even saw some horrible transgender jokes which were not only in poor taste but made so angry I just walked away from the internet until the following day.
With regards to the claim that a Time lord or Time Lady can change their gender during a regeneration, this was mentioned twice in the current run of Doctor who, once by the Doctor in the Episode “The Doctor’s Wife” when the Doctor mentions a fellow Gallifreyian The Corsair, who changed gender during a regeneration no problem whatsoever, the second was in the webisode The Night of the Doctor when the Sisterhood of Karn are offering a new regeneration to the Eight Doctor they ask him if he would like to be a man or a woman. So this is not a new idea that has all of a sudden popped into the mind of Steven Moffat, it has been around as long as folk have been asking if The Doctor will ever be played by a woman.
Now every Fandom has its detractors, but I have never seen a fan base so quick to anger than the fans of Doctor who. It isn’t every fan. I know loads of Doctor Who fans that loved last weekend’s episode, and applauded both the casting of Michelle Gomez as Missy and also the choice by Moffat to make The Master a woman. I personally think it’s a fantastic idea, breathing new life into a villain who has been around since the mid 70s, but a lot of fans didn’t see it that way. Instead using it as a chance to launch another attack on show runner Moffat who took over from Russel T Davies in 2009. Moffat has become the punching bag for everything certain fans deem “wrong with the show”.
Now as show runner yes he is responsible for the overall quality and content of Doctor Who, but Steven Moffat is responsible for some of the best episodes of Doctor Who some of which have aired in the latest season (The Caretaker and Listen anyone?) I’m also not just talking about the modern era I count the entire 51 year run when I say that. When a friend comes to you and says they want to give Doctor Who a go, I guarantee that one of the episodes you recommend is the Moffat penned episode Blink, which is more than likely followed closely by the Silence in the Library duology.
This seems to have been forgotten by a lot of folks. As does the fact that RTD is himself not without fault when it comes to Doctor Who. Long have the angry few declared from atop their soapboxes that RTD is the king of all things Doctor Who constantly comparing Moffat to RTD with regards to writing and story arcs, these folks seem to have forgotten the finale of the Journeys end storyline where RTD reduces Davros and the Daleks (a villain RTD diluted threat wise with each continued finale appearance) into nothing more that bumper cars, who were pushed about by The 10th Doctors companions like toys. This type of characterisation of a villain goes unchecked, but when something as bold and disgraceful as a change of gender happens it’s the end of time itself where certain folks are concerned. Russell T Davies is responsible for bringing Doctor Who back to our TV screens, and I will always be thankful for that. It still doesn’t mean everything he touched during his time as show runner was pure gold. The same can be said for every single show runner Doctor Who has had in the past, not every story was an instant classic.
Classic Doctor Who was not without its issues quality wise, yet folks seem to look upon the older serials with severely rose tinted glasses. Obviously there was a heck of a lot of good as the show wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did until the BBC cancelled it in 1989, but every now and again a bad story would air, a strange choice of costuming would happen. The difference is back when the classic series aired the was no internet, nowhere for folks to go and voice their opinions about the lack of quality or the casting choices that were being made, or the fact that Sabalom Glitz’s sideburns looked ridiculous. I wonder if the internet was around back in the time of 6th Doctor’s chequered run how would the show have fared against the current fandom.
The show has been around now for 51 years, and the core of it has not changed one bit. It is still a tale about a Time traveller who ran away from their home world to see the universe. The core element of the travelling companion is still there as someone who like the viewers, is taken on a fantastic journey through time and space. The villains are many and forever changing, with new ones being discovered and old ones returning, and it’s that very idea that something can return time and time again and still be relevant that is the beauty of the show. I
personally do not understand how someone can claim to be a fan of this show, and then turn around and tear it down for taking it in a different direction.
By all mean if something is a bad decision, be it a bad characterisation of your favourite character, yes take issue with it, but if you problem with the Master now being The Mistress is based solely on the fact that a He is now She then you really don’t get what the core of this show is about, if the character is written and portrayed well then the gender and race of that character should have zero bearing when trying to decide if you like the character or not, and it should definitely not be one thing that should cause an army of fans to take to their keyboards and light up the internet with derogatory terms and slander.
If you don’t enjoy a TV series then stop watching, it’s that simple. A lot of folks seem to still be tuning in each week only to straight away jump onto the internet once the episode is over to denounce Moffat and all his evils. I don’t understand why folks would waste their energy like that it isn’t a healthy or constructive pastime. I recently started watching the TV series Gotham, but I stopped watching after three episodes because I thought it was utter muck, I wiped my hands of it and moved on and haven’t looked back. If this is how you feel with the current run of Doctor Who then I advise you do the same and maybe come back when a new team take over and see if it matches the standards you seem to have set for the show.
Doctor Who is a story that embraces change; it’s the very centre of it. The main character himself changes on a regular basis. Stories can be set anywhere, anytime. We can have Earth based adventures or travel out among the stars.  This is what keeps bringing me back to it time and time again. I guarantee that Missy has been brought into this show as a litmus test for a future Female Doctor, and I for one say it’s about damn time. This would give the writers the ability to take the show is loads of new directions while still being the same show we know and love. I for one cannot wait to see where Michelle Gomez takes the character, what we have seen of her so far has been fantastic.