Whose lines are they anyway?

Can I have one of these movies where I don't say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!?I remember not so long ago, ’94ish or so, when J. Michael Stracynzski talking to Babylon 5 fans openly about the show was just an unheard-of thing. These days we have stuff like The Fuselage (where the writers and other creative forces behind Lost talk to the fans).

But there’s an L.A. Times interview with Russell T. Davies (of Doctor Who revival fame) in which he says this:

He also notes that he deliberately keeps organized fandom at arm’s length: “I think we’re an unusual science-fiction franchise in taking a very big step back from fandom and having nothing to do with them. . . . Every program on the BBC has a message board on the website. I forbid it to happen on ‘Doctor Who.’ I’m sorry to say this, all the science fiction producers making stuff in America, they are way too engaged with their fandom. They all need to step back.”

Which I thought was interesting. Now, that being said, I can see where RTD is a bit weary of fandom – there are people who are practically scholars in all things Who, while folks like Losties and B5 fans are just along for the ride and not pointing out contradictions in four decades of continuity across several media – but should the needle in general swing more toward JMS or RTD? Again using Lost as an example, look at the whole hubbub over Nikki and Paulo: the fan feedback literally did those two new characters in, when in fact those characters had been added to explore the story through the eyes of people who weren’t the omnipresent characters such as Jack, Locke, Kate, etc. – which was something else the fans had expressed an interest in. By trying to accede to the fans’ wishes, the makers of Lost arguably pissed away A-story time, or time that could’ve been spent fleshing out better known “minor” characters who’d been there all along – damned if you do, damned if you don’t. (I will say this about that, though – if they hadn’t tried to cram Nikki and Paulo into the story last season, we would’ve missed out on the wickedly funny episode Expose’, which disposed of them in a darkly comical way. That episode alone is almost enough reason to justify their rather limited existence.)

Who’s writing this stuff anyway – them or us? Discuss.

One thought on “Whose lines are they anyway?”

  1. Wasn’t RTD issued from Who fandom? And if you look at the roots behind Big Finish, whovian fandom was far from bad for the series during its hiatus…

    Think that RTD is saying that because he knows that bringing back Donna is bound to piss people off? I like Catherine Tate but unless they soften Donna’s personality, I think I’ll find her as grating as Davison’s companions were, especially Tegan the Purple Nightmare. I don’t mind so much the announcement of Rose’s return, although I’m curious to know how that will be written into the series. I personally really, really like Martha best — she’s of Sarah Jane caliber, IMO.

    At the same time, I don’t think it’s up to the fans collectively to decide on how their fave series will unfurl. And I could imagine how the Martha vs. Rose debates would rage on in the Doctor Who community (I never read the fan forums myself, so I have no idea how bad it is).

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