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.