Waiting in a Doctor Who Fan Line, or: Real Men Don’t Squeeeee

I received late word that the cast, executive producers, director, and head writer/showrunner of Doctor Who would be in New York City to promote the new series premiering soon with an event sponsored by television station BBC America — like the BBC, but with commercials interrupting shows designed not to be interrupted. This special event Monday night featured the world premiere of the first story (two episodes) of the new series, before the official airing on April 23, 2011 in the United States and the United Kingdom. The screening was followed by a question and answer session with a panel composed of the individual listed above.

Thinking the event would be only slightly more popular than last year’s, I planned to line up in front of the theater hosting the event in the early afternoon. After checking updates on Facebook in the morning, I realized that I needed to get into Manhattan early or else miss my chance to get in. I also planned to hold a spot for M-D as well, which was unfortunately a fruitless effort. I arrived in line around 9:30 am, and I was already number 450 in line for an event that supposedly had a capacity for 500. Many people in line in front of me camped out the night before; others were waiting since midnight. Despite being a fan of Doctor Who in some form since at least 1981, I was clearly not the biggest fan there. I wasn’t even dressed in costume like about 50% of the other enthusiasts.

I’m quite fine with that. The relationship between “fan” and “object of fan’s affection” is weird. I don’t like relating to people at significantly disparate levels. It’s awkward and strange. People seem to be fanatic about science fiction actors — more so than athletes. Fanaticism is so strong that these individuals say ridiculous things and ask pointless questions at Q&A sessions. To British and Scottish individuals in the television industry, these vocal representatives of my country can be embarrassing.

In a perfect world, I would be able to relate to individuals I admire on a professional level. I’m not in the television industry, however, so that is unlikely. Unless you’re a teenage girl, it’s just not OK to gush over popular individuals.

The first two episodes of the new Doctor Who series are not without their flaws, but they will be a fantastic way to start off what will be an exciting series with interesting stories, wrenching drama, and new monsters. In the theater during the screening, there was almost as many, “Huh?!” reactions as enthusiastic cheers. Afterwards, writer Steven Moffat begged us not to reveal too much about the show (spoilers!), so I’ll just say that I’m not quite sure how viewers will be able to stand waiting one week between episodes one and two.

After the break is one of the many trailers for the new series.

By the way — a main character dies in the first few minutes and the rest of the TARDIS crew will spend the rest of the series dealing with this. The second episode ends in a quantum conundrum rivaling Schrödinger’s cat, but more cyophoric. Silence will fall. I’m going to have to watch The Lodger again.

Photo: BBC

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About Harlan Landes

Harlan Landes has been blogging since before "blogging" was a word. If you're reading this, chances are you know who I am.