A New Approach to Fandom

The Los Angeles Times reports today that DR. WHO executive producer Russell T. Davies is taking a new approach to fans. He’s completely ignoring them.

"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."

His policy of ignoring the fans doesn’t seem to be hurting his show at all.  In fact, it may be helping by making his show more accessible to mainstream audiences worldwide.

It falls to
Davies "to keep balancing how much continuity there is, how many
stand-alone elements there are." Ever mindful of the shows’ "mainstream
audience" (meaning, not just sci-fi enthusiasts) and put off by
"exclusivity" in general, he said he is reticent of creating overly
inclusive stories dependent on viewers’ in-depth knowledge of ornate
histories.  This job is made easier by Davies’ policy of ignoring the voices of those most vigilant.

Is there a lesson to be learned here for showrunners?    

7 thoughts on “A New Approach to Fandom”

  1. Some TVshowrunners spend so much time kissing up to fans that they make the show impossible to understand or get into for the majority of viewers. They lose sight of the big picture. I think some TVshowrunners like being treated like celebrities by a small group of acolytes instead of making TV shows that everybody can enjoy. The fans who think they own the TV shows have hurt a lot of shows. Fans can be a good thing until they think that the TVshowrunners work for them. The fans try to turn the shows into their fan fiction and that’s why the shows get cancelled so fast.

  2. I don’t think Davies’ various shows have been successful because Davies ignores fans; I think it’s because Davies is damned good at what he does. Any showrunner who bows to any pressure –including fan pressure — at the expense of the show is making a mistake.

  3. Davies is doing the right thing. There’s plenty in the show for the nit-picky addicted-for-life fans, but each episode is enough in and of itself to hook in new viewers. It’s not getting bogged down in its own history as have other ventures. I’m an addicted-for-life fan and am delighted with the show all over again.
    I’ve made a point of listening to my readers’ feedback, but I always go my own way on my books. I LOVE those readers, but not every idea they want to see makes for a good story.

  4. I had this sudden image of what the “Diagnosis: Murder” books would’ve been had you done what some of your fans wanted. Eight books of hurt-comfort MPREG.

  5. The claim to not care would be considerably more believable if he didn’t do one episode each season that amounts to an extended metaphor about fandom itself. (Love and Monsters, Blink, and, over in the spin-off, Random Shoes. And Time Crash, too, come to think of it.)


Leave a Comment