As most people who have heard me co-host on Gallifrey Public Radio know, I'm a rather large-scale fan of the British science fiction television series, Doctor Who. As such, I'm also an avid listener to the audio dramas produced by Big Finish studios.
Just today, they made an announcement about an upcoming release that involves a (before unheard of) combination of characters. One of the resulting comments to the studio's Facebook post was, in one fell swoop, both a pre-hate judgement and a lambasting of a character whom many other fans of the program genuinely love.
Being the gadfly I am, I couldn't let such a blunt statement go unchecked, and chose to speak my mind -- not in the interest of inciting an argument, far from it. Surprisingly, I was rewarded with a response from the individual (and others) who recognized the value of both giving as-of-yet-released material a fair shake, and furthermore, not crashing down on an aspect of the show that others within the fandom are pleased to see or hear.
Unedited, save for protecting the named of those involved:
BIG FINISH PRODUCTIONS: Coming in May 2016 – Doctor Who: Doom Coalition 2.
The Doctor’s past is catching up with him. And so is his future... As a dark chapter dawns for the universe, a friend is at hand. But how can River Song help the Doctor if she can’t meet him?
A brand new boxset starring Paul McGann, Alex Kingston, Nicola Walker and Hattie Morahan.
CK: This is horrible news. I had hope the complete stupidity of the Moffat era would be localised to seasons 5-7 of the new tv series. Now the worst character with the lost ridiculous backstory is being transplanted into big finish? Cash grab much?
Keir: Thankfully, it won't intrude on your head-canon, and you can choose any other great BF release to focus on and enjoy. Please try not to pre-hate, casting judgement on something that hasn't even released yet. All you're doing is discouraging others who may really enjoy it.
CK: Point taken. But I sincerely doubt my opinion will effect anyone who may enjoy it from buying it. River Song is perhaps the most polarising character in the history of Who, certainly in New Who. There's been many comments made here, the vast majority by those who love the character.
I'm on the other side of the fence, and I doubt there would be any change by lovers or haters of the character.
I'll add the Alex Kingston is an amazing actress and Big Finish always produces brilliant stuff, IMHO. I sincerely appreciate that they have revealed this so early, because it's cash I will redirect to the Fourth Doctor Adventures.
KS: Fortunately, Big Finish have a reputation of taking characters that have a polarising or negative reaction with the fans and puts them in the hands of genuinely capable writers in great stories. Don't forget what The One Doctor, Iterations of I and The Juggernauts did with The Sixth Doctor, Adric and Mel, respectively.
I'm personally looking forward to how these new releases go :)
Keir: See? This sort of "I see your opinion, and feel otherwise, but still respect where you're coming from" is what I love to see from Whovians. I wish other fandoms could be as open-minded in their discussions. Bravo, kids.
While the friendly debate over mutually appreciated film or television programs can spur further passion and appreciation over the material, there are extreme factions within these fandoms that become exclusionary, derisive, or even explicitly hateful against others who do not share precisely the same view, or come from the same fanatical source.
From the camps of the Star Trek original series bickering with those who actually enjoyed J.J. Abrams' films, to the vitriolic bashing of the 'Phantom Menace' fans within Star Wars, to the hard-line division between American and British productions of the same programs, are we bred to bicker, or is there a place for everyone at the geek family table?
Our premiere episode! *ding!*
We know those who hear or see something about a film, television, music or literary production yet to be released, and suddenly leap to conclusions about how it will be based on that morsel of information, along with a large scoop of typically negative personal opinion. Let's look at this pre-hate condition, and how accurate it could really be without seeing the final product.