DW creators think that it’s an inspiring show about a fixit hero who can be watched by all ages. The script has the Doctor claiming that he is motivated primarily by kindness, justice, and mercy. In the wake of the TRULY CRAPPY S10 finale, there are fans who take the viewpoint that DW is indeed an inspiring show, suitable for children, about a hero who fixes problems with kindness and mercy. Some of these fans say that others shouldn’t take the show seriously because the show doesn’t take itself seriously. I believe that we should take it seriously, and here’s why…
If you think that DW is an inspiring kids’ show and hope and kindness because that’s what the creators say and that’s what the Doctor says on occasion, that’s not really looking at the whole picture. There’s a lot more going on in that show than the authorial intent and the script. There are characters’ actions, cinematography, lighting, costuming, etc. There are also of course outside pressures, such as characters leaving, actors getting older, ROGER DELGADO DYING… D: All of these have effects on the stories. A comprehensive interpretation of the show must take authorial intent, script text, AND all those other factors into account.
A huge thing that we also have to consider that DW is part of a larger culture. Even if the creators don’t think it does, DW reproduces the racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism of the society in which it was created. It also sends that racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism to a wide audience. It affects the thoughts and feelings of a huge amount of people. In other words, DW has a serious effect on people, as does any piece of media. We absolutely should take it seriously by contextualizing it, analyzing it, and criticizing it.
In fact, that’s how I get my hope and belief. I get my hope, inspiration, and belief not from the Doctor’s speeches, but by criticizing pop culture phenomena such as DW. It’s through this contextualization, analysis, and criticism [translation: fixit fics] that I sustain my hope and belief and sense of helping people.
I deconstruct DW because I’m enraged and unhappy over its racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism. In taking the show seriously, I figure out how I wish it would have gone. I envision a world in which racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism exist, but don’t fuck people up so much. I envision a setting in which people can work against their oppressions and achieve some measure of happiness for themselves, even as they make the world a better place.
I see in my mind’s eye my version of a better world, and I share it with people. I hope that people who feel similarly might feel gratified by what I read. Maybe they’ll go away feeling less disappointed with the original. Maybe they’ll get an idea for their own fanworks. Maybe, if they’re exhausted from their own activism, my stories will cheer them up.
In other words, I take DW seriously because it’s an influential piece of culture. I also take it seriously because it fails me. When it fails me, I have the chance to imagine a better world. When I imagine a better world, I believe in it more strongly. My belief leads to passion, which leads to action. I write fixits as part of that action. I also act creatively and politically for social justice in other ways.
I derive hope and inspiration from DW, but not because I believe the show’s superficial claims that it’s about that. I derive the hope and inspiration from what I make of the show: a chance to seize something better from a disappointment, a chance to use my passion to change the world.