Once upon a time, I loved Torchwood. It was absurd and silly and occasionally (perhaps often) stupid. But I loved it. I enjoyed the show, I like the fans, and I made some truly wonderful friends through the fandom. And then Children of Earth happened. I loved it. I though it was amazing. It made me feel more intensely than almost anything else on television had ever done. Yes, it was dark. Yes, characters died. And the fandom that I saw, imploded.
Before anyone says anything, this isn’t aimed at anyone in particular. It’s how the fandom as a whole made me feel at that time. Since then I’ve had some wonderful conversations about those five episodes with people I had only just met at the time. But my view on the fandom was changed and will always be coloured by the immediate aftermath.
Typically the reason I stop watching a show or participating in the fandom is because I’m not happy with the story or I just lose interest. I don’t quit shows that I am otherwise enjoying due to the death of a character or the leaving of an actor. So why did I find it so difficult to maintain my interest in Torchwood’s fandom after Children of Earth? And why am I still struggling to find the same enjoyment I had in the past while watching Miracle Day?
The quick and simple reason is that I like Children of Earth. In the two years since its initial airing, I’ve found other fans who admit to liking it. But in July 2009, it felt like it was just me. I remember seeing a mix of people who hated the story and people who liked it but never wanted to see it again. I saw everything in between. And I respect and will listen to the opinions of anyone else, as long as they do me the same courtesy. But what I was missing that summer were the people with whom I could reasonably discuss the parts I liked and those I didn’t.
I’d never experienced such negativity associated with liking a series, rather than disliking one. It became a topic that I avoided at all costs, for fear of offending someone who didn’t share my enjoyment. Maybe that was a bit passive, but again, it’s how I felt at that point in time.
Now it’s two years later, and Torchwood: Miracle Day is airing. Since it was first announced, I was hesitantly excited. The hesitancy wasn’t because of the show, I had faith that it would be good. It was because of the fandom. I understood that many fans wouldn’t want to watch it, and I was perfectly okay with that. I’ve been lucky to avoid getting involved in the drama surrounding Miracle Day, but then again, I’ve been essentially refusing to talk about it. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t seen the negativity. And all I can think is, how did the fandom for a show that we all once loved lead to this?
I’m not entirely thrilled with Miracle Day so far. But more disappointing is my lack of excitement. There are shows that I do everything in my power to watch as they air. There are others that I constantly and desperately count down to being able to see. I rearrange my entire Saturday nights to watch Doctor Who. I bolt out of class on Tuesdays to watch White Collar. Torchwood airs on Friday nights. Sometimes I see it then, sometimes I wait and watch it on Saturday. If I’m busy on Saturday, I put it off until Sunday. And although a lot of that is because of my experiences with the fandom, it also has to do with where the show itself is right now.
But that’s a story for another post.