Blogrolling: Adventures with the Wife in Space
I’ve been terrible, over the years of this blog, about linking other blogs – I am for whatever reason not hugely fond of blogrolls on the sidebar of blogs. But I figure since I’m trying to find content on something more like a five to six post-per-week schedule, some talking about other great blogs on Teh Interwebs is a good plan.
And since it was one of the first blogs to give TARDIS Eruditorum a prominent link and is wrapping up, making it a sort of now-or-never thing, I figured I’d start with the well-loved Adventures With the Wife in Space. Which I assume most of you have heard of and already read, but hey, maybe my readership isn’t just a subset of theirs and this is actually news to someone.
The premise is pretty straightforward: Neil Perryman, as fannish a Doctor Who fan as ever did fan, marathons Doctor Who with his thoroughly not-a-Doctor-Who-fan wife. They banter, he writes up the banter, and everyone enjoys it. It’s a pretty reliable blog structure, as comic double acts are wont to be. (Indeed, when I get around to the commentary tracks I’ll be employing Jill to something like this effect.)
But what’s really interesting is the way the blog illuminates Doctor Who. One of the problems we reliably face in talking about Doctor Who is that, well, all of us who are willing to talk elaborately about Doctor Who are fans. Whereas Doctor Who, for most of its life, is widely consumed by people who are not dedicated fans. And while we know very well what we think of The Curse of Peladon or Snakedance and all the major perspectives, all of the perspectives we know are fan perspectives.
It’s not as though Sue is representative of all everyhuman perspectives. That’s not the point or the value. Rather, it’s that Sue offers a genuinely fresh take on Doctor Who. We get to see someone watch Doctor Who fresh and judge it more or less without the influence of fandom. Or, rather, in dialogue with fandom, which is faithfully represented by Neil, who reliably sums up the fan consensus so that Sue can dismiss it as idiotic. Which, actually, it usually is.
The blog is, in other words, not sufficient. It doesn’t solve the problem of our blindness towards the perspectives of people who are not dedicated fans. But it gives us a look we’ve never really seen at Doctor Who before and starts to break down the barrier. Plus, and perhaps more importantly, it’s terribly, terribly funny.
And has, as I said, just wrapped, meaning that if you want to do a big archive dive now’s your chance.
May 8, 2013 @ 11:18 pm
One of my other favourite blogs – i actually found them through tachyon TV and then you through Neil's links and a discussion about your writing in his comments section last year.
May 9, 2013 @ 12:44 am
One of my favourite blogs too.
I'm still a bit thrown by Sue's reaction to the McGann TV movie. (She liked it. A lot.) I suppose she's in a fairly unique position of being alienated neither by the bits that alienate casual viewers nor by the bits that alienate fans.
May 9, 2013 @ 3:12 am
To be fair, she did make some good arguments for why she liked it. Her point about this not being the first time the Master has been camp is a good one and I personally don't hate Eric Roberts in the part. Like David Gooderson as Davros, I just think he's the weakest actor to play the part.
What that post, and indeed the majority of the blog, did was make me want to go back and rewatch some of these stories.
And it was also nice to see someone else think Snakedance isn't that good.
May 9, 2013 @ 3:38 am
WiS is the only other blog, aside from this, which I read. I read posts as they happen, but I also watch a Who story and then go immediately: Wikipedia, here, WiS. Just for other reactions, facts, and tidbits.
May 9, 2013 @ 4:44 am
The last post was definitely cheeky, in that she's come full circle in a way. She's now a kind-of-fan, and therefore enjoyed all the cheeky nods to classic Who. Whereas many fans tend to claim it's bogged down in classic Who winks and nods.
May 9, 2013 @ 5:54 am
I like a lot of her reactions to stories I've seen, because she isn't swayed by fan wisdom (a misnomer if ever there was) or preconceptions, and approaches each episode on it's own merits.
Neil on the other hand is the absolute epitome of the Who Fan and continually regurgitates the same old comments about the series (though this is probably deliberate to provide a more striking counterpoint to Sue). It must be so difficult for new fans to approach aspects of the series prior to 2005 without being told how they should feel about each story. The TV Movie is a case in point. Unless you approach it totally cold and open-minded it's difficult not to end up disliking it, not through making your own mind up, but through having had all the flaws pointed out to you beforehand. I'm sure there are New Series fans out there who have never watched the TVM, and don't intend to, simply because the overwhelming opinion of fandom is that it's sacrilegious rubbish.
In fact the Comments section of Wife In Space is almost as telling as the blog itself, ranging from those applauding Sue's good taste in bucking the trend (see TVM), to those calling her an idiot because she disliked a particular fan-treasured story (at one point Neil suspended comments due to the vitriol).
If nothing else, Wife In Space has held up a magnifying glass to some of the more unsavoury aspects of DW Fandom's soft white underbelly.
May 9, 2013 @ 6:38 am
I'm pretty sure Neil's regurgitation of fan wisdom is deliberately there to get Sue's reaction to the fan wisdom. (In fact, I think Neil is quite capable of throwing out fan wisdom he disagrees with so Sue can shoot it down.)
May 9, 2013 @ 6:50 am
Hearing that actually makes me want to go watch the TVM now, actually. BBC America should be replaying it at some point this year, as they're playing episodes from every Doctor and that's the only one available for the 8th.
May 9, 2013 @ 7:25 am
Well, you can count me as one of the people who's never read it before–I've seen you mention it a couple of times, but today is my first time reading it. It's quite fun!
May 9, 2013 @ 8:24 am
Wow, it's only just hit me how sad I am that WiS is over now. I've read it since it started and eagerly looked forward to every new post. (That hiatus they took back in January was just the worst!) I really enjoyed Sue's cutting against fan wisdom. Didn't bother me at all that she scored Snakedance sub-par. The only times the blog really upset me was when she ripped into the stories that are my personal favorites. 4/10 for Battlefield hurt me deeply! XD (So the execution is choppy! So what? There are still more cool and interesting ideas in that script than even the Bristol Boys would know what to do with!)
And incidentally, Phil, I'm one of those people that found 'Eruditorum' through the links on WiS. (Of course that was back when it was still a feature on Tachyon TV)
May 9, 2013 @ 11:47 am
And now I want a t-shirt that says "Some of the episodes don’t even exist and we still watch them!"
May 9, 2013 @ 12:10 pm
"And since it was one of the first blogs to give TARDIS Eruditorum a prominent link…"
I'm happy to claim some responsibility for that, since I put Neil on to the Eruditorum in the first place. I may not be able to contribute much to the discussions, but at least I can network!
Actually, I'm kind of glad you've linked back, since these are the only two DW blogs I've read regularly and it makes for a pleasing symmetry. I'll be interested to see which others you point to in your in-between posts (the only other one I read at all is Doc Oho's).
May 9, 2013 @ 12:27 pm
My biggest disappointment was with Logopolis, if just that I think Neil completely screwed over a lot of possible enjoyment for the story by not telling her it was a regeneration story.
May 9, 2013 @ 1:35 pm
That's a good point. The overall bleak and ominous tone that hangs over that whole story makes a lot more sense when you know what's coming
Pen Name Pending
May 9, 2013 @ 2:19 pm
I think I found Wife in Space when googling Doctor Who cartoons. I found the cartoonist who drew the sofa and television image that's on the front page, and followed the link and read with the stories I watched. Eventually I came to one of the posts that linked to this site, and that's how I ended up here!
It's credit to Wife in Space that I enjoyed The Time Monster.
May 9, 2013 @ 6:12 pm
When I think of Neil and Sue, I think of Pertwee and Jo and sandwiches.
May 10, 2013 @ 2:08 am
Neil deliberately oversells Sue's amateurishness as part of the overall pitch for the blog, but she's obviously got some professional experience with TV production and from time to time calls out genuinely interesting points outside the fan/not-fan banter. I'll miss that blog, it's great fun.