Jul 13 2012 11:00am

5 Geeky Things that Everyone is Suddenly an Expert On

It’s hard to admit it, but in the worlds of science fiction, fantasy and related subjects, many of us are frequently making our opinions known on subjects we maybe just recently became familiar with. Sometimes we’re like the pseudo-intellectual man from Annie Hall talking too loudly about things we know nothing of, and other times we’re the Woody Allen figure, dying to produce a magical figure to authoritatively correct a factual injustice.

In any case, below are five things geeks are suddenly experts on. (Even if some of us really always were.)


Classic Doctor Who

I always wanted to get into old Who when I was a kid, but could never really figure it out. Sure, I loved the floppy hat and the scarf when I caught the Tom Baker episodes on PBS in the early 90s, but really, to be a Doctor Who fan post-1980s in America was pretty rare. But, ever since Russell T. Davies changed the show forever in 2005, everybody’s an expert on the machinations of the Time Lords, the Daleks and all the rest. Now, I’ll leave the Brits out of this, as Doctor Who has been a legitimate institution there for a long, long time, but in the States, the likelihood of a rabid pre-2005 Who fan is fairly unlikely. My bet is that the vast majority of American Who fans would like to say they can definitely pick a favorite Doctor from the pre-2005 era, but the likelihood they’ve actually sat through all of those episodes is fairly small. Did those same people sit through all of Buffy and contemporary Battlestar Galatica? You bet they did.

The point is, I don’t think most contemporary Who fans “remember” the old Doctor Who. Most of us are just now discovering it for the first time. Which is great, because some of it is fantastic, rich, original and charming. But I can honestly say my Doctor Who complete serial viewings prior to 2005 consisted of “City of Death” and “The Pyramids of Mars.” And this is coming from someone who watched all three seasons of SeaQuest not to mention Babylon 5 AND Crusade. Bottom-line: for those of us in the states, new Who is way more watchable, accessible and better. We can pretend to be old school fans all we want, but most understand the history of Torchwood way more than UNIT.

(Okay, maybe this guy is legit.)


Sherlock Holmes

This past January I had the privilege of attending a few events in New York City put on by the Baker Street Irregulars and various other scion Sherlock Holmes fan organizations, including ASH (The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes.) One thing I learned from my betters was that they are all far more tolerant than I with the recent popular interest in Sherlock Holmes. As Lyndsay Faye (BSI and ASH member) has pointed out, these super-fans LOVE Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch.

I wish I could always say I am as forgiving with newer fans on this score. Personally, when I tell people in bars or at parties how much I love Sherlock Holmes, I tend to get a little annoyed that all I end up being able to talk about is Cumberbatch or Downey Jr. The current hipness of Sherlock Holmes is great, but occasionally a little tiring for those of us who have been really into this stuff for ages. For example: if you criticize the Downey Jr. films for being too violent someone might say, “well he was a fighter in the books,” which is only partially true.  

But the trouble with all the Holmes stuff is that it’s such an old fandom that any kind of new know-it-alls to the group sometimes won’t have all their facts. Luckily, Sherlock Holmes fandom is very, very friendly, and the stories are still very readable.


Joseph Campbell/Hero Arc

Blame this one on George Lucas for constantly citing Campbell’s work as an influence for Star Wars. We could maybe even chalk this up to putting Luke Skywalker’s face on the cover of latter editions. The point is, a common defense for a predictable storyline in a superhero movie or fantasy novel is often that something is adhering to a classic “hero’s journey in the tradition of Joseph Campbell.”

The thing that never quite sits right with me on this subject is that the supposed hero’s arc seems very western-centric and Star Wars appeals to a lot of people who are not from the west. Also, just because something contains a classic hero’s journey doesn’t mean it’s good. Usually it just means something is predictable. Simply knowing this kind of thing exists isn’t necessarily enough to rationalize certain things that do or don’t make sense about a narrative. 

Most importantly though, I couldn’t get through the entirety of Hero With a Thousand Faces, so I probably don’t know what I’m talking about.


1960’s Star Trek

Way back when the J.J. Abrams movie was just being talked about in interviews and no one had been cast, the various people involved began saying that the 1960s characters were like “Shakespeare characters” so of course you could recast them with no problem. And while they ended up being right about recasting, I’m not sure it’s because the characters were super-well defined.

I feel like at least half of the people who REALLY LOVE the J.J. Abrams movie aren’t experts on the classic series. (The other half like it because they like things containing the words “Star” and “Trek.” I’m one of those.) But prior to the J.J. Abrams film, I’d bet that The Next Generation was considered to be the more famous Star Trek. I don’t mean to say people hadn’t heard of Spock, just simply that they hadn’t seen much of him outside of the movies. This, of course is changing because of the 2009 film, but just like many weren’t aware of Tony Stark and his machinations prior to the Iron Man movies, I’d venture to say the name “Gary Mitchell” doesn’t have the same association with hardcore Trekkies as it does with casual fans.

To put it another way: let’s say there was a feature film series about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine which featured the return of Gul Dukat in the second film. The post-credit sequence at the end of our hypothetical DS9 film which reveals Dukat would elicit crickets in theatre.


Marvel Continuity

Here’s one I’m guilty of. Did I, a massive DC fan and big time geek really understand the mythology or backstory of Tony Stark prior to the 2008 film Iron Man? I did not. And my guess is that most moviegoers didn’t either. Even if the average fan knew that Iron Man was Tony Stark and his girlfriend was Pepper Potts, it’s not like the general public could name details from the Iron Man comics like who Jarvis actually. Black Widow and Nick Fury aren’t household names. Yes, among comic book geeks specifically, these things are known, but to the general populace; Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers aren’t nearly as famous as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. More specifically, most people’s mothers do not know who Thanos is, but they have heard of the Joker.

But the brilliant thing about how Marvel Avenger’s movies were made and marketed is that now almost everyone seems to think they have heard of Thanos. Nice work Marvel! (For further reading a long similar lines, Charlie Jane Anders at io9 points out why there aren’t very many “A” List superheroes)

What other topics have you recently learned a lot about in a short period of time? Or what’s something you love and know a lot about and now it seems everyone wants to play too? Let us know below!

Ryan Britt is the staff writer for His love for dinosaurs is disproportionate to his knowledge of them.

1. KarraCrow
Since I've been a "Doctor Who" fan from the mid-1980s to today, I'd like to be exempted from this: "...for those of us in the states, new Whois way more watchable, accessible and better. We can pretend to be old school fans all we want, but most understand the history of Torchwood way more than UNIT."

I really hate the generalization -- correct though it may be! -- that US "DW" fans only came in with the "sexy" new show or that we only came in because of "Torchwood." Some of us have been in it for the long haul and love the whole nine yards: old school, new school, Welsh school, whatever!
Ryan Britt
2. ryancbritt
You are a true believer! I wish I could say the same.
3. Quincy Coleman
In the past several months, I've been awakened to the amazingness that is: Graphic Novels (GN). I've explored the first 20 issues of such GNs as: 100 Bullets, Fables, Sandman, Walking Dead, and Dark Tower (I'm a huge fan of Stephen King's magnum opus and I was not disappointed by the GN). Thanks be to the creation of deluxe editions, omnibus and absolute collections.

I intend to increase my immersion into this genre by completing reads of each of the aformentioned stories and by expanding my reading to include Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and Y: The Last Man (among others).

Any suggestions that align with my list of recently read?
4. 4kats4
Another classic Who fan here--Maine PBS started with Tom Baker to get us hooked, then re-booted with Hartnell, and went all the way through to Sylvester McCoy. NuWho has grown on me, but I (and my sister) will always take Barbara and Ian over Rory and Amy.
6. Asimov217
@Quincy. I think going by what you seem to like I would suggest The new Swampthing and Animal Man runs (New 52), as well as Manhattan Project.
7. Lynda
If you are over a certain age it is much more likely that, as a geek, you were a fan and possible expert on more than one of these things. PBS in Chicago was showing Dr. Who in the 80s, and many of the people I grew up with watched some (or in my case all ) of the available episodes at that time. And 60s Star Trek was rerun almost constantly throughout my child and teen years, so I know plenty of people who have a long standing obsession with that as well.
Ryan Britt
8. ryancbritt
Horray for classic Who fans! You make me proud.
James Whitehead
9. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
"My Doctor" will always be Tom Baker. I was lucky enough to be able to see his years on two local PBS stations in northeastern Mass. They even showed some Jon Pertwee episodes but I was a little too young to remeber them.

My mum was a big fan of the series as a girl in England & her Doctor was William Hartnell. So that's how I fell into Doctor Who. Found the series again once it was brought back with Eccleston, as rebroadcast on the SciFi channel. My family love's the new Doctor Who, although we do prefer Tennet to Smith, whereas I will always have a soft spot for the old, bad special effects episodes as those are the ones I grew up on.

I have enjoyed Downey as Holmes but to believe that Jeremy Brett to be the best Sherlock out there. I always felt he truly captured Doyle's character perfectly. I haven't watched Cumberbatch yet as there is so much 'squeeage' out there and I'm contrary that way; give me a year & I'll watch his show & probably love it.

I am also geeky enough to know some of Stark's backstory but not all. I did recognize Thanos as he is a big deal in Marvel, even if I don't know much about him. I do think, however, that some ignorance on part of moviegoers for comic book movies isn't a bad thing.

My friend, a crazy Spiderman fan, went & saw the reboot and hated it 'cause they changed, in his mind, everything about the character as he knew it. So there are times when ignorance is bliss I guess.


PS - Sarah Jane shall always be the best companion. ;-)
10. KarraCrow
@4Kats4: Fellow Mainer here! All my early BBC training, I owe to MPBN one way or another! :)

@ryancbritt: It's never too late to catch up. ;)
11. annajcook
I get what you're saying about faux long-term interest/knowledge being obnoxious. However, what I think that points to is a deeper prejudice in some fandoms toward "I was there from the beginning, therefore my love is more legitimate than yours" -- not toward anything inherent in the show itself which means we newbies cannot genuinely take pleasure in earlier iterations.

For example, my fiancee is a life-long fan of Doctor Who (another childhood spent watching Maine PBS in the 80s!) and she introduced me, via Eccleston's Who and Torchwood to the 'verse when we first began dating. Is my relationship with the earlier incarnations of the Doctor and companions different because I didn't grow up with them as childhood companions? Sure. The resonances are different for me than they would have been for a child coming of age in the 1960s or 70s in Britain too. But I don't think that makes the pleasure I experience in the earlier episodes less genuine. And I'd say the same for others who profess love of earlier iterations as well. I don't think our Americanness or the era in which we've come of age prevent genuine attachment to a thing just because it was created in the past or in another country.
12. Tim B.
Love the perspective on Sherlock. As an avid fan of S.A.C.D's original stories and every previous television incarnation, it's nice to know someone else shares the same perspective while not necessarily judging SH newbies too harshly :)
Chris Long
13. radynski

Don't forget about Watchmen! Defintely worth a read. And I like a lot of the same series you mentioned, but my favorite I think has to be Lucifer by Mike Carey. Also, current books like Unwritten and Morning Glories are really worth checking out.
Caroline Kierstead
14. ctkierst
@3 (Quincy), @13 (radynski)

My list overlaps yours quite a bit. I'd add Hellboy, B. P. R. D., Sixth Gun, The Authority, Powers, Ex Machina, V for Vendetta, the Alan Moore run of Swamp Thing, Josh Whedon's Runaways, Grant Morrison's Animal Man, Echo, Kill Shakespeare, and Strangers in Paradise. I liked parts of Preacher, but really wanted to scrub some images from my brain (a friend loaned them to me).
F Shelley
15. FSS
I'm with Ryan on the classic Who issue. Unfortunately, in the days before the Internet and DVRs, we were at the mercy of our local PBS stations, which sometimes shows the individual episodes out of order, so it was hard to comprehend a coherent story.

I respect the classic Who shows, even though I admit that pacing and special effects make them hard to watch for me. I've seen the Who movie from 1996, so my knowledge is really limited to 8 onwards.

As for the Star Trek movie - I'm really lukewarm on it. I mean, it was good to see the old show re-imaged, but it was like...I watching a tribute band. The effects were (naturally) better. I liked the new sense of scale (the shuttle craft bay!). I think the actors were better. But (damn it!) it was actually sad to see the movie sprinkled with all of those catch phrases. The only interesting thing they did with the movie was make Uhura a linguistics expert instead of the interstellar switchboard operator.
16. Brian Mac
I feel like I'm five-for-five with this article. I've been a Doctor Who fan since the early 80s, and saw all the existing episodes back in the day (thanks to WNJS Camden and WHYY Philadelphia), I've been an expert in Marvel continuity since about the same time, I read the original Sherlock Holmes stories as a teenager, I studied Joseph Campbell in college, and I despised the Abrams Star Trek film.
All of which is strange, because I've never really seen myself as a hard-core geek. I've got some game, certainly, but I've never attended a con or dressed up as a character. I don't know anything about anime, and I didn't watch Firefly until several years after it came out.
17. Christopher R
I think its an age thing. PBS was the 4th channel growing up and it beat the hell out of soap operas. Not much choice pre cable on what was on.
Doctor Who fanatic since maybe 5. I went from Sesame Street to Star Trek TOS.
As for the general populace I have always been surprised by the closeted geeks.
Mark Rubeck
18. TigerChanter
Also in the early 80's, every Saturday morning on channel 9 (WOR in New Jersey) they would show Doctor Who for two solid hours! I happened to stumble across it one Saturday morning when I was in college. My cable company had this channel in their lineup and they were showing "Pyramid of Mars". Prior to that I had only seen the two BBC films from the Sixties, so this was a revalation to me! I was able to watch all of the Third, Fourth and Fifth Doctor's adventures this way and saw some of Seven's on my local PBS station (Western Mass) in the late 80's! So I agree, that if you are above a certain age; COUGH! (50) COUGH! you probably have seen a fair amount of Classic Who!
Tracy Durnell
19. kaeldra
Hey, I liked Gul Dukat, and I wasn't even a DS9 fan! But we can leave Sisko with the Prophets.

I grew up with TNG, and can't watch the original series (though I did enjoy the new movie). Likewise, I started on the new Doctor Who, and can't watch the originals. I think I have a low tolerance for hokey effects.
Paul Lewandowski
20. Snowkestrel
@Quicy - I woudl like to add Transmetropolitan to the list, as well as Some of Warren Ellis' standalones like Ministry of Space.

I think Planetary is pretty cool too, but since I havene't managed to finish reading everything that's bee n published so far, I don't really know if it pays off.
Paul Lewandowski
21. Snowkestrel
@FSS - Regarding Trek- Some of what you point out (the sense of scale, the shuttle bay) actually are turn offs to both long-term Trek fans and new fans with an eye for detail. Of the points you mentioned, I think the ONLY thing that was an improvement was expanding Uhura's skillset. In a previous ST movie, she was actually shown struggling to figure out and pronounce the Klingon language from an old book (a completely ludicrous scene), and her new continuity skills are a welcome addition.

Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where long-time fandom gets in the way of immersive enjoyment of something new. I LOVE that Trek 2009 happened. I enjoyed it a lot. My knowledge of the previous versions, however, keeps bringing me back to details that don't make sense to me, either in comparison to the old versions, or in comparison to real world situations ( such as they can be applied to a fictional future). Much like my exposure to old school Dr. Who, and Jeremy Brett's iconic portrayal of Holmes (I haven't read enough of the books to compare there), I just have difficulty leaving the old behind, even temporarily, to enjoy the new to the fullest.

In a way, I envy the Johnny-come-latelies. They can enjoy these films unburdened by continuity and comparisons, which is (I think) what the producers intend.
24. Rancho Unicorno
On all of these, but I'm thinking about DW, the difference between readers and the general populace is a large one. I suspect that most discovered-post-2005 viewers in the US are post-2005 fans and really have no interest in the classic episodes. You could probably count on a couple of hands those who went back and discovered the entire classic series for themselves - and I'm willing to bet that most of this small group finds its way to on a regular basis.

While there are several exceptions to the story description of American DW fans, some of whom commented here, I don't think it negates the validity of the original point.
Gregory Watters
25. Zorak
To be fair, 45+ years of Trek is a lot to handle, especially for someone in their twenties, even thirties.

I remember being a kid in the 60's and watching the original Trek that was "Brought to me in living color, on NBC". (Yes, I'm that old.) We "Grups" did not have to assimilate the saga in marathon DVD sessions or chat rooms and conventions. We watched it weekly after "Laugh-in" and went to school the next day where everyone was "nerve-pinching" each other on the bus. (Although, many would retaliate with a "Sock-it to me!")

My love of Trek comes from growing-up with it all around me. For me and mine, Trek goes hand-in-hand with the space race, Vietnam, civil rights, Hippies and "Space Food Sticks" with a glass of "Tang". Over the past decades, I have seen all the shows, movies and specials, but stretched out over a lifetime. For my generation, Trek is more like a family member that comes around ever so often for a visit.

I will be so bold as to say I'm an "expert" regarding "Star Trek", but only because I've lived with it and enjoyed it all my life.
26. KJHargan
Great Article. As a SFF/Comic book fan boy who is in his 50's... ahem... much of this is spot on. I would add Spiderman to the list. As much as I liked Sam Raimi's Webslinger, his use of Mary Jane Watson for the later/younger readers in his series of movies, and then the carbon copy death of the Green Goblin, has completely subverted the possibility of the very shocking, and emotional death of Gwen Stacey plot line for use in the current 'reboot' (gawd, what a distasteful word).
27. tigeraid
Thanks to YTV ("Youth" TV) here in Canada, I grew up watching 4th-thru-7th Doctor as a kid. And PBS occasionally showed the really old Dr Who, so I'd like to think I know my stuff pretty well. Not sure what you guys had in America though. ;)
28. mutantalbinocrocodile
No one seems to be talking about Campbell, but this one gets up my nose. My issue is not that people pretend to have understood "The Hero With a Thousand Faces" (hard read in terms of prose, but the ideas are really simplistic). It's that they assume it's RIGHT! It's a work of very dubious and misinformed scholarship. I can't think of a single character OTHER than Luke Skywalker who actually conforms to all the steps of the "Hero's Journey" without Campbell playing fast and loose with the literary tradition and squeezing them in. It's certainly been very influential on later writers (particularly lazy ones), but I personally don't think it has much of anything to say about mythology that isn't trivial or wrong.
Christopher Turkel
29. Applekey
My first exposure to Who was when I was in high school in Massachusetts via public television. I saw tons of Tom Baker, Peter Davidson and a little Colin Baker.

I know Downey's Sherlock Holmes isn't 100% true to the books. So what? They're great movies and fun to watch. And making Holmes a sleazy genius was a genius move.
lake sidey
30. lakesidey
Wall-o'-text warning

I seem to be on the other end of the graph; I know a good deal about the old stuff and next to nothing about the new in 3 cases out of 5. (And before anyone jumps to conclusions, I am not on the wrong side of 50, or even of 40. Assuming there is a wrong side.)

I read all of Holmes as a kid (note to self: re-read) but haven't seen any of the new avatars. Maybe I should.

I'm also a Classic Who fan, but with a difference. I live in India (where Classic Who was never broadcast, afaik) and only read the Target novelisations - all I could lay hands on (nearly eighty of them, I would guess - I still have over fifty in my cupboard at home). However, that was more than enough to turn me into a DW fanatic - way back when, I had an obsessively updated handwritten list of all the ones I had read and all the others that were in print to my knowledge. (In my defense, I was a little kid then, and the internet and computers were a dream of the future; had it been today, I would have made an equally obsessively updated excel sheet. Oh wait....I did make one.)

Someone mentioned seeing classic episodes out of order; well, when I started reading, I had a similar problem. I had no idea what it was about except that it was Science Fiction (of which I had just become a fan then) so I picked up random books out of the few my local library possessed - Warriors Gate (the third of the E-space trilogy, with the Fourth Doctor, Adric, Romana, K9 ) and Carnival of Monsters (Third Doctor and Jo) were my first two, and I almost gave up there because I could barely make sense of things; even the Doctor was described differently in the two books. The next book I read, Inferno, starred the Third Doctor again so I was reassured and I never looked back. Oh, and I remember joining another library for a month just because they had 30 Who novels I had not yet read :P Worth it!

I dunno if it counts, but "my Doctor" is the Fourth. Close between 2, 3, 4 and 5, really...but 4 had that, um, panache? And I'm with Kato - Sarah Jane is awesomeness. Leela is a rockstar too...especially with K9...

Star Trek - I have watched a few episodes of the original series (yes, those did play in India, and were rerun during my hostel days, so I caught random episodes). Not seen any of the newer stuff. At all.

The Marvel thing is the only one where I am in the "just came to the party" team. I knew a fair bit the whole Superman/Batman/Justice League stuff, but my interactions with other comics were limited mostly to lots of Spiderman and a little Hulk. I did read one random Avengers comic, at a point where She-Hulk was a member of the team, and that was all I knew of them.

(On the Campbell issue, I am neutral. Didn't know or care, still don't.)

Joseph Kingsmill
31. JFKingsmill16
The New Who may be better with pacing, special fx, and acting but IMHO on the whole the stories with the Old Who are better than the new ones.
32. cj_wildcat
I must be in the minority as a New Who fan who became a Classic Who fan as well. I personally had never heard of Doctor Who up until a few years ago but once I discovered it, you couldn't keep me from devouring the new series AND eating up as much Classic Who as I could find - cheesy camp and all! I don't pretend to be a long-term fan (I was born in the mid-80s and the only things on PBS that ever held my attention for very long were Sesame Street and Mister Rogers), but I learned as much as I could about Doctor Who and formed my own opinions so I could discuss continuity and understand what my fellow fans were talking about. And while I was at it, I even settled on a favorite Classic Doctor - I watched (and now own) all Peter Davison's entire run on DVD, plus a pretty fair chunk of the rest. And, quite honestly, I prefer UNIT to Torchwood (love me some Sergeant Benton!)

The best thing about the long-time Doctor Who fans is (generally speaking) they're pretty accepting of us newbies. I've never felt looked-down-upon by the "Old Guard" or felt like I was less of a fan just because I never got to see a Tom Baker episode on public television. Then again, I did make the effort to delve into Classic Who so I could participate with old-school fans.
33. yenny
I just recently read a really interesting article about Campbell and his influence on storytelling:

Basically, the author points out that the book isn't intended to be a how-to, paint-by-number guide for storytellers. It's an academic work about how certain things reappear in different myths; using it as a guide for creating stories is reverse-engineering and a crutch.
34. AlBrown
I have to admit, as old as I am, I mostly missed the Doctor during the early years. I have a vague, black and white impression from my youth of seeing a couple of shows where people were being chased around by ambulatory trash cans shouting 'exterminate,' and a scary show where a grouchy old guy was helping the British Army investigate some menace in caves under London. But I have to admit that my first Doctor is really David Tennant, and like many people, now I can't get enough of the Doctor.
Sherlock Holmes was encountered in the High School library in the 60s, and I will never forget the time I started to read the story that starts with him shooting up cocaine because he is bored without a case to challenge him, and sitting there in stunned disbelief that this book was even permitted in our school.
I also missed the first run of Star Trek, as that black and white TV could not pull in an NBC station. But I didn't miss it completely, because of all those James Blish book collections (which I believe cost 50 cents apiece).
Now Marvel, on the other hand, caught me right at the opening of the Silver Age. I remember when Captain America guest starred in Sergeant Fury and the Howling Commandos #13, the only issue number that ever stuck in my head. As I remember, in those days, Cap and Iron Man had to share books with others (perhaps even with each other--but the collection lives in my son's basement, so it is difficult to check). And I remember that Spidey's girlfriend was Gwen, which reminds me, I need to see that new movie....
Joe Romano
35. Drunes
Like Zorak, I grew up with TOS (yes, I'm that old, too). Used to gather with a few friends and watch it while eating crackers and spreadable cheeze from a can. Quite a few years later (in graduate school), watched re-runs with a friend almost every night.

The first Dr. Who I watched was Tom Baker on a PBS station in upstate New York. Although I like Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith, Tom Baker will always be the one and only Doctor. But I also confess a fondness for Peter Cushing's take in Dr. Who and the Daleks.

An aunt gave me a paperback copy of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes when I was about 11 or 12. I haven't read every Holmes story yet, but I'm closing in on it soon. I think I've slowed down recently because I don't want it to end and I doubt anyone will discover a "new" Doyle manuscript in a London attic. Jeremy Brett was the best on screen. He'll always be tops in my book, but a few of the earliest Basil Rathbone portrayals are very good if you can overlook Nigel Bruce's atrocious Watson.

For me, Marvel continuity goes way back, too, but I've always been more of a DC reader. I think that has to do more with a distaste for coverless comic books than anything else. The only Marvels I could buy when I was a kid were used, but the local news stand always had new DCs on hand. (Zorak and AlBrown will understand that if no one else does.)

So I'm wondering what am I? Just an old geek who never outgrew his childhood? Or something else entirely?
36. Zenspinner
I had the world's lamest PBS station in my area when I was a kid (they even dropped Monty Python after a single run!) so I never got to see Doctor Who. I'd fuss with the antenna and try to pull in the Columbus station, and occasionally I could *hear* Doctor Who, but it was all just fuzz.

Then I grew up and moved to NY and became a casual fan when I could catch the show (though my station seemed to be always showing the same Jon Pertwee episodes) and this lasted until I met Colin Baker at I-Con in 1987. Then I became something of a fanatic. :) It's been fun. I can't remember the moment I heard about the new show, but I remember how I felt...delighted, amazed, ecstatic. Wish I still lived near one of the coasts...would love to meet some of the current cast members. (And Matt Smith has seduced my boyfriend into fandom as well - he was too polite to say so, but he really didn't care for all those Tennant episodes I made him watch. Now he "gets it." Matt Smith is amazing.)
Kristen Templet
37. SF_Fangirl
Count me as a old school, original Doctor Who fan. Thanks to New Orleans PBS in the 80s I believe I saw every serial (not lost) at least a couple of times. My PBS station ran them Friday and Saturday evenings and ran whole serials at a time. A few of the First Doctor serials were so long that they had to be broken up over two nights, but I usually got an hour and a half to three hours of Doctor Who at a shot. I had to record them because it started at 10pm and my folks wouldn't be allow me to stay up until the end.

I'm nearing 40. It's got to be something of an age thing, though, because PBS did stop airing Doctor Who regularly before I finished high school. People younger than me probably wouldn't have been able to discover it. I like the new Who, but The Sixth Doctor and Ace are still my favorites and I am very fond of the Third Doctor's adventures on Earth and the early Fourth Doctor's episodes like the season long Ark in Space season.

(My PBS also showed Blake's 7 for a brief while - another great British Sci Fi series.)

I'm also an old school Star Trek fan. I've seen every TOS and animated series episode multiple times, and I've seen the other series' episodes only once. But again I relied on Star Trek reruns and a VCR to watch as a kid and TOS episodes were rarely broadcast on TV past the 80s.
38. Vanth
Heck my first SF convention in the beginning of the 80's the video room was showing new Doctor Who episodes to a packed room. There were DW conventions but if you look through old Starlog's, the only SF mag at the time, or other SF material of the time, it is as if Who never existed.

I do find it amusing to read Brett's Holmes is 'iconic', because I remember listening to debates on how he was good, but not as good as Tom Baker, if it was a die hard Who fan, or Basil Rathbone, if it was a old school fan. Holmes fandom is different from the rest. Holmes fandom doesn't have any first fandom left! So there's no one to remember what it was like reading the stories as they came out. This does change opinions. Trust me after waiting three years my jaw dropped during "Empire Strikes Back". Now that iconic line is a joke.

Twenty years from now the next reboot of an iconic character(s) will cause the same divisions between old and new fans. The cycle will rinse and repeat until the main guts of the character no longer resonates like poor ole Gilgamesh.
Shelly wb
39. shellywb
It's hard for me to believe Toledo was ahead in anything, but we got Dr Who back in the 70s starting with Tom Baker. My dad and I watched it every Saturday night. It came on right before they showed old Flash Gordon serials which we also adored.

Come to think of it, that PBS station was also one of the earliest ones to start showing Monty Python's Flying Circus. I should look up their old program director and give them a hug.

I remember my brother watching Star Trek when it aired, but I didn't understand it until we watched it in syndication a few years later. I've never stopped with that series (doing a DS9 rewatch right now), and I love the new one too.
40. RobinM
I watched DW on PBS in the 80's in California. I started with Tom Baker and got to see most of 3 and some of 1 but not a lot of 2 for some reason they weren't shown as much. I even pledged in college to keep Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred on air until the end. Go Sarah Jane and Ace! I like the new DW series to but am afraid to ask what happend to Susan?
I watched TOS every night at dinner as a kid in sindication. I've watched every form of Star Trek since then all of them twice or more. I hate JJ Abrahms version. He got the spirit of the people right but did we have to blow up Vulcan and the entire time line too start over.
Holmes I'm nt as rabid about I like each new form and enjoyed the books as well. The more the merrier.
I haven't actually read campbell saw a little of the series on PBS. I found it interesting is on the list of TRBD.
All Marvel/DC info comes from movies and cartoons as a kid . I read X-men, Wolverine and little Power Pack thats it. Thanos who?
This debate reminds a bit of the geeks who argue about which edition of D&D is best 1st or 2nd and a little of 3. What do mean their are other editions? All new "reboots" and current information brings something new and ecxiting to the fandom. "Old School" isn't lame or hard to understand it should be respected but so should the new stuff.
41. Mary Kay
Well, I seem to come from a long line of geeks. Growing up in Dallas in the 60's and 70's I watched the original Star Trek with my dad and Dr. Who with my mom on PBS. It was most of the orginal black and white Whos from Hawthorn, Baker and Pertwee on. She and I also watched Monty Python together. Yes I do enjoy the new Who and get very geeky when I find something to add to my collection (new t-shirt "Keep calm and don't blink"). I got my husband into STNG and DS9. Haven't been able to bring myself to watch the movie reboot yet. As to Uhura in the original series she was a lingustics expert but it was never really mentioned except once where the crew had lost memories and she had forgotten how to speak English and Nurse Chapel commented to Kirk that she was learning very quickly and showing early signs of her skills to come. That's why she was the communications officer.

As for Holmes I read through all of them as a child and have a complete set sitting on my shelf that I on occasion dip into.
42. Lurking Canadian
It's that they assume it's RIGHT! It's a work of very dubious and misinformed scholarship.

I tried to read Campbell once. I got as far as the alleged archetype he calls "The Crone", which (if I remember correctly) is a female character, either older or younger than the hero, who either helps or hinders the hero on his quest.

In other words, if there's a woman in the story, it "matches" the "archetype".

At that point, I realized that Campbell was bullshitting like a kid writing his grade eleven English term paper the night before it was due, so I stopped reading.
43. SarahH
I'm an old-schooler on four of these five categories, but the one you can really exempt me from is "a rabid pre-2005 Who fan is fairly unlikely." My dad was watching Tom Baker and Peter Davison on PBS when I was born, and I came into the fold full-throttle in 1993. 1993! The Wilderness Years! Bought every VHS I could (generally about four a year!) and asked for more on birthdays and Christmas. Traded tapes in the fan underground. Absorbed the Target novelizations from the used bookstore. And I live - and always have lived - in *Tennessee.*

I am pretty sick of the new so-called "experts" who can't be bothered to go and find out a little history because it isn't as flashy as they'd like. You haven't seen all of Doctor Who, kids. Not even close. But please, new experts, keep telling me you "tried to start from the beginning" and found Hartnell so boring you stopped. Because that's the point I know to stop listening to you entirely.
44. SueQ
I will watch any Sherlock Holmes show or movie and then re-watch my favourites (I've seen Wishbone the dog as Sherlock a few times--with my nephews), but my first Sherlock was Basil Rathbone and my next favourite one is Jeremy Brett.
The J.J. Abrams Star Trek re-boot movie was excellent. I was a bit worried, but as soon as they got Bones McCoy and Scotty right I was along for the ride. Kirk still needs a spanking for wrecking that lovely vintage car, though. Any volunteers?
45. Booksprite
Went through Conan Doyle's Holmes work when I was 8 ot 9 years old, around 1961. (Yes, I was-and still am- a reader!) Basil Rathbone was and is my Sherlock Holmes. When Star Trek TOS began on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 8:30 P.M. I was hopelessly hooked and never missed an episode the three years it was on. (BTW, Laugh in was on Mondays, never the same night as Star Trek.) The Abrams movie made me speak out in the theatre when Abrams had Chekov at the Academy with Kirk AND Spock both, when Spock had gone through years before Kirk, who was a 35 year old Captain when Chekov joined the crew as a newly minted Ensign, but okay, done with the rant. Sort of. I never cared for Tom Baker's Doctor, and really preferred Jon Pertwee's, and of the new ones Christopher Eccleston is my favorite, although I really do like all of them, once I get used to the regeneration. Sarah Jane was a wonderful companion, and Jamie was a lot of fun to watch, and I really would love to see more of those episodes! I never cared for Marvel Comics, but was a DC Comics fan-back in the Legion of Super Heroes days in the early '60s. I only wish I still had those comic books! And Campbell put me to sleep. Probably because I'm a fan girl.
46. Rinzi
I DID come in late to all of these, and in some cases, I don't expect I'll ever properly catch up because there's just so much. I don't claim to fully understand them though, and I try to be pretty upfront in admitting I've only seen a few scattered episodes of classic DW and have only ever touched a Marvel comic to flip through the pictures while at the comic store looking for manga or toys. I know this means there are aspects of discussion I can't really contribute to because, no, I don't know what I'm talking about at all, but this doesn't make my love of newer iterations any less valid.

To be honest, I want new people in the fandoms I've had more time in. New people may have missed a few things, but that only means I can pull out old episodes/stories/movies/what-have-you and watch someone experience for the first time something I've loved for years. :) It is a happy feeling.
Jason Linker
47. yuenglingdragon
Dangit, Pepper wasn't Tony's girlfriend. That's only in the movies. She was interested but only until she fell in love with Happy and married him.
48. Relic
I'm guilty of a lot of this too (namely the Marvel stuff, we had an argument recently about Spiderman and the whole 'did he grow web glands or build a web slinging device' thing). I can honestly say, I've never liked Doctor Who and I only watched Star Trek occasionally because I love Spock's character. That said, I think we all watch The Big Bang Theory and I believe that show has a lot to answer for, because when I was in high school it wasn't cool to know who Thanos is, or if Superman could beat the Hulk, but now it is. Now it's cool to have Halo night and watch Stargate reruns. So I blame Big Bang for that, Hollywood too, but in my house, we watch that show like it's a religion and all my friends reference it in conversation.

I've gotten off topic. The question was do we know of something that's recently had an influx of new fans. Well I was on the train the other day and there was this six year old kid next to me playing the new Pokemon Black game and I was watching him (I personally stopped caring too much for the franchise after their third wave of creatures). He noticed me watching and asked if I was a fan and I have been a fan since it came out. But I told him I hadn't played the new one and of all the creatures he knew what was his favourite and he said 'Lucario'. Pretty standard I figure, it's one of the new 'Pikachu's' of the franchise. But I told him my favourite was Charizard and he gave me this blank look and asked me which region that was from. He hadn't played the Kanto games and all of a sudden I felt really old. Really old, and a little sad too, because I still believe that the old games were the best.
49. denelian
i came to fandom in an honest-i-got-it-from-my-dad way. proof of genetic disposition, or proof that some parents want their children to be like them?
both, probably.i was 9 when i s
pent months in a hospital. my dad was *livid* that i was reading what i was reading and handed my "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" by Robert Heinlein, and i was utterly hooked.
"The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" led me to Sherlock, and from there other ACD, which led me to comic books...

but i dislike DC. always been a Marvel reader - mostly Xmen and related. do NOT get me started on the XMen movies, sigh.

on the other hand - the Ironman movies were the first time i actually LIKED Ironman... but Thanos without XMen?! seems difficult to imagine.

i'm babbling, sorry. just, this article made me think. i never got into DR Who, because my dad loved to torment me and it took me YEARS to get past the whole "But Klingons are the BAD GUYS!" issue of TNG...
51. Random Comments
"Bottom-line: for those of us in the states, new Who is way more watchable, accessible and better. We can pretend to be old school fans all we want, but most understand the history of Torchwood way more than UNIT."

Teenage American Classic Who fan making an appearance.
Article writer making ridiculous assumptions.
Excuse me while I go back to listening to Big Finish's "UNIT: Dominion."

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