Doctor Who and the Power of Stories
Fair warning: This post contains spoilers for Doctor Who seasons 4 and 7. I take no responsibility for disappointed fans who read past this line. 😀
The Doctor Who Christmas special (that I just got around to watching 3 weeks ago) didn’t just make me cry, it upset me for days! Literally, for a week afterwards, whenever I thought of the bow tie dropping to the TARDIS floor or Amy Pond saying “good night,” my eyes welled up with tears. Even as I’m writing now, I’m fighting back the emotion in my throat. I’ll be the first to admit I’m addicted to all things Doctor Who, but such a strong reaction got me thinking.
Why does a character dying/regenerating on a TV show (albeit a stellar one) affect me so much? Why do I care? I felt silly as I was watching and sobbing, but I was equally curious and a bit concerned about my reaction.
Then it dawned on me that Doctor Who isn’t JUST a sci-fi show about a quirky time-traveler who saves humanity over and over. It’s also an amazingly well-written story that sucks you in like a black hole. It’s just as absorbing as the best books I’ve read. Steven Moffat and the other contributing writers like Newbery author Neil Gaiman, are nothing short of brilliant in my opinion. His storytelling and creativity and ideas are what makes keeps the Doctor Who fandom vibrant and alive.
After a couple days’ reflection, I also realized that this analogy exactly illustrates my thoughts on the hackneyed discussion of print vs. eBook in education and wider society. I am *SO TIRED* of having this conversation with community members, administrators, and other school librarians. Just because eBooks exist doesn’t make them a one-size-fits-all format for any content. It’s not about how we read or what “thing” we use to read or the number of multimedia features in a book/eBook/iBook.
It’s about excellent stories. It always has been, and I believe it will continue to be all about the stories. As my husband (a HUGE graphic novel fan) so beautifully summed it up:
Anyone who discredits a format, underestimates it.
Some stories are best told in print, some in eBook, some with interactive features, some as audiobooks, some as graphic novels, and some as movies, plays, podcasts, or even British sci-fi TV series. The format only matters if it’s limiting or liberating to the story being told, which can lead to exciting, endless possibilities for storytelling. That fact tells me that libraries and librarians aren’t going anywhere. No matter what you call us or how our role inevitably changes, we are, at our core, lovers and sharers of stories in all formats, genres, and devices.