"If you skipped the 9th Doctor, you’re not a true Doctor Who fan!" Says the 14 year old Whovian who hasn’t seen a single episode of the classic series.
Yo, I really like you and your critiques of Moffat Who are some of my favourite things on the anti-Moffat tag, but there’s a reason there’s a whole “don’t skip nine” thing going on in the fandom, even from people who admittedly have seen none or limited amounts of Classic Who.
Because skipping Nine is like skipping the first movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is entirely possible to skip to “The Two Towers” and avoid “Fellowship of the Ring” altogether with the help of a friend’s plot synopsis, but doing that robs you of character development and plot development that is significantly more rewarding when you watch it. Nine’s development is vital to Ten’s story, so people who skip to straight to Ten are missing Act One of the story already. (Skipping to Eleven is less terrible in that way, since it’s basically like watching “The Hobbit” instead of the LotR trilogy, which means that Elijah Wood’s appearance won’t garner any squee but it is basically its own movie and could be watched with LotR background info.)
Skipping Classic Who/not watching it because of about a gajillion extenuating circumstances (I have a lot of excuses) is more like skipping the first 30(?) minutes of Hitchcock’s Psycho. You really don’t want to do it for the full experience, but the movie basically turns into something completely different after the shower scene with an almost completely new set of characters and relationships and oh the movie is a murder mystery and not a heist movie anymore. You can skip the first 30 minutes of Psycho and still experience a mostly-complete plot, you just shouldn’t because screwing with Hitchcock films like that might get you haunted by his ghost.
I mean, the “true fan” argument on the whole is bullshit. Being a fan means liking the thing, and the nature of fandom doesn’t really allow for tiers based on knowledge/access/anything. Big Name Fans are still fans, and the healthiest mentalities for creators of a work when it comes to fandom is to interact not as a god, but an equal and I think I just started a meta on fandom life in general, whoops.
So, yeah, the hypothetical Whovian saying “you’re not a true fan” is being dumb. They should be on the “don’t skip Nine” train because it gives a more complete experience and is immensely entertaining in its own right. But the implication that this new!Whovian is wrong because they haven’t seen any Classic Who isn’t a rejection of the “true fan” argument, it’s just moving the goal posts further down the field.
I don’t like that the example you give is explicitly someone who is literally too young to have been alive for Classic Who to be readily available to them. I see this on forums and comments on articles (I should stop reading them, I should) a lot: fans (overwhelming old men trying to get the new Whovians off their lawn) wielding their age as a cudgel, trying to use having been on the planet longer as an assertion that they’re right. Because being alive for the Baker eras totally gives someone authority to say that whatever they’re complaining about is wrong for Doctor Who instead of, I don’t know, textual analysis.
And, y’know, I feel like there’s a reason your hypothetical new!Whovian isn’t as interested in the Classic era. I’ve taken in my share of the Classic era, and some of it was fab. But holy hell, I would’ve hated it when I was fourteen. And that’s because it is completely different to the pacing, rhythm, and content from modern television. I’m not talking about the production values, I’m talking about the way the story is written and how much story is compacted into the time frame.
I like it now, but it took me time to develop a taste for the other rhythms, the way it took time for me to develop a taste for denser books or different foods or, I don’t know, the way it took me time to start reading Harry Potter. Maybe your hypothetical fourteen-year-old simply hasn’t the palette to enjoy what Classic Who has to offer yet.
I repeat: the True Fan argument is bullshit because it enforces a hierarchy on fandom. We may have a star system (I’m a Z-lister for sure) but fandom cannot and should not have an enforced hierarchy. Your argument doesn’t stop the “True Fan” debate, it moves the goalposts for being a “True Fan” and simultaneous points out the hypocrisy of the new!Whovian while being hypocritical itself. Skipping Nine and not watching the Classic Era have very different contextual meanings, and not watching the Classic era has significantly more reasoning behind it than skipping Nine.
If you think I’m misspeaking, feel free to tell me! I love a healthy debate or two.