Listening – Web of Queer

I listen to a lot of podcasts.  The android app I use called “podcast addict” might be an apt description for my recent consumption of them.  A lot Almost all of the podcasts I listen to are Doctor Who related.  I’ve been listening to new and back catalogue episodes of Verity!, Radio Free Skaro, the Memory Cheats, and the Tin Dog Podcast for months now.  Despite all this fan inspired podcast listening I hadn’t stumbled on Web of Queer until fairly recently.

I’ve been binge listening to Web of Queer ever since this discovery. Web of Queer is comprised of a group of queer folks from a wide range of geographic backgrounds, ages, with varying experiences with Doctor Who and podcasting. The podcast is a great mix of reviews and discussions, often looking at bits of Doctor Who or media from a queer perspective. Reviews range from New to Classic to Big Finish to Books and the occasionally tangentially related media.

Some of my favourite episodes are the ones where the group has an in-depth discussion about queer representation on Doctor Who or about the use of gender and sexuality labels in fandom.  A lot of these discussions are also a great starting point for anyone who is interested in learning more about the importance of language, representation, and the queer community.  These discussions are also often accompanied by links to other relevant background reading. The episodes also include time stamps to you can skip to the discussion if you would prefer not to listen to a review as well. Some highlights include:

Watching: Torchwood, Day One

“Day One” the second episode of Torchwood picks up right where the pilot left off – Gwen Cooper has joined the Torchwood team and this episode revolves around her first day.  Of particular interest to current Doctor Who fans this episode was written by future show-runner Chris Chibnall.

To be frank this isn’t the best introduction to Chibnall’s work.  The entire episodes revolves around a gas based sex monster, which given that context the episode can only be expected to do so much.  At times the episode really felt like it was trying to prove how ‘adult’ Torchwood was in comparison to Doctor Who and what better way to do that then focus an entire episode around sex.

Though I do love some of the very sex positive lines given to Captain Jack in this episode.  His line “you people and your quaint little categories” is by far one of my favoruite of the entire Torchwood series.  This is one of the many examples of Jack’s refusal to conform to  (gender or sexuality based binaries.

The episode also positions Gwen as having an amazing snog with the female character possessed by the sex monster – drawing attention to the existence of bisexual people and the range of sexual orientations beyond straight and gay. Plus Gwen actually uses the word snog to describe her actions — which is adorably British and I had a minor squee moment when she talked about it.  The Verity! Podcast episode looking at this episode does a good job of diving into some of the specifics around this and find hints of redemption in the sex monster story.

On a whole I think watching Chibnall’s contributions to Doctor Who proper are a bit more inspiring than this in terms of faith in a showrunner. It’s a sex monster story.  “Day One” is not a bad story – but it is what is.  The Radio Free Skaro Miniscope on Chibnall’s Doctor Who contributions does a great job of looking critically at Chibnall’s contributions but the general assessment of his DW work is positive and highlight the huge range of genres, themes, and ideas Chibnall is capable of carrying. And I think watching Broadchurch is probably a better example of the possibilities of what can happen under Chibnall than this slightly over the top sex monster  and I absolutely loved Broadchurch.