Sad news for Who publishing today – OG is reporting, as the excellent TV Cream website had also, that Dreamwatch magazine (nee Dreamwatch Bulletin, nee Doctor Who Bulletin, or DWB for short) is shutting up shop just shy of issue 150 of its relaunched volume.
I have one or two issues of Dreamwatch, and about half a dozen of DWB and can say that of the material in those early late 80s, early 90s issues, there were few of them that didn’t offer some riveting critique of the show (even in its ‘wilderness years’) or the world of fandom. Indeed, before its editors decided to go commercial, to broaden the focus beond DW and into other telefantasy, the zine was one of a rare breed, an educated, opinionated title that expressed opinions of the ashow and of fan ‘ownership’ thereof, with litle regard for its then-controller, JN-T, a man who was to be the subject of many a heated letter or article. It was DWB which demanded the producer’s resignation, which spawned the ill-fated ‘Day of Action’, an attempt to bombard the BBC switchboards with fan demands for the show’s return, and it was in the pages of DWB that Paul Cornell wrote a scathing critique of Terror of the Autons, ending with the phrase that for a while would be his calling card – ‘dissent is good’. There were many more episodes in DWB‘s early history, and as the zine matured and became more professional, those stories somehow seemed to become fewer in number and diminished in impact. While the zine was born out of a desire to provide a fan-owned ‘alternative voice’ to the JN-T obeying Doctor Who Monthly, it seemed that once the focus was shofted to a broader world beyond Who, it had a larger battle to fight for the hearts and minds of a greater fan culture already catered for with the likes of well-established titles such as Starburst, TV Zone, Cult TV and, most significantly (and arriving not long after DWB‘s mid-90s reinvention), SFX.
The door isn’t utterly closed on Dreamwatch however, there is talk of it becoming an e-zine. Whether such a venture can survive in yet another new world, this time of instant blogging, RSS feds and free news sites remains yet to be seen. It has been reported many times over the past few years that this new version of the Internet, the so-called and much-hyped ‘Web 2.0′, will surely prove to be a large nail in the coffin of print news media. That the Internet, an arena enthusiastically adopted by much of what we would call modern fandom, could prove the death of one of fandom’s earlier (but not so old) progeny, has a sad inevitability about it. The news world is unforgiving and fickle enough without fandom’s added enthusiasm for rumour, spoilers and innuendo.
So farewell then, Dreamwatch. Thanks for the years, the exclusives and contributions. May the electronic world which is surely taking your place prove to be as challenging and interesting in the years to come.