Jul 31 2014
Some recent online happenings have got me thinking about the nature of fandoms and what happens when the desires of the people who watch a show or read a series of books threaten to overwhelm the vision of the creators. At what point, if any, should writers kowtow to the demands of the fans?
A couple weeks ago, the CW decided to try and engage fans of their shows on Twitter, which turned out to be a bit of fiasco; specifically regarding their long-running cult horror/fantasy/drama series Supernatural. The show enjoys a large base of female fans, which is odd for a show that has continually resisted keeping female characters around long-term, but by now we should have learned never to underestimate the charms of the Winchester brothers.
This particular ruffling of online feathers is worthy of note because it revolved around a popular slash fiction pairing of male characters. Shipping (the act of romantically pairing platonic characters) has become a bit of an extreme sport since the internet came into being. It’s been around for as long as nerd fandoms have, but in a poorly-lit little corner that most of us pretended to ignore. The internet age has done nothing so much as show us that as screwed up and perverted as we are, everyone else is just as bad if not worse.
This social realization and the resulting support group mentality has emboldened fandoms and led to an impressive renaissance of fan-made stories and art as formerly isolated individuals now have digital spaces to meet, organize, share, and perhaps plot to overthrow the creators. Be afraid, cult writers and showrunners. Be very afraid. Continue Reading »