At Comic-Con International: San Diego 2019, the crew of the Syfy show Wynonna Earp finally announced the production date for season four (January 2020).
The show’s networks Syfy (for U.S.) and Space (for Canada) have shown their support, but the true power and honor should be given to the fandom “Earpers.”
The fans had gone to great lengths and blasted the hashtag #SaveWynonnaEarp everywhere since the announcement of delays in production in early February. Throughout the Winter and Spring, fans have bought advertising to promote their cause, going as far as purchasing billboards in NYC’s Times Square until their efforts broke through.
Could the show have revived itself without the support of unwavering fans?
According to anthropologist Susan Kresnicka, in a project conducted in 2015, the study found that 85% of those surveyed reported being fans of something (97% in the study were in the 18-24 age range). She had observed how we define ourselves as fans, and the implications such as what we end up doing: watching, sharing, buying, evangelizing, participating and most importantly, helping a cause. This “power to the people” mentality can take its toll, for better or for worse.
The power of getting renewed can go a long way for a show with enough garnered support by fans. We’ve seen time and time again how quickly and efficiently fandoms can band together and bring attention to what they want – especially with reactions posted on social media platforms. A common reaction such as a distaste for cancellations can stand out in the trending category and get picked up by more people (and the people who can make a difference in the continuation of a show).
When Netflix Latinx series One Day at a Time was cancelled, fans shared how they felt about the cancellation.
— Mary Kay (@bouldernole) May 29, 2019
Hey, it's me, reminding you that we'd rather have ONE DAY AT A TIME back. #SaveODAT
— Andrew Horn (@bbofun) April 24, 2019
Fans have proven they are the consumers, the business drivers, and they get what they want (most of the time).
It covers representation, immigration, LGBTQ+ acceptance and prejudice, PTSD, sobriety, bereavement, anxiety, depression, inclusivity. All with heart and humour. ANYONE could watch this show and see a bit of themselves somewhere❣️❣️❣️THIS SHOW IS IT #ODAAT
— Laliesha Ali (@LalieshaMich) August 2, 2019
Behind the screen bullying is, of course, enabled by furthering tech innovations. For fandoms, this can mean cyberbullying and trolling by people who don’t necessarily “like” something or someone. And it’s easier to get away with it because things can escalate from a single comment to hundreds, thousands or more. This can also spiral to leaks of false sources, numbers, addresses, and more.
For example, when DC announced their cast members for the show Titans, there was heavy backlash for the way they decided to portray Starfire. Fans bullied the actress (Anna Diop) to the extent she had to block comments on one of her social media platforms. An older example is the cyberbullying received by girl band Little Mix member Jesy Nelson about her body, dancing, and more.
People can go as far as making racist comments and comments that pressure suicide. However, this turns around with the increase in support to stay strong and to not mind the hateful comments.
#JesyNelson of #LittleMix opens up about her struggle with body image, self-love, and online bullying in a new IG post… "I didn't see her as Jesy, I saw her as 'the fat one from Little Mix'." pic.twitter.com/YCuRZ8vsPz
— Mike Adam (@MikeAdamOnAir) August 2, 2019
While, cyberbullying is a strong element of fandom power, it exposes the dark side of the movement.
The craze births character ships which can go from memes and edits to fanfiction, fan websites and more! A ship, rooting from the word relationship, is the desire by fans for two or more people, either real-life people or fictional characters to be in a romantic (or friendship) relationship.
According to Bustle and other sources, some of the most iconic ships of 2018 include: CW’s Riverdale love team Bughead (Jughead and Betty), Netflix series’ Voltron: Legendary Defenders Klance (Keith and Lance), Marvel’s Stucky (Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes), Syfy’s Wynonna Earp Wayhaught (Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught) and so much more.
Shipping can go beyond fictional characters and extend to real-life people (boy band One Direction’s Larry – Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, girl band Fifth Harmony’s Camren – Camila Cabello and Lauren Jauregui, Singers Shawmila – Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello) which can cause quite the debacle. While shipping can draw more support to the series, artists or other, the obsession can cross a few lines when fandoms clash with other fandoms or even the actor/actress of the character.
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Heh we know we KNOW…… • • • • • #voltron #klance #klanceedit #lance #keith #lancemcclain #keithkogane #lanceedit #keithedit #lancemcclainedit #keithkoganeedit #voltronedit #vldedit #miraculous #miraculousladybug #omgpage #edit #voltronmeme #voltronseason8 #voltronlegendarydefender #voltrons8
Now that we are in the age of streaming, we see a mixture of old and new shows as binging options. Some of these shows have brought new fans aboard. Including shows that haven’t aired since the 90s or even the 2000s such as 90210, Veronica Mars, The Office, Firefly or Young Justice.
Some even prefer the premise of these older shows which can bring attention for reboots or continuation for a series. For example, the sleuth series Veronica Mars hasn’t aired in 12 years, but in a recent turn of events, via Twitter, its return was announced.
— Veronica Mars (@veronicamars) April 12, 2019
Led by the original creator Rob Thomas, the series is set to pick up where it left off. Out of nostalgia or pure appeal, fans have the ultimate power of reviving a show.
The powers of fandoms can go both ways: constructive and destructive. In today’s age, this power can be harnessed into a new business model which targets fans rather than viewers. But instead of worrying about the business side, let’s not forget the broad sense of power that brought the fandom together in the first place. That power exists in our feelings of connection and interconnectedness over a common interest.