Never underestimate the passion of a nerd. Nerds are some the most passionate people you ever meet. When a nerd falls in love with a movie, show, or comic, they will follow it to the end of days. Their love for a property will over-shadow any flaws or shortcomings about it. Their passion for what they love makes them powerful advocates for the property.
These advocates can keep a property alive long-after big business has deemed it unprofitable. A prime example is that of Fringe.
Fringe was a hard-sci-fi show that ran from 2008 until 2013. It aired on Fox broadcasting initially on Tuesday nights before being shifted to a more profitable Thursday night slot. There it stayed for a season and a half before being pushed onto a dreaded Friday night slot. Historically speaking, Friday night slots on TV are reserved for the under-performing shows of a network. If a once successful show was moved to the dreaded Friday slot, then the show was given the kiss-of-death.
Fringe stayed in its Friday night slot from the mid-point of its third season until its series finale. TV scheduling logic says that Fringe should have been canceled not long after the switch to Friday but yet Fringe’s fan-base was so enamored with the series, they essentially willed it to live. Fans kept their beloved series alive long enough for the overarching story to be finished off properly.
But fandom has even greater power then to just keep something alive. It can bring properties back from the dead.
You need only to look to the likes of the short-lived TV series Firefly for proof. Firefly was a
short-lived series which only aired 14 episodes from September until December back in 2002. While the series didn’t even make it to a full-season order, the characters were so beloved by fans that they grew instantly attached. The loyal fan-base organized themselves, under the name of the Browncoats, in an attempt to save the series when Fox decided to cancel the series. Their campaign failed but their passion flooded the Internet. Message boards were filled with their love for the characters and their speculation of the potential story-lines the show could have done.
But these fans did more than just talk. They were motivated to act. Fans petitioned the studio for the series to have a DVD set of the show made, which did result in the release of all the episodes on home media. Fans then raised over $14,000 in donations to send the DVD copies of the show to 250 U.S. Navy ships for the crew to view.
This continued passion motivated the studio to produce a feature film based on Firefly. Serenity reunited the entire cast for a full-length feature film picking up where the series left off. The film was released on Sept. 30, 2005 to mostly positive reviews. Despite the intense fan-love though, Serenity only debuted at number two at the box office and would only make around $40 million. Despite the poor performance, the fans of Firefly proved the true power of a loyal fan-base.
The most recent example of this true power can be found with the announcement of season three of Young Justice.
Young Justice was a Cartoon Network animated show based upon the young heroes of the DC comics universe. The show originally aired from 2011 until 2013. A familiar story played out in that, despite positive critical and fan response, Young Justice was cancelled after its second season. Again, fans were motivated to action. A steady revenue from Blu-ray sales and streaming services like Netflix helped get the attention of the show’s producers to the popularity of Young Justice. After years of rumors and speculation, Young Justice’s producers announced a season three was being created. Once again, fans’ passion created real-world change.
Fans have an incredible power. Their passion is the fuel that keeps properties going, or in a few cases, brings them back. Now a producer might look at these past examples and think any old property can be resurrected and fans will flock to it. However, they would be wrong. It’s important to note that each of these series has a commonality. They’re legitimately good shows. While they weren’t blockbuster sensations, the stories and characters were well-developed and clearly thought out.
Fans rallied to these shows because they were good. There are countless examples of bad shows quietly dying, never to be heard from again. So producers need to realize the capabilities of the fans who watch their shows and movies. The fans are the only reason a property gets to stay around. They can keep a show on for years, or let it fizzle out and die.
You have to respect the fans.
Do you have any favorite shows that have been brought back? Let me know in the comments down below or on Twitter @CBloodRojas.