Endless devotion: How passionate fans are resurrecting lesser-known sci-fi shows


This summer time, you will have seen the phrase #SaveShadowhunters flip up in high-traffic spots across the globe. Billboards in New York’s Instances Sq., for example, or Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Sq. or Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Gate station.

The hashtag flew over Netflix’s downtown Los Angeles HQ in an aerial advert and ran down the size of British double-decker buses in London. Pedicabs emblazoned with the phrase ferried individuals round San Diego Comedian Con.

Then there have been the tweets — greater than 14 million of them — together with old-school emails, letters and postcards despatched to the sci-fi present’s creators in addition to a wide range of community executives. 

This extremely coordinated marketing campaign comes courtesy of the Shadowfam, champions of the lately cancelled, Toronto-shot Shadowhunters. It is the newest rally by superfans pushed to save lots of their favorite TV shows.

Shadowhunters has such a worldwide fandom. We’re actually in every single place,” stated Maria Jose Garcia, who helped wrangle the Toronto billboard. 

“It has been actually superb on-line: to see all these individuals sharing their tales, particularly conditions of how the present saved their lives or modified it drastically,” Garcia continued, noting that fellow fans stated Shadowhunters helped them grapple with their sexuality. In the meantime, others rejoiced at seeing relatable characters that defied ethnic and cultural stereotypes.

Loosely primarily based on a bestselling young-adult novel collection, Shadowhunters revolves round a younger girl who learns she’s the newest in a line of supernatural heroes destined to guard the world from demons. This spring, when American community Freeform introduced it was cancelling the style collection (seen internationally through Netflix), the worldwide fan base, referred to as Shadowfam, kicked into high-gear in hopes of saving their beloved program. 

When Shadowhunters was cancelled, ‘fans mobilized,’ stated producer Chris Hatcher, who famous that the marketing campaign has taken many kinds, from postcards and billboards to social media appeals to 1000’s raised for charity. Fans created a e book to element the ​#SaveShadowhunters drive and it consists of messages concerning the influence the present has had on their lives. (CBC)

“Just about instantly, these fans mobilized,” stated Shadowhunters producer Chris Hatcher, who famous the ​#SaveShadowhunters marketing campaign has taken many kinds, together with elevating greater than $20,000 US for charities resembling The Trevor Undertaking, a U.S.-based suicide prevention effort, and the UN’s Lady Up initiative.

“They have been writing letters and postcards to us,” stated Hatcher, who additionally flipped by means of a e book fans created that particulars the #SaveShadowhunters operation and consists of fan messages concerning the influence the present has had on them.

It is easy to see why they put within the effort. From the legendary late-1960s letter-writing marketing campaign that saved the unique Star Trek to the social media outpouring that revived police sitcom Brooklyn 9-9 in simply two days this spring, notable fan makes an attempt to rescue cancelled TV shows have been rewarded with subsequent seasons, pick-ups by rival networks, a film adaptation or, on the very least, an extended-length particular or finale.

‘You by no means wish to write off any fan marketing campaign’

“The factor about tv lately is fan campaigns actually can work and so they actually can revive shows,” stated Liz Shannon Miller, TV editor of leisure business outlet Indiewire.com. 

“We have seen it quite a few occasions, so that you by no means wish to write off any fan marketing campaign as being not possible, particularly when you’ve gotten a extremely devoted and passionate fan base that won’t let it go.”

If you’re making a degree of emphasizing or supporting  LGBTQ  relationships or underrepresented communities on tv, that has an influence on individuals– Liz Shannon Miller, Indiewire

Science-fiction and fantasy shows particularly can earn these extremely devoted fans as a result of more and more they’re extra inclusive — showcasing actors, characters and storylines that mirror totally different ethnicities, sexual orientations or gender identities  —  in comparison with mainstream drama or comedy programming.

“If you’re making a degree of emphasizing or supporting LGBTQ relationships or underrepresented communities on tv, that has an influence on individuals,” Miller stated.

“The great shows — the perfect shows — create that sense of escapism, that sense of being in an alternate realm, whereas nonetheless additionally delivering relatable characters, relatable situations and likewise drawing out the feelings inside us that we in any other case might need a tough time expressing. And I feel that is what sort of results in these kinds of deep connections.

Producer Chris Hatcher takes CBC’s Deana Sumanac for a set tour of Shadowhunters, the Toronto-shot sci-fi collection. 2:19

Although Shadowhunters has wrapped the Toronto shoot of its collection finale — slated to air as a part of 12 episodes subsequent spring — the #SaveShadowhunters marketing campaign barrels onward, with plans to revisit Los Angeles once more shortly.

In spite of everything, as current precedents have proven, something is feasible.

“There’s hope on the market for something and to see so many younger adults put their ardour into motion and push ahead such a extremely coordinated effort, I feel for me personally, it provides me hope only for the longer term basically, TV apart,” Shadowhunters producer Hatcher stated in Toronto.

“When you’ve gotten that kind of mobilization occurring, something can occur.”

Style shows lately boosted by fans

The Expanse

Premise: Set 200 years sooner or later, house thriller The Expanse centres on a freighter crew and hardened detective who try to resolve a thriller — unravelling a conspiracy that threatens your complete photo voltaic system and humanity itself. 

Fan marketing campaign: Broadly praised and among the many best-reviewed sci-fi collection on tv, the drama was however cancelled by Syfy, a U.S.-based channel owned by NBCUniversal, in Could. This lead to vociferous outrage throughout social media, on-line petitions and a #SaveTheExpanse rally by fans that included flying a banner over Amazon HQ (to not point out desserts despatched to its execs). 

The consequence: Days later, Amazon Studios picked up The Expanse for its fourth season. What could have helped? Excessive-profile and influential fans, together with Danish astronaut Andreas MogensenSport of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark (the latter two reportedly reached out to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, himself a fan of the books the collection relies upon, personally).

Abigail Spencer speaks about her NBC collection Timeless in New York in 2016. (Evan Agostini/Invision/Related Press)


Premise: A historical past professor, soldier and scientist journey by means of time in pursuit of a mysterious fugitive bent on altering the previous to affect the course of American historical past.

Fan marketing campaign: NBC cancelled the favourably reviewed time-travelling collection just a few months after its inaugural season led to early 2017. Amid a fan-led social media marketing campaign to save lots of the present, the community modified its thoughts (in simply three days) and green-lit a shortened second season, which premiered in March. 

The consequenceThis previous June, NBC cancelled the present as soon as once more, leaving devotees (so-called Clockblockers, together with singer Kelly Clarkson and SNL‘s Leslie Jones) stranded after a dramatic cliffhanger. Fan appeals to streamers (Amazon, Netflix and Hulu in addition to newer entries like Apple TV, YouTube and Crackle) to save lots of Timeless have but to yield any curiosity, however in late July, NBC agreed to supply a two-hour film to wrap up the cult drama. It is tentatively set to air throughout the vacation season. 


The premise: An uncommon tackle the police drama, the supernatural present revolves round a charming satan (actually: he’s a fallen angel/ruler of hell) who assists an LAPD murder detective in combating crime.

Fan marketing campaign: Fox cancelled the fantasy drama (impressed by Neil Gaiman’s comedian e book writing) in Could, after three seasons. Fans pushed again with a significant marketing campaign that saved #SaveLucifer trending on social media for weeks. 

The consequenceNetflix was as soon as once more the white knight, using in mid-June for a fourth season pick-up. New episodes are slated to air in 2019.


Premise: A gaggle of eight strangers, dwelling in several nations all over the world, all of the sudden develop a psychological and emotional connection earlier than discovering themselves targets of a mysterious group.

Fan marketing campaign: Netflix cancelled J. Michael Straczynski, Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s daring, lavishly produced, Emmy-nominated collection in June 2017 after two well-reviewed seasons. Fans of the globe-trotting present — lauded for its multinational solid, beautiful use of worldwide places and devotion to tackling LGBTQ characters and themes — responded with on-line petitions, social media call-outs and old style cellphone calls to Netflix urging a change of coronary heart.

The consequence: The streaming large agreed to producing an epic, movie-length finale particular that reunited the sci-fi drama’s solid and tied up unfastened ends. It was launched this previous June.




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