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As a fan of Charmed and a passing fan of Angel and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, one would assume that Supernatural is right up my alley. However, this one has dodged my notice for a long while. Matter of fact, the thing still running arrived as a surprise to me.
….right until I noticed the fanbase. And then it all came clear.
As I’ve written about before, I love when people love things. I enjoy fandoms that are engaged and energized, and Supernatural’s is without peer in my experience. These are people who are so deep In to this show and its myriad plotlines that they’re the TV show equivalent of a wrestling fan, able to recall obtuse and crazy plotlines without batting an eye.
Encyclopedic knowledge isn’t just the only thing going for these fans, though. They are rabid to the point of being intimidating over a show that, from what I’ve seen of it, doesn’t appear to be taking itself all too seriously. However, fostering that sense of fun and enabling engagement is far better than making something that appeases an outdated ratings system anyway.
Supernatural is the sort of TV show that lives in the new world instead of tries to follow the old path, in this regard. They have one of the smallest audiences in TV, but that audience is dedicated, motivated. And a lot of that has to do with engagement beyond just the program. Supernatural is, very likely, why many TV shows throw hashtags in your face as you watch. They trailblazed the new metrics.
Now that level of fandom can be pretty scary. Even worrying. Aren’t these the CW show version of bronies?
Yes. But who the shit cares?
I’m a skipping record here, but only because it’s a sentiment that bears repeating–people loving things is wonderful. And when fans love a thing so hard that their adoration actually keeps the show running, that is staggeringly awesome. It reads like the sentiment of every 80’s “go get ’em, tiger” ballad that was ever played.
I don’t know that I’ll ever really dive in to this show. Maybe someday. I watched a couple of episodes one morning, one of which involved one of the leads being ripped apart by invisible dogs, which was surprisingly gooey for the sort of show it is. And I will absolutely concede that the Winchester boys are painfully handsome as well as pretty entertaining with their back-and-forth banter.
In the end, Supernatural gets love from me for being a perfect example of fans being fans. As off-putting as it may end up, and as confusing as it may be that someone could like something SO HARD, the fans of the show take it all in stride. They don’t need to be understood or even accepted by society at large, be it in discussion or with executive boards at networks. They just need each other and their personal television escape to snuggle around.