When Being A Fan Hurts – Staying Wayward!

Passion is what being a fan is all about. It’s what makes it so fulfilling, what makes it an important part of our everyday lives and not something we only think about for an hour a week while watching a television show or once a year for two hours in the movie theater. That show or film or band or whatever we fan has the power to change our lives – it provides heroes and heroines for us to emulate, it sends different messages than what we hear from the rest of the world which are sometimes exactly what we need in order to feel okay about ourselves. It can inspire us to be better, help others, change the world, keep fighting for our own lives. The community that forms around the thing we’re passionate about – the fandom – also has the power to change us. Fandom can be a group that ‘gets us’ and gives us that all-important sense of belonging. Someone to share our good times and provide a source of support to get through the hard times. All that comes from the passion we invest in what we love.

When the thing we love is going strong, that is a beautiful feeling. It’s heady, affirming, exhilarating. Research shows that fans of a winning sports team have the same physiological and psychological reactions as the actual players who won the game. No wonder it’s important!

When the thing we love does not succeed, or is taken away from us, the emotions are just as strong. It feels devastating, a denial of all the good we found in this precious thing. It feels like an overwhelming loss – because it is one. There’s nothing silly or frivolous about the way fans love, or anything unimportant about what we get from that love. When it’s lost, we react with grief, and it’s just like any other grief. There’s denial and anger and sadness.

In the past 24 hours, quite a few beloved television shows have been either cancelled or not picked up for series by the networks that continue to have all the power. Lucifer, Brooklyn99, the list was a long one. Fans all over the world, of all sorts of things, are confused and furious and despairing over never being able to have more of that thing they love. Anyone who is a fan knows that sort of pain.

I want to send out a collective hug to all the fans who got bad news today, and all the people whose livelihoods depend on making that thing that people love. As a Supernatural fan, the CW deciding against a pick up of the spinoff Wayward Sisters has been a personal experience. Wayward (I’ll call it that because now we’re allowed to go back to calling it what it originally was, Wayward Daughters, and that makes me happy) was special to many in the fandom, because it was different. A show about women, starring women, and committed to being told through the perspective of women – diverse women. It’s a credit to Supernatural that the show created characters in Jody and Donna that resonated so much with viewers that we knew they could carry a show of their own. When that became a possibility, it felt like a remarkable evolution, and a hopeful one. The importance of representation is indisputable, and Wayward was going to be a big leap forward – in fact, we don’t even know just how far the show was going to take us, or how life changing that would be for so many people waiting to see themselves reflected onscreen.

Wayward was also different because it was an idea that began, not in a writer’s room or a network meeting, but in fandom itself. Supernatural fans wanted more of the female characters we had come to know and love. We wanted a whole show devoted to those women and exploring their stories. At the time, it almost seemed like an impossible idea, but that little idea caught fire and gained the attention and support of Supernatural’s writers and showrunners and the actresses themselves. For more than a year, fans and writers and actors joined forces to get the idea off the ground. Robert Berens wrote a pilot, Andrew Dabb and Bob Singer got it made. Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster, Kathryn Newtown, Clark Backo, Katherine Ramdeen and Yadira Guevara-Prip kicked ass. Fans rejoiced, and relished the hope that success brought.

I was truly shocked when the network passed. It seemed like the time was so right, and with a built-in fan base, it seemed like Wayward should have been a no-brainer. Then again, I’ve thought that many times only to have TPTB make another decision. I suppose I shouldn’t be as shocked as I am this time.

Maybe the outcry will change their minds; stranger things have happened. Wayward Sisters was trending a little while ago, while none of the shows that did get picked up or renewed were. That probably says something right there.

And if it doesn’t? They still can’t change what Wayward has come to mean to the fandom. That word was reclaimed as something that was okay, as something that was not a source of shame – as something to be proud of! Embracing being WaywardAF on tee shirts and hoodies and caps and anything else you wanted to put it on was powerful for so many fans. It was a way of saying no, I won’t let you shame me for being different, or tell me that I can’t be myself. Led by Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster’s willingness to be real, onstage at a convention or online in tweets or in the chapters they wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood, the Wayward message inspired many others to be real too. And that is the healthiest thing any of us can do! That’s the true power of Wayward, and nobody can take that away.

 

I don’t know what the future will bring for Wayward Daughters. I know the fandom that I call my SPNFamily is hurting right now, as are the talented and committed actors and writers who worked so hard to make this happen. I do know that it’s not over. Whatever form Wayward will take going forward, the movement is very much alive – and the evolution that Wayward is a part of is not stopping. So put on your tee shirt and take a page from Briana and Kim because we’ve still got work to do – and don’t let this discourage you from the message. Stay Wayward.

–Lynn

Family Don’t End With Blood info

at the links on our home page header

 

 

Supernatural’s Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster Get Real – and WaywardAF!

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Life has been crazy, both for me and for Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster – let’s just say they’ve been #WaywardAF and the fandom has embraced them every step of the way. I hope you got your tee shirt and sent your support, because if there was ever a slogan that fit our fandom, this one is it. The campaign was a tremendous success, both doing good in the world with Random Acts and inspiring all of us with the reminder that being #WaywardAF (and being REAL) is a very good thing.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Kim and Briana at Houscon this spring to talk about their Season 11 episodes (Plush and Don’t You Forget About Me) – I’d call it an interview, except it was at least as much off topic and off the record as it was interview – but here are the printable parts of what we had so much fun talking about. Or in other words, Kim and Briana and Lynn all get #WaywardAF. And are pretty damn happy about it.

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We Didn’t Forget About Wayward Daughters – and Neither Did Supernatural

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Drive by review, since I have managed to injure my back and typing this just plain hurts. Ouch!

I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s episode, ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’, which came with a lot of expectations thanks to the pent up frustration of Supernatural fans wanting more of the Wayward Daughters. Social media amped up a campaign to get that trending, which worked quite well, and I think pretty much everyone cheered to have Jody Mills back on Show. Supernatural has long been criticized by some for killing off too many women or not writing them with enough agency, but I think the Show has come a long way. This episode wasn’t perfect, but it was an episode focused on three women written by a woman and there were some scenes that will go down in Show history as favorites. I’d call that a win.

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Briana Buckmaster – On Spinoffs, Squee and Women on Supernatural

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One of my favorite parts of Vancon this year was catching up with Briana Buckmaster, who is beyond awesome. You already know from my episode reviews that I love her character on Supernatural and her chemistry with Kim Rhodes, but spending some face-to face-time with Briana has made me love her even more. She brought along her wonderful husband, Jose, and her beautiful daughter, Valentina, too. We gave them a little tour of the con, took them shopping in the vendors’ area, and then we sat down with Briana for a chat while the rest of the family enjoyed exploring the convention center.

First, Briana filmed a segment for us for the upcoming film “Squee! The Fangirl Documentary,” which I have had a blast working on as co-writer and associate producer along with the amazing producer/director Hansi Oppenheimer and our super-talented post-producer Adam Williams (who also makes Supernatural look incredible with his VFX talent). Briana gave us some wonderful insights into fandom and fangirls for Squee. She’s a fangirl herself – witness her tweet of last night in response to that unfortunate and terribly misinformed SpoilerTV article:

@OfficialBrianaB: Sure I’m a #CasualFemaleViewer. I mean, I binge watch hundreds of tv shows, tweet about them, dream about them. You know, super casual.

Like I said, fangirl.

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