Fanfiction Writers Are Not Here For Your Titillation.

Dear Media,

Fan fiction writers are not here for your titillation. Fan fiction writers are not here to make other fans of fiction feel safe and cozy in the knowledge that they’re wasting their lives watching telly more sanely than some others. Fan fiction writers are not here to provide cheap thrills for your audience.

We are not here — there, everywhere, in the public domain — to be made fun of; to be used as that old photograph on everyone’s high-and-mighty dartboard for all of those who… well, all of those who need to feel better about themselves and their own ways of consuming media. (Be that consuming loads of it, occasional viewers, or those consuming none at all.)

Apparently, you can only ever feel better about yourself by absolutely pissing on someone else’s fun parade.

Continue reading →

2013: the Year of New Shows and Old Favourites

2013 has proven to be a very busy year — not only did I graduate from university and get a job, but I’ve also had the pleasure of blogging about so many great shows this year. Some were shows I’d been following before and only now had the time to tackle, but others were among the newcomers of 2013.

January & February:

The year started relatively laid-back, what with me having returned from Canada and catching up on Elementary. But it was also the time to say goodbye (either temporarily or for good, ITV doesn’t seem to be entire sure) to two old friends: Lewis and Hathaway enjoyed their seventh and presumably last series together.

March & April:

March was when things got interesting — the build-up to Doctor Who‘s Series 7 Part B began and, finally, we got to see Clara Oswin Oswald in action all through April. The catch-up of all things Elementary continued, and there was also some more fandom-related barking up the trees. But not only that, but Scott & Bailey returned to ITV for their anticipated third series.

May:

With Elementary, Doctor Who, and Scott & Bailey, I was already pretty busy — but preparations for the fall season begun on the side. I took stock of the shows that I thought might interest me (and my readers) and took a poll. Hannibal meta also made its first appearance on the blog, although it would take until later for the reviewing to begin properly…

June: 

#6 was rather quiet — I was knee-deep in my BA thesis (on John and Sherlock’s relationship as portrayed in the BBC series), and thus the blog had to make do with Matt Smith’s leaving announcement, a trailer for the third series of Luther, and some number-crunching.

July:

In July, things picked up again: I finished my thesis and had a bit of breathing room — I continued catching up on Elementary’s first season and enjoyed (well) the soul-crunching, heart wrenching misery that was the third and final series of Luther.

August:

Oh, my birthday month was a good one: Doctor Who saw the nomination of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. Meanwhile, Whitechapel returned to ITV for its fourth series (only to be rudely cancelled before the year was out), and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and started ranting about Suits, on top of everything else.

September:

Just having gotten done with Elementary Season 1, I basically stepped right into Season 2, which premiered at the end of the month. While starting to apply for jobs, I also finished up Whitechapel and Suits; but that wasn’t all. Two new drama shows  appeared on the horizon: FOX’s Sleepy Hollow and the BBC’s By Any Means, with varying success.

October:

More fandom shenanigans, but also: By Any Means wrapping up its first run, the excitement for the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who slowly bubbling over, and the premieres of both Dracula on NBC, and the successful mini-series The Escape Artist with David Tennant.

November:

In the midst of the usual mix of Sleepy Hollow, Elementary, and Dracula, Almost Human busted onto the stage from the shadows. I daresay it hasn’t reached its full potential yet, but it’s getting there. The highlight was, of course, The Day of the Doctor, the 50th Anniversary Special. So many wonderful memories will be tied to November 23, 2013.

December:

As the year draws to a close, the blogging continues mostly as normal — with the exception, perhaps, of Christmas Specials left and right (Doctor Who and the BBC period adaptation Death Comes to Pemberley), along with the growing suspense preceding the return of Sherlock. The proper review countdown for Hannibal, leading up to its return for a second season in February, has begun, and there is much to be said for Spring 2014: I’m looking forward to shows like Penny Dreadful, Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, and The Musketeers.

Orlando Jones and the Sleepy Hollow Fandom, via The Huffington Post

Orlando Jones and the Sleepy Hollow Fandom, via The Huffington Post

It’s rare that a part of the media presents a stage for actors and producers of our favourite works of fiction to be unequivocally positive about fandom without stabbing us in the back the next day. Too often we get cast as pervert whackos. Orlando Jones, bless him, does neither of those things. He loves interacting with the fandom and breaking the fourth wall the way he does — he as a Twitter and a Tumblr — and in this article on the Huffington Post website, he details why.

Thank you, Mr Jones.

Fandom is not “weird,” Katie Couric

Again, a talk show host has managed to discredit the fandom by publicly asserting their opinion that we’re “weird” and kinda nuts, and really not worth anyone’s attention — despite the fact that they apparently need us to fill their vapid segments.

You can watch the video of Benedict Cumberbatch answering fans’ twitter questions here, on Katie Couric’s website.

She actually starts off by listing the various names the Cumberbatch fandom has come up with over time nicely enough, but then when she begins reading out the questions fans had tweeted her before the show, she started off by calling @Cumberbuddy “weird” — but not just her, but the fandom as a whole, completely invalidating the purpose of this entire exercise.

Couric: “Cumber… buddy. You’ve got a lot of weird fans out there–”
Ben: “A lot of Cumbers.”

Seriously? It’s just a username. But, well, I’m not getting on my soapbox to defend Cumberbuddy specifically, she has voiced her displeasure herself. But Couric calls us weird, the fandom, all of us. First, we’re petitioned — one might say, pestered — for days to submit tweets and questions for Benedict to answer, and then we get this. Discredited and dismissed ten seconds into the show.

Dear Katie Couric,

We’re not weird. We’re enthusiastic and passionate and outspoken. We don’t always agree with one another and fandom has as many different sides and facets as an insect’s eye, but before you do your research and understand that, here’s the deal: next time you need something from us to keep your show going, don’t use us as a stepping stone and a cheap joke before even starting. Embrace the fandom. Be the fandom. We’re not nuts or perverted or not quite right in the head. We’re not dangerous. We’re not crazy. Ok, crazy about Ben’s cheekbones (and his acting, and his chameleon hair, and his voice, and the scope of roles he has taken on and delivered beautifully in the past three years), but not clinically disturbed. We’re people, ordinary people, who pay homage to someone we love and admire in a lot of ways. We name our twitter handle after him, or our blog, or perhaps we put a bumper sticker on our car. It’s the way we identify with each other, it’s the way we build community. Being engaged in fandom is one of the biggest social experiments of our generation, and we’re handling it just fine — including the conflicts. Needlessly perpetuating the media’s favourite myth that fans are bonkers and need to be touched only with a ten-foot pole, when the actor in question himself has indicated on numerous occasions that he does not feel that way about the majority of his following, is insulting and incredibly ignorant. So please get off our backs and never, ever call us weird again to score points with your uninformed audience when only pretending to want to foster a dialogue between an incredibly skilled actor and his fans.

Love,

Me.

Thankfully, that’s where Mr Cumberbatch’s class becomes obvious: he first deflects her gaffe politely and without sparking a confrontation, then says it’s a great question and answers it — as well as all others — seriously and with consideration. He’s one of the most respectful and patient and sweet-mannered actors out there when it comes to fandom shenanigans, and I love that even when tempers rise, he defends us implicitly and explicitly.

The thing with fandom, the fourth wall, and the media.

Yesterday, Martin Freeman appeared on the Graham Norton show, as part of Comic Relief 2013.

As is very nearly tradition, Martin and Benedict usually also get asked a couple of questions on the Sherlock fandom and the fan fiction and fan art that’s been published over the past three years. Both of them, though Benedict especially, have made an effort to acknowledge that fan works are a good thing, because it means that people engage with something emotionally and intellectually; and that inspiring such a mass of fan works is a mark of how popular the show is. Continue reading →