Fangirl Friday: representation STILL matters

Hello, friends!

I was going to chat about Captain Marvel, but then some news broke today and I decided to talk a bit about that, and about another ongoing story in the fanverses. Don’t worry. I’m going to see Captain Marvel for the third time this weekend, and I’ll chat about it next time. 🙂

Anyway. First: Netflix announced that it was not going to renew One Day At a Time for a 4th season, and Twitter pretty much exploded with this shittiness (I blogged a bit about this show HERE)

I love ODAAT, as it’s known, for so many reasons. Latinx and queer representation; representation of women military veterans and PTSD; women of different generations; dealing with issues that affect us: sexism, racism, immigration, community, family, homophobia, self-acceptance, single parenting…it’s amazing the issues this show has tackled.

And then along comes Netflix with its statement, as well as this:

 

“Not enough people watched” to justify another season. Yeah, well…anybody remember seeing Netflix do any heavy-duty ad campaigns for ODAAT? Uh-huh. Not enough people watched? As soon as the notice dropped, ODAAT started to trend WORLDWIDE. It’s currently still in the top 10 trending topics.

Call me cynical, but I’m thinking Netflix basically wants to make its channel all about its own content. After all, they’ve also been jettisoning Marvel shows. ODAAT is produced by Sony.

At any rate, reactions to this nonsense were immediate:

And you can read the Variety piece in that Tweet screenshot HERE.

I’ve seen some on Twitter cancelling their Netflix subscriptions and posting the screenshots of the Netflix acknowledgement that they did so. I’m personally considering it, since I rarely find things on there that I like, and with all the Marvel stuff gone, I might end up with a Disney subscription. We’ll see.

Anyway, others aren’t buying Netflix’s crocodile tears, either. James Poniewozik at the New York Times noted that

Well, as the theme song says, “This is life.” And this is TV. Deserving shows have gotten canceled since TV sets had rabbit ears. What was unusual this time was that Netflix put out an announcement on Twitter, explaining and mourning its own decision.
[…]
I am not a mind reader. Maybe the sentiment is sincere, maybe it’s spin, maybe a little of each. Either way, Netflix is trying to throw away its cake and get credit for having baked it.

He continues that no matter how Netflix tries to position itself as your buddy and a disappointed fan (like you), no corporation is your buddy and that long-term investment means you stick with an acclaimed show that doesn’t have as many viewers as you’d like — and of course we have no idea how many viewers ODAAT has, since Netflix is a streaming service and always vague about its numbers. And you don’t try to stay in the audience’s good graces with a few Tweets when you cancel it. Because he says, “Yes, TV is a business. And one of the oldest principles of business is that talk is cheap.”

This is just more of the same corporate bullshit that we deal with all the damn time, this placating double-speak. I get it. Shows get cancelled all the time. But shows like this are freaking important, and Netflix acknowledging that AND THEN CANCELLING IT ANYWAY says a whole hell of a lot about them. The Ringer noted that, too, that Netflix is trying to portray itself — still — as the hip, upstart outsider. But it can’t be that when it comes to money and power and it makes corporate/establishment decisions like this.

Meanwhile, the news of ODAAT’s cancelling is circulating through media, including CNN, WSJ, Buzzfeed, Variety, and myriad other sites devoted to pop culture.

There is currently a push to see if ODAAT will get picked up by another platform (as Brooklyn 99 did, after its cancellation last year). It would be a great thing, indeed, because it’s a great show.

But the story here is as much about Netflix and platforms as it is about ODAAT.

Shows that truly are groundbreaking, that incorporate representation like ODAAT do, need support behind them to continue to thrive and grow. That support includes the platform (or network) that airs/streams them and the production companies that create them.

Which brings me to my next update.

Around February 22, word started getting out that filming for Season 4 on Wynonna Earp, the fabulous supernatural demon-infested western show with strong female, queer, and POC rep, had not started yet, and fans noticed this, and got concerned and started asking questions. A fan asked actress Melanie Scrofano on Twitter Feb. 21 why filming hadn’t started and Scrofano, who plays Wynonna, said she didn’t know.

The Wynonna Earp fandom (“Earpers”) are a savvy bunch, and the boundaries between fans, showrunner, and cast are permeable, meaning the cast often interacts with the fans on Twitter and at conventions. So, as soon as word started getting out, well they were on the case and coordinating a massive effort to save the show.

In a nutshell, IDW Entertainment, which produces the show, is out of money and that’s why filming has not begun. SyFy, which airs the show, purchased both S4 and S5, but with funding uncertain, Earpers have taken to social media and the real world to #FightForWynonna, as the campaign hashtag is known. That includes telling both SyFy and IDW how much WE means to them, what got each Earper into the show, and taking it to the streets, including — not making this up — billboards in Times Square in New York and in Los Angeles.

Showrunner Emily Andras and Melanie Scrofano got a billboard of their own in Times Square thanking the fans for fighting for the show.

source

Screenshot from E!News via Twitter.

In a statement at Vulture, IDW said that it

is committed to continuing to tell the Wynonna Earp story. Much like the fans, we are passionate about not only the series, but the comics, the characters and the overall message that the Wynonna Earp franchise carries. We are in the process of working out the details for how the Wynonna story will continue and will share new details very soon.

Well, that statement was February 22, so…still waiting. Meanwhile, Earpers (myself included) continue to #FightForWynonna.

Point being, representation DOES matter. I’ve read dozens of Tweets from fellow Earpers talking about how important the show is to them, how important it is to see themselves repped on screen. Similar statements are echoing across the ODAAT fandom.

And they’re not just about that. As media reporter Ryan McGee Tweeted in a thread after news of ODAAT’s cancellation broke,

He added,

He first realized post-Clexa on The 100, he Tweeted, that everybody should have shows that speak to them, but that it’s clear that this isn’t true for everyone. As a result, it’s something he’s tried to take seriously ever since. “This isn’t being woke,” he says. “It’s just common sense compassion.”

These shows aren’t about me, he concludes. “But they have forged a better me.”

And that’s what representation means and why it is so important. It can change lives, as it resonates with those who see themselves positively portrayed in media, and it can help open the eyes of those who are always repped.

Happy Friday, and #SaveODAAT and #FightForWynonna.

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3 comments

  1. When Netflix cancelled Sense8 they admitted it was popular and also expensive to produce, then did another season to wrap up the series. I can’t see ODAAT being anywhere near the same cost to produce and it’s popular so how does that make sense? Do they do this to other shows I wonder.

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