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TV Showrunners vs. TV Fans: Who's really in charge?


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#1 korinna

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 04:36 AM

This is really a meta-discussion, so nobody needs to answer it, but I found the article very articulate and thought-provoking:

 

http://lisal825.live....com/30954.html


Edited by korinna, 15 July 2013 - 04:36 AM.

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#2 Crashtown

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 08:03 AM

cool, meta topics

 

There certainly been a lot of these kind of discussions/debates between shows/fans lately, seems like its becoming a common thing, quite problematic maybe. 

Like the "wars" thats been going on in two of my other favorite shows the  teen wolf & vampire diaries between fans and showrunners. 

http://www.fangirlis...-come-back-tvd/

http://www.dailydot....f-sterek-canon/


Edited by Crashtown, 15 July 2013 - 08:07 AM.

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#3 Reality Junkie

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 08:14 AM

Should move this to the lounge as it applies to all shows. I'd have missed it if I wasn't searching for new content

The topic is something that has been bothering me for a long time. I think some of my beloved shows have suffered because of tptb's need to ponder to fans. It is disturbing that a YouTube clip with "spammy" comments might impact a show.
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#4 korinna

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 09:46 AM

Should move this to the lounge as it applies to all shows. I'd have missed it if I wasn't searching for new content

The topic is something that has been bothering me for a long time. I think some of my beloved shows have suffered because of tptb's need to ponder to fans. It is disturbing that a YouTube clip with "spammy" comments might impact a show.

 I only participate on the "Arrow" forum, but I'd love to discuss this further with people from other fandoms. 

 

I was also really surprised to read that showrunners/writers even check youtube comments, especially since such comments are usually quite juvenile. I would imagine that they keep an eye on their own FB pages, and maybe monitor boards like "Television without pity", that is known for its erudite (and "snarky"!) members, just in order to check how their work is received.

 

The thing that seems a bit troublesome is that the writers appear to give an inordinate amount of attention to the "shippers" and their preferences, rather than trying to listen to more general complaints concerning poor characterization or badly written storylines. However, it's not that easy to get these views across to the showrunners in a social media culture that favours short twitter "soundbites" (or "writebites"!) from fans supporting this or that "ship" (of the "we want Olicity now" or "Lauriver 4ever" variety), and where each shipper contingent is perpetually worrying/fighting about their chosen OTPs and their amount of romance/screen time etc.

 

Sometimes I think it was better in the days before the Internet, when the writers/showrunners were more or less blissfully ignorant of viewer preferences, because then they could follow their own plans for the story, rather than pandering to this or that Internet fandom fraction. Of course, Nielsen ratings were always important, but ratings is a much more blunt instrument than online feedback and they concern a much bigger part of the audience...so, as long as the ratings were good, I don't think that showrunners worried that much about how the viewers felt about a particular storyline or relationship. Nowadays fandom preferences sometimes actually seem to determine the development of the plot, and that can only be detrimental in the long run, if only because it fosters a sense of entitlement. I'm thinking of cases where online fans claim that since their "ship" is the most popular one in the online fandom, it MUST happen on screen....no matter if the writers have other plans for the characters involved.

 

crashtown, thanks for the interesting articles on TVD and "Teen Wolf". Here are a few thoughts on the phenomenon of "non-canonical" ships:

 

Maybe the tumblr/youtube practice of making gifs and homemade videos have made producing and watching scripted television more a question of providing "moments" and having "feels" than about providing/following an actual storyline? For example, gifs and youtube editing (in combination with fan fiction) makes it possible to create "head canon" ships such as "Destiel" (SPN), "Merthur" ("Merlin") or "Sterek", which become so powerful that the fans who support them forget that most of the events surrounding these ships do not happen on screen in the actual show, but in fan fics and fan art (e.g. Dean and Castiel kissing each other!).

 

Although there might be gay viewers who support these couples, I actually think that the majority of the shippers are heterosexual women/girls, who fantasize about heterosexual male characters having romantic/sexual relationships that really don't "exist" in the fictional reality portrayed. I'm not saying that these ships are entirely in the viewers' heads. As the article indicated, the SPN or "Merlin" writers quite deliberately create scenes that could be interpreted as sensual if you're wearing your "shipper goggles"-but they are not really relationships in the normal sense of the word and they will most surely never become canon in the fictional universe depicted! And yet so much fandom activity seems to evolve around this type of "head canon" ships...whereas canon relationships are often less popular and even belittled by some parts of the fandom.

 

I have to stop here. I hope you could follow my thoughts, despite the fact that I'm not a native speaker! 


Edited by korinna, 15 July 2013 - 11:33 AM.

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#5 LulaRosa

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 10:14 AM

I'm copying my comments from the spoilers thread:

 

The writers and producers need to believe in their own vision and stop trolling message boards to see what is being said and wanting to make online fans happy, there are millions of fans out there who do not spend their time online dissecting the show,

 

do your jobs writers and showrunners without outside influence, otherwise they will have a very crappy show on their hands, imo.  and this applies to all tv shows right now.  


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#6 n87

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 03:14 PM

The showrunners really run the shows, if not then shows with a cult following wouldn't be getting cancelled all the time. Really it's up to the networks, if the series isn't raking in the cash, the networks cancel it. It doesn't matter if it has a lot of fans if the fans aren't buying enough stuff to get them more rich.


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#7 cjcassada

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 03:16 PM

I'd say the showrunners are more in charge. Fans are vital to a show's success and I understand that if they don't like a certain storyline they get online and vent their anger. But in this business the writers and producers are the ones who make the decisions and they have to do what's best for the show. Even though fans may complain, they're still going to watch their beloved shows no matter what.


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#8 Reality Junkie

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 12:33 PM

Should move this to the lounge as it applies to all shows. I'd have missed it if I wasn't searching for new content

The topic is something that has been bothering me for a long time. I think some of my beloved shows have suffered because of tptb's need to ponder to fans. It is disturbing that a YouTube clip with "spammy" comments might impact a show.

 

 I only participate on the "Arrow" forum, but I'd love to discuss this further with people from other fandoms. 

 

I was also really surprised to read that showrunners/writers even check youtube comments, especially since such comments are usually quite juvenile. I would imagine that they keep an eye on their own FB pages, and maybe monitor boards like "Television without pity", that is known for its erudite (and "snarky"!) members, just in order to check how their work is received.

 

Someone heard us :)

 

I am not surprised they score the internet for feedback, they should. And take into account some concerns but that doesn't mean they should conform to the wishes of the loudest fraction. That is where the wars and flaming begin. 

 

All good showrunners have a long term story arc and should not depart from it no matter what. Consistency is a must for character development and trying to please fans whose likes and dislike differ doesn't work for the characters. 

 

I'll rather they acknowledge flaws in their writing and attempt to fix it but don't go pointing to youtube clips and say "Oh, we must be careful we don't alienate so and so shippers" 

 

Grow some balls and have more faith in your skills as storytellers 


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#9 saragoose

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:39 PM

The showrunners are in a tough spot. They have to please the network, the fans, and their own creative vision. At least if they (or the network people) are looking around online at what fans are saying, then they'll know that the metrics to knowing if your show is good can come from more places than just the ratings. I know the networks all want to make money, but there's more ways to do that than just advertising. A loyal fan base will go to pretty insane lengths to support something they believe in and love, and the networks would do well to support the showrunners who create those kinds of shows! 


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#10 Aberdeen

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:06 PM

The showrunners are in a tough spot. They have to please the network, the fans, and their own creative vision. At least if they (or the network people) are looking around online at what fans are saying, then they'll know that the metrics to knowing if your show is good can come from more places than just the ratings. I know the networks all want to make money, but there's more ways to do that than just advertising. A loyal fan base will go to pretty insane lengths to support something they believe in and love, and the networks would do well to support the showrunners who create those kinds of shows! 

 

Which is exactly why smart showunners play lip service to the online chatter and dish out their own vision without catering to one base or the other 

 

I can mention so many shows that went down the drain when the powers that be hanged on to the character/couple that had the loudest fanbase at one point. The most recent example would be Delena and Damon of the Vampire Diaries. They started to woobify Damon when he became insanely popular in order to pair him up with Elena. Part of the woobying was to make him an acceptable love interest and give him some redeeming quality

 

If you don't watch Vampire Diaries, trust me when I say it was a horrible mistake 


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#11 saragoose

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 10:31 PM

I totally agree that writers can get lost in pleasing the fans or whomever if they don't have a strong vision for the show and their characters. I don't watch Vampire Diaries, but I totally get that.


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#12 korinna

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:21 AM

cool, meta topics

 

There certainly been a lot of these kind of discussions/debates between shows/fans lately, seems like its becoming a common thing, quite problematic maybe. 

Like the "wars" thats been going on in two of my other favorite shows the  teen wolf & vampire diaries between fans and showrunners. 

http://www.fangirlis...-come-back-tvd/

http://www.dailydot....f-sterek-canon/

 

Since you referred to "Teen Wolf"....I don't watch "Teen Wolf" myself, but my daughter does. Like many girls her age, I presume that she finds the "Sterek" pairing "cool". Anyway, as you wrote that ship never sailed, and I just found a hilarious article about it:

 

 

http://ihogeek.com/2...30/sterekfeels/

 

 

"I watch for the plot!" LOL! And now we're going to see "Teen Wolf" alumni Colton Haynes with even better and bigger abs in "Arrow"!


Edited by korinna, 30 July 2013 - 10:22 AM.

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#13 NickJ

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 05:36 PM

You'll never be able to keep every fan of every show happy. It's impossible. Somebody is gonna hate a show or an episode of it Or a character. You just need to keep 75% happy, and also rope in casuals. In order to be successful.


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#14 BWR

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 03:52 AM

I believe it's a compromise. Showrunners today have a harder time compared with 20 years ago with fans using social media and the Internet in general to air their views and to often subtly (and not so subtly) influence the direction a show's story line is going. I am very sure that TV networks nowadays hire full time staff just to monitor the online forums, chat rooms and Facebook and Twitter pages dedicated to their shows just to get a feel on how well-received a new character is, or what fans thought about a particular episode's new plot device or how they feel the season is fairing in general compared with previous seasons. 

 

You cannot keep them all happy, but I'm just saying, fans now have more say and more power now than ever before in the history of television, thanks to the Internet.


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#15 Crashtown

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 12:05 AM

Since you referred to "Teen Wolf"....I don't watch "Teen Wolf" myself, but my daughter does. Like many girls her age, I presume that she finds the "Sterek" pairing "cool". Anyway, as you wrote that ship never sailed, and I just found a hilarious article about it:

 YET, is the key word lol. The hope for sterek according to their fans its still pretty much there. Especially with the recent events in the series when a brought in love interest for one of the boys ended up being evil, making that 3 of his girlfriends who will have died so far. 

 

The canon fight is not over, seems actually the show ptb are are giving the fans some kind of hope and some delibarate fan service.  They are in a tight spot as this ship appears really huge but the canon on show just doesnt support even closely what the fanon says.   I do like the chemistry between the actors and the potential bromance, romance eh would require some magic to make the boys orientation align and a lot of work in the built up. 

 

You cannot keep them all happy, but I'm just saying, fans now have more say and more power now than ever before in the history of television, thanks to the Internet.

 

that is true, the pressure is huge with the intro of social media. 


 

 They have to please the network, the fans, and their own creative vision. 

 

Networks like Cw seem very much, if not too invested in fan reactions and opinions. 


Edited by Crashtown, 05 August 2013 - 12:22 AM.

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#16 BWR

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 03:49 AM

You know, I actually like this new season of Teen Wolf. The complex and very well-written plot is so different from your typical MTV show. I was quite impressed by the writers' (more than the cast's acting, but that's just a personal preference) very sophisticated script and intelligent lines. I hope they keep this up and maintain the momentum that they have been building up so far all this season.


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#17 NickJ

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 12:26 PM

Couldn't pay me enough to watch a single episode of Teen Wolf.


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#18 Jel

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 04:29 AM

Hi everyone, I am Jel and I am crazy addicted to Grey's Anatomy.

 

Shonda Rhimes who created and runs the goings on with story lines on Grey's Anatomy did say once that she was taking the show back from the fans, which I took to mean that she was writing scripts based on what she believed the fans would like. The way I see it is; you are never going make every fan of any show happy; so I tend to think that show runners should trust their own instincts and creative vision and do what it is they want when it comes to their character and their story lines.

 

Ms Rhimes was not popular when she killed off Lexie Grey and Mark Sloan in the Season 8 Finale and the Season 9 Premiere. However, these deaths made sense to the individual characters. Chyler Leigh wanted out and after Lexie's big confession to Mark of her love for him late in Season 8, it really would not make sense to write her out any other way. Lexie also would not have left Meredith (her sister) or Thatcher Grey (her father). Lexie was also a Godmother to Zola. So the death made sense for the character. As for Mark Sloan, it was the same thing. For Mark to up and leave his daughter Sofia and his best friend Callie made no sense. Death seemed like the only answer. In this case, Shonda did what was best for her characters and believable too.

 

Whether Eric Dane was fired or whether he left has no bearing on it. I admire Shonda for this, despite the fact that I hated the plane crash story and hated the fact that McSteamy had to go. Shonda Rhimes stuck with her vision for the show and this is what a good show runner should do. Very sorry for the long post, I just love Grey's Anatomy and could write and talk about it all day.

 

Cheers everyone; Jel


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#19 pipergale

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 06:36 AM

Was Grey's Anatomy ever the fan's show? I mean, every lesbians story line on television ends in either death or something else equally as ridiculous. Either way the writers must always get across that lesbians relationships never end healthily and lovingly, and she did that with Callie and arizona once again, as if we haven't seen it a million times before in our other TV shows. 


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#20 OhioTom76

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 09:50 AM

Where is the enjoyment of watching a show, if the producers are letting the fans write the script? There's no point in me watching something if I already know what is going to happen and how things are going to transpire. I'm not much of a writer myself to begin with, I would rather leave that up to the pros. Besides, these shows may be very important to the people who created them, this is their project, not yours.


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