Illustration for article titled What does a show owe its fans?

How much influence should fans have on the direction of a show? And what happens when the plans of the writers and the desires of the fans conflict?


The influence of fans on a beloved series isn't new — Arthur Conan Doyle famously brought a dead Sherlock back to life under pressure from fans, and today shows like Community will handily toss in a couple references to the fans watching at home.

Still, there can also be a dark side to the interaction, says Wired:

Larsen and Zubernis say producers need to start treading more lightly when it comes to superficial titillation, because fans are quick to smell a rat. "That kind of affectionate, 'nod-nod, wink-wink' fan service that shows started to do a while ago has been done for so long that it causes a rift sometimes between fans and producers," says Zubernis . . . As friendly as that fan-creator relationship may seem, it's actually a delicate thing. And in the end, Zubernis and Larsen say, it's mostly artifice. "[The relationship] seems a lot more reciprocal and closer than it is, which is an artifact of the way social media, especially Twitter, makes fans feel," says Zubernis. "I always stay on Twitter when a Supernatural episode is airing, and the actors and the writers and directors are usually on [Twitter], and I see what it does to fans when somebody answers their tweet. There's a need, I think, to feel like, 'They're listening to me; I'm important.' That's a normal psychological response, but it's not actually true; it's wishful thinking. It's a constructed intimacy that's not really intimate at all."


As a fan, how much influence do you want to have over the direction of a show? And what shows strike the perfect balance of listening to fans, while still surprising them?

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