Recently, David Lynch announced that he and co-producer Mark Frost would be reviving their cult-classic 90’s television show, Twin Peaks, in the not-so-distant future. Immediately, fans across the Twittersphere rejoiced! It seemed many Netflix prayers had been answered. But one must wonder, did fan interaction actually greenlight the show?

 

Vocal supporters on social media give producers confidence that their product will enjoy a dedicated following. For many content-creator’s, being able to ensure views is one of the biggest hurdle in the quest for funding. So are we dictating our own entertainment?

 

Demanding Quality, Convenient Content

 

Fan interaction paired with a growing demand for intelligent, nuanced entertainment is reshaping the cable model. Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu Plus all deliver high-end content for a low monthly price. It seems Big Cable is following suit; HBO and CBS just joined the streaming movement, causing some critics to predict the “death of cable.” Hyperbole and speculation aside, social media has changed the way we interact with art, with our favorite artists, and with other fan communities.

 

TV Show Zombies — Shows Fans Revived

 

This concept is not new. Classic examples of fanfueled show revivals include Star Trek, Cagney and Lacy, Family Guy, and Arrested Development. But modern modes of communication make it easier for fans to have the voices heard. Fans have also helped to keep certain shows from the chopping block. One famous instance–Friday Night Lights was facing impending cancellation, and fans sent eye drops, light bulbs, and 20,000 footballs to troops stationed overseas. Talk about dedication that benefitted a good cause!

 

From the Television Screen to the Silver Screen

 

Veronica Mars, Sex in the City, Firefly, and the Twin Peaks film spin off, Fire Walk With Me all translated television shows into box office fare. In the same way that Broadway Musicals often reenvision a familiar film, movies reenvision beloved television entertainment. Again, having a built in audience is key.

 

Fan Communities, Hashtags, and Enthusiasm

 

Fan communities are not new. However, Twitter, blogs like Tumblr, Facebook, and other social media allow users to reach out to both friends and strangers with similar interests. Although the world wide web connected people from disparate geographical locations, it also allowed niche communities to thrive.

 

Hashtags and other internet idioms allow a certain vernacular to develop. People in certain fan group find ways to express themselves through a shared language, and watching television has become a social event. 49% of smartphone users surf the web while watching their favorite shows, many even tweeting about the experiences in real time.    

 

What Does the Future Hold?

 

As authentic representation becomes increasingly important to fans, the homogenous, often lazy programming of the past is giving way, allowing space for more nuanced entertainment. Advertising is getting smarter, and character-driven shows are becoming the standard. Talk show hosts and producers are encouraging fans to interact with one another! Fans are becoming a crucial part of the development process! Here’s hoping the trend continues, and that fans finally get the power and credit they deserve!