xparrot: Chopper reading (supernatural everything)
[personal profile] xparrot
[livejournal.com profile] naye just posted this link; it's a month old and I'd heard some of it before, but this was my first time reading it:
Eric Kripke and the Fannish Concerns: "We Won't Be One Tree Hill with Monsters!" [warning: contains spoilers], in which he proves himself to be a ginormous adorable X-files/LotR/Buffy-referencing fangirl fanboy, and states outright why Supernatural rocks:

"But the difference between us and other shows is when they make missteps, they say, 'Go f--- yourself.' When we make missteps, we pay attention to the fans and we course-correct. So, fans, I love you all, but stop worrying. "

Judging by Jo last season, this is actually true. If anything the show is too fan-conscious, really; it panders to fangirls at the expense of plot, storyline elaboration sacrificed for a few more minutes of aaaaangst. But hey, I'm all for a little pandering! I didn't sign onto SPN for the plot, and as long as all shows don't start doing it I'm tickled having a weekly filmed fanfic.

As for the spoilers regarding the next season, is it bad that my first thought upon hearing there were two sexy new chicks coming, was starting the countdown to the femmeslash? One new girl is pairing-peril...two is fannish opportunity!

Date: 2007-08-24 04:08 am (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Leetah)
From: [personal profile] sholio
I haven't read the spoilers, in your post or the interview (closing my eyes, la la la), but I'm honestly very uncomfortable with the idea of TPTB being that responsive to fans. Mostly because fans are insane, and in a lot of cases, don't really want what they ask for. Or they do want it, but it wouldn't be good for the show as a whole.

I usually feel a little out of step with the majority of people in my fandoms, and what gives me comfort when the ship wars start or when the fandom starts clamoring for the head of my favorite character is that it doesn't really matter all that much. The fans may be taken into account by TPTB a little bit, on some level, in the sense of perhaps devoting a little more screentime to [x] popular couple or giving a full-time contract to [xx] popular part-time character -- but I don't have to worry that a couple I like will be broken up just because the fans want him together with character [y], or that character [z] will get written out because the fans think he's ugly. (And I'm not thinking of any specific examples with these, just sort of general fan complaints.)

But now ... I can't just stick my head in the sand and go "I don't care if most of the fandom hates [z], I'll just be over here with my little group of [z]-lovers". And in SPN's case, from my reactions to the last episode, you know that I was actually uncomfortable with it -- there's h/c and angst, which is lovely, and I loved parts of the episode, but I felt like it was a little too over-the-top for my tastes. Pandering, yes, that's exactly what it felt like. I had expressed fears that the next season would be even more pander-y, and now I'm even more worried about that ...

I don't want to sound like a cloud of gloom and doom. My current fandom has a lot of glooming and dooming over certain unpopular changes to the show right now, and it's really freaking annoying and I keep wanting to tell people, "Just shut up and wait until you actually SEE the next season before you go complaining about it, okay?" So now I'm finding myself in the unpleasant position of wanting to be that gloomy nay-sayer raining all over everybody's squee. And I swear that I will try not to; I want to enjoy the next season and not prejudice myself against it.

But my initial reaction when I read your post wasn't "OMG, eeeee, more angst!" It was "OMG, *squirm* *worry*" instead.

Date: 2007-08-24 04:42 am (UTC)
ext_3572: (supernatural everything)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
*laughs* While I was posting this it occurred to me that you might have just this reaction.

For me, SPN isn't one of my major fandoms, so I'm not that invested. I didn't think the finale was that strong plot-wise, but I didn't mind, because I'm not watching the show for plot; I'm watching it for the boys, and I like me a bit of over-the-top smarm now and again! And I'm pretty much in step with what the majority of SPN fans think anyway, so I'm not worried about our opinions being followed.

I'm also coming from fandoms like Smallville, which have blatantly ignored fannish opinion for six years, much to the show's detriment. I think the difference is the show's direction. If the creator has a strong, dramatically successful vision, then changing that vision to pander to fannish tastes is probably a mistake. But if the show has no real direction and is just making rating-grabs moves anyway, then why shouldn't it make a grab for that demographic core that is really invested in and cares about the series?

That doesn't mean doing exactly what fans want, because that would just get boring, 'choose your own adventure.' But as a writer, if I'm not sure if something's working myself, I don't think it's bad to look to the audience to get an idea. 'Course correct', as Kripke says. I don't think that Kripke has that strong a concept for SPN...he's more following his nose, and looking to the fans to check his trail.

The fact of the matter is, TV in general is all about pandering to the audience - SPN is merely pandering to a more specific audience than most. Most shows would be throwing in a few hot chicks anyway, because that's what shows do to get the male demographic - at least Kripke isn't trying to force pairings, because rather than just assuming 'women want romance' he's actually listening to what the fangirls really do want... which makes for a nice change!

Date: 2007-08-24 06:51 am (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Who-Martha batmobile)
From: [personal profile] sholio
LOL, yeah, and after I posted that, I started thinking about counterarguments -- basically exactly what you pointed out above, that writers do play to what they believe the audience wants, only usually it's things like throwing in fanservice or steering clear of overtly weepy scenes to avoid alienating the presumed-male audience. What makes SPN stand out is that they're pandering to a different demographic than what you usually get in sci-fi, and it's obvious because they're just about the only ones doing it. Heck, we're so used to having gratuitous cleavage and short skirts in anime or sci-fi (even anime that's theoretically aimed at teenage girls!) that it doesn't even register on the radar. But the weepy guys do show up because you don't usually get that kind of fanservice on Western TV. That, and Kripke's being so up-front about it; it's fairly obvious that demographics drives many of the higher TV editorial decisions, but TPTB don't usually admit to it, except in a fairly circuitous way.

Like you, I'm not really that invested in SPN. If the show stops delivering what I want, I'd probably part ways from it with no hard feelings and maybe a vague idea of going back to it someday when I stop being tired of it. In fact, I think SPN probably has one good season left in it for me. I really love the boys (and I've actually managed to get myself on a wee Dean fan-kick lately), but the show has already taken them to pretty much everywhere that I'd want to see them go as a fan, and there's not enough, hmm, what's the word I want, diversity of writing and plot to keep me hanging on for that much longer, I think, if the h/c doesn't continue pushing my buttons. Contrast that with Doctor Who (heee!), where I had, and have, major problems with some of the characters, but the writing and plotting on the show is so incredible that I suspect I'm probably going to keep coming back for new seasons even if it gets to the point where I can't stand any of the characters -- as long as they continue to have interesting guest stars! *g* (On the other hand, I tried an episode of Torchwood and it does nothing for me whatsoever. I'll stick with Who, thanks!)

I'm also coming from fandoms like Smallville, which have blatantly ignored fannish opinion for six years, much to the show's detriment. I think the difference is the show's direction. If the creator has a strong, dramatically successful vision, then changing that vision to pander to fannish tastes is probably a mistake.

Heh. You've definitely got a point there. With something like, say, B5 (which I have yet to watch more than a few episodes of; it's on my "to watch soon" list, though), it would have been a terrible mistake for the show's direction to change subject to fan input. But, yeah, if it's winging it anyway, why not make the fans happy? I know I've tweaked things as a writer because I knew that certain people, or certain groups of my readers, were going to get a kick out of it. I don't think I'd change a major plot point because of reader feedback. But little stuff ... yeah, I can definitely think of times I've done that.

Date: 2007-08-24 07:24 am (UTC)
ext_3572: (supernatural everything)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
Everything you just said, pretty much XD SPN feels to me like a show that might hit its peak 3rd season and slide after that; I'll likely drop it after the 4th or 5th even if it keeps going, unless it proves itself impressively. IMO TV shows should all be ended after 5 seasons anyway, unless they have a really good reason to keep going.

I definitely think that shows can pander too much to their audience - if they try to please too many people one might get a 'drama by committee' feel. And I don't want all my shows turning into fanfic! But with the male demographic still ruling, that's not likely. And as you mentioned, fanservice to fangirls is all but unheard of in Western TV, so I'm pleased as punch to be getting something. And I don't feel like I've been bait-and-switched by Kripke; SPN started feeding fangirl hearts from the pilot ("no chick flick moments" was such a leading line). I knew from the beginning what I wanted out of the show - I'm just amazed to be getting it to this extent!

Torchwood I won't argue for, unless 2nd season goes good places (which it might, will have to see.) It's got potential (and crack) but it's awfully frustrating; I don't have anywhere near the love for it that I have for Who. But as I've said, am curious about 2nd season (and that's in part because they may have been listening to fans; from what I know it did well, but people did find it a bit too dark...)

B5, otoh...eheheh, I will bite my tongue and simply quietly prod you toward it, with the standard 1st season rallying cry of "IT GETS BETTER!!!" Still probably my favorite show ever and I am liable to go into frothing praises of everything about it at the drop of a hat (well, okay, you can can criticize the old f/x, and much of the guest-star acting, and Jeffrey Sinclair, and most of 1st season, but after that I will enter Have You Accepted JMS As Your Primetime Lord & TV-Savior? mode and your average televangelist will have nothing on me. And JMS is awesome too because while he didn't cave to fans, he did listen to fans, and interact with them regularly - on usenet I believe it was, back in the day - and welcomed them into his amazing universe and...er...darnit. Now I wanna watch B5 again. For the 6th time or so ^^;;;)

Date: 2007-08-24 04:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gnine.livejournal.com
B5 *squeeee*!!!

Err, I meanm, you make some very good, well thought out points--B5!!

Sorry, sorry, can't help it, as neechan said above, JMS Primetime Lord and all that. Other fandoms come and go (well, sorta go, wander off a bit perhaps? Actually, I have immense trouble fully getting rid of the things, but hey ^_-), B5 stays strong. Really, REALLY just one of the best shows of all time (as long as you can get past first seasons...)

On the SPN/Kripke thing, I'd be a bit more worried perhaps about pandering to fans, if it wasn't that he clearly already *has* been pandering to them...er, us, and that pandering involves h/c, h/c, brother smarm, lots of angst, 'nother helping of h/c with a side order of angst. Now *thats* some pandering that I can always do with more of!

Date: 2007-08-27 07:24 pm (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Meredith Jeannie)
From: [personal profile] sholio
My sister has been pimping B5 at me lately. It was always "her" show when we were younger; I watched the first season or two, and then went off to college and have no idea how it ended (except for vague hints that she's dropped over the years -- I think at one time she told me the entire plot of the last episode, but I've forgotten most of it). So I'm quite looking forward to watching it one of these days.

I really do intend to withhold judgment on the Kripke thing until I actually see next season. Though, as the comments above went, I realize that most shows do pander to their fans; it's just that they don't usually pander to us, the h/c fangirls! So it is a nice change, even though I'm not sure if I'm going to be much happier with the results than I am with the other sort of pandering -- but at least it's an improvement!

Date: 2007-08-24 11:01 am (UTC)
naye: the going merry go on blue waters with the words "follow your dreams" (supernatural - nothing else matters)
From: [personal profile] naye
My reaction was mainly "...wow, fandom sure brings a lot of the crazy", because - what's up with the insane female character hating? Bashing them before they've even been INTRODUCED? Um. *backs away slowly*

But! SPN-as-fanfic I really don't mind. At all. Because - damn, but the brothers are so pretty when they angst. ♥ (Yeeeah. Shallow. I know. But SPN is fun, as long as I stop expecting everything to actually make sense.)

Date: 2007-08-24 11:43 am (UTC)
ext_3572: (supernatural everything)
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
Was Kripke responding to char-bashing? Or to people criticizing the writers? There is a difference...I've said this before, but: it's not really female-char hating. Well, some of it is. But most of it is pairing hating, the chance that a girl might be introduced and screw up the dynamic of the guys. Because most fangirls have been burned countless times by TPTB that think all we gals want in a show is het romance, so shoehorn it in in such a way that is irritating in the show and belittling to the point of offense to the female chars. The truth is, there are so many badly written female chars out there, and so many series that the women exist for pairing purposes first and all else second, that I don't blame fen for being wary of shows introducing new chicks. One-thousand-times burned, twice shy...(and SPN did pretty much introduce Jo as a love interest first and a char second. I'm hoping for better with these girls, but I think Kripke's reassurances were needed.)

Fortunately I usually watch SPN after SV, so my brain is already turned off/beaten into submission/escaped to greener pastures, and SPN is a fun & pretty ride ^_^

Date: 2007-08-25 07:16 am (UTC)
naye: the going merry go on blue waters with the words "follow your dreams" (supernatural - nothing else matters)
From: [personal profile] naye
I can't honestly say if he was responding to char-bashing or writer-criticizing, but I can tell you that the posts I found before reading this interview? Were bashing. I'm not going to go look for the links, and it's possible that I'm just overreacting, but - yeah. It was pretty nasty. More bashing of Jo (not the writing of Jo, but JO), and then a lot of talk about hating the new characters sight unseen, and their names being stupid, and it really was at a level where I wouldn't use such a lofty word as "criticizing". Not when "bashing" comes so readily to mind.

I'm not looking to take SPN seriously, but sometimes I wish parts of my fandoms wouldn't scare me so very much. (Looking at [livejournal.com profile] friendshipper's comment above, it's not just SPN, it's everywhere.) The whole negativity... Haven't the writers earned a little faith, after two or three seasons? I can understand being slightly worried, and not really seeing how something is going to work, but...

Anyway.

SPN pandering! To me! Pandering to me, I'm all for! XD

Date: 2007-08-24 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladydreamer.livejournal.com
Bob Singer and I always said to ourselves in Season 2, if we were to bring girls into the show, the way to bring them in is to make trouble for the guys, not to be helpful. To introduce them as their own fleshed-out characters in their own right, who are raging pains in the ass, and trouble, and dangerous, and then sort of see what happens.

God, a show is going to introduce the female leads as PEOPLE first and worry about pairing LATER. I think I couldn't be happier witb a PTB unless SV showed Lana as being a meteor freak love mutant after all.

As for the spoilers regarding the next season, is it bad that my first thought upon hearing there were two sexy new chicks coming, was starting the countdown to the femmeslash?
That was EXACTLY my thought when I saw them for the first time. "The main pairing here is Wincest... people are going to femslash these two!" They've already started calling the pairing Rubela. Lol!

Now, Ruby sounds like a pain in the ass. Bela sounds awesome. Together... oh, the possibilities. SV doesn't give me a chance to have a femslash OTP (because I hate Lana and Chloe and Lois are related, though next season, who knows).

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