Last year, fans of the Netflix series Sense8 were amazed when their constant campaigning to bring back the cancelled show came through.
On June 2nd, 2017, Netflix announced that Sense8, a show known for its depiction of positive LGBTQ+ characters and bold storyline, would be cancelled after its second season. This was followed by outrage in the fan community of the show.
Following this, fans began a movement to renew Sense8 for a third season. An online petition gained over 42,000 signatures and the hashtag #RenewSense8 was trending. Later in June, the Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos commented that that “…the audience was very passionate but just not large enough to support the economics of something that big, even in our platform.” Still, fans kept up the campaign for renewal. On June 29th a tweet sent out from the Sense8 twitter revealed that they would be returning for a 2-hour long finale.
In this sense, fans didn’t get exactly what they wanted. They did however, bring closure and show the power of social media engagement. The real question is: How much of an effect do fans really have on the TV industry?
Traditionally, TV networks have made decisions on the renewing and cancellation of shows based on viewing figures and ratings. But, in a time of social media and stream services such as Netflix, a shift seems to have begun.
Now more than ever it is important for shows to keep their fans happy and engaged online. It seems the more engaged an online fanbase is, the more popular the show becomes. Sense8 did this well by keeping their social media platforms running and engaged at all times, a constant stream of content and fan communication was happening.
There is no doubt that this media engagement is what allowed Sense8 to be renewed for a final episode. Without keeping the passion of online fans fed, they would have become disillusioned with a show that didn’t seem to care about the people who watch. This meant that when the time came, it was on the fans to do something that the show’s creators could not – show Netflix why they should renew the show.
It’s this sort of fan engagement and passion that has shown its affect again earlier this year. When comedy sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine was cancelled by FOX, fans again showed their anger online. Accounts could be found desperately tweeting alternative networks to pick the show up and the hashtag #brooklyn99 was trending overnight. Within 36 hours, the show had been picked up by NBC.
Similar situations have cropped up more than usual this year, with shows The Expanse and Lucifer being picked up by Netflix after cancellation on their respective networks.
Although viewing figures and ratings still dominate the world of TV renewal, it seems the passion of fans on social media have started to become more persuasive in the eyes of the TV industry.
WHICH SHOWS WOULD YOU LOVE TO SEE FANS GETTING BEHIND TO BRING BACK?