liz_marcs (liz_marcs) wrote,

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Netflix disease...and fracturing of fandom

marenfic has an interesting discussion here about the slowdown in Buffy fandom. I won't spoil the discussion, but it's definitely worth the read. She brings up some excellent points, and I agree with a lot of what she says.

Heaven knows I saw something of the same thing for my Dark Xander Fic-A-Thon. A lot of people honestly couldn't think of an angle, others couldn't think of an angle that hadn't been explored before. Lord knows, I complained to my brother that the direction I finally settled on (VampXander) after several false starts had been pretty much done in almost every way possible. The only way to make it new was to mix up the clichés and impose a semi-complicated plot on it.

A whole lot of people were in my boat, and I'm very sure that everyone who contributed beat their heads against the wall to come up with something off-the-norm.

I've certainly seen a lot of fandom drift on my Flist, and it's all normal and good, because nothing lasts forever. Certainly I've been thinking along the same lines myself, although truthfully I haven't felt the need to jump fandoms. My pull is more towards getting off my butt and pulling together some original fiction.

The problem there is if I do it, I wouldn't want to jeopardize a hope of publishing it, so there'd be no way to throw it open for FB and concrit the way fanfiction can be.

But the day's coming soon-ish where I need to make some hard decisions on that front, and I know it.

As for why I haven't jumped fandoms, part of it, I think, is that I suffer from "Netflix" disease. As a friend of mine pointed out, a large part of Netflix disease is a direct result of network behavior. For example:

  • Shows that I tend to like get yanked before all the episodes that have already been filmed are allowed to air. I've lost count in the last two years how many shows I've started watching, only to have that show disappear never to be seen again.

  • The insane burden of commercials. I timed it once. For every hour of television, you've got roughly 22 minutes of commercials interrupting the flow. I go absolutely insane with commercials now because there are so many of them. I can't count the number of times I started channel flipping and ended up watching something else entirely because Animal Planet or Discovery or the History Channel sucked me in.

  • Most television series are now "serials" instead of a series of stand-alone episodes. That's good, on the one hand, because now there's actual character growth and changing situations (at least in theory). That's bad, because if the network pre-empts for a week or two, it ruins the narrative.

End result? I'm now watching most of my television via Netflix. I mean, what the hell, right? The DVDs literally come out within weeks after the end of the season. It may put me months (or years) behind everyone else, but I get to watch television at my convenience, without commercials, and without interruptions. It's more than worth the trade.

And that, in a nutshell, is Netflix disease. I know an awful lot of people who are suffering from it so much, that they've dropped cable down to the cheapest level so they can get the local stations and are now watching series purely through the magic of Netflix and DVDs.

That said, I'm still addicted to watching the three-hour block on the Sci-Fi Channel in real time (the re-showing of Heroes, followed by Dr. Who and Battlestar Galactica). I'm also still watching The Amazing Race in real time because they've released precious few seasons on DVD.

However, none of what I'm watching has really inspired me to write fanfic (although I've jokingly said I so want to see a wacky!hijinks story where Xander and Faith have to run The Amazing Race because one of the teams aiming for the million is a pair of demons who need to pay off debts — and they're willing to eat the other contestants to win), and I honestly don't see that particular jump happening to me in the future.

The again, 10 years ago I was writing original Battlestar Galactica and Forever Knight fanfic. When I stopped writing it, I thought sure that I'd never do fanfic again. It took years for me to change my mind, so never say never, I guess.

In either case, I'm not at the moment planning on jumping ship, so to speak. But I can totally see (and understand) the fandom drift that's happening. I'm following some of it, albeit peripherally, because I enjoy the same shows. Other shows (like Lost, Veronica Mars, and Supernatural) haven't really thrilled me enough to get beyond a *meh.*
Tags: el jay: flist, fandom: buffy the vampire slayer, fandom: meta, fanfiction: meta, netflix: general, television: general

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