ABC’s cancelation of FlashForward was hardly surprising. The show failed to sustain the level of interest that the pre-hype promised. In the end it was a lot of fizz with little POP. Of course, not everyone agrees that the show deserved to be canceled.
FlashForward Superfans are campaigning for the show to be saved, and though it looks like a futile attempt, there is a (small) precedent of fan campaigns twisting network arms (and wallets) into bringing a show back from the dead.
Below the jump are some examples of show’s that lived on thanks to fan pressure, as well as details on what FlashForward fans are doing to save the show from the cancellation hole in the ground.
Dollhouse. Okay, so FOX didn’t get to the stage of publicly canceling Dollhouse after its first season, but you’d have to imagine that the show was toast before the fans started buying up all of those DVD’s and pounding the official FOX episode streaming site. The renewal for a second season was a surprise to many, although the show finally succumbed to poor ratings (and not enough DVD sales) a year later.
Jericho. The CBS cancellation of Jericho drove fans NUTS! Literally. After the first season cancellation they campaigned by sending bags of nuts to the network headquarters. Fans also took to creating billboards and even an online game – which was enough to compel the network to bring the show back for a second season. Joy was short lived, however, as only 7 new episodes were ordered and ratings failed to improve. The show was canceled, again, despite another fan campaign which included this rather impressive fan-mercial:
Roswell. Canceled in 2000 after just one season, fans used the power of the Internet to inundate WB network execs with bottles of Tabasco sauce. The show returned for two more seasons.
So it is possible. It can happen. Canceled shows can return from the dead. But there are far more failures than success stories.
I must admit to being surprised by the outpouring of fan support for FlashForward since its cancellation. Honestly, I didn’t think FF fans were that hard-core. They didn’t seem to be as visible or vocal as fans of some other fan communities I can think of. I guess cancellation can bring about a sense of unity in fans. Anyway, here are just a few of the things that FF fans are doing in an attempt to save their show:
- Flashmobs are all the rage and FF fans are using them to gain attention – planned blackout expected June 10th in cities around the globe. Here are some early FF :
- Websites: PreventTheBlackout.com seems to be one of the most organized FlashForward campaign websites out there. They have lots of videos and plans on how they can save the show – including global protests (see above) spanning New York, London, Hanover and Italy.
- Petitions. So many petitions, perhaps too many. They’d probably be better off banning together under one umbrella, ella, ella. Here’s one of the more prominent Save FlashForward Petitions.
- FlashForward Raps. Yes, I said FlashForward Raps:
Fans are even trying to encourage other networks to pick-up the show. FOX seem to be their main target. Personally I think there’s very little chance of that happening, especially since they have a great chance to dominate the space with Fringe. But hey, if they do pick-up FlashForward, pretend I didn’t say that.
To be honest though, mass blackouts and fan petitions are all well and good, but networks work in cold, hard, cash. Unless this fan support transfers into dollars then I don’t think there’s a Kangaroos chance in hell of the show coming back (whether it even deserves to come back is a whole other discussion). So if I were to offer any advise to those campaigning it would be to become more organized (there’s little point in having 10-20 different campaign websites and groups – it only dilutes the message) and to buy up official FlashForward merchandise – particularly DVDs. Finally, this one should be a no-brainer – if you really want to do something tangible to save the show, watch FlashForward episodes on ABC.com or Hulu and encourage friends and family to do the same. These media forms are becoming more important in the make-up of a show’s income streams since they carry advertisements.
It might not be enough to bring the show back, but utilizing all of the above in an organized and realistic fashion is probably the only chance that FF fans have. Who knows, over the next couple of weeks I might post something about whether or not FlashForward even deserves a second chance, but we’ll see.