|“Do you know what’s a good day to break up with somebody? Any day besides Valentine’s Day! I mean, what, were you running low on dramatic irony?”|
|Xander Harris, “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered”|
On February 14, 2004, viewers of ANGEL, Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt’s spin-off to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, received an upsetting Valentine’s surprise: the cancellation of their favored series. In response, fans from around the world rallied, and in concerted effort with various online campaigns made themselves known. Activists bought space in trade magazines and on traveling billboards; sent candies, flowers and bottles of hair gel to the networks; they gave blood and donated to food drives– all to show their support for a TV series the WB claimed couldn’t find a large enough audience. The network brass attempted to appease the fans by holding out the promise of stand-alone movies centered on ANGEL and Buffy characters, and hinted that the development was close to fruition.
Four months after driving a stake into the series, the chief exec of The WB, Jordan Levin, was out on the street; and later, the WB itself was shut down, merging with its competitor UPN. The promised TV specials evaporated; Joss had closed up Mutant Enemy, and focused on non-TV media. Even the oft-expected Buffy animated series never saw more than a few beautiful character drawings hinting at the possibilities left untapped. Darkness seemed to fall across the land… until the following year when Whedon’s Serenity brightened the silver screen.
Since then, Buffy and ANGEL comic series have continued to tell the stories where the TV shows left off. Joss has returned to television to direct episodes of The Office, and is developing a new series Dollhouse with fan favorite Eliza Dushku.
And the flame of hope for more projects from the mind of Joss Whedon have been kept burning by his fans– such as those here and on the many other great fan sites. While some have faded away, or gone dormant, new sites have sprung up, and others have continued to grow and change.
So today, I ask that we remember and thank those individual fans and online communities who came before– and look forward to more in the future. If you have some persons, sites or events which led you to fandom, please share them with us, in the comments.
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