If you think this will be one of those infamous “the old year’s over, let’s see what happened” posts, you’re right. And what an eventful year it has been! So buckle up and be prepared for a high-speed ride through all the moments that wrote Shadowhunters fandom history in 2018.
The most shocking moment: When news of the cancellation hit the fandom like a freight train
Unfortunately, we can’t speak of 2018 without mentioning the event that shook fandom right to the core. One moment, fans were enjoying the brand new season 3. Then, completely out of the blue, they were hit by Shadowhunters being cancelled during mid-season hiatus. Simultaneously, season 3b was pushed to vague “spring 2019”.
— Shadowhunters (@ShadowhuntersTV) June 5, 2018
The announcement of “the final hunt” didn’t bode well with the committed fandom, especially since fans felt that season 3 was the best to date, exploring more mature themes and delving into characters and character development more deeply than ever before.
Consequently, within the first 16 hours after news of the cancellation broke, the hashtag #SaveShadowhunters was tweeted more than one million times, according to @MalecFicLibrary who has reliably been composing an analytic update thread right from the start.
The most stunning moment: A 317 % rise in demand for the show
The year went out with a bang, as Shadowhunters was included into TV Insider’s list of 10 shows that surged in popularity in 2018. The show made number 6 with an incredible 317 % rise in demand. That’s a stunning number, even more so considering there was little to no promotion from its own network. Sad fact: Shadowhunters is the only cancelled show on this list that has not yet been saved.
Interlude: The power of fandom
Wait… a cancelled show that sees a 317 % growth in demand at the end of the year? It takes no genius to figure out that something huge must have happened in between this news and the cancellation to make this possible.
The safest guess would be to figure that the show’s producers and its network must have done a hell of a lot of PR work for Shadowhunters, gaining a lot more viewers in the process. Right? Unfortunately, one couldn’t be more wrong! So what actually happened? Four little words: The power of fandom.
The most significant moment: The launch of the #SaveShadowhunters campaign
Agreed, 2018 saw so many meaningful moments for Shadowhunters and its fandom that is is particularly hard to decide on the most significant one. But without the fans’ committed and organized efforts to save their show, none of the other moments would have happened.
The #SaveShadowhunters campaign is often referred to as “the biggest fan campaign to save a television show in history.” Raju Mudhar of the TorontoStar also notes that it is “definitely […] one of the most sophisticated.” So let’s take a moment to appreciate said campaign.
An (UPDATED) GUIDE TO RAISING HELL: A Plan of Action to #SaveShadowhunters. What to Tweet. When to do it. Who to contact. What to say. Here are some guides to fighting back to save our show.
Please see this thread divided into:
NON-SOCIAL MEDIA pic.twitter.com/8kgjs9IJTS
— Basic Shadowhunters Stuff (@BasicShadowStuf) June 12, 2018
Most remarkably, fans didn’t go into battle mindless. They organized and devised a plan, turning their passion for the show into action. The campaign employed both conventional and unconventional methods in an effort to save the show. Accomplishments include:
- flying a plane sporting a #SaveShadowhunters banner over Netflix’ headquarters
- raising more than $33,000 to charity (e.g. The Trevor Project, GirlUp) by organizing fundraisers and selling fan-designed merchandise
- renting billboards in New York’s Times Square and Torronto
- organizing a month-long subway billboard campaign in Seoul, South Korea
- creating a giant banner in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Brazil, South America
- hiring 24 red double-decker buses displaying #SaveShadowhunters in London
- publishing books (“Love makes us stronger” and “Shadowcooks: Hunters of good taste”)
- ensuring the presence of Shadowhunters at various comic cons when there was no official pannel
- tweeting the #SaveShadowhunters hashtag more than 19 million times.
The following video, courtesy of @Herondale_Ducks, depicts the extent and effort of the campaign and summarizes its achievements.
The most emotional moment: The cast united at the Teen Choice Awards on August 13, 2018
Seeing the cast united on stage for the first time post cancellation receiving well-deserved awards was the most emotional moment of the year. Shadowhunters took home two surfboards for Choice TV Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show (easily beating competitors such as Supernatural and Stranger Things) and Choice TV Sci-Fi/Fantasy Actor for Matthew Daddario.
“It was the first time I could feel the power of us as a Fandom,” comments twitter user @shadowcally on the significance of this moment. The Teen Choice Awards left only one question in its wake: Why was this show cancelled?
The most noteworthy moment: Raising money for charity
Immediately after learning of the show’s cancellation, fans felt the need to turn their frustration into something good. They wanted to channel their passion into giving back and to raise awareness. As Shadowhunters is an inclusive, GLAAD-winning show recognized for its positive LGBTQ+ portrayal, supporting The Trevor Project seemed perfect.
It is “the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.”
As of December 31, the fandom has raised more than $23,000 dollars for The Trevor Project alone. Another $ 10,000 dollars have gone to other charities.
The most intense and gratifying moment: Winning big time at The People’s Choice Awards on 12 November 2018 and making BBC News headlines!
“Seize an opportunity when you see it” could have been the fans’ motto as they realized that the renowned People’s Choice Awards offered the perfect opportunity to get their favorite series the international attention and recognition they felt it deserved.
Originally only nominated in the category Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show of 2018, in a collaborative effort, fans managed to snatch four more categories: The Bingeworthy Show of 2018, The Show of 2018, The Male TV Star (Harry Shum Jr.) and The Female TV Star (Katherine McNamara).
Seeing the show win all four write-in categories – something that has been unprecedented in PCA history – was certainly gratifying after months of exhaustive fighting without being officially acknowledged at all. Shadowhunters’ victory march even made BBC News headlines, as the the largest broadcaster in the world (at least by number of employees) reported on how a “Cancelled TV show sweeps People’s Choice Awards.”
The fandom’s collective heart was full to bursting as the cast recognized the fans’ commitment in their emotional acceptance speeches. “This award is about how passionate the Shadowhunters fandom really is”, said Emeraude Toubia, while Katherine McNamara pointed out that “it has been a real privilege to watch […] the fandom […] create a community of love and acceptance in our divided world.” Her parting line “Our characters might be your heroes, but you angels are undoubtedly mine” stuck out as particularly memorable.
The smashing success of this night only begged the question: Why was this show…. yeah, you know.
The most devastating moment: When Freeform finally acknowledged the #SaveShadowhunters campaign – by mocking it publicly
It certainly was a surprise – albeit not a very pleasant one – when the show’s network Freeform, finally decided to officially acknowledge the ongoing campain. During an airing of Toy Story on December 15, a pop-up appeared with the question “Will Freeform save Shadowhunters if I keep tweeting about it?” Right after that, Woody shakes the Magic 8 ball which then shows the message “Don’t count on it.”
Word of this mockery spread faster than the speed of light. It caused outrage among fans as well as a stunned disbelief among numerous media outlets, all reporting on the tasteless and unprofessional move. After all, the #SaveShadowhunters movement has not only raised tens of thousand dollars for charity, but has done a lot more promotion for the inclusive show than Freeform itself.
Freeform’s behavior is especially puzzling considering season 3b has yet to air, so driving away viewers isn’t smart. It seems as if viewer satisfaction is not particularly high on the network’s priority list. Despite the fact that 3b will air on February 25th, fans have yet to see a trailer.
Following the incident, Freeform issued a statement, laconically worded: “This was a mistake. We never intended to disrespect the Shadowhunters fandom. We apologize for this.”
The most heartwarming moment(s): Bonding with cast and fellow fans at conventions
Attending conventions is always fun as it gives fans the opportunity to meet like-minded people and completely emerge into their fandom of choice. Escapism at its finest. And the best? Definitely meeting and chatting with the cast. Besides this year’s epic conventions such as Pandemonium Con or THOS2, 2018 gave fans the opportunity to prove that they were not only good at attending conventions, but also at organizing them. Here are two examples:
San Diego Comic Con (July 19 – July 22): Fancy a pedicab ride, anyone?
Upon learning that there would be no official panel for Shadowhunters, fans arranged for a bike billboard and a branded pedicab at San Diego Comic Con. In a moving and much appreciated gesture of support to the fans, actor Jack Yang made a surprise appearance, showing up as his show character Asmodeus.
Fun fact: Even without an official panel, Shadowhunters was still the fifth most tweeted about show.
— Meg Bonney (@MegBonneyWriter) July 20, 2018
(Even our PureFandom team found one at SDCC 2018!)
New York Comic Con (October 4 – October 7): On board the Shadowship
Once again, there was no official panel for the show. So fans took matters into their own hands to draw attention to the ongoing effort to save the show. Having already used a plane, buses and pedicabs/bikes for the campaign, they raised money for ads to be shown on board of a New York Waterway ferry (the “Shadowship”) located next to NYCC. Additionally, volunteers handed out #SaveShadowhunters swag and even developed a special facebook and snapchat filter for the event.
This time, it was Katherine McNamara who made a surprise appearance to show her support and engage with fans.
The most memorable and touching show moment: “Three go in. Three come out.” (3×8)
The first half of season 3 took us on an emotional roller coaster ride. However, no episode was more touching than episode 8. Short recap: Magnus uses his magic to send Alec and Izzy into Jace’s mind to free him from Lilith’s mental clutch. There they encounter younger versions of themselves and remember a rule they have lived by since childhood:
Izzy Lightwood: “What’s the rule when our team goes into battle?”
Jace Herondale: “Three go in. Three come out.”
Why does this moment stand out? Fans feel that it highlights “Lightwood sibling love” (quote by twitter user @SabaLovesDean). Moreover, it shows us the “power of family, the strong bond between Jace, Alec and Izzy” (quote by twitter user @VeronikaDobeov2).
Conclusion: The power of fandom
True, 2018 will always be remembered as the year Shadowhunters was axed. However, it will also be remembered as the year when one fandom single-handedly demonstrated what dedication, commitment and passion can achieve. After all, the Shadowfam hasn’t been voted “most impressive/exhausted fandom” by eonline.com for nothing!
Instead of breaking the fandom apart, the cancellation brought people together as they fought for a common cause. People from all over the world have become family. Despite setbacks and frustration, fans continue spreading positivity and love. They have discovered the power of fandom. And that’s perhaps the biggest achievement of all.
Happy 2019, everyone! Here’s to hoping that the brand new year will see our show picked up.
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Featured Image Source: Freeform