Exactly one year ago, I woke up to the news of Shadowhunters being cancelled mid-season. It hit me and pretty much everyone in the fandom completely out of the blue. Just a couple of days before, I had complained about the two month-hiatus until August 2018… and now? It’s ironic how quickly perspectives can change.
— Shadowhunters (@ShadowhuntersTV) June 5, 2018
Sure, shows I watched and loved had been cancelled numerous times before, but never had a cancellation had such a deep impact on me. So what was different this time? Was it due to the fact that the show was axed prematurely, without having even reached its pinnacle? Was it because the show’s messages and characters had resonated so deeply with me that I didn’t want to let go? I only knew that with the second half of season 3 pushed to a vague “spring 2019” air date and possibly no more Shadowhunters after that, I felt devastated and empty.
The day #SaveShadowhunters was born and the first thirty days of the campaign
Fortunately, the day Shadowhunters was axed was the day the campaign to save the show was born – and I realized that I wasn’t alone. As news of the cancellation spread like wildfire across social media, people from all over the world came together joined by a common goal: To save the show that had come to mean the world to them. However, they didn’t do so mindlessly. There was a masterplan right from the beginning. A lot of thought and organizational skills went into creating a foundation for #SaveShadowhunters. Fans created not only the well-known hashtag but also launched a petition (sign here) and compiled “A Guide to Raising Hell.”
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
“In all my years following tv, the uproar over Shadowhunters’ cancellation is probably one of the biggest ones I’ve ever seen”, my colleague Rachel Foertsch wrote in an early article about the campaign. Within 24 hours, the hashtag #SaveShadowhunters had been tweeted more than one million times. In less than a month, it had been tweeted more than ten million times, the #SaveShadowhunters Fundraiser for the Trevor Project (donate here) had raised $18,500, fans had organized a #SaveShadowhunters plane to circle the Netflix headquarters and had rented a billboard in Times Square. The Toronto Star commented that the #SaveShadowhunters movement “is being called the biggest fan campaign to save a television show in history” while Entertainment Tonight noted that “Shadowhunters fans are channeling their heartache into helping others.”
#SaveShadowhunters Airplane Banner is Up & Flying Over NetFlix Studio in Downtown Los Angeles NOW! Thanks to ALL Who Made It Happen. #shadowhuntersplane @airadsworldwide Aerial Advertising Since 1947. We Know What's Up! #airads pic.twitter.com/YVtQEAC1fy
— Airads Worldwide (@airadsworldwide) June 22, 2018
— KSiteTV (@KSiteTV) June 21, 2018
Impossible to pinpoint top campaign moments
As this day marks the birthday of our powerful movement, I thought it would be fitting to make a list of top campaign moments consisting of fan favorites and most meaningful achievements. However, it turned out to be an impossible task, as there are just too many! Here are some of our readers’ tweets on this subject:
I come on Twitter every day bc the people in the campaign really have become like family and I want to see what new things they're going to share. It's so much more than about a show. It's about people. The fans have become just as important to me as the cast and show
— malecfxnatic back up (@malecfxnatic2) June 1, 2019
The moment I posted above. I had just joined the #Shadowhunters fandom a few weeks back & remember thinking how impressed I was with the passion & dedication fans had to pull something like this off. The #SaveShadowhunters campaign became a passion of mine on that day.
— CD (@travelqueen1218) June 1, 2019
Also the London buses because that was in my country and I saw with my own eyes! The posters in NY were beautiful. I could just go on and on!
— Julie Burton (@JulieBurtonn) June 1, 2019
— jwest Never give up. (@Jwest70637477) June 2, 2019
Presenting “A Fandom’s Heartbeat” – A digital archive
With everything the Shadowfam has achieved in a year, it’s easy to lose track or forget something. Fortunately, the fandom is lucky enough to count Lindsey, aka @MalecFicLibrary, among its members. Lindsey has been active in the campaign to save Shadowhunters right from day one and fans know her best for her analytics tweets. Besides tracking analytics, she has also edited the fandom classic “Love makes us stronger” – an exploration of the campaign’s fundraisers, particularly through the donor responses.
For the last couple of months, Lindsey has been busy working on constructing and organizing “A Fandom’s Heartbeat – the home of the #saveshadowhunters archive“. This digital archive is designed to house everything from the #SaveShadowhunters campaign – including, but not limited to quotes from the media, links to articles, tweets from fans, cast and crew, data (ratings/Twitter analytics) and campaign achievements. Obviously, an archivist’s job is never done and Lindsey will continue to have her hands full.
“A Fandom’s Heartbeat” is the perfect gift for the anniversary of the #SaveShadowhunters campaign. It doesn’t only preserve the heart and soul of our show and our fandom for all eternity, but it also allows us to reflect on all the good things we achieved together as a fandom. Let’s focus on feeling proud instead of being gloomy and sad. That’s also the spirit Lindsey likes to see. We were lucky enough to speak with her about her latest project.
An exclusive interview with Lindsey, archivist of “A Fandom’s heartbeat”
Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for this archive?
I think it’s largely because I have degrees in history. From the very beginning of the #SaveShadowhunters campaign, I was really concerned about losing the data and content we were creating, which was originally why I started tracking our Twitter analytics and partnered with Shadowhunters Merch and Basic Shadowhunters Stuff to create “Love Makes Us Stronger”. I wanted to preserve our tweet counts and donor responses in some form so those things weren’t lost or forgotten. That same concern was what originally inspired this digital archive.
What are your hopes for the archive?
I hope it serves as a fun yet useful resource, as well as a way for fans to continue connecting with each other and reflecting on the impact we’ve had in the last year. I know it’s easy to get discouraged because the show hasn’t been saved, but the fact that the campaign has not yet achieved its original goal does not mean that it failed. We used the media that we love as a jumping-off point, embodied the values that are reinforced in the show, and created change in so many ways as a result. Every hour that I’ve spent working on the archive has served to remind me of that. If browsing through it manages to do that for even one other person, if it reminds them of why they love the show, the cast and crew, and the international fandom, if it brings them joy, then I think it’ll have been successful.
“The fact that the campaign has not yet achieved its original goal does not mean it failed” is such an important statement on a day such as this – and I love how browsing the archive reminds us that we have indeed created change in so many ways. Is there anything else you would like to share with us regarding “A Fandom’s heartbeat”?
One of the things that I’m most excited about is the archive’s Share Your Story Initiative. Through a set of questionnaires, it’s designed to preserve first-hand campaign experiences from a wide variety of perspectives. I really hope people have fun with it.
It’s obvious how much time and heart you have poured into “A Fandom’s Heartbeat” and how passionate you are about the #SaveShadowhunters campaign. One thing that has always astonished people outside the fandom is how emotionally engaged the members of the Shadowfam are. Clearly, Shadowhunters isn’t just another TV show for them. What does the show mean to you personally?
To me, Shadowhunters quite literally represents a deep, unabiding hope. I’ve recognized pieces of myself within these characters and that’s helped me feel less alone. It has helped me accept and embrace my sexuality and has enabled me to meet others who identify similarly. It has led me to incredible friendships with people around the world who I adore. To me, Shadowhunters will always mean acceptance, family, love, and hope.
You obviously love analytics – and numbers really don’t lie when it comes to measuring the success of Shadowhunters and the #SaveShadowhunters campaign – but besides that, what stands out to you the most about the campaign?
I think what stands out to me the most is how this show inspired so many people of different demographics from all over the world and from all walks of life to come together and fight for a common goal simply because it meant that much to them. It galvanized an entire international movement that raised awareness and created change and did some real good in the world. More than anything, I think that perfectly embodies everything that Shadowhunters stands for. When I look back on the campaign, that’s what I’m proudest of.
If the show gets saved, what would you like to see in the following season(s)?
I think it would be really interesting to see where the showrunners would take these characters next, particularly given where we left them in the finale. I’d love to delve a bit deeper into the workings and politics of the Shadow World, especially with Clary having to rediscover it and Alec, Magnus, and Izzy being in such high-level positions of power. But generally speaking, I just want to see more of these characters creating change in the world around them, growing as individuals, and finding happiness and peace within themselves and with each other.
Great answer, I completely agree. Here’s to hoping we can still save our show! Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions today!
One year #SaveShadowhunters and its legacy (so far)
For the final part of this article, I would like to quote Shadowfam member Cally (@shadowcally), as I feel her words resonate with most of us Shadowhunters fans and sum up our experiences throughout the last twelve months perfectly:
Here we are, one year of #SaveShadowhunters and we’re not saved. So how do I measure this year? Where would I be if on this day 365 days ago when I saw the news that Shadowhunters was being cancelled, I’d just gone “well that’s a shame” – and then moved on with my life? What would my life look like now, if on that day I hadn’t joined Twitter, found a fandom waiting there and the #SaveShadowhunters campaign?I’d have had less tears, guaranteed. I would also have had more sleep because those power hours from Australia at 2 am totally wrecked me. I would have felt more sane because this double life I was leading was exhausting. I would have retained more innocence and kept thinking that good things do happen to good people if we’re loud and bold enough. My family wouldn’t think I was insane for spending hours voting in tv awards. I would not have become inexplicably and bizarrely invested in the lives of actors, show runners, tv script writers, strange grey haired German men who like to jog, and know more about the running of tv networks and ratings in 2019 than anyone I know in real life.But I’ve also learnt a few other things. How something so sweet and pure as a tv show can bring good people of all ages and backgrounds together from all over the world, so many of them I now call friends. How resilience and hope can be found in even the darkest of days. How humour and joy can shine through and make my day better. How when inspired, creative writing, artistic talents and the sharing of these things, can change your life and give you a safe refuge to hide for a little while, while you rebuild your heart. That in community we may not always agree on the small stuff but if one of our own is set upon, we will stand tighter and fight like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The ShadowFam is a force to be reckoned with. Over and over the humanity, kindness and goodness of others has shone through in the Shadowfam.I don’t know what’s ahead for our show and fandom. This last year has sure proven me that nothing is a guarantee just because you want it. Shadowhunters is bigger than a tv show. It’s taught me more than I’d ever imagined. I still hope daily that our voices will be heard and that we will be rewarded for our efforts and therefore I can’t stop fighting because, well, some things and people are worth fighting for. I do know one thing for sure, love makes you stronger.
So, what are our biggest campaign takeaways so far?
#1 We haven’t failed – we have created change and made the world a little bit better
#2 We came together as strangers and ended up as friends
#3 We stand strong and united when it matters
#4 Humanity, kindness & goodness can go a long way – and don’t cost us much
#5 Hope can be found in the darkest of days (“Never give up, never surrender”)
#6 It’s love that makes us stronger
Happy anniversary, #SaveShadowhunters campaign! Even though we haven’t achieved our original goal (yet), it was a year well spent. And if somebody asks us how we measure this year, how about we answer with the lyrics of Jonathan Larson’s “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical “Rent”? Let’s measure in love!
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strifeIn five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the lifeHow about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love”– Jonathan Larson, “Seasons of Love” from “Rent”, 1996
Check out our comprehensive Shadowhunters coverage here!
Featured Image Source: Freeform/Ben Mark Holzberg