Changing Channels

One of my favourite episodes of Supernatural has to be “Changing Channels,” the eighth episode from season five. Of all its nine seasons, the fifth is my favourite. Its overarching plot deals with Sam and Dean Winchester being chosen as the human vessels for angels Michael and Lucifer (yes, remember the Devil used to be a rebellious angel cast out of Heaven for defying God’s orders?). 

Unfortunately, their refusal to be used as vessels causes trouble with the angels, who are gearing up for the ultimate battle with the demons from Hell. The only solution, according to the angels, is for Michael to destroy Lucifer in a combat that would kick-start the Apocalypse and kill everyone on Earth. 

The cover of Supernatural's fifth season.

The cover of Supernatural's fifth season.

In “Changing Channels," the Winchesters fall victim to the antics of the Trickster, a demi-god known for creating mischief and mayhem. The Trickster was last seen in season three when he killed Dean over and over on a Tuesday to teach Sam the lesson that the brothers are each other’s weaknesses. This time, the Trickster sticks the Winchester brothers in TV Land.

This is my favourite episode because of its comedic value, as well as the lesson the Trickster tries to teach, and its contribution to the overarching plot. The brothers are first dropped into a soap opera called Dr. Sexy, M.D., then they play on a Japanese game show called Nutcracker, followed by an appearance in a commercial for Herpexia, a medication to reduce the chances of passing on genital herpes. The boys figure out that the Trickster wants them to play their roles on TV, but ask: “For how long?”

The boys are stuck until their angel friend Castiel tries to break them out of TV Land, saying they’ve been missing for days. This angers the Trickster and he beats Castiel. The boys wonder why the Trickster looks at Castiel like he knows him. Instead, the Trickster tells them that they need to play their roles as the vessels for Michael and Lucifer and end the feud between Heaven and Hell. The boys still refuse, saying it will destroy the Earth.

The episode offers insight on what family will do to save their family. It also challenges the concepts of destiny and free will. Do we defy the choices made for us, and make up our own future? And even if we think we are making our own choices, does that still change the outcome of our destiny?  

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Alexa Batitis

is a 20-year-old student. In her spare time she likes to watch a lot of TV. Her favourite shows are Doctor Who, Supernatural, and Game of Thrones. She has been a part of fandoms since she was 14. She has also written a lot of shameless fanfiction, and you can get over it.

Twitter / Facebook / Supernatural IMDB

Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and Conventions

One of the best parts about your favourite TV show reaching a certain point of popularity is when the network will throw events to give back to the fans. These events also provide an opportunity to promote the show.

One of the best fan-events for a show like Supernatural is the convention, which is hosted in many different North American cities. Since Supernatural is filmed in British Columbia, Canadian cities like Vancouver and Toronto are on the list. U.S. cities like DallasChicago, and Washington are also on the list of tour dates. 

The convention usually takes place over a weekend, from Friday to Sunday, and is usually held at a convention centre large enough for a thousand people. The number of people at the convention each day varies; on the days with the most popular actors or events, more people show up, and vice versa.

Panels are enjoyable, and they’re free to attend if you’ve bought an admission ticket. Usually panels will start off with lesser-known actors on the Friday, supporting actors on the Saturday and the main actors on the Sunday (though the schedule always varies according to the actors’ schedules). They are usually lighthearted, playful, and fun. Pictures and videos of these panels make their way onto social media sites like Tumblr and Twitter, with fans abuzz about out-of-character interactions.

Each convention is split into four different parts: panels with the actors, photo ops, autographs, and contests. These events take place throughout the entire weekend, with each day filled with a number of activities for convention-goers to decide to attend or not.

Seriously, paying to meet these guys was worth it. 

Seriously, paying to meet these guys was worth it. 

Photo-ops and autographs are considerably more exciting, because you get to meet your favourite actors from the show. Unfortunately, you’re probably going to be shelling out a lot of cash for these. They are well worth it, though, if the experience will mean a lot to you. 

The most fan-oriented part of the convention lies in the contests. Of course, there is a costume contest, although this doesn’t mean that everyone who has dressed up will take place in it. Talented fans showcase their elaborate homemade costumes, while others choose more subtle costumes. There is also a fan video contest, in which the actors present the winners with a prize. 

The convention is one of the best experiences you can have as a fan. Where better to mingle than at a weekend-long convention with costumed weirdoes who have paid as much as you to catch a glimpse of the actors that make their show special?

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Alexa Batitis

is a 20-year-old student. In her spare time she likes to watch a lot of TV. Her favourite shows are Doctor Who, Supernatural, and Game of Thrones. She has been a part of fandoms since she was 14. She has also written a lot of shameless fanfiction, and you can get over it.

Twitter / Facebook / Supernatural IMDB

A Bit of Late Night Reading

 Fandoms can get a little creative sometimes, inspired so much by their favourite show or book. One way that fans release this creativity is by writing fanfiction and producing fanart.

Fanfiction is a variety of different written works, but mostly fanfiction is expressed through short stories. Fanfiction also includes poetry, script and roleplaying. Fanart can be expressed through any art medium, even through photo manipulations. Stories and drawings take up the majority of fanfiction and fanart.

I've spent many late nights reading and writing fanfiction.

I've spent many late nights reading and writing fanfiction.

Stories are also categorized by how closely they follow canon. Canon is defined as material that follows the original story line. This is a preference that widely differs across fandoms. 

I would say that many people in the Supernatural fandom enjoy following canon in fanfiction. A lot of reasons that authors of fanfic mess with canon is because they would rather see their favourite characters in different environments or they would want to see characters they have created in a world that is already built for them. These are two main themes that appear in most fanfiction in general.

There are a lot of different types of fanfiction. One of the most popular stories to write is an Alternate Universe, where (like I described earlier) characters that readers are familiar with are thrown into settings that are far from familiar to the characters. Some popular alternate universes are public high schools, World War II or historical period pieces. 

Another popular story idea that people use for fanfiction is a “song fic”. Authors will take a song that they think is relevant to the show and write a story based on the song’s lyrics or a story based on how the song made them feel about the show. 

Additionally, I have seen a lot of websites hosting writing contests. A prompt is given and people submit pieces, and there is usually a word count involved. This is a great way for newcomers to the fanfic community to meet new people and integrate with the community.

Fanfiction communities are huge online. A few examples are FanFiction.net, LiveJournal and AO3. Using messageboards, fellow authors can communicate and read each other’s work, edit and give constructive feedback on stories. It is actually a great place to meet friends online. 

Certain fanfiction stories can amass a following and become popular among the fandom. There are some notable stories that make their rounds through the fandom. There is some controversy (mainly the sexuality of characters) about fanfiction and the way that some authors achieve popularity. But, these are just some of the aspects that you have to deal with when you’re in fandom.

Between fanfiction and fanart, I prefer producing fanfiction. I’ll admit that I’ve written some fanfiction that I’d never want my mother to read. And that is also an aspect you deal with in fandom.

 

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Alexa Batitis

is a 20-year-old student. In her spare time she likes to watch a lot of TV. Her favourite shows are Doctor Who, Supernatural, and Game of Thrones. She has been a part of fandoms since she was 14. She has also written a lot of shameless fanfiction, and you can get over it.

Twitter / Facebook / Supernatural IMDB

Should Haters Keep on Hating? No!

There are certain aspects of fandoms that I would never want to associate myself with. This is the number one thing that every fandom is guaranteed to have: the creepy and hateful fan. 

I follow Supernatural actors on various social media. These are personal accounts that they have no problem sharing with the world. Occasionally, I’ll try to contact them on Twitter, in hopes of getting a reply. Many people have this same idea. Many people have this same idea 10 times over. 

Photo of Jensen Ackles for TV Guide. Jensen is happily married. Click the image for TV Guide's website.

Photo of Jensen Ackles for TV Guide. Jensen is happily married. Click the image for TV Guide's website.

Some fans use social media accounts to stalk celebrities. I would never spam my favourite actors in hopes of them replying to me. Maybe I would have had this idea when I was 13, but not as an adult. I just don’t understand the logic. 

I’ll admit, when I was in Toronto for the Supernatural convention, I may have told Misha Collins (the actor who plays Castiel) to come to the hotel lobby after the convention was over. I knew he would probably never even see the reply. But some fans actually use social media to track their every move.

My question is WHY?

I don’t understand the importance of knowing where an actor went to lunch last Tuesday. Maybe I’ll never understand. That’s just creepy if that’s your hobby, though.

Another thing I will never understand is why fans hate their favourite actor’s significant other. I mean, I have faced the fact that Jensen Ackles will never marry me. He’s married to a supermodel named Danneel Harris. This doesn’t give me any reason to hate her, though!

Hateful fans chase away what true fans struggle to keep – an honest and genuine reputation.

I feel like the best solution to the problems that hateful fans have is just to accept every aspect of the celebrity in question. While fans may grant themselves entitlement to a celebrity’s life and choices, they have to realize that they actually have no control over what this person does with their life. 

Hateful fans destroy the fun of the most engaging aspects of fandom, but it would be hypocritical to hate them too. So, like we do with that one creepy uncle we all have, we must suck it up and invite them to Sunday dinner (or in our case, Tuesday-night viewing) whether we want to or not. Fans like us keep the shows going. 

 

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Alexa Batitis

is a 20-year-old student. In her spare time she likes to watch a lot of TV. Her favourite shows are Doctor Who, Supernatural, and Game of Thrones. She has been a part of fandoms since she was 14. She has also written a lot of shameless fanfiction, and you can get over it.

Twitter / Facebook / Supernatural IMDB

You Never Forget Your First Fandom

  

We all make mistakes as teenagers. For some, these involve substance abuse – luckily, the biggest life-changing mistake I made was joining fandom.

I am doubly lucky – in this day and age, it’s cool to identify with things that, in the past, would have had you labeled as a "nerd" or uncool. I was uncool in high school when I first made the discovery of Harry Potter fanfiction, and at that point in my life I was still finding my footing around in what interested me and what didn’t.

You could say, if we’re keeping with the metaphor, that Harry Potter is like the fandom gateway drug: it enables you to join other fandoms. My generation has read the books, or at least seen the Potter movies, so it was easy to build friendships through this common interest.

The friends I made in the Harry Potter fandom shared their other interests with me, as I did with them. There was a sense of security whenever someone told me to read a new book or watch a movie I’d never seen before, simply because it was a recommendation from a good friend. I was more inclined to start reading new books because my friends always tried to push me into their fandoms.

I branched off into the Doctor Who fandom after Harry Potter. I had a friend from work who, when we weren’t making wand jokes in front of customers, told me how the actor who played her favourite character, Barty Crouch Jr, played the tenth Doctor Who on the popular BBC sci-fi series (she was talking about David Tennant).

After I cried about that TV show for a long time, I had to fill the void created by the show’s 11-month hiatus. That was when my excitement for The Hunger Games movie surfaced (I had read the books in high school) and everyone had gotten into a new TV show, Game of Thrones, based on a popular book series. 

Finally, after much convincing, my sister and I watched all eight seasons of the show Supernatural. Most of our sibling bonding during those months happened because we watched two brothers fight demons and save each other. Now, I’ve comfortably settled into the Supernatural fandom, and added it to the collection of other fandoms I’m part of.

 

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Alexa Batitis

is a 20-year-old student. In her spare time she likes to watch a lot of TV. Her favourite shows are Doctor Who, Supernatural, and Game of Thrones. She has been a part of fandoms since she was 14. She has also written a lot of shameless fanfiction, and you can get over it.

Twitter / Facebook  / FanFiction.net