There isn't a single reason to #SaveShadowhunters, there are literally hundreds: Superfan Amelia Gormley lays it down
In 2017, Forbes ranked the Shadowhunters fandom the most engaged fandom for a sci-fi/fantasy property on the internet, even over genre juggernauts such as Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.
This is a crucial time in world affairs. Neo-fascist movements and intolerance are on the rise, encouraged by many world leaders. A large part of how we respond to these threats will be memorialized in the subtext and metaphor in the stories we tell. One show that deals with combating these issues is Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, which was recently cancelled by Disney’s Freeform network.
This show’s audience is primarily a streaming and delayed viewing audience and it is the perfect show for a streaming service looking to increase its outreach and gain new subscribers.
In 2017, Forbes ranked the Shadowhunters fandom the most engaged fandom for a sci-fi/fantasy property on the internet, even over genre juggernauts such as Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and Harry Potter. And for good reason.
Shadowhunters has a dedicated, global fandom who are passionately committed to saving the show and have garnered headlines for their efforts around the world. Here is a short list of some of their accomplishments over the last three and a half months:
The #SaveShadowhunters petition has garnered over 162,000 signatures.
The #SaveShadowhunters hashtag has been tweeted over 19 MILLION times since the cancellation on June 5.
Shadowhunters was the 5th most tweeted-about show during San Diego ComicCon, despite having no official presence at the convention.
The fandom flew a plane with a #SaveShadowhunters banner over Netflix headquarters in Los Angeles.
Shadowhunters fans have demonstrated their commitment around the globe. The #SaveShadowhunters movement rented a roadblock billboard in Times Square, another outside Toronto’s Eaton Centre, and two more in the subway in Seoul, South Korea. There have been advertisements for #SaveShadowhunters on the iconic red buses of London, and demonstrations in support of the show in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Since the cancellation, Shadowhunters fans won the show two Teen Choice Awards: Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series and Best Male Actor
In November 2018, Shadowhunters fans won the show four People’s Choice Awards: Show of 2018, The Bingeworthy Show, Male TV Star and Female TV Star, all of which were write-in nominations in categories the show was not initially nominated for.
Every day new viewers are binging the show to catch up thanks to the visibility of the #SaveShadowhunters campaign. Twitter analytics indicate that nearly every day, the most common Shadowhunters hashtags (#Shadowhunters and #SaveShadowhunters) gain over a hundred new users tweeting about the show. You can’t buy that kind of publicity.
This is also a very important show.
Shadowhunters broke new ground for a young adult urban fantasy show by featuring a cast that comprised over 50% people of color, and for casting actors of color in roles that were white in the source material. It was also groundbreaking for featuring two main characters who were LGBT, and for having those characters inhabit leadership roles central to the plot. It was groundbreaking for featuring a supporting cast that also contained a significant portion of actors of color and LGBT characters.
Shadowhunters is rife with metaphor dealing with the struggle against—and eventual triumph over—fascist and authoritarian regimes. Valentine Morgenstern, the villain of the first two seasons, was a would-be white-supremacist dictator intent on committing genocide against the minority races of the Shadow World. The Clave, the Shadowhunter “government” is a racist, authoritarian regime that oppresses the minority races of the Shadow World. Our heroes regularly find themselves struggling against this institutional oppression either on their own behalves, or on behalf of their loved ones.
Stories like these are crucially important at this time in our history. These stories will linger long past the time when the headlines of today have faded from memory.
The Shadowhunters fandom is a very socially engaged fandom. Rather than simply demanding their show back, they turned their efforts to raising money for charity in the name of their show.
To date, the fandom has raised over $22,500 directly for The Trevor Project to benefit mental health crisis intervention for LGBT youth. They have raised almost $1,500 directly for GirlUp, the chosen charity of lead actress Katherine McNamara. Through sales of fan-made merchandise, they have raised another nearly $7,500 for Trevor Project, GirlUp, and Together Rising/RAICES Texas, to end family separation on the US border. The Brazilian contingent of the fandom recently raised over 1,000 Brazilian Reals for Barretos Cancer Hospital.
This is an important time in history, and in this age of mass media, the greatest impression we can make to influence local and global opinions and outlooks is with the stories we tell, and this story is a necessary one.
The writer is an LGBT Romance Author and ardent Shadowhunters fan.
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