Recently, I took stock of all the various fandoms of which I am a part. Here’s the list: Harry Potter, Whedonverse, Supernatural, iZombie, and Veronica Mars. Probably Marvel if you only count the MCU, not the comics. Some of the DC CW shows almost made the list too. I’m not a member of the Star Wars fandom, although I’ve seen all of the movies at least once (not Solo). I’ve never seen the Star Trek shows or movies. I’ve seen a handful of Dr. Who episodes at random but I keep hesitating to dive into that intense fandom. There is too much content to devour it all.
The worlds are too big!
Many of the fandoms I joined when they were just beginning. I read Harry Potter as it came out. I watched the Whedon shows on DVD (before Netflix was a streaming services). I began watching Supernatural and iZombie when the first seasons aired. I was two seasons late to Veronica Mars but soon caught up and finished before the last (at the time) season aired. I went to my first Marvel movie because I knew that Joss Whedon was directing The Avengers, which would be the final team-up movie featuring all of these new characters (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America). I’ve seen every Marvel movie since then (Curse you, Whedon!). But, in short, I joined these fandoms on the ground floor.
Why do I avoid new fandoms? Why doesn’t I just watch Dr. Who or Star Trek already?
The simple answer is that I’m afraid.
To be clear, I’m not afraid of the fandom itself. I’m afraid of diving face first into a deep pool of content. Dr. Who is a huge series. Where would I start? The rebooted seasons? The older seasons? What about Star Trek? Do I begin with the original series? In what order do I watch the Star Wars movies? This doesn’t begin to include the expanded universe of all these fandoms. That’s too much homework for one lifetime!
In other areas, I’m more selective. I saw the DC movies Wonder Woman and Shazam in theaters and rented Aquaman. But I avoided Suicide Squad, Batman Vs. Superman, and Justice League (which I actually forgot existed while writing this post). Continuing with DC, I’ve seen all of The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow (which I love). I’ve only watched half of season one of Arrow though. It doesn’t grab me as much. Barry Allen is more watchable than Oliver Queen, in my opinion. I prefer Grant Gustin’s Barry to what I’ve seen of Ezra Miller’s portrayal, although I loved Miller in Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Like I said, I’ve seen all the Marvel movies, but I didn’t watch Agents of Shield. I enjoyed Jessica Jones on Netflix and liked Daredevil, but I haven’t watched Iron Fist and wasn’t drawn in by Luke Cage. My fear with the new Disney Plus streaming service is that the new content featuring Marvel movie characters will be required viewing to understand the movies. From what I’ve heard, this will probably be the case, namely with WandaVision and the second Dr. Strange movie (LINK).
The MCU is becoming far too big, and frankly, I’m losing steam. I’m a dirty casual viewer, so they have to take it easy on me. (I’ve never read a Marvel comic and I’ve barely read any comics.) But I know Marvel and Disney will not slow down anytime soon. Marvel movies like Avengers: Endgame are now cultural events. The comic book movie has come a long way. What would Christopher Reeve think? DC and Marvel, no matter the setbacks, are in it for the long haul. They are not going away.
What does that mean for the viewer? Well, we have to learn to be more selective. I’m not going to become a part of the Star Wars fandom, but I’ll go see The Rise of Skywalker in the theaters. I’ll probably never watch Star Trek or Dr. Who as a whole. I’ll continue watching the CW shows (except iZombie, which is in its final season) and go to see the Marvel movies. I’ll wait for a week to see the next DC movie, if I go at all. I’m not planning on seeing the next Fantastic Beasts movies after the dud that was the second movie. Basically, I’ll seek out the characters I find interesting (like Legends of Tomorrow, seriously, go watch it now) and ignore or miss the characters or content I don’t find compelling. I know fans of the properties I avoid probably don’t like everything I find enjoyable. It’s a free world. But we can both enjoy our respective fandoms without swaying the other. I’ll praise the likes iZombie and Veronica Mars because fewer people know about these shows, but that is becoming rarer. Everyone knows about Star Wars and Dr. Who. For the most part, I’ll trust the recommendations of myfriend and family, but that doesn’t mean I’ll watch everything they suggest.
The sheer amount of media in the world today (movies, shows, books, etc.) is too much to take in and not feel exhausted. Modern media is overwhelming. The viewer must decide what to filter out to avoid a never-ending list of shows on your chosen streaming services.
Don’t mindlessly consume. Use your judgment and narrow the flood of media to a stream.
Good luck, fellow viewer!