TV Writers and Showrunners Increasingly ‘Mute’ the Fans

Back in the day, television writers would get feedback about their shows in one of two ways: from the occasional review in a publication, or from the ratings. Then around the late ’90s, shows like The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer ushered in an era of fandom; viewers were empowered by the Internet and its burgeoning fandom communities. Note that the people who were early adopters to message boards and listservs had a certain bias in what they favored: geeky, cerebral shows that rewarded vigilant, and recurring, viewings. Think Twin Peaks. Think, later, and for another generation, Lost. Think what we’ve come to understand as the (new) Golden Age of Television, co-created equally by its writers and its most passionate fans.

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