That's right. I've been doing it for years but hadn't really noticed until recently, and I know others do it too: say there's a show, or a series of books, which is a big deal while in syndication or in publication, and then it ends, and you haven't read or watched it at all. So you pick it up and settle in to watch from episode (or chapter) one, all the while others have already lived and experienced it all. And then, inexorably, you find yourself drowning in obsession and fandom while your friends are generally already standing on dry land on the other side, having forded the river successfully without their Connestoga wagons tipping or their oxen drowning.
Examples of Retroactive Fandom : I recently read The Hunger Games trilogy, a whole year after the final book ("Mockingjay") was released. I watched the first three seasons of Heroes before its fourth season was confirmed, which is a modified example, of course; and then season five was canceled, which was utterly devastating, don't get me started... Most recently, however, I was suckerpunched into watching the reboot of Battlestar Galactica (the giver of said suckerpunch was Miss Alex, of course, with help from a number of our friends) and that journey finally came to an end for me on Tuesday.
Those of you that have watched BSG know that when I say it was a "journey" I'm not kidding. I started watching it last winter but continued on and off until this month, because of other various life things that got in the way of me totally focusing on the survival politics of Galactica's crew and their toaster allies and enemies alike. Taking my time with the series did not lessen the impact of any of the incredible twists and turns along the way, especially those late in the game. I was floored. Totally floored. I'm still floored; my brain is still half-functioning because I'm trying to reconcile my worldview with the final reveal of the fourth season. I absolutely consider myself a fan now, despite the fact that I didn't join up till several years after the series ended. I loved how gritty it was, how unexpected it tended to be in spite of your tendency as a viewer to try and predict things before they happened. I loved the characters, the growing and changing relationships and interactions they all had, and even the religious subplot and mysterious undertones of the otherwise 'realistic' storylines (that is, realistic for a universe which precludes other planets than can support life and sentient artificial intelligence). It was fantastically written, in my opinion, and fantastically performed by a wonderful cast.
A lot of people might say that unless you watch a show in syndication, you're not a real 'fan' of a series, but it has been my experience mostly that nerds and geeks are more willing to allow latecomers into the fold, as long as those latecomers are fully versed in the canon and haven't skipped any details. AM has a favorite defense mantra, which goes something to the effect of "I didn't become a nerd till later in my life but it doesn't make me any less of a nerd than you." Where once the true test of a geek was how long one had been a fan of something, now it seems that there is more room for those who are young, or younger, or have only discovered certain things recently, but are fully committed to the fandom in spite of their tardiness. Another example: I am still in the process of watching The X-Files beginning to end, because I did not watch it in syndication (I was busy with DS9 and Voyager, kthx) but I consider myself totally invested in the series; X-Files is a passion for those who truly love it, and I absolutely love it. Again, I am taking my time finishing it -- I've still got season 8 and 9 left, and I'm terrified for it to end, even though I've seen both of the full-length movies. But that's all stuff for another day... I'm just saying.
|My incredible cosmic Emily made this for me last Xmas. MADE IT. With puffy paint.|
What I'm saying, really, I guess, is that experiencing a series ex post facto is still an experience, and that anyone who says it's "less" of an experience is absolutely wrong. All that matters is your personal experience and reaction to a show, a book, a movie. Whatever it is. If you love it, that's what counts. I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone I know who has already seen BSG (which is almost everyone) and kept the big surprises secret from me for all this time. It made a huge difference. I'm in Steven Moffat's camp, y'all: nobody really likes spoilers except people who have no true passion for storytelling. I would love to give my rabid thoughts about the end of BSG, but because the surprises were so fresh for me, I'd hate to throw anybody else under the bus, however unsuspecting. I'd also like to take this opportunity to say that I thought my dad made up the word "frak" as a cute alternative to the f-bomb. I grew up with him saying it, and subsequently have said it myself for years. Flash forward to the first episode of BSG -- I heard them saying it left and right and had a huge epiphany. My dad didn't invent "frak." Original!BSG did. And my dad loved original!BSG (as well as new!BSG). But that's the thing -- everything nerdy in my life goes back to the source: my father. He is the bringer of new things and the encourager of all that is geeky. Therefore, my dad is awesome.
So say we all.
Coming up soon: Reflections on prepping for conventions, costuming, and the Bristol Renaissance Faire (I know it was months ago, but I still have feelings about it!). ALSO: this Saturday, AM and I will be attending the fifth annual Doctor Whoniverse photoshoot in Chicago... expect pics! Currently reading "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" by Cory Doctorow and watching the animated "Batman: Year One"... whee!