What makes a great fanbase? That’s a question that is hard to qualify or quantify, since so much of it is up to an individual. You can be a tremendous individual fan and think that you are making a difference. Often you are. The truth, though, is that in the end, some bases for shows are more vocal, passion, and recognizable than others. Through the lens of what we see and experience at CarterMatt, many of these are nominees for the Best Fanbase honor at the CarterMatt Awards this year.
The shows we’ve chosen this year are ones that we’ve seen a passionate following for on the site year-round, on our social media channels, and also in the larger picture of TV as a whole. They are programs we love to talk about and discuss as much as anyone.
Past history – This is the third straight year we’ve done this category. “Arrow” won in 2014, while “Supernatural” did in 2013. Both times, the vote was a landslide.
“Hannibal” (formerly of NBC) – As of this writing, “Hannibal” has yet to find a new home, but it does not have anything to do with the enthusiasm of its fans. They may be small in comparison to other followings, but they are mighty and are willing to support the show by any means necessary. Since the cancellation we’ve seen petitions, artwork, letters, Twitter events, and constant poll voting to raise awareness for why this show is so great. Sooner or later we hope their effort is rewarded.
“Longmire” (Netflix) – After everything that this fanbase did in order to ensure that they were saved by Netflix, and then renewed by them for a fifth season, is there any way that you can say that they are not worthy of an award? They’re some of the smartest, most-unified viewers that we’ve ever seen. They frequently live-tweet old episodes, send messages of support to the actors, and make being a part of the community a great experience.
“NCIS” (CBS) – We’re not going to say that the “NCIS” fandom is anywhere near as unified as those who watch “Longmire,” mostly because of the fact that we probably get a larger range of tweets and questions about this show than any other at CarterMatt. Some love certain characters, some hate them. The fact is that there are still well over ten million people who watch this show weekly, and many of them remain so invested in the story and its characters so that they can have such strong opinions. There are few other crime shows, especially on network TV, that produce this effect.
“Once Upon a Time” (ABC) – One of the most creative fan bases we’ve ever seen. Just think about the fan art, the fanfiction, the Tumblr pages, the social-media trends, and everything else that #Oncers / whatever else you want to call them do. They are all fiercely opinionated in the same way that “NCIS” fans are, but we’re not sure that there is a single other show out there that leverages social media for creativity and support of specific characters and romantic pairings quite like this one.
“Outlander” (Starz) – All you have to do is look at many poll results not only here, but all across the TV media landscape, to know how much “Outlander” fans love their show. They’re fiercely devoted, and will do anything that they can to ensure that it and its cast and crew get their proper due. (Given that the show is excellent, it makes sense.) Many of them also serve as great liaisons to the work of Diana Gabaldon, and like many “Game of Thrones” fans are with George R.R. Martin, they are pretty respectful with not spoiling future events and allow you to enjoy the story.
“Supernatural” (The CW) – The fanbase is called the #SPNFamily for a reason: It legitimately feels like a family. It’s big, it’s welcoming, and everyone makes an effort to see each other (as in the actors tend to do many conventions). Sure, there are disagreements from time to time since everyone has their favorite characters and stories, but this is a show with a following so hardcore and so well-known, the writers crafted “Fan Fiction” the episode as a tribute.