We have seen some amazing campaigns in recent times to save people fleeing war and oppres… sorry, I mean “TV shows we like”.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine was canned by Fox, only to be picked up by NBC after a few frantic days of activism. One Day At A Time was cancelled by Netflix after three seasons, but a fan campaign won it a new home at US cable network Pop TV.
Fan lobbying meant Netflix saved the Fox series Lucifer for two seasons, and Sense8 (Netflix) and Deadwood (HBO) came back for series-winding-up conclusions they were robbed of by their sudden axing.
And streaming TV has been a key player in this. Netflix alone has brought back the likes of Arrested Development, Full House and Gilmore Girls, as well as the aforementioned titles.
And that’s great for fans, but don’t bank on that being the case forever. Yes, these services are doing more and more new content, but galvanising public support to keep a show on air might become the norm, not the exception.
See, subscription services don’t make new programmes simply because they love you and want to thank you for your continued patronage.
The big money is in new sign ups, and that’s fuelled by people wanting to see intriguing new shows that everyone’s talking about, not because they’ve heard that seasons six of Schitt’s Creek will be its last.
And that’s despite Schitt’s Creek being goddamn brilliant, despite its cringeworthy name, and that we’re totally invested in all those characters.
Also, the very idea of a sixth season might soon go the way of All Star Variety Spectaculars on the television watchscape.
A leaked (and disputed) document from Netflix reported that data analysis showed new shows drove new subscriptions, and that season two of a hot series was also a draw.
However, from season three onwards supposedly the viewers were people who were already on the service.
This has led to the suggestion that long running original shows may become increasingly rare on streaming services and that two seasons will become the norm.
And this, to be fair, isn’t dramatically different from what a lot of networks would do – it’s hard to think of too many Australian comedies since the 90s that lasted more than two series – but it does mean that you, the fan, has to up your game.
In other words: if you love a show, you can’t merely watch it. You have to be an active cheerleader for it.
And it’s not just a matter of tweeting enthusiastically. Both Veronica Mars (soon to debut its new series on Stan) and Mystery Science Theater 3000 (on Netflix) were brought back to life because fans literally put their hands in their pockets and paid for a movie and a 12 episode new series, respectively.
So, love a show? Get ready to show it.
And seriously, don’t end Schitt’s Creek with season six. We all know that Moira has many, many more wigs to give.