Monday 5 January 2015

Mobilizing a Fan Base: The Campaign to Renew Forever

By Courtney Lockhart

It’s an all too common tale these days: The unique, entertaining program that got cancelled before it’s time.  Search “Best Cancelled TV Shows” and you will retrieve dozens of lists and comment sections full of fans still grieving.   One fandom isn’t taking any chances. Even though their show is still currently in production they want to make sure things stay that way and so they are taking to social media with a single message #renewforever. 
Cast L-R: Joel David Moore as Lucas, Judd Hirsch as Abe, Ioan Gruffudd as Henry, Alana De La Garza as Detective Jo Martinez, Donnie Keshawarz as Detective Hanson and Lorraine Touissant as Lt. Joanne Reece. (ABC/Bob D'Amico)
Forever is a procedural crime drama with a twist. Dr Henry Morgan works in the New York City Medical Examiner’s office. He has an uncanny ability to read the bodies that come into his morgue and as such has struck up a partnership with Detective Jo Martinez of the 11th precinct homicide division. There is one mystery Henry can’t figure out however- his immortality.  I reviewed the first four episodes  for this site back in October and since then, my enthusiasm has only grown. 

However, despite a wonderful supporting cast, great writing and a People’s Choice Award nomination for Favourite New TV Drama, the show is a common target for cancel/renew scorecards and has been listed by sites such as TVLine as unlikely to reach the second season. Forever regularly draws over 5 million viewers live. It has always increased, and occasionally doubled, those numbers by the time DVR figures are available.  However, the critics believe that for a show on a major network those numbers aren't promising even though they surpass those of other freshman hits. 

This is where our intrepid fans comes in. A group of Foreverists have decided to let the network know exactly how loud 5 million voices can be. An old fashioned letter writing campaign has been organized with the goal of flooding the ABC mailroom with notes and calendars telling the network it’s time to renew.  
Photo Credit: Emma Reed
Deb Survey and Lin Blank co-admin both The Official Ioan Gruffudd Group on Facebook as well as a second group specifically dedicated to the show called Foreverist Group for Forever Fans. “We’re doing our best to keep Forever around for a long time,” they said. “We find the writing clever and spot on, and the characters are drawn in a rich and human way. Seeing the fans unite in support of this show is amazing.”  

On top of the letter writing campaign the fan community around Forever is extremely active. There is a weekly live tweet event during the show’s Tuesday night airings where cast and crew have been known to pop in as schedules allow. Tumblr is full of fan art prompt games, discussions and gif builders highlighting some of the quintessential moments of the first half of the season. If you pop on the Facebook pages, you are greeted with reminders to vote for Forever in the People’s Choice Awards as well as lists of all the ways you can get in contact with ABC to show your support.  They are a loyal and vocal team. Hopefully by showing exactly how much they love their show, they will be able to help secure it’s future and keep it off the “Best Cancelled Shows” list for… a very long time. 

Forever airs Monday night at 9pm on CTV, Tuesdays at 10pm on ABC and is available to stream at on Wednesdays. 

Courtney Lockhart lives in the west end of Ottawa with her husband and step-cat.  She is polishing her skills to pursue one of her dream careers as either a costume drama character, Torchwood operative or executive assistant to a billionaire vigilante. You can follow her daily mission to DFTBA on Twitter @corastacy

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