Our final episode of the season — episode 16!!!– started when a Sherlock fan who goes by the handle, We Love the Beekeeper, sent a letter to my USC colleague Alison Trope from the Critical Media Project, describing her outrage over the ways that the series production and promotion team had mistreated its fans, especially LGBTQ fans and others who were invested in the idea that Holmes and Watson might, at least, be depicted on screen in a romantic relationship. As I read the letter, I felt that much of what was being described could just as well be referring to a range of other recent clashes between show runners and fans around the representation of characters who may or may not (will they or won’t they be queer).
So, we invited three guests who we felt could shed light on the persistence of these patterns: Emily Andras, the very fan friendly producer of Wynonna Earp; Maureen Ryan, the television critic who was fearless in her support for fans throughout a similar controversy surrounding The 100; and Louisa Stein, a key figure in Fandom Studies and co-editor with Kristina Busse of Sherlock and Transmedia Fandom.
These three amazing women share their thoughts on the “Bury Your Gays” trope and why bad things happen to good fandoms in an age when show runners theoretically understand the value of audience engagement. The episode digs deep but we also try to explain key terms of the debate as we move forward, so it is not a bad jumping on point for those who would like to understand what fans expect from producers and vice-versa.
We will be back in the fall with more cool episodes. In the meantime, let us know how you like it so far? I would love to base more episodes on getting answers to our listeners’ questions (assuming we have any) so let us know what you would like to know more about. You can write me at [email protected].
Alas, this will be the last episode to benefit from the incredible work of our student producer, Sean Myers, and boy, will we miss him.