We’ve all heard it before, and have probably even uttered it a few times ourselves. In the history of fandom, there’s probably no phrase more totally cringe-worthy than a smugly uttered “I liked it before I was cool”.
Just ask any OG Star Wars fan, they’ll tell you at length why Han shot first, and why their original, pre-special edition VHS trilogy tapes are far superior to anything that’s been released since the first edition of Return of the Jedi (never mind the fact it’s been 20 years since they actually saw a functioning VCR capable of playing said tapes, and despite their protests, they still totally dig BB-8 and would love to see him go on a buddy-cop adventure with R2D2, but that’s beside the point).
And yes, my VHS tapes are totally awesome and kick the butts of your collector’s edition steel-box Blu-rays any day.
What was I saying? Oh, that’s right, I was going to tell you about a little discovery I made recently, after bingeing season three of Stranger Things and was suddenly gripped in the midst of that special type of existential crisis that inevitably comes with the realisation that you have absolutely no idea what to watch next.
Skipping from Netflix to Stan to Amazon and back again, I spent a good hour or so flicking through the menus trying to find something to quench my insatiable thirst for some good ol’ binge-worthy TV. Be honest, we’ve all done it – literally thousands of hours of new TV and movies right at our fingertips and you can’t decide whether or not you should just re-watch the entirety of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the umpteenth time (which you totally should anyway, if only for our vamp-tastic November Supa-Star, Julie Benz).
But you see the real problem isn’t the amount of available choice – the actual reason we spend so much time pondering which shows we want start is because we’re scared to invest our time, and emotions, in a show that might just end up breaking our tender fan hearts. Choosing a series to watch these days is much like dating, and I’ve had my heart broken too many times over the years to commit myself to a new potential fandom lightly.
Anyway, with my remote control clutched in my hand like a bunch of cheap supermarket flowers meant for that special first date, I finally decided to take the Recommended Shows route on Amazon Prime and hit play on the first episode of The Magicians.
And oh my… Let’s just say there is such a thing as love at first sight, and I am now totally besotted with Quentin Coldwater and Alice Quinn, Elliot is totally my new favourite, and I would gladly swear fealty and allegiance to High King Margo. How on earth had I ever gone so long without ever stumbling across this show before?! And, far more importantly, where can I find a High King Margo Pop! Vinyl complete with eye patch?
FINDING A NEW FANDOM LATE MEANS NO WAITING
Long gone are the days when waiting for a new episode each week seems normal. These days the few seconds it takes to brush the pizza crumbs off your shirt and duck to the loo is too long between episodes. The totally glorious thing about finding a pre-existing fan worthy binge-fest like The Magicians is there are usually a whole bunch of seasons waiting for you to delve headfirst into without having to ever come up for air.
LOVING A FANDOM LONGER DOESN’T MEAN LOVING IT MORE
Now I’m sure there are plenty of fans of The Magicians who have been there since the beginning, who even knew (I certainly didn’t) that the show was based on a series of best-selling books from author Lev Grossman, and after reading my own introduction to the show, may question which planet I’ve been living on for the past few years. But the joke is totally on them, I got to enjoy an intense love affair with a new show that now ranks up with my all-time favourites, I’ve already pre-ordered the fourth season box set, and I’ve bought the books to tide me over until then. I am thoroughly and completely obsessed, my little geek heart is bursting with joy and I’ll happily bore my friends, colleagues and random strangers with talk about the show until their eyes glaze over and wish they were elsewhere.
FANDOM IS ALL ABOUT SHARING WHAT YOU LOVE
If you are coming late into an already well-established fandom you might think you are somehow less worthy than those who’ve been at it far longer than you. Nothing could be further from the truth, and any true fan takes delight in being able to see new people fall in love with a franchise in much the same way they did. So don’t be afraid to proclaim your geek love to the world just because you came in a few years later than most; it might actually rekindle some old flames for others which have begun to wither over time.
TEST YOUR NEWFOUND OBSESSIVE KNOWLEDGE ON THE MUGGLES FIRST
Probably the scariest thing about walking into a long-established fandom is coming face-to-face with another fan who already knows your newfound obsession back-to-front. Let’s be honest though, there’s no admission testing or prerequisite exam you need to undertake to prove that you’re a fan of something, and that fear is usually completely unfounded.
Gatekeeper fans – those small, select few who may think that they need to test any newcomers as though they somehow own the place – are actually few and far between. And, most people know that trying to outfan a fan by proving that you know more than them is a completely obnoxious and totally uncool move. High King Margo would have none of it!
That said, if you want to make sure you’ve got what it takes to be able to speak fluent fan just try it on a Muggle who knows absolutely nothing about your fandom first. If they start tugging at their collar and begin looking for ways to change the topic onto the weather or the price of real estate, rest assured you’ve got what it takes to converse in fluent fanspeak and its time to seek out your new tribe.
Now to find something suitably dapper so I can cosplay Elliot at Brisbane Supanova!
MOST IMPORTANTLY, PEOPLE, WHAT SHOULD I WATCH NEXT?
It does occur to me, though, that once I’ve binged on season four when my boxset arrives, I’m going to be a lost once more and will have to find a new show.
I’ve heard that before he was on Supernatural, November Supa-Star Mark Sheppard appeared on a little sci-fi show from Joss Whedon called Firefly. I sure hope there’s more than one season of that…
I kid, I liked Firefly before it was cool.
And I’m still waiting for season two.
I have heard whispers of an obscure, little BBC show involving a Time Travelling Doctor who gets about in a blue Police box though. I wonder what that’s all about?
Lead image: Nirvanna the Band the Show. Pic via SBS On Demand.