In the world of TV, Supernatural is king when it comes to fandom. The fans are passionate about all things Supernatural, and those involved with the show are equally committed to their fans. The devoted fan base is diverse, with varied passions, making it that much richer.
You can’t even talk about television fandom without Supernatural being included in the conversation. Supernatural is crushing it in the EW Fanuary Ultimate Fan Bracket, in which fans vote for their favorite pop culture each week. Fans have voted for Supernatural over a host of fandoms in movies, the digital world, television, and music. Though the CW show has a relatively small audience, the fandom of Supernatural has a giant heart.
Social media engagement
The cast and crew of the long-running CW show have a pervasive social media presence. The lead actors, Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) and Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester), are committed and grateful to their fans, setting the tone for the show. Series regular Misha Collins (Castiel) has been recognized by The Shorty Awards for his social media contributions. Other Supernatural actors, such as Ruth Connell (Rowena)—one of our favorite Scots—are interactive with fans on the internet, responding to and reposting comments. The Supernatural stars share photos of their families and life outside of the set, show support of their fans and causes that are important to them, live-tweet episodes, and share sarcastic barbs. Fans empathize with the real-life struggles and joys of the Supernatural cast and crew, and are thrilled to see that Padalecki and Ackles genuinely enjoy spending time together. It truly is an #SPNFamily.
The fandom also connects to one another through social media. Fans celebrate, commiserate, and anticipate their favorite TV show through countless posts and tweets about Supernatural. Many ally with each other in meaningful ways, creating lasting friendships and a network of support. There’s lots of #Supernatural and #SPN on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google+, but Tumblr is pretty much run by Supernatural fans. Where else can you learn about “The Ten Types of Fans on Tumblr as told by Supernatural Characters”? According to Tumblr Fandometrics, Supernatural is consistently in the top 10 and frequently in the top 5 of the TV shows trending on Tumblr. And who doesn’t love a great gif?
The Supernatural cast is known for their involvement with fans at conventions, which occur throughout the country and around the world. Sure, they have a panel at Comic-Con, but they also participate in about 25 different conventions every year, most of which are Supernatural-specific events. Creation Entertainment hosts Supernatural conventions throughout North America every year. These 3-day cons feature a dozen or more current and past cast members, normally including Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, and Mark Sheppard.
Supernatural conventions provide an up-close and personal interaction with the cast. Emcees Rob Benedict (Chuck Shurley/Carver Edlund) and Richard Speight, Jr. (Gabriel) go over the “Rules and Regulations,” explaining that taking pictures and filming panels isn’t allowed, then add comments like, “But as your friend, I’m telling you in all seriousness, film the %&!# out of whatever you see here in this room today.” They even include some filming tips for aspiring YouTubers. As they have often pointed out, the fans sharing pictures and videos are the best marketing for Supernatural cons.
Supernatural conventions are packed with people who love the show, and many of them attend multiple cons. Conventions aren’t just about the actors answering questions, sharing their stories, signing autographs, and taking pictures with attendees. The space also provides an opportunity for fandom to come together and enjoy being with others who have a passion for the show.
In the world of Supernatural, it’s literally about the fans. Not always, but more often than you’d expect. No series does metafiction like Supernatural, and it’s been used to reflect the fan perspective. The show has featured a story arc involving the Winchesters’ life stories being written about and published as a series of books. They’ve had a Winchester superfan included as part of the narrative, and have even introduced the convention concept into Supernatural. We’ve even seen Misha tweeting to his “mishamigos” about J2. Then there’s the amazing 200th episode, “Fan Fiction,” which presents some of the varied ways in which fans respond to the series.
The influence of fans isn’t felt just in what the series writers incorporate into the story, but through other media as well. Supernatural actors Rob Benedict and Richard Speight, Jr. are developing a series that is set within the con world titled Kings of Con. Speight and Benedict will play caricatures of themselves working the convention circuit. It’s a scripted series that includes some improvisation. You can expect to see some other Supernatural family as well once Kings of Cons is released.
Another series connected to the fans of Supernatural was created by Ackles’ and Padalecki’s longtime bodyguard Cliff Kosterman and his brother Mitch. Supernatural Fandom the Movie is a 10-episode series that documents how the fans respond and relate to this beloved series. Interviews with cast, crew, and fans reflects how important the show is to fans, as well as how important the fandom is to those working on Supernatural.
The Supernatural fandom also creates its own works signifying the meaning of the series. This happens through cosplay, artwork, fan fiction, commentary, videos, and filmmaking. Supernatural is the most popular television show for writers of online fan fiction. There are countless works created by the fandom that express their own experience with the series.
Fighting for a good cause
When it comes to helping others, Supernatural actors and fans come together to make a difference. The Supernatural family is involved with a variety of charities. It’s the power of the Supernatural fandom that has turned these efforts into movements.
In 2009, Misha Collins began collaborating with his Twitter followers in support of non-profits, which eventually came to be known as the non-profit charity “Random Acts.” The mission of “Random Acts” is “to conquer the world one random act of kindness at a time.” Misha fans, known as “minions,” get involved in a variety of causes through “Random Acts,” and through GISHWHES—the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.
In March, 2015, Jared Padalecki started the “Always Keep Fighting” campaign to raise funds and awareness about mental health issues, notably depression and suicide. Padalecki has shared that he has personally grappled with depression as well as having lost friends to the disease—notably his long-time stand-in Matt Riley. Many fans who struggle with depression feel strongly connected to the “Always Keep Fighting” campaign.
During the 2015 Supernatural panel at San Diego Comic-Con, audience members held up candles to show support of star Jared Padalecki and his “Always Keep Fighting” campaign. It was particularly poignant, as earlier in the year Padalecki had canceled some appearances to be with his family. He expressed the need for words of encouragement, resulting in an outpouring or support from fans. The generation of mutual hope and support is part of what makes the Supernatural fandom stand out.
Just as fans are passionate about Supernatural, the cast and crew of the series feel similarly about the fandom. Are you part of the world’s most dedicated, loyal, and fervent fandom? Tell us about it in the comments.