#26 - SPNFamily


The Nickscast discuss why a show targeted towards men became unexpectedly popular with women and has continued to grow in popularity: We’re talking about the SPNFamily (Supernatural fans!). How is the show so popular after even after twelve seasons? How does it differ from its peers? What keeps its fans going? We’re going to eat some pie and find out on this week’s episode of Fanthropological!

Next week, we’ll be talking about fans of Sherlock Holmes (BBC Sherlock, Elementary, classic; we’re talking it all). Stay tuned!

Episode outline

Last episode’s Famous Last Words

Z: Who is the fan favourite character and why?
G: In canon, who is born first and why do fans think it is one way or the other?
T: Is it just because its two hot people? Will any show about two hot people succeed?
Alex: How much slash fiction is there?

Fandom facts

An American fantasy horror series that was first broadcast in September of 2005. It follows the nomadic lives of brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, travelling the US and hunting down supernatural foes (as their father did, who spent years seeking revenge against the demon responsible for his wife’s death). It just ended its 12th season, as of this recording, and is renewed for a 13th.

Fandom origins:
Largely Livejournal (supernatural_tv)

Supernatural Family / SPNFamily

Size of fandom:
The TV series pilot has 5.6 million viewers, and episodes regularly have about 3 million viewers.

Archive of our own: Over 92000 (January 2015); Over 60000 (February 2014); Over 27500 (December 2012)

What did we discuss?

A brief history of strikethrough and splintering of fandom from Livejournal ~ the Supernatural newsletter ~ Fan terms like imbroglio (vs fanwank) and real-person fiction (RPF) ~ Keeping a long running show like Supernatural fresh ~ changes in television and storytelling for long running shows ~ the cast, crew, and fandom as a tight knit family ~ charmingly flawed shows that keep trying (which is good) ~ character and fandom relationships: “Family don’t end at blood” ~ Targeted at men (classic rock, killing monsters, cars) but women as biggest fans ~ Z’s Supernatural boyfriend

Are you in, or out?

Z, so now that you’re romantically involved with one of the Winchester brothers, are you going to continue things further?
— G

Z is in.

…As part of my research, I have to watch the first episode of this to see if its any good, to see if it holds up. And, after seeing that first episode, I can definitely say that I am in for the first five seasons.
— Z

  • T briefly explains the cosmology of our universe compared to that of Supernatural’s

T is out.

Z, I’m going to take your ‘in’, I’m going to take it, and carefully toss it into the trash because I am out. I don’t care if that metaphor works!
— T

  • At 12 seasons and still going, media fandom is too big
  • But T is committed to watching the pilot and the fanfiction episode. Hold him to that!

G is out.

I want to try and find these more experimental episodes and watch those. Like The French Mistake, as I mentioned, the fanfic episode, the one from the perspective of the car. LARP and the real girl … There are few that have piqued my interest.
— G

Fans of the week

No fans of the week this week, sorry :(

This week’s spotlights

Random Acts
Started with Misha Collins (Castiel, on Supernatural) in 2009 asking his “minions” on Twitter to come up with ideas for a “minion stimulus” project (during the economic recession). Has since grown and and changed, but is set up to encourage folks to conduct random acts of kindness in their communities, and holds different fundraisers. In 2014, spent over $47000 USD to fund different acts of kindness around the world. Even developed a crisis network!

The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen (GISHWES)
Also started by (and hosted by) Misha Collins. Thousands of people around the world compete to get various tasks ranging from “hold a puppet show at childrens hospital” to “create a portrait of Robert Downey Jr. in salt and pepper”. Some unexpected successes include getting the acronym GISHWES in space (succeeded by convincing someone to name a mountain on Mars) and getting a hug from Neil Gaiman.

Always Keep Fighting
Started by Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) as a group for people struggling with depression and mental illness and to “keep the flame from going out”. At San Diego Comic Con 2015, lots of fans at the Supernatural panel and lined up outside of the panel held a candlelight vigil in support which moved Jared to tears. Also sends resources to To Write Love On Her arms.

The Race Against Time
Now in its third year of running, the Race Against Time is the Nickscast’s annual charity livestream where we work our way though Chrono Trigger, obtaining all its endings, and also raising money for the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Last year we raised over $1200 CAD, and have plans to surpass that!

This year, the event will be held August 12 through to August 13, starting at 10am ET. You can also subscribe on Twitch.tv/theraceagainsttime in anticipation of the event!

Famous Last Words

This week’s famous last words around next week’s fandom, Sherlock Holmes!

How old is the oldest Sherlock Holmes fanfiction?
How did the gears of fandom turn in the nineteenth century?

Has there been a Sherlock web-series?

How is it that one character is so popular after 130 years? Arsene Lupin is 110 years old, and not nearly as popular… why? How is this a thing? How is Sherlock Holmes still a thing?!

Where can you find us online?

We are everywhere! Most notably though, we like to hang out in a few places on social media:

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  • For all the latest updates, check us out on Facebook or Twitter
  • To see the latest hijinx from our conventions or even our daily lives and adventures, check us out on Instagram
  • For our latest convention updates, Let’s Plays, and other in-real-life video, check out our YouTube channel
  • We’re also on iTunes, and Google Play, and would love it if you could leave a review and rating!
  • if you want to reach us, and for some reason none of those work for you, try nick@thenickscast.com
  • You can check out our website; that will mostly bring you back to this stuff.
  • Everything is thenickscast, so if you can’t find us, go on your social network and search for that!
  • … You’re still looking for ways to reach out? You can also use the hashtag #fanthro on Twitter!

What is “Fanthropological”?

How did you read this far without asking this question?!

Fanthropological is a podcast where we bring the fan’s-eye view to you! Each week, we take a look at a different fandom, dig up interesting background, trivia, and history, and try to get to why it is that people are a fan. We also try to highlight good causes related to that fandom, and find interesting things that fans have created to share those to the world. Each episode is about an hour. Ish.

Who is “The Nickscast”?

We are the Nickscast! Three products of late-80s / early-90s pop culture who love exploring fandom and everything geek … who also happen to have been best buddies since high school, and all happen to be named Nick. Yes, we are super creative. Dare we say, the most creative.


We are Nick Green, Nick Terwoord, and Nick Zacharewicz: We started the Nickscast as a labour of love, and as a place to entertain and to discuss our love of fans and fandom, and all that is shiny and interesting in that realm. It’s what lead us to start our first podcast, our satellite podcasts, Fanthropological, and so much more.

We want to help others learn more about different fandoms, and to create empathy with other fans: We dream of a world where other fans aren’t “those Weird-o’s”, but just folks with different tastes. A world where fandom is full of discourse and analysis, and there are plenty of tools and resources to help. Fans building communities to do good in the world. Because everyone’s a fan.

Notable quotes from this episode

As of this recording, we just finished celebrating Canadian Easter. I hope you all had a good one out there. Maple candies were consumed, the Easter pine was worshiped, and the Easter egg donuts eaten.
— G

I’m a level 10 inquisitor. What? I thought that’s what we were doing this week guys!
— T

T: I was going to bring up some embarassing things from last episode. I hope everyone is ok with that.
(also T): Yeah, I think everyone is ok with that!
(also also T): That sounds like a great idea!
T: Ok, cool, let’s get into it!

I didn’t eat dinner because I’ve been saving room for all the crow I’m about to eat.
— G

Is it just because its two hot people? Will any show about two hot people succeed? I am not going to deny the hotness of any of the characters…
— T

T: That’s like Patrick Stewart just coming out all the time for X-men or Star Trek. Ignoring all the other stuff that he’s done.
G: We’d love them to but… he’s got a life.
T: Yeah, he’s gotta fight, um, amnesty.
Z: And he’s gotta watch Beavis and Butthead.

Ninety-two thousand fanfics can’t be wrong. #SPNFamily
— T

As they say… look at the moon, Europeans see a man, the Japanese see a rabbit, the fan girls, well, they see something much more interesting.
— Z

You should have taken a class that has more slots for large fandoms
— T

T: That is the level of closeness and vulnerability that the fandom has with each other and that is very cool
G: The fandom, to me, is almost as much as a draw as the show, at this point.



Music / Sound

  • All music and sound for this week’s episode were provided by Nick Green!


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