Stranger Things, Black Mirror, and Iron Fist might attract fans through their fantasy and interesting characters.  In Stranger Things, I think a lot of people became fans because of the empathy they feel towards the young characters and begin to relate to one or more of them.  In Black Mirror, the show has a different story every episode but presents deep and philosophical ideas about the world, which could be addicting and enjoyable if one is partial to this kind of entertainment.  Iron Fist features a superhero who struggled to get his share of his parents business back and is now an extremely wealthy person with powers.  I think that in shows like Iron Fist and Stranger Things, fans like to live vicariously through the characters as an escape from their own personal realities. Who wouldn’t want to be someone who has a lot of money and can fight off gangs of ninja-like people and have powers?

Hardcore fans of Iron Fist might show their enthusiasm for the show by taking up kung fu classes, or fans of Stranger Things might decorate their house like it was from the ’80s. In general, I don’t have a positive view of fandom as I think it could start to control a person’s life.  Personally, I haven’t ever gone beyond the text with any show or became a hardcore fan, so I haven’t had the same sense of community that other fans have.  Another aspect of fandom that I think is very negative is the sense of entitlement fans develope, like when they expect actors to give attention to fans or engage in romantic relationships offset, as discussed in Dee Locket’s article, Here’s Why Stranger Things Star Finn Wolfhard Was Forced to Speak Out Against Inappropriate Fans.  

I think that Black Mirror’s, USS Callister, did a good job of presenting toxic fandom, where a fan feels that he or she has some kind of control over what happens outside of the script.  The USS Callister episode features a man who goes by the name of Daly, obsessed with his favorite show Star Fleet, so much so that he has created a game to play where he is the captain of the ship and the hero when they achieve anything.  At first, it seemed quite innocent, but as the episode goes on, the audience discovers that he has essentially stolen DNA of his coworkers to create slaves inside the game.  Daly exerts so much control and is very evil in his actions towards his “crew” that one of the characters refers to him as an “asshole god.” I think this analogy can be compared to how hardcore fans feed into their obsessions, as they would like to be the controller of the worlds and stories they enjoy.

I do enjoy the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I can’t say I would commit significant time, energy, or money into it.  I really enjoyed the Marvel movies, but I didn’t like watching Iron Fist as much, but because it was so strung out and didn’t have as much action as I would have liked to see, as compared to the Marvel movies, such as The Avengers.


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