What role does Hills (2004) suggest fans play in the construction of cult TV? How is new media now central to this? Discuss with examples.
Fans of cult TV form appreciation societies. This could lead to becoming possible target market by media producers. These societies can be produced by media producers sensitive to what fans count as cult TV and to how they read cult TV.
But how do fans construct cult TV from TV programmes? Well, one of the activities they do is forming appreciation societies about a TV programme they love. Hills (2004) states that one of the classic example of Appreciation societies is that of “DOCTOR WHO series created by fans, and it is in fact a web called Doctor Who Appreciation Society online.
Hills does not dismiss the prospect that other fans of a television programmes could not form groups in real life where there fellow fans can meet up. Overall, in these groups according to Sullivan (2013), they join the group when they have already familiarized themselves so much with their loved television programme, like the way they do before writing a fanfiction. The groups participate in sharing what they love about their loved programmes and this produces multiple interpretation of the programme as well.
Although fans do the above activity, there are also other activities they do which lead a TV programme to be tagged as cult TV.
Fans construct a television programme into a cult TV by writing fictions featuring characters from their loved television programmes. It should be noted that, before fans engage in writing these fictions, according to Sullivan (2013) who is neither cited in Hills (2004), claims that they first engage deeply in thinking about the plots, characters, and messages of the original source before they embark on writing their fiction stories. This activity is further supported by Hills (2004) who states that, what fans write is what he calls fanfictions.
Thirdly, fans can organise a met up in every year where they cosplay. According to Hills (2004), they participants in organizing annual events, where fellow fans of a specific television programme can meet. These events indicate that the television programme has a group of fans devoted to it and it might end up dubbed as cult television by intertextual text or journalists.
Apart from fans wearing clothes of their loved programmes in the above annual year meetings, the fans also according to Thorn and Matthew (2004) engage in creating and wearing costumes designed in the likeness of characters from a source work, and they also engage in role-playing, re-enacting scenes.
Finally, internet allow many people to participate in fan culture, and designating more tv programmes as worthy of activity. More people meet online from different parts of the world than in real life. But it should not be forgotten that all these activities can be later reproduced by marketers to market their goods.
Hills, M. (2004). Defining cult TV; Texts, inter-texts and fan audiences, in R. C. Allen & A. Hill (eds) The Television Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge.
Sullivan, J, L (2013). Media audiences: effects, users, institutions, and power: Chapter 8 Media Fandom and Audience Subcultures, page start 189, Page end 212 Retrieved from https://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/50993_ch_8.pdf
Thorn, Matthew (2004) Girls And Women Getting Out Of Hand: The Pleasure And Politics Of Japan’s Amateur Comics Community in Fanning the Flames: Fans and Consumer Culture in Contemporary Japan William W. Kelly, ed., State University of New York Press