Burn out or Fade Away? Television, Entitlement and Proper Endings

In 2003, Joss Whedon’s Firefly was cancelled by Fox. The show was witty, original and would retroactively become beloved. The show became a cultural signpost for the idea that fans could "save" a show and the browncoat movement was born, eventually pushing an excellent and satisfying move into production. Jump to 2006 and fans of the cancelled show "Jericho" sent 9 tons of peanuts to CBS offices in protest to the show’s looming cancellation. (It made sense in context, honest.) Later, Netflix briefly revives Arrested Development. Later still, Yahoo "saved" Community so it could get its shot at "six seasons and a movie". As the internet improves fans’ ability to communicate directly with the creators and distributors, and as those fans get more savvy with their methods, the power of deciding "what’s on" is more and more in the hands of the viewer.

But is this always a good thing?

Would Firefly be as beloved if it had continued another 3 seasons? Does Community still work without Donald Glover? As televisions fans gain more power and direct control over their favourite shows, are we not also becoming more responsible for the tough decisions? And ultimately, who has control over when a series ends? The fans who love it, embrace it and for whom it was ultimately for? Or the creators whose blood, sweat and tears are the creative juice that made it so good in the first place?

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