Big Dam Heroes
What I like about the Internet and social networks is that being a fan of something makes you belong to a community. You can share your excitement with people who are as excited as you are, or share the anger, the frustration, the questions, the discussions and – not always a good thing – what is now commonly called “fangirling”. [Tumblr users know exactly what I mean here, lol!]
Over my teenage years, I used to be a fan of The X Files. I met fantastic people back then (some of them are now very close friends of mine) and I was introduced to a certain form of “virtual solidarity”. 15 years ago, the Internet was not as developed as it is today and the bandwidth really *really* sucked (no DSL nor fiber optics). The X Files fans – who were among the first TV fans who built an extended community on the Internet – established national/international networks based on sharing. I remember the first time I subscribed to an X Files message board. The first thing that caught my attention was that French fans like me, were discussing episodes that just aired in the US and were not supposed to air in France before a whole year [we’re always one season late in France for commercial and dubbing reasons]. So I just asked “How do you guys manage to get the new episodes that fast?” No DSL broadband, remember? A few minutes later, I received a message from a member of this message board. In short, he told me that a US resident was in charge of recording the episodes on TV every week, burning them on a CD and sending it to someone else in France. The French recipient then made copies to the fans who provided him with blank CDs. And that was it. It generally took 2 to 3 weeks to get the new episodes by post mail in France but it was much better than waiting for a year and ending up with episodes dubbed in French (yuck!). Did I want to be a part of the community? Yes. And I became one of them, because usually fans are friendly and welcoming and happy to recruit new members. That’s how I realized that the Internet could be the coolest thing on earth!
But there’s also this other part of being a fan, which in my opinion is probably the greatest: it’s creativity. From music videos to drawings, photomontages, fanfics, etc., some imaginative and talented people use their skills to turn their love and attachment into art. That’s not something new, I already got that with The X Files [Lyle, for instance, used to make amazing fanvids!] but what’s happening with the Browncoat community is beyond awesome.
If you’re not familiar with the term, Browncoats are fans of the wonderful yet short-lived TV show Firefly and film sequel Serenity. In just 15 episodes and although the series was canceled by Fox before even reaching the season finale, a very strong community of fans united and made their voice heard to demonstrate their discontentment with regard to the cancelation, and their attachment to the show, the actors and the creator, Joss Whedon [which is probably why we got Serenity a few years later] [and thank God we got closure in the end!]. Some Browncoats are also very creative and imaginative persons, and as someone who follows various TV shows and spends a lot of time on the Internet, it’s not lying to say that they managed to achieve incredible and fun fanart.
For instance, there’s Browncoat cooking:
Browncoat homemade toys:
And now there’s also… Browncoat music. Obviously, the show inspired a very talented and devoted rapper, Adam Warrock. A few days ago, he released The Browncoat Mixtape. Though I was baffled when I read the news (I’m not really fond of the genre), I downloaded the album from the official website anyway. Since it’s free (yes, FREE!), there was no reason not to give it a try. And OH MY GOD, this is SOOOO GOOD! I’m sure every Browncoat will like it. The guy made a brilliant tribute to the show in a very special way, and you don’t even need to love rap to enjoy the music, the lyrics and the beats. The songs are punctuated by a few lines from the series, the background music follows the spirit of the Firefly soundtrack and the whole thing is far from being amateurish. To be honest, I would have paid the same price as a professional album to get it now that I know how awesome it is. Needless to say that The Browncoat Mixtape is going to be a hit among the fans, who are spreading the word on social networks.
[Adam Warrock’s official website: http://www.adamwarrock.com]
Yes, when you’re a fan, you never cease to be surprised and should expect anything. There are people who go too far in their excitement, while others just let their creativity and passion drive them. Some will make you smile for a few seconds, some will make your day, and some others – like Adam Warrock – will brighten your “fan life” for quite some time, leave their mark and, undoubtedly, be remembered. 🙂