I learned a new word today. “Superviewers”. I don’t know how I feel about this word.
I was reading an article online from the New York Times that Glen Mazzara (Show runner for The Walking Dead) tweeted earlier in regards to the season finale of The Killing. In it, the writer referred to a certain faction of viewers as “superviewers”.
I think the easiest way to sum up the phrase is by describing these so-called superviewers as “fans [of whichever show, movie, media etc.] who use social media as a megaphone and/or mouthpiece to express their extreme emotions towards said media.”
And this can be done for positive or negative.
I think it was a very good move for Mr. Mazzara to point this out because, in reality, the majority of the fans of The Walking Dead are extremely intelligent. At least, I like to think so, being one of those fans myself. I assume that there will be a lot more fans of The Walking Dead actually taking the moment to read the article. Whether the same fans take anything away from the article is a different story.
But I did, and that’s the point.
I don’t really comprehend the concept behind what makes a “superviewer.” I use my social networking sites, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to connect with other fans and friends who are also fans. (Most of my real-life friends aren’t Walking Dead fans, so I take what I can get. And that is not to downplay the awesomeness that is my internet friends. You guys fuckin’ RULE.) I have had some really great, intelligent conversations with people online, especially on Twitter, regarding The Walking Dead. However, I’ve never expressed disappointment or any negative criticism towards the show. I admitted to crying and feeling very upset over the show, but I would, if I was involved with TWD, take that as more of a compliment than anything else. I don’t understand when people get up on a soapbox and complain about the “pace” of the episodes (or season) or “the lack of zombie mayhem.” The writers and producers have a very clear vision of what they want this show to be and I feel that they have done an excellent job of showing us, as viewers, that vision.
I don’t personally watch The Walking Dead to get a fix of zombie mayhem. I watch the show because it goes deeper into the psychological aspect of what would happen to the survivors of the zombie apocalypse. I like the fact that it is full of angst and drama. In fact, seeing these characters break down emotionally and try to recover while there are other people’s lives depending on them is what makes the show seem more realistic and far more entertaining to me than if it was the same “see a zombie, shoot the zombie, hide from the zombie, scavenge some food whilst running from the zombies, regroup and hide some more, end with a BANG” formula that every zombie movie seems to employ.
I think that this is the problem with the fandom of zombie apocalypse things in general: we have grown accustomed to a one-shot movie that is no more than two hours long that takes us quickly through the emotional degeneration and survival-instinct kicking in phase, through the zombie mayhem and killing and typically ends with a punch and/or a bang.
When you draw that out into a season’s worth of television programming, we lose track of how long has actually elapsed in the world. In The Walking Dead, it has only been about 2 months since the outbreak – and Rick was in a coma for the first few weeks of it! Of course these people are still going to be reeling about what’s happened and the degeneration of civilization as we know it is still happening. They’re not entirely sure how to cope with the losses of… well, everything. They are still trying to figure it out. And this is where the drama comes from. You can’t expect everything to work perfectly, people die, zombies show up, everything goes to hell. You have to consider – and this is what I really loved about The Walking Dead – that stereotypes, racism, misogyny, gender roles, psychopathy, and all the other negative stuff that society keeps in check (usually) still exists. Without actual laws and law enforcement in place to keep these things in line, it’s all going to run rampant. We have seen it happen in the show. (Merle, Ed, Lori, Shane all show off the things I just mentioned in the first 6 episodes…)
I don’t get it when fans criticize the work that these people these PROFESSIONALS do. Weren’t you entertained? Did you feel anything for the characters? You know you’re coming back next week to watch it. And the week after. And the week after.
The season 2 finale had 9 MILLION viewers.
You watched it every week. Don’t deny it. You probably watched the encore too. I know I did.
And The Walking Dead got me to bond with my 14 year-old sister who is also a fan. I go to mom’s place to watch it with them every week during the regular season.
I don’t have cable TV. I cancelled my subscription almost 6 months ago because I was tired of paying insane amounts of money (it was almost $80 a month for a basic cable package) to watch Star Trek reruns and Doctor Who, if I was home in time to catch it. Which I never was. Because I work on Saturdays which is when it airs in my hometown. And I am not a fan of most of the shows on TV these days. I have a very dry and “British” sense of humor. Sitcoms do not appeal to me.
I loved AMC, however. My partner and I would spend days off watching movie marathons and AMC’s original programming for hours. AMC got me hooked on Westerns, namely Clint Eastwood’s works. Hang ’em High is my favorite.
So please, if you’re going to criticize the producers, don’t harass them on Twitter. They have made themselves SO accessible to us, the fans, the viewers. So have the actors. Personally, I follow 3 writers, 2 Executive Producers, and 5 of the actors who I can think of off the top of my head on Twitter. I would hate to lose those privileges of being able to get my questions answered, or to see behind the scenes pictures that they share with us because of the soapboxing and the so-called “Superviewers”.
I suppose that by writing this I am toeing the line of becoming a “superviewer” myself. But that’s okay, because I’m done my soapboxing.
I’m really just looking forward to Season 3.
Kai Kiriyama is a novelist who has several books in the works and is hoping to write scripts for film and television one day, despite being unpublished outside of the internet. She lives in the frozen North with her hedgehog Odin, her snake Rhaegar and her laptop.
You can find her on Twitter at @thekiriyamaheir and you can email her your arguments if you need more than 140 characters at firstname.lastname@example.org