by T. Mack
It’s the season of gratitude! Unlike many, I don’t actually love Thanksgiving. It’s basically just the holiday that stands in the way of it being socially acceptable for me to fully embrace my Christmas enthusiasm at midnight on November 1. However, I do appreciate that many people try to stop and take a moment to be grateful for the good things in their lives. In the spirit of the season, I’ve got some of the top fandoms for which I’m most thankful. Keep reading to see if any of mine are yours, too.
1. Harry Potter
Witches and wizards and magic, oh my! What’s not to love about the world of Harry Potter? There’s an incredible series of excellent books, a stellar series of fantastic movies, companion books, spin-off films, a website, semi-professional sports leagues, theme parks, conventions, and a million different ways to engage our imagination and let the child within all of us out to play. With billions of fans worldwide and a following that doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, this is a really fun fandom to be a part of. And I, for one, am really grateful for it.
2. Doctor Who
There is a reason this show has been around in at least some iteration for more than half a century. Doctor Who, which began as an educational children’s show in 1963, has become an iconic adventure series that has stood the test of time… and space. (See what I did there?) With 13 different versions of the main character and what essentially amount to 13 different versions of the show itself, there is something for every science fiction fan to love. Like classic black and white sci-fi with horrible effects? DW‘s got you covered. Like fast-talking pretty boy adventurers who make all the ladies swoon? DW has that, too. Want a buddy adventure comedy that showcases friends who become closer than family? DW has it. Want to see what happens when a powerful lord is the only living survivor of his people and had to deal with his guilt and ptsd? DW features some of that. Want a show that’s progressive and continues to change with the times and evolve to the point that it has been able to stick around for nearly 60 years?! DW is it! Doctor Who has so much to offer and I am grateful for every bit of it… the good, the bad, and the ridiculous.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a force to be reckoned and ushered in a Golden Age of Superhero Movies. However, Marvel has been bringing us superheroes and epic stories for decades, since its inception in 1947. For more than 70 years, Marvel has created stories that entertain us, challenge us, make us think, and help bridge the gap between cultures. They don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. For this, we can be grateful.
4. Firefly (& Serenity)
Firefly was a show that should by all accounts be forgotten by now. It aired for only 14 episodes on Fox more 15 years ago. However, it was so epic that even now, with more years since the show than actual episodes of the show, it is still beloved by fans. The series was a perfect blend of casting, writing, style, and atmosphere. It didn’t have a weak point. And though Fox didn’t appreciate what it had and cancelled the wonderful show far too early, fans rallied and managed to get a movie made to give us a solid conclusion to the crew’s story. Even now, the series is immensely binge-able. Both the episodes and the film stand the test of time and I’m incredibly grateful for them.
5. Star Wars
It could be argued that no other film franchise has done so much to help define the pop culture landscape of modern America as Star Wars. These films, their characters, story arcs, and lore have helped shape every generation since their iteration. Even those who don’t watch or care about the films know about them, are aware of the stories, and recognize the iconic moments, lines, and characters from them. Even with the recent onset of “Star Wars Fatigue,” we can still be grateful that this franchise exists and has given us all the fun of this fandom for so many years.
Oh, Walt Disney, we owe you so much! Walt Disney created a company that has become the most powerful and widely recognized entertainment franchise in the entire world. Disney also created “the most magical places on Earth” and has helped define the childhoods of nearly every American in the last half century. We all have Disney memories, whether it’s the cartoons, the animated movies, the live action films, the TV shows, the theme parks, the characters, or the toys. Disney has created magic for decades and they have no intention of stopping now. With their acquisition of two other franchises on this list, they are a bigger powerhouse than ever. The great mouse house is indeed mighty. And most all of us have something it has given us that for which we are so grateful.
7. Star Trek
Many people don’t know that the original Star Trek series was not incredibly popular. It struggled for ratings and only lasted 3 seasons. However, the films that followed were well-received and opened the door for more series, more films, and an enduring franchise that has lasted 45 years and helped shape the American cultural landscape. For those who have been paying attention, Star Trek represents the world and our culture as it should be: one of peace and tolerance. In the Star Trek universe, peace is the default human condition. People do not look at those who are different with suspicion, but instead strive always to understand others, respect their culture and traditions, and bring peace across the galaxy. It’s a beautiful model for the kind of mindset we hope will one day be commonplace for all of us. In this time of turbulence, I’m grateful for the opportunity to watch these shows and feel hope for what might come.
DC began giving us superheroes and tales of their epic adventures back in 1934. Since then, they have continued to provide some of the most iconic superheroes in history. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are just a few of the characters DC has given us that are recognized around the world. Long before DC began making dark and gritty films, they were giving us stories of men and women who put their lives on the line to fight for truth and justice. While DC has lost some of their shine in recent years in light of their competitor’s success, it cannot be denied that DC did superheroes first. Without them, we might not have any of the wonderful superhero stories from either of the terrific companies I’ve listed here. For their contribution and for their paving the way for superhero stories to be told, I’m incredibly grateful.
When Eric Kripke first imagined Supernatural, he had a concept for 3 seasons. He then realized that 5 seasons were needed to truly realize his vision for the series. The CW gave the show its 5 seasons, but when the end of Kripke’s vision was reached, the network wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the handsome duo of brothers. So they kept it going. The series is now currently airing its 14th season, celebrating 300 episodes, and in talks to renew again for season 15. Many people, even fans of the show, say that the Horror Comedy Drama series has gone on too long. I tend to agree, actually. However, that doesn’t stop me from watching every single new episode that comes out weekly. And I absolutely own the first 9 seasons on DVD. Though the show may have overstayed its welcome, the boys are still incredibly nice to look at and the show is still great escapist fun. I’m grateful for it, even if is arguably too much of a good thing.
10. Game of Thrones
For me, Game of Thrones is all about the show, not the books. Typically, this is never the case for me. However, it took me a long time to even watch the show because there are some things that the series gets graphic about that I have a bit of a hard time digesting. I can cover my eyes while watching the show. That’s not an option is I’m reading the details on the page. So I stick to the series. However, I do greatly appreciate the world that George R.R. Martin has created. And I am so grateful for the epic way that HBO has brought it to life. The series is beautiful, intricate, intriguing, shocking, and stunning. While it is also gruesome and in some ways disturbing, I think that is a reflection of the historical aspect of it. History is gruesome and disturbing. This series is epically entertaining and I’m grateful for it and the friends who finally convinced me to give it a chance.
There are many iterations of Sherlock Holmes: movies, television shows, and other inspired works. However, I am grateful for this series, which I believe has set a new bar for excellence in telling the stories of Sherlock Holmes.
I’ve talked about it a lot. My love for Charmed is well-known and a significant part of my fandom DNA. I am so grateful for this series and have been for 20 years.
Mercy Thompson book series
I return to individual books within this series several times a year. I love the sass and attitude of Mercy Thompson and the supernatural world she inhabits. I even read the companion series that doesn’t star Mercy, but takes place within her universe.
Charley Davidson book series
What can I say? I enjoy supernatural series with cheeky female protagonists. So this Charley Davidson series is another favorite for me since this character, who sees dead people and solves crimes as a private investigator, finally comes to find out that she is actually a Grim Reaper and discovers what exactly that means for her. It’s another series set in a fun supernatural world and I enjoy going back to it often.
Those are just a few of the top fandoms that make me most grateful. What fandoms make you sit up and say, “Thank you?” Let me know in the comments below.