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Like so many topics in fandom, it all goes back to Star Trek.
Though they’re now a consistent feature of fandom, fan campaigns date back at least to the 1960s, when Trekkies started organizing to save the show from cancellation. These fan-led campaigns progressed with creative zeal, like when Roswell fans sent bottles of Tabasco (a favorite of the aliens) to executives, or when Friday Night Light fans mailed light bulbs and mini footballs to NBC headquarters. Such crusades evolved during the streaming era, as fans of shows like Lucifer and The Expanse marshaled the power of social media to bring these series back to life.
More recently, these movements have taken on a queer dimension. It’s been a brutal few years for queer-centric shows, with a whopping 30 LGBT series going off-air in 2022. Out of these 30 shows, 21 prominently featured queer women, leading to outrage amongst lesbian and sapphic fans.
This is the context in which the campaign to save Amazon’s A League of Their Own emerged. The series premiered in August of 2022 and immediately garnered a passionate queer fan base, likely owing to the numerous, diverse LGBT characters depicted on the show. Fans became concerned when there was still no renewal news six months out, and then only mildly placated when Amazon announced a truncated four-episode second season. Amazon un-renewed the show in August of 2023, angering fans and creators alike.
One fan I spoke to, @ALOTOHomeRun, told me she started a campaign to renew the show back in October of 2022. Following the initial renewal, fans started the #MoreThanFour movement to fight for a longer season. Now, fans do what they can to keep the show on people’s radar, executing daily “power hours” where they tweet about the show to get it trending, sending letters to Amazon, and raising money for the Trevor Project. Another fan, Kellie, who runs the @PeachesUnited account, created a Discord server to generate more ideas about how to keep the show alive.
When I asked these fans why saving the show is so important to them, they echoed a commonly held sentiment. @ALOTOHomeRun described how amazing it is that the show is “ultimately rooted in queer joy and love,” which is why “so many people have been able to identify with these characters and accept themselves because of them.”
Kellie told me “It’s important that it’s saved because people deserve to be seen and have their stories told (including the women that the show is based off of),” and noted that this campaign has also had a bonding effect within the fandom.
While LGBT-focused media has taken a hit lately, hope remains. There have been successful campaigns to renew queer shows in the past, including Wynonna Earp, One Day at a Time, and Warrior Nun, which will continue as a movie trilogy. Many League fans support these other campaigns, and there is a general sense of solidarity among lesbian and queer fan groups.
Why it matters
The recent strikes have illuminated widespread power imbalances in Hollywood. These cancellations are also a labor issue, wherein the most marginalized workers and creators are first on the chopping block.
While fans are not directly involved in producing their favorite shows, these campaigns illustrate that they’re not passive recipients of culture, either. Viewers want a say in what they watch, and queer fans, mistreated by media producers for so many years, have a deep stake in this fight.