The end of the traditional television season marks the time for us fans, if you’re like me anyway, to start pulling our hair out over the cliffhangers that our favorite shows have left dangling for the next four months. But before you end up rocking in a corner, mumbling about the fate of your favorite characters or ships, consider these ways to beat the heat, so to speak.
The season is over; some questions have been answered while others have inevitably been brought up. Could there be clues that you missed on first watch? Over summer hiatuses, I like to rewatch some of my favorites from the beginning to see how things have built up, look for clues, and hopefully find things I missed during the original run. It’s amazing what you can notice in season 1 of a show that’s three seasons in that you hadn’t considered relevant the first time around. This summer I’m planning to rewatch The Vampire Diaries since the show moves incredibly fast and now that we’re at end of season 3, I’ve already forgotten a good chunk of what happened during season 1. Tomb vampires? What?
Who says the TV season has to be over with the summer? Just because the networks are showing sports, reality shows, and reruns doesn’t mean the delicious drama (or thigh-slapping comedy) has to end. Cable networks really get their TV schedules going into high gear during the summer. This is the perfect time to try out some new shows to fill the void in your heart left by the end of the traditional schedule. Some of my favorite shows air in the summer: White Collar and Suits on USA and my guilty pleasure, Pretty Little Liars, on ABCFamily all start new seasons this summer. And don’t forget True Blood on HBO once Game of Thrones ends.
Last summer I made a list of all the ongoing shows I wanted to check out and binged. I was then able to follow them weekly in the fall. With only a few shows on my summer docket, I have the time to really check out those shows I’ve heard good things about but haven’t had the time to check out.
This is a great time to take recommendations from friends—or give them. I’m a huge evangelist for my favorite show, Supernatural, but a number of my friends who would otherwise be interested are intimidated by the huge episode count after seven seasons. But with the first six seasons currently on Netflix and the show not returning until October, they’ve got plenty of time to sample the various adventures of the monster-hunting Winchester brothers. Make Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime your new best friends and have a summer of marathons!
If you’re reading a site like Hypable, you probably have more than a passing interest in fandom. We all have those shows—or books or movies or video games, or what have you—that we’re particularly passionate about. But how far immersed are you in your fandoms? Do you have a few fandoms you find yourself on the fringe of, but aren’t sure how to approach, though you’d like to? The summer is a great time to dive in. Last summer I took the plunge and entered some fanfic challenges on Livejournal and ended up finding a community that has made this TV season a lot of fun.
While there can be a darker side to fandom, on the whole it should be a rewarding experience that only enhances your enjoyment of the material. What better time to test the waters—or do a cannon ball into the deep end—than between seasons when tensions are lower and communities are looking for new members? Try a fanfic challenge, look for and post on message boards, follow fellow fans on Twitter, and so on.
And by this I mean consider crossing some boundaries. Media philosopher Marshall McLuhan famously said, “The medium is the message,” meaning the medium that a text, so to speak, is presented in can be as influential and important as the material itself. Every fandom is different and the medium of the material can really help shape a fandom as well. Are you more of a television person but like to read? You might find a whole new experience by engaging in the fandom for your favorite book—Harry Potter, anyone? Movie people might think about joining a television show fandom, book fans might think about a video game fandom, and so on. Crossing genres is also a great way to stretch your creative muscles since you’ve gotten out of your comfort zone.
Bonus: Enjoy summer blockbusters and sports. A good summer day for me would be catching an Avengers matinee and getting home in time to catch a baseball game on TV. Summer 2012 is also an Olympic year, and there’s usually some kind of offering for everyone, even if you aren’t usually a sports junkie. Enjoy the season and its entertainment offerings for what they are.
So, dear readers, how do you beat the heat of summer hiatus?