Five Episodes of Television That Are Secretly Fanfic
The idea is that fan fiction has, since the beginning of time, just been weird girls in their rooms writing about how Spock is drugged and can’t stop touching Kirk’s butt. This is not the case. Fan fiction is nothing more than fiction featuring someone else’s characters. The Argonautica, a 3rd century BCE poem by Apollonius Rhodius about Jason and the Argonauts, is basically one of the first examples of fan fiction. Euripides’s Helen of Troy, where Helen was in Egypt all along and has to fall in love with Menelaus all over again, is fan fiction. John Milton’s Paradise Lost? Fan fiction.
We only started using the term “fan fiction” in the modern era after the concept of intellectual property really took off and people like Disney and DC Comics made it possible to “own” characters. Then fan fiction became something more. Because a fan/writer couldn’t earn money off their work a passion seemed to flow off the page. Some paying writers struggle with getting 80,000 words to their editor on time, but a fanfic writer can churn out a 200,000 word butt touching opus in a matter of weeks, fueled by nothing more than their love of the characters (and probably also feedback from readers).
Fan fiction became insular. A culture developed. Tropes developed. Enough that websites like FFYF and FanLore formed just to chronicle (and mock) all those tropes. Real person fic, alternate universes, self insertion. The list goes on and on. But what they all possess, besides a devil-may-care attitude towards character ownership, is the passion of the author for someone else’s characters.
And that passion (and those tropes) aren’t just limited to fiction. Sometimes really cool people actually get paid to play in someone else’s sandbox and bring their love of the characters with them. They produce really cool comics, “officially canon” books, and, my personal favorite, television.
Yeah, I said it. Fan fiction exists on television. Russel Davies, Steven Moffat, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. These folks are all paid to play in sandboxes developed by other writers before them. Because I love you, fair internet, I have formed a list of five of the most egregious examples of fanfiction produced as television.
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