Supernatural, Subreddits, and Shippers

Internet intercommunication has been able to propel fan communities by allowing easily accessible and frequent communication. Before the internet, large fandoms engaged in dislocated contact through fan-zines and newsletters, but were only able to truly connect at conventions. Even then, if a fandom was too small there weren’t many physical public outfits for fans to express themselves. Supernatural fans have been using the internet to connect with each other and explore the universe for almost ten years since the shows creation. Reddit’s creation in 2005 and subsequent rise to popularity in the following years allowed for fan communities to become larger, reaching new audiences and creating more interactive communities.

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Supernatural fans have been using reddit in a multitude of ways through a wide variety of subreddit communities. An initial search found over 17 subreddits dedicated to different aspects of the show and its fans. I have divided these communities into three categories that offer different experiences. First, we have the conventional subreddits that most extended series have (r/supernatural, r/supernaturaltv, and r/supernaturalshow). Users usually use these forums for general posts, discussions about specific episodes, and information about the making of the show. While they do include aspects of the larger fandom, these are more outlets for casual watchers to discuss and explore more of the show.

The second layer of Supernatural fandom subreddits come in the form of more average fandom. r/fandomnatural is the sort of nexus for these communities. r/fandomnatural contains a mix of fanfiction, original comics, and more in depth thematic discussion of the show and its expanded universe. The description blurb for this sub reads:

“All ships and characters of all sizes are welcome. As well as all crazy theories that are dismissed elsewhere.

There’s no hate, no judgment, no discrimination here. Feel free to share whatever your heart desires.”

These communities are inclusive, inviting, and allow those who may feel uncomfortable sharing their opinions about their favorite show in the real world to discuss. Shipping is an integral subset of the Supernatural fandom and discussed heavily in the readings, and also on the show itself. There are also several subreddits that explore these themes (r/destiel and r/sabriel are just two). These communities are not only immersive, but more importantly allow for people to discuss things that may be taboo, like an incestual relationship between two brothers on a tv show. While this community is relatively small in terms of reddit (less than 3000 subscribed users), it has an abnormally active forum for its size, showcasing the dedication of the members of this particular fandom.

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The third layer of online fandoms gets pretty intense and is the ultimate level of immersion. These communities of posters that post and act as if they are in the universe of the show. This medium essentially acts as a form of virtual role playing. The community i found to be most interesting is over at r/menofletters. This sub is dedicated to the research of real-life supernatural activity. The men of letters within the diegesis of the show are a secret organization of researchers who provide aid to the hunters. On reddit, this community posts a variety of unexplainable real-life crimes and anomalies that could ostensibly make sense within the diegesis of the show and can be explained by interference of demons and monsters. The above picture is an example of a comment section of a post on the sub about an abnormal storm system in Texas.

These communities allow for so many different ways for the fans of this show to interact with each other, making the fandom more active and immersive.

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