Fandom is a funny place. It’s also a wonderful place, a scary place, a life-changing one. Anyone who hasn’t experienced the sense of community, the belonging, will never be able to understand what it means to share something you love with a bunch of people that might start off as strangers but who quickly become not just some casual friends who share your interests, but actual family.
It’s not just about the thing you love, fandom, though it starts out that way. It’s about the people, about the connections. I’ve traveled to other continents to meet fandom friends. I’ve been to weddings, christenings, and conventions. I’ve done movie premieres and book releases. I know fandoms, and I’m grateful every day for what fandoms have given me.
Today, I want to take the time to share some of that love with my chosen fandom, Once Upon A Time. I haven’t been as involved in the OUAT fandom as I’ve been in others, but I have met some wonderful people who I’m proud to call my friends, and I hope to be around (with the show) for many years more. Here are some of my favorite testimonials from other people whose lives have been changed by the OUAT fandom:
I remember hearing about a show with fairy tales on it, and watching some commercials. One day I was bored in my sister’s apartment and I looked for it. I watched the Pilot and I loved it. But I didn’t really completely fall for it until Hook first appeared on 2×04. Then I couldn’t leave it!
My experience in the fandom has been amazing. Especially in the Captain Swan fandom. We’re united and we all love each other. I’ve meet incredible people, I’ve made Friends from all around the world, friends I believe i will keep for my entire life! At least that’s what I intend. It’s been a great experience. Once upon a Time and my favorite characters Emma & Hook make me really happy and it works perfectly when I want to rest from the real world. I go and watch OUAT, it usually gives you a word of hope, belief & love and it makes you feel better and I truly appreciate that.
I actually watched the first season being an offline fan. I was on twitter but I just read things and didn’t interact with anyone. Then, in the middle of season 1 I stopped watching, because …well, life and problems. And then one morning I was looking around YouTube and suddenly I saw a video of Captain Hook in 2×04 and I was like… transfixed. I binged watched the episodes I had missed in like, 3 days after that, and I still wasn’t active on twitter, but I started following more fan pages, reading more articles, etc. I wasn’t until season 3 that I really started to get into the fandom. During these years I’ve met a lot of people that are real friends, that I talk to every day, whose numbers I have, and whom I care as I would any of my friends. OUAT is a big fandom, and it has it’s bad and it’s good things, and sometimes there’s a lot of hate, but at the end of the day, the fandom is my happy place. It’s where I escape from my problems. I’m a medical student, and I have a lot of stress with exams and hospital time, and OUT just …relaxes me, helps me with my nerves.
Kerry, United Kingdom
Once Upon A Time airs at 1 AM in the UK, and I still try to watch live. I love watching it live and live tweeting along with friends, but even if I do watch live I always tune in every Wednesday on Netflix UK when a new episode airs! That’s how we get it in the UK.
I originally got into the show through my cousin and my friend they spoke about it a lot and I kept saying it sounded far-fetched. Then one day I noticed it on Netflix, I watched 3 seasons in just over a week and was hooked! Now I even have re-runs of my favorite eps with friends I’ve made in fandom and we live tweet each other it’s so much fun
I didn’t really join the online fandom till season 4. I would say it’s been mainly positive, I’ve made some long term people who I consider friends from across the globe Brazil, Pakistan, US, France, Italy, Spain. It’s amazing how far reaching the impact the show has made. I originally bonded with many of the fandom due to my love for Emma and Hook and having voting parties to vote for Captain Swan but it’s become so much more.
On the negative I used to watch the show and didn’t overanalyze or feel I couldn’t express my love for my favorites, but I find the ship wars on-line can sometimes dampen your perspective of a character or scene. When you have enjoyed an episode and you see hate being thrown at the actor or the writers over it (Which I generally see as uncalled for, constructive criticism is one thing but some of it can be vile)…well, it just …I also used to love engaging with actors when live tweeting, posting pictures but of late that has become less of an event I assume predominantly due to the above hate….it’s a shame!
Either way my love for Emma Swan and how I saw myself in her brought me to the show, her journey got me hooked, my love for CS brought me to the fandom online and made me so many friends globally and I won’t let the negativity impact that!
The first time I saw Once Upon A Time was at the end of 2011. I got back to my apartment and my roommates were all sitting in front of the TV watching a new series and it was already the end of the episode – the second episode of season 1, that scene with Mr Gold and Regina talking under the apple tree and Robert Carlyle’s acting was so brilliant I had to keep watching. I heard about the online fandom of OUAT only in 2013 at the beginning of season 3 and joined it on August 2014 after the friend that told me about the fandom told me to stop nagging her and go freak out with all the other fans of the show on Twitter. Best advice I got in my life. The show is broadcast here but since I don’t own a TV, I prefer to watch it online a few hours after it airs in the United States. If I’m lucky enough to have a day off on a Monday, I can stay up and watch the episode live, but it’s very rare and it’s extremely late here when it airs (3am). After a few months in the fandom Twitter became a huge part of my life: I consider the friends I found there as friends for life and we found out we have a lot in common, more than just the show. I speak with people all over the world, some of them live in countries that don’t even have diplomatic relations with mine and we became good friends because we love the show and we all relate to the message of hope that OUAT sends. In the fandom we talk about problems, we support each other when someone is having a hard time – I can’t count how many times I cried (good tears!) and laughed hysterically (in public!) because of my Twitter friends – they all have a special place in my heart and one of my dreams is to give every one of them a big hug and say thank you for everything.
I was in my first year of college, and the sudden freedom and loneliness is kinda what triggered my getting into tv/fandoms in general, I think. I majored in English Lit and Linguistics, and most people with my major are very into fandom stuff, nerdy things, etc., so I’d heard people talk about OUAT before. I’d also seen the occasional gifset on tumblr and I always thought it looked really pretty. However, I had no clue what the show was about until I made friends with a girl in my class who watched it, and she explained the concept to me. It seemed very interesting and as a Disneyphile she was super enthusiastic about it, so I immediately wanted to try it out. I basically fell in love straight away! I binged all 16 episodes in 3 days (I remember this well, because 1×17 Hat Trick was the first one I actually watched when I was all caught up and to this day it’s one of my favorite eps). From then on, I became a weekly viewer. Ever since I became active in the fandom (which is 3×12, I think? maybe 3×11), I watch the new episode every Sunday night (yes, even though it airs at 2AM for me). Before that (and the one time I couldn’t because I wasn’t home), I watched as soon as I could. OUAT is not my first fandom, so while it may seem a bit much and hostile sometimes, I’ve seen worse and I’ve chosen to ignore it. There’s a reason I’m still sticking around – I focus on the good and ignore the bad (mostly). I still love the show and the people who make it, and I’ve found a nice group of truly great fandom friends here on twitter whom I really love. I know there’s a lot of subfandoms and hostility and divisions in the fandom, but that’s just what happens when ships and favorite characters etc. get involved. I’m glad in my little fandom corner over here, with the friends I have, and it really does feel like a little family 🙂
So, I first got into OUAT by seeing a gifset on tumblr of captain swan (3×05 kiss) and I wanted to see more of them, so I started OUAT and fell in love with the characters especially Emma and then Killian. That’s when I decided to start following fandom people on Twitter, and I met some amazing people from all over the world. It’s great to exchange our thoughts on the show and our favorite couple. I went to fairy tales 3 Con in Paris and I was able to meet fans that I first met online so it was great to have the change to meet each other face to face! I talked to people from Spain to Sweden, it was crazy! I can mostly talk about the Captain Swan fandom but it’s an awesome and big group and it’s great to see everyone losing their minds every time something huge happens between Emma and Killian To conclude, I watch the episodes live which means 2am for me, knowing that on Monday I have classes but who cares? I usually rewatch them on Monday anyway.
I’m Cass, and I’m from the Philippines. I have also loved fairy tales since forever.
Back in 2011, I was looking for something good to watch when I got word from Twitter (or probably one of the entertainment sites I follow) that OUAT has just begun. I checked what it was about, and when I realized it was an adaptation of fairy tales, I thought, why not? So, I watched the first episode…and thank Merlin, I did!
From that point on, I started watching religiously (mostly online, so I’ll always be updated), and the show had such of an impact that I even shared it with a friend. The show is a good escape from the boredom of daily life, and it’s a reminder of why we should never lose our inner child. But mostly, I loved–and LOVE–OUAT because it’s full if strong female protagonists who don’t try hard to be strong, because they already are. These princesses–and Queens–don’t need to be saved, and that’s pretty much why I still tune in after all these years.
Back then, OUAT wasn’t big in the Philippines, but over the years, it gained a lot of following, also thanks to streaming sites that we have here. As a fan, I was like, ugh, so many people know about it now, but then, I realized, the show is for everyone–especially those who still believe in their fairytales, no matter how twisted they may seem!
I’ve met awesome fans (at least online) over the years, and they really are some of the most passionate ones.
Well, I don’t know how long OUAT will still be on, but as long as it’s around, I’ll keep watching…while living in my own version of Storybrooke!
What about you? Do you love Once Upon A Time too? Do you have your own fandom story? Share with us in the comments!
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.