The Power of Fandom – ‘Timeless’ Thanks Its Fans

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One of the most unique panels I had the pleasure of attending at Comic Con was for the recently renewed Timeless. I have a great fondness for co-creator Eric Kripke as the creator of Supernatural, so I did a lot of tweeting when Timeless was on the verge of cancellation by NBC, as did many other fans of the innovative new series. Alas, all our rallying didn’t work, and NBC cancelled Timeless anyway.

Or did it? Even Kripke and co-creator Shawn Ryan had started down the difficult road to acceptance when NBC gave them some unexpected news – never mind, Timeless is renewed! Needless to say, both Kripke and Ryan and the series’ stars were over the moon, but very much caught off guard. Cast members Matt Lanter, Abigail Spencer, Malcolm Barrett and Goran Visnjic all expressed their astonishment – and gratitude.

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In fact, Spencer said that she initially thought it was friends playing a joke on her, albeit one in poor taste for someone who had just lost their job!

There were certainly other factors besides the outpouring of fan support, including a tax break for moving filming from Vancouver to California, but it’s clear the fan support was also instrumental. In fact, much of the Timeless panel was devoted to thanking the fans. The highlight of the panel was a video made especially for the fandom to say thank you, which was both amusing and heartwarming. The packed room did a lot of cheering in return, and the video thanked the online fandom as well.  They also tossed out some free “Clockblockers” tee shirts, the slightly risqué (and thus quite popular) name for Timeless fans, to show their appreciation.

Eric Kripke said they kept writing as though the show would be renewed, adding that “you go hard” instead of just throwing in the towel. As for Season 2, we can expect more focus on Lucy’s mother and a more in depth exploration of the main characters.

Kripke has always had a good understanding of fans, largely because he identifies as a fan himself. I interviewed him quite a few times during his tenure at Supernatural and was always impressed by how many questions he had for me about fandom, in addition to answering my questions for him. That understanding goes a long way toward mobilizing fans to keep your show on the air, and to being responsive to fan opinions about content without sacrificing creative independence. It’s a balancing act Kripke has been especially good at.

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He’s also learned a lot since those early days of showrunning Supernatural. That was clear in his inspiring message about their determination to make Timeless a diverse enterprise both in front of and behind the cameras. For a series that shows us all a different lens on our own history, that diversity is particularly important, since so many of our stories have been left out of the “official” history books. Race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity – Kripke wants to be sure that all are covered.

Kripke: History is for everyone.

He added that the message of inclusiveness seemed to be a needed one right now.

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I actually got choked up a little, which I didn’t expect at a Timeless panel. I’m excited to see what the new season brings, and just as much an admirer of Eric Kripke as I was a decade ago when he was helming Supernatural. Check out the new season of Timeless on NBC in 2018!