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Pandering To The Base / Live-Action TV

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  • Arrow has been accused of this, considering the fact that there isn't a large gap between production and transmission.
    • As an example, the writers were able to take fan reaction of the first half of Season 1 to heart. It's evident (especially when one looks at social media) that the showrunners can be swayed by fan opinions. The promotion of Ensemble Dark Horse characters like Slade Wilson, Felicity Smoak, and Roy Harper to the main cast for season 2, alongside toning down some of the more disliked parts (Thea's brattiness, Oliver's ruthlessness,) are seen as this. The show's Fanservice might be a better example, since the second season ad campaign (titled "Coming Back Strong" and consisting solely of the male actors posing shirtless.) was much more blatant about it.
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    • Later seasons had the the popular Olicity ship. The popularity of the pairing and Felicity's popularity in general led to Felicity eventually becoming Oliver's official love interest in place of Laurel. This caused problems though, as the show runners continued to pander to the Olicity shippers to the point of allowing Olicity and Felicity to overtake the plot with soap opera-like relationship drama, causing both the popularity of the ship and Felicity herself to fall dramatically (it should be noted the main reason why the Olicity ship was so popular was because it lacked drama and the relationship was much healthier than the Lauriver ship, at least at first.). Nevertheless, the writers toiled with this pairing until the end. To their credit, the writers eventually did acknowledge the issue, and their relationship after Season 6 notably lacked much of the drama in previous seasons that led to its scorn. Felicity herself became less-hated in Season 7 as her story got more interesting, so while the pairing remained divisive, it worked out fine in the end.
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    • A rare positive example: after the writers controversially killed off Sara Lance in the first episode of Season 3, the fan backlash was so strong that, to appease the fans, the creators not only brought her back in the next season, she eventually got to headline her own show. History Repeats in the following season, when Sara's sister, Laurel, was abruptly killed off midseason. This time, the backlash came not only from the fanbase, but also from the stars of the show (and not only from Arrow, but also from sister series The Flash). Once again, the writers were cornered to bring Laurel back in the next season (sort of) and had the plot rewritten to incorporate her without jeopardizing the rest of the existing story.note 
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  • Sam Raimi admitted Ash vs. Evil Dead was done to satisfy the "small but very dedicated fan base for the Evil Dead films", which even after the 2013 remake still wanted more, and with a Role Reprise by Bruce Campbell.
  • The Battlestar Galactica movie "The Plan" spends time filling minor plotholes from the first two seasons, such as what happened to Shelley Godfrey. Most of these weren't terribly relevant to the plot after their initial episode, so they were never visited again in the series proper, but a handful of vocal fans kept asking the creators to answer these questions, so they did.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 7 is often criticized for pandering to hardcore Buffy/Spike shippers at the expense of story logic, in particular the episodes "Beneath You", "First Date", and "Lies My Parents Told Me." The latter episode all but stated that Spike was the only person Buffy still cared about.
    • Characters such as Spike, Faith, Mayor Wilkins, and Anya were initially set up to either be one episode characters or appear in just a handful of episodes. Their popularity often saw them get more prominent screen time.
    • Season Six and Seven had so much Spike nudity that even Marsters got tired of it and tried to gain weight to get out of being naked as much.
  • Classic Albums: On one hand the individual episodes of this TV documentary series about classic music albums will mostly attract fans of that particular artist or people with knowledge beforehand of that particular album. On the other hand music and rock fans can also enjoy the series, even if they aren't particularly fan of said album or artist.
  • Doctor Who:
    • John Nathan-Turner's tenure as producer of Doctor Who (1980-1989) is frequently criticised for doing this. He was probably the first producer to really interact with and respond to the desires of the fanbase, an approach that initially made him quite popular. Unfortunately, this same approach eventually resulted in constant ham-fisted continuity references, return appearances from one-off villains who hadn't been seen in ten years, sequels to stories that hadn't been broadcast in twenty years, an overdose of self-indulgence, and the gradual feeling that the only people who could enjoy the show were anoraky types who kept detailed charts of every single thing that happened in the show's twenty-five-year history and had them close at hand while watching. To make matters worse, some of the original material being referenced was material that was missing and presumed wiped, making it near-impossible to actually go back and catch up on it. As it turned out, the fanbase was quick to realize that what they thought they wanted wasn't actually what they really wanted, and today Nathan Turner's tenure is considered controversial by fans, to say the least; he's often blamed for the show's gradual decline in popularity and eventual cancellation in the 1980s.
      • For an example of what might be considered the nadir of this approach, watch the serial "Attack of the Cybermen", which is almost incomprehensible without a degree in background knowledge of the show's history. And if you are that kind of fan, you'll be outraged by the conflicts between the story and the stories it was trying to reference, which caused a Continuity Snarl that some people think was the reason that the 2000s Cyberstories started from scratch with Cybermen from a parallel universe.
      • Graham Williams, the producer preceding John Nathan-Turner, actually advised JN-T not to do this, on the grounds that fans were with you anyway and it was casual viewers who had to be convinced. (For example, he'd made "The Invasion of Time", a direct sequel to "The Deadly Assassin", a story fans at the time hated for Fan Disliked Explanations but that got excellent ratings, AI scores and critical appraisal.)
    • A lot of people think RTD bringing Rose Tyler back in Series 4 and giving her a conveniently human clone of the Doctor through a massive Ass Pull was pandering, many feeling her departure in Series 2 was one of the best companion departures. That said, Rose is already one of the most divisive characters in New Who", mostly due to conflict between her fandom and her hatedom.
    • "Journey's End", the episode in which the above occurs, is similarly contentious among fandom because it also brings back every single companion who'd appeared up to that point, as well as a bunch of characters from two spin-off shows and a whole bunch of lingering plot strands from about four years. For many, it is to the new series what "Attack of the Cybermen" above is to the classic series.
    • The Twelfth Doctor's era (Series 8-10) was accused of pandering to the feminist side of the fanbase. Showrunner Steven Moffat was attacked in the press and the media for his supposedly sexist writing during the 11th Doctors era. (To the point where he was even driven off of social media.) Many fans and critics feel that he attempted to win favour with his 'progressive' critics throughout the 12th Doctors era as a result. First Moffat brought back the Master (a character he was known to dislike and hadn't used throughout 11's era) as a woman. He also retconned the Master/Doctor relationship to be romantic. Whilst some fans appreciated Michelle Gomez' performance, many argued that she ruined the Master/Doctor dynamic by changing it from a Holmes/Moriaty relationship to a case of Dating Catwoman. Many also felt that the character of Clara (already a very unpopular companion) was given too much focus, at the expense of new Doctor Peter Capaldi. Finally many also pointed to various misandristic remarks made by Clara and Missy and other female characters throughout the shows run as examples of feminist pandering. (Such as Clara repeatedly threatening to and hitting the Doctor.) During 12's era the shows viewers crashed to the absolute lowest they had ever been in the shows 50 year history, whilst the reception from fans and critics alike was mixed at best. (It should be noted that most fans and critics praised Capaldi's performance, but even then many feel that he was sidelined and even emasculated by Moffat's pandering.)
    • The Twelfth Doctors final story was also accused of pandering to the more extreme feminist audience when it rewrote the First Doctor into being a straw misogynist, which was not well recieved. (Though many did praise David Bradley's performance nonetheless.)
      • The Thirteenth Doctors era has been accused of pandering to the same audience too. It should be noted however that its viewers have been higher than Capaldi's last few seasons. However some have claimed this was more due to a change of timeslot, better advertising and the novelty of a female Doctor. It should be noted that Jodie's first series' viewers did drop dramitically (until they reached record lows for a festive special.) Jodie's performance as the Doctor has also been polarising (to put it mildly.)
  • The writers of Everybody Loves Raymond initially had the show centered around the title character of Raymond and the way his interactions with his zany family members would bring out his neuroses, causing hilarity to ensue. However as time went on, execs apparently noticed that the rivalry between his wife and his mother was polling well with certain key demographics and gradually the show started playing up their rivalry to the point where it seemed to become the show's new focus, instead of Ray and his neuroses. Ray himself frequently got reduced to being a quivering punching bag who would be swatted around between his wife and his mom as each angrily demanded that he argue against the other on her behalf, and the show even started making the wife become a Designated Heroine in the later seasons and clearly wanted the audience to cheer her on against Ray's mom. What made it rather ridiculous in the eyes of many fans was the fact that the wife and the mom were exactly the same in that they were both arrogant and mean, and in the wife's case, which made it very hard for many fans to root for her, though she certainly did have an ardent fanbase. The whole thing ended up being something of a base breaker.
  • Glee is a big offender: the writers have acknowledged that they make it up as they go along, and many plot points were encouraged/demanded by or flat-out dreamed up by the audience, including: Idina Menzel as Rachel's biological mother, the Brittany/Santana relationship (largely spearheaded by actor Naya Rivera), Gwyneth Paltrow's performance of an Adele song ("Turning Tables"), and more.
    • Glee also has a strong following with the gay audience. Cue Season 2 pushing Kurt center stage and focusing more on Gay Aesops. Conversely, this also caused Glee to develop a large Hatedom who felt they went overboard with it.
    • The rabid Klaine fans are a VERY Vocal Minority that may be a factor in Blaine's Relationship Sue status. Most Klaine fans wanted less songs and more actual writing for Blaine. Also, Dave Karofsky was intended to be a violent, homophobic, bully and, later, something of a sexual predator. As it turns out, a lot of the gay male fans ended up actually identifying with him, or just found Max Adler attractive. The character was later brought back and allowed to redeem himself..
    • In Season 5, the writers decided to abandon the Glee Club entirely and also pandered to the Brittana shippers by dumping Santana's girlfriend.
  • Heroes suffered terribly from this. Part of it was the show debuting right around the time fandom really started taking off on the Internet, but reading interviews with Heroes producers about all the major story decisions they made based entirely on what the fans wanted makes one wonder if they had any confidence at all in their abilities. The most infamous pandering moments included:
    • The death of Simone in Season One. Originally set up as the Love Interest for main character Peter Petrelli, she quickly fell prey to Die for Our Ship ravings from fans who wanted to see the Fan-Preferred Couple of Peter and Claire take precedence. The revelation soon after that Peter and Claire were cousins proved how pointless Simone's death was. Unfortunately, it would prove only to be the start of a trend...
    • The survival of Big Bad Sylar after Season One. Originally slated to be Killed Off for Real, this was quickly nixed with the realization that Sylar had become the show's Breakout Character. While Season Two saw him Brought Down to Normal and forced to rely on his wits, his re-powering ushered in a slew of pandering moments from Season Three onward, to the point that by the end the show was arguably a Villain-Based Franchise.
    • The entirety of Season Three. Originally entitled "Villains" because the show was meant to focus on a slew of superpowered criminal escapees, the show soon shifted its focus to Archnemesis Dad Arthur Petrelli, a character the writers felt would be a sure hit due to his familial ties with the show's most popular characters. But due to an egregious Make Way for the New Villains introduction, Arthur proved a non-starter with viewers and was Killed Off for Real by Sylar.
    • As the show's popularity waned in the fifth and final season, the writers attempted to pander to past nostalgia by bringing back past Ensemble Dark Horse villains Daniel Linderman and Adam Monroe via flashbacks and dream sequences. Unfortunately the fandom was too far gone by this point, having tapered off after Season Three and never really recovering, even though the final season was acknowledged as an improvement.
  • The creator of iCarly panders to the shippers on that show generally by teasing the side that are Out of Focus at the moment. He started by pandering to those who ship Sam\Freddie as they fell out of focus after the "iKiss" episode. He uses his blogs and episode 'commentary' posts, where he always makes little references to them together without actually confirming any kind of feelings or love between them.
    • As the end of Season 4 and the start of Season 5 have a canon Sam/Freddie romance arc, it could make one wonder if his pandering was because he knew he was going to eventually do something that would at least partially satisfy them, or if they were just so numerous and responsive that he put it onto the show when it could quite easily have not been done at all.
    • He also immediately switches from pandering to the Sam/Freddie fans, to pandering to the Carly/Freddie fans the moment he put the episode out, by saying things like "you don't know how the next episode goes" and "watch the final scene closely", which were identical things to what he used to tell the Sam/Freddie fans when it was Carly/Freddie in the limelight. This time around people realized what he was doing, and they did not react at all like he would have expected.
    • He also panders to the base in a non-shipping way - in iCarly and Victorious he's given the Ensemble Dark Horse characters a bigger role once he found out how much the community liked them.
  • Kamen Rider does this from time to time, usually giving extra spotlight or new power-ups to Ensemble Darkhorses. One confirmed example comes from Kamen Rider Gaim, where The Rival Kaito wasn't originally going to get a Super Mode, but that changed after the staff found out how popular he was. Kaito also becomes the effective Final Boss of the story, but it's not clear if this was planned all along or if his popularity influenced that too.
  • Following the cancellation of the UK children's game show Knightmare, a petition was set up in an attempt to revive the show. In 2002 a 13 minute pilot for a new updated series was produced called Knightmare VR using funds granted by the National Lottery. The producer, Tim Child, stated that he mainly chose to make the pilot due to the pressure and interest from the Knightmare fan base years after the original series ended. Unfortunately the new update deviated too much from the formula established in the original series and fan reaction to the pilot was generally negative. The proposed series never came to fruition.
  • Lost getting rid of Nikki and Paolo due to the fanbase's hatred of them.
  • There is a huge amount of pandering to the Arthur/Merlin shippers when it comes to promoting Merlin (2008), especially from Cult Fix, which releases ten teasers concerning upcoming episodes. These teasers will always involve at least one example of Ship Tease between Merlin and Arthur, whether it involve piggy-back rides, loss of clothing, Merlin caught in compromising positions, conversations about peeing, or other bits of slash-bait. Often they word their teasers in such a way that insinuates the scenes are far more homoerotic than they actually appear in the episode. The teasers for the episode "Aithusa" also mentioned that the show's only female characters (Morgana and Guinevere) would not be appearing in the episode — the marginalization of women being a cause of much celebration for the slash fan-girl mentality.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus became this in the fourth season, where Cleese was no longer involved and most of the material felt rather repetitious. Many sketches have scenes that are clearly only there to amuse and please their own fans, who by this point laughed and cheered at every odd thing they came up with. This is in high contrast with the earlier seasons where the audience merely snickered or almost didn't react at all, save for a few friends of the Pythons in the studio audience.
  • In a rare doubly positive subversion, after years of sinking ratings under MMPR Productions, Power Rangers Ninja Storm managed to produce a Lighter and Softer version of the show full of Lampshade Hanging. The ratings took a dramatic upswing. The most vocal sect of the online fandom erupted at a perceived insult to the beloved departing production regime from a poorly worded press release and at the perception that the series had now become an Affectionate Parody of itself, necessitating an injection of fandom rejoicing in the form of Power Rangers Dino Thunder and the return of Tommy Oliver. Dino Thunder not only maintained the bump Ninja Storm enjoyed, it further increased the ratings.
    • As it turned out, test audiences of children polled after Ninja Storm had wrapped agreed with the fandom that Lothor was the weakest part of the show and demanded scarier villains.
    • Ask and ye shall receive... immediately following Ninja Storm, Dino Thunder has Mesogog. Two seasons later, Power Rangers Mystic Force has the Master/Octomus, complete with the scene from its source Mahou Sentai Magiranger in which he emerges from Matoombo. Finally, Power Rangers RPM has Venjix, who wiped out most of humanity, got a One-Hit Kill attack later on, pulled off an Evil Plan that was even better than Lothor's, and may still be alive as of the series finale.
  • Revenge, at least so far, seems to be doing this correctly on the creator's end. Writer/executive producer Mike Kelley admits to listening to the fans when it comes to influencing the show's direction, though he's aware that taking the fans' feedback too far can have disastrous consequences (see the Heroes entry).
  • Smallville started doing this towards the end in regards to the Chlollie ship (Chloe Sullivan and Oliver Queen). The very first time the two characters had met, Chloe was definitely attracted to Ollie, but the show apparently meant for that initial moment to be as far as it went, and played the moment for humor. But due to massive fan demand, in Season 9 the show explored the idea of Chloe and Oliver initially becoming Friends with Benefits (who clearly want something more, though they deny it) and then later embarking on a romantic relationship. Although there were naturally a few dissenters, most of the fanbase enjoyed it so much (or at least, were okay with it, which was actually a rather significant accomplishment for any ship in the SV fanbase), that the writers gave the ship a vague ending at the end where, 8 years later, Chloe is seen with a child that is implied to be hers and Ollie's, without actually confirming whether they're still together. This way, the comic book fans are free to speculate that Ollie ends up with Black Canary like he does in the regular DC Comics, while Chlollie shippers are free to speculate that he and Chloe are still together. A remarkable example of a new ship gaining Popularity Power.
  • Star Trek descended into this territory during the final season of Enterprise, though this is considered to be a good thing given that that show's final season is generally considered its best.
  • When it comes to the female guest stars, Supernatural is certainly guilty of this. Jo was a love interest for Dean; she was hated by the fans and so got booted. Bela was introduced — to say that she was hated would be an understatement — and she got ripped to pieces with Hellhounds (off-screen). It was then revealed that Katie Cassidy as Ruby had to leave too (however, that was because they didn't have the budget to pay for her return). Kripke has also ended up apologising for the oft-reviled "Red Sky At Morning" and a few other unpopular episodes. While you appreciate the thought, you kind of wish they had the stones to ignore the bitchier parts of their fanbase. Ruby was a subversion before she got Killed Off for Real. It's revealed in season four that she simply got a new meatsuit after being forced out of the old one by Lilith.
    • This might not necessarily be a bad thing here, since the female viewership were not only trying to ship clearly straight (frequently related) heterosexual men together, they were picking up on and complaining about the stereotypical way the show portrayed female leads. In Jo's case, the writers began to see the fan's point; according to her actress, they told her she came off more as a 14-year old sister than a love interest. The female fanbase warmed to Jo after she stood up to Dean when he tried to pick her up, and positively started liking her and Ellen after their Alas, Poor Scrappy moment. Later seasons seem to have picked up on how much the fangirls hate the stereotypical Girl of the Week. Meg (as played by Rachel Miner) and Pam (the blind seer) both played against the female stereotypes and were both reasonably well received.
    • More creepily, the writers throw in a buttload of ho-yay moments and the characters spend a lot of time tied up and broken. Episodes written by Sera Gamble in particular tend to throw in a lot of female-directed fan service. It's probably one of the main reason the show has run for eight seasons, despite the writing quality not being consistently good and the base being irreparably broken. They've figured out what sells.
    • As a part of Jeremy Carver's general attempt to Win Back the Crowd lost during season 6 and especially season 7 he turned up the Ho Yay between Dean and Castiel Upto Eleven, at one point even scripting an 'I love you', which made it as far as being acted out before Jensen Ackles (the actor who plays Dean) decided it was out of character. This worked a bit too well; it drew back a lot of old viewers upset at Castiel's absence from season 7 and drew in a lot of new viewers interested in the possibility of a Ho Yay ship going canon, but then a script supervisor tweeted that there wasn't and never was any intention to actually go through with it, followed by a guest director insulting the shippers by tweeting that they were getting upset over a storyline that didn't exist and calling them 'weirdos'. This led to a MASSIVE backlash, and accusations of queerbaiting so strong that Misha Collins (the actor who plays Castiel, as well as the most interactive and PR conscious person on the show) had to step in to do damage control. This article partially explains what happened.
    • Charlie Bradbury was accused of this too. The writers attempted to sidestep the Die for Our Ship issues that plagued other female characters by making her a lesbian. When she proved to be a Base-Breaking Character, the writers went out of their way to give her more focus and repeatedly (offscreen) take levels in badass in a very jarring manner, leading to her being called a Creator's Pet by detractors. Even those who liked her often thought that she came across as the creators trying too hard to make an Ensemble Dark Horse. Then they killed her off, which effectively pissed off the fans who did like the way she had been written.
  • The Vampire Diaries has a habit of keeping the Big Bads past season finales because they are popular with fans, while at the same time killing off other fan favorites such as Anna and Kol (even though he was a Draco in Leather Pants). The most blatant examples are Katherine and Klaus, the latter who was rendered literally unkillable because if he died, all of the main characters would die with him. Katherine finally met her end in Season 5.
  • Jonathan Nolan admitted that Westworld can be confusing to some viewers due to the timelines and puzzles but he trusts that there are viewers who enjoy the non-linear storytelling and the puzzle solving. He even confessed that this show is really for these viewers and it really required them to pay attention. Even HBO's head of programming, Casey Bloys, admitted that the show is not meant for casual viewers.
  • In the opinion of many fans, Xena: Warrior Princess did this by playing up lesbian subtext between the two leads in order to pander to a Vocal Minority.

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