Saving 'The Chicago Code' - The Fans' Story, Part 2
May 23rd, 2011 12:00pm EDT
Last week, I brought you the exploits of devoted fans of FOX's The Chicago Code. This week, the story continues.
It's been about two weeks since The Chicago Code was axed, and as the initial furor has died down, some of the less fervent fans have moved on. Yet the die-hard fans are as dedicated as ever, perhaps even moreso because they know tonight will be the last we ever see of this series unless we continue to push for more.
For some, this is a nearly full-time campaign, and being dedicated to something so completely isn't without stress and strain. The day after I wrote my first article, I received a Facebook message from one of the most important people involved in the fan effort. She'd been moved to tears all morning, she said, because she worried that she wasn't doing enough.
It struck me as a mind-bendingly touching moment.
This is so much more than a TV show, I thought to myself, if it can move someone this profoundly.
That feeling is reflected throughout the fanbase. Everyone has their eyes turned to this date with the belief that something big is about to happen. Not just within the show itself - which promises a fantastic showdown between our beloved hero Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke) and the man who may have killed his brother - but amongst the community around it. We all know that unless a miracle happens, this will be the last Monday night we'll all gather in this way. There's a palpable sadness out there; I fully expect that I'll shed a few tears as the credits crawl, not just for the show but for everything it brought into my life.
As much as I love the show, I think that's the more important part. There are other TV shows that are great series, but how many have this kind of social and emotional impact? Especially on airwaves increasingly dominated by cheaper or more palatable alternatives?
The campaign got a boost this week when Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich wrote a piece about the fan effort. There's a 'but' coming here, though; with all due respect to Ms. Schmich, I found myself bothered by her omission of some of the biggest players in the picture. The column mentions one Facebook page and references the existence of others, but there's no recognition for the Bring The Chicago Code Back Facebook site, the campaign's major hub, which has over 4,700 "likes" as of the time I'm typing this. Or the Chicago Code Fans Facebook page and corresponding Twitter, which comprise the show's most active fan resource. Or - and I say this a bit selfishly - my own ChicagoCodeFan.com website, the only one in existence. I found myself disappointed, because I know the people behind all those entities personally, and I know just how much they've contributed not just now, but through the entire season. Allow me to stand in for Ms. Schmich and recognize their incredible efforts - without the people behind these pages, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.
What's more bothering is the unintentional consequence: the Tribune column is the one of the many written that was picked up by several other news outlets, which then used its incomplete information to draw their own conclusions. Take, for example, this blatantly negative column from the UK's Globe and Mail, which relies on Schmich's article for its statistics, citing the few hundred followers of one of the smaller Facebook efforts and including the line, "Good luck with that." Reading the piece, I could almost hear the sarcasm dripping off the words. If that writer only knew how many more of us are out here. It's not a massive army, certainly, but there are many more than were given voice by that one example.
And there are some classy people out there. If you're wondering why I didn't name names above, it's because the people behind those major pages specifically asked me not to, telling me that they'd rather the attention went to the pages themselves, and not the individuals who run them. One of the many things I like about being involved with this group of people is how they keep everything in perspective, and don't let things get out of control.
I've seen a few wayward fans out there this week, though, and I want to take some time out to address some of the things I've seen from them. I can say from experience how the bad behavior of a person or a few people can reflect negatively on the whole group, and I certainly don't want to see that happen here. For example, I saw one of the Facebook pages had posted a link to my article about Matt Lauria's new Burn Notice role, adding a comment telling Matt not to "give up." In my opinion, that's just misguided and a bit of a jab at an actor who's been nothing but gracious with Chicago Code fans. In no way has Matt ever given up on the show; the fans have to remember that his guest spot on the USA series was probably in the works before Chicago Code was cancelled, and even if it wasn't, I don't think we'd expect him to sit unemployed while we try to save the show. We have to be realistic about the situation not just for ourselves, but for everyone involved.
Some of the fans are a little over-enthusiastic (as somebody else said, expecting the Mayor of Chicago to step in on the show's behalf is a bit much), but as long as they remain sensible and respectful, I can't help but smile. I would rather be in a room with those people than people who didn't care enough. As a screenwriter myself, the idea that any show - not just this one but any of them - can be out there that can make people passionate about something is pretty fabulous.
And then, yesterday, those people got a glimmer of hope: Shawn Ryan tweeted that we should try Netflix for a season two. Is there perhaps a savior on the horizon? If nothing else, it gives the fans a valuable piece of information - someone other than FOX they can direct their efforts toward, instead of wondering who will step forward. With that in hand, it's up to the fans to work twice as hard at saving this show.
What can you do? Most importantly, watch tonight's season finale live at 9 PM ET/PT on FOX. One of the biggest weapons fans have right now is that ratings have gone up over the last two weeks, and we want to continue that trend. Beyond that, you can start with this handy how-to-help guide at Examiner, where I've collected all the information you need in one place. Once you've done that, the rest is up to you...just keep active, and keep positive!
One last note: while I appreciate all the comments left to this and other articles I've written on the subject, as well as ChicagoCodeFan.com, I've gotten an increasing number of them asking me not to cancel the show, or other things that clearly need to be heard by FOX, not me. Please remember that I am not affiliated with FOX in any way. If you have things like that to say, direct them to the network (contact information can be found in the guide linked above); that's the only way to ensure they get to the right audience.
One thing's for certain: the fans of The Chicago Code aren't going quietly, and I love you all for it.
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Photo Credits: FOX