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The Beauty and the Beast
fandom for newbies

Falling Into Fandom
by a
A Fellow BATB Lover!


Welcome to the Wonderful World of Fandom!  Perhaps you are feeling a bit disconcerted with how rapidly youíve fallen. Let me relieve your mind. This is not at all an unusual experience! Let me tell you my story, and see if we donít share some similarities.

 I have a fairly large DVD collection that I try to watch every year to year and a half (justification for owning so many, donít you know!). I had discovered the three season set of Beauty and the Beast while browsing a local retailer and had purchased it a while before. I had seen the series when it was first broadcast and loved it (okay, not so much the last season!). There it sat among my collection. So I thought it would be fun to see it again. Popped in the DVDís and watched. Unfortunately, I got a bad set of DVDís so some episodes just wouldnít play through. How frustrating is that when you are trying to revisit a show you liked! So I hopped on to Amazon, looked into ordering another set (by then the local retailer was no longer carrying it) and I found through reviews that there was a bad batch of the three season set, so instead, I ordered the single season versions.

Now I could watch each episode complete!  And it was as good as I remembered!  Actually, it was better. Because I ended up not just playing through the episodes and moving on to another DVD in my collection, I started re-watching the episodes. Then I looked up the series on IMDB to look at the information about the show and the actors. From there it was a short hop to just googling ĎBeauty and the Beast 1987í and finding all sorts of stuff.  Apparently, other people like this show even 25 years later! There are fan sites! There are Facebook pages! Good heavens, there are discussion boardsóstill active discussion boards!

These fan sites offered all manner of enticing content. Did you know there are talented people out there who draw such exquisite pictures of Catherine, Vincent, and other characters? Or produce fantastic photo montages that make excellent desktop pictures to keep these wonderful characters close by? Other talented folks write imaginative stories, sometimes extending story lines from episodes and even writing a much better ending for the show than the actual show writers! By the way, these stories are called fanfics, which you begin to discover there is a whole vocabulary in fandom that you never knew before! I was particularly taken by some stories I read and emailed the author my appreciation. I got back a response! Thanking me and welcoming me into the love of BATB shared by so many. Wow!

These fanfics, and the sites that had them, are what sucked me further into the vortex of fandom. I discovered that people get together through the internet to watch episodes together, and talk about them! What the heck, I thought, why not try it? If it gets too weird, all I have to do is sign off, right? (I also had to learn about Skype, but it was about time I did!). So, bravely, I sent the email requesting to join and got back the instructions.

Let me share with you my natural tendencies to be a lurker on internet boards. I love reading what others have to share, but I am content not to chime in myself. How friendly could strangers be! I was amazed at how welcoming these folks were, and where they were fromónot just the United States! I just hadnít thought about BATB playing in other countries, but you know it did. Why shouldnít they fall in love with it as much as we did! So now my fandom has an international flair! But before I knew it, I started writing comments as the episode played and even spoke a comment or two.  

Well I survived that experience! So whatís next? Discussion boards! I applied to one, and true to my nature, I hung back and read posts for a bit. These guys sign messages with hugs! Send out good thoughts to help bolster one another when needed! Say pithy things about the characters and episodes!  These are my kind of people! I start posting! I start regularly checking it to see other responses! I really rather enjoy reading those posts more than my own regular emails!

Then there is this online Winterfest thing that occurs every year! Iím waiting to experience my first one, but my new friends tell me it is great fun and Iíll love it. They havenít been wrong yet, so Iím sure I will!

The last toe to dip into the fandom pond came as I signed up for my first Con! I want to put faces to names and benefit from discussing all that is BATB in person!

Now I know Iíve slipped on the proverbial banana and knocked myself silly!  Iím way too old for this (I did say I watched the original when it aired!) and ought to know better, right? And all this has occurred in a span of four or five months!  I never was into anything before, never a Trekkie, not into Dungeons and Dragons, nothing. So why now?

 I have no freaking idea, but I am in for the ride! Come join me, wonít you?

 A Fellow BATB Lover!

December 18, 2012




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