The Fosters fan art created by the very talented August!

Nobody wants to see the TV series they love get cancelled. Unfortunately, this is a regular occurrence in the industry and not everything can get renewed for season upon season.

But, what happens when certain cancellations take away not just entertainment from their audience, but something much more important?

TV shows are no longer just a piece of media. For the most part, they reflect our society and thus the stories told and characters brought into our lives have a significant impact on us. We don’t just form connections to these fictional worlds randomly. We connect to characters that we relate to and get hooked onto stories that reflect our own experiences.

We let these characters into our lives and immerse ourselves into the goings-on of theirs. It’s a blissful escapism that can take us away from our own reality, which many of us regularly crave.

A great amount of comfort can be found in finding fictional characters who are similar to us. This is especially true for those who rarely see themselves represented in the media, as it provides validation and inclusivity.

For example, LGBTQ+ characters are either none existent, hidden away at the back, stereotyped and/or given harrowing stories. Anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ is well aware of and is likely going through daily struggles themselves. Thus, it’s important that they’re given positive representation so they know there is hope and happiness no matter how they identify. This representation is already lacking, so seeing shows get cancelled that provide this is always heartbreaking to see.

Although improvements are gradually being made, diversity in TV is still poor and there is a great deal of work to be done.

Over the past few years, Netflix has been releasing a number of well-received original TV series. Unfortunately, Netflix has also failed to renew a number of these greats.

In 2017, 3 fan-loved series were cancelled by Netflix and in the process, some much needed characters and stories were taken away from those who needed them. These were: Sense8, The Get Down and Gypsy.

The fan bases for these shows are out there, and they’re huge. In fact, the Sense8 fandom is so powerful that after the shows cancellation, they continuously campaigned for the decision to be changed and a Sense8 special episode was announced.

After just 6 weeks, Netflix decided to cancel Naomi Watts’ ‘Gypsy’ which seems absurd, considering the poor amount of promotion that was done and the short amount of time fans were given to discover it.

The Get Down was a series like no other set in The Bronx of NYC in the 70s. It really stands out strong against Netflix’s other originals and I was genuinely shocked to hear the news of it’s cancellation.

More recently came the announcement that The Fosters was getting cancelled by Freeform. The cancellation of The Fosters came as quite a shock, especially seeing as it’s one of Freeform’s most watched shows.

The Fosters spoke up when other shows failed to. It shines light on numerous social issues (from being transgender, to immigration, to adoption, to sexuality – the list goes on)  and focusses on a biracial lesbian couple and their children.

For a family show, The Fosters was a groundbreaking piece of television and it’s since gone on to win two GLAAD awards and has helped thousands of people in all manner of ways.

These are the kind of shows that should be getting highlighted, not pushed to the sidelines and taken away without thought. We should be striving for difference in television and not seeing similar series that offer no real uniqueness get renewed.

When representation is taken away, it takes with it a feeling of hope that things are changing and can leave you questioning whether these stories are really being taken seriously at all.

If people are praising a series for the stories it showcases, acknowledge that. Understand the impact it’s having and keep pushing to deliver it.

And to all those who’ve fallen in love with these shows: don’t stop fighting for them. Keep the conversation going and encourage people to watch.

It’s the fanbase that keeps them alive, no one else.

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