Fan Service is Sometimes OK

My partner and I finished watching the second season of THE MANDALORIAN last night. I really enjoyed it, aside from some filler episodes, and it got me thinking about the idea of fan service.

Fan service is seen as a derogatory term among the more cynical among us. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it can be detrimental. WWE frequently relies on stars of years past in order to get a ratings bump, and it often comes at the expense of newer talent. So many horror titles released these days often read exactly like something written in the 80s (a time many consider to be the genre’s boom). Both cases leave new and interesting avenues unexplored.

What’s interesting about THE MANDALORIAN is that it treats fan service and nostalgia as rewards or Easter eggs. Creators Jon Favreau and Dave Piloni do a great job of forging new ground with an already compelling narrative, giving longtime fans rewards for sticking around, but without alienating newer audiences.

This is something all writers can consider if they hope to build a readership from the ground up. I reference my book MANIA in nearly everything else I’ve done. Since writing PANDEMONIUM, I’ve started finding ways to incorporate a wrestling angle into each story. That’s fun, but I can always find more ways to reward longtime readers without compromising new storylines or saddling myself with the burden of writing unnecessary sequels.

It’s been on my mind a lot lately. Part of what I (and a good portion of my readership) enjoy about my work is my unwillingness to be pigeonholed. Interesting, but how do I work within those parameters to broaden my audience and connect with readers old and new?

I have a few ideas, but I’d love to hear from you.

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