Throwback Tuesday: Lasting Friendships Through Television
Back in August of 2009, I posted the following article that focused on lasting friendships I have been fortunate enough to make thanks to television shows for which I have become extremely enamored with over the years.
Where did your most treasured friendship form? In elementary school? At summer camp? In college? For me, my longest running friendship was formed in elementary school during the first week of first grade. My best friend for over 35 years now still lives in my small hometown near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and 2 children. We don’t see each other that much because of the distance, but we do keep in touch when, and as often, as we can. My second-most longest running friendship was also formed in elementary school, but found its common ground in the latter part of high school. That best friend is also still in my hometown area with her husband and daughter. We keep in contact with each other as often as our busy schedules permit.
To help fill the void of those long-distance, long-standing friendships, I have television – and my addiction to that square box with pretty pictures on it – to thank. Over the years of my couch-potato-ism (is that even a word?), I have found myself falling in love with shows (dare I say slightly obsessed) and finding a “home away from home” (of sorts) via fan message boards and forums. These forums can be found all over the internet for every TV show under the sun.
My first foray into fan message boards was prior to my 3000-mile move away from home in the year 2000. There was a short-lived TV series called Prey, which aired on ABC and was owned by Warner Bros., starring then relative unknown actress Debra Messing (Will & Grace), and actors Adam Storke (Stephen King’s The Stand), Vincent Ventresca (The Invisible Man), [the late] Larry Drake (LA Law) and Frankie Faison (The Wire).
This show was on during the mid-season of 1998, airing opposite NBC’s juggernaut Friends as well as the 1998 Olympics. Needless to say, during that time any series that debuted during mid-season was simply a “throw-away” show (in the eyes of the networks); one that garnered little to no publicity and was relatively overlooked by the powers that be.
Prey had a sci-fi element to it, featuring a storyline about bioanthropologist Sloan Parker (Messing), who discovered an advanced form of human beings living amongst us. They were stronger and smarter than us and they were set on annihilating us. Tom Daniels (Adam Storke) was one of the 1.6 “generation” (Sloan discovered their DNA was 1.6% different from that of humans), and was originally tasked with killing Sloan because she learned of their existence. However, he could not perform his mission, and eventually fell in love with Sloan, working with her and the team from Whitney University (where the bulk of the characters worked) to bring the 1.6’ers down.
Unfortunately, that show lasted only 13 episodes (and regrettably left the fans with a cliffhanger ending), but like many shows before and since, garnered a worldwide fan base that did everything in their power to convince the network to keep it on the air. Like so many fan campaigns, the Prey For Us community was not successful in bringing the show back, but thanks to the internet we all found each other and more than 11 years later, our little group (though considerably smaller than during the show’s limited “heyday”) is still together.
It was because of my involvement with the fan movement for Prey that I finally made my monumental move to Los Angeles, rooming with a friend from within the Prey community for about 2 years. And, it was because of Prey that I came face-to-face with the realization that I was (and still am) a (proud) fan of sci-fi programming.
Since those heady days of Prey, I fell in love with the shows Roswell, Tarzan, The Invisible Man and Moonlight (among others). I’ve had the chance to meet many wonderful people through the online communities for these shows; friendships that have, as I said earlier, filled the void of my childhood friends being so far away.
So, here is a cheer to my fellow Preymates, Roswellians, Tarzanites, I-maniacs and Freshies. I am so thankful I had the chance to meet all of you through our common TV love and I am grateful that so many of you are still my friends despite these shows no longer being on the air. TV shows may come and go, but friends are forever.
NOTE: Since this article was originally posted, I added the fan favorite series Outlander to my list of “obsessions.”