Virtual seasons are a form of fanac where fic writers write an unofficial continuation of a show that has been cancelled, is on hiatus, or to replace a season which is considered to have jumped the shark, or needs denying.
They are often done as collaborations with different writers contributing individual stories as episodes, often with the new episodes "airing" at the same time the show would've aired. Sometimes they are multimedia projects with accompanying fanart or trailers. Some fans go as far as to make fan films such as Star Trek, The New Voyages.
Many virtual seasons are presented with elaborate ancillary apparatus. These vary widely, but frequently include character descriptions, title pages, brief synopses of episodes (similar to those in television program guides), and background on the world of the series. In some instances, the episodes of a virtual season are published weekly or biweekly in a semblance of the schedule of an actual television series. In such a case, promotional "ads" may be created for upcoming episodes.
The very first virtual season was in 1979 in the print zine Moonbeam #5/6. It was a zine that took Space: 1999 into its third season. From the flyer for that issue: "We're aiming for 24 different episodes, at about 20 pages each (typed and double-spaced). Stories exceeding that length may be considered as 2-part episodes."
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was cancelled in 1997 and spawned several virtual seasons, which continued the trend.
Some Fan CommentsSome White Collar fans in 2014 discussed creating a virtual season for their fandom. Some excerpts are below:
Since our beloved show will unfortunately be over soon, I was wondering if there is any interest in continuing the adventures of Neal and Peter by doing a virtual season (or two...or three...). I just cannot accept the fact that there are only six new episodes left for us to enjoy. :-( So, if there are enough writers interested and willing to participate in a virtual season, I'd be more than happy to organize one.For anyone who's not familiar with the concept of virtual seasons - this is basically a fan-based continuation of a TV show. There's no limit to the possibilities, which is the beauty of a virtual season. It can be a continuation of canon (in this case, we would have to wait until season 6 has aired and follow these events), it can be an alternative to an already aired season, it can focus on a specific character (e.g., a Mozzie spin-off) or it could be completely pre-series. Authors can decide to collaborate on a story arc that spans the entire virtual season or just write stand alones. The sky's the limit! But the first step is to find enough writers (and, ideally, artists!), so... What say you all?
- ... interest-wise, it'd also depend a little on what the plan is. The "continuation of canon" option would interest me most, so I would probably be more on board with that than a spin-off for a secondary character. I've heard of virtual seasons before, but I gotta admit that I never read one -- would the episodes be written in script form or how does that work?
- ...the episodes of virtual seasons, they are written in regular story form, not script form. They should follow (but don't have to follow) the episode format of teaser - act 1 through 3 or 4 - epilogue. Normally, stories should be about 10K to 15K long. Depending on what the focus is on, each author might have to incorporate a small portion of a pre-planned story arc into their episode (e.g. if we had the music box as our season's story arc, you could write a stand alone story but would be asked to incorporate a short scene in which Mozzie tells Neal that he's been trying to find out information but has been unsuccessful so far). This sort of thing takes a bit of planning, obviously, but this fandom has made any kind of challenges (from Big Bangs to fic exchanges) so easy until now, I have no worries that getting a virtual season organized won't be a problem. :)
Further Reading and Meta
Sites Listing Virtual Seasons
- MZP - one of the largest virtual season sites currently running, MZP is a "virtual network" comprising original series and continuations, as well as 'Buffyverse' fiction.
- Complete Zines Online, E-zines & Virtual Seasons, by jjjean65 in own geocities
List of Shows with Virtual Seasons
- The Adventures of Sinbad Fan Fiction Seasons
- The New Fanfic Adventures of Sinbad (archived on Reocities)
- American Gothic The Virtual Second Season (WaybackMachine link)
- Angel: No Limits
- Mutant Existential Scoobies Presents: Angel Season Six
- MZP Angel Virtual Continuation
- Three Deep
- In Another Life (alternate third season)
- Three Deep
- Buffy Season Noir
- The Buffybot Adventures - original site (archived), current
- MZP's Buffy: The Virtual Continuation - the Scoobies relocate to Cleveland
- Slayer Academy - follows young Slayers at the newly-formed Rupert Giles Academy
- Buffy: The Chosen
- Cordelia the Vampire Slayer
- Faith: The Series
- B3 Buffy Fanfic Series
- Watchers Central
- Buffy Season 8
- Virtual Lunatics' Virtual Season Eight
- WaTchers: The Virtual Series - website
- Harsh Realm Virtual Season (archived copy)
- Kung Fu the Legend Continues FanFiction Season (Waybackmachine link)
- Quantum Leap: The Virtual Seasons (seasons 6-14)
- Cascade Virtual Tales by Black Panther Productions
- Faux Paws Productions Virtual Seasons
- Novation Productions Virtual Seasons
- Sentinel Slash Virtual Season
- The Sentinel Slash Movies Project
- The Sentinel Slash Stories of the Month
- Sliders Season 6
- Sliders The Lost Sixth Season
- Sliders Earth 214
- Sliders Earth 317
- Slide Override
- Infinite Slides
- Spy Game Central - (includes a virtual Season 2, archived)
- Starsky and Hutch Virtual Season (online)
- Starsky and Hutch Virtual Season (zine) (slash)
- Starsky and Hutch Gen Virtual Season (5th and 6th on the Hutchfans Yahoo Group)
- Strange Luck: The Virtual Second Season (WaybackMachine link)
- Thin Blue Line Virtual Seasons (http://brothersinarmsfiction.com/tbl1/intro.html Season One) & Season Two
- Fox & Rat Virtual Series (1999 - 2017) (Season 11 premiere! 2 September 2017!)
- The X-Files Virtual Season 1-3
- X-Files Virtual Seasons 8-16
- X Files: VCU ("Violent Crimes Unit"), by Deslea (2003)
- X-Files: Fight the Truth
- Shipper Seasons (Xena/Ares, season 7-10, ongoing)
- XWP Subtext Virtual Seasons (Xena/Gabrielle, season 7-10)