It started with a tweet, as so many things in fandom do these days.
— Hey Jessie! (@zoewillowsmama) April 30, 2015
A suggestion by a Supernatural fan for a spin-off about recurring characters Jody Mills and Donna Hanscum and their hypothetical home for wayward girls. The idea is largely a product of the show’s latest installment, which saw Claire Novak shipped off to Jody’s care after finally getting closure on both of her lost parents, with the Winchester’s help.
Ever since The CW network announced their desire to produce a spin-off of their veteran flagship show, fans have bandied about different ideas on who should be the focus, and how it ought to be connected to the source material. (All parties were distinctly unimpressed by the season 9 backdoor pilot “Bloodlines” which was wisely dropped by the network after it aired) Jody Mills has long been a fan-favored potential lead for the hypothetical series, and this season’s episode “Hibbing 911” – which paired Jody with another recurring female cop, Donna Handscum – produced a small ground-swell of advocacy for a permanent buddy-cop show featuring the duo.
It was not hard to see the appeal of that set-up. The sunny, slightly naïve Donna Hanscum is a great foil to the more sassy and sardonic Jody, and they have a solid odd-couple chemistry that could definitely carry a series on its own. But something about tying Claire Novak’s storyline to Jody’s, which already has her fostering another “lost girl” from the SPN universe, Alex, solidified an idea that seems to have gone viral in the last few hours in the Supernatural fandom. In response to @zoewillowsmama’ s above tweet, Jody Mills’ actress Kim Rhodes soon after tweeted this enthusiastic, emotional reply.
I have been. Then I had to put it down because I wanted it so bad I cried a little. https://t.co/gDy5qZOWy2
— Kim Rhodes (@kimrhodes4real) April 30, 2015
This response by Rhodes quickly inspired other fans to jump on the bandwagon, and a letter writing/tweeting campaign was coordinated on Tumblr, with the hypothetical series dubbed ‘Wayward Daughters’, subtitle “Donna & Jody’s Home for Girls.” A devoted Tumblr and Twitter have since been initiated, a logo already designed, and of course there is fanfiction for it too, unsurprisingly.
There’s no telling if the campaign will go the distance, as it is less than a day old at this point. But I have to admit, as a long time Supernatural fan, and one who finds the show’s general ill-treatment of its female characters profoundly aggravating, it would be particularly gratifying to see the network take the idea seriously, at the very least. The CW already wants a Supernatural spin-off, and starting with a premise that features primarily women helps guard against the reproduction of one of the original’s biggest faults: excessive male-centrism. The premise of ‘Wayward Daughters’ is the perfect antidote to the sausage fest that is Supernatural and gives some justice to the underappreciated women of the SPN universe, who indubitably deserve a show of their own.
It is completely understandable why The CW wants to find ways extend Supernatural’s brand, and cash in further on its large, reliably active and exceedingly loyal fanbase. It’s a smart move from a business stand-point. But fans are not dupes and they’re not sheep. They won’t invest in a spin-off unless it actually manages to capture some of the magic of the original…and perhaps rectifies a few of their long-standing grievances. ‘Wayward Daughters’ seems to check both of those boxes commendably. Plus it just sounds so fun. One can only hope The CW is smart enough to recognize a good thing when they find it twittering away at their doorstep.