Canceled TV shows send people to strong emotional areas, and I've received a personal reminder of this, thanks to Warrior Nun's fans. The series, which got two seasons before getting axed last December, is back as a trending topic right now thanks to a clever campaign.
Warrior Nun, if you're unfamiliar, is a Netflix Original series that debuted on July 2, 2020. Based on a character (Warrior Nun Areala) from the Ninja High School comic from 1993, Warrior Nun is one of those Netflix shows with a title so wild you probably feel that you have to click on it. Unfortunately, not enough people (apparently) took that bait. And while it's not one of the best Netflix shows, I quickly learned it has a following that believes it was incorrectly canceled.
A brief spoiler-free plot synopsis is as follows: Ava Silva (Alba Baptista) wakes up in the one place every 19-year-old dreads: in a morgue. Making matters more complicated, she has been pulled into the Order of the Cruciform Sword, which fights demons on Earth.
Warrior Nun, from what critics (and a friend) say, is one of those shows that suffered from a bad first season (that outing has a mere 69% Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) score), while its second run has more universal praise, with a 100% score. The latter rating is arguably less valuable than the former, though. Only 11 critics reviews were aggregated for the second season score, while 35 reviews were used to get the lower season 1 score.
A Warrior Nun fan whose identity I won't reveal tells me that season 1 is bad because it "asks you invest in the characters before giving you reasons" to do so, which is a cardinal sin (I found the first Yellowstone episodes to have the same problem).
But I started to pay attention to Warrior Nun when I saw the phrase "NETFLIX CORRECT YOUR MISTAKE" trending on Twitter. It's such a great phrase that other fandoms, such as The Society (opens in new tab) and 1899 (opens in new tab) have picked it up. It's become the new way to flip the proverbial bird to Netflix.
I started cackling. And taking this likely was my first mistake.
The Warrior Nun fans' support feels exhausting
So, I screenshotted the trending topic, and posted (opens in new tab) it with the caption "Honestly, respect to the Warrior Nun fans. 'NETFLIX CORRECT YOUR MISTAKE' is a hell of a phrase to pick and get trending."
And, then, before I knew what had happened, things snowballed. I'm fortunate I don't have notifications for likes and retweets enabled, because in the nearly two days since I posted it, that tweet has accrued 785 retweets, 3,974 likes and over 466,000 views. And I kept getting replies.
All while I hadn't said anything about the show. About if it should be saved or not. I just admired their gusto.
My Twitter notifications column basically became unusable (same for TweetDeck on desktop). And as someone who enjoys (most) conversation online, this felt bad. I was getting pleas to sign the petition and fully enlist in the Warrior Nun army.
Of course, this is where I'm going to stop right here and admit that I've got it easy. I could delete the tweets if I wanted (though I don't want to earn these fans' ire), and nobody was throwing hate-speech at me, so my version of a "ruined Twitter" is a lot less terrible than it is for those PoC and LGBTQ users targeted online for just living their lives. And that would be especially tone-deaf when Warrior Nun is partially beloved because of how it finally embraced queer romance in season 2.
Do Warrior Nun fans understand fatigue?
So, to vent — not at them — about how broken my Twitter was, I simply tweeted about how weird it felt for my support to be "rewarded" this way. And I did so in a brand-new tweet, not threaded to the original. This wasn't meant to be seen by those fans. But they found this tweet too, as you can see.
i love how my notifications are in the mud because i gave a fandom some supportJanuary 16, 2023
To my surprise, that tweet's gotten 329 likes and 24 retweets at the time of me writing this post (and it will likely get more). So, when I was trying to signal my exhaustion, I just wound up worsening my Twitter experience.
Throughout the process, some especially militant Warrior Nun fans basically told me to join up (opens in new tab). And to get that kind of response, without having suggested I've watched a single moment of the show? It was frustrating.
How I saved my Twitter
Mutes — ways to silence things you don't want to see — aren't exactly new on Twitter. But I didn't really have any faith in Twitter's mutes. Having tried them in the past, and seen them fail to work, it took me over a day to realize that I should try again.
But, fortunately for me, I was willing to try again. So, I went to both threads, clicked on the three-dots button, and selected "Mute this conversation." And, to my surprise, these alerts about those tweets stopped filling my Notifications section.
And I breathed a sigh of relief.
Outlook: Do fan petitions work?
Shows saved from cancelation, unfortunately, seem to be the exception to the rule. But that isn't going to stop Warrior Nun fans from trying to add their show to a list that includes the likes of Manifest, Designated Survivor, You and Lucifer. Earlier this month, screenwriter and producer Michael Green told me that fan campaigns to save shows don't work, saying (opens in new tab) "hit the big numbers and you're renewed. don't and no fan petition gambit can do a thing."
It's hard to say either side is wrong here, but I wonder if fans would think twice before interaction-bombing to show solidarity. That said, as the BuzzFeed Celeb Twitter account said to me, this is how these fandoms find new members.
That's how they suck you in (from experience)January 18, 2023
And, so, I turned on season 2, episode 1 of Warrior Nun, and even with its previously-on intro, and a knowledge I was watching "the good season," I didn't click with it at first. About 10 minutes in, one character magically warps into an alleyway to torture a man named Vincent — who keeps his life by claim that he knows whers to find Mary (Shotgun Mary, I've learned, is the character's full name). And that's a cool name.
Another character (Thekla Reuten's Jillian) is trying to activate a magical arc and after we saw that, we see that Ava's training is exhausting her. This scene, though, was the most compelling of the first half of the episode. Ava is blaming herself for everything that's happened, and Beatrice (Kristina Tonteri-Young) is consoling her. As Ava calls herself stupid, and seemingly is putting too much of the past on her own shoulders, I saw a little bit of myself. I'm incredibly quick to blame myself for my own mistakes.
As much as those moments interested me, Warrior Nun didn't do enough to get me to consider watching more. Watching a show you already know is canceled prematurely — much less becoming a part of its online army — are uphill battles I don't need. And while I still respect the Warrior Nun fandom for figuring out a great phrase to get trending, the way they act pushed me away from even considering joining up.