Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Ship Has Landed

It's happening again.

I'm shipping!

No, that's not a reference to Fedex. It means I'm in love with a fake TV couple --

OLICITY! (That's Oliver and Felicity from The CW drama Arrow.)

For the uninitiated, "shipping" is an online slang term that describes the act of obsessing over the potential romance between two fictional TV characters. It's a term that's exclusive to the television fan community, because only in television can a romance be dragged out for years before resolving. (Alas, in real life, this happens all the time...)

In some cases, the ship is built into the DNA of the series. Take Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, the show that introduced me to notion of shipping - everyone expected Lois' fixation on Superman, but it was the slow-moving romance between Lois and Clark that kept the fans watching.

In the case of Arrow, the ship happened accidentally. Felicity Smoak, played with nerdy delight by Emily Bett Rickards, was a one-episode guest star, written in to further the B plot of Walter Steele investigating his wife. Her character showed up a few more times opposite Oliver, the Arrow himself, and their chemistry was undeniable. They started to have more and more scenes together as Season 1 progressed.

And look who's standing right behind the Arrow on the poster for Season 2 --

That's right - Felicity Smoak.

Think about that - from a one-episode guest star to the female series lead! This is the power of the ship.

As a television writer, I'm always mindful of establishing good ship because I know it can feed a engaged fan base. What would Castle have been without the delicious banter and sexual tension between the two leads? Or LOST without the Kate/Jack/Sawyer love triangle? And I still think the complete lack of ship is a big reason why fans couldn't get interested in Alcatraz - no ship, no viewers!

So while I'm developing my next original television pilot and creating a romance that I hope will be ship-worthy, I'm indulging in my Olicity fantasies.

And how do writers indulge their fantasies? By writing about them, of course! Here's my first Olicity fan fiction - enjoy!

His Eyes by LoisMITx

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