What Makes a Show Eminently Slashable
I have noticed that some shows, such as Due South and The Sentinel, have far more slash stories written than others. I am wondering whether there are some necessary conditions for this to happen.
The foremost condition that I can think of is that there must be two attractive characters of the same sex that people would like to fantasize over. I have no doubt that MacGyver is extremely slashable. Unfortunately, there was no one of comparable cuteness and importance to pair him with in the show. That probably accounts for why there are so few MacGyver slash around. Due South, on the other hand, have the delectable Benton Fraser and his two Rays. Consequently, Due South slash stories number in the thousands.
Cuteness and attractiveness is of course in the eyes of the beholder. The split in Due South fandom into the Ray Vecchio camp and the Ray Kowalski camp attests to this. Lovability of character does count. Nevertheless, I think that looks have far more weight than goodness. Witness Krycek in X-Files. Someone has pointed out that he is evil, but since he looks cute to some people, there is no lack of Krycek slash, in which he is often redeemed.
Another necessary condition is that the two candidates for slash must not be unredeemably heterosexual. That rules out shows such as Remington Steele, The Scarecrow and Mrs. King, and Moonlighting, in which the men with looks to die for spent season after season chasing the female lead, frequently culminating in wedding episodes of great pomp and circumstance, albeit with a total lack of credible plot.
It is an unfortunate fact of television life that until recent years, characters are hardly ever presented as overtly homosexual. That is why “homosexual subtext” in canon is rather important. Without it, writers would be open to the charge of wishful thinking. On the other hand, if writers can cite chapter and verse for homosexual clues in the original episodes of the show, the slash will benefit from this authentication. Just count the number of stories featuring the incident in which Fraser kissed Ray under the guise of “buddy breathing”!
Depth of character may play a part as well, but I think it is secondary to the visceral aspects. Without depth, it is rather difficult to write interesting stories featuring the character. That is why most of the great slash heroes have painful pasts—Methos in The Highlander, Jim in The Sentinel, Fraser and the two Rays in Due South. The history provides complications in plots and complexities in motivations.
I am sure that there are other necessary conditions that you all can come up with. I am eager to read about them.