Some shows and films take on a life of their own thanks to the fans. There's more Twilight and Star Trek fan faction than there are stars in the sky. Even latest literary sensation 50 Shades of Grey started out life as a Twilight fan-fic.
But while most just get a devoted crowd online, few are as unexpected as the crowds of men that have grown around the latest iteration of My Little Pony.
No, you read that right.
While originally aimed at six year old girls, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has gathered a massive cult following online. Called 'Bronies', this group (predominantly mid 20s straight men) has grown in size massively over the last two years of the show.
The real shocker is that the show's creators are completely encouraging it.
Headed by animation guru Lauren Faust, responsible for cult hits The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, the show's been made famous for it's unexpected quality.
With crisp animation, snappy dialogue, great characters and references from the start that no six year old would ever figure out, the show is, believe it or not, a real triumph.
None of those working on the show could have predicted the results though. It started with ironic mocking and then grew into something more. Much more. First there was simply putting caption on pictures, then there was fan art. Then music, then fiction.
Fast forward two years and there's now a convention simply for all things My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Preaching love and tolerance, it might just be the friendliest group the internet has ever seen.
The flames of fandom have simply been fanned by the programme makers themselves though.
After fans named a background character 'Derpy' over an animation glitch, they proceeded to try and put the character, glitch and all, into every episode. They even had a main character use the name and gave 'Derpy' lines, something that actually got them in surprisingly deep trouble.
The show has now become so skewed towards the fans, not an episode goes by without a request being granted or a nod being given. Even the voice actors get involved, with lead voice Tara Strong frequently responding to fans on twitter and attending get-togethers.
Faust has also greeted her unexpected fans, saying that “The array of people this show has touched has completely exceeded my wildest expectations!” in a blog post.
The show itself has grown massively too. From it's conceptual roots of just trying to flog toys, the second series ended in a 45 minute conspiracy thriller including four songs, a royal wedding and a giant martial arts fighting scene.
It's a shining example of how a creator and their fans can join forces, something that a lot more TV crews should take note of.
With the show greenlit for a third series later in the year and a feature documentary about the phenomena already made, the pony train looks only to be gaining speed.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith