A flood of true fanning and gatekeeping has come with the introduction Star Trek: Discovery, most of it aimed at new fans of the popular science fiction franchise.
Criticism of popular media is a good thing and I would never begrudge fans from dissecting their favorite shows to analyze plot, character, and production values. I’ve literally spent tens of thousands of words doing that very thing here on this website (and, not to mention, I did this in college where I majored in film). Likewise, personal taste is completely subjective and not something one can form an actual argument against in most cases. If something just ins’t your jam, fine. You do you. These are two sentiments being expressed towards the new Star Trek that are completely understandable. But much of the vitriol flung at people enjoying the newest edition in the Star Trek franchise seems to be rooted in a sense of ownership of the series and a growing frustration that the fanbase is evolving from what it once was.
In a small way, I recognize the feeling of ownership. I grew up watching horror films from around the world and watched them getting remade in the United States where I felt they lost a lot of integrity. I still maintain that Let The Right One In is superior to Let Me In. I will analyze the changes and share my personal feelings on the matter whenever the subject arises. So I can recognize this feeling, even though the scale of my annoyance is spread across various films while their annoyance is rooted in one of the biggest franchises in modern pop culture history. Still, I get it, despite the difference in scale.
Here’s the thing about our perceived ownership of these properties, regardless of the scale: these stories are for everyone. These stories are for the original consumers as well as the new consumers. These stories are for the young and the old. They are not just ours to control as they are adapted or expanded. The new audiences that come to these stories have just as much of a claim on these properties as the “original” viewers do. I know that’s upsetting to many, but it’s true. It’s not a first come, first served situation when it comes to entertainment, and loudly proclaiming that you’ve been a fan for 20/30/40+ years doesn’t mean you can dictate who can and can’t enjoy a piece of media. It just makes you look like kind of a jerk.
For me, this new Star Trek is everything I want out of a series. I love the diversity of the cast and the artistic approach to its visual style. I love that Michael has broken the Roddenberry Rule, even if that goes against what much of the franchise has stuck to thus far. I think it’s new and exciting. I love the intense debate surrounding the morals of the Vulcan Hello. I love the memes. Yes, the memes. (You can read my full review here: Star Trek Discovery Review: 1×01 & 1×02.)
If you hate all of these things that I’ve mentioned that I love, that’s your prerogative. If you feel this is a massive betrayal to the Star Trek you grew up with, you are welcome to feel that way and make your case as you see fit. But what you aren’t welcome to do is tell us we don’t belong in this fandom. We do. We’re here and we have a show that appeals to us and many of us are incredibly happy about it.
This franchise is not just for you, it’s for all of us. If this particular branch of the franchise doesn’t match what you need from a Star Trek series, you have plenty of other options to choose from. There’s room for us all in this large and expanding universe, just as there should be.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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