Trek Must Die!By Joe Beaudoin
Posted at May 13, 2000 - 3:07 AM GMT
I have enjoyed Star Trek for many yahren. However my interest has waned very significantly toward the TNG after series (e.g. Deep Space Nine and Voyager), as well as these new "movies", as they are so-called. Now, more than ever, are fans proclaiming change -- a portion them anyway. However, I feel, with all due regret but relief analogously, that Trek must, for the good of Trek's Ideology and for the good of all fans, die.
The pronouncement may be nothing new too you, especially since there are those who have stated that Trek is already dead or dying, or even to die. However, a death to all things Trek -- discontinuation and decommissioning thereof -- would be beneficial for you, future generations, and myself. I will endeavor to elaborate as to the reasons that prompted this article, as well as its intent.
My first concern for Trek stems from the fan base it has gestated. The fan base -- whether viewers loyal, casual, or passive -- comprise of many different factions at odds with one another, as I see it. We have a faction that likes Berman, a faction liking Roddenberry, a faction proclaiming a return to the roots of Trek, a faction that hates Modern Trek, a faction that loathes Classic Trek (or even doesn't know it at all), a faction liking all, a faction declaring that Trek is dead, a faction that believes Trek is alive and well… The list continues, and it's kind of pathetic (maybe ironic) that fans of a television show are at odds with one another. It's also woeful that the word faction has to be used at all; something you'd likely see as a headline on some sort of newspaper during the American Civil War. Remember Bleeding Kansas?
And what we have here, right in front of our very eyes, is a vicious circle of destruction brewing. One where fans are walling themselves in, just because of their like for a show or shows over other shows. Little wonder people have a good laugh at us when we come open and say, "My favorite show is Star Trek." To confine ourselves and retort with venom that could kill armed soldiers as if they were nuclear weaponry is exactly the antithesis of that which we so, allegedly or not, watch in action on unsurpassed Star Trek.
Any continuation of Trek, in any way, shape, or form will continue to put fellow fans at odds with one another. However, is that the only reason I want what is best for Trek -- for it to transcend this life into a completely different life? The fans venom? Not in a long shot, for that only scrapes the iceberg.
Another thing that scares me is that fans will waste their time whining -- yes, I literally mean whining -- about the problems with Trek... yet some of these same people do not stand up and organize themselves into a feasible organized group. And, when ever a fan or a group of fans demand action in the form of a movement or campaign, they are instantly attacked upon by those who don't agree. Of course, that in itself is nothing new, but does illustrate my antecedent point about fan venom. Not that I'm saying that some fan campaigns are exactly completely innocent either, however to do two wrongs just creates a larger wrong. To their credit, at least they are making themselves coherent.
Which really brings the entire thing full circle, if you actually get the human computer geared up. See, there are those who simply complain and there are those who take action to actually try and do something about it, but are attacked by the complainers who really do nothing beyond that, sadly.
Go on a message board -- any board -- look up posts related to the major fan campaigns. There seem to be people complaining that "this way" isn't the way to go, but "that away" is. Well, if that's true, why haven't there been tons of fan movements to make their ideas into possibility?
Simple answer really: they just want to complain. They don't want to do anything about transmuting that complaint into something that would solve the problem(s) at hand, finding out who else agrees, and making that into a fan effort to make sure that problem gets solved.
Can it get any simpler? I'm sure it could, at the level that could compromise the integrity of the message. However, you get my point... if fans wish to complain, at least have those complaints directed at people who could make a potential difference; not on those fans who aren't in the position to make the change. Otherwise your complaint isn't worth making. And, I'd also like to enter that whether or not you happen to agree with these movements and campaigns, they're at least trying to do something. That's enough, in my estimation, for them to earn the admiration and respect from those that may not agree with their cause, especially of those who do not or cannot organize a movement or campaign of their own.
Speaking of fan involvement, and for people who watch Trek, it seems there are those of us who have nothing better to do but comment on every little nuance of a television show or movie. Instead of sitting on the couch, chair, or wherever you happen to station yourself, why not just go out and do something? Fun is one thing, but to have it as a basis of one's own life is not a good use of time, especially since life is so short. I don't mean to be condescending, but if you happen to enjoy Trek enough to debate about it, why not actually go out and try to get something done in the community? I know that there are those of us who do, and I commend you, however it seems there are those of us who need to do something with our lives, besides watch, read, or gawk over Trek.
Obviously, there is some passion, the size mattering little, to make your own little niche in the world and making the world a better place for our scions and the future generations that will follow them. Instead of just watching Trek, experience Trek by putting yourself into a position to help your fellow peers. Help out molding the future of tomorrow by volunteering as a helper in an after-school program for teens and pre-teens, become a part of a group dedicated to cleaning the community of refuse, or to help those in need in your neighborhood. It's better than just watching Trek, now isn't it? It certainly has been for myself when I've helped out a neighbor or helped my fellow peers in after school programs.
What additionally concerns me about the franchise's shows continually being spun off is the fact that the newer shows will likely step on the toes of the previous shows, as well as destroy their image -- the dream, the reason they became hits in the first place, and the characters that made everything happen. It's happened to Kirk and Company, and it's already happening to Picard and his valiant crew, next it'll be Sisko and his crew… Let me say that there is basically everything dead set against such a series -- and not even giving a break between a new series and Voyager (loathe it or despite it) definitely will not help get people back.
What Trek needs is a superb and final farewell, a dignified one, one that befits the franchise. Otherwise, with the way that Trek is going, it will get a dishonorable, dismal one. It will ruin those who work for it, and those who work for it will ruin it. Getting new blood may help, however Star Trek needs to be put in the stable with the rest of the sci-fi horses who were wise enough to bow out when they did. I'd rather not watch a once great television saga be destroyed by people who care only for money and ratings, and not trying to make a good television show or even a good movie for that matter. I sincerely doubt that neither would you, especially if you liked the show(s) so very much.
Trek has, to say the least, overstayed its welcome. It's time for Trek to step aside for a few decades or for maybe half a century, and for other science fiction shows to flourish. There are other great jewels out there besides Star Trek -- any of them. Yes, even in today's excuse for television, there are oases of intelligent and enjoyable television. Prominent among these series being Farscape and Stargate SG-1; hell even the upcoming Roddenberry based series, Andromeda, seems to gather more attention and masses than today's Trek. There's already a massive fan base for that, and the show hasn't even begun yet!
Add to the fact that people are growing sick of the Star Trek franchise. I myself am feeling it, and no doubt are you in some respect. After all, to think that Trek, any Trek, is the only series worthy of being on television would be doing the credo of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination injustice.
And, in death, there is always the chance for reincarnation -- or resurrection. The fans will still be there! If a show like Battlestar Galactica can have such a strong following after only being on one year and demand a resurrection of the original cast after twenty years, then Trek fans can become one united force once again. Until our attitudes change, until those Powers That Be attitudes change, neither they nor we deserve continuance of this thing called Trek; for mutually, we are the ones who are ultimately to destroy it.
For the good of the dream, for the good of ourselves, and for the good of our fellow peers... Trek must die. No more canonical Trek. No more... Lest be that which Trek stood for be destroyed by our petty quarrels with one another, and for the utter decimation of the ideals of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination.
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Joe Beaudoin writes a bi-weekly 'Controversial Stance' column for the Trek Nation.