Taking Advantage

By Fred Shedian
Posted at July 26, 1999 - 5:00 AM GMT

Do we take advantage of people? Do we realize what we have until it is gone? Can the item in question be a television show?

Star Trek has been on the air on a consistent basis for more than ten years now. We have not suffered through years of watching reruns for the only source of entertainment. The fans of today are lucky, as we have the luxury of seeing new episodes and adventures each week. However, has the consistent bombardment possibly taken away some of the magic the franchise has to offer? Have we overdone it?

There are quite a few people who would respond yes to these statements. Many believe that having too much too soon will inevitability destroy the franchise, and is already responsible for some of the damage we have seen in ratings. One cannot argue with the logic of the statement. Too much of anything isn't necessarily a good thing. Nine movies and four series later, has this really become the case?

I would respond that it hasn't. Although I can see a need for a short break between the end of Voyager and the next series, I am not convinced we have seen our society reach the saturation point in regard to Star Trek. I think the vast majority of fans still cherish the shows, no matter who the Executive Producer is.

I do believe that the consistent bombardment of new adventures have made people fail to realize what they have. Many severely criticize the direction certain actions or particular episodes take. To do so provides feedback to the writers and keeps them on their toes. However, that only goes to a certain point. After a particular line is reached, the criticisms become more vindictive and hostile in nature. For an example, simply look at how people have responded to Brannon Braga since Voyager came on the air.

Many people do not recall how fans felt in attempts to generate a new series in the 70's and 80's. For over fifteen years, the only television based Trek was that of reruns. Although remarks were made from time to time, people were generally more concerned with the fact it was indeed Star Trek. When The Next Generation arrived the feeling was the same. We were in awe over the fact the franchise had made it back to the small screen. Yet, this attitude started to change near the forth and fifth seasons. People started to be more critical because something did not meet their individual expectations. The wonder about the show's return had disappeared, replaced with the commonality of Star Trek in our society. Although to a degree constructive criticism is a good thing, has the destruction of the awe and wonder hurt the franchise?

In a time when we no longer have an intact Original Series cast and are on the edge of seeing the end of the Next Generation franchise, I believe all Star Trek fans need to take a step back. The time has come to review how lucky we have been to have the privilege to see this universe unfold on our televisions, in movie theatres, and in our hearts. Making suggestions for improvements is one thing, a positive goal in nature. However, making cynical, vindictive, and hostile remarks only shows how under appreciated the franchise and it's staff have become.

I sincerely hope you, the readers, will consider these words with an open mind. Although people should feel free to continue to question certain actions, I would like to say this. Perhaps if we were more conscious of the fact we should never turn a suggestion into a vendetta, things would be different. Cynical, vindictive, and hostile remarks only serve to hurt, not help. I invite everyone to help Star Trek grow and continue to be the franchise we have cherished for over thirty years, not destroy it.

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Fred Shedian writes a weekly 'A Take On Trek' column for the Trek Nation.