Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has found an audience but will new fans be a part of it?
Star Trek has a long history. I mean long. No modern sci-fi television franchise has nearly as much. nott even Star Wars. It’s a franchise that competes with Superman and Batman as one of the most enduring and longest-running in all of pop culture. Nearly 60 years of content. To fans inside of the fandom, it almost seems not nearly enough. To those outside of the fandom, it may make for a daunting experience to try and hop in on.
It’s not something I often think about. The idea that getting into Star Trek could be daunting. Though, I certainly get it. I’m a fan of a lot of things, and a friend of mine suggested I get into One Piece, an anime/manga that has been going on for 20 years. I figured I’d give it a try but stopped after a few episodes. Why? Simply put, it has over 1,000 episodes in its catalog.
That’s more than Star Trek. So it felt too daunting of a task to start, so I didn’t. So I completely get why some would feel that Trek is too involved to hop in on. Yet, Strange New Worlds may open a door for those fans who never got into the product.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds may serve as an entry point for new fans.
Gizmodo’s Rob Bricken brought up this very point in his recent article, Strange New Worlds Is the Star Trek Show I, a Non-Trek Fan, Have Been Waiting For, where he talks about the very same concept of feeling overwhelmed by the franchise’s history.
He spoke about the enormity of the franchise, especially with the releases of Discover and Picard, saying;
"It was just enough to make me consider jumping into Trek when Discovery kicked off its new era, and again when Patrick Stewart returned as Picard for Picard, but both felt like they required years of lore I just didn’t have."
But he sees Strange New Worlds as something easier to get into,
"I’m sure part of the show’s appeal to me is its clear, concise premise—it follows the crew of the Enterprise during “its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”…But, having watched the first two episodes, I can tell what has made Strange New Worlds one of the highlights of my week: it is incredibly easy to watch, understand, and enjoy."
These are not points we often talk about within the fandom. After all, we’re already here. When we talk on our message boards or Facebook posts, it’s often from the point of view of silly concepts like, “who’s a real fan”. The emphasis often is on the idea of us already being fans of the product in the first place.
Yet, we don’t consider enough the idea that new fans may be looking for a way in. The animated Star Trek: Prodigy does a good job appealing to new fans of a certain age, but Strange New Worlds may do just that, but for an older audience.
If Star Trek: Strange New Worlds can in fact bolster the fanbase with newer fans, then it may just go down as one of the most important shows in franchise history.