Star Trek is best served by its fandom, as they are the target demographic.
Who do you trust more, the critics or the fanbase? That’s the interesting question that many are having right now, maybe more so than ever before. So many movies are coming out and are getting terrible reviews, but are actually quite good. Take, for instance, the Last Voyage of the Demeter. A well-done story about the arrival of Dracula on the shores of England.
Was it perfect? No. Few films ever are. Was it exactly what fans of the genre were hoping for? Absolutely. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes have given it a 49%, but fans have given it a 76%. And no one should be surprised. It seems like critics only enjoy high-brow movies like Oppenheimer, films that match their ethical and moral sensibilities like Barbe, or something that’s unique or odd but isn’t necessarily great, like Prey.
Now, sometimes audiences agree, and sometimes they don’t. But when you look at how critics review movies, you need to understand that they’re not who the film is for. They’re for the fans. And this isn’t exclusive to movies. Movies, television, music; really anything at all. They are likely to not have the same attachment to the property as a fan is.
Look at the Mario movie from 2023. Critics hated it and gave it a 59%. Fans? 95% It made nearly $1.4 billion at the box office. It was an undoubted hit. Opinions are subjective, as are reviews, but the critics were objectively wrong about the film. It was exactly what fans of the Nintendo franchise wanted.
Because that’s whose opinion truly matters, the fandom. You’re making things for a specific group of people. You’ll sometimes make a new fan, but largely, you’re hope is to keep your base happy. If you lose your base, you’ll never make enough new fans to keep supporting the thing you’re making.
So it’s pointless to lean on the opinions of critics because they’re going to be there week in and week out to collect their paycheck. Fans? They’ll stay if they think they’re being given the best product possible, but if the downfall of the MCU and Star Wars has shown us, is that their loyalty isn’t unwavering.
So with all that said, why do fans, especially of Star Trek, continue to ignore the opinions of Star Trek fans?
Star Trek fans are the ones who keep Star Trek alive, and their voices matter
Seeing people say that Paramount is making Trek for non-fans is exactly why so many fans have, and rightfully, taken umbrage with the decisions of the franchise. The core fanbase has been big enough at times to get 20+ million eyes on an episode. It doesn’t need to cater to non-fans, if you respect Star Trek fans and what they want, they’ll show up.
This is a proven fact.
Yet, we’re constantly besieged with accusations that the fanbase just “doesn’t get” the quality of a show. Take Discovery for instance. Critics loved it, it sits at an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans? They hate it, with it standing at 37%.
And it’s not hard to see why fans hate it, it broke many customary ideas. It relied on special effects over the story, it retconned character history for no reason, and the creators made changes they wanted to see instead of what the fans were hoping to see and it was written to be edgy and dark to the point that it was an unrecognizable part of the franchise.
Yet, the fans who showed up for Sar Trek, only to see something that was anything but what they expected, were the ones who were shunned and dismissed.
Take for instance Star Trek: Enterprise; critics hated it – 55%. But fans loved it, sitting just below 80%. Enterprise is a far better, more faithful show to Trek than Discovery is, and fans have made it a point to let people know that.
It’s the fans of the media that will tell you if you’re onto something. Critics can’t be trusted, as they’re not always fans of the franchise. They’re not always aware of the importance of history and lore. But fans are.
If the fans don’t like something, it’s valid. Too often you’ll have people try and dismiss the fandom’s dislike of something, which inherently just shows you that the people who are in charge of creating these massive forms of entertainment, often don’t even understand the fanbase. A fanbase isn’t just those who like something, it’s also those who don’t like something. If someone doesn’t like it, the reason why matters. Just as if a fan likes something, it matters far more as well.
A fandom’s view of a property is far more meaningful than that of a group of critics. Respect your fandom and you’ll have an audience for life.