Hence why Nemesis bombed and Enterprise was cancelled there weren't enough fans to keep Trek going.
Actually, the lesson of Nemesis and Enterprise is that alienating the fans is bad
. They're potentially a goldmine -- the fandom-powered franchise
goes well beyond TOS merch -- but only the very hardest-core of them will turn out for just anything with the Trek brand slapped on it.
(We probably shouldn't lose sight of the fact that, especially when it's unqualified, the word "fan" can mean different things to different people, and in different contexts.)
The thing is, people try to set up this binary either/or dichotomy between "the fans" and "the non-fans," whereas, in real life, it's a spectrum
with extremes at either end and the vast majority of viewing audience spread out along the middle.
At one end, you have the folks who don't "get" STAR TREK and never will. Chances are, they can't tell the difference between "Dr. Spock" and Darth Vader.
At the other end, you have us hardcore, convention-going, bbs-posting, merchandise-collecting super-fans who have seen every single movie and TV episode and can cite chapter and verse on the Organian Peace Treaty. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we are not
the "core audience." We are the extremes at one end of the spectrum.
The vast majority of Trek fans consists of people who, to varying degrees, have enjoyed some amount of Star Trek over the years and have a certain affection for their favorite Trek series and characters. They've seen the more popular movies, will pick up a Hallmark ornament or paperback novel if the mood strikes them, and certainly know who Kirk and Picard are, but maybe not Gul Dukat or Robert April . . .
It's the casua
l fans, along the middle of the spectrum, that mean the difference between a flop and a hit. And they're the audience you mostly need to target.