Fandom and the “What We Left Behind” Documentary

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Vger23, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I just finished my first rewatch of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in over a decade. Prior to that initial full rewatch 10 years ago, I hadn’t watched more than about 40% of the series when it aired. It was a highly serialized / mythology based series that was hitting stride while I was in college and playing sports, so I just couldn’t keep up. Ironically, there is a segment in the documentary that this post is about that addresses the concerns around serialization and it’s potential to lose fans. But, I digress...

    Anyway, to cap off my rewatch, I watched the “What We Left Behind” documentary, which I thought was excellent and very entertaining. What an amazing group of creative people who worked on this show. The love and passion for the work and for each other was so obvious.

    The thing that struck me squarely, however, was the opening 10 min or so, where various cast and crew read harshly written criticism from fans about how the show is “not Star Trek” and “not Gene’s Vision” and all the other tiresome, mundane bullshit we’ve all been hearing since 1979 over and over again about anything new the franchise dares try. What struck me most was not how repetitive and banal fandom complaints seem to me these days, but how this genuinely hurt the actors and writers involved in making the show. I was embarrassed and ashamed just watching it.

    It raises a question about whether or not anyone, in their passion and emotion in negatively reacting to a franchise product, has ever gone back and looked at their behavior through the lens of an actor or a writer who might be reading their criticism and felt guilty or ashamed. I’m sure everyone feels justified in writing their harsh comments because they feel like these creators and artists have somehow personally hurt them (I’ve seen some extremely impressive rationalizing to justify asshole fandom behavior through the years), but I wonder how a fan base who prides themselves on being enlightened, intelligent and mature really feels when they look at some of the things they’ve written about actors/writers/producers and having an awareness that these people see these comments and are actually personally affected by them.

    I myself felt ashamed and embarrassed...and I’m not even someone who has written a ton of negativity through the years. I usually reserve that for Star Trek : Insurrection and certain minor elements of TNG and VOY...but for the most part I simply don’t comment on things I don’t lIke...and yet I STILL felt shitty.

    Not trying to guilt anyone...just genuinely curious. It’s Thanksgiving in America, and among other more major things I am grateful for, I am thankful we’ve had a successful and varied franchise upheld by the hard work, love and passion of many highly creative people for well over 5 decades.
     
  2. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I never felt that way about DS9. I watched it the day it premiered, and ever since, it has been my favorite series. I was certainly aware of people who tended to downplay the series or considered it less legitimate as a spinoff of TNG than Voyager.

    There were, however, elements of JJTrek and, to a lesser extent, Discovery in its first season that I tended to reject. Strangely, I had no problem with the visual changes made in Discovery. There were a few times I let myself become too vocal and too angry in my criticisms. Then, on an episode of Mission Log, some guest said something that stuck with me: the Star Trek that spoke to him had already been made; let others have their own Star Trek. Indeed, my Star Trek, DS9, had been made.It was not my job to make someone else, like my son, feel badly about new movies and series,just because something wasn't just like DS9..
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
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  3. DS9forever

    DS9forever Commodore Commodore

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    I would doubt that the people who wrote (and mailed!) those criticisms about DS9 were productive members of society.

    It would be interesting if they could be tracked down and asked how they feel about ST now.
     
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  4. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure they were letters written directly to the production. More likely early internet posts or letters to various genre publications (Starlog, etc). Basically today’s version of posting on social media and discussion boards.

    But your point is well taken.
     
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  5. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Should comments from fans end up on another Star Trek documentary in the future, if they pull comments from a bulletin board, and if any of them happen to be mine, I'm not worried about how I'll look.

    Even when I wasn't too thrilled about what Star Trek was doing in the early-'00s, I was very careful about what I said.
     
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  6. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Many aspects of the production were very much bare bones, despite appearances. Before the Indiegogo campaign, the documentary would have been based around a day of interviews and a day with the writers. Retrieving fan mail from the day, if kept at all, would have been extraordinary.
     
  7. Mister Spock

    Mister Spock Commander Red Shirt

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    I've often wondered what happened to the guy Brannon Braga mentioned in Trekkies. The one who sent the Next Generation production team letters almost every day, usually junk mail and travel brochures.

    I did start searching for some of some of the people interviewed for those documentaries, to see what they were up to now. I stopped after I found one had been imprisoned for possession of indecent photos of children and another was serving jail time for elder abuse.