It’s no secret that since Brain Fuller stepped back from Star Trek: Discovery fans have been concerned. Those concerns only grew once the new series finally premiered in early September.
Fans are upset about a number of things and for good reason between the retconning of critical details to the Nu-Trek feel. Star Trek: Discovery has tried to make bold strides to bring the franchise into the 21st century. However, it seems to be satisfied with putting together a Michael Bay style Star Trek.
Without any other cover left, star Jason Isaacs, who plays Captain Gabriel Lorca, might be attempting to use the Ghostbuster Strategy to defend the show from criticism.
The Ghostbuster Strategy
What is the Ghostbuster Strategy? Easy, if fans have any sort of legitimate complaint about the quality of a franchise then you’re called something negative: a racist, misogynist, homophobe, or any other identity politics buzzword. You’re branded with the modern day scarlet letter. This is used as a means to drown you out and ruin any sort of credibility.
Everything you’ve brought up just fizzles away. All the inconsistencies and concerns you have are lost as is any sort of clout you may have had. Studios are elevated for standing up against the hate. On the other hand, you’re left with no real ability to fight back. Worse yet, nothing changes. The franchise is left to ruin. Going from the choice cut of meat to a sort of Grade D piece of meat normally used in dog food.
While the Ghostbuster Strategy is effective at drowning out fan criticism, it hasn’t worked out all that well in the actual business of making money. Case in point, the new Ghostbusters reboot. It made only $229 million worldwide, but spent $144 million just on production which doesn’t factor in marketing or any other costs. It was a big fat loser at the box office. One estimate indicated the movie lost $70 million. It was even dubbed one of “the biggest box office bombs of 2016.”
Now it seems Star Trek: Discovery is employing the same strategy.
Jason Isaacs Targets Star Trek: Discovery Criticism
Polygon reporter Julia Alexander quoted Jason Isaacs over the weekend:
**Warning Strong Language Used**
Jason Isaacs says "those people who hate on the show because we have a person of color and woman as the lead, they can go fuck themselves."
— Julia 💀 Alexander (@loudmouthjulia) October 7, 2017
Those people who hate on the show because we have a person of color and woman as the lead, they can go f*** themselves.
What kills me about this is one of the MOST beloved captains, is Captain Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space Nine. Any reporter or person worth their weight in salt would know he was not only the first black Captain, but in many episodes tackled the issue of race within our society in a way that built bridges of understanding. Actor Avery Brooks who played Sisko didn’t throw an entire fanbase under the bus because of valid criticism about the show’s inconsistent canon and lack of philosophical engagement.
However, Isaacs seems to be equating the criticism with random Twitter trolls.
Tagging all the cast to hurl abuse IS extremely rude. And vain. We don't come to your work and scream THE MCFLURRYS ARE MELTING, do we? https://t.co/90xUwAmHmB
— Jason Isaacs (@jasonsfolly) October 5, 2017
Jason Isaacs does have a history of engaging with mean trolls online, but I believe his experience in the past is at best clouding his judgment. At worst, it makes for a great excuse for failure.
It’s no secret Discovery has taken a number of gambles. First, by making itself available in the United States only through CBS All Access. The show is already limiting its reach in order to shore up the numbers of CBS’s streaming service. Second, reshoots and confused writing left good actors with dialog that felt lacking and not fully fleshed out. Finally, by stepping away from the canon Discovery is reinventing a great deal of Trek history. Not just something here and there. The show is taking a huge bet with the Klingons.
If it’s true the Ghostbuster Strategy is being employed already, We can expect even more negative news about Star Trek: Discovery to come out soon. It’s no secret fan reaction has been mixed at best. Most of us will give Star Trek: Discovery the entire season. I expect better from not only fellow fans, but from those who are lucky enough to take up the mantle and lead the beloved franchise to its next stage.