Star Trek boss Alex Kurtzman recently claimed that the franchise must always be sold to “deep fans.”
During an interview on The Hollywood Reporter’s TV’s Top 5 podcast, Kurtzman was asked how he approaches his various Star Trek shows in regards to bringing in new fans as opposed to more established Star Trek fans.
Kurtzman answered, “I would actually say that you always have to sell the property to the deep fans. I think they are the most…they scrutinize everything in a way that fans of Trek have done since the beginning. And so you can never be doing anything that seeks to sort of say, ‘Well, we are only going to hit one group here and we are not going to care about another.'”
“That being said, I think that the death of great franchises is when you try and please everybody. I think somethings have to be really focused on specific groups or specific ideas. And you can assume not everybody will love it. And that’s very par for the course with Star Trek, so that’s okay,” he continued.
The Star Trek showrunner then concluded the question, “We are always seeking to please die hard fans, but I think that one of the things Star Trek has not done effectively over time is bring in new people, particularly much younger people.”
“And I don’t see any reason why this amazing, amazing story that has existed for 55 years that is so about everything that we are dealing with in our lives right now cannot be shared and enjoyed by younger generations as much as it can be enjoyed by die hard fans,” he concluded.
However, he would be pressed on the question and was asked which of the shows he views as the most and least accessible to new Star Trek fans.
Kurtzman responded, “You know, it’s hard to say, honestly, because like we’ve had a very interesting journey with Lower Decks. Jonathan Frakes once told me a story that when they started Next Generation people hated. Die hard fans hated it. They were like, ‘This is not the Star Trek that I know. This is not Kirk and Spock.’ Two years in everyone started loving the show and now of course it is remembered as one of the greatest, if not the greatest Star Trek show of all time depending on which fan you asked.”
“I think what it kind of told me was that there will always be an initial reaction to something new. Like, ‘Oh this is different, this isn’t what I’m familiar with and so I don’t like it,'” Kurtzman continued.
He then stated, “Our central premise is that you have to love Star Trek to be making these shows. And I think that in the case of Lower Decks there was a lot of ‘Oh what’s this. Star Trek’s never been a broad comedy before. Oh, they are trying to just cater to the lowest common denominator.’ That couldn’t be less true.”
“If you look at Lower Decks, and it’s gratifying to see how people are writing about it now as we get to the end of the season, that is a Star Trek show. It’s not just a cheap grab for comedy. Those shows are written to be great Star Trek episodes. Yes, they appeal to younger audiences as much as they will hopefully appeal to die hard fans. I think the goal is to always try and find the sweet spot where you are able to get to both,” he concluded.
Later in the interview, Kurtzman would be asked what he thinks about fans who complain about the politics in Star Trek.
He responded, “I find it amazing, but Dan, you are exactly right. Honestly, it’s a weird testament to how powerful the franchise is that you can still miss the message completely and love it. I find that to be incredible. So, if we can get that and we can get people who completely get the message and love it, great. Fantastic.”
What do you make of Kurtzman’s comments regarding appealing to the “deep fans?” Do you believe him?