I know, I said I was done with this, but given Mikeals offer to say something, I must take this chance. Not to keep this bridge aflame, but to do my best to douse the fire. So, please let me be personal with this reply. Let me explain my mindset and what Star Trek means to me. And in turn hopefully why Discovery has caused problems for me, and if I do this write, in the end, explain why that's not a problem.
My Star Trek story starts at my oldest memory. It's odd to know the exact date of my oldest memory, and if I did the research I could even find out almost the exact time of the memory, because of the context of it. The 25th of March, 1991. That's the day of my earliest memory. I know it because it was the day I got my first pair of glasses and I was trying so hard to see the TV through those glasses and my eyes hurt because of them, but I had to see the TV because Geordi had just become an alien and I was terrified. I was, of course, a big fan of Reading Rainbow and was terrified for his safety, I was young enough at the time I could not tell the difference between actor and character (an issue I think many of my generation never developed out of).
I remember this clearly and ever since that day I have had more and more Star Trek in my life. I have grown as the show has changed. I watched DS9 end sitting on the floor in my brother's room. It was the first time I saw him cry. I watched Voyager end by myself sitting in my room by myself with my Furby. I watched Enterprise end much the same way, only I watched it end on a second showing because I didn't have cable and thus no UPN.
And then there was nothing. I still loved Star Trek and I watched reruns and watched tapes I had. It was like an old friend. I took comfort in it.
And then came 2009. A story of light and action, symbolizing the first shakeing of the thing I had been a fan of since before I knew it was possible to be a fan. I saw some people loudly and proudly call it "STINA/STINO" or "Star Trek In Name Alone/Only". I saw debates, but the seperation of the timelines allowed the fandom to remain much as it had been. There were still som spats from time to time, but it was solid.
Then came Axanar. Like a wave I saw people react. Star Trek was back, and it was just like you wanted it to be. Money was being raised and things were happening. The JJVerse was still a thing, but at the time no one cared. Star Trek Continues, Star Trek New Voyages, Star Trek Renegades, and now Star Trek Axanar. It felt like there was enough Star Trek for everyone and like we had entered the land of milk and honey.
And then came the lawsuit. Blame was assigned and one by one all the "unofficial" Treks disappeared, snuffed out, many before their planned end date. It seemed like fans were now angry with other fans. The name Alec Peters became one with some controversy attached to it. Well as before it had been a matter of Star Trek being big enough for all of it, now Star Trek belonged to CBS and Alec Peters had ruined the game for everyone. In those days I wondered why we didn't all just hate on CBS together, but it didn't matter. I figured we would survive.
Then 2 shows were announced and it felt like they were announced close together, but I remember it differently. I remember the build-up. The behind the scenes looks at Discovery and the feeling that something was off. There was a political slant to the media around the show, never a good sign. Then came more political stuff and more. Next thing I knew the showrunners were outright saying the Klingons represented supporters of a political ideology. That seemed very wrong to me. By this time the Klingons had their own culture and we kind of understood them. We could tell a Klingon story easy enough. This new take felt like it was being laser-focused on a specific group and that felt a bit, well honestly it wasn't like anything I'd seen Star Trek do. It'd told it's allegories, but this time they seemed intent on making the allegory clear. One article even praised the show for having the "First Black Lead in a Star Trek Show" something that was changed within days to be the "First Black Female Lead in a Star Trek Show" when someone reminded them of Sisko. And really it was the first time I really saw them move the goal post. I used to joke 'What's next the "First Black LGBTQI+ Lead in Star Trek" and was quickly called racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and a host of other things. I was stunned. Could we not critique the media around the show for moving the goal post to suit a narrative. This show was becoming something far more than a Star Trek show, it was becoming a political statement and that was a problem.
And at the same time, another show came about. A show called "The Orville" and I saw that same energy that had existed before. I saw a show with a black female lead that felt no need to flaunt it, they just made her awesome and stand on her own. I saw a show that was funny but actually had me sit down and have a conversation about trans rights with my mother, a staunch conservative in an open and honest way. I saw a show that took the political message and wrapped it in a story much like what I had seen before. I knew then that Star Trek was alive. I knew then that it was possible to Star Trek type allegorical stories in the modern era and I celebrated. I quickly began making images with these new uniforms. I welcomed Orville into all of my Star Trek talking points because it seemed to be a rose, simply by another name. And it became clear to me that perhaps the golden era of Star Trek was not over, but it was at a new dawn. There was a rise in people and the split fandom now had 2 shows. We could have our cake and eat it too.
But in the end, this is proving harder to do than anything else. I watched Discovery because in my heart I wanted it to be good. It had an uphill battle, but it could still earn its name. And like some of my favorite Star Trek books, it could be non-canon Star Trek. And in season 2 I have noticed an uphill swing. But to some that admission is not enough. Because I call it non-canon, I am not a true fan. Because I draw a distinction between the original timeline and the new "prime timeline" I am one of those people who hate. I don't like season one, I make no bones of that. Season two has a decapitated baby head. It's better, but it seems to be made by people who do not think of Star Trek like I do while The Orville seems to be made by people who do.
And any I want to draw this to a close by saying my true point. We live in a time when you can go with the "official canon" or make your own. You can bump anything you want out of your personal canon and bring anything you want into it. You can control and change it however you like. If Discovery fits into your personal canon, then I am happy for you. Please do not feel that me rejecting it from my personal canon for reasons mentioned here is a reflection of how I feel about any individual. I know people who have removed specific episodes of TNG, DS9, especially VOY, and I know someone who has removed Enterprise as a whole from their personal canon. We all experience Star Trek different. We all make value calls on that experience. Discovery is not Star Trek to me, but it's okay if it is Star Trek to you.
Star Trek, as an idea, cannot belong to CBS because it means different things to different people. To me The Orville is Star Trek in all but name, to others, Star Trek Discovery is more deserving of the name. Both are valid viewpoints because both are personal viewpoints. This is not a matter of being right or wrong and when we make it about that we only drive a wedge farther into our fandom.
Star Trek is big enough that it can all be Star Trek to someone.
Trust me, I've read the crossover fanfic, it wasn't half bad.
From ignorance lead me to truth
From darkness lead me to light
From death lead me to immortality