Star Trek reboot: fandom or festival?

  • May. 28th, 2009 at 2:50 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
Remember when Merlin was the new insta-fandom, the latest fandom that ate fandom? It didn't take over my friendslist, but it seemed like it suddenly got very big very fast, quickly attracting many very talented and highly regarded writers and vidders. Whether or not you watched the show or were interested in the fandom, all the signs seemed to point towards Merlin becoming the next big media fandom.

I was realizing today that I haven't heard much about Merlin lately. I'm sure the fandom is still chugging along during the long interval before the show returns, but I have no idea whether it's still on track to becoming a mega-fandom, or if the show lost some of its shiny luster after that initial burst of squee and fanworks and has settled into its niche as a minor-to-medium sized fandom.

So what's going to happen with the Star Trek reboot? Will it end up being a summer fling fandom or turn into a long-term commitment? Right now it almost feels like it could be a -- I want to say meta-fandom, not in the [community profile] metafandom sense but rather a panfandom celebration of media fandom itself. That is, maybe it won't necessarily become a fandom on its own terms, singular and durable, where people would refer to themselves as being "in" the fandom and develop stuff like a sense of identity and community and culture as reboot fans. Maybe it'll be more of an amusement park, a carnival, a vacation spot, a rave -- but, for most, not a new fandom home. Which would work out pretty well, since it's something of a lingua franca for media fandom: it seems as though almost everyone's seen the movie or is familiar enough with the iconic original series & characters to join the conversation.

(I got the sense that slash and residual Arthurian legend fannishness were the primary drivers of the initial Merlin fandom explosion. In skimming the Trek LJ newsletter community, it was hard to tell whether there was a main driving force was based on the fan fiction listed -- shipping? fleshing out the characters? porn? worldbuilding? There's apparently nearly as much het as slash, and a sizeable amount of gen being written [though that doesn't factor in relative length of stories, number of comments & recs, etc.]. I did notice that the stories rated R and NC-17 were primarily in the slash category rather than het, but I have no idea if that's typical for other fandoms as well.)