TrekUnited stands, falls

After the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise, many despondent fans found their last, best hope in TrekUnited, a massive fan campaign to fund a fifth season for the show. The campaign ended in failure, but the dream... the dream lives on. Never give up, O brave warriors of the Great Bird! The future is -- ahem.

This Just In spoke to TU founder Tim Brazeal, who informed us that "We still don't really understand why Paramount said no. We had everything in place: facilities, people, a small fraction of the money required. They wouldn't have had to do anything but sign the papers and give us the Vulcan live-long-and-prosper sign. All we can conclude is that for some reason, Paramount just didn't want to put its most profitable franchise in the hands of internet nerds. We wish it weren't so, but we've done all we can.

"The past few months have given us something else, though," continued Mr. Brazeal. "We've learned the strength and power of Trek's fanbase. Together, we can stop squabbling for five seconds and work for a common goal. In fact, our record was seventeen seconds -- I timed it. I'm eternally grateful to the fans who supported us so strongly, and I'll make sure they all get their money back. Well, most of it. I'm skimming a penny off each contribution so I can buy some punctuation keys for my keyboard."

In response to the accusations that proposed new producer Al Vinci was in fact made up by TU's staff, Mr. Brazeal was indignant. "Made him up? I've met the guy! And you don't have to have met him to see that he exists. I mean, look at his posts! Is that my username? No, it's his! How would we fake something like that?

"That Wowbagger guy, on the other hand -- we totally made him up," added Mr. Brazeal. "And I'm amazed how many of you bought it. Come on."

TrekUnited's rival site, KillEnterprise, is still exulting. "We won! We won and youuuu lost! Nyaa nyaa!" stated the site's anonymous webmaster. "Weve [sic] finally proovn [sic] to you idiots taht [sic] Enterprise SUCKED THE BIG ONE!!! [sic]" KillEnterprise, a one-page site that is rarely updated, has nonetheless received considerable publicity from news sites trying to cover both sides of the fan campaign story. In the business, we call this "being unbiased by being biased," or BUBBB for short.

Another fan response to the cancellation is JMSTrek, a site that pushes for a new Star Trek series by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. When told of the campaign, Mr. Straczynski was unimpressed. "Of course they want me to make a new Trek series. Who wouldn't? But they'll have to find something else by me to get enthusiastic about. You may have heard that Paramount recently approached me, begging on their knees for me to do a new Trek show for them. What did I do? I slapped them in the face and laughed. I'm bigger than Star Trek will ever be.

"I don't know why they thought I would say yes," continued Mr. Straczynski. "Trek has been stealing my ideas for centuries. Enterprise was the latest in a line of ripoffs. As you must have noticed, it made use of ships, aliens, space, and characters some of whom were somewhat similar to some of mine somehow. There is only one proper response to such atrocities: abuse and hatred.

"And now, I'm off to win a charity pie-eating contest. I just hope they don't have any of those humble pies. I can't stomach them."

The newest fan campaign is one that seeks to combine SaveEnterprise and KillEnterprise to achieve real ultimate power. "Saving Enterprise will take money," explained campaign manager Joe Black. "Who has money? I'll tell you: the Star Wars franchise. That's why I've founded SaveEnterprise-KillStarWars. Think about it... no more badly-acted Anakin Skywalkers, just retro tech and catsuits as far as the eye can see!

"To tide fans over until we succeed," added Mr. Black, "I've recruited some top fanfic writers to create a Virtual Season 5 of Enterprise. We've got that one, that other one, that one with the drabbles, and even Lore, author of the first Enterprise slash fic ever written. So read VS5: it's virtually great Trek!"

Weighing in with a perspective from outside Trek is Patricia Apteryx, a member of the recent campaign to renew Veronica Mars. "I don't mean to be hard on Enterprise, which sucks compared to VM, but you can really tell the quality of a show by the quality of its fan campaign. Some of the TrekUnited people are claiming now that fan campaigns can no longer succeed. But look at us! We started a campaign, and then VM got renewed. In that order. Clearly we saved the show, and since you didn't save yours, clearly your campaign was a bad idea from the start.

"In the end, what matters isn't how many members you have, or how good your site is, or how many newspapers you've been mentioned in. What matters is the show you pick. If you pick a show that's already been cancelled, you'll have some problems. But if you pick a show on a network that's already cancelled everything else it had going for it... then you've got a shot."

This reporter, for his part, intended to start a fan campaign to stamp out fan campaigns. Unfortunately, such a campaign already exists. Want to help stamp that one out? Sign up now.  

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Copyright 2005, Colin Hayman. A product of This Just Inc. All rights reserved.