But what is happening online these days seems far from best. Instead, when hundreds of thousands of people sign a petition demanding that a TV show be changed to suit their whims, it repositions art and entertainment as things meant to satisfy, even to coddle. It is, in short, a model of art that turns it into a commodity: I give you my money or my attention, and in return you give me what I want.
Beyond the obvious entitlement though, it leads to art that will forever produce the lukewarm, the comforting, and the “normal.” Contrast the current critical backlash to Game of Thrones — in large part a byproduct of the show’s willingness to take risks and upend genre expectations earlier in its run — with the runaway success of Marvel’s Avengers franchise. The Avengers has so completely dominated the mediascape because it has stayed so safe, cultivating and rewarding fandom, while being utterly bereft of novelty or insight into anything beyond a hero narrative that has been repeated ad nauseam.
It is also that kind of safety that is part of the trend of sequels and remakes that plagues Hollywood: because movies are now so expensive to make and market, it’s much easier for known properties to garner the investment to be created.