Fanaticism has helped define our era. The popularity of unthinking, passionate adherence to a belief system over everything else, and the subsequent unwillingness to critically analyze the actions taken in the name of this ideology, has resulted in a series of unprecedented events in American politics and society. It has given rise to “alternate facts,” claims that anyone disagreeing with you is confirmation of your rightness, coverups of horrifying abuse scandals in some groups, and acts of international and domestic terrorism supported by others. This is a zealotry entirely different from feeling passionate about your religion, your philosophy, or your code—it is a self-fulfilling, all-consuming obsession that rejects reality and substitutes its own, that persecutes dissidents and demands blind faith and conformity from its adherents.
Given how much fanaticism has defined the first twenty-one years of the twenty-first century, it’s unsurprising that it pops up often in speculative fiction, or that some of the most popular and acclaimed media in this genre would shine a spotlight on it…and on how we escape this trap of unreality. Two of the most interesting TV series to tackle fanaticism in 2020 are She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and The Mandalorian.