Showrunner Michael Chabon remembers the exact moment when he knew he needed to talk directly to the viewers of Star Trek: Picard. At the end of a “gauntlet” of perfunctory red-carpet interviews with members of the press at the LA premiere of the series, Chabon describes “a sense of relief” in being greeted by what he describes as “probably 100 fans, a lot of them in cosplay. All I wanted to do at that moment was to go stand over there and talk to them and answer their questions and engage and be part of that.” And so, as Picard started airing, Chabon took to Instagram every week to answer fan questions about each episode.
This direct and overwhelming positive interaction with fans reveals the emergence of an encouraging trend. Some of the biggest science fiction and fantasy TV franchises are connecting directly with their fandoms, in a way that brings everyone down to Earth. From The Witcher to the in-production Wheel of Time TV series, to Chabon’s Instagram talkbacks about Picard, the line between fan and showrunner is getting warmly blurred.