I’m sure you’ve heard by now that CBS announced a brand new Star Trek television show is set to premier in 2017. There aren’t a lot of details beyond that except that it will, according to the press release “introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966.” Many of us at GeeklyInc. are Star Trek fans, so of course we have lots of ideas of what we’d like to see from the new series:
Predictions: To bring in the old audience and the new, I predict they will start with a passing of the torch scene, but I doubt any of the previous Trek actors will be back to stay. Remember in the TNG pilot when a very old version of Bones chatted with Data? I’m guessing something along those lines. Beyond that I think they’ll go with a new Enterprise boldly going where no one has gone before. Let’s hope they can manage that with the storytelling.
What I want: A return to form. Take a look at the deep drama and hopeful philosophy of the previous Trek series. That is what people come to Star Trek for. Yes, action sequences are fun and have been a staple from the beginning, but even those are more often than not about outsmarting an opponent rather than obliterating them and everything they care about. What I’d really love to see is an anthology show, True Detective style. Something where from season to season we get a view of how the universe has progressed since the end of TNG and DS9 (remember, Voyager was off doing their own thing) from the perspective of different crews throughout the galaxy. Maybe season one is a new Enterprise exploring the galaxy, while season two is on some sort of research station. It would definitely be something new and fresh for the franchise and give the audience a bigger picture view of the Trek universe.
What I’m afraid will happen: Taking one too many cues from the Abrams reboot, the show will be an action focus angst-fest and also a prequel somehow. I want them to really push forward with the storytelling and show us something new.
Predictions: We’re living in the era of reboots, so I’m thinking we’ll see a lot of the Enterprise, and doubtless some cameos. I’m thinking Picard, Worf, maybe Kirk, and definitely Q. Everyone else is a possibility, with an emphasis on the TNG cast. The Mirror Universe will come back. The Klingons will be a strong presence, even if the plot will probably tend more toward exploration or the Romulans, who are the most underdeveloped and underrated villains. There’s so much you can do these days with a malicious pseudo-democracy obsessed with class, race, and spying.
What I want: a cross between DS9’s sustained interest in a single group of people or several groups, and TNG’s long-term exploration. Now that we have Netflix, a sustained storyline makes sense, and is even a better choice than a “monster-of-the-week” format. But DS9 became increasingly pessimistic in direct relation to the time it spent in the political realities it had created, and I want more of the original’s optimism.
And I want to see O’Brian. Just O’Brian. O’Brian at the bar! O’Brian bro-ing it up! O’Brian and family! O’Brian eating and drinking whiskey! A solid hour of O’Brian being affable and solid and talented and put-upon. (Really, the secret best part of DS9 was watching O’Brien and Bashir explore their shared passion for LARPing and Alamo-themed Warhammer knock-offs.)
What I’m afraid will happen: insufficient diversity, more action than philosophy, and too many romantic relationships. Star Trek was always a frontrunner when it came to platonic relationships and non-traditional relationships of all kinds (Riker and Troi! Dax and…everyone!), but ever since Into Darkness, I’ve worried about subsequent iterations being too sexed-up. I’m also worried they’ll bring back the Borg, who were much better as very, very intermittent antagonists.
Predictions: Last I heard, there was still no official decision on whether CBS/Paramount would go ahead with Michael Dorn’s proposed idea for a series centered on Worf, post TNG/DS9—in an AMA a few weeks ago, Dorn said he was expecting a decision in January or February. Meanwhile, his Twitter account is silent. I don’t really know how to interpret that. My gut says that if they had okayed the “Worf” idea, CBS/Paramount would give Dorn the go-ahead to say something. I would say I don’t think they could miss the interest the Internet has already shown in Dorn’s project, and would therefore tap into that by confirming that it’s green-lit, but that actually seems like exactly the sort of thing an American television executive would screw up.
What I Want: At its best, Star Trek uses sci-fi trappings to examine difficult social and moral issues, using its diverse (but relatable!) characters to parse through scenarios that don’t often have a right or wrong answer. We live in a complex world, right now, today, so any show that can speak to some of the many social issues we face—particularly one with a little distance built-in, to help adjust our perspective—would be a welcome voice in the conversation. (Honestly, tons of DS9 episodes still hold up well today, which is by turns amazing and a little depressing.) Some of the most memorable episodes (“The Inner Light,” “The Best of Both Worlds,” DS9’s “The Visitor”) were more high-concept, which would be a great way to break up any heaviness. Tell us stories about ourselves, through characters we become invested in. Easy, right?
What I’m Afraid Will Happen: Since the new Trek is being produced by CBS—the network that brought you CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: Cyber, CSI: OMFGWTH, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, Hawaii 5-0, Crime Everywhere: Stay Inside and Lock Your Door, Person of Interest, Criminal Minds, Prepared for Terries, and Elementary—my biggest fear is that it will be “space procedural.” (CSI: The Moon?) Star Trek hasn’t done much in the way of crime shows, which means studio execs might confuse this for an innovative new direction. The low quality of most of Star Trek’s “whodunit” episodes may not be sufficient deterrent.
Predictions: All Good Things (please). I think a big focus of the new series will be a reflection of how our own culture is changing. Star Trek was always a pioneer in the acceptance of other cultures, customs, and beliefs. The original series even featured the first interracial on-screen kiss. I think the new series will mirror what we have now (or what we wish we had now) with the acceptance of all walks of life. I don’t recall (but I could be wrong) a focus on any non-heterosexual relationships in Star Trek but I think we will definitely see some non-binary gender and non-heterosexual main characters amongst the new cast.
What I Want: What I want is for the new series to follow on, chronologically, from where Voyager left off. Voyager ended 14 years ago (the year 2378), if the new season starts 14 years after, in 2392, I think that would be fantastic. You could have guest appearances of characters from Voyager, DS9, and Next Gen and they would have all aged appropriately. The finale of Next Gen (All Good Things) takes place (at least partly) in 2395, so Picard could appear as an Admiral before he took up grape farming; and how great would it be to have appearances from Captain Riker and Captain Worf, or an episode with Wesley Crusher as the new Traveler.
In my heart I really just want the new series to be a continuation of Next Gen, so any excuse to get those characters back on the screen is alright with me, that show stole my heart and nurtured the nerd in me.
Also, I want to listen to the theme tune and instantly know that I’m watching Star Trek, none of this ‘Faith of the Heart’ crap.
What I’m Afraid Will Happen: Enterprise
Well, those are our thoughts, our hopes, our dreams, and yes even our fears of what the new Star Trek series will bring to the franchise. What about you? Let us know in the comments!