It’s only logical it would come to this. The rejuvenation of Star Trek on the big screen, eventually, had to do the same for the franchise’s native medium, television. And after months of rumors and speculation, it’s actually happening—Star Trek is coming back to TV.
This *should* be exciting news, but it sort of makes my face go all grimacey in a toothy way. Kind of like this:
If I take even ten second to consider why, I suppose it’s because nerdyness is becoming so mainstream that I worry a new Star Trek show, in an attempt to earn new fans, will lose its sci-fi, techy heart and perhaps its social consciousness lessons. (Kind of like the Star Trek movie reboot – don’t get me wrong, I love those movies, but they are more flash and less substance than the TV shows.) Mashable was kind enough to make a list of what the new show should do:
6 things the new ‘Star Trek’ TV series needs to do
1. Stay episodic — but have long-term vision
Star Trek was perhaps the epitome of episodic TV, and it shouldn’t lose that element. There will be a strong temptation to heavily serialize the show in order to make it more like the most popular franchises of the past decade: Lost, Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica. But Trekalways worked best when it was welcoming — a wondrous universe that wasn’t so lost in its own mythology that it became impenetrable to casual viewers.
At the same time, though, the new series needs to go somewhere. Seasons should have their own arcs; there should be a sense that the entire enterprise has some kind of destination. (See what I did there?) In this sense, the new Trek should look to a fellow reboot, Doctor Who, for inspiration about toeing the line between short- and long-term storytelling.
2. Challenge Roddenberry’s gospel
Star Trek visionary Gene Roddenberry presented a positive vision of the future. He was also so caught up his kumbaya philosophy that he inadvertently robbed the series of needed drama by requiring all of its main characters more or less to get along.
The new series needs to boldly ignore big chunks of Roddenberry’s bible, instead ramping up the tension between characters. There’s precedent for this — Deep Space Nine was the high water mark for drama in the Star Trek universe, and it got that way by introducing storylines that Roddenberry likely never would have approved of, such as an ongoing war.
3. Characters > special effects
This should go without saying these days, but considering what a disaster Star Trek: Enterpriseturned out to be, it bears repeating: Characters are everything. Just as The Walking Dead can’t coast on zombie gore alone, Trek isn’t about zooming spaceships and odd-looking aliens. It doesn’t matter what century your show is set in: Make the characters relatable and interesting, and people will tune in.
4. Get some new villains
From the Borg to Khan himself, Star Trek has a rich canvas of fantastic villains and monsters. But the new series should go ahead and throw all that stuff out right off the bat.
Between six TV series and 12 movies, there are virtually no new takes left on recurring baddies like the Klingons and Romulans. If Star Trek: The Next Generation can suddenly create a major galactic superpower that we’ve never heard of before (the Cardassians), so can this series — continuity be damned.
5. Be socially influential again
The original Star Trek took pains to be socially progressive: It famously featured a multi-ethnic crew as well as the first on-air kiss between a white man and a black woman. The best way for the new series to honor Roddenberry’s original vision of the future would be to include, say, a gay or transgender character in the main cast — something no Trek series or movie has ever done. Of course, the writers would need to take pains to avoid falling into the “tokenism” trap, but avoiding important social issues altogether does nothing to move the needle forward.
6. Go easy on time travel
Yes, fans love time travel. Some of the best episodes of Star Trek ever made have the characters bobbing back and forth through time. But as a plot device in contemporary sci-fi, it’s way too overused. Star Trek is supposed to be set in the 23rd (and 24th) centuries — let’s keep it there.
At least until season 3, anyway.
I disagree with Point 4 – keep the baddies, AND the continuity, although it’s great to add new baddies too. But more or less they make some good points. We’ll have to wait a couple of years to see what this series will be like…