Star Trek for the Modern Era

I read a couple blog posts recently that talk about why there isn’t a new Star Trek on television now and why Star Trek might not work as a show today. I’ve talked about this a few times but these posts raise a few good points.

#1: The Movie Guys Don’t Want To Weaken The Franchise

A good business reason. The movie made good money, and the next one hopes to as well. While some people had issue with it, I rather enjoyed the new movie. But I’m not real sure I’d call it Star Trek. Which leads too…

#3: Would New Trek Television Even Succeed Without Losing Its Trekness?

But I actually wonder if the Very Serious Point bit, the optimism about a progressive, secular, interconnected vision of the future might actually be the bigger challenge for networks that are either skittish about politics or committed to a gritty, pessimistic take on them.

That is a very legitimate concern. It’s hard to see a show featuring a world that succeeded in driving people off their world through a terrorist campaign on television today. DS9 aside though, Star Trek’s overall message is in conflict with the overall negative view of the future. Though I would also argue that that message fits directly into the calls of Occupy Wall Street. As that sentiment grows, people might recognize the call for a more progressive and optimistic view of the future.

I’d worry that it’d come retooled for what executives believe today’s audiences want: A series with a long-running storyline in every episode, a consistent tone and a focus on the character’s private lives when they’re not on the bridge, where every scene counts towards a larger story that’d be planned to run through many years.

I’m torn on if I see this as a good or a bad thing. I really loved DS9, and one of the things I loved was the over arching consistent story and character growth. But I also loved the new adventure every week aspect of Next Gen. I think Star Trek could do well with the modern type of storytelling, provided it stuck to its optimistic message, and didn’t get to much into interpersonal drama. Will-They-Won’t-They story would kill Star Trek. It’s what killed BSG. (Though, there was a little bit of that with Picard and Crusher in Next Gen and it was okay, because it was in the background. It wasn’t the focus.)

Overall, I think #1 is the real reason (with a mix of the as-yet-unmentioned #2: Who Has The Television Rights To Star Trek Anymore, Anyway?) that are the real culprits. People who’d like to make a new Star Trek have to compete for rights no one is sure who owns, against people who want their movies to not have competition. Plus televisions recent aversion to space shows.

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One Response to Star Trek for the Modern Era

  1. El Guapo says:

    #1 – that’s a semi-legitimate concern. Yes, having too many versions at a time is bad.
    But more than that, I think the production of Voyager, and even more of Enterprise were bad.
    Not the visuals or effects. Those were both very pretty.
    but the stories, and in some cases the acting, were just not good. There would be the occasional good episode, but mostly I was just left feeling meh.
    #2 Great question. CBS has their name all over the DVDs, but Paramount is still pushing the movies…
    #3 One of the things the new movie lacked (that I also enjoyed) was the overall optimism that Gene Rodenberry gave to the original.
    The last bit of the movie where Kirk and Spock order all weapons fired, then turn their backs on the viewscreen would never have happened in the previous Star Trek iterations.
    Kirk offered to beam Khan out, for goodness sake.
    In a new series though, Buffy handled the mix of one-off and arc very well. It could work for Star Trek too.