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7 Directions No Trek Has Gone Before

It's time to bring Star Trek back to television. Here's how to make it fresh.

by
Walter Hudson

Bio

September 19, 2013 - 7:45 am
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Worf wants back into your living room. Michael Dorn, the veteran actor who portrayed Star Trek’s most beloved klingon in two series and five films, has been telling fans of his desire to bring the character back to television. Hollywood.com shares Dorn’s belief that Worf has more to give to the galaxy.

Once I started thinking about it, it became obvious to me that I wanted to at least put it out there, which I have, and the response has been pretty amazing. We’ve been contacted by different individuals… about wanting to come on board and be part of this.

I was on a movie not too long ago, where one of the producers was basically lobbying to be part of it. He was like, “Michael, I’d love to write it, if you haven’t.” So, at this point, my agents and my manager are looking at all the avenues and trying to figure out which is the best one.

The itch to bring Trek back to the small screen has Rolling Stone clawing as well. A recent article calls for the re-launch of Star Trek: The Next Generation, arguably the most popular and successful series in the franchise. Author Andy Greene explains why the time is right:

With Star Trek Into Darkness hitting DVD this month and a third film in the rebooted series roughly slated for 2016, it’s pretty safe to say the Star Trek movie franchise is in the best shape it’s been in years, possibly all the way back to the days of The Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home. Prior to these recent J.J. Abrams movies, there were never even two great Star Trek movies released back-to-back, and Paramount is obviously thrilled by the box office results.

Unfortunately, no Abrams-like figure came around to save the Star Trek TV franchise. It’s been off the air ever since Star Trek: Enterprise got yanked in May of 2005 after just four seasons. Audiences never warmed to Scott Bakula’s Captain Archer, and the idea of a show taking place 100 years before the original Star Trek was better in theory than actual practice.

In the last eight years there hasn’t even been any serious attempts to put Star Trek back on the air, and everyone seems entirely focused on the movies. This is a horrible mistake. At its core, Star Trek is a television series…

Indeed, Trek thrives in its native format. However, Green’s call to revive The Next Generation sinks with the same nostalgic weight that Enterprise did. The fourth and final season of that last Trek series was actually quite good, but hit its pace too late to save the show. Viewers tend not to suffer through three seasons of meh waiting for a cast and crew to get their act together. A new show would have to make it so from the start.

Trek should return to television. The time is right. However, it needs to arrive with a new perspective. It needs to progress. The Next Generation did not succeed by its emulation of the original series. It made its own mark, building on the original’s legacy and advancing in creative new directions.

A new series would signal a new era of Trek – a next, next generation. And would need to set a new tone for a new time. To do that, it would have to go where no Trek has gone before. Here are 7 possible directions.

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Top Rated Comments   
How shockingly pedestrian.
TNG was pure garbage - politically correct, neurotic, watered down tripe.

TOS was the only worthwhile part of the franchise. It was created by the same generation that was, at the time, launching the Gemini and Apollo programs. Therein was the reason it was about "The Final Frontier."
The whole idea was that this frontier contained wonders that could scarcely be imagined, as so many of the episodes in TOS showed. It is staggering that anyone could so easily abandon the brave dreams of a generation, replacing them with with the equivalent of soap operas and therapist sessions.Clearly GenX, Y and the Millenials have a complete lack of interest or even understanding of the possibilities of venturing out towards a distant horizon, eagerly facing the myriad dangers simply to see what was over that next ridgeline or river or prairie. That's simply waaaaay too big for their dim souls. They prefer to focus their tepid ambitions and pale, timid aspirations on things like......politics. Social issues. Personal emotional fulfillment.
My God. There's nothing left of my country. We were once a land made for dealing only with the Big Stuff - going to the moon and building mining colonies, terraforming Mars, reaching to Titan and Europa, even sending probes out beyond the limits of Sol and to the stars.
Things like the smartphone and the tablet were inspired by kids who grew up on TOS, who were intrigued with the possibilities of communicators and tricorders.
Now? There's obviously no dreamers or adventurers left. The last man on the moon was FORTY TWO years ago. Even China is starting to back off the idea of putting a Taikonaut on the lunar surface. The dream is just too big for them, as it is for the rest of humanity. And sadly, the USA has joined that same herd.
I never thought I'd live to see that day during my lifetime.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think that might be called something like "Firefly."
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Original Series always seemed to hint at something like that. We never see any of the Federation homeworlds (Vulcan, once, and Spock couldn't wait to get away). The Enterprise is always at the far-flung fringes, usually distant colonies in trouble, fractious miners and traders and hermit scientists who have control of some vital resource and newly discovered worlds that they have to make diplomatic overtures to.

Earth (and Vulcan) is always a place our heroes and the mercurial Type A personalities they have to deal with pay lip service to but none of them actually want to go home to. A new Trek could portray an idyllic earth but show it as just too bo-ring for the ambitious. Human beings simply can't stand an environment where their every need is catered to and Vulcans are only navel-gazers in the abstract.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (80)
All Comments   (80)
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One of the difficult things to deal with is the fact that we'd really, really like to be able to blame one man for everything that went wrong after The Original Series: Rick Berman. But is that really fair? Were the different eras really more colored by their different generations of writers, while the executive producers were less different than we imagine? That seems to be the case going by many of the interviews I've read.

Whatever the case, the problem is that while Star Trek is among the most richly developed fictional settings in existence, many facets of which engage a variety of viewers, its attempts to present an advanced utopian human civilization fall flat, and what has been seen cannot be unseen. It's written into canon and people are going to notice if you try to work around or change it. No matter how you cut it, injecting a dose of reality into this area is going to go against the original vision. Part of why TOS succeeded was because they left Earth and most of the core of the Federation in the background. However little sense it made, at least TOS didn't look too hard at it and try to make sense of it.

The problem is we're almost hardwired to look for problems when we peek under the hood of utopia. No matter how much we might be attracted to the idea in abstract, we intuitively grasp that something must be wrong when we finally see something that looks like the real deal.

Why, exactly, does a post-scarcity economy have to be socialist? Sure, most of the essentials can be had virtually for free, and in many ways that means you'll have a lot of similarities to a socialist paradise. But even so, certain resources will continue to be scarce: energy, raw materials, real estate, and intelligent labor. Glimpses at places like Earth in Star Trek seem to indicate these things are managed by a rationing system, which we're supposed to accept is superior to the free market. And yet, society somehow doesn't degenerate into extremely depraved decadence or suffer demographic collapse from a population who can't even be motivated to keep up a sustainable birthrate. "We've evolved beyond that," apparently.

Even so, we're supposed to believe the Federation is the freest civilization in the Galaxy, where you as a citizen are allowed to do just about anything you can imagine-- unless your dreams involve using a very large amount of energy, raw materials, or real estate, which you don't even have the option to buy because there's no money. As a thought experiment, imagine the likely life story of a Federation citizen if they were an avid Ayn Rand scholar. Tell me with a serious face that they wouldn't get tagged for reeducation.

And we're expected to accept that this civilization has been effectively guarded for centuries by a Starfleet that continues to deny being a military organization, who builds luxury super-cruisers like the Galaxy-class with absurdly spacious cabins and corridors then sends them to war, who would rather send red-shirted officers to their deaths than keep a few properly trained Marines on hand for dangerous away missions, and yet has somehow managed to hold their ground against the likes of the Dominion and the Borg.

So what do I think could make a good series?
Original timeline, post-Voyager, post-Star Trek Online: The featured starship is the "new" flagship--maybe an old Excelsior hull heavily refit mostly with stuff off of the black market-- of a group of star systems trying to secede from the Federation in the aftermath of the war. They're on a mission to buy supplies and gather allies, from both familiar and unexplored territory. But problems tend to be solved more with clever tricks using old tech than fancy cutting-edge stuff.

Abrams timeline: Cover the period between the Enterprises B and C with a unit of highly competent redshirts (or Marines) who get assigned to a new ship each season, looking at a bunch of classic Trek plots from the NCOs' perspective.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The underlying economy and politics of Star Trek is Collectivism.

And the Federation will have all the problems of a Communist State.

Let each episode high-light the various problems of Collectivism and show how solutions are arrived after interacting and trading with the Ferengui (the Free Marketeers).

The Free Marketeers against the Federated Collective.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Undiscovered Country is a gem IMO.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Federation = United States, Bajor = The Middle East.

Discuss amongst yourselves.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
There was a Vulcan villain in one episode of DS9 during the last season. He used some twisted logic to become a serial killer after his post-Dominion War PTSD got a little out of hand.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think one of the least-appreciated aspects of DS9 that made it great was the exploration of the merging of politics, military, various cultures, and a valuable resource. Yes, I know, I'm a nerd. I actually paused the series premiere (yay, Netflix!) to explain to my wife who everyone was and why they were doing what they were doing. If #2 were carried out, it would be a very fertile ground for an exploration of humanity in a post-war scenario. How is the rebuilding accomplished? How do we assure that former enemies stick to treaty terms? Who will win out of those who want to be isolationist and those who want to strengthen ties with former allies and even former enemies? What political fallout is there in the new order of things?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Huh. So most of the commenters here have watched enough of the various iterations of the series to make valid observations.

One: Transporters, replicators and time travel are lazy writing.
Two: Few versions had the jaunty rough-neck nature of the original series.
Three: All the characters after ST were flat and boring.

The answer? Let ST remain as we remember it, and as we see it now on Blue Ray.

Or else, pretend everything after the Wrath of Khan didn't exist and write a series of adventure, novelty and daring, based on the original characters. Maybe starring Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi and George Clooney.

My vote? Let it rest.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
This one needed a bit tighter writing and editing and some of the actors(resses) could have been better....but is pretty darn good.

Star Trek Continues Pilgrims of Eternity

http://www.startrekcontinues.com/episodes/#.UlMSHYY3uDp
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow. I'm shocked. And favorably impressed. It seems a lot of folks actually watched the shows and thought they sucked.

And yes, the original series had three main characters with highly-developed personalities. Kirk: captain, chess champ, womanizer, swash-buckler. Spock: strong, logical, robotic, tormented, loyal. McCoy: emotional, moral, fallible, conciliatory.

And together with the stories, they made a future the viewers wanted to be part of.

Yet the creators of TNG split all these characteristics into a dozen flat, so-called one-dimension, characters. And then this genius was applied to all the subsequent versions of the franchise.

I watch my DVD of Galaxy Quest. Now there's the sequel!
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
TNG sucked. So did DS9. And Voyager. And 'Enterprise', freakin' verbally accompanied theme music..!

TNG - The inane drama, the cardboard-like personalities of the crew etc., Their trying to sell the counselor, doctor as attractive in those poorly fitted 'uniforms' - dreadful.

Try watching DS9. It was over-the-top, in-your-face, boooring daytime soap.. in space!

Hey the last season of TOS was pretty bad. Though infinitely better than the aforementioned spinoffs.

There was absolutely NO intrigue, personality nor emotive reaction, connection (for me) to any of the Trek series except for TOS.

Michael Dorn/ 'Worf' - I hope you ONLY enjoy the hero worship sat comic cons and the occasional cordial facial recognition on the street. Let TNG die..
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
TOS was sci-fi, but it was also Prime Time TV. I think the later series tried too hard to be sci-fi AND Roddenberrily-correct fan-Trek rather than Prime Time TV.

Yes, purists always pooh-pooh the proletarian pandering they detect in TOS. How the network bigwigs were too stupid to understand the concept until Roddenberry translated it into prole-speak: "Wagon Train to the Stars." Dumb chicks in mini-skirts. BEMs. Shirt-ripping fist fights. How vulgar, how common, how sexist, how militaristic, un-un-futuristic, how un-idealistic, how un-scientific...

But how damn ENTERTAINING!

The writers, actors, and directors who worked on TOS knew how to put on a TV show. There was a reason for all the crap: it entertained people. Cut out the crap and you had boring TV.

That's what the later shows forgot.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The one reason I stopped watching Star Trek the New Generation (c), that is, all the new TV Star Treks but specifically Voyager and Enterprise, was that they got off from individual stand-alone stories into an on-going story revolving around Time Travel. Now if this were Quantum Leap this would be fine, but if it's going to be continuing segments of a single story, with each episode largely negated by the next, 'cause they went back... in time... again! to change the past, then each episode (to me) took on a supreme irrelevance.

That and the unimaginative technological style in which ugly ships were made even more ugly by micro-detailing, with a general attention to making all the ships of every cosmic race look as much like a mid-20th-century battleship.

And of course the future established politically correct answers to all modern moral arguments.

Sheesh. Star Trek was a wonder of scientific imagination and artistic adventure. All subsequent Baby-Treks were as good as (or rather as derivative from) the original as the modern SNL is as good as (meaning derivative politically-correct drivel) the SNL with Ackroyd, Belushi and Chase.

Even the visual color was sapped from all the Baby-Treks, opting instead for shades of gray in all but the costumes.

Star Trek 23, anyone? With Sylvester Stallone as Kirk, Steve Buscemi as McCoy, and George Clooney as the Vulcan First Officer of the Enterprise Mr. Spock!

Now that's a movie I might see.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
was that they got off from individual stand-alone stories

main reason right there. It was all downhill after TNG.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Clooney wouldn't even have to change his personality from The American, including the sex scenes.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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