No bloody A, B, C or D…
So, word from CBS, parent company of Paramount that a new Star Trek series will be coming in early 2017. No details on what the focus will be of the story to be told.
As a fan of Star Trek, I guess I am intrigued as to this announcement. In the last few years there have been various fan efforts as well as the crowd sourced ones. And on the whole, the crop has not been as bad as you might think. Some of these have great production values; just as good as what came to television over the years. Some, maybe even better than a few of the Star Trek motion pictures that came out from Paramount Studios.
Yes, it has been a long time (okay, almost 50 years) since we first saw the voyages of the starship Enterprise come into our homes via the NBC network. In color, no less; selling plenty of new color television sets. And even though the show only ran 3 years in production, it spoke to people of all races and generations of a peaceful future, where mankind had outgrown the hate and war of the late 1960’s. As syndicated television grew, that message of peace and hope spread among the viewers.
So when “Star Wars” hit movie screens in 1977, Paramount gambled that it could go to the future in space with “Star Trek”. That first big screen epic may have blundered onto the screen, but it opened the door for more tales to be told from that universe.
And when Paramount looked to expand into television, a revived Star Trek television series was the anchor of that effort. Holding down the United Paramount Network or UPN, Star Trek: The Next Generation was hoped to be the successor to the throne. Instead, it got lost along the way. Occasionally, there were some good stories, but the show was more like the rest of the crowd in its day. Even with a full seven years, and then seven more for Deep Space Nine, and seven more for Voyager, let’s face it boys and girls, it was a well worn suit of bad fitting clothes by that time. Retreading stories was common place as episodes in new locations retread old material. When Enterprise came along, it truly failed to do much original story telling. And thankfully, we only had 4 seasons of it.
As much as anyone, I would love to have a future as Gene Roddenberry envisioned it. Peace and harmony among the races of this planet and others is a great goal. But as far as it goes, that can be pretty bland story telling. While we may not need to see the Seven Deadly sins on display every day, it is a long jump to imagine everyone trading in personal greed for the greater good.
Star Trek in its original form was indeed just a reimagined Western. Wagon Train To The Stars has been a good description of what it was pitched to the networks as. The idea that every week, your core cast will encounter new people and new situations has become a staple of television story telling, a kind of Love Boat way of drama.
It’s a big universe out there. Plenty of new things just waiting to be found. New friends and new enemies await. As much I have enjoyed seeing Earth and how things have gone for San Francisco, I would really enjoy seeing a new Star Trek show head off in new and bold directions. But I would like it to take up that mantle of hope and peace, for a future that fans of the Star Trek universe hold dear.
And of course, if these television shows used a bit of literary license to tell us the occasional morality play disguised in drama in space, that would be nice as well.
As a Trekker, those are the things that will get me to tune in. And, I suspect I am far from being alone, out here…