Reading Lee’s article on yellow/red alert frequency in The Next Generation and then hearing the news about Star Wars/Disney got me thinking: is it time for a new Star Trek series that jumps ~100 years farther into the future?
The original Trek went off the air in 1969 and TNG started in 1987 (18 years later). It is now 18 years from when TNG went off the air (1994), not counting pseudo-contemporary spin-offs and “pre-boots.” So I think it’s time for a new ship (Enterprise G or H?), a new crew, and a new galactic/political/strategic reality to explore. Based on the differences between the original series and TNG, what would this new reality look like?
For starters, all the “current” racial/species issues would be comfortably in the past: we’d have Cardassians, shape-shifters, androids, cy(B)orgs, whatever, all working together in the crew like it’s no big deal. Maybe the ship itself is sentient now? Independent nanite collectives as crew members?
The technology would be more advanced. The ship would travel a lot faster, but that would really only have the narrative effect of explaining why we’re able to reach all these new planets. Maybe they’ve got short-range portal technology (a la Portal) to move around the ship?
Now that I’m writing this down, I don’t see the hook that would make it stand out beyond being “the next Trek.” Maybe we channel current times by introducing a shortage of some kind, like the Federation’s economy has collapsed, or medical science has led to virtual immortality, which in turn has led to an exponential population boom in the inner systems? Other ideas?
I’m not sure you can collapse the Federation and still have Star Trek.
Caveat: I am mostly a TNG guy, with some limited knowledge of DS9 and very little of Voyager or Enterprise, so correct me if the other properties give the lie to what I’m about to say…
But when I think of Trek, I think of an optimistic — downright utopian — vision of human perfectibility. We can be nicer! The better angels of our nature can triumph over nearly any challenge, no matter how intractable, historically, it has been up to now. Cruelty, systemic injustice, greed — these will all disappear in the face of our righteousness (and our practically limitless source of energy), for they are temporary, and our righteousness is the platonic idea of humanity. There… are… four… lights!
Given that, I’m not sure how you can do a gritty reboot. In the Trek universe, there’s no problem that can’t be solved with a five minute monologue and a recalibration of the tachyon beam.
I think you can do some tweaking on the fundamental optimism of Star Trek, but it really is fundamental. I’m pretty sure TNG took that “evolved humanity” thing as far as it could possibly go without becoming deadly boring (like Voyager). DS9 and Enterprise decided to throw some light character conflict into the mix, but there was never any doubt on those shows that all the main characters were fundamentally decent.
In rebooting Trek, I would mostly be worried that they wouldn’t be able to find any new plots that haven’t been touched either by the 6 series and 700+ episodes, the movies, or Trek’s imitators, many of which run into the 100+ episode range themselves.
Are there any real differences between any of the Treks? 100 years earlier or later, it’s the same: the big spaceship goes to planets, people sit in chairs and look at viewscreens. Everyone is very dutiful and loyal, except for when a Hidden Emotions virus gets loose for 40 minutes or so.
The only interesting reboot I can think of would be to portray the Trek universe from that episode where everyone has beards and tries to get ahead by killing each other. Now that would be interesting. Maybe 100 years past TNG military discipline is over, it’s every Ferengi, Klingon and Borg for himself…
How about having a Starship go rogue? Maybe go against the Prime Directive and then have them be chased by the Federation. They can’t resupply through proper channels so they will end up going to every two bit planet that doesn’t have ties or cares about the Feds. It allows for some more interesting races and confrontations, especially if there’s other rogue elements within the Fed that can help or hinder. It’s certainly a more interesting take to the Trek univ.
Matthew:Over the past year or so, I’ve been watching/re-watching all of the Star Trek shows. I’ve gotten through all of TOS, TNG, DS9 and over half of voyager and I can definitely tell you that by the second half of DS9 ( and even some TNG episodes) most of the optimism is gone. You can practically see Ron Moore working out the themes and ideas he’d bring to BSG, and the last season of DS9 is almost entirely about war. Voyager, so far, is a little closer to the TOS TNG tone, but there are still plenty of BSG type episodes (especially the ones written by moore himself).
Roosevelt_franklin: DS9 actually had quite a few episodes about the mirror universe, as the “beard universe” is officially called (also, only spock had a beard in it).
Personally, I think a new ST show would work best id it did embrace the original, slightly hokey, visions and attitudes of TOS and TNG. After BSG and various other “gritty” sci-fi shows, a little optimism would be a breath of fresh air. Personally, my vote would be for either a TNG show that spun off from the 2009 ST movie universe. Another idea is to include the pseudo-contemporary spin-offs into the mix and start a few years after DS9, which does a lot of universe building and continuity stuff that would segue well into story lines about rebuilding/reforming the Federation & Starfleet.