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EDITORIAL: You Just Can’t Bring Star Trek Back To The Small Screen (But How You Would If You Could)

In The Icarus Factor, Riker is offered his own ship and we meet his father for the first (and only) time. But the episode is better remembered for the subplot, where Worf is in a particularly grouchy mood. He yells “Enough!” at Wesley and “Be gone!” to Data, who – with his trademark gentleness – describes the Klingon as “out of sorts.” Worf’s friends determine that the only solution to his foul spirits is to hit him repeatedly with pain sticks:

I have been reminded of this episode as I’ve followed the recent furor over Star Trek Into Darkness. Just as Worf wasn’t really mad at his crewmates, I believe that much of the anger toward STID has nothing to do with the film: fans are angry because they have to wait four years to see a new movie when what they really want is new episodes every week.

As a writer here said: “Star Trek should be back on TV. Period.” And of course Trek fans are going to say that – but even Rolling Stone said the same thing.

Since the success of the 2009 reboot, the subject has come up a lot, especially as some interested parties have tried to resurrect Star Trek on the small screen. This hasn’t happened (obviously) because, as some speculate, executives don’t want to kill the golden goose (again). But from a branding perspective, one movie every four years has still kept people buying merchandise, buying Blu-rays, and going to conventions. Plus the Internet is taking care of the Trek legacy by itself, with Patrick Stewart-themed memes and web series like SF Debris – so the suits are probably fine with the status quo.

Also I’m sure these execs have come to the conclusion that you just can’t make another Star Trek series because …

1) It’s all been done already.

As anyone will tell you, the biggest problem with doing anything Star Trek-related is that it’s already been done before. Some people will actually put together videos demonstrating how there is nothing new under any sun in the Alpha Quadrant:

While the Abrams team is certainly well versed in Trek lore, I’m going to bet they didn’t set out to make most of the allusions cited in this Red Letter Media video. But with about 750 hours worth of Star Trek, it’s probably hard to create something that doesn’t feel like man has gone there before, especially when …

2) Its core concept doesn’t work anymore.

Star Trek’s original concept was heavy-handed polemics about social issues behind the guise of science fiction, the only way to you could address these issues at the time because of network censors. (The Twilight Zone had shown the way a few years earlier.) This was creative in the 1960s. It was groundbreaking in the 1960s. It was relevant and interesting and bold to say that (space) racism was bad in the 1960s … but it’s not now. Even some of the more transparent allegories from TNG were eyeroll-inducing in the 80s, like when they taught us that drugs are bad, that space racism is bad, and that drugs are bad.

There aren’t any stories you can’t tell anymore. There aren’t any social issues you have to masquerade in science fiction – unless you want to talk about the collapse of white middle America, and then you have to use zombies. So because of that …

3) It wouldn’t fit into the modern TV landscape.
The best TV shows of the last 10-years are all about a damaged male protagonist who survives in an unfair world by making decisions that are mostly immoral, but entirely understandable: Walter White in Breaking Bad, Don Draper in Mad Men, Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, Stringer Bell in The Wire, and Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones.

And that paradigm is antithetical to Star Trek’s philosophy: good people from a perfect world doing good. They tried to change the perfect world part with Voyager, by isolating the crew to ostensibly make them desperate, but the effort was always half-assed. Trek demi-god Ronald D. Moore had to show them how to do it with both cheeks on Battlestar Galactica. (As to a lesser extent did Joss Whedon with Firefly.)

The only way they could make a Star Trek series that fit this new model would be to redo Deep Space 9 and make the main characters Quark and Morn. Cooking space meth. For the space mafia. While sexually harassing space secretaries at a space ad agency.


“Space nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent.”

So everything’s been done, your core concept is 40 years out of date, and you wouldn’t fit on TV anyway. So what does that leave? Generic action movies in Star Trek drag. Folks can criticize the writers of the Abramsverse, but the dudes just don’t have a lot of options.

You just can’t do another Star Trek series again. You just can’t.

But here’s how you do it.

1) Put someone invested in charge.
We are living in a Golden Age of designer TV shows, and each one is connected to one or two key creative individuals – not studio executives, committees, or a revolving door of writers. A new Trek series would also need strong creative leadership.

The best team to lead a new Trek series would be one outsider and one insider. For the outsider, I’d pick Jane Espenson, who’s worked on Buffy, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Torchwood, Game of Thrones, and so on. That’s some serious industry and nerd credibility right there. For the insider, I’d pick Jonathan Frakes, whose work behind the camera has been more important than his work in front of it. And unlike Riker refusing command of his own ship, Jonathan Frakes would be happy to take the conn of a new show.

2) Keep it short.
The Next Generation created a standard that a Star Trek show should last seven years and 170 episodes. This is probably not the case. DS9 dragged out the Dominion War for one year too long and Voyager’s premise got so stale they had to retool it halfway through as Star Trek: Borg. Keep yourself to about 50 episodes over four or five seasons.

3) It’s the characters, stupid.
The problem with Star Trek’s demise in 2005 was not that the stories were all the same: it’s that the characters were the same – a bland array of uniformed individuals who increasingly felt like copies of copies. If the characters are fun and different, you can recycle stories.

The best example of this is “Arena” and “Darmok.” For those who don’t know, these are the episodes where the captain is forced into a hand-to-hand combat with an alien.


Linguistics has never been so bad-ass

Both episodes have the same premise. Both are awesome – and they both very different because Kirk and Picard are such different characters.

You could do another ship-through-the-universe show, but not a ship full of model Starfleet officers. The main characters might not be the senior officers, but rather the “Lower Decks” characters – or misfits who never would have made it onto the Enterprise. The most interesting characters on all of TNG were Barclay and Ro, both of whom were rejects dealing with their infuriatingly perfect senior officers.

All of this could be consistent with the known Trek universe but still fit the modern taste for grittier stories.

4) Please leave Wrath of Khan alone.
Yes, it was the best film. But the last three movies all cribbed heavily from it – that’s one-quarter of the film franchise. (Enterprise also did a Wrath of Khan three-parter in its last year. You probably haven’t seen it. It’s on Netflix.) There are other good episodes/movies you can reference. The real crime of Into Darkness is they cast this great up-and-coming actor and rather than create a new, exciting character, they shoe-horned him into a part that will, forever, be unfavorably compared to the star of Fantasy Island.

5) Listen to your fans – even the ones who hate you.
For years, Trek fans demanded a TV show about Captain Sulu. Rick Berman gave them Enterprise. Here’s a graphic of its ratings:

Here’s an unrelated screen capture from George Takei’s Facebook page:

So to put a fine point on it: more people follow George Takei on a daily basis than watched most of Enterprise. Who knew he was so charming and wonderful? (Answer: Star Trek fans.)

6) Find the right theme.
The original series and movies hit the right chord because they were essentially the Cold War in space. The US was the Federation and the Soviets were the Klingons. And from 1966 to 1991, that basic premise worked really well: it was timely, creative, and meaningful.

So you’d have to come up with something comparable. And no, it’s not “terrorism in space.” Terrorism-themed fiction had already been played out by 2005. A much better contemporary theme is the “The Post-American World” we now live in – so you could make a Trek series about a “post-Federation galaxy” or a “post-Earth Federation,” where alien worlds don’t need as much protection because the Klingons and/or Romulans aren’t as adversarial as they used to be. Or something akin to Asimov’s Foundation series, but with Earth as Trantor. Of course the trouble is they already kind of did this on Andromeda. But they could do it again with more interesting characters and the Trek brand. (And a cameo or two from George Takei for good measure.)

It would definitely be a challenge to get a successful Star Trek series up and running. But with the right people, the right concept, the right format, and the right characters, it could be done. The most important part of a successful TV show, viewership, is already taken care of – the furor over STID proves it. For fans, the best part about loving Star Trek is hating Star Trek. Bring on the pain sticks!


Jared Whitley is a writer and a nerd living in Washington, DC. His own review of Star Trek Into Darkness is here.


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thx1138
September 19, 2013 5:48 am

Excellent article, I completely agree!

Mad Mann
September 19, 2013 5:49 am

Uhhh, no.

You use the main arguement that there are so many Star Trek episodes that it would be impossible to create new stories. Using that same logic, then there should never be anymore police or doctor shows since they have been done so much. But, they keep on making new police and doctor shows, and they usually find an audience!

Star Trek can easily be done on TV and not recycle old stories. Police, doctor, and other tv shows are confined to Earth: Star Trek has the whole galaxy! (Well, at least a good portion of it) I would argue that Star Trek could potentially have more varied and new stories waiting to be told than any TV show ever. It just needs fresh minds.

I do agree that a shake up is in order. A Captain Sulu show (with John Cho) is a strong possibility, maybe with a crew of rejects like you mention.

LWR
September 19, 2013 5:52 am

Impressive

Simon Jessey
September 19, 2013 5:57 am

Someone should take the model of the Aubrey-Maturin series from Patrick O’Brian and turn that into a Star Trek series. It’s got all the right ingredients:

1. Navy background with officers and crew
2. Two strong, but entirely different characters
3. Humor
4. Voyages of discovery
5. Pursuit of enemies / flee from enemies
6. Shore life
7. Great fleet actions
8. Hardship
9. Class differences

kevan
September 19, 2013 6:00 am

They missed the mark without a Capt Sulu show with George in the centre chaire.

thomas thøgersen
September 19, 2013 6:00 am

As a dane(from denmark) I couldnt agree more, because trek need to be forever, but not re-cycling forever :-)

Make my startrek, but make it bold and new, I did love both new movies, and saw them both in my local cinema here in my town, and i look forward to see to next one in 2016 :-)

Riker's Mailbox
September 19, 2013 6:12 am

This article is perfect.

Cygnus-X1
September 19, 2013 6:13 am
Thanks for the article, Jared. I really enjoyed it. And now, here’s a merciless litany of points about which I disagree with you: —I believe that much of the anger toward STID has nothing to do with the film: fans are angry because they have to wait four years to see a new movie when what they really want is new episodes every week.— I’ll admit that this reasoning played a bit into my feelings in between ST’09 and STID, especially when we learned that JJ Abrams had put the Trek sequel on the back-burner in order to do Super 8. But at this point, I would honestly prefer that Bad Robot give Star Trek back up to the creative ether and let someone else have crack at it, even if that crack doesn’t happen for another 5 years. Yes, that is how put off I am by STID and what Bad Robot has done with Star Trek generally. —For the insider, I’d pick Jonathan Frakes, whose work behind the camera has been more important than his work in front of it.— Strike two. Frakes is a lovely guy, but he did not turn out particularly inspired TNG films. Insurrection was entertaining but riddled with plot holes and corny dialogue, and First Contact, Frakes’ most successful and entertaining Trek movie, likewise had plot holes and annoying, nonsensical scenes (like the holodeck/Borgs attacking scene). If Frakes couldn’t pick out and correct major writing problems in the movies he directed, he’s not… Read more »
Roger
September 19, 2013 6:16 am

“2) Its core concept doesn’t work anymore.

Star Trek’s original concept was heavy-handed polemics about social issues behind the guise of science fiction, the only way to you could address these issues at the time because of network censors. (The Twilight Zone had shown the way a few years earlier.) This was creative in the 1960s. It was groundbreaking in the 1960s. It was relevant and interesting and bold to say that (space) racism was bad in the 1960s … but it’s not now. Even some of the more transparent allegories from TNG were eyeroll-inducing in the 80s, like when they taught us that drugs are bad, that space racism is bad, and that drugs are bad.”

And this is when I quit reading this nonsense.

Trekboi
September 19, 2013 6:26 am

There goes Free speach, were being Moderated.

The main reasons Trek left TV were because there were too many shows on, competing with each other & repeats as well.
The other problem was the same people who produced it clung to it & didn’t bring in new blood- they were too afraid of rocking the boat.

“Young Minds, Fresh Ideas, be Tolerant”

Old fans will bitch but watch & New Fans will think it’s new & shiny
Think Madonna/Lady Gaga- she just does the same thing madonna did 20 years ago but the teens think its Original/Art

ObsessiveStarTrekFan
September 19, 2013 6:27 am

A thought provoking piece.

I certainly would like to see another Star Trek series on the small screen, if it were done correctly. I, however, don’t really have any insights into how that could be achieved to please existing Star Trek fans (of all persuasions), to bring in new fans, and to achieve the required audience figures to be considered financially worthwhile.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a series set in the Star Trek universe (feel free to pick one) that was not Earth/Human/Starfleet centric. But that’s just me – others probably would not agree.

Also, if the Trekmovie threads are anything to go by, Mr Whitley is correct: “For fans, the best part about loving Star Trek is hating Star Trek. Bring on the pain sticks!”

Trekboi
September 19, 2013 6:28 am

No reason there cannot be another Star Trek show.
Just need to be new people who don’t repeat the (more obvious) mistakes made before.

BatlethInTheGroin
September 19, 2013 6:29 am

“I believe that much of the anger toward STID has nothing to do with the film”

And you’re way off-base in that belief. People are upset with the film because of its writing failures.

ObsessiveStarTrekFan
September 19, 2013 6:35 am

@9. Trekboi – September 19, 2013
There goes Free speach, were being Moderated.

I could be wrong, but I think all that has happened is that Matt has become sick of explaining to some posters – yet again – why their posts have disappeared into the ether only to reappear some time later once they have been looked over… Hence the appearence of the little red notices.

For at least as long as I have been posting here, it has been usual for some posts to be caught up in the filter for moderation.

Cervantes
September 19, 2013 6:39 am

Great article Jared, and seeing ‘Worf’ hit with those ‘pain sticks’ reminded me of how I felt watching certain aspects of J.J.’s ‘alternate timeline’ movies…

Hoping for a weekly show instead wasn’t a factor in my disappointment with the wasted potential of his two big-screen reboots however…merely the fact that I disliked what he and his writers actually came up with in the end. While not everything was excruciating about them, too many aspects *were* – (from my own point of view anyway, which naturally is the one I’m most concerned about!)

I look forward to adding some specific, additional thoughts here eventually, and the eventual replies to this topic should prove as entertainingly varied as the ‘Star Trek is broken’ / ‘Star Trek is not broken’ ones turned out to be, I reckon…

Paul
September 19, 2013 6:42 am
Star Trek paradigm doesn’t fit anymore? Well then, do it the other way around! Let’s have the UFP, uptight, rigid, way too politically correct for its own good, spewing their fusty doctrines and holier-than-thou attitude; destroying lives of ordinary people by imposing the public safety regulations nobody asked for; taking away small children because their parents happen to disagree with the official education; leaving whole civilizations to stagnate, perish and wither away because of non-interference directives, while happily interfering with yet other civilizations because of their huge deposits of dilithium. Let’s have Starfleet, the duranium fist in a velvet glove, taking care of exploration, defense, diplomacy and the like; their traders, more feared and despised than Ferengi; their counselors, seeing into the minds of enemies and allies alike, prying for tiniest seeds of dissent and using them as an excuse for mind-numbing counseling sessions and brainwashing medication; their covert ops commandos, causing chaos in the midst of enemy territory; their diplomats and mediators, enforcing alliances and treaties by the careful use of bribes and extortion, breaking up civil wars by ordering “humanitarian” orbital bombardment. Now, let’s have our (anti)hero, the aging captain, a veteran of many battles, a bit grumpy, no longer an idealist he used to be. Think Walt Kowalski from “Gran Torino” meets Marko Ramius from “The Hunt for Red October”. He’s tired of bureaucracy, he’s disgusted by politics. He’s alone, his wife left him after his only daughter died in a terrorist attack. He’d seen people dying… Read more »
Trekkee
September 19, 2013 6:52 am

Good article and I was never happy that TNG, DS9 and Voyager were all co-existing, it made it easy for guest appearances but I always wanted to know what happened next, same as TNG did for TOS.

Star Trek was always about the cast and crew of the Enterprise, so if the Enterprise K with its fancy new galaxy hopping warp drive could go and explore new galaxies after humanity destroyed the entire Federation after an accident in a pro to-matter lab, then I’d be interested in knowing what happened next.

So yeah, if it’s going to be done, do it boldly.

SoonerDave
September 19, 2013 7:00 am

This was the most Gerrold-esque commentary on Trek I’ve read in a long time – and that’s a high compliment in my book. Salient and to-the-point.

Damian
September 19, 2013 7:00 am

The Star Trek: New Frontier novels actually have an eclectic mix of misfit characters (Shelby being the only straightlaced character).

Something like that might work.

I don’t think a Sulu series would have fared any better actually.

At the end of the day, I think CBS is trying to squeeze out what they can with the different series for now. I don’t anticipate they will spring for a new show for a while.

If the new Blu-Rays fall flat (esp, with TNG upgrades) I suspect that will encourage them to leave things be.

Sean
September 19, 2013 7:00 am

I disagree with the opening comments in the posted article.

I AM not angry that I have to wait 3-4 years for another film; rather, I am angry that the movie took the lazy way out time and time again, that it had many opportunities to address moral issues on a deeper level, but didn’t, that the villain turned out to be another madman, hell bent on revenge, and finally after creating a new universe for these characters, they opted to spend the final act doing a well constructed but ultimately hollow beat by beat rip off of WoK. That is why I am angry. I want Star Trek out of the hands of these people. Just awful.

September 19, 2013 7:05 am

Keeping aside the moralising and the political allegories, which usually set my teeth on edge a bit anyway, I think there’s still plenty of scope for a new series. The reason is that Star Trek, with few exceptions, has never been great at showing us alien worlds and alien beings that really felt like they were that. With modern CGI and the input of some serious heavyweight science fiction writers it would be nice if it could finally achieve that.

Josh C.
September 19, 2013 7:07 am

I think this article has some good ideas, but I think some of the ideas are contradictory to each other. The biggest one I see is this:

“Listen to your fans” vs. “Its core concept doesn’t work anymore.”

What do most fans want? The Star Trek TOS type episodes that you say won’t work anymore on TV. An Hour of Kirk and Spock (or whoever) sitting on the bridge exploring a nebula and helping a baby nebula-lifeform escape some nebula trap and then going on their merry way.

As much as I would have loved a Sulu show, it was based on the premise that it would be TOS all over again, essentially.

September 19, 2013 7:10 am

Failing that, I wish someone would do another space exploration series – perhaps taking a lead from the classic novel “The Voyage of the Space Beagle”, which was a key influence on Star Trek. It was all about exploring space to add to our scientific knowledge, but it wasn’t hidebound by all that Prime Directive and we-are-perfect-future-humans stuff. Also the ship was run by the military and the science staff were civilians, a good source of drama that Star Trek would have found useful.

September 19, 2013 7:15 am

SOME fans are mad about the writing in the Abrams-verse. Many fans, old and new, think it’s just fine. Anyone want to guess what the top selling video release was this last week?

Regardless, as someone who eats, drinks, breathes, and adores Trek, I would rather have a quality film every four years than a mediocre episode every week. Keeping something rare keeps something special. Let’s encourage the amazing crew of talented TV creators out there right now to do something new, make their own mark, and we can bow to the Great Bird every couple of years.

Unless we give John Cho a Sulu show. Then you got me.

Hat Rick
September 19, 2013 7:16 am
Many of the points raised in this article are valid, but perhaps the over-riding concern should be how Trek should evolve to meet the needs of the current audience for serious, dramatic programs. While it is true that many fans believe that we should return to the past, it’s highly dubious that a TOS or even a TNG style show could make it in today’s market. The demographics of the viewing audience has changed. The availability of entertainment has changed. The most highly respected SF shows these days aren’t really SF shows anymore. “Lost” and “Heroes” changed the landscape for science-fiction and fantasy. The most likely successor to Trek-type shows are those premised on exploration of strange new worlds that aren’t mere planets, but entire universes devoted to the weird and unknown. NASA, in part, is to blame for this. Colorful exoplanets that look exactly like the pre-redigitalized versions of TOS worlds are now FACT, not fiction. Google “exoplanets” and you will see pink planets that look exactly as though they were taken from the film frames of the earliest versions of Trek. Granted — they’re postulations, but they’re still based on fact. So reality has caught up with TOS. Except for the scale of ships and the existence of warp engines and teleportation, TOS is actually behind the times. (Quantum teleportation is not really the same as teleportation, and warp engines are just theoretical at this point.) So what now? When life gives you lemons, you don’t opt for… Read more »
Marcus
September 19, 2013 7:22 am

“Star Trek: The Third Generation” type of television series, which take place three hundred years beyond “Voyager” and “Deep Space Nine”. Johnathan Frakes and Joss Whedon running the show. Its an empty pallet.

Russell Meyers
September 19, 2013 7:32 am

Appreciate Frakes as a director and sweet guy, but Ron Moore is the man for the Exec producer’s job, hands down. Espensen is welcome as head writer or contributor is she is too busy.

john
September 19, 2013 7:46 am

“Enterprise also did a Wrath of Khan three-parter in its last year. You probably haven’t seen it.”

Wow. You’re really making no bones about this site not being for Star Trek fans now.

September 19, 2013 7:54 am
This is the best summary of what a new Trek show needs that I’ve read in forever. The Takei vs. Enterprise thing is a false comparison.Takei’s popularity shot up in the last few years because of Stern and his Facebook presence; doubtful that a 2004-ish Takei would have been able to drive a TV series. But the most provocative and exciting part of this proposal is the post-American stuff. If anything has disturbed me about Trek fandom in the past few decades, it’s that the militaristic and nationalistic subtext of Trek (which Roddenberry swiped from Wagon Train to the Stars and his own military experience to provide some kind of structure) has become the supertext of Trek. Manny Coto — the guy who wanted to start a Conservative Comedy Network, ugh — turned Enterprise into a War on Terror series, and the political spin of Trek moved decidedly away from progressive in TOS to weakly liberal in TNG to outright reactionary in Enterprise. So, the post-American thing strikes me as the most exciting because it reflects real issues in the *world* today, like TOS faced. Not TNG’s liberal perfectionist fantasy, but also not the Xindi arc’s “we gotta get the evil-doers” Bush-era garbage. I’d love to see a Trek that handled Earth’s role in a Federation that perhaps didn’t need the Earth like it did in the past, or certain human chickens were coming home to roost after several hundred years. A Federation in which we see more of the… Read more »
TardisCaptain
September 19, 2013 7:55 am

A Star Trek TV series needs to have someone at CBS who is enthusiastic about the project. Without this type of backing, I doubt a TV series will happen. They don’t need to be a full blown fan (nor should they), they just need to have the creative juices flowing for stories that can still be told in the Star Trek universe.

I would have to disagree with the theory that the show wouldn’t fit into a television landscape filled with mad men and drug makers. Star Trek has always been about a future that we could eventually reach. In this day and age of bad guy, bad guy, bad guy……it would be refreshing to see something positive. Yes the TV landscape has changed, but we still have an oversaturation of cop shows, doctor shows, “reality” shows, etc.

Long story short, CBS will make a television series if they believe they will make a profit. I don’t blame them as this is a business. We just need to show them that the market demand wants a Star Trek TV series.

CBS, I am very interested in seeing a new Star Trek TV series. Perhaps a groundbreaking deal with Netflix (who needs original content) could work.

REM1701
September 19, 2013 7:57 am

Sorry but the all the “HATE” for “Into Darkness” is soley directed @ J.J. [Just wait till the next “Star Wars” comes out and see how they’re fans act] Trek fans hate the alternative “timelime”. “Into Darkness is a good film, an intresting take on the WOK. Fans will never Trek characters re-cast. Had Roddenberry tried to recast TOS actors he would’ve caught “holy-HELL!” The keys to sucessful “Star Trek” is good writing and intresting characters [throw in a good director who knows the material]

runner
September 19, 2013 8:03 am

“I have been reminded of this episode as I’ve followed the recent furor over Star Trek Into Darkness. Just as Worf wasn’t really mad at his crewmates, I believe that much of the anger toward STID has nothing to do with the film: fans are angry because they have to wait four years to see a new movie when what they really want is new episodes every week.”

Nah, the furor really is over STID ;)

Daniel Shock
September 19, 2013 8:03 am

I think the article is really on to something. I like the idea of re-doing Andromeda as Trek (which of course was originally for Trek series anyway).

SirBroiler
September 19, 2013 8:10 am

Had they not bastardized the Section 31 concept in STID I would have proposed a series focused on the black ops/covert division of Starfleet. I think this would be terribly relevant as a reflection of the current questions about government infringing on the rights of the people. (NSA anyone?)

How about a series based around Department of Temporal Investigations. Could still be a ship based show. Just a thought.

jerr
September 19, 2013 8:21 am

” I believe that much of the anger toward STID has nothing to do with the film: fans are angry because they have to wait four years to see a new movie when what they really want is new episodes every week.”

NOPE!!.. not even close. That would be like blaming a video game for a movie not performing…

September 19, 2013 8:22 am

@ ObsessiveStarTrekFan – Thanks for repeating my little spiel for me.
@ Trekboi – You were always being moderated, I just got tired of hearing people claim we’re deleting things. So I added the disclaimer. The influx of new people recently has led to repeated cries of deletion, censorship, etc. etc.

Aurore
September 19, 2013 8:25 am

“…For years, Trek fans demanded a TV show about Captain Sulu…”
_______

For years, I did not know some fellow fans had asked for such a TV show. I wasn’t among them ; as far as I remember, I first read about that request, a few years ago. On this site.

“…Rick Berman gave them Enterprise…”

Before the 2009 movie, which revived my interest in the Star Trek franchise, and, led me to get involved in online fandom, I thought “Enterprise” was a nickname of sorts for The Original Series ( in the United States ).

( Voyager, TNG, and, DS9…are shows I never was interested in…when I found out about them).

Marcus
September 19, 2013 8:28 am

“Star Trek” had problems way-way before JJ showed up on scene. “Star Trek ’09” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness” just proved that everyone’s concerns were correct.

“Star Trek: Enterprise” came to a premature end due to franchise fatigue, bad creative decisions, and a lack of overall vision. When they used an old Rod Stewart song for the show’s intro, the creative department made the franchise feel old. Every time I heard “Faith Of The Heart” play, I kept thinking of an old guy pushing a walker.

This is how the introduction should have been:
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvEcaR9Cj7k

If the creative team used the song “Where ever you will go”, the series would have felt young and energized. People would not feel like they were 90 year old.

Mad Mann
September 19, 2013 8:29 am

I think that the creation of DS9 was on to something. Star Trek does not need to be on a starship, or even in space, to be an awesome show. The 1st season of Enterprise was originally planned to take place entirely on Earth, and that would have been something fresh and new.

Star Trek also does not need super big budgets, How about a simple show based at Starfleet academy? Or on a different planet? Or on a much smaller ship, scout class or even a civilian/non-Starfleet trade ship.

At any case, it should take place in the new JJ-verse. (same time period as Kirk and crew)

Oscar
September 19, 2013 8:32 am

The right concept? We have it
Star Trek:Vanguard.
Star Trek: Early Voyages
Star Trek: New frontier
Right people? We have It
David Mack, Peter David ,Chris Bennet…
Best producers: Josh Whedon+Jonathan Frakes.

Scott
September 19, 2013 8:38 am

Isn’t this exactly what Tim Russ is trying to do with Star Trek : Renegades? A crew who is operating outside of Star Fleet making decisions that effect the universe because Starfleet cannot due to the Prime Directive…reasonable people making unpopular decisions for the greater good. Sounds like a winner to me.

TomR
September 19, 2013 8:38 am

Enterprise was doing fine in its last season (story wise) talk about keeping it short do 3 more years of that.

CmdrR
September 19, 2013 8:38 am

Nicely stated.

I would love to see Trek done in a series (perhaps cable) where the run is limited (I’d go for 60-80 eps) and we see early on that main characters can change radically. That doesn’t mean they have to die! But, interesting things can happen that take them out of the pilot-mold… and let the series mature, a la Breaking Bad.

CmdrR
September 19, 2013 8:43 am

38: Only if they rename it Starbucks Trek.

That song is SO Gen-Z.

Marcus
September 19, 2013 8:44 am

When this theme song kills everything JJ can do in a “Star Trek” movie, you know there is something very wrong with the franchise:

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuSZ_Onp0S0

Ensign RedShirt
September 19, 2013 8:44 am

Some nice points made, but the overarching premise that some of the fanbase is upset about STID because they want Trek back on tv is waaaaaay off. People are upset with the quality of the film itself.

September 19, 2013 8:52 am

I think it’s funny that people keep posting that the author is missing the point, that it’s not about TV, rather the quality.

When in fact the author is making that very point (along with the TV argument), for him they go together. The point of being back on TV is to get the sort of small batch artisanal quality we’re seeing on cable shows right now. Which is something you literally cannot do on the big screen.

Ahmed
September 19, 2013 9:09 am

A very good article. I disagree with this statement

“I believe that much of the anger toward STID has nothing to do with the film: fans are angry because they have to wait four years to see a new movie when what they really want is new episodes every week.”

The 4 years delay was just a small factor, the main problem was with the writing. STID wasn’t a good Trek movie, it was just just another mindless summer blockbuster that you forget once the lights come on.

What they should do is bring Star Trek back to TV that is set in the prime universe with the help of people like Ron Moore. In the same time, keep doing the movies in the new timeline & with the relentless mindless action that they seem to like.

trekwho
September 19, 2013 9:12 am

Thank you Jared for a wonderful and witty article. I really never thought of a post_Federation series before but I like the idea. Can Star Trek return to TV? Of course it can. If it hits the right chord with enough people it will succeed like any other sucessful series out there right now.

As a Dr. Who fan, I look back at the classic Who episodes as compared to those of the new series. They are very different in many ways but hold onto a core that fans enjoy.

Find your core, Star Trek, and re-imagine it for today’s crowd.

Spock's Bangs
September 19, 2013 9:23 am

#13 “And you’re way off-base in that belief. People are upset with the film because of its writing failures.”

SOME people are upset. Not most…witness the box office and bluray/DVD sales.

wpDiscuz