In my last article, I reported on the various Star Trek rumors going around. I’ll admit, when I first heard about Star Trek: Captain Worf I was extremely excited.
Then I thought about it for a second. Then I remembered how excited I was about Enterprise.
When I did my research for the article, I discovered that several different people were working towards getting a new Star Trek series on the air. I had varying degrees of enthusiasm for the different projects.
One of the problems with modern Trek (wait, does this mean we’re in post-modern Star Trek?) was that it entered a sort of stagnation, a dark age. Within Trek circles, it’s popular to dump the blame on Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. But the problem is deeper than that. The problem was that they were the only ones running the show, and didn’t challenge each other.
Star Trek always thrived on different writers bouncing off of each other. Even Gene Roddenberry might have been famous for creating Trek, but he had a lot of bad ideas (see “The Omega Glory” and “Turnabout Intruder” if you don’t believe me). Meanwhile, the relatively forgotten writer Gene L. Coon created such Trek staples as the Klingons, Zefram Cochrane, Khan, and the Prime Directive. Even Maurice Hurley, who’s often remembered for his personality conflicts as much as his writing, was famous for creating the Borg and Lore. The point is that Trek has always thrived on writers with different points of view bouncing their ideas off each other. Also, there were enough people around to save each other from ideas bad enough to derail the franchise.
I’m a little concerned that Abrams is being regarded as the “guardian” of the new (new) Trek. I liked his movie, but I feel it lacked the intellectual depth you find in the best Trek. But I’m more worried about his hegemony. Bryan Fuller stated that he doubted any series could get off the ground without Abrams’ approval. This hegemony was exactly the kind of thing that caused the franchise to run out of steam in the first place. Abrams probably has more good films in him. But naming someone the Gatekeeper is the first step down the same road with the same dead-end. His rule needs to be challenged.
On the individual ideas floating around, I’m most excited about Singer and Fuller working together. They’re two solid professionals with a love for the series. There’s also not a clear alpha in the two of them, which I hope means there will be room for them to challenge each other. Despite the fact that I’m most excited about this pair, their version of Trek has the fewest details. They haven’t even stated if they’re doing it in the “Prime” universe (original continuity), the reboot’s milieu, or some new branch of Trekdom.
One idea that keeps coming up is the idea of following Captain Sulu’s exploits on the Excelsior. This is a fan favorite that’s generated interest ever since Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Spin-off books have followed the exploits of this crew, and fans are interested. When Voyager did an episode on the Excelsior for the 30th anniversary of Star Trek, it generated buzz that maybe the next series would follow the exploits of the Excelsior. Even as recently as this year, Trekmovie.com played a cruel practical joke on fans stating that Abrams would direct Star Trek: Excelsior as a feature starring George Takei. Takei is a huge fan favorite and very gracious about his place in geek culture. If you follow him on Facebook, he’s like the geeky grandpa we all wish we had. A new Trek series featuring Takei’s exploits on the Excelsior would be a great direction for the series and have an instant guaranteed audience.
The prospect I’m least excited about is Dorn’s project, tentatively titled Star Trek: Captain Worf. I know that there are some fans who will disagree with me on this, but I also know I’m in the same corner as noted Trek critic SF Debris, so I can’t be too wrong. I don’t like the new (wait, what do we call it now? “New but not new-new?” “Middle Kingdom?”) Trek Klingons. I feel like the Next Generation Klingons were a dumbed-down version of their TOS selves. They went from being sophisticated worthy adversaries to generic microbrained space barbarians. Worf, in my opinion, was one of the worst examples of this. He was dumber than a box of rocks with all of the smart rocks taken out. He grew a little in DS9, but it always felt forced. His character was “the Klingon.” Still, since he was so popular with the fans, the writers managed to get quite a bit of mileage out of the character, having him go from outsider among humans and exile among Klingons to a hero to both peoples. He was even a single father when the writers remembered about that. But the whole thing stinks of a desperate attempt to squeeze a little more out of a character that we’ve seen enough of already.
Here’s to hoping that something memorable comes out of it. I miss good Trek.