Star Trek fans of every shade just received the best news: writer/director Nicholas Meyer is joining CBS’ new Star Trek television show, which is set to debut in 2017 with Bryan Fuller producing.
Not sure who Nicholas Meyer is? He’s the guy who saved Star Trek from obscurity and made it smarter than you ever realized. Here’s why this is possibly the best geek-related news of the past 20 years.
Showrunner Bryan Fuller sums up Meyer’s credentials perfectly in his announcement to Entertainment Weekly:
Nicholas Meyer chased Kirk and Khan ‘round the Mutara Nebula and ‘round Genesis’ flames, he saved the whales with the Enterprise and its crew, and waged war and peace between Klingons and the Federation.
Meyer wrote and directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He also co-wrote Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In short: all the classic Star Trek films that everybody likes were the direct result of Nicholas Meyer’s involvement. He’s also written three Sherlock Holmes pastiches: The West End Horror, The Canary Trainer, and, most famously The Seven Per-Cent Solution. That last one features Sherlock Holmes hanging out with Sigmund Freud, a plot point which was referenced in the latest episode of Sherlock, “The Abominable Bride.”
Just recently, in a phone conversation with Meyer, the writer/director told me he saw himself as a “popularizer” of literature and other culture, which is 100% what he did with The Wrath of Khan, resulting in a great movie that instilled momentum in popular culture that led the cast of the original Star Trek through four more films. By blending genres, and established big thematic messages, Meyer took what was already great about Star Trek and popularized it for the mainstream. And he didn’t do that by dumbing it down, but rather by making Star Trek more complex, artistic, and realistic. Nicholas Meyer made Khan a huge fan of Melville’s Moby Dick, while Kirk and Spock caught up on Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. In The Undiscovered Country, Meyer gave Spock lines from Sherlock Holmes’ stories and out-right insinuated that Spock was related by blood to the great detective through his human mother. Kirk, Spock and Bones were great characters before Nicholas Meyer, but after he wrote them in The Wrath of Khan, they became even more human than we could have possibly imagined.
The Wrath of Khan was Star Trek’s biggest comeback, and it paved the way for how the rest of the franchise saw itself. We would be living in a dimmer geek world without Nicholas Meyer, and now that he’s back writing Star Trek, our whole future just got a hell of a lot brighter.
Ryan Britt is the author of Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths. He’s interviewed Nicholas Meyer on more than one occasion for both Tor.com and Clarkesworld.