Jun 18 2010 5:19pm

Steal this Star Trek Reboot

Star Trek is like Cthulhu: too massive to die, its tentacles twined through our cultural psyche even when asleep. A television reboot is inevitable, and already underway in zippy cinematic form.

That being said, a Star Trek television reboot still feels premature. Enterprise is only five years gone and Simon Pegg has only begun to develop a proper Montgomery Scott whiskey belly.

So I found it surprising that this recent article by Andrew Belonsky at Death + Taxes, “The Case for a New Star Trek Series,” struck such a chord.

In his article, Belonsky blueskys the most likely seeming Star Trek reboot, a show that starts near the end of Voyager:

...this new fantasy Trek can take place around the time of last chronological installment, Star Trek: Voyager, which ended in 2378, only 8 television years after Next Generation. According to my data, Captain, some kind of Cold War has been brewing, a perfect way to slip in the intergalactic political angle. Patrick Stewart could even make a return as Picard to add some street cred and gravitas...

Belonsky makes the case that Star Trek doesn’t need to ditch the often heartless and tech-focused latter years of the Star Trek canon, it just needs to be SMARTER. Especially in a post-Battlestar Galactica, post-Firefly TV landscape. The rose-colored glasses need to come off, he argues:

A new series would need to address timely, relevant questions. How does the Utopia-esque Federation of Planets incorporate its globes and colonies? How do you balance innate cultures with the Federation’s lofty ideals? “Star Trek is all about finding new cultures and, when possible, adding them to the Federation,” wondered my friend Teelin. “In the stories it always is a good thing, but in reality whenever that happens we force religion and bring smallpox.” The Federation would become the European Union of a fictionalized future.

In this, I wholeheartedly agree. With a universe as rich as Star Trek’s there’s no excuse to not explore the realistic machinations, or consequences, of a body of government like the Federation. Deep Space 9 took a valiant stab at this throughout its run, often resulting in some of its most compelling episodes.

However, the Star Trek franchise is a heavy, heavy beast. There are decades worth of material behind it and a stodginess in atmosphere and character development that has always proven difficult to shake. Voyager’s attempts to shake it resulted in increasingly action-oriented stories that sacrificed meaningful character development. (Janeway basically committed genocide in the final episode so she could tweak an already favorable outcome. Yay?) Enterprise started promisingly but couldn’t get our from under the weight of its own silliness. (“It’s been a loooong road...”)

In my opinion, the Star Trek series needs to hush its backstory and ditch the stodginess in order to appear re-energized. The 2009 Star Trek film did this quite handily, but sacrificed a gravitas that was one of the shows greatest features. Namely, the opportunity to tackle The Big Questions.

Is a reboot impossible, then? Surely we can’t have this cake and eat it, too? If only there were some other classic science fiction television show that had recently managed to successfully reboot itself, shelving its massive continuity without nullifying it, introducing youth, humor, and vibrancy to its main character, and providing dramatic emotional arcs all with one simple, stunning concept.

Geez, it’s right on the tip of my brain. WHO could I possibly be thinking of?

Star Trek needs to steal a page from the Doctor Who book. (For those unaware, Doctor Who returned in 2005 after a 20 year absence. With only a couple sentences, we learn that there has been some sort of Time War and that the Doctor's people, the all-powerful TimeLords, were gone. This gave the Doctor an overall emotional arc which he had never had to play before, and allowed the slow re-introduction of elements from the classic episodes, revamped wherever necessary. This allowed the show to strike out on its own, while still taking advantage of the riches from four previous decades of storytelling.

With that in mind, here’s my pitch:

Start a series with the Federation gone (or far, far offscreen). We don’t know the year. We don’t know what happened. We just know that things kind of suck now. A Firefly in-the-outer-rim level of suck. People are coarse, deadly, dirty, occasionally hilarious, but very very real. They have few ideals beyond the next meal.

Our story begins with a freight salvager watching a handheld holo-recording of Captain Picard giving a stirring speech about the struggle humanity underwent to conquer its own dark nature and embody its ultimate nobility, and the centuries-old galactic society that stands as a result. What is this “Federation”? It sounds too good to be true. Surely this is fiction, and everyone our salvager shows the recording to agrees. This is pie in the sky nonsense. Get back to work.

So he/she does and then, during a routine salvage, a certain starship is discovered...

The ideal is real. Humanity is capable of being better. They just need to discover how.

As they voyage out, we piece together the mystery of what happened to the Federation. We get to see all of our old favorites, Klingons, Romulans, Vulcans, Cardassians, Ferengi, through new eyes. Do we find Earth? Is it still there? What’s happened to it specifically? Was there a war? A galaxy-wide famine? Did subspace break down? Did it the Federation just fragment over time? What could possibly take this great society down? Through these rough and tumble characters, we play with huge, society-level concepts. We can re-introduce religious drama, or economic hardships, or anything that mirrors the struggles that we, the viewers, go through on a daily basis.

I realize this idea combines some of the best elements from Doctor Who, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Andromeda, and then some. But really, shouldn’t Star Trek be the gold standard of televised science fiction?

LOLDoctor image from LiveJournal user orange_crushed

Chris Greenland would like to see Riker use his trademark oogie smirk on Boba Fett.

Nick Eden
1. NickPheas
I'd watch that. I just don't believe the Trek establishment would have the balls to make it.

Think back to Voyager. It kind of had a similar set up. One ship. No Federation. No Starbases. A crew that's bitterly divided on a point of irreconcilable principle. How far can you go, how often can you bend the Prime Directive and remain Starfleet?

Great pitch. But they bottled it.
2. Alea_iacta_est
The concept is a really good one, but I disagree with it being a good reboot for Star Trek.
Star Trek is about the golden age of humanity. Its original purpose was to show people how great everything might end up in the future. It was something to bring hope to people during hard times such as the Cold War.
Your idea would make for a great series, but it would abandon everything Star Trek is about, and therefore wouldn't be Star Trek.
rick gregory
3. rickg
Too derivative of other shows. Firefly fans, especially, need to let go and quit trying to recreate that show. Firefly was a GREAT show... but making Star Trek into Firefly is misguided as is the "OK the Time Lords, er Federation, is gone" angle. And I'm suspicious of the "Let's explore what happens when we bring smallpox to the natives" angle as it could easily be too heavy handed. Star Trek's take was always that we finally found out how to let our better natures win. The problem with the shows was generally that the resulting society was too nice, too utopian and, frankly, rather boring.

All that said, I agree that a new series shouldn't be simply another set of characters in the same basic setting. So... yes, move the action forward a century or two. Posit significant changes... but don't make ST into Some Other Show Done in The ST universe. Instead, ask what would happen in the Star Trek universe in, say, 200 years but keep the essential character of Star Trek, which is positive, exploratory and curious. One thought is to have several points of view vs just one throughout the show.

The success of BSG and the critical success of Firefly has everyone trying to do gritty, dark, dystopias. Those have a place, but Star Trek isn't one of those places and reinventing ST as that kind of a show feels like fad chasing.
Iain Coleman
4. Iain_Coleman
This misunderstands the approach that made Doctor Who a success. Russell T Davies took a show with a huge accretion of mythology and backstory, and stripped it right down to its essentials. A mysterious eccentric in a blue box, whisking ordinary people off on adventures in time and space.

The Time War stuff was a way of sloughing off backstory. Yes, it meant Eccleston's Doctor was fleeing some terrible, unexplained events - but so was Hartnell's.

So what's the essence of Star Trek? Not a grimdark struggle for the future of humanity. It's Kirk, Spock and McCoy leading a military/exploration starship, encountering strange new worlds and people who force them to grapple with big problems of morals and philosophy.

The recent movie got at least half of this right. A rebooted series could do worse that to follow on from that movie in terms of characters and setup, with the Enterprise exploring a new frontier.

Above all, it should be written for a mass audience, not for a bunch of sci-fi fans. That way, it would stand a chance of being as fondly remembered in forty years' time as the original series is today.
6. Mary Arrrr
My husband has all excited because he thought there was a new Star Trek series this year. It was, however, ads for the Kardashian sisters' reality show.

I think the dark and gritty wave is on the way out. My husband, who's a Trek fan who liked Enterprise, gave up on Torchwood and BSG, because he was sick of sci-fi that was about "people screaming, killing each other and just dying all the time." That just isn't as original as it was a few years ago.

I would like to see US television finding some way to do series of six episode mini-series the way British TV does. Reframing the show with an ongoing detective/law enforcement angle might be the way to go. And with the traditions of multiple Star Treks running at the same time, you could pull off a Who/Torchwood matchup with two series with different spins swapping out. (You could even go for the younger audience with their own Sarah Jane Adventures-ish series.)
Jacy Clark
7. Amalisa
*also agrees with Iain_Coleman@4 - wholeheartedly!*
some guy
8. NateTheGreat
"(Janeway basically committed genocide in the final episode so she could tweak an already favorable outcome.)"

It wasn't genocide; it was pest control. ST:FC changed the Borg from an extreme manifestation of our dependence on technology into some thing like vampires. They survived by sucking the life out of other civilizations and "turning" their victims into drones/vampires.
9. politeruin
If they do this then please, for the love of whatever God you choose, bar Rick Berman from having ANY creative input whatsoever. "What is it with guys called Rick?"
j p
10. sps49
Anyone who thinks the 2009 Star Trek movie is something to emulate is on a different wavelength than I.

Star Trek had the best and perhaps worst episodes, TNG was more uniformly good, DS9 was good but too limited in location and too dark for the franchise, Voyager had an excellent concept that was executed badly, Star Trek:Enterprise started off with uncaring execution at first, and was just getting good when time ran out.

If another series is contemplated, it should look to the original template, Star Trek, and produce stories based on that series through the lens of present day society. Learning from the mistakes of other incarnations would be wise, especially the dictum Do Not Piss On What Came Before You.
11. mirana
I'm glad to see the majority of commentors in here are thinking the same things I am. This is dismissing the entire point of Star Trek to clone Firefly/Who/Etc. Star Trek is not those shows, and I love it (and them) that way!

The core ideas of Star Trek that make it interesting are Exploration and Good Guys Exist. It's a great foil to all the dark, dirty, ambiguous moral shows out there.

Also, quite frankly, any ST reboot that started with my beloved Jean-Luc being used as a sad example of a failed society? What Star Trek fan would enjoy that??? D:
12. rmtodd
As I understand it, what you describe is more-or-less the idea Robert Hewitt Wolfe came up with some years ago for a new spinoff ST series, set a century or so after DS9 (this was back when DS9 was still in production). The idea was basically that the strain of fighting the Dominion War had been too much for the Federation and it came apart at the seams; the new series would follow a single man who had been preserved for years in a ship orbiting a black hole or something and his efforts to find what was left of the fallen Fed civilization and restore some sort of order. The Powers that Be at Paramount didn't like this idea for a series, so RHW later recycled it as Andromeda.
Iain Coleman
13. Iain_Coleman
Of course, there is a grimdark version of Star Trek. It's called Blake's 7. The Federation is a fascist empire, the good guys are killers, thieves, mercenaries and psychopaths, and the story starts with our lead character - who is, by the way, quite mad - being framed for child abuse. Reboot that as a new TV series and I will happily subscribe to your newsletter.
14. GBM
I completely agree that a new Star Trek series should jump far in the future (skip the time patrol nonsense, too), just to shake the concrete off the concept. The ideal of the Federation - what is this thing? - could remain, but the cultures and societies could become alive and interesting again.
Josh Storey
15. Soless
I think you can strip down Star Trek to it's essential core -- the good inside humanity wins out over the bad -- and actually emphasize that theme in the post-Federation world described above.

Wouldn't it be more heroic for a crew that doesn't have the backing and resources of a galactic organization to stick to the ideals that Roddenberry emphasized?

A building up of society instead of a break down.

Couldn't a show like that usher the dark rebooting trend out of our zeitgeist and usher in a new, hopeful trend in Sci Fi?

I think so. And I'd watch it.
john mullen
16. johntheirishmongol
There was a somewhat darker version of Star Trek, which was DS9. It wasn't entirely utopian like STNG, with no need for money or anyone to actually work. STNG totally ignored human nature in favor of some ideal where people worked their butts off just for knowledge and satisfaction. Annoyed the economist in me a lot. The mirror universe actually made more sense for human nature.

Anyway, I wouldn't mind a Star Trek without the Federation. Maybe something like a Asimov's vision of Federation to Empire would be interesting. Or how about a human colony on another world, and its development.
Bruce Bromberek
17. wombatpm
Start a series with the Federation gone (or far, far offscreen). We don’t know the year. We don’t know what happened. We just know that things kind of suck now. A Firefly in-the-outer-rim level of suck. People are coarse, deadly, dirty, occasionally hilarious, but very very real. They have few ideals beyond the next meal.

Our story begins with a freight salvager watching a handheld holo-recording of Captain Picard giving a stirring speech about the struggle humanity underwent to conquer its own dark nature and embody its ultimate nobility, and the centuries-old galactic society that stands as a result. What is this “Federation”? It sounds too good to be true. Surely this is fiction, and everyone our salvager shows the recording to agrees. This is pie in the sky nonsense. Get back to work.

And maybe Kevin Sorbo could star in it? With a talking computer in human form?

Andromeda anyone?
18. yt99
I think you could make a new Star Trek set within the same time frame but still exploring a darker side of the equation.
Alea iacta est and other posters have stated a disagreement with a darker series based on the idea that Star Trek is about a golden age for humanity; but even a "golden age" is probably not golden for everyone. Think the Golden Age of American power - the 1950's. Not very golden for african americans, or anyone suspected of being a communist, lesbian or gay, a feminist, or even vaguely not conformist.
Take any other Golden Age - Greece, Rome, Renaissance Europe, etc and it is only golden with the rosy-colored glasses of history, glossing over the bad parts.
Yes, it might not be "Star Trek" to please the hardcore, Spock-ear wearing, Klingon-speaking Trekkies if it wasn't solely about people who graduated from Starfleet Academy with top marks, but it could be great. Witness BSG (and Mary Arrr, your husband missed out on one of the greatest shows ever, IMHO, when he tuned out on BSG).
And god knows, we need another good SF series these days...
rick gregory
19. rickg
The problem, yt99, is that if you deviate too far you're not doing a Star Trek series, you're just doing a series that's got the name.

Frankly, I'm not really interested in a series that exercises all of the liberal pathologies about downtrodden peoples - it's not that they're untrue, it's just that it's very easy for such a series to become polemical and I'm not really interested in a series like that. Nor am I interested in recreating BSG or another series on the back of Star Trek. ST is a particular universe with particular sensibilities and I rather wish people would stop trying to make it something other than what it is. Not every series needs to be dark and gritty.
20. HMane
I agree with Rickg;

The problem with Star Trek is that often times the morality is too heavy handed. The best example I can think of is that movie with the planet with the magic particles that extend life; the resolution of the plot favored the 'natives' (when they're originally colonists) far too heavily, and it almost feels like that near the end of the story the writers try to have a saving throw that it was somehow "personal" because the bad aliens were kicked out of the colony years ago.

Star Trek doesn't need more gritty, it just needs to deal with moral and ethical issues in a more balanced way. In that movie, the outcome should have been that the aliens get evicted and the planet gets harvested. Maybe the Admiral gets the boot, maybe Picard is appluded, but ultimately nothing really happens; Star Fleet Medical gets their new particles, and life continues.

Also, I really wish Firefly fans can let go of Firefly.
Ursula L
21. Ursula
Seconding Iain @ #4.

You can't really have Star Trek without the Federation, its ideals, and its flaws. The crew can be separated from the Federation, either intentionally (as in the original flavor, when they were often exploring far enough away to avoid close Federation oversight) or by accident (as in Voyager.)

But they carry the Federation with them, in what they think and do.

I'd distill the essence of Star Trek down to being a diverse and competent crew, in a spaceship, led by an admirable captain, encountering civilizations where they encounter a social/political crisis which they must resolve, representing both the ideals of the Federation and the political entity of the Federation. And the ideals and the needs of the political entity can be in conflict, as can the needs of the crew.
graham roche
22. scrochum
I've got a great pitch for a new ST show;
Star Trek: Acadamy...

I'll get my coat...
some guy
23. NateTheGreat
"I'd distill the essence of Star Trek down to being a diverse and competent crew, in a spaceship, led by an admirable captain, encountering civilizations where they encounter a social/political crisis which they must resolve"

You've just described ST:TOS, ST:TNG, ST:V, and ST:E. It was a good idea at one point, but it has been done to death.
Torie Atkinson
24. Torie
I couldn't possibly disagree with you enough.

Television is full of "gritty" dystopian futures. There's nothing brave about it.

But it took chutzpah to imagine a positive future in which mankind, though flawed, was fundamentally good and admirable. In which men and women rose up to meet seemingly impossible challenges, and overcame them with confidence and grace. In which all kinds of people stood side by side to build the kind of world that they wanted to live in. That's what Star Trek is.

The last thing TV needs is another bleak, hopeless future where useless assholes struggle ceaselessly against the current. And if someone's going to do it, it shouldn't be called Star Trek.
rick gregory
25. rickg
@23 is right in that the traditional ST idea has been done over and over. I'm not sure that shoehorning another variant of that in the same timeframe really works. The main issue with the Federation from a storytelling viewpoint is that it's rather static - it's a post-scarcity society where people have more or less achieved what we want to achieve. Sure, the wealth and advantages are probably not evenly distributed in the early decades of the Federation, but that's an issue that will resolve itself over time in the ST universe.

I was thinking about this and it struck me that the Federation is rather like what Iain Banks' Culture might have been like early on. So...

How about ST from a non-ship/captain/crew standpoint? Jump 2-500 years into the future when the Federation is more firmly entrenched. Technology is even more advanced, life extension is common so people can, barring accident or suicide, live centuries. The benefits of being in the Federation are clear and about as evenly spread as can be imagined (though there might be holdouts who find its rules too confining). Instead of being decades old and something where the characters' grandparents saw emerge, the Federation is centuries old.

However, the Prime Directive is fraying a bit. The Federation has stuck to it, but there have been some horrific consequences - worlds or even solar systems where conflict that the Federation might have prevented has cost billions of lives. People are questioning the Prime Directive - it's a good guide, but should it be an absolute? Should we *really* abstain from interference even at the cost of billions of lives?

In Banksian terms, this time would see the emergence of Special Circumstances. Interference is still frowned upon and some are still unsure that we're wise enough to interfere and mostly be right, while others feel that the Federation can't justify letting billions die and civilizations go extinct because of a rule made centuries before.

Now.. explore this universe keeping ST principles and the general character of the universe in mind.
Dorothy Johnston
26. CloudMist
rickg: In other words, go back to the Prime Directive as Kirk used it: something to be obeyed wherever possible but recognize that there are legitimate exceptions to every rule. One of the things I disliked about ST:TNG was how rigid Picard was in applying the PD. One of the worst examples was the episode where we met Worf's Russian step-brother. Picard was quite willing to standby and give a verbose speech as a planet and its people died, rather than help Worf's brother save a portion of the planet's people.
27. Sihaya
I want RickG to write the new Star Trek. He's got the idea down perfectly. The universe of Star trek should still run no the principals of Star Trek - but it's a really, really big universe.

There could be an entire show wrapped around a ship crew that was investigating a civilization on the cusp of warp technology. Though the Enterprise crew always covered such missions in a matter of weeks, I suspect that a *real* infiltration mission could take a few years. I mean, you'd have cloak-and-dagger spying, world politics, possible coups, scientific breakthroughs made or thwarted, native counterintelligence groups who suspect some sort of invasion, Starfleet officers who've started to wonder about interfering, maybe some single advanced scout who'd been AWOL for twenty years. There'd be furtive communication and hidden bases, high technology disguised as low.

Yep, there's a whole lot of universe to cover in Star Trek, and you don't have to compromise the show's ideals to do it. Frankly, I'm tired of the idea that we're too sophistocated and awful for ideals. Like we don't deserve to try to be "better than we ought to be." I mean, we'll certainly get no closer if we throw our hands in the air and watch reality shows for mental stimulation, will we? Viet Nam and the civil rights era were happening when Star Trek first appeared on the small screen. Some people go, "Well, every society will have problems, so it's unrealistic to portray one that's overcome them." Well, yeah, but why shouldn't we be *working* to become one of those societies? Star Trek has helped motivate a number of young children to become doctors, scientists and boundary pushers of all types. I really don't think it's a good idea for the show to suddenly say to the next generation, "Why bother?"
Jesús Couto Fandiño
28. Breogan
What should be done with Star Trek is to bury it.

It was good when it was good, it was bad when it was bad. It was kinda of like my grandmother. And I dont exhume her to sit at the sofa with me now.

Bury it. Make new things. By all means, be inspired by it if you like, take the ideas you want from it and play to them, or against them, or reinterpret them, or whatever.

But do new stuff. Please. Be different, experiment, fail, but produce new things.

Science-fiction is, supposedly, about the sense of wonder. Lets get wonder. New universes, new sets of ideals, new ways of telling them, new conflicts. No need to get it tied to the old - respect the old by closing it and using what you learned to build the new!
Marcus W
29. toryx
Boy, I agree with so many posters that I could spend my entire post just quoting things that other people said.

Ultimately, I think I side with Breogan @ 28. I love Star Trek and I cherish a lot of the work that has been done with it but I think its time, at least for the immediate future, has passed. I definitely don't want to see a continuation of what was accomplished in Abram's movie (though I don't think I have a choice there) and I don't want some new vision to come along that'll mess up what's been done before. Just let it go and find something new.

Give us new stories, new characters and a new universe. Make it hopeful or gritty but make it original and well written. That's what I want to see.

Then 15 or 20 years down the road, if someone has a new idea or way to look at Star Trek without getting rid of it's optimistic, bright foundation go with it. But give us a break, already.
Paul Howard
30. DrakBibliophile
I agree with Breogan and Toryx.

It would be better to create a new Science Fiction universe than to try to 'reboot' Star Trek.

IMO to 'reboot' Star Trek you'd have to "cut out" so much stuff that you would not satify anybody.

Better to start a series set in a completely seperate Science Fiction universe where you could have the themes 'you' like from Star Trek and ignore what 'you' didn't like from Star Trek.
31. BrianTX
I have 3 words for you: Star Fleet Academy. In the modern TV era, new shows are full of young, beautiful people. The Academy would fit this bill nicely. Heck, put the students on a 'study abroad' program and then set in motion something ugly such as what you've mentioned above.

But if you ask me, other than the few Wil Wheaton moments in TNG, where he was preparing for, testing for, or otherwise moving toward the Academy... the Academy is a fantastic black hole in which to place a story. There is very little canon that is specific to it, so it can be whatever the writers make of it.

My 2 cents.
rick gregory
32. rickg
@28-30 etc... Yeah, that's the other choice. To simply say "we've mined this vein, we're moving on." I think the discussion here is predicated on the idea that we're doing a new ST series. Given that, the question is what kind of a series would prove to be good/interesting.

You (collectively) present a false choice though - the creation of another ST series doesn't preclude anyone from doing other new series. If someone has a great idea for one, they should get off their ass and pitch it. A ST series doesn't keep them from doing that. Oh, and the whole 'give us a break already' line is annoying - no one is forcing you to watch anything. If you have no interest in a new ST series, don't watch it.
Ian Gazzotti
34. Atrus
Part of the success of Doctor Who is that it did *not* do a reboot but rather a revamp - the Tenth Doctor is the Tenth, not the Second. Sure, it helped that it had an already loose continuity as it was, but the new show embraced its past (Sarah Jane, the Daleks, the Master's beard-for-a-wife) without getting bogged down by it. The new is the new but, at the same time, the old is the old and they didn't feel the need to change, or erase it, or nullify it.

True, not everything can be revamped (you couldn't really pick up the original BSG from where it left); but when you have such an extensive continuity as the Star Trek franchise, reboots and remakes feel like the cheap way out, a gimmick to make a new story with new characters playing on the success of the original.
36. Gerry Quinn
You could always have a spin-off set in the Klingon Empire or something... make it as dark and gritty as you like, and the Federation is still there for a proper reboot!
37. JustinS
I think it is a mistake to shoehorn your ideas into an existing franchise to support your ideas, and not the original concepts.

Respect Roddenberry's optimism for humanities future.

If you want a rough and gritty setting in the Star Trek universe, that can ask the hard questions, and still respect that ideals do matter, there is a solution.

Set a show up from the perspective of the Klingons (possibly romulans, but I think Klingons work better). Honor vs. vainglory, the price of empires. Set it just after ST 6, and you have the uneasy peace with the self-satisfied federation (And the erra of transition from foe to friend of the Federation).
38. Andrés Pérez-Bergquist
If I were in charge of the franchise, I'd go for the nearly-clean slate and unexplored territory of setting the next series entirely in the Mirror Universe, and do so at a time when the socio-political situation is highly unstable—either the spread of the human empire under a distant and seldom-seen Empress Sato, the collapse of the human empire under Spock, or the turmoil after the revolutions triggered by contacting DS9 in the baseline universe. This lets you focus on a blend of political maneuvering, espionage, open warfare, shifting alliances, and betrayal, while still allowing for the exploration of new cultures as either potential allies or subjects, depending who's doing the contacting. It'd be just the thing to keep it all attractively familiar while shedding most of the baggage.
Jerry Wright
39. MrBewildered
I seem to remember an episode near the end of TNG where it is stated that the warp drive, as constituted, was destroying the space-time continuum.

So, have the Flying Spaghetti Monster or some-such make Warp Drive non-functional.

What would happen to the Federation if warp-drive ceased?

And go from there...

Just a warped thought.
Eduardo Gisbert
40. xgisbert
We usually associate Star Trek with one crew, in one ship (or station), and then the entire universe revolves around these.

I know that some shows try to make emphasis in the whole "larger that life" paradigm, but maybe it's time to take a different approach to the issue.

What about some show called "Starfleet Chronicles"?

It could feature an entire new crew in their own ship every episode, with recurring characters (and ships) every now and then. Episodes where you can mix and match crews from different past episodes and the like.

It would be like many different mini-series put together by whatever continuity plot the writes conceive.

Think about it, you could get many good things from Star Trek (Lots of people to know, lots of ships to see, many places to visit, a very large number of situations to tackle), and cut back on the bad things (One crew saves the galaxy, over and over and over; ridiculous amounts of distances covered in too short times because the same ship has to be everywhere, and so on).

It's just and idea, and a silly one if you give it serious thought. But maybe someone could make some sense out of it.
41. prometheus
I am kind of tired of the Federation. Set a show in the Empires, or in the Dominion, or somewhere else. Mirror universe actually sounds really cool.

Maybe have a crew of smugglers, or a Maquis-type group, or perhaps a planet based Star Trek (marooned, local politics, whatever).

And for the record, I think DS9 was the best Trek - I loved the political and religious aspects of it, as well as a sustained seven year story arc that actually resolved.
John Hall
Did anyone hear about a Show called Andromeda written by a guy named Gene
43. RetroGrouch
DS9 was the least Star Trek like of the various series. Each series reflected the generation of the writers. The original ST was written back in the 60's and reflected the Baby Boomers optimism and arrogance. Babylon 5 was more like ST than DS9 was.

The whole point of ST was escapism leavened with heavy handed morality plays. You could pick any of the ST era's and explore other perspectives. How about independent traders in the Federation Universe. Yeah, I know there isn't supposed to be money, etc., but how did they get there and how does the Federation exist without it? Or the Federation intelligence agency could be the basis for a series (they will have to have one). The idea of mini-series exploring the ST universe really appeals to me.

Please don't repackage Andromeda as a ST series. I watched it the first time, and mostly liked it until it jumped the shark in the final season. Don't do the "Dark and Gritty" - its been done more than anything in the ST franchise.
Noneo Yourbusiness
44. Longtimefan
well since this is a ring for anyone with a phaser to throw into it I will share my idea for a trek show that I would like to see.

Most people will dislike it right of the bat.

It has subtitles.

The whole show takes place during a war, the war, some war between the Klingons and the Romulans.

The Neutral zone is still contested and the main story revolves around different factions within the political leadership of both Empires struggling between "winning the war" or "suing for peace"

embedded in this game of action, espionage and political manuvering are two Federation agents deep undercover.

There is a Vulcan operative in the Romulan Empire trying to lay the inroads for peace without being detected as a non-Romulan.

There is a Human operative in the Klingon Empire taking advantage of the temporary "illness" that mutates some of the Klingons to look like the ones from the original Star Trek episodes. There are still the Klingons that fans have come to love but the unity of the Empire is strained by this anomaly and the unspoken segregation that comes from it.

The Human has to not only keep his cover but also deal with having less access to information because of the limits placed on the "other" Klingons which he can emulate.

The Vulcan operative and the Human operative eventually end up in a situation where they suspect the other for being "Romulan" and "Klingon" but think that the other may be just the enemy to reach out to.

This is killing the audience for a season because they know what the characters do not but somewhere in the middle of the next season they have a reveal that encourages the two to try to establish contact with the different branches of the Federation that sent them. This makes for some political infighting in the Federation as each side tries to take over the unification of the project while the Romulans and Klingons are still jabbing at each other and under going their own political difficulties.

In the end there is the uneasy peace that the Star Trek universe generally operates in.

It is a three to five season series. In Klingon and Romulan with very little English dialogue.

It has the intrigue of both skirmishes and cold war politicking and the hopefulness of a few people struggling to bring peace and reason to each Empire.

It allows for the richness of exotic cultures without making an alien of the week the only way to uncover those cultures.

Just my two cents.
45. RobG2004
I started writing a fanfic piece that took place after Star Trek Nemesis that fits into this. The Admiral is discussing concerns that with an alliance between the Federation and Romulans, there aren't any real threats outside of the Federation to keep Starfleet whole.

Sometimes it takes a common enemy to keep individuals focused on the group as a whole. Now, various Federation members are more likely to focus on their own wants.
46. orokusaki
Star Trek: Academy would be perfect for the CW or abc Family! Terrific!

With respect to all the good ideas presented in this discussion, what makes a show good is is only partly related to its setting, which has been the bulk of the discussion here.

What made TNG good is more than just its "optimistic view of the future," or even the fact that it was ST. The production, writing and acting fit together extremely well. That's hard to emulate. And in light of that, the idea of a reboot or new series is not just about the stories told from a different perspective in the same universe.

If it doesn't have good writing AND good acting, it'll have a harder time being considered a good show, regardless of setting. And if it's a good show, you'll watch it because it's a good show, not because it has ST as a title prefix.
47. CreeF.
I think an idea for a Trek reboot would be to set it on a time ship like the "USS Relativity" which made an appearance on Voyager. That ship was 500 years in the future from Voyager's time. It would allow the series to incorporate new species (Photonic lifeforms, anyone?) and new technology. And much like the revamped Dr. Who, a time ship would let the series earlier times and series of the Trek universe without being limited by them.
48. Wybaar
Gerry beat me to the punch. Who said that Star Trek is just about the Federation? There's plenty of opportunity for adventure in a story set in the Klingon or Romulan empires, or you can make up some race that's been mentioned-but-never-seen from the fringes of explored space.

That way you have some familiar elements (the crew could get into conflict with a Federation scout ship's crew while both are on shore leave at a distant neutral station, for example) while still exploring new ground.

Another possibility would be to play down the political aspect. I think a series following one of the Starfleet Engineering Corps ships could be interesting.
C.D. Thomas
49. cdthomas
I'd reboot using the detritus of the Federation -- the thieves, merchants, retired Section 31 ops who know the real stories behind the smooth veneer of the UFP. From the original series forward, from Harry Mudd on, they're the glue of the culture, even though the official story remains life within the Fed's so perfect that criminals are mental abberations.

I'd really like a series that uses that hint in early Trek that criminals got their minds wiped and retuned, as punishment, and look at who was left behind if the fashion changed toward pure incarceration. If you're richer than that prat who kidnapped Data, where would you go if you couldn't land on a Federation planet? If you're a disgraced Klingon or Romulan warrior, and you didn't want to suck up to a starship captain, how did you make your living?

The outskirts of civilization -- which FIREFLY, BSG, B7 and all the dystopian space operas feature -- is a compelling setting for drama. Why not take it for granted that the Federation still works *and* still has interesting corruptive elements in it? You know, just like living in a Great Recession where the richest class feels nothing, and the lower classes are told it isn't all that bad, comparatively?

Why not work *with* the cognitive dissonance, instead of hewing to the premise that if one group has it bad, everyone surely does? TNG established the blind spots Feds have for non-Fed hardships, and it would be interesting to see what the rest of the Quadrants' peoples think about the 800-ton gorillas they deal with.
50. SummerStorms
agrees with both RickG @ 3 and Iain_Coleman @ 4, as well as sps49 @ 10. And Torie @ 24 must have been reading my mind.

Me? I'm another one who tuned out on the BSG reboot, etc. because I got tired of all the dark and gritty stuff. Back when dark and gritty was the exception rather than the rule for SF series, I watched it as gladly as anyone. (Farscape, anyone? Bab5?) When it became the primary flavor, however, I quickly tired of it. I mean, making every SF show have the same feel is like eating the same thing for every meal. Who wants to do that? Besides, real life is grim, gritty and dark enough for anyone who watches the news. SF has always been my escape hatch, you know? Give me that old-time escapism, give me something to hang my hopes upon, and I'll watch it.

No way do I want more of what was served up in that 2009 movie. To me, that wasn't Star Trek, it was a perversion of it, and pretty pointless as well.

RickG @ 25: I like your idea, but I'd suggest not jumping too many years ahead. A century or so might well be enough to bring about the changes in thought that you describe, but would also be close enough to the timeframe in which the preceding series have been set to make it plausible that technology, etc. had not progressed so far as to necessitate a complete overhaul of the series from a technological standpoint. Go too far into the future, and you have to either have tech that's going to overshadow the rest of the setting, or some sort of explanation (likely to be either too facile or too grimdark) to explain why the tech hasn't progressed that far in, say, 500 years. Although one possible explanation for that could be, I suppose, some Bad Thing that happened involving both a possible misapplication of the Prime Directive and a resulting war between the Federation and some other political entity that stifled pretty much any tech development not directly related to winning said war. Grimdark, yes, but it would be tolerable as something that happened off-screen and in the past relative to the setting of the new series, something referenced in the show but not at the forefront of its overall execution. Perhaps we're 250 years into the future post-TNG, with a recent peace between the Federation and Other Political Entity, at a point of New Beginnings, with a mindset that is currently undergoing adjustment from a war footing to a peacetime setting, and an attempt to return to the past values and priorities as we last saw them during the TNG/DS9/Voyager era, but with that undercurrent of "well, here are the things that were wrong with that, the unswerving application of the Prime Directive topping the list, so how do we alter our approach without completely throwing away all the positive elements?".

Only problem I can see with that explanation is that historically in the real world, wartime tech development has generally leaked into other areas of life and resulted in there still being an overall technological advancement rather than stagnation. So I don't know...
52. Mike Pickard
All great empires/civilizations eventually fade/die/collapse. The Federation would, inevitably. Greed couldn't be all gone. The lure of power would not have vanished. Politics is still embedded in the Federation - watch the old stuff to witness same. But we all like the good guys doing the right stuff. So how about a single ship of good guys who travel the universe atempting to get the various "new life/new civilizations" they've already discovered from dragging down the whole shebang?
53. Erik Dercf
Forget about Trek shows. What happened to a good mini series. There are some great trek ideas out there. I would love to see mini series that can be an event. In fact do a few. Especially do one with J. Frankes while he is still willing to do it. Trek fans will love it none Trek fans will have something other than reality. Put it on a network willing to take it and take risk. Put it in a decent time slot. It will be time and money well spent. If people love what they see then think tv show maybe if the writers can manage it. Thinking tv show is too big a step. Mini series can be Treks way to explore the universe of ideas out there.

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