Star Trek is finally returning to its first and best home — television — with beloved producer and Trek veteran Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me) at the helm. You know what that means: it’s time to wildly speculate about what what we would love to see in the next (next) generation of Star Trek!
There have been a lot of changes to the Star Trek universe with the rebooted movie series, and not all of them are beloved by fans, so it’s time to round up What We Want To See In The New Star Trek TV Series.
The Prime Timeline
For this list, we’re going to infer that the show will be set after the most recent point of reference in the Prime Timeline, after the destruction of Romulus in Star Trek 2009. This way, the show can return to the 40 years of lore which had been established in five television series and ten movies while allowing the reboot series room to breathe and do its own thing.
We all know how combative the fandom can be, so keeping the movies and the TV universes separate (not unlike what DC is doing with their superhero adaptations) might be the best way to keep tempers in check. That being said, a series set after Spock travels back in time and making the destruction of Romulus something of a current event will make things relevant for fans who only know the recent movies. Everybody wins!
A Cool New Ship
A new Star Trek will only be as cool as its captain and its Starship. When it comes to casting the leader of the crew, we can only hope they get someone as cool and clever as Captain Kirk and as wise as Captain Picard.
But for the ship, we hope they go nuts! We expect the dual nacelles, but beyond that, we hope that whatever they come up with can capture the imagination of viewers like the original 1966 Enterprise, or move them to an emotional catharsis like the reveal of the refitted ship in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Just as long as it doesn’t look like Deep Space 9‘s Defiant. As much as we love that show, there’s no denying it; that thing was ugly with an F.
While every Star Trek show except for the original series has had a grand finale, that doesn’t mean the characters’ stories have all concluded. Worf and O’Brien appeared in Deep Space 9 after being featured players on The Next Generation, to say nothing of the numerous guest appearances from prior cast members, like James Doohan in Relics. And we would very much like to see the further adventures of such characters as Quark, Janeway, and Seven of Nine.
Plus, even if we might never get the long-rumored “Captain Worf” show, we would love to see Michael Dorn back in Klingon makeup for an arc of episodes about his post-DS9 adventures. That being said, we want the new cast to carve out their own niche and not be constantly undermined by a myriad of guest stars. We all remember the final episode of Star Trek Enterprise and what a disaster that turned out to be.
Temporal Cold War
Speaking of Star Trek Enterprise, remember the Temporal Cold War? It was a myth arc which started out fairly exciting, especially considering Enterprise was a prequel to the original show. But then it went nowhere and pretty much single-handedly derailed the series — and by extension, the franchise.
There was this guy who was only ever seen in silhouette like a James Bond villain. The fans called him “Future Guy,” and the name stuck, though his true identity was never revealed. It would be risky due to the previous failure of the plot arc, but it would be bold of this new Trek series to pick up this plotline and fix it, making right what had gone terribly wrong. Plus, reigniting the Temporal Cold War could be a great way to do stories which Enterprise bizarrely avoided…
Time Traveling to Previous Stories
As much as we want Star Trek to forge its own path and avoid living in the past, the temptation to time travel to the bridge of the original Enterprise is simply too grand to resist! We want our new crew to time-travel to previous iterations of Star Trek and interact with original cast members.
The legendary Deep Space 9 episode, “Trials and Tribble-ations” — in which Sisko and company travel to the events of “The Trouble With Tribbles” to thwart an assassination attempt on James T. Kirk — should serve as the model for this. How cool would it be to see a motion-captured performance of Patrick Stewart as his 1989 counterpart, aiding the new crew on a critical mission to aid Jonathan Archer on the very first Enterprise? The answer: very cool.
Strange New Worlds
There are veritable heaps of nostalgia associated with Star Trek, from people who grew up in Kirk’s era to folks who watched Patrick Stewart in the 80s, to your aunt who has an unhealthy obsession with Scott Bakula. Regardless, the new show must not lose sight of the core of Star Trek, “The Wagon Train to the Stars.” Trek was envisioned as a space western, in which the crew would discover strange planets and creatures with problems and attempt to fix them.
Often, these problems would mirror real-world issues of the times, like racism, sexism, AIDS, religious persecution, and xenophobia. Like The Twilight Zone before it, Star Trek is at its best when it’s using its wild science-fiction setting to tell true-to-life stories. We want Star Trek 2017 to embrace the heavy storytelling of the best of Trek, and to explore new planets with issues allegorical to Earth in the early 21st century.
Fun Fact: Star Trek invented the term “bottle episode.” A bottle episode is when, to preserve the budget, guest stars are kept to a minimum and the script is set in as few locations as possible, usually ones which are commonly used on the show. In Trek, that usually means keeping the action nearly entirely on familiar locations aboard the ship. Some classic Star Trek bottle episodes include “The Naked Time” from The Original Series, “The Wire” from DS9, and the “Die Hard in Space” episode of The Next Generation, “Starship Mine,” which featured an uncharacteristically badass performance from Patrick Stewart.
CBS is planning to air the new series exclusively on their streaming app, CBS All Access, so perhaps these theoretically low-budget episodes will be more commonplace. If they can match the quality of the episodes listed above, that will be perfectly fine with us.
We don’t necessarily want Star Trek to go all Eli Roth and get R-rated and graphic, but…remember that episode of The Next Generation where parasites are infecting Starfleet Admirals, and Picard and Riker shoot one of them, and his head explodes and then a parasite bursts from his chest and they blow it up? That was simply crazy, and it wouldn’t have been possible if that series hadn’t been produced for syndication.
Fast-forward to today, and made-for-streaming is the new syndication, where the ever-oppressive folks over at Standards and Practices don’t have nearly as much power as they do on broadcast networks. Hopefully, Star Trek will be able to deliver the kind of stories it wants to tell without having to run them by a legion of FCC suits, leaving those executive-level decisions in the hands of its capable showrunner, Bryan Fuller.
The last appearance of the Holodeck was in the previously-mentioned series finale of Enterprise, the dreadful “…These Are the Voyages.” The Holodeck is a beloved staple of TNG-era Trek, and we’d frankly be shocked if it didn’t make a triumphant return in the new series. Although we favor time travel as the preferred method of visiting unique fantasy lands and various historical eras, the Holodeck definitely still has its place.
It was the most plausible way for Picard to venture into stories like Sherlock Holmes or the (doubly) fictional “The Big Goodbye” from Star Trek: First Contact. In the new series, as in the past, it could be used as a great tool to showcase the natures of the various characters, by showing us how they all like to relax and entertain themselves. Hopefully, they’ve fixed the safety features by now.
Star Trek Online
Die hard Trekkies who also happen to be into the Massively Multiplayer Online scene are surely aware of Star Trek Online, which followed the events of the destruction of Romulus in the prime timeline, set in the same era the new show will (hopefully) inhabit. It’s very unlikely the game will be made canon, as CBS and Paramount have been adamant that only television and film are considered canon, with everything else being purely for kicks.
It’s a much stricter policy than Star Wars had towards its pre-Disney Expanded Universe (rest in peace). Still, it would be nice to see nods to Online, which had effectively replaced weekly episodes with its iterative content, cast of voice actors straight from the series (plus Zachary Quinto!), and a sprawling story which definitely comforted many a fan who needed to get their Trek fix any way they could.
Star Trek is so many things to so many people, and every new entry in the canon has a responsibility to both create its own following while honoring the journeys which came before. It’s a balancing act, one that Trek has occasionally struggled with. Star Trek 2009 leaned hard on nostalgia to get viewers to overlook the gaping holes in its script. Star Trek Into Darkness, while tighter all around, was heavily criticized by some fans for leaning too heavily on established continuity, though early looks at Star Trek Beyond suggest the films are finally willing to move in their own direction.
Meanwhile, on the television front, we’re confident that Star Trek veteran Bryan Fuller — who served as a writer on both Voyager and Deep Space 9 — knows how to tackle the massive challenge of making a new Star Trek TV series both a fresh, new experience as well as a reverential treat for long-time fans. That being said, we do have one particular wish for the new series which we literally pray for every night…
William Shatner hasn’t appeared in Star Trek since he was unceremoniously and idiotically killed off by Malcolm McDowell (of all people) in the lackluster Star Trek Generations. He was at one point set to appear in an awesome-sounding episode of Enterprise as his Mirror Universe counterpart (sent through time and space by his own secret weapon from “Mirror, Mirror”) and Shatner himself was said to be excited at the prospect.
But when Rick Berman suggested changing the story to a comedic romp in which Shatner would play the ship’s chef who just happened to look like Captain Kirk, Shatner lost interest, and Berman continued to earn the ire of Trekkies everywhere. There was talk of Shatner appearing in the reboot movies, but with that development seemingly on the back-burner for now, it’s up to Star Trek 2017 to pick up the slack. We’re holding out hope for a time travel story in which the new crew travels to the events of Star Trek Generations to save Kirk from his untimely death so that he can survive to negotiate peace in the present.
Make it happen, Fuller.
Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but the fact that we have a new Star Trek series upon us is proof that anything can, and will, happen. What do you want to see in the new version of Star Trek? Let us know in the comments below!The new Star Trek TV series is set to debut on CBS in January 2017.