In 1966, Gene Roddenberry's long-gestating science fiction series Star Trek premiered on NBC. While it didn't shake the foundations of television initially, the series earned a small but dedicated fanbase throughout the first season. When NBC threatened cancellation, that fanbase united under fan Bjo Trimble to conduct a massive letter-writing campaign that ultimately saved the fledgling series.
Though the show only lasted two more seasons, subsequent reruns helped earn it a cult following. The franchise continued to grow after an award-winning (though short-lived) animated series and a number of films. To date, there have been six Star Trek television series and twelve feature films, with the thirteenth film, Star Trek Beyond, set to release next year.
Since that first letter-writing campaign, Star Trek fans have proven their loyalty to the series. There hasn't been a new television series since Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled in 2005, and while there has been the occasional talk of "Star Trek fatigue" over the years, the fact remains that hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide are hungry for more. One such fan is Michael Gummelt, and he's about to go where no fan has gone before.
TrekMovie.com reports that Paramount Pictures has invited Gummelt to pitch a new Star Trek TV series. However, the most interesting part is that Gummelt isn't a professional in the entertainment industry - just an avid Star Trek fan. Over the last twenty years, Gummelt has worked on creating the series known as Star Trek Uncharted and building support for the concept online. This marks the first time that an enthusiast rather than a professional has been given the opportunity to pitch their show at Paramount.
Gummelt describes his series as an attempt to bring the concepts that everyone loved about Star Trek into the 21st century. The series would be an optimistic look at the future while introducing new technology and a diverse crew. Gummelt recently announced the pitch meeting that's set to happen this summer.
"I can now officially announce that I do, indeed, have an invitation to come pitch Star Trek Uncharted at Paramount this summer! As far as I know, this is the first time a fan (not an established industry insider) has been invited to pitch a Star Trek TV series. This is obviously extremely exciting and I'm doing my best to get support for it from industry professionals."
The series picks up 200 years after the adventures of Captain Kirk and the original crew of the Enterprise. A signal is received from the Andromeda Galaxy, from a species claiming to be the creators of all life in the Milky Way. With the invention of new interstellar travel technology, probes have successfully returned with data from the Andromeda Galaxy. A new USS Enterprise is constructed to explore this new galaxy and establish first contact with the messengers.
Further information about the series can be found at Gummelt's official website.
It's a solid concept that could pave the way for a successful reinvention of the series, allowing for an anthology series with an overarching, season-long plot. Gummelt has already written scripts for a two-hour pilot and four additional episodes. The scripts appeal to the hardcore fans while offering something new for general audiences, but it's unlikely that Paramount would stick closely to the original script if they decide to shoot a pilot.
This is an exciting opportunity for Gummelt, but regardless of his success or failure in the pitch meeting, it's likely this is a one-off event. Fans of any property have dozens of ideas for how they would change their favorite series or reinvigorate the franchise, but more often than not these are improbable or impossible to make happen. Unfortunately, it takes more than a great idea to make a project happen in film or television.
Still, it's nice to see one fan's passion finally pay off.
Star Trek Beyond, the latest entry in the film reboot series, will be released in U.S. theaters on July 8, 2016.