"The Trek ramblings of a geeky Drag Queen"


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Unwanted Prequel or a fresh start for Trek?

The Star Trek world is all a-buzz with rumours and speculation over the upcoming TV series 'Star Trek Discovery'. Being in my mid 30s, the 90s Berman Star Trek is my era, as is the case with the largest TV Sci Fi-watching demographic. Of course, The Original Series is where it all began, but after three struggling years, cancellation and nearly two decades off the air, Trek returned in the modern form that remains the most popular of all. There are many surveys and polls run on a weekly basis, the most notable being by StarTrek.com, and the results are always the same. You can bet that Picard or Janeway will come out on top as the most popular captain, The Enterprise D as the favourite ship, Data as your favourite character, The Borg as the favourite species and the list goes on. All of which are elements not shared with ST:TOS.

Ever since it was released that Star Trek Discovery was going back in time, many people have voiced their opinions via social media and I am yet to see one who was hoping for a prequel. In fact, until I do find one of those people, I'd go as far as to say that as good as 100% of Star Trek fans wanted a post-Voyager show set in the 24th century or beyond. It's very easy to understand why. Many of us have spent a large portion of our lives (20 years in my case) following this show in a forward-moving continuing story line. The thirst for seeing what comes next is strong and seeing how the prequel show Enterprise marked the end of an 18 year run for the show, it seemed unlikely that the owners of Star Trek would risk going down that avenue again. Wrong, CBS is indeed taking Star Trek 'back to its roots' as they put it. Personally I felt that Deep Space Nine took Trek back to its roots with the themes that it tackled whilst still being set in the 24th century, so why go back in time, why bookend you show before it has started and why restrict your storytelling by having the endgame already written and produced?

Undoubtedly, showrunner Bryan Fuller did his research before coming up with the concept for Discovery, so why has he chosen to ignore all the surveys, polls and fan demands of a futuristic Star Trek show that continues the investment we have all made in the show over the years? That for me is difficult to understand and has confused me no end. I have settled on licencing issues. Setting it in a time period that no one has ever really thought about, mentioned or cared about sounds insane, but for CBS, it could be a safe place. Are they aiming around Gene-produced Star Trek because there are certain licencing restriction on Berman's Star Trek? It would certainly explain them serving something up that no one has asked for.

The trio that took us back to the past.

Here is the biggest issue. Due to the lack of interest with Enterprise, ratings were low which ultimately led to cancellation and a Star Trek TV drought for over 10 years. If Discovery is not well received, we could see history to repeat itself and any hope of seeing a continuation of the show we all want could be lost forever. For this reason, I can tell you that I will be backing Discovery and tuning in, if for no other reason than to help make it successful. I made a mistake by turning my back on Enterprise because I was frustrated about resetting a show I had followed for so long. Enterprise put so much thought and effort into writing stories that incorporated the future themes and species we had in TNG, DS9 and VOY and even shoehorned in guest stars from those 24th century shows. That added insult to injury because if you're going to do that, why not just set it alongside those shows and you can have all the guest stars you want!?

A familiar forced entry.
The final episode of Enterprise with Riker and Troi, too little too late.

I of course went back and watched Enterprise during the great Trek drought and, as you might expect, I thought the final two years of the show were epic, well written and nicely characterised. It goes without saying that Discovery is going to be a good TV show, I make that determination just going off Fuller's track record. If Discovery can hit the ground running, in two or three years, could we see it spawn the next spin-off just as TNG did? Pay for that CBS All Access, Tweet about, hashtag it, get behind it. This show NEEDS to work for the future of the Prime Universe!

Coming in May 2017

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