Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.
This week’s heresy:
“Every Trekie wants to see Star Trek return to its original and first home, on television, including me. But despite that constant desire, a new Star Trek series, now, born out of the J.J. Abrams films, would be neither the Star Trek we want, or the Star Trek we deserve.”
This is, I’ll admit, a hard one to write. As I’ve said before, I grew up on a cultural diet consisting largely of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I think I would tick most of the descriptive boxes to mark me out as a hardcore fan, save that I haven’t yet cosplayed or gone to a convention (Yet… -Ed). So it’s a big deal, for me, to say that I don’t actually want a new Star Trek series. Not yet at least.
The reason? You need only look as far as the recent J.J. Abrams Star Trek films.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Star Trek XI and Star Trek XII Into Darkness, Abrams first two outings in the
captain’s director’s chair. I know many did not, and have voiced a plethora of complaints about how it dealt with everything from the canon to its own internal story, to the racial politics of its casting. A lot of the criticisms I agree with, with varying degrees of passion, but I cannot nonetheless deny that I enjoyed both of the two offerings so far. As films, if not necessarily as Star Trek.
And that’s what it boils down to. These films were not the Star Trek that I, and countless others, grew up knowing and loving. The tone was all wrong. Where was the depth? Where was the philosphy? Where was the off switch for that damn lens flare? This was Star Trek lightened to be pitched to a new audience, one who apparently aren’t interested in the spiritual core of the original.
I have suggested before that Abrams will fit Star Wars like a glove, and it is precisely because of this lightness of tone. Abrams has, essentially, Star Wars-ified Star Trek.
So if we do get a new series, in time for the 50th anniversary of the original show, then it is clear to me what we will get: a shiny new reboot of The Next Generation. And here’s the thing: TNG does not need to be rebooted. No matter who they find, whose head they shave, nobody will ever be able to play Picard like Sir Patrick Stewart. And he’s still alive! All of the TNG cast are still alive. So we would have to enjoy torturous cameos by the original actors, only serving to remind us of the much better series that aired through the 90s.
There is, though, a glimmer of hope. J.J. Abrams is not directing the next Star Trek film, instead he is heading to a galaxy far, far away. The Star Trek torch is being passed to Roberto Orci. True, he did write the previous two films, but a change of director would make an awfully good excuse for ditching some of the baggage which the franchise has picked up over the last few years. Perhaps it will be third time lucky, and this next film will blaze a trail for a new series to boldly go.
I know, I know, I won’t hold my breath either. But the fact remains that I would rather have no Star Trek series than a bad one (Err, than another bad one, you mean -Ed). It may be a small hope, but it is a hope nonetheless that we may one day get the sparkling, original new Star Trek series that we want and deserve, rather than the Star Trek: The Next Generation reboot that nobody asked for.
But for now, no, I do not want a new Star Trek series.