So after a decade long wait since the last episode of Star Trek: Enterprise a brand new Star Trek series has finally been announced for a January 2017 premiere. It’s a shame that it couldn’t premiere next year considering it’s the 50th anniversary of the entertainment property but at least we’ll have a film released that summer. But it’s that film, the third in the rebooted timeline, and it’s two predecessors that are currently the core of Trek. They are aimed at the mass market and play like sci-fi action films and so do we presume the new show will follow in the same way. Or will the show be the antidote to the films and feature exploration and science fiction ideas over fist fights and explosions?
The press release for the new series is remarkably shallow. We have no solid details on time period for instance. But before we even try to figure out at what point in the future the show will occur in we have to figure out which timeline/canon it will take place in. I’d love for it to be an expansion of prime Star Trek canon, more on that later, but with the popularity of the reboot it will probably take place in the new timeline. The current films are popular and it makes perfect business sense to keep the show in the same timeline as the films as not to confuse the more casual viewer. Depending on time period the show could crossover with the new films to easily introduce fans of the films to the new show. This is nothing new to Star Trek. Bones turned up in the first episode of Next Gen and Picard made an appearance in episode 1 of Deep Space Nine. This interconnectivity between film and television is just like what Marvel are currently doing with Agents of Shield, Agent Carter and the Netflix shows and other studios are taking notice. I don’t see why one of the film cast wouldn’t turn up in the show every now and again. Hell, Zachary Quinto even turned up to just do one small scene in the last season of Hannibal.
Some people have been suggesting that the show may even follow the film cast but this 100% will not be the case. Star Trek 4 (or 14) has a release date set for 2019 and the press release is covered with one small word: new. The word new is used to describe absolutely everything in the announcement article. New characters. New worlds. New dramatic exploration of contemporary themes. It’s used three times in one short sentence. Thankfully that means there won’t be any remaking/re-imagining of old storylines like Khan in Into Darkness.
One possible backdrop for the series that I could see would be a war with the Klingons. Into Darkness seemed to be setting this plot line up and if Star Trek Beyond continues it I could see it playing a part in the series. Not for every episode but as a series long plot line seen every few episodes while the majority of the episodes are classic mission-of-the-week stories giving a nice balance between serial and anthology story telling. Kinda like a mixture of Next Gen and DS9.
As I briefly mentioned earlier the dream would be to have the show take place in prime canon. It may initially confuse people to have the show in a different continuity but even the casual viewers aren’t morons; they can work it out and enjoy the show and us big trekkies/trekkers can love having Star Trek back where it belongs. And that’s still presuming most people only know Trek from the latest films which is complete rubbish. The previous shows had huge followings and repeats still attract viewers today. I would say more people know about prime Star Trek than the reboots; to say otherwise would be like saying more people know about the Star Wars prequels than the original trilogy. And for those few people who can’t figure out it’s in a separate continuity it really doesn’t matter because it should be set after all the other Trek properties and prior knowledge of the universe is essentially irrelevant.
Star Trek: Enterprise showed everyone that we shouldn’t do a Star Trek prequel. The continuity starts getting messed up and some time travel/displacement things have to happen to set it right again in the most convoluted way possible. If the new Star Trek show were to be set in the prime canon then it should be set after The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. If it’s set in the new canon/timeline, which it most probably will, it should be set at the same time or slightly after the current films.
What has yet to be revealed about the show is why. Why make a new series now? Is it really because of the 50th anniversary or may it be because Paramount is getting worried that Star Trek films may be redundant in a world where we get a new Star Wars film every year and the show is a way to secure the brand in a stable environment. The one detail we did get was that it will be released on the subscription service CBS All Access instead of on television. This is an irritating but bold move and let’s not forget that Star Trek has been a pioneer for new ways to watch TV before. The Next Generation was a pioneer for syndication and Voyager was the first program to air on UPN.
Before I finish writing there are two more things. Imagine if the new series didn’t follow anyone from Starfleet. And Q. Nuff said.
What do you want to see from the new Star Trek series? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter @kylebrrtt. Like, Subscribe and why not have a look at all the awesome stuff on the site. Come back next week for more First Time writing.