Anticipation is high for Star Trek Into Darkness, JJ Abrams' sequel to his popular 2009 reboot of the original Star Trek, with newer and much younger actors. This, of course, is made possible by time travel within the first movie's story, altering “past” events, but I realized yesterday that with the exception of Voyager's tongue-in-cheek two-part show “Future's End”, the last time I recall Trek travelling to the present is in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home... more than 25 years ago!
By the mid-to-late 1990s, time travel was used by Star Trek writers creatively yet sparingly, for fear of being too much of a narrative crutch. I suspect it would at least be very difficult for any Star Trek show or movie to travel back to the present as in The Voyage Home and still depict it authentically because it would have to avoid anything in our society that was inspired by or resembles the original Star Trek series. Even our president has been euphemistically compared to Spock! It's a paradox of sorts because you can't have Star Trek or any characters traveling backwards to a time in which it is so obvious that the show they're in has already existed and influenced society. That was still easy enough to do in 1986 or '87, but now...? Since at least the late 1980's, Star Trek's influence has been felt just about everywhere, the most obvious example being the flip-top cell phone resembling Kirk and Spock's original communicators. Though most cell phones are now integrated into what are basically hand-held computers, flip-tops are still widely used and you simply cannot depict the present accurately and avoid showing cell phones - certainly not in big cities like San Francisco, the alleged future home of the Federation. How, though, would the design of that technology have evolved had Star Trek not directly influenced the flip-top? Even JJ Abrams and his team had to realize that the original communicators they were redesigning and using were not as sophisticated as the average cell phone used today.
It's just as well, since many fans groan at the thought of more time travel in Star Trek, but I've yet to see or hear anyone discuss the difficulty of putting Star Trek characters into a truly authentic and Trek-less representation of modern society - of Western society, anyway. I am just curious to see how many of you agree, disagree or have even considered this already.