ByWill Reitz, writer at
Will Reitz

There is a throwaway reference in Star Trek Into Darkness that I just caught today. When Kirk temporarily promotes Sulu to the captain's chair, Sulu orders that the K'normian ship that they confiscated in "the Mudd incident" last month be made ready for Capt. Kirk to pilot into Qo'nos (Kronos), the Klingon homeworld, to capture Khan.

From the writers' perspective, they merely needed an excuse to have a non-Starfleet ship on board the Enterprise. They referenced the Mudd Incident as a wink 'n' a nod to Trekkers who are familiar with Harcourt Fenton Mudd. He is a shyster & a fraud who engages in a variety of scams, and on three occasions in Star Trek (the original series & the animated series) crossed James T. Kirk.

This is one of the many stories that a Netflix series could elaborate upon. (I would cast Jack Black.) The announcement that Netflix will be the content provider for four new Marvel Cinematic Universe shows (including Daredevil & Luke Cage) creates a lot of interesting possibilities. Filmmakers who want to create an 8 to 16 hour story once had to rely on the network television minis-series, and I don't recall very many of them happening lately. Gone are the days when CBS will invest in an 8 hour miniseries like Lonesome Dove. However, in the days of internet binge watching, entire television series that are around 12 episodes are perfect. Netflix has already provided some of its own content, like House of Cards, as well as continuations of others' content, like Arrested Development & the aforementioned Marvel Cinematic Universe projects.

I believe that Star Trek's future may not lie in broadcast television. Enterprise was pretty good. (It wasn't wonderful, but it was better than, for instance, the early seasons of Deep Space Nine.) The reason Enterprise failed is because it was broadcast on the inept UPN, and because broadcast television has very little tolerance for viewer fluctuation. And so, Enterprise is considered a failure. However, it is about the perfect size for a Netflix series. Actually, it might even be a bit big!

In trying to develop new Star Trek, there arises the very significant issue regarding whether to set it in the new, JJ Abrams' timeline, or the original timeline. Optimally, they should keep investing in their new timeline. However, the actors are unlikely to sign on to 24-episode-a-year seasons, complete with television filming schedules. Netflix offers an option for Star Trek to produce short, 12-episode-or-so seasons. The actors in the movies are more likely to sign on to these short series that do not have broadcast deadlines.

What are your thoughts?


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