Next year marks a pretty historic occasion in pop culture – the 50th anniversary of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek. Since 1966, the story of exploring the stars and tackling social issues in a futuristic setting has been captivating the attention of billions. 1987 saw the release of Star Trek: The Next Generation and it was subsequently joined by Deep Space Nine and Voyager.
The final series – a prequel to the original Star Trek titled Enterprise – went off the air in 2005 and brought an end to an 18 year reign of voyages in the final frontier on television. In that time we were also given ten feature films that coincided with the television adventures, which concluded in 2002 with the release of Star Trek: Nemesis (also depicting the final adventure of the crew from The Next Generation).
Other pitches were made as to where to take the franchise following the cancellation of Enterprise. Jonathan Frakes (who played Commander William Riker on The Next Generation) had pitched a series presumably following the adventures of his character as captain of the USS Titan but it was ultimately passed on. With Enterprise having received not so stellar ratings it was a concern that TV audiences were experiencing franchise fatigue and it was decided that Star Trek needed to take a little bit of a break.
Personally, I think the most promising of the proposed Star Trek TV shows to follow Enterprise is the one that was never actually pitched to the studio because J.J. Abrams' 2009 film reboot had been announced first.
While wrapping up post-production on Superman Returns and moving into pre-production on Valkyrie, director Bryan Singer had met with some of his writing and producing partners about developing a new series titled Star Trek: Federation. It would have taken place in the year 3000 and found the Federation in a weakened state with most of the planets having left due to complacent humans putting too much attention on themselves. When a new threat called The Scourge invades Federation space a new Enterprise is commissioned to combat them and return the Federation to its former glory. A full story on the proposed series can be found here at Memory Alpha – the Star Trek Wiki.
However, the Abrams film was announced by Paramount, the pitch was shelved and Singer moved on to other projects.
Since then, we've been given two new films from J.J. Abrams (2009's Star Trek and 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness) with a third one (Star Trek Beyond) on the way from director Justin Lin. If you don't know, the new films have used a rather convoluted story revolving around the destruction of Romulus and a time traveling black hole to restart the continuity and send the original Enterprise crew off in a new direction...even though they've ultimately just been facing the same familiar conflicts with minor differences...
The new films have been popular and their tendency to lean more towards fast paced action and visual spectacle over story and character development have certainly opened up Star Trek to a much broader new fan base. However, there are many (myself included) that will tell you that Star Trek belongs on television. Gene Roddenberry developed a concept that used science fiction to bring attention to social issues of the time. Following that notion, a television series is its best platform.
Despite the popularity of the Abrams films, many fans want to see a return to the original canon. Michael Dorn (known to fans of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine) has been actively trying to get a new series in development revolving around his popular Klingon character, Worf, commanding his own vessel. If that series were to hit television I would, of course, watch it because it would mean that Star Trek had returned to its rightful place.
However, I'm not sure a Captain Worf series is the best option (sorry Mr. Dorn). It's nothing against the character. I would love to see him on television again. But audiences haven't seen him outside of syndication since 2002. I do believe that a new series should be set around the same time period as The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine so as to allow for familiar characters to appear. But to attract an audience that didn't necessarily follow those shows we would need a core cast of new characters.
So with that said,I hereby (unofficially) propose the following new series:
STAR TREK: ALPHA PRIME
The Prime Directive has always been the guiding star of the Federation: Observe and study the universe but never interfere with pre-warp civilizations. Following the destruction of Romulus by a supernova and the disappearance (and supposed death) of Ambassador Spock, the remnants of the Romulan Empire unites for an all out war against the Federation - whom they blame for the failure to save their homeworld.
Romulan war parties begin attacking defenseless Federation outposts as well as pre-warp civilized worlds to draw the Federation into battle. As a result of the Federation's inability to maintain control over the Romulan threat, the alliance with the Klingon Empire becomes unstable. To preserve the Federation and protect the innocent worlds at stake, Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (special guest star Patrick Stewart) institutes the new Alpha Prime Directive: the protection of ALL known life in the universe. To carry out this new directive, Admiral Picard commissions a new USS Enterprise to lead the way.
On its maiden voyage, the new Enterprise encounters and takes on a former Maquis renegade named Deacon Vox - a Vulcan who has embraced emotion. However, it soon becomes a concern as to whether or not he's actually a transmodified Romulan spy. With a possible threat growing from within, the new Enterprise sets out to boldly go once more.
I would still love to see Bryan Singer still tackle a series like this. I think he has a strong grasp on film making and character development (as noted in a previous article I wrote on Superman Returns) and there's still some loose similarities to his undeveloped pitch.
I also think that placing it in the original continuity but centering it around a vital story element from the 2009 Abrams reboot (the destruction of Romulus if you didn't catch that) is the best way to not alienate either fan base.
So what do you think? Is this a show that you would watch? If you need some more enticing, then below is a mock poster that I designed for the series (with a fan cast included). NOTE: This is NOT a show in development. NONE of the actors listed on the poster have been contacted for involvement. The network and premier date are also not true. Please simply enjoy the artwork and day dream with me.
Well, that's my presentation for a possible new Star Trek television series. Regardless of how it turns out (by which I mean absolutely nothing is likely to happen) next year is going to be a big year. Star Trek turns 50 and this writer has huge plans for it.
Starting in January (and running through September) I'm launching a series of articles, essays and discussions about the fifty year history of this popular franchise. So keep your eyes on MoviePilot.com for Star Trek: Fifty Years in the Final Frontier. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter (@ThisIsJamesT) for all things rant and ravey.
And Mr. Singer? Rick Berman? Brannon Braga? Hell...Mr. Laurie and Mr. Witwer...want to make a new show?