Star Trek is a global phenomenon, a franchise which stretches over 50 years, with a fanbase that is still thriving. The original Star Trek series captured our imaginations, and subsequent shows developed the mythology in new and interesting ways. There's really something for everyone with Trek, whether you like campy chase scenes, ponderous thought experiments, or biting social commentary.
The new Star Trek TV series has a lot to live up to. We still don't know much, aside from the fact that it is unconnected to the JJ Abrams films. And while we have a great idea for what the plot of the show could be, there's a lot of ways that the new show could draw from the golden era of Trek...
TOS: An Adventurous Spirit
There are many, many things to love about the first Trek show, and one of the things The Original Series is best known for is the spirit of adventure.
Kirk and the crew of the NCC-1701 were the first to boldly go, and that really sticks with you. Of course, there are strong philosophical themes in TOS, ones which continued into TNG and beyond. But there's a strong sense of humour in The Original Series which is hard to beat.
The spirit of adventure is something which is mandatory for any new Trek show, as well as the fact that ultimately, Star Trek is an optimistic view of our future.
"Star Trek was an attempt to say humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day it begins to not just tolerate but take special delight in differences of ideas and differences in lifeforms." - Gene Roddenberry
So many modern scifi stories focus on dystopias, but Trek has always sent the message that if we strive to be better, we can build a better future. Now more than ever we need a Star Trek show which embodies these ideals: take note, CBS!
TNG: A Thoughtful Trek
The Next Generation continued the thoughtfulness of TOS into a new era, going even further into thought experiment territory.
While it could also be silly and fun (I'm looking at you, holodeck episodes), TNG is remembered as one of the most intelligent Star Trek shows. Trek has always pushed the boundaries of what was accepted, challenging societal ideas.
Some of the best loved TNG episodes are the ones which force us to see humanity differently, and question what we think we know. There's Darmok which examines communication, The Inner Light which makes us question the show's narrative, and The Outcast which challenges sexuality and normative gender.
How to continue this into the new show? TNG episodes were often shaped around ideas and possibilities, and many of them are framed like philosophical thought experiments. Delving into what we know of space today, and the exciting yet terrifying possibilities of deep space travel, would definitely be interesting to see.
DS9: Social Commentary
Ah, Deep Space Nine. This is when Star Trek started to get a little niche: although DS9 has held up very well over time, it's not the best loved Trek show. It's my personal favourite though, and of all of the old shows there's a lot which the new series should take from it.
First and foremost has to be the diversity element. Deep Space Nine is the only show with a person of colour as the captain, and that should definitely change when the new show rolls around. But there's also the interplay of plotlines between Deep Space Nine and the other shows.
One of DS9's strengths was the way it developed the ideas from TNG and TOS. The Federation was shown to be a lot less ideal than we thought (In The Pale Moonlight is fantastic example of this), many alien cultures were developed, and ultimately there's a lot of back and forth between DS9 and the rest of Trek which really makes us feel immersed in the universe.
But here's the rub when it comes to the new show: aside from the Paramount new movies, there's been a huge gap of Trek storytelling recently, which means that the new show has to strike out on its own as well as develop ideas from the old shows.
VOY: Boldly Going
Voyager took Star Trek to a whole new Quadrant, which allowed the show to introduce new species while standing on its own. Voyager proved that exploring a new area of space is exciting. The new show could take this one step further by exploring outside the galaxy.
However, as we don't really know what happened in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants while Voyager was stuck in the Delta Quadrant, it might be nice for the new show to return to the species we know and love.
What happened with the Romulans? Did they eventually go to war with the Klingons? A lot of this has been explored by Star Trek Online, the popular computer game, and it will be interesting to see what parts of this story the new show incorporates into the canon.
ENT: A Different Perspective
Enterprise is the little Trek show which tried... and didn't always succeed. The first two seasons were shaky enough for many fans to abandon the show. It later picked up pace, introducing interesting plot lines like their examination of World War 3 and the Mirror Universe.
The retrospective setting of Enterprise offered a new view of the story as we knew it, allowing us to put a lot of The Original Series in a new perspective. Discovering the origins of the Federation was one of Enterprise's most intriguing features, and although this setting wouldn't work for the new show, the inverse may be just what we need.
The new Star Trek show might benefit from reversing Enterprise's setting, by placing the story into the future rather than the past. As io9 notes, this setting is probably the best bet for the new TV show, as it would serve the purpose of developing the galactic situation for old fans, while providing a fresh setting for new viewers.
All in all, there are a lot of challenges ahead of the new Star Trek series, but by leading on from the classic shows, this could be one of the best additions to the franchise yet!