To many people those words evoke a level of excitement and adventure unmatched by any other medium. On the other hand, Star Trek is also a weird show with strange hand signals and people dressed up in odd makeup. While Star Trek is a cultural icon, the producers of the movies and television shows seem to have missed the reasons for the success of the series.
This essay is an attempt at figuring out what a new Star Trek show should do to bring back not only the core audience, but the general audience out there in TV land. It is an approach that should effectively snag the proverbial lightning in a bottle again.
1. The new Star Trek should take place in the future onboard a starship named Enterprise.
Ask anybody on the street when and where does Star Trek take place and the above is the answer. It’s not on a space station. It’s not on a ship named Voyager. The new show has to be on a ship named Enterprise and should probably be set 30 or more years in the future than Star Trek: TNG, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. In addition the ship should be familiar to the general populace. It has to have a distinct saucer section and warp nacelles. It has to have a circular bridge, the captain’s chair in the middle and two stations in front.
2. The new Star Trek probably needs to go back to basics and have a maverick, white, Americanized, male captain
Infinite diversity in infinite combinations works on Star Trek, not with Nielsens. We’ve had a bald (but hides it) Canadian who said he was from Iowa, a bald Englishman who said he was from France, a black guy who after shaving his beard and growing a head of hair for the role ultimately shaves his head and grows a goatee, and the most schizophrenic woman captain in Starfleet. What do the viewers want?
Someone to identify with.
We’ve had two white guys, one black guy and one white woman. I think we need an alien as captain, but one who looks just like a good looking American with say purple eyes. No change in skin color or wrinkle in the nose or points on the ears, thank you very much. I like the blue eye effect of Dune as an example, but I’m sure we are really talking contact lenses here. Oh yes, I realize that it’s just like Peter David’s character Captain Callhoun from the New Frontier books. It’s a damn fine idea!
3. The new Star Trek can kill two birds with one stone with a black woman first officer.
A black woman first officer would be great. It sets up interesting angles with the captain and the crew and should also provide a sexual component that is always needed in science fiction. It also balances out the white captain nicely. Don’t give me that crap about black roles in the realm of science fiction and fantasy. White Hating Coon, this ain’t. (obscure Chasing Amy reference)
4. The doctor/counselor should be a race we have seen before, but not on a Federation ship.
I was thinking that a Romulan would be cool. Romulans have not been explored like the Vulcans, and Klingons. An opportunity to explore the race means tons of story potential. Think what happened with Worf and Seven of Nine.
5. The engineer should have an ability unheard of before
My favorite idea is one in which the engineer has the capacity to create “duplicates” of himself. It doesn’t matter how; just that he/she/it can…
6. The head of security should be what Tasha Yar aspired to be.
A gruff, no-nonsense, yet pretty woman in this role would make the Xena: Warrior Princess fans’ hearts melt. She has to be kick butt tough and attractive as well. She can’t be butch. Just think of the crew reaction when she has to get dressed up!
7. The young fresh-faced ensign is an integral part of the cast.
Harry Kim is not exciting as a character or as a “fresh” face for the young teen market. Wesley was mostly annoying until he grew up a bit. Imagine what the Wesley character would have been if Ashley Judd were cast as “Leslie.” Let’s tap into the Dawson’s Creek/90210 stockpile for a real fresh face. One that can act, spout technobabble and get a cover on 16 magazine. This character isn’t super smart or super dumb, just inexperienced and damn sexy! The role I wish Katie Holmes, Jennifer Love Hewitt or Sarah Michelle Geller could fill.
8. The science officer – See Real Genius
The science officer role has to be shaken up. We have had cold emotionless Vulcans and androids, joined species and… well just who is the science officer on Voyager? I think we need an eccentric scientist type, but not one who just forgets to eat or wears the same socks everyday. Can you just see Val Kilmer’s character from Real Genius on the Enterprise? Thumbing authority, wearing out of regs clothes, has a strange fascination with the 20th century? Of course, he has to be utterly brilliant, just a little bit out there, but trustworthy, loyal and extremely quick witted.
9. Something that hasn’t been done before that can connect this series with the previous.
I see this character as a connection to the previous series with a twist. As long as they don’t kill off Data, I envision a sentient Enterprise sounding like Data. Brent Spiner could record his voice work each week or so and it would still free him up to do anything else he wanted. Guest starring would be a snap.
10. Stories, Stories, Stories.
Star Trek has a built in audience. This incredible army of loyal viewers will watch any and all incarnation of the basic premise. So, why not push the envelope? Talk about religion. Talk about sexuality. Talk about war. Talk about atrocities of all kinds. Talk about heroism of the basic kind. Talk about evil of the basest kind. Push the envelope as far as you can go. Get people talking about the show as more than just a kiddie space show. Make it mean something and years from now it just might.
My ideas here aren’t gospel, but I think they make a lot of sense. Looking over the science fiction landscape on television, I can see that the producers of Andromeda read this essay as well…