Ahead Warp Factor Suck

They never learn…

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – More than three years after the last “Star Trek” movie crashed at the box office, the venerable sci-fi franchise is being revived by the director of the upcoming “Mission: Impossible” sequel, Daily Variety reported in its Friday edition.

The as-yet-untitled “Star Trek” feature, the 11th since 1979, is aiming for a fall 2008 release through Paramount Pictures, the Viacom Inc. unit looking to restore its box-office luster under new management, the trade paper said.

The project will be directed by J.J. Abrams, whose Tom Cruise vehicle “Mission: Impossible III” will be released by Paramount on May 5. Abrams, famed for producing the TV shows “Alias” and “Lost,” will also help write and produce.

Daily Variety said the action would center on the early days of “Star Trek” characters James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, including their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and first outer-space mission.

Sigh.

The only way a new Star Trek works is if you completely re-imagine the concept and essentially do Star Trek like Marvel comics have done with their Ultimate universe which is take an existing concept and keep what works, but make it more accessible for the new reader. Another way to look at it would be the new Battlestar Galactica on Sci Fi. I’ve seen a few episodes of the show and I think it’s a great idea. They took what worked, re-imagined the rest for a modern audience and went to town. They also had some damn fine writers which when it comes down to it, is the be-all/end-all for any show.

As I understand it, JMS basically pitched this Ultimate Star Trek concept to Paramount a few years ago. The only problem I see is that long time fans (of which there are LEGION in Star Trek fandom) will be waiting to see how each classic concept is re-imagined. What will the Klingons look like? Will Dr. McCoy be a woman this time? Are we going to see Tribbles? Edith Keeler? Orion Slave Women? Gorns? Salt Vampires? Gary Seven? On and on and on and on…. If they don’t like it… and my money is they will not in many instances… the show is screwed. Using Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura and Scotty as characters will immediately focus fans to do comparisons. I mean, it was pretty crazy with BG and that originally only lasted ONE TELEVISION SEASON with basically a very small fan base. Star Trek ain’t that kind of animal with four spinoffs and several movies.

I would probably re-imagine the Star Trek landscape and use totally new and different characters. I’d pretend that none of the previous incarnations ever existed and have totally new characters, names and adventures. The only things that would stay would be a five-year mission, UFP/Starfleet, USS Enterprise, Transporters/Phasers/Tricorders/Warp drive and probably a saucer section/nacelles look to the ship. Everything else would be rethought. I might not have a Vulcan onboard or Klingons or whatever. I’d also be sure to have truly alien characters and stay as far away from forehead of the week aliens as possible.

I, in the words of Roger Ebert, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate the idea of Star Trek the Academy Years. They always trot that dead horse out when talking about revitalizing the Star Trek concept. It was crap then and it’s crap now.

J.J., you had better do something better.