And this time, hopefully here for a while. After five shows spanning from 1966 to 2005 and 12 movies, we’re seeing a newly-envisioned, newly-imagined Star Trek coming to CBS in 2017. It’s a pretty long wait, but to any Trekkie, the news was like heaven. With new technology and new writers we should get to see a modern take on the classic universe, filled with new characters and, let’s hope, some original fan favorites.
This is a chance for Star Trek to revitalize its 21st century image and appeal to a younger generation of Trekkies. Hopefully it will also appeal to the older ones, as well. Star Trek has always been a universe that paralleled its moral compass on the human experience. Throughout its running and subsequent sequels we saw commentaries on race, religion, 23rd century politics, and basic human nature through the eyes of multiple beings.
New ideas that could be used include cyber warfare, terrorism, government corruption, and ethnic conflicts. It could be, much like the Star Trek of its time, a show that examines our issues in society through the lens of a group of space explorers, constantly searching, constantly questioning. At its best, this is what Star Trek was (as I mentioned in another post) and what it should continue to be.
The fact of seeing the bridge again, or “a” bridge I should say, complete with computers, stations, a large screen, and a captain’s chair makes me incredibly excited. As a younger Trekkie, I was exposed to “space and the final frontier” through my parents, who had watched the show while it was on TV. I remember my mom renting the movies and episodes on vhs at Hollywood Video (back when both of those used to exist), and then buying each season for me on DVD. It makes me feel like a kid again, earnestly waiting for the next weekend when I could pick out two new episodes to buy from the store and then watch them on Friday.
On factor we have to give credit for: the prequels. Simply saying, the prequels are what brought Star Trek back and kicking. It was the idea of exploring a young Kirk, Spock, and McCoy that reinvigorated our taste in the original. It was new, it was fresh, and it offered us much-needed hope for the future of the franchise. The pulse had basically gone dead with Nemesis. It was the last attempt to put the TNG crew back into action. But having lingered beyond their capacity, they were merely leftovers from a generation passed. The prequels, in contrast, put a new face on Star Trek entirely and remodeled it for another cycle. And it was the idea of revisiting something old and precious that made it such a draw for people: Do you remember Captain Kirk? Or Spock? Well, guess what they were like when they were cadets. We laugh at young McCoy’s running temper and references to his older self. We laugh at young Kirk’s pre-Shatner-esque charm. What gives it its appeal is that it appeals to the past: we’re seeing something we’ve already seen before, but under a new light.