Friday, February 11, 2005

Boldly Staying Where We've All Been Before

Ron Moore, the creative mind behind the new Battlestar Galactica series on the Sci-Fi channel, talks about the cancellation of Enterprise over at the BG blog. He makes an interesting point, that for the first time in about 25 years, there is currently no Star Trek movie or series in development, which gives the truefans some room to breathe and create. I suppose he's right. The fans were the ones who kept the fires burning during the late sixties and early seventies, before Trek fandom really had an identity or a voice. For better or worse, they kept interest in Star Trek alive until the execs at Paramount realized there was life (and money) to be had Out There in the stars.

The problem is, was it really worth it? Sure, TNG had its moments of glory and the first six Star Trek movies aren't too bad (though three and four have their cringe-worthy moments, flat pacing or just silly dialogue) but really, what has there been since the end of the Next Generation? DS9 took a while to catch on and is really only popular with a subset of Trek geek (and there really is such a beast) while Voyager and Enterprise were just experiments in prolonged boredom, the sort of endurance tests usually reserved for astronauts being sent into low gravity for months on end. "Sure, you can handle three months of jogging in place on the International Space Station but can you deal with the Xendi War, bitch?!"

The scary part for even faithless Trek fans like myself is the inescapable fact that at some point probably in the not too distant future, their will be another Star Trek movie, or Vygr help us, another series. One can only hope that the eggheads in command of the Enterprise actually talk to the fans and find out what they should do before committing atrocities like Chief engineer Trip and Topal's ill-fated love again. Not that I think they will listen but it'd be nice.

If they decide to go the route of another series, which seems likely, since that's the franchise's bread and butter, may I suggest a new Enterprise Crew aboard the E? A new captain, a whole new crew and some fresh ideas would go a long way to revitalizing the stale odor left behind by Bakula and his merry crew of mannequins. Or, if you're going to go boldly backwards once more, how about a series that captures the spirit of the old series? The adventures of Captain Christopher Pike and the crew of the Enterprise before Kirk came on board? There'd be some great dramatic tension, knowing that he's a doomed soul but it gives the writers some restrictions. They can't screw up continuity too badly, since we know what happens to Pike and we know that that young Vulcan science officer, Mr. Spock goes on to do some great things, later.

I even have an idea for your pilot episode: It's a year since the uneasy truce was made with the Klingon empire but not everyone is taking the peace so well. A rouge Commodore and his loyal crew hijack a few starfleet vessels and decide they're going to start a private war with an equally deranged Klingon commander and it's up to Captain Pike, Spock and the Enterprise gang to stop them before they insight a full blown war. There's plenty of room to maneuver there and just imagine what you could do with creative set design and special effects, what sort of polish you could get out of recreating the old bridge and sixties style futuristic look? If done right, it could be a pop art extravaganza. If done wrong, it could be kitsch hell.


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