Star Trek Returns to the Smaller Screen

Enterprise

This has been a strange few days.  First, Van Helsing is making a comeback that makes very little sense. Then, His Dark Materials is rising from the grave like some stupid Hammer Horror film.

And now, Star Trek is coming back to television!

Seriously, can’t anyone come up with an original premise these days?

That aside, a word of warning about the new Trek — don’t expect it to look like the Star Trek that you know from TV, because this one is being brought to you by Kurtzman and Orci — the people who brought you the latest Star Trek films, Sleepy Hollow, and the new Hawaii 5-0.  So don’t expect it to be like Shatner, expect it to be more like Chris Pine.

And it won’t technically be on TV, because it’s going to be mostly online via NetFlix and CBS.com.

On the one hand … Netflix? Really?  Do they think that Star Trek fans are so incompetent as to not be able to do a work around in tunnel / pirate sites?  We’re nerds, people, we have the technology. On the other, NetFlix has some great content.

Also, my biggest fear is that the original Star Trek had the leading science fiction writers of the day. They had everybody but Rod Serling and Isaac Asimov on that dang show. Just don’t tell me that good sci-fi writers of today will be defined as John Scalzi and everyone who agrees to the proper message fiction at Tor Books, because then, we might have a problem.

For the record, no, I don’t have any problem with the JJ Abrams Star Trek films. They were fun, and if you want them to be exactly like the original franchise, please realize that that was the problem with the franchise.  No one wanted anything to change, and so it didn’t, and so everything became more and more mediocre as time went on. Even their show Deep Space 9 was stolen by Paramount pictures, created a year after writer J. Michael Straczynski pitched his own franchise, Babylon 5, to Paramount. So much had been ripped off by that show, JMS had to rewrite his own Babylon 5 pilot script.

For those people thinking I’m unduly harsh on DS9, I am. Because I had watched the show as religiously as other Trekkies until they murdered the character of Jadzia Dax, just because the actress who played her (Terry Ferrell) had asked for some time off. It was a casual, arbitrary and capricious death so reminiscent of a Shonda Rhimes show that it still pisses me off. (Then again, I’m the nerd who still blames Rick Berman for the similarly wasteful death of character Tasha Yar in season  of The Next Generation).

A good reason for CBS to banish this new Trek to the internet is possibly a lack of competition.  Science fiction and geek cred is worth serious money now, and even the TV competition is tough now. This way, CBS won’t have to worry about having to schedule against other shows.

I won’t say I’m looking forward to this new show, because I’m not. I’m seriously cautious. While I like the new Trek films, I’ve been burned by Trek before. DS9‘s bizarre and dismal turn by the end of the series left me feeling like I wasted my time, and Voyager killed my interest in it not too long after the arrival of Jeri Ryan in the cast (when the most interesting people on the ship are the holographic doctor and the cyborg, the show has major, major problems).  Also, competition would force this show into being good and being held to a higher standard of other shows, that involve character development and change (two things that Star Trek is not good on).

But, on the other hand, I do like the majority of Kurtzman’s stuff on TV — Limitless, 5-0, Scorpion — as well as the new Trek universe. And NetFlix has got some amazing content with great writing, brilliant acting and actors, and is so impressive it has some people predicting the “death of television” as we understand it.

Short version: I’ll give it a shot when I see it. But like the new Star Wars films, I’ll base my opinion on the content I see.

Though if they announce a Baen author as one of the writers, I’ll be far more inclined to watch.

About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, nominated for Best Horror in the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, an attempt to take Dan Brown to the woodshed in his own medium -- soon to be republished by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and it's follow-up, "Codename: Winterborn." And "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set To Kill" are murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
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