Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment..

With the welcome (for me at least) announcement that Netflix had picked up the rights for the new Star Trek series, I thought I'd set down a few of my hopes and fears for it. My love for all things Trek goes back many a year, running pretty much in parallel with 40k, which is interesting because apart from being set broadly in Space In The Future they're very different beasts.

That brings me to my first, and probably biggest, worry. I really hope they don't decide to go all 'gritty' on us. To a certain extent it was done with Enterprise, with what I think we can call mixed results, but even there there  was a certain amount of underlying optimism. Sci-fi does grim and gritty very well, but that's not Star Trek and I hope whatever else our new crew or crews are, they're the classic Trek 'good people' at the core. If nothing else, doing that means that when you do pose a question like whether or not to wipe out the Borg, or saving the Federation by tricking the Romulans into the Dominion War, it has some clout because you know it's not something they want to do. Put Commander Adama in those situations and it goes a lot worse for the aliens, but he's not Starfleet and he shouldn't be. So whatever the new ship/ ships are, I want them to be shiny, have decent carpets and upholstery, and for everyone not to be miserable all the time.

Opportunities, not straight-jackets
There's a lot in Trek, especially in ToS, that's pretty silly. Spock's brain being stolen and McCoy remote-controlling him. Just about everything about the Holodeck, which frequently seems to make self-aware people who aren't considered sentient because they're holograms, except when they are. The Universal Translator and its magic ability to not translate certain words for dramatic effect even though it totally could. Rampant abuse of the space-time continuum and time-travel in general.
"Oh, boy!"
Here's the thing- most of this silly stuff is great. Some of Trek's best episodes (and movies, for that matter) revolve around this stuff. Ok, not "Spock's Brain", but you get the point. Anyway, I really hope that this new season takes all of these mad ideas and runs with them, rather than trying to strip the whole thing down to something more believable. Remember, we don't live in the same timeline as Star Trek (or else most of us would have died in WWIII by now) so there's no need to worry about making it 'relatable', and hopefully the new show won't fall into the trap of making 21st century cultural references. I've still not forgiven Voyager for 11:59.

I was one of those people who was less than thrilled with the new Ghostbusters- not, as many influential talking heads would claim, because of the all-girl cast, but because rather than building on the existing canon, they dumped it. JJ-Trek is guilty of this as well, to an extent, but the new show apparently will be sticking to the original 'Prime' timeline for licensing reasons. So I want to see what has gone before reflected in what we see now. If the stardate allows, let's see Captain LaForge and the Starship Challenger once in a while. Let's explore what the hell happened to the Delta Quadrant when Voyager crippled the Borg. With the budget that I sure as heck hope the show is getting, lets see more Bolians, Trill, Tellarites, Andorians, Vulcans, Ex-Borg, Ferengi etc crew members instead of 90% of Starfleet personnel being human. Maybe there're even some homeless Romulans looking for a fresh start, and some Klingons following in the footsteps of Worf. Please don't reduce all that continuity to Mass Effect.
"Apparently nothing I did made a damn bit of difference."
Not Neighbours in Space
Finally, I really hope that despite what I've said above, the creators of the new series do take one tip from other shows and avoid one-off episodes that basically could have come from a soap. [Insert Crew Member here] has a [Crisis of confidence/ Emotional breakdown/ Conflict of loyalties] and it's up to the [Captain/ Councillor/ Ship's Bartender] to help out before they [Quit the crew/ Get themselves killed/ Get the ship destroyed/ Wipe out an alien civilisation in a fit of pique] - we've all seen those episodes, and most of them are only worth bothering with once because you don't know nothing interesting is going to happen. TNG is particularly prone to this one. Here's hoping the new show takes a tip from Babylon 5 and keeps everything moving at the same time as getting the character development done.

Please no small alien children pretending to be comforted by glowing putty, though. They can keep that idea.

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