Oh Captain, Our Captain.
Why we’re excited Bryan Fuller has been named the showrunner for CBS’s new Star Trek series.
I feel like the future started today.
Or, maybe, “re-started” is a better word.
Like so many people in the Star Trek fan community, I am really excited to hear that Bryan Fuller has been tapped to be the showrunner for CBS’s new Star Trek series that’s set to debut next January. He’s got the pedigree to do some great things and I can now hardly wait to hear about his plans to bring Star Trek back to the small screen.
We live in a “Golden Age” of television. A time when the medium of serial drama is finally coming into its own and surpassing the story-telling capabilities of traditional movies. Mr. Fuller has demonstrated an understanding of that capability and it will be fun to see adventures set in this new part of the Star Trek universe told in this grander format.
It’s my hope that we’ll see more complex and complete stories being told and that, eventually, the flexibility that comes with streaming (fewer commercials, variable story lengths, releasing entire seasons at one time to allow for binge viewing, etc.) will be leveraged to continue telling stories of the optimistic future so vital to the Star Trek zeitgeist.
Dare I say it? Star Trek has a chance to boldly go where TV has not gone before under the leadership of Bryan Fuller. And that’s a good thing.
Mr. Fuller’s credits include writing and producing stints on ST:DS9 and ST:VOY and includes his master work, HANNIBAL, and the upcoming AMERICAN GODS based on Neil Gaiman’s new classic.
One look at Mr. Fuller’s HANNIBAL and you can get a glimpse of his ability to craft complex story arcs that play out over a series of episodes. He takes Hannibal Lector and pushes him beyond the expected – making the psychopath half of an unlikely investigative team looking into murders committed by Lector himself.
It’s twisty, complex fun. And I think it may be a sign of how much thought we can expect to see in future episodes of the new Star Trek when it hits CBS All Access next January.
There’s no doubt Bryan Fuller has continued to mature since his days on Deep Space Nine and Voyager. He’s a bona fide story-teller, well acquainted with Star Trek – both with what’s come before and what works.
But there are things that we, as fans, will look for in a new Star Trek series in order for it to ring true to us. I’ve boiled it down to five key elements, but you might want to add some of your own (feel free to do so in the comments below).
- Understand that the sum is greater than the whole. The original series (and those that followed) explored and expanded the concept of an ensemble cast. We saw relationships between characters that went a little deeper than anything else on TV in the 60’s and it made those characters very real to us as fans.
- Create strange new worlds and civilizations that are open and accessible to fans. Author David Goodman (THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JAMES T. KIRK) writes that “One of the attractions of things like Star Trek is this desire for fans to fill in the blanks … the person who is writing [etc] … creates a world that leaves things unanswered.”Ever wonder why there’s so much fan art, fan fiction and fan films? It’s because those of us who are fans feel we’ve been invited to participate in making this universe real. It’s one of Star Trek’s timeless appeals.
- Bring back the thrill of exploring the unknown. There’s nothing quite like the exhilaration I felt as a kid when the NBC peacock came on the TV and a new episode of Star Trek was getting ready to air. These were the days of Apollo and NASA’s astronauts were rock stars. Star Trek was taking all of that science – stuff we could never understand – to the next level. It was the perfect combination of brainy science stuff and bare knuckle adventure and we were a part of it.
- Make it okay to feel good about our progress as a species. Everyone I know who loves Star Trek as much as I do like to talk about the show’s “optimistic view of the future.” I think there’s more to it than that. Star Trek showed us an image of men and women who survived our current madness and progressed to something better. The optimism isn’t found at our 23rd century destination, it comes from the journey we took to get there.We can make it. If we try. And if we find a way to work together to get us there. All of us.
- Show us that our current hang-ups don’t really matter. If we want progress, we have to let go of the things that are holding us back today. And Star Trek shows us it’s okay to let go. Have faith in our fellow man. We’ll be okay.
And despite all the griping about upcoming film trailers, over-sized nacelles, too much time travel, out-of-place ship classes, sexy cat suits, ships that don’t go anywhere, convenient wormholes, Galaxy class cruiseships, hokey animation or campy over-acting … it’s Star Trek.
And we’ll be okay.
So, welcome aboard Mr. Fuller.
You have the con.