Kenny Madison is a guest writer on the Axanar blog.
The Star Trek world exploded this week with the news of a brand new Star Trek series being announced for 2017. We know absolutely nothing about it besides it’s executive producer (Alex Kurtzman) and that it premieres online in 2017.
We don’t know what it’s about or if they even have an initial concept to begin with. Every single Trek fan on the planet has an idea of what they need to make a great show. For me, it boils down to five essential pieces that will make this Trek a winner for a completely new generation.
Too much action
For some reason, there’s been a common perception that Star Trek needs to be jam packed with lasers and action. Star Trek is based off of great storytelling first. The action happens to be a nice by-product. Like Axanar, which is a story of war and not a war story, the new Star Trek needs to put story first. What can we say about the human condition and can you say that without fighting? While some people might think that TNG’s mandate of “no conflict” is silly, this mandate forced mature storytelling that stands up as some of the best hours of television.
While some Trek itself might not have aged well, the stories of Trek still holds up surprisingly well. Instead of going to the flash-bang thrills of the rest of science fiction TV as of late, Trek needs to look at the mature stories of before to derive inspiration.
The show moves too fast
I love the 2009 Star Trek movie. I think it’s excellently paced. However, that’s not my Star Trek. That’s not the best Star Trek out there. Star Trek is best when it is about the characters processing the universe around them. You cannot have the emotional rewards of tackling tough situations by breezing through them at light speed.
To really have successful Trek, you have to watch our characters think. You have to see them process and grow and make mistakes. You have to watch our characters prove why humanity is better in the future. This requires a pacing more akin to Breaking Bad than the last two Star Trek movies. Let the show breathe and let us see the characters grow. Speaking of which…
Don’t do standalones
We live in the Marvel-era of storytelling. Everything is connected and everything is serialized. Trek has been at its best when the stories are serialized. You get to see the characters get affected by events. We don’t live in an era where your captain can just shrug off another attack by some vicious enemy. Characters get affected and change now.
The greatest thing about humanity is our capacity to change our views of the world around us. You can do this best by letting the adventures have lasting repercussions.
Don’t separate the TV show and the movie
Also, connect the movies to the television show. We only got a tantalizing mention of the Dominion War in Star Trek: Insurrection. They had the time and budget to do something spectacular within the context of the Dominion War and, instead, made a standalone film that fell flat with audiences. In an era of constant media stimulation, audiences have the attention spans and the dedication to consume mass stories in a matter of hours.
Star Trek literally has an entire universe to play in. Explore the universe and let events in one medium affect the other (and vice versa). Give us the Star Trek Cinematic Universe!
Don’t do Kirk, Spock, and McCoy again
We’ve seen two iterations of the trinity. Also, each show has had some analogous characters from the original. Instead of copying each show by providing a brash captain, an emotional confidant, and a logical mind, play with the dynamics.
The Next Generation dared to do something almost wholly different (Data is reverse Spock). Distance yourself from the formula and go boldly into brand new characters. Redefine what representation means on television. We live in such a socially aware era and Star Trek is the best way to get brand new concepts of humanity on screen.
Do give us a non-white captain
Four out of our five captains on TV have been white folks. That’s not good enough, especially on a show that is supposed to be set on “Starship Earth.” Instead of pushing characters of color to other roles, let’s put anyone that is not white as a captain. This can send a message far more important than Star Trek has ever sent by placing the weekly adventures of the Starship Something-or-other in the hands of people rarely represented on TV.
We need a non-white female captain. We need more representation of these folks on TV and there is no better place to see them than on Star Trek.
Really give us Starship Earth.