With news of the third installment in the rebooted Star Trek films slowly cropping up, I’ve been thinking more than ever about the franchise as a whole. I love its characters, its many adventures, and how it’s one of the few major science fiction properties to imagine the future as better than the reality we currently live in. While I enjoyed some aspects of the rebooted series (particularly Karl Urban’s portrayal of Bones), overall the series left me cold. I’m not interested in exploring characters and settings from previous installments of the franchise-I’m interested in a new captain and further exploration of the universe.
The last series, Enterprise, went off the air 10 years ago after receiving middling ratings and lukewarm reception from fans, to put it nicely. As that series is actually a prequel to the original run, chronologically in the Star Trek universe the last two significant events that took place were the Voyager crew coming home after being lost for years in the Delta Quadrant (Star Trek Voyager) and the end of the Dominion War (Star Trek Deep Space 9). The ending of a war and discussion of everything discovered in the Delta Quadrant should have an impact on Starfleet and Earth itself but the only outlet used to explore those stories have been various tie-in novels. Longtime fans would flock to any show promising a continuation of where the story last left off.
With the Marvel universe growing in both films and television shows, DC slowly building their own franchises, Star Wars getting another film later this year (a real sticking point for this Trekkie) and things like Comic-Con having become cultural phenomenon’s, it’s never been more chic to be a geek. Audiences are becoming more interested in what were considered previously to be exclusively “nerdy” properties, and a new Star Trek show has a real chance to thrive in this kind of market.
Star Trek has the brand recognition that television executives crave and with streaming sites like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix creating and hosting their own shows, there’s not even a need to worry about timeslots or ratings anymore. The other series and a chunk of the films already stream on Netflix! With how popular many of their original series have become, it’s a no-brainer to think a new Star Trek series could fit right in.
CBS (the company who currently owns the rights) has expressed no interest in the past of trying to retool a new series, but it’s a missed opportunity. Many franchises are popping up again after exploring alternative distribution methods (even if it’s just running on HBO or Starz instead of a network), most notably The X-Flies, even if it is for a short run. Star Trek has the potential to be resurrected alongside many other properties and flourish even better due to its hardcore fan base and new fans that may have just be getting into it from the reboot films.