Mondays, by Industrial Age tradition and Garfield, are generally considered the worst. However, this Monday, CBS had an extremely exciting announcement, at least to a certain strain of geeks such as myself: There will be a new Star Trek TV series!
So, there’s a new Star Trek TV show, eh? If that’s so, why the tentative title above?
Well, we have to wonder what kind of Star Trek is in store.
I mean, technically, Space Jam is a Looney Tunes movie. But fans of classic Warner Brothers animation will visibly shudder if you mention that. (Likewise, Warner Brothers accountants will visibly shudder if you mention you enjoyed the box office disappointment that was Looney Tunes: Back in Action, but I digress).
The 2009 Star Trek reboot film, directed by avowed Star Wars fan J.J. Abrams, was an absolutely different tone from Trek of old. However, it seemed to thread the continuity needle well with an alternate timeline and a general love of the characters (every character has some nice moments).
Then came Star Trek Into Darkness, which seemed to not only retread over ideas familiar to fans, but trample them in summer blockbuster excess. Also, there were bedazzled Klingons.
So while it’s hopeful that the upcoming Star Trek Beyond will break new ground story-wise and return to familiar Star Trek themes, it’s clear that this won’t be a Star Trek full of ideas and reflection like many of the previous movies have been, even the “action-filled” Star Trek movies. Seriously, look at how much reflection and discussion of philosophical ideas are in evidence in Star Trek II, a film fans probably think of as more action-packed than it really is.
But a television show can reflect. It has time to really explore an idea and the human (or human surrogate) condition. Not only that, but we appear to be in a Golden Era of television, attracting some of the best and brightest creative minds in making some TV that is both though-provoking and action-packed.
For those of who enjoy that part of Trek –which I’d say is a major element of Trek– this gives us some hope.
Also, in case you didn’t figure out I’m at least a Constitution-class size fan of Star Trek, here’s two articles by Matthew Yglesias from Slate: One going into why Star Trek is so great — and the other going into the best films, TV series, villains, and characters. Feast, Star Trek Fans, feast!
Update: Due to the follow-up blog posts about Star Trek’s future and fandom, I have titled this series “Crisis of Infinite Star Treks.” You’re welcome, pop culture mavens.