As I’ve said before, every now and then, an idea gets stuck in my head and starts rattling around. That’s part and parcel of being a writer, I know, but sometimes, those ideas are…well, kind of worthless, simply because I can’t do anything with them. They’re ideas that can best be described as fanfiction, like my idea for a “Weird Al” inspired musical, or rebooting the old TV show Quantum Leap. I’ve found that the only way to get those ideas out of my head is by sharing them.
Well, I’ve got another one that’s been gaining momentum lately, so brace yourselves. The upshot is this: I think it’s time for Star Trek to return to television. More specifically, I want to breathe some life into an idea that, when I first heard it, I thought was a horrible idea.
A few years ago, the Internet was awash in rumors that a new Star Trek show was going to be produced. The premise was that it would be a “sexy Starfleet Academy.” When I heard the premise, especially with that particular adjective, I balked. But recently, the idea has been crawling around inside my mind (minus the “sexy” part).
I think a show set at Starfleet Academy could be a lot of fun. It might seem like an odd choice. After all, Star Trek has always been about boldly going where no one has gone before. A series set on Earth, in futuristic San Francisco, seems like a jarring choice.
But I think it could work if done correctly. Think of Deep Space Nine. When my sister, who mostly watched Star Trek: The Next Generation due to a crush on a certain acting ensign, heard about a Star Trek show set on a space station, her response was, “What are they going to do, boldly sit around and wait for it all to come to them?” And yeah, that is what happened at first, but then that particular show hit us with the Dominion War, which is some of the finest Star Trek storytelling ever produced in my not-so-humble opinion. I think the same thing could be true for a show set at Starfleet Academy. Tell the stories right, and it could be a lot of fun.
The next question to consider is this: which universe would it be set in, the “original” Star Trek continuity or the one established by the J.J. Abrams reboot?
It might seem tempting to go with the Abramsverse. It would tie the show in with the movies, and it seems like that’s the direction studios are going these days (what with the MCU and the DCCU and all that). And they probably have the sets and everything from the movies.
But personally, I would go in the opposite direction and return to the old continuity. It’s got a much deeper history and backstory to it and opens up a lot of possibilities. Plus returning to that continuity would allow for dozens of potential cameos from former characters.
So this show, which we’ll call “Star Trek: Starfleet Academy,” would be set approximately 20 years after Voyager returned from the Delta Quadrant. Come back next week to hear some of the ideas I have on how the galaxy has changed in the intervening years.
In the meantime, let me know what you think. Can Star Trek be done on Earth? Or is that too much of a stretch?
Star Trek definitely needs to return to TV some time soon. I love the movies but TV is where it really shines. I notice that American TV shows seems to be taking a page out of the British method lately in producing shorter seasons (6 – 13 episodes) which I think would be a good way to go. It would be cheaper and lend itself to more concentrated story-telling.
If you’re going to set it in the prime universe I’d set it 14 years after Voyager. Why 14? Because Voyager finished 14 years ago, so it would essentially be picking back up as if time in the Star Trek universe has continued along at the same pace. I wonder – does that allow for Romulas to have been destroyed with Spock and Nero lost through the singularity yet? It would be cool to make occasional references to the new timeline from the prime timeline.
Looking forward to reading your ideas on where the Star Trek universe might be after 20 years.
Yeah, my math was maybe a bit off for how long it’s been since Voyager has been off the air. I’d prefer it to be that many years too. I just guessed and said 20. Whoops.
What’s funny (scary) is that a character who was a child on board the Enterprise during TNG season 1 could be a starship captain now.
In answer to your question, yes I think DS9 has proved that stationary trek can work and be awesome. Part of the reason it worked is because they didn’t just stay on the station all the time. They explored through the wormhole and they had the Defiant from Season 3 onwards. A Starfleet Academy show would probably need something similar (off world training exercises?)
Have you read any of the Davis Mac or Kirsten Beyer books?
I have not. I’m assuming these are Star Trek authors. I haven’t read a Star Trek novel in years. I honestly can’t remember the last time I read one. I used to read them all the time, but eventually, there were just too many to keep up with.