06 November 2015

Six Things You Are Wrong about When It Comes to the New Star Trek Television Series

You may have heard that there's a new Star Trek series on its way to our television screens.

New captain (and new everything).
I'm excited, in the sense that 1) I love Star Trek and 2) I don't know enough to be apprehensive about it. I mean, it might be terrible. But right now, it could also be amazing, and that's what I'm sitting here hoping for. At this point, I had my doubts that there would be a new Star Trek series on television any time soon, and though I don't want terrible Star Trek, I'm willing to chance that it will be terrible because there's also a chance it could be good. Or, you know, kind of all right.

That said, the Internet is filled with people who are wrong about New Star Trek (that's what I'm calling it for now), and I'm here to help you recognize that. These are the things you're wrong about:
  1. It's Not Going to Be Set in the "Abramsverse" (or at least, It Ought Not to Be). You don't spend billions of dollars making a pair of new Star Trek movies set in a new, continuity-free universe that draw in tons of new fans, and then make your next television program about some obscure element from the old continuity. It's not going to be Captain Worf (no one cares), Admiral Riker and/or the Titan (no one cares), or What The Dominion Is Up To In The 26th Century Also With Captain Nog (really no one cares). New Star Trek should take advantage of the relatively blank canvas offered by a reality with only six hours of content to do something bold, new, and interesting that still feels like Star Trek. (I mean, maybe it won't... but it should still try.) Sure, in theory you could do this in the old universe, but there's a perception of baggage that the show is just better off without.

  2. The future's so bright, Sulu oughta wear shades.
    Being Set in the Abramsverse Means It's Going to Be Terrible. This doesn't even make sense. Even if you don't like the J. J. Abrams movies, being set in the same continuity as something terrible doesn't automatically make New Star Trek terrible. Is that like the transitive property of quality and continuity, or something? "In the Pale Moonlight" is set in the same reality as "And the Children Shall Lead," that didn't mean it automatically sucked. Continuity has its importance, but it doesn't determine quality. Even if you think the Abrams movies are terrible, being set in the same reality as them doesn't mean New Star Trek is magically going to absorb their quality.

    Also: being set in the same continuity doesn't mean it'll have the same aesthetic, either. If you dislike the movies for being zippy action flicks, the television series is probably not going to be quite like that. (If nothing else, I bet they don't have the money.) The films are like that not because they're set in a new continuity, but because that's the style of film J. J. Abrams wanted to make. Continuity also does not equal aesthetic. If it's terrible, it won't be because it's set the Universe of Lens Flares.

  3. It Should Be Like My Favorite Fanfilm (e.g., Axanar or Renegades or Whatever). These fanfilms are made by hardcore fans for hardcore fans, and they have nothing to offer a casual audience. Who, you know, is the majority of people who watch Star Trek. "Find out what the career of Fleet Captain Garth of Izar from the 1968 episode 'Whom Gods Destroy' was like!" is not the pitch that's going to get people watching this. If you think this, you're a silly person.

  4. Alex Kurtzman Is Not a Star Trek Fan, and This Is Terrible. Oh, c'mon. Do you know who else weren't Star Trek fans: Nicholas Meyer and Harve Bennett, the two-man team who gave us three of the best Star Trek films (The Wrath of Khan, The Voyage Home, The Undiscovered Country). Robert Wise, who gave us the most Star Trekky of the Star Trek films, The Motion Picture. Do you know who was a Star Trek fan? Michael Piller who wrote Star Trek: Insurrection. John Logan, who wrote Star Trek Nemesis. Fans have given us great Star Trek and terrible Star Trek, and non-fans have given us great Star Trek and terrible Star Trek. There's no real correlation here.

  5. They Should Bring Back Ronald Moore, or Rick Berman, or Someone Else Who Used to Work on the Show(s)/Film(s) That I Count as "Real" Star Trek. No, they shouldn't. This is New Star Trek, and it needs to do new things. Now, I love Deep Space Nine, but the solution to making the new show be awesome is not to round up some guys who worked on Star Trek for over a decade over two decades ago. Go boldly forward-- just as was done in 1966, 1979, 1982, 1986, and 2009.

  6. I'm Not Going to Be Able to Watch It Because It's on a Streaming Service. Okay, you actually might be right about this. But, $6 per month for CBS All Access doesn't sound so bad to me. I don't pay for cable, and watch my TV entirely through the Internet or on DVD. I recently paid $23 to watch series 9 of Doctor Who on iTunes, and that seems worth it to me given how little I pay for televisual entertainment otherwise. If New Star Trek has thirteen-episode seasons like the Marvel Netflix shows and airs weekly, it will actually be cheaper than Doctor Who.

    But also: kids these days don't know how good they've got it with their Netflixes and their DVDs. Do you know how I watched Voyager and Enterprise? On UPN. And let me tell you, UPN is probably the worst way a television show was delivered to its viewers in the whole 20th century, except for those guys who had to bicycle episodes of Doctor Who around Africa in the late 1960s.

    The UPN affiliate in Cincinnati was kind of all right when Voyager started in 1996, but in 1998 it traded with the WB affiliate, Channel 25. Channel 25 was terrible. My parents' home was thirteen miles from the transmitter, and our signal was still covered in snow when we got every other Cincinnati channel just fine. I remembering my parents indulging me by trying to reorient our antenna to make the station come in better; I was looking at the tv, shouting "oh, that was better! no, go back!" to my mom, who was on the stairs relaying all this up to my dad in the attic, who was turning the antenna this way and that. (Yes, my parents kept their antenna in the attic for some reason.)

    There was a rumor in Cincinnati that the station was broadcast out of some guy's basement. It wasn't, but the rumor was so believable and so widespread, that Channel 25 actually specifically addressed it in an FAQ on their website. (Seriously, though, click on that link and boggle that a serious corporate venture thought that paranoid rantings was the thing to put on its official website.) For the first two years of Enterprise, I barely knew what the show looked like; watching it was like listening to an audio drama. When I went to college in 2003 and thus gained access to cable in the dorms, I was legitimately amazed at how good the special effects on Enterprise were, because I had never seen them before. No matter how unavailable New Star Trek is by virtue of being on CBS All Access, it's going to be more accessible than the two Star Trek series that aired on UPN.
I'm not saying you have to like it once you watch it. I'm not even saying you have to watch it if you don't want. But I am saying that your reasons for not liking it at this stage are objectively dumb.

No comments:

Post a Comment