Star Trek Back On TV?

Be still my little heart, but plans are underway to get the venerable franchise back on television.

David Foster, the man behind the new incarnation has this to say:

The series concept is fully developed, subject to change of course, with a solid 5-7 year series plan, pilot script and a conceptualized finale that intends to define Star Trek for generations, extensive character bios, costume and ship/set designs, and more. This is a drastic departure from the typical 8-10 page treatment of the previously pitched Star Trek series ideas that have not included even a pilot script.

Word is the series will take place after Star Trek: Voyager and will not incorporate the JJ Abrams continuity of the series. has an extensive writeup on what Foster had to say about the new series at the Star Trek Las Vegas Convention.

So what say you? Seems like honest-to-goodness Science Fiction is hard to come by on TV of late. Is it time to boldly go back to the future?

10 replies on “Star Trek Back On TV?”

  1. Y’know, much as I like Trek, its later incarnations were fraught with bad scripts and inappropriate limitations– things that Roddenberry had pitched in the 60s, could’ve been done in the present, but, by and large, were ignored. Some of the problem lies with the conception of Star Trek, which contains many now-dated elements.

    While I’m intrigued by the new show, I really wish someone would take the basic boldy-going premise, rethink it from the perspective of 2011, and do something as revolutionary and far-thinking for our time as TOS was for its era.

  2. Trek has the brand, and this is the age of media branding, baby.

    (Also, legions of fanatical fans).

    Trek may be the best hope for SF in series tv.

  3. I say erm, no, its not going to happen. There has always been fans trying to get something up and running again (Dirk Benedict tried to get a battlestar version up until they started a new one without him (the people who made it later gave him a guest shot but they don’t care about his opinion)) – these are just fans of a slightly higher order, and I doubt the studios will care one damn bit – once Abrams is finished wrecking trek in the cinema (Bring back Vulcan!) they’ll just ask him to type up something on a napkin and then that will be the basis for another cliche series.

    But yes, there should be some real honest to goodness scifi on TV – alas is isn’t going to happen anytime soon

  4. I say why not give it a go. Sure, it may suck and rape the memories of the franchise like other recent attempts on TV, but there is a chance it could be good.

    I just offer them one bit of advice: More campy fun, less serious contrived drama.

    Nostalgia is selling big these days, so a rehashing of this would surprise me a lot less than some of the other things coming out lately…

  5. Everybody WANTS a “new improved” ST but what we GET delivered never is – at least by the end of the series.

    ST:TNG invented the ABSOLUTELY AWESOME Borg and then proceeded to pull their claws and make them kittycats as the years went on. Forget who’s dating Troi or discovering the upteenth version of Data prototypes (including the one in Nemesis that was the worst of all, what a sour note to go out on) – if ST:TNG had taken the BSG atmosphere of Yesterday’s Enterprise and combined it with a seven year Borg War with the Season 2 Borg, think how GREAT that would have been. Spin Riker and Shelby and even Worf into their own ships that get destroyed eventually necessitating new characters and parallel ship story arcs lasting years…how awesome that could have been.

    ST:DS9 tried, it really did. But it was Deep Space Sit. And no, I didn’t drop an “h”.

    ST:V suffered irrepairably from Gilligan’s Island Syndrome. It even said so on the ship plaque, never shown on camera – Voyager’s ship motto was literally “A Three Hour Tour”.

    And poor, poor ST:E. To have the opportunity to show the political birth of the Federation, Earth and Vulcan and Andoria all struggling against xenophobia and idealistic unity – and then get pulled down into the 9/11 kneejerk story arc about the Xindi. After leading off with the Suliban. Talk about a waste.

    Don’t even get me started about JJ’s take on ST. That’s not SF, that’s social commentary eye candy for the Facebook generation. If Gates and Jobs and Zuckerman can become Captains of Industry in their 20s in our time, why can’t Kirk become a Captain of a Starship in HIS 20s in HIS time??? This is a fairy tale for kids that want to ignore their dad and their boss in their 50s. Screw tradition and experience and seasoning and training. I’m fresh outta college, gimme command !!!

    You gotta have EPIC CONFLICT for EPIC SERIES and no version of ST has got that right yet. TOS gets a pass for being the prologue to the franchise. The others all had a chance and blew it as far as I’m concerned. Cool landmark individual eps occasionally, major fail overall. The writers boards all eneded up with movie titles they could make a 42 minute version of.

    To me, ST is like El Dorado – a mythical gold mine of epic storytelling up there in the high mountains somewhere, whispered in legend and supported by occasional nuggets that flow down the riverbeds – enough to fill a top 10 ep list with gold. But a SOLID ST SERIES, worthy of the epic grandeur of exploring the Milky way galaxy?

    I’ll keep wishing, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

    That said, ST is WAY better than the drek swamp SW descended into….

  6. There’s a reason typical pitches are 8-10 pages. Network executives often don’t want a full pilot script in the pitch. Just take a look at the pitch JMS made. JMS is well known for planning, and he kept his short and script free. Why? Because that’s the product networks buy.

    Even the fact that he’s pitching CBS shows how little research he’s done. Paramount needs to be pitched. CBS was the original distributor, not the producer. Paramount bought production rights from Desilu. Paramount is the entity that decides whether or not a new series goes forward, and right now, the JJ Abrams movies stand to make a lot more money. It’s hard to make money on TV right now with the revenue model breaking under the shift to digital. Star Trek has a better shot than most, but even then, a return to Fox or The CW is more likely.

    From the studio perspective, they may not want long term plans either. They are under the impression that you need to pander to idiots to generate enough ad revenue to pay for an expensive show. (Sadly, they have data to support this view.) The big networks are now actively avoiding shows that are intensely driven by a story arc. Look at Star Trek to date, which is one of the examples they cite: when they kept to mostly single episode arcs, with some two and three parters at most, they were successful shows. When they went to longer story arcs, ratings dropped. A complaint common on the Internet is that the longer stories make it more difficult to build an audience, so they often look for shorter arcs.

    I would love to see a great sci-fi show back on the air. I just don’t know if we can see one that lasts. People don’t watch commercial breaks anymore, to the point where product placement is becoming the most effective way to generate ad revenue. How do you do product placement in Star Trek? Slap a “HEMI” label on the side of a nacelle? I honestly think that science fiction television is going to die off for a while until a new business model is created or implemented. That’s part of the reason I’m going with AppleTV. It lets me put my money where my mouth is, buying the sci-fi shows, while still eliminating those commercial breaks. I just don’t see how sci-fi (other than contemporary “Chuck” style sci-fi) will thrive in the near future without product placement.

    • The kind of show we’re talking about could work on AMC or HBO, but they’d have to go very high quality and simultaneously grab the core SF audience.

      Some historical dramas have had reasonable success in recent years, with the same product placement problem.

      • It seems that HBO has a full plate right at the moment, with True Blood and Game of Thrones eating massive budgets and getting their money’s worth.

        And, on the AMC side… this is the network that wanted to put the zombies of Walking Dead off-screen, and fired their show-runner for largely budgetary reasons. I’m not sure Trek at AMC would be something to celebrate.

    • Captain’s log, Stardate 16.21.7. The Starship Tampax was on a routine mission to Planet Midol, when Lt Starbucks intercepted an emergency transmission on the Pepsiscope from the Freighter Special K, which appears to be crumbling in the Milky Way…..

    • CBS and Paramount have this weird marriage going on…

      From Wikipedia: CBS took ownership of the franchise in 2006, though certain aspects (feature film and DVD distribution rights) are still owned by Paramount.

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