Sunday, February 11, 2007

Star Trek

Yes, it's another Trek post!

A while back, I followed a link to a web site in which a writer (I forget who, and I forget the URL) had posted his thoughts on reimagining the voyages of the USS Enterprise... the original NCC-1701.

For the most part, I liked the ideas that this writer had. But, as I'm sure nearly every Star Trek fan feels, I have some of my own ideas for how this could be accomplished.

So, for what it's worth, here's some random thoughts about reviving the original Trek series.

The main focus of my idea is not to replace the original series... but rather to add to it. Establish that the original series episodes are still valid and in continuity, but let's begin the new series from where the original left off.

While the opening titles reminded us, week after week, that the Enterprise was on a five-year mission, and yes the original series was on for three years, there's no reason why we should decide we saw the first three years of Enterprise missions, is there?

But let's not even dwell on how long they've been on the mission. If we want to, we can assume the original series only presented the first year of the mission. Heck, unless someone wants to get technical and figure out how many days we saw in the original series, we could even say we only saw six months of the mission!

So, like I said, we'll continue where we left off.

Of course, there would be differences. Obviously, the cast would be all-new. It would be good if the new cast resembled the originals strongly, but that may not be possible. But at the very least, let's have the new cast base their characterizations on the originals (with perhaps less dramatic pauses from Kirk, maybe).

Let's avoid the temptation to add new cast members... if we want to focus on less-established characters, there were some semi-regulars who could have more told about them, like Rand, Riley, Chapel, and so on. We don't have to deal with why Rand disappeared after the first season of the original series, or why we didn't see much of any of them.

Riley in particular is mostly a blank slate, and a lot could be done with him. He's probably one of the youngest officers on the ship.

There was also a transporter chief, whose name I forget, who could be utilized when we want a change of pace. I think he was British.

If there's not a licensing issue, I would have no problem with having M'Ress and Arex from the animated Trek added to the crew, assuming they could be portrayed well with the appropriate makeup (and I'm sure they could).

And yes, I'd like to see this revisited Trek as a weekly TV series, just to make that clear.

The sets of the Enterprise should look like the original, although we can take advantage of modern technology. Perhaps the first episode of the new series could establish that the Enterprise went through a minor refitting to update the control panels a bit (it was shown in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" that the instrument panels are modular, so they could be updated easily, I'd imagine). On the bridge, all the viewscreens around the bridge could be much more active than on the original series.

The exterior of the Enterprise itself should look just like the original. With the original series being updated, we've already got the computer models in place, so that shouldn't be a problem.

The phasers, communicators, and tricorders should pretty much look like the originals; I don't see much of a reason to change them. They're classic designs. I'd also like to see the uniforms match the originals, with perhaps a pants version of the uniforms for the female cast members who'd just as well not want to run around in miniskirts.

The temptation would likely be there to bring in some of the alien races introduced in The Next Generation, like the Ferengi, but I'd just as soon stay away from them, and either introduce new races or keep it to the Vulcans, Klingons, Andorians, Tellarites, Romulans, Gorn, and so on we already met.

Speaking of the Klingons, this would be a good opportunity to explain why the Klingons in the original series look so different from the Klingons we've seen in the movies and the other Trek series. I recall hearing somewhere the theory that the original Klingons were "human fusion" Klingons, but I'd be happier with the concept that there are two races of Klingons... and for a brief time, the more human-looking Klingons might've been in charge. Or perhaps it just happened that the Klingons the Enterprise encountered were the human-looking ones, and maybe we'd see a few ships with both races on board (and establish the ridge-heads were becoming more dominant). I can see how the ridge-headed Klingons would've gotten tired of the more human-looking Klingons' failure to deal with the Federation properly (the Organian peace treaty would've probably really torqued them off). Maybe there could even be a war between the two factions, with the human-looking Klingons either completely obliterated, or the survivors exiled somewhere (they didn't seem to be all that concerned with honor and so on, and they didn't act at all like the Klingons seen from the Motion Picture onward).

I don't know that we need to come up with any long-term plots to drive the series forward. If one of the writing staff comes up with something we could go back to every now and then, and it's a real kick-ass idea, then there's no reason why we shouldn't do it, but let's not make it an all-driving ambition.

Let's keep the time travel episodes to a minimum. If the Enterprise crew is going to come back to the 21st Century, let's make it a story that is just too incredible not to make. Otherwise, time travel could explore some of the other history of Star Fleet and the Federation; we could deal with the Eugenics Wars that got Khan and his crew leaving Earth for deep space... but again, only if we get a great story.

Perhaps we could consider a story in which the Enterprise or a few of its crew travel to the future, or some of a future Enterprise's crew could come to the past, but let's be careful about this.

Bearing in mind that the Enterprise's mission is to explore strange new worlds, and seek out new life and new civilizations, let's not take her back to Earth, shall we?

Now, on the other hand... I'd have no problem with doing a "Flashback" episode or nine as the show progresses. If something's going on that relates to something that happened to one of the crew members before the original series started, then we may as well show it. Heck, if someone comes up with a great story that shows when Kirk first took command of the Enterprise, we could do that episode.

The Prime Directive of this show should well be Do Not Contradict the Original Series.

I invite your own comments on this whole concept... agree or disagree with my ideas? Have some of your own? Know of some websites on which other people have posted their own thoughts for reviving Trek? Let me know!

Jon

5 comments:

  1. I agree with your thoughts on a new tv series and would definitely tune it.

    I heard somewhere years ago, that the reason that the Klingons looked differently was that the ones that first made contact with Earthlings had been surgically changed in order to appear more human. Is there any truth that that's an explanation given from those making the Treks?

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  2. People are making "Star Trek: New Voyages," but since it's a labor or love, the episodes come slowly. They're trying to make it look very much like the original series.

    On the original series the Klingons were an empire, and they conquered other races. On one episode, they told a primitive guy "we'll make a Klingon of you yet." I think that the brown skinned Mongol-like race from the original series were beings from a planet that was part of the empire. The lost their original culture and became part of the Klingon culture. They showed enough courage to be called "Klingon." In real history, a group called the "Mamelukes" was like that.

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  3. Craig -- The "human fusion" Klingon theory was put forth in a Star Trek roleplaying game, if I recall correctly.

    Scott -- The New Voyages episodes sound very interesting. Do you have the URL for where these can be found?

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  4. http://www.startreknewvoyages.com/800/episodes.php

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  5. Jon,
    I think the transporter chief you're recalling is Kyle, portrayed by John Winston (see http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Kyle ).

    The Star Trek: Enterprise episodes "Affliction" and "Divergence" explained the differences of appearance among the Klingons. It was one of the better prequel stories Enterprise developed after they gave up on the Temporal War and Xindi story arcs.
    Hope this helps!

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