As the news about the new Star Trek movie dips out, including Kevin Smith’s recent reviews about the flick he is not saying that he has seen, I find myself thinking a lot about how Star Trek has listed since the death of Gene Roddenberry in 1991.
With the exception of Deep Space Nine, all of the Star Trek Series and Movies have drifted further from Gene’s vision for the series. They no longer focused on issues and ideas, and instead devolved into nothing more than a generic Space Opera with little under the surface to hold onto.
Voyager and Enterprise, not to mention all of the Next Generation movies continued to drift further away from brilliant series that so many of us fell in love with.
Gene’s genius was to discuss complex social and philosophical issues through the action, adventure, and mystery of the series. He also created archetypal characters who were so personable the viewer longed follow the twists and turns of their lives.
After Gene’s death, The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine struggled to stay on course, and fortunately had to compete with Babylon 5 for viewer. This competition forced them to deal with issues more often and the probable cause for the Dominion War.
Once Babylon 5 was no longer on air to challenge Star Trek, the show quickly fell into little more than action adventure space opera.
On film, First Contact and Insurrection flirted with depth, but erred on the side of action and adventure. As Star Trek drifted from the storylines and motifs that made it popular, the studio questioned why the audience was falling away. Their solution: forget the original fans, add more spectacle and hopefully we can attract a new audience. The tactic failed…
Now, J. J. Abrams is making a new Star Trek film, rebooting the original series:
Paramount synopsis: From director J.J. Abrams ("Mission: Impossible III," "Lost" and "Alias") and screenwriters Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci ("TRANSFORMERS," "MI: III") comes a new vision of the greatest space adventure of all time, "Star Trek," featuring a young, new crew venturing boldly where no man has gone before (IMDB).
Since very little has been said about the plot of the upcoming film. What we do know is that the Enterprise in Unchanged and they are spending more on this movie than any other Star Trek film has made, but I would not be surprised to see them follow the same formula that has not served the franchise well to date. I hope I am pleasantly surprised.
I know I have been accused of taking Star Trek a little too seriously, but it annoys me when a company corrupts such a good idea.