A while back, I wrote an article complaining about everything modern Star Trek gets wrong. In that article, I lamented that the Star Trek shows of old have been left behind in favor of mindless space action. All the intellect, optimism, and charm of the older shows have been completely forgotten.
Today, I’m going to ask a follow-up question: can Star Trek as it was return? Is there still a place for something like the older shows in today’s modern landscape? Or was this fall from greatness inevitable?
Old fans will always be there to watch. Those that want to see all the goofy situations of classic Trek will forever at least give the new shows a chance. If enough of those people exist, and I’m sure there are plenty of them, then perhaps we could see something like a true revival.
But the sad reality is that these people are in the minority. Most people who watch American TV aren’t into science fiction like Star Trek or Next Generation. A good number of folk can’t tell the difference between sci-fi that’s actually steeped in science and science that the writer pulled out of their ass. They might not even care. They just want to see spaceships explode in space.
I would know. My big sister is in that crowd. It’s quite humiliating.
Most people aren’t as picky as nerds like I am and you might be. Some people are like cats; they just want something shiny to distract them from the inevitability of boredom and death. It doesn’t matter if it puts their little gray cells to work or if it’s just ‘thing goes boom!’ They’ll take it. Don’t believe me? There are people out there who will defend the finale of Game of Thrones because we as a species do not deserve to exist!
Another problem is in the simple fact that the old shows still exist. There are tons of them and they all go on for several seasons with tons of episodes. Most of the stories that really take full use of all of Star Trek’s strengths already exist. That’s why Star Trek disappeared up until Discovery was made. Making more traditional Trek became repetitive.
Not to say that there’s no room for new stories in the Trek universe. A bit of new blood from a passionate writer could help reinvigorate the classic stories in a new, interesting way. Unfortunately, all the new blood working on it are focusing on the new action-oriented version of the universe. And… well, they’re not very good at it.
Why do all the worst writers keep getting all the good jobs?
I do think that there’s still a place for classic-style Star Trek. But I don’t think the chances of it happening are very high. The people still making this series are focusing on all the wrong things and they’re doing too well with it to worry about it. Unless something huge changes at some point, it’ll keep going like this until it vanishes entirely.
But if it makes you feel any better: the old Star Trek is still around.