It’s currently being reported by the website Birth Movies Death that Bryan Fuller’s new Star Trek TV series will be an anthology program, with each season featuring a new cast and taking place in a new setting; it’s also being indicated that the first of these seasons, which will air in 2017, will be taking place prior to The Next Generation, but after The Undiscovered Country.
The report in question can be read here, and it’s got a few more details about the whole prospect. Although at this stage everything remains speculation, you can understand what would attract producers to this model; for example, it means that higher profile stars can be attracted to the project, because of the reduced time commitments. (Just look at True Detective, which has pioneered this anthology format; each year a new set of Hollywood movie stars star in this TV show.)
In any case, of course, I don’t really know much about the veracity of these details - but I’ve definitely got a few ideas for this series to explore… along with some pretty punny titles!
1). The Next Next Generation
It’s something we’ve seen examined in the expanded universe, and briefly hinted at in JJ Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek movie, but never onscreen - just what, exactly, happened following the events of Deep Space Nine?
We know, of course, that the galaxy was in a very changed state; Cardassia was being forced to rebuild, the Dominion had been beaten back, Bajor was on the verge of joining the Federation, etc. JJ Abrams’ movie established that Romulus was destroyed by a supernova in 2387, leaving one of the galaxy’s major political powers in an irrevocably changed position.
Beyond that, though, we know nothing - and there’s endless potential because of it. The stage is set; all we would need is for the story to begin.
2). Game of Qo’nos
Something that always comes up when fans are discussing a new Star Trek show is one that’s focussed entirely on an alien race - most typically, it’s the Klingons that are suggested. (Though it’d be futile to resist a Borg show!)
Normally, of course, this wouldn’t quite be feasible; the high costs of makeup and so forth each episode to convincingly create a cast of Klingon regulars would normally be too high an expense for a long running series. But as a single season of an anthology program, the idea begins to look a little more possible…
The benefit of such a program is pretty clear; it’d be a unique opportunity to really delve into the culture of one of science fiction’s most famous alien races, with potential for some excellent, almost Shakespearean drama - after all, you’ve never truly experienced Shakespeare until you’ve read him in the original Klingon!
3). Fear The Walking Borg
Of course, the Klingons aren’t the only iconic alien race that Star Trek has produced - right up there alongside them are the Borg, who are (for my money at least) certainly the scariest adversaries any intrepid Captain ever faced.
Voyager, in its years on the air, established that the Borg had a formidable presence in the Delta Quadrant - why not a season set there? It wouldn’t need much, if any, connection to the larger federation; we can see a group of ragtag refugees, fleeing from the greatest threat the galaxy has ever seen.
An idea like this - something of a blend between Firefly and The Walking Dead - has the potential to be a landmark sci-fi horror show; over the course of the season, we can get to know the characters, learn to love them, and champion their plight… only to watch in horror as they are assimilated by the Borg. Resistance is futile…
4). Saving Private Romulus
One of the greatest cases of lost potential that Star Trek has ever experienced was the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise before it embarked on its fifth season, which would have focused on the Earth-Romulan war.
Considered a defining moment in Earth’s history, this was the first time our planet engaged in a war with aliens - you’d posit this series as the gritty and realistic war movie incarnation of Trek. Interestingly, though, one of the key facets of the Romulan war is the fact that the Romulans kept themselves hidden; it was a secret from much of humanity that the Romulans were closely related to the Vulcans, Earth’s greatest ally.
This show wouldn’t just be space battles - it’s political machinations against a hidden enemy, with cloak and dagger, subtlety and subterfuge, and all manner of clandestine operation. Most alluring about this concept, however, is the potential to return to Trek’s tradition of allegory - the idea of fighting a war with an enemy who are so closely linked to our own side is one which is particularly relevant today.
5). The Man in the Space Castle
With the recent success of Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, and the fact that Enterprise’s most popular episodes were those centred around the Mirror Universe, it’s clear that audiences are fascinated by these “what if?” concepts - so why not set an entire season in the Mirror Universe?
Perhaps this season could be done in a Sliding Doors type fashion; two concurrent storylines would play out, one in the prime universe, and one in the mirror universe. We can see the two sides of our crew, getting to know them on either side of the mirror, and exploring how similar events can shape these people in wildly different ways.
Imagine, for a moment, a season finale with scenes not dissimilar to this moment from the second season of Arrow - seamlessly edited transitions between universes, watching the climaxes of our dual narratives unfold at once. I think it’d make for some really compelling viewing.
Regardless of what we see explored in this series, though, I’m confident of one thing - it’ll be absolutely fantastic.
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