As much as I enjoyed 2009′s Star Trek, I think part of it was just the euphoria of having new Star Trek after so many years. After Berman and Braga killed the franchise with “These Are the Voyages…”, it was like seeing something I loved beaten to death and then lit on fire while Braga pissed on the corpse. So after that, even bad Star Trek was better than no Star Trek.
This year is the 25th anniversary of TNG, and WIRED just posted an amazing five-page interview with Ron Moore where he looks back on the series. Any hardcore fan would want to bookmark this thing and read it over and over, as it’s an amazing interview with someone who totally gets what makes Star Trek work. He really showed this off when they asked him what it would take to bring Trek back to the small screen:
People have to understand that the Star Trek films are a different animal. And that goes for the original series’ movies, as well as those from The Next Generation, and from J.J. By their nature, the Star Trek films are much more action-oriented, with space battles, big villains, lots of running and jumping. The stakes for Earth and the universe are always enormous.
But the lifeblood of Star Trek’s television shows is its morality plays and social commentary. It’s sci-fi that provides a prism on human society and culture. The movies are never really going to do what the episodes do, like split Picard into two in a transporter beam and then talk philosophically about the nature of humanity, which parts of our strength come from good and which from evil. The movies are never going to do that. Star Trek: The Next Generation was about those moral issues, about how societies grow and are differently affected. None of these are topics that the movies are going to tackle.
To create Star Trek in the form that people are familiar with requires another television series, and I think it will be successful again in that medium. You have to spend some time talking about its form and structure, and how to update it again for a new audience. You still want the “boldly go where no one has gone before” part with a ship, crew and ongoing mission. That’s part and parcel of the franchise.
But you have to be able to tackle big ideas, which are larger than chasing the villain of the week. That’s really not what the series was very good at. I mean, you could look back at the original Star Trek series or The Next Generation and find some cool action-adventure episodes with space battles, but the show is about so much more than that. If you were trying to do that flavor of Star Trek on television every week, it would just fail.
If CBS has an intelligent brain anywhere in that giant corporation, they would be knocking on Ron Moore’s door immediately and backing an army of Brinks trucks up to his house to beg him to spearhead a new Star Trek television series.