2016 is the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, but you wouldn’t know that based on the output of the current rights holder for the franchise.
Fifty years is a huge milestone. When Disneyland hit fifty, the company celebrated the birthday for eighteen months. Star Trek reaching fifty is a huge deal, but right now the 25th Anniversary back in 1991 was actually a bigger deal than this fiftieth is…so far.
For Star Trek fans who were around to experience the 25th Anniversary in 1991, it was a golden age for Trek. That year we got The Undiscovered Country on the big screen, which went on to be one of the best Trek movies. The Next Generation was also just hitting its stride with the series ending its fourth season and beginning the classic fifth season that September. And there even began to be rumors of a new series on the way that would be set on a frontier space station.
Aside from the television and movie content, Star Trek fans had endless merchandise for the 25th. Many fans remember the NES 25th Anniversary game, and the PC point-and-click adventure game is one of the all-time classics of the genre with the Deluxe CD Edition re-release containing the entire Original Series voice cast.
So far CBS’s handling of the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek is an insult to fans. How are they kicking it off? By re-releasing the exact same Blu-Ray editions of the Star Trek movies in new packaging. Instead of fixing these releases (by actually spending the money to remaster them as needed), they’re just slapping a 50th Anniversary slipcover on the package and asking fans for another $50.
Aside from that, what is there? Star Trek Beyond in theaters in July (which has failed to get fans excited), a concert tour most people won’t really care about, and a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas (which actually happens every.single.year.). It’s not fair to say that we have to have Trek on the small screen, but there are some things that CBS can do to make this 50th matter to fans:
Fix and Remaster the Movies for Blu-Ray:
Throw out those DNR-plagued versions of the movies. Spend the money to make them look great in HD, and also toss money at someone to re-do the 480p special effects for the Star Trek: The Motion Picture Director’s Edition to get that out in HD. Also include the extended cuts of both The Wrath of Khan and Undiscovered Country. Fans WILL buy these if they were corrected. They won’t re-buy the same old discs with new packaging.
Issue Complete Series Blu-Ray Sets for TNG and Enterprise in the US:
These are available in the UK, do them here. The US does have an older TOS Blu-Ray complete series set, so we should get the option for both TNG and Enterprise as they are available on Blu-Ray in individual season sets.
Begin a Line of Canon Novels & Comics:
Star Trek novels and comics have never been canon, they’re just licensed fan fiction. CBS should do what Lucasfilm did and make a unified canon where content from the novels and comics can fit in with the new movies and upcoming television show. Star Trek has a rich history to tap into, and if fans have to wait until January for a new series having canon books and comics is something that can tide them over.
Do a 50th Anniversary TV Special
Even though the new Trek series is coming to CBS All Access streaming next year, they can promote the 50th Anniversary with a two-hour special on the main CBS network. Put it on in prime time, on a day of the week that matters. Bring in cast and Trek experts to look back at the last fifty years of the franchise and what it’s meant to people. Something like this would show that CBS actually cares about the franchise they currently own.
Release Information on the New TV Series
Star Trek fans are starving for any information on the mysterious new series. While they are focused on promoting Star Trek Beyond, they should throw fans a bone about the new show. Tell us when it’s set in the timeline. Is it part of the Abramsverse? Is it going to be ship-based? Give us something, and it will help fans get through this 50th Anniversary drought!
I know people were hoping I’d say to do HD remasters of DS9 or VOY, but I was trying to be realistic here. Fixing the Blu-Rays for the ten feature films is a small project compared to what would be required for Deep Space Nine or Voyager full series HD remasters. The amount of discs those two shows would sell is a lot less than TNG, and it’s honestly not something that seems to be a realistic possibility.
I’ve always loved Star Trek, and it just really annoys me how apathetic CBS seems to be to the franchise on it’s 50th Anniversary. Hopefully we’ll get more out of them as the year goes on.