Saturday, June 16, 2012


It should go without saying, but interesting characters are the key. The best TV shows (BSG, The Wire, The Shield) knew how to do great character work. It's not just giving your main characters progressive arcs, but it's also building an interesting supporting cast. That's often where Trek has fallen short. They've favored huge regular casts where almost none of the characters get real depth (Enterprise and Voyager, I'm looking at you), they lacked good supporting characters (TNG and Original series), or both (Voyager).

Trek creator Gene Roddenberry allegedly was pretty picky about which flaws and foibles his heroes could show, given that the Federation is pretty much a utopia. Captain Picard said that humanity has moved beyond greed and is pretty much interested only in enlightened pursuits, like charting gas giants and using the Holodeck to recreate 17th century sailing ships. The trick is to strike a balance. Humanity as a whole should be doing much better than us, with poverty and racism pretty much wiped out by the 23rd century, much less the 24th and 25th. But individual humans should still have their flaws.

But humanity's just the beginning. Since Mr. Spock, we've had aliens as main characters. Most of the series have been human heavy, with a couple of non-human regulars (who often look human, IE, the EMH on Voyager and Troi on TNG) sprinkled in. I say, f that noise. Build on the various aliens we've seen. Why not have an Andorian Captain? A Vulcan who doesn't share the same Vulcan mono-culture that we've seen in 5 series and 11 movies? Aliens who, by virtue of living in the Federation, aren't all that alien?

So here's what I picture. 5 or so regular cast members. A BUNCH of supporting characters that pop up in a goodly number of episodes, but not all the time. If you have a story to tell with them, great, use them in as many episodes as you want. If you don't have any thing to do with them, just don't use them for a while. Instead of having filler episodes where we watch Geordi try to fuck a hologram, maybe just let him sit out this week, and have LeVar shoot an extra episode or two of Reading Rainbow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Idea #1 - setting

Casual Trek fans may not know this, but as we true disciples of Trekdom can tell you, there are multiple eras and locations where Trek has taken place. The Kirk/Spock stories are set in the 23rd century, Next Gen and DS9 are in the 24th century Alpha Quadrant (mostly) and Voyager was in the 24th century, but in the Delta Quadrant (mostly). That's without getting to the prequel Enterprise series, which was set in the 22nd century, and the currently-being-made J.J. Abrams films, which are set in the 23rd century, but in an alternate reality, allowing Kirk and Spock's lives to unfold differently from what we saw in the 60's tv show. So with all those options, when and where should a proposed Trek series take place?

The answer, is of course, none of the above. We should break new ground. The 23rd century is well covered, the 24th century even more so. And we should give wide berth to the 23rd era Abrams Trek, which is ongoing. The 22nd century has some wiggle room, but I think it's limiting to go backwards.

Thusly (definitely a word), I propose that the next Trek series take place in the early 25th century. It's far enough that we get a clean break and don't have to follow up on plotlines from TNG/DS9/VOY, but not so far as to make the future unrecognizable. We can keep the same societies, but see how they've changed. We can use new characters, but occasionally see what older ones are up to. Hint: Picard is definitely head of the Federation Diplomatic Corps.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Star Trek Idea Blog

So, in light of the fact that this blog has been neglected worse than America's need for renewable energy sources, I'm going to be shifting formats. I did all my reviews of the new 52, though my drunken layabout cousin didn't do his. If you don't like that he didn't hold up his end of the bargain, contact him at, he responds pretty promptly and he loves threats.

The new format? In thoughtful discussions bursts of nerdy gchats with my friend Mike (who has an awesome site call, we realized that we were both hungry for a new Star Trek series. The JJ Abrams Trek series is excellent, but Trek started on TV, and surely there's room for both film and TV trek to coexist. The only problem is that I don't own my own Hollywood studio, and I'm not independently wealthy. Okay, I am independently wealthy, but my investments are all tied up in my alpaca farm, Zach's Famous Alpacas. Please note that my alpacas are famous for their quality, they are not famous in the sense of being celebrities. I do not have Christian Bale-ish alpacas or anything.

But yeah, so in light of not having the liquid capital to finance my own new Trek series, I'm going to post ideas about what I'd like to see, what i think would work, what to avoid, in a new Trek series.