The latest on Star Trek's return to TV

Depending on where you fall on the Trekkie spectrum, you will either be delighted or disgusted by the decision to set the series in the shows original timeline.

Star Trek, Deep Space Nine, Bryan Fuller, Nicholas Meyer, J.J. Abrams, The Undiscovered Country, The Next Generation,Gene Roddenberry

Star Trek Returns

When CBS announced recently that their new Star Trek television series- due to air in 2017, would be set in the "Prime Universe"- (as opposed to J.J. Abrams' bastardised reboot-verse), fans imaginations were sent into warp drive about what shape the series could take. Well now more details have emerged about what show-runner Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) has in mind. And, as all the disparate elements start to congeal, it looks as if the first TV installment of the iconic sci-fi series may well 'live long and prosper'.

First up, Academy Award nominee Nicholas Meyer is involved with shaping the series, his proximity to 13-inches of gold giving him critical kudos.

But that's nothing compared to the eminence he holds to Trekkies, Trekkers and all kinds of Gene Roddenberry fanatics. This is the man who,after all, saved the series after the commercial and critical flop that was Star Trek : The Motion Picture, by penning The Wrath of Khan, now considered a classic of the sci-fi genre.



Shaking the universe up with a more militaristic look, Meyer also upped the stakes by insuring that the cast and crew of the Enterprise didn't escape unscathed, breaking hearts and box office records in the process.


What can Meyer tell us about his involvement with this new iteration of Roddenberry's vision? Speaking to Den of Geek- "The one thing I can relate to you is that The Undiscovered Country is a real taking-off point, or touchstone for how (Fuller's) thinking about the new show."


Setting the new show after the events of the last movie that centered around the original crew, positions it as taking place long before Jean Luc-Picard and the rest of The Next Generation crew were even born. This means a wholly new crew and story.

Added to this, The Mary Sue reports that the new show could be an anthology like Ryan Murphy's American Crime/Horror Story and John Ridley's American Crime, so the story would be rebooted every year, expanding the universe exponentially.

A 2008 interview between Fuller and MTV hints that the Pushing Daisies creator may even be rejigging the format of the series. "You always have a captain, a doctor, a security officer and the same arguments based on those perspectives. It starts to feel too familiar."

So could this mean moving the show away from a space ship, a la Deep Space Nine, Star Trek's narrative and emotional zenith? Will it be a spy show set in the shadowy world of Section 31, the Federation's version of Mossad? Or will it be a more teen-friendly drama set in Star Fleet Academy?


There are so many ways for this cookie-and our dreams, to crumble. In that same interview Fuller said that he wants to go back to the 'spirit and colour of the original series', while also hailing DS9 as the best of the modern series, because it was 'so emotionally complicated'.

That latter show strongly paralleled the horrors emerging from Bosnia and Rwanda at the time that it aired, while Meyer was the first writer to place racial prejudice and xenophobia in the mouths and actions of Federation characters.

 

The Undiscovered Country, which Meyer wrote, is set after a peace treaty between the Klingons and the Federation, and was inspired by the end of Cold War politics. Considering the current global climate, will this new show be a return to the escapism and LOLs that Roddenberry first created, or a scary metaphorical vision of a our future?

Only time will tell.

The show is rumored to air January 2017, just after the shows 50th anniversary this September, and six months after the third entry in the rebooted movie franchise. But one thing that is for sure, for those who loathed everything J.J. Abrams did to the series, solace can be taken in this revealing quote from Meyer, given to Crave in 2014.

"I think, and I’ve made this analogy before, that Star Trek is a bottle into which different vintages can be poured. I made a lot of changes because I used to say, 'why are they all wearing pyjamas?' But I didn’t think I changed the characters. I thought Kirk and Spock and those people were who they were. And the biggest thing that shocked me about J.J. was Spock beating the shit out of somebody, and thinking, 'No, that’s changing the shape of the bottle'."