Everyone’s doing a “what Star Trek means to me” type post as a result of the movie so if that’s not your thing move along.
I wrote a few months ago in defense of the idea of reboots and adaptations and remakes. The idea was really around the coming Watchmen film and Star Trek. For instance I think it’s highly unlikely that the Land of the Lost remake is going to be any good, while I figured that Star Trek was probably going to be sofa king awesome, as would Watchmen. Geeks in the know are confirming all over that the new Star Trek film (really I do dislike that they just called it “Star Trek” because that’s like Duran Duran having a self titled album in 1980 then having the same title for an album in 1993.) is awesomecake that is not a lie and is in fact served with a massive side of creamy delicious I’ve run out of food metaphors so please remember to spit out the pits.
For the TV shows, long before TNG I’d seen every episode of the original series many times. The first and second movies only cemented my idea that the TOS mythos was my favorite as I was in my pre-teen years. TNG came out at a time where it was clear Trek itself needed a reboot, and TNG is by far a better show. But in some small tiny way it left out a bit from the original series that no matter how it tried it couldn’t capture. That’s not a complaint, it took Trek into new and amazing places. “The Bonding”, “The Inner Light”, “The Best of Both Worlds”, “Chain of Command”, “Frame of Mind”, “I, Borg” – each of these far surpassed even the best of the original Trek, like “City on the Edge of Forever”. While I was raised on the spirit of adventure TOS had, TNG going from my teens into my college years helped me see where really good writing and acting could take the mythos of Star Trek. To this day TNG remains my favorite. I never got into DS9 or Voyager. They were ok I suppose, but really weren’t Trek. After giving Enterprise a fair shake and even being a strong early advocate for it, I now hate it more than any other Trek property ever done due to its reckless re-writing of canon without including the spirit.
I’ve seen every single Star Trek film except Nemesis on opening day. Even Star Trek V. I like 1 despite it’s unearned attempt at grandeur, and think by far II and IV are the best made films. III is hampered by terrible acting and writing in the second act, the less said about V the better, VI again suffers silly second act pretentions, and the TNG films strive for greatness but in each case are undermined. Generations suffered from a massively silly plot device (the nexus), First Contact nerfed the Borg by making them a hive instead of a collective, and Insurrection actually was so silly it openly made fun of Star Trek’s affectation for beating the fuck out of the Enterprise when it ran out of plot.
I found Insurrection so terrible I didn’t bother to see Nemesis in the theaters, despite the fact I think the Enterprise E is the coolest Enterprise ever made. It wants so bad to be Star Trek II , from the “shadow of a past mistake” villain to Data’s Spock-like sacrifice that I want to punch it repeatedly in the neck on live reality TV while screaming “You’ll never be Kahn, you’ll never be Kahn, I’ll kill you before I will let you be Kahn.” Thankfully no one else seems to like it.
So now that I’ve ‘get offa mai lawned’ myself I should say I’ve always had high confidence that the new film was going to be a true to the original spirit Trek. I’m seeing the film this Saturday because I’m currently on vacation at a place where it’s not playing anywhere.
But now, I’m left with a huge concern knowing that it will be a fun experience. What are they going to do now? Consign such a great reboot to movies only? There’s no way they will keep an ensemble cast like that locked into every 2 year movie schedules for very long. Why wasn’t there a plan to segue into a 2 season TV show followed by another film followed by another 2 seasons and a final movie to wrap it up? Do we really expect this set of actors to, like the original crew, play these people into their 70’s?
Then again perhaps that’s what killed Trek for me. Maybe they are laying down the idea that other actors can play these people, and like Bond or Batman or countless other franchises, different flavors are just that.
I’m still looking forward to it, and from what I’ve seen, the new Enterprise looks to knock the E out of my rank. I think there’s probably no better time to be a trekkie (screw that “trekker” silliness) because you get to either discover the great stories via the new movie, or enjoy a reboot that, like every Windows reboot, you hope takes you in a new direction.