Saturday, 24 January 2015

The CW or Any Other Network

Slow news month?!

Both December and January have provided their share of tepid Star Trek stories be it #bringinriker or more recently the news that the CW would love to air a new Star Trek series.

Quick background point -  the CW did pick up some of the pieces when the UPN network closed in 2006. That network launched with Voyager if you recall (very relevant given the anniversary last week) and it is linked to CBS which would make even more sense since they own the TV rights to Star Trek. Anyway,  this is just about as heavy a news story as the possibility that Frakes could, maybe direct Star Trek 3

Apparently a network would like to show a new series.  To quote myself from a previous post,  I'm sure any network if you asked them would like to air a new Star Trek series. Heck, anyone called Nickelodeon yet?  OK - the demographic would be a factor here and looking at the CW Network they do have shows such as Supernatural, The Flash, Arrow and more which certainly fit the fantasy genre which might mean Star Trek gaining a younger audience. Cue young cast.

With production under way in some form for the next movie interest will be rife. Saying this will raise interest in your network in turn and finding a home for new Star Trek show would be a sinch. It's a lot hotter property than it was in 2005 thanks to JJ Abrams but it's rebirth in the cinema rather than its original intended TV format certainly mixes things up.

However it's not finding a home that's the issue.  It's the nature of the show. Times they are a (constantly) changing and just as the movies have had to adapt and even reboot,  the show would need to as well to engage an audience that will be familiar with shows that changed the TV landscape since These are the Voyages narked off the fan base.

So I've been thinking,  what would the show need to have that it wouldn't have had back in the day to make it a success?  I reckon there are a few we need to adhere to and I'm only mentioning three that seem very relevant because it's a no-brainer that we'll need a complex, diverse crew on a starship exploring new worlds and new civilisations. Heck, if we can't get that in there we've no chance.

No One is Safe

In line with every major series going from Lost to Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead and more, the cast can't be a steady nine characters for the duration of the show. Hit the "realism" button and make us believe that this is real - people do die and that is something that a lot of shows do grip firmly these days. The franchise managed to kill high profile regular Spock, Yar, Dax, Kirk, Data and Tucker so it's not afraid to stick its neck out occasionally. What we're calling for is regular cast changes and updates to keep it fresh.

Reduced Seasons

A sign of the times that will mean this has to be a tight, honed, well-produced show where not a minute is wasted. There's no more time for filler episodes that we could all name in a second from Deep Space Nine in a 13 or 16 episode run. Every one has to count, has to have an impact and that weekly reset button has to be disconnected. 

Could this maybe mean a slightly longer running time on each episode that in turn would mean avoiding some of those horribly rushed endings we tended to get to close it all down within 44 minutes? If you recall when The Next Generation started the episode run time was nearer 50 minutes discounting adverts and by the end of Voyager it was close to 42. 

Real Issues

Not that Star Trek has ever shied away from that but now these need to be hit head on. There HAS to be an openly gay/lesbian/bisexual character; there has to be a modernisation of storytelling and style to make this modern and attractive to the cinema-goer who is only familiar with the JJ Abrams movies. 

No coping out on those issues either as I kind of feel they did with Rejoined which sidestepped the issue by making it a Trill storyline. The kiss, just like the one in Plato's Stepchildren ended up just a flash in the pan sensation in a fairly average episode. Perhaps my biggest disappointment with the franchise that it has failed to make a full and proper acknowledgement of single sex relationships.

Sadly the JJ-verse is probably going to need to be the setting due to that cinematic presence so bye bye Captain Worf/Sulu et al.

And Finally...

Maybe the other consideration is who precisely is going to be responsible for bringing back Star Trek to the TV? I don't mean which network will consider it right for their demographic but who will be the Roddenberry or Berman for the 21st Century? Who could be a contender? Would Ronald D Moore think about a return to the franchise that made him? (I'm seeing a follow-up piece here).

Maybe that conversation is for another day. Right now, today though the interest in bringing back Star Trek to its natural format on the small screen is increasing and next year will only magnify that interest 100 times over. Could 2016 be the year that we get that new show or at least get the announcement of a new show? Only today I discovered that The X-Files could be getting a restart with the original Mulder and Scully partnership and if that's possible then anything can happen in this crazy madcap world.

Our thoughts here are just a starter born from a slow news story - but what would make this new show DIFFERENT? What would we get in today's environment that we would not have seen in 80's or 90's Star Trek

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