A prequel to the original Star Trek TV series involving time travelers from the future trying to change the course of history â€¦ Havenâ€™t we seen this already? Wasnâ€™t it called Enterprise, then later Star Trek: Enterprise? Wasnâ€™t it canceled because people didnâ€™t find this a compelling scenario?
Thatâ€™s the great thing about the Star Trek franchise: the folks in charge never learn from their mistakes, ever. Case in point: the new Star Trek movie, slated for release in 2009, contains the elements listed above.
Sure, J.J. Abrams is in the driverâ€™s seat this time. Props to Mr. Lost, but a bad premise will drag down a good director.
Allow me to address the franchise masters: Folks, Star Trek started as a show about exploration, and thatâ€™s still how it works best. Remember strange new worlds, new life and new civilizations, and all that? Each week the crew found some new, bizarreÂ space crap and had to deal with it. That was the show.
Nowadays, Star Trek explores itself, discovering new and uninteresting trivia about its own characters and its invented future history. There was an Enterprise episode where we got to see the real first contact between Earth men and Ferengi. You remember them, right? There was a Ferengi barkeeper on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Finally, we got to learn the historical context that enabled him to have that bar. Yeah!
In the new movie, weâ€™ll get to see Kirk and Spock as children. Who was the bedwetter, and who had the most baseball cards? Can you feel the anticipation?
I say less backstory, more exploration. Sure, some of the things the old crew discovered were just goofy. (Remember the giant space amoeba?) But at least the writers tried to make you think.
Or, if they had no thought-provoking ideas that week, they tried to freak you out… which is almost as good.