Saturday, September 11, 2010

10 ideas a new Trek show should incorporate

Let’s take a moment and look at what made Trek great. Well, many things. It was a great space adventure show, it had cool aliens, cool technology, interesting characters and it offered an interesting view on the future. That special future is what I want to explore here. One of the things Trek was famous for was providing a positive view of humanity while being modeled on our own society. Let’s face it, Trek often dealt with current events and used science-fiction to criticize them.


A new Trek show would need to do that, so here’s my top 10 list of how the crew of a new enterprise should mirror our own society. Simple points that would show the viewers a future they can relate to and hope for.


1. A multi-religious crew. Let’s face it, religious tolerance isn’t at its best these days. Religious terrorists in the Middle East advocate violence against non-believers, redneck preachers in the USA plan to burn the Koran, constant debates about children wearing religious icons at school or the simple teachings of religious ideas vs scientific ones. I know that Roddenberry was an atheist, but I believe a new Trek show should show crew members still practicing various religions and get along just find, embracing it as a difference that makes us humans, even if beliefs aren’t always shared.


2. Sexual openness. Let’s face it, our society is often plain scared of openly talking about sex, so instead, we get movies and tv shows exploiting it. I believe that in the Trek utopia, people would be free to talk about sexual topics and respect each others in the process. Yes, people use the holodeck for sexual fantasies. Everyone suspected it, and it was confirmed in DS9. Let’s show that yes it is natural and people shouldn’t be ashamed of their own sexuality. People should also respect themselves in the process.


3.Homosexuality. We had crewmembers of various races, a blind pilot who later became an engineer, a female captain and various aliens. I think it’s time we got a gay couple on the bridge.


4. Technology and privacy. This is a subject that I believe should be tackled. We live in a society where teenagers live out their lives on social networks and the like, where we share our private thoughts on google, thoughts that are later used for targeted advertising. Some people, myself included, worry about this and take active steps to protect online privacy. Let’s show a future where this is true. Where the captain just doesn’t have access to what crewmembers do in their quarters, where transport inhibiters are placed inside private homes, where you just can’t enter the holodeck during someone else’s private session. Trek, after all, is all about the positive uses of technology, and that means it should be shown as used responsibly.


5.meaningful entertainment. This is something where I feel Trek often failed very hard. Let’s face it; characters in Trek always were interested in antiquated stories and characters. I have no problem with the idea of characters like Sherlock Holmes still being popular in the future, but the Trek universe always felt stagnant in it’s literature to me. Voyager tackled the issue a bit with that one episode where the Doctor writes a holonovel. We need more of that. Let’s see creators taking their role seriously, aka providing meaningful entertainment while offering criticism of society and making the audience think. You know, what Trek should be doing in the first place.


6.The Captain’s power is not absolute. Starfleet isn’t a military institution. Forget what DS9 said, Roddenberry was against the militarization of Starfleet and I happen to agree with him. In fact, we should use the enterprise as a way to mirror our own professional lives and relationship with our superiors. Let’s not show the ship as a dictatorship, but as a place where crewmembers can question the captain’s order when not in a crisis situation. The TNG episode “lower decks” touched the issue of the little guys on a spaceship. Let’s get further into that and show the equivalent of a lower deck union with the power to change certain ship policies that might not be fair to common crewmembers.


7.Copyright issues. This issue was also tackles a bit in “Author, author”, the Voyager episode I mentioned earlier. Let’s face it, copyright issues are an important subject nowadays. Not only the rights authors have regarding their work, but the rights of distributors and customers too. Should works of art belong to everyone? Well, in a moneyless society, piracy isn’t a problem anymore, and that would be a good way of showing artists and authors who create not for profit but to share ideas. We could also see works of art parodied, even modified, and explore the social implications. In fact, I think the crew of a new enterprise would need at least one non-starfleet holodeck program creator, just so we can touch issues like that.


8.Free healthcare. Nothing new here, this was explored in every single episode involving the Ferengi and sick bay. Still, wouldn’t hurt to remind watchers that essential services such as healthcare are free in the future and that a doctor will treat every patient with respect and dignity.


9.Command transparency. Here’s an idea. On a regular basis, the captain and senior staff members have to declassify their official log entries for the crew to review. Crewmembers would then be allowed to criticize their superiors. A recent study showed that 75% of red shirt deaths are avoided if the Captain has to account for his actions at the end of the month.


10.Crazy, out of this world technology. Trek was always about technology. Let’s show amazing medical advancements, new AI technologies, basically any tech that would captivate the audience’s imagination. One important note here, it’s about technology that’s truly revolutionary, not technology that just looks great.


Those are my ideas. I definitely think a new Trek show would be possible, but not under producers that worry more about ratings and copyrights then telling a good story. So I’m looking at you, fanfic writers. Let the people know good Trek can still be done. If you wrote or worked on a trek story in any form, or if you just know of a good one, leave a comment.

6 comments:

  1. Free health care is far too unlikely a innovation to happen in the next few hundred years. Better to dream of beaming across galaxies or magazines with no adverts that slip out or a toaster that doesn't burn your toast to inedibility.

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  2. Sorry. New Trek sounds like day old bread to this grizzled old fan. There's plenty of what I call 'real' Trek for me. Something new would just confuse all of us here at the home.

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  3. Sadly i feel that all new Star Trek Shows and Movies is going to be Jersey Shore with a little touch of Star Wars. I think the only place to get a Good Star Trek will be Novel\Comics and Fan Fiction. Its a sad day for Star Trak.

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  4. I agree: more utopianism, more tech, and yes, tech privacy.

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  5. 1. DS9 actually did this pretty well, I found one of the most enjoyable parts about it was watching Sisko, an empirical Starfleet captain, interacting with people who saw him as a religious icon. I recall constantly wanting to punch Bajoran religious nuts in the face (Wynn, that bitch, I can't believe she survived all the way to the last episode, I wanted to fucking kill her every time she opened her mouth)
    2. Hard to do on network television, but I always saw the taboo nature of sexual conversation to have something to do with the multi-species interaction, and that in most cultures, explicit sexual details are taboo.
    3. Once again, DS9 came close, and hosted the first network television appearance of the lesbian kiss, (Dax and her previous host's wife) But yeah, a gay couple definitely needs to hit network television and Star Trek is certainly the perfect medium for it.
    4. I always saw trek as taking place in a future in which the culture of openness was so pervasive that no privacy (beyond that of basic human dignity) was necessary or welcome.
    5. This always bugged me too. Why did noone ever walk into the holodeck and engage a star-fighter simulation or something newer than 16th century literature? I mean, by that time frame, OURS will be the "classic" literature, they should be reliving the exploits of Columbo, not Sherlock Holmes, or participating in the adventures of Dr Who, or reliving the Lethal Weapon movies. And people will be like "Wow, you sure do have a taste for the classics."
    6. This also bugged me, and even in the "Lower Decks" they were following around low ranking officers. Not many people know this, but Starfleet ranks are identical to US Navy ranks. This helped alot when I enlisted myself, I didn't have to memorize them, I knew them by heart... But Starfleet is not limited to commissioned officers. There are also enlisted men, ranking from basic crewmen, to petty officers 1st 2nd and 3rd class, and Chiefs, Senior Chiefs, and Master Chiefs. As far as I know, only one person who ever had a speaking role was an enlisted man, and that was Senior Chief Miles Edward O'Brien. (if you look closely, his rank insignia in TNG were a different color than the officers and they referred to him as a transporter chief, but never made much about the fact that he was enlisted, not an officer. In DS9 his rank insignia was actually a small set of chevrons indicating his rank, identical to the ones on enlisted Navy uniforms.) I did like the fact that he was one of the most competent and educated people on the Enterprise and DS9.
    7. That seems like an episode issue, not a recurring theme, it's an irrelevant problem to starfleet, it would have to come from another species.
    8. Also not a relevant issue to starfleet, but might be tackled through another race.
    9. meh.
    10. This is what worries me about the franchise. Real life technology is approaching Star Trek levels so fast, the franchise may soon become obsolete. There is an impending technology explosion, almost certain to leave Trek gadgets in the dust very rapidly. Google "The Technological Singularity" or watch the movie "The Transcendent Man". Very soon technology will advance so rapidly it will show Roddenberry's estimates to be highly conservative.

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  6. Hell I would have love to have seen a Trek series based around a reconstruction era Federation after the Domionion war and see since the Federation and Romulians came out the best, see them evolve into a kind of cold war situation between them.

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