Friday, May 13, 2005

Star Trek ends tonight.

At least for the time being. I have no doubt that Star Trek will be back at some point. Given that Hollywood loves to recycle old ideas (Dukes of Hazard movie, anyone?), it is inevitable that Trek will be back eventually.

So, what do I think killed it? I think it was a combination of things. First, I think the "leadership" of Rick Berman, who has run the Trek franchise since Gene Roddenberry passed away, has been seriously lacking. Berman is not a man of vision. He's a suit. He took the formula Gene developed with the original Star Trek and The Next Generation and continued it on through Voyager and Enterprise. (Deep Space Nine is the exception, and that is the "modern" series that Berman had the least to do with.) Even the quality of Enterprise episodes took a big step up when Manny Coto took over running the show during the 4th season. Coincidence? I think not.

Second, and a lot of people don't agree with this, but I do think there is an element of "franchise fatigue" here. I said before Enterprise premiered that Star Trek needed some time off. People just don't get as excited about a new series anymore. If you eat ice cream every day, even if you love ice cream, you will eventually get sick of it. I think there's an element of that in 18 years and about 700 hours of Star Trek since The Next Generation premiered in 1987.

That said, when Star Trek does return, I think it's critical that Paramount hire a whole new creative staff with a new vision of the Star Trek universe, while still remaining true to Gene Roddenberry's core beliefs. A Star Trek focusing on some kind of apocolyptic future (like the new Battlestar Galactica, as good as it is), just isn't Star Trek. The basic optimistic view of humanity's future has to be there.

We survived a whole decade of no Star Trek in the '70s (except for the animated series). I think fandom will be OK if the show takes a few years off.

So, farewell, Star Trek. I'm sure we'll meet again.


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