It’s arguably the most prolific sci-fi TV franchise in the history of the genre, rivaled only by Doctor Who. Could Star Trek make a return to weekly episodic television? More importantly, should it?
Rumors have been running rampant lately that CBS is strongly considering bringing Star Trek back to TV screens in some fashion. While that immediately sounds mouth-watering on paper, there’s a lot more than just the thought to consider in a situation like this.
As much as Star Trek fans salivate over the idea of bringing Trek back to television, no one would want to it done poorly.
With that said, let’s break down and analyze the things that would need to be taken into consideration for a Trek television return to work.
How much of a role would the budget play?
This is the most obvious question, so we’re going to get it out of the way first. Can Star Trek operate on a limited budget?
Obviously, TV shows have very different budgets to work with as opposed to movies. While the special effects work shown off in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies has been fantastic, it wouldn’t be feasible in a TV environment. Then again, Star Trek didn’t exactly make its name off of high-end SFX.
The original series was delightfully cheesy and its effects primitive, yet still captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people. There is a fantastic example here that shows off what a modern day Star Trek would look like with a limited budget.
Case in point, Trek can function on a limited budget if need be.
Would a new TV series tie in with the new movies?
Quite literally the million dollar question. Should CBS go through with a push to bring Star Trek back to TV, would it be a reboot of one of the classic shows, or something original that potentially ties in with J.J. Abrams’ movies?
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., while a cat of an entirely different breed, is proof that a well produced TV show that advances storylines and characters from a cinematic universe can not only succeed, but also thrive.
Still, Trek originated on TV and the concept will always seem better suited to an episodic television format. The Star Trek universe is one that I want to check in with every week, as opposed to having to consume my adventures in two-hour increments every few years.
While it would be extremely cool to see the TV show advance the cinematic universe of the new Trek films, I would personally rather see an original TV show get off the ground and start up a new line of movies that would tie in with it instead.
How much headway is there on a new Star Trek TV series?
More than you might think! The concept for a new Star Trek TV show has allegedly made it all the way to a name and script. Star Trek: Federation is the rumored title of the concept and rumors are circulating that it may have made it all the way into pilot script territory before the whole thing cooled off.
Either way, all the pieces are in place if and when CBS decides to pull the trigger on this project. Of course, even ironing out all of those nitty gritty details, it doesn’t much matter if it’s possible to pull off a Trek TV reboot without asking the following question:
Would a Star Trek TV show succeed in 2015?
I know this probably sounds like a stupid question but it’s one that needs to be asked. Even if the stars align properly and make a new TV series possible, would it actually succeed in 2015? It’s a tough question.
While the market for TV shows in 2015 is about as volatile as it’s ever been, I think Doctor Who is a prime example of what can be done with a beloved sci-fi TV product if it’s done correctly. Who has been in existence for over half a century, though it only returned to television a mere 10 years ago following a very long layoff.
Since its return, Doctor Who is enjoying, arguably, more success than it ever has. It’s a powerhouse of television and the fact that there are theatrical releases for its Christmas specials, series premieres and series finales is a testament to its power.
I personally feel that Star Trek has that exact same potential, so long as it’s helmed by people who love the Star Trek universe and its characters and, more importantly, the sci-fi genre itself. Either way, in a market permeated with mediocre sitcoms and endless spin-offs of successful shows, there is plenty of room for an exceptional return to televised glory for the Star Trek franchise.