The fictional future looks bleak. Well, in most cases that is. The movies, TV shows and books that attempt to peek into the future have been more dystopian than utopian. I get that makes for more interesting stories. But wouldn’t it be nice if we saw a future that wasn’t dark, dangerous and where the bad guys won most of the time.
But wait. We have seen a future like that. Way back in the 1960s when Gene Roddenberry boldly went where (almost) no television series went before. That little show was Star Trek. And fifty years later, 5 series, 14 movies and more books that one person could possibly read in a lifetime, the show continues to live on and prosper. And this Fall, CBS has announced the newest addition to the franchise: Star Trek Discovery.
This will be the first new Star Trek series in over ten years (yes, I’m counting the underwhelming Enterprise). It’s also the first series to come out after JJ Abrams created the “parallel universe”. It does appear to take place in the classic world, about a decade before the first series. Yes, this time we’re going back in time.
The show features new characters and ships, but will have a few familiar names. Spock’s daddy Sarek is a big player in this new series. The first officer of one of the ships, Michael Burnham, was raised by Sarek (and yes, Michael is a human female). The show runners promise that the details of this story will not disrupt the history of Spock and family. I’m sure the mega-fans will speak up if it does.
Another classic Star Trek character who’s been spotted on the cast list is Harry Mudd, one of the few non-Starfleet characters to show up more than once in the series. It will be interesting to see what the soon-to-be Tribbles salesman (and charlatan) got up to in his early days.
So what else do we know about this new Star Trek series? It’s set to have the franchise’s first gay character (not counting the “tip of hat” gay Sulu in the movies). And it’s supposed to involve the Klingon Cold War. The story itself will be continuous, which is very different from the episodic style of all the former series. Oh, and only the first episode will be shown on network television (CBS). For the rest, you’ll have to subscribe to their All Access on-line viewing service. Taking us where most television seems to be going…
The one thing that fills me with a great deal of confidence about this series is that Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, American Gods) is producing and writing it. Though his stuff is a little more on the surreal end, it will be interesting to see where he takes sci-fi. Especially post-Abrams more action-packed vision.
There’s no doubt there’ll be some trying times for this next group of Starfleet adventurers. But it will be great to see that their world is a little closer to utopia than most. It gives us all hope that the future won’t totally terrible. As long as we have Star Trek old and new, it can’t be all that bad. Can it?