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Monday, July 31, 2017

What Might Have Been, What Might Yet Be

Entertainment websites are reporting that rumours about Bryan Fuller's vision for the new Star Trek television series were apparently true: Fuller intended to produce an anthology show, with each season representing a different era in Star Trek's timeline. Apparently CBS reined in that ambition a little, so unless things change radically, Star Trek: Discovery will remain fixed in the decade or so before the original series.

Discovery will have to stand on its own merits, but it's fun to speculate what might have been:

  • A season set in the Star Trek: The Motion Picture era, with that decade's design aesthetic, measured pacing, and big ideas
  • A season set during the months leading up to the Eugenics Wars/World War III/the post-atomic horror, with a coda about First Contact and recovery
  • A season of Captain Sulu on the Excelsior
  • A season set in the far future, post TNG/DS9/VOY, perhaps about the beginnings of intergalactic travel
  • A season about ordinary non-Starfleet life on Earth/Vulcan/Andor/Mars (So many possibilities. Since the Federation is post-scarcity, you could focus on people figuring out what to do with their time, which might be a fun vehicle for some hilarity...) 
  • A season set during the Star Trek: Enterprise era, set during the Romulan War
  • A season about the adventures of Gary Seven in the 60s and 70s
  • A season set during the original series, with period costumes, sets, special effects, story conventions and (!) commercials (they could totally do this in the world of streaming binge television!) 
  • An anthology season within the anthology series, with each episode about a character (main or guest) from any of the previous shows
  • A season with Star Trek characters appearing on our world, and being amazed to discover that to us Star Trek is just a TV show (I know that this is an old trope, exploited most recently by John Scalzi in Redshirts, but I think this could be tons of metafictional fun.) 
It's possible that Star Trek: Discovery will turn out to be a fine show, one we might follow two or three or four or seven seasons in the traditional Trek manner. Or maybe Fuller will come back and realize his original ambitious vision. Wouldn't that be something? 

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