Hey, whaddaya know?
Yesterday being Sunday, there was another episode of the always fun G and T Show, the Star Trek-themed podcast hosted by friends Terry Lynn Shull, Nick Minecci, and Mike Medeiros. Given all the hoopla that seems to have consumed…ahem…certain segments of Star Trek fandom in recent weeks, the show’s profile has been a bit elevated. You’d think they’d use this opportunity to solidify themselves as a bastion of Trek fandom and news, but nooooOOOOOooooo! They had to invite me and my particular brand of lunacy to help fill a few minutes.
They’ll learn their lesson. You know…one of these days.
So, what’s up with the latest “Ask Dayton” query?
By now, you’ve surely heard about Bryan Fuller taking the helm of the new Star Trek series and Nicholas Meyer being brought onboard to write and produce. What do you think they should do with the new series? What would you do with it if you were asked to join them on this latest effort? Thanks.
Yep, fandom has been abuzz for months with the revelation that a new Star Trek series is in development and slated to premiere next January on CBS’ own internet streaming service, CBS All Access. This excitement is further fueled by word that fan favorite Trek alumni Bryan Fuller and Nicholas Meyer are now attached to the project.
There are, of course, those cynical folks out there who don’t think CBS must have a lot of faith in this new series if they’re “banishing” it to a streaming service. I’m guessing these are the same people who’ve never heard of shows like Orange Is the New Black or House of Cards and the ass loads of awards and A-list talent these efforts attract to another little known, seldom used service called Netflix. I mean…Kevin Fucking Spacey, people. That dude could make reading the directions on a pack of suppositories look cool and sound like Shakespeare, for shit’s sake. If he and Robin Wright are okay headlining an internet series, I think the rest of us should just calm the fuck down for a while.
What do I think Messrs. Fuller, Meyer and whoever else climbs aboard this new Trek train should do? Anything they want, yo. There aren’t very many people I’d say that about when it comes to developing a new Star Trek series, but these two guys are at the top of a very short list. Fuller’s always been one of those people Trekkies have wanted back in the fold, anyway, dating back to about six seconds after Enterprise was canceled back in 2005. He and Ronald D. Moore in charge of a new Trek series is the stuff of which fan wet dreams are made. I don’t know what Moore’s up to, these days, but if the next announcement is that he’s coming aboard, too? I’d probably die from spontaneous total fluid loss. People will be suing for emotional distress once they’re done cleaning up the mess I leave behind, all right?
What should a new Star Trek series be about? To be perfectly honest and as I’ve said elsewhere, at this point I’d almost welcome a complete reset of the basic premise. I don’t necessarily mean a new take on Kirk, Spock, and the classic characters, but essentially a fresh take based on what we now understand about science and technology and how it affects our everyday lives, our continued exploration of the cosmos, and how we now look forward and imagine what form the future will take.
Of course, while looking out over a landscape that seems littered with all manner of dystoptian visions of that future, or just everything being doused in heaping helpings of doom and gloom, one has to wonder if Star Trek, with its overall positive outlook, can once again be relevant. I’d argue that it’s never been irrelevant, and like the turbulent decade of the 1960s in which the original series was born, now’s the perfect time for Star Trek to assert itself and its inspiring message of what we can do to better ourselves if we just quit dicking around. I believe that if anything can take a good hard look at what and where we are now and what and where we’d like to be, it’s Star Trek.
That worked pretty well for its time in the 1960s and again in the 1980s, but if we’re being totally honest, pretty much everything after that was basically just mixing up the playing pieces and putting them in different places on the same board. After fifty years, it doesn’t seem so outlandish to start fresh, working forward from today’s perspective, and then build out “the Star Trek philosophy” based on how we look at things in 2016 versus 1966.
Some people will read or hear that last bit and think I mean somehow jettisoning everything that made Star Trek what it was, and to them I say go back and read or listen to what I wrote again. Other properties have reimagined themselves for a new age, a few of them more than once. Are we saying that characters and premises like Batman, Superman, Battlestar Galactica or James Bond can do it, but Star Trek is forever consigned to a 1960s outlook on everything, or it doesn’t work? I call bullshit on that.
Star Trek is at its best when commenting on the issues of the day while disguising its parables and messages within its “science fiction-ish” veneer. When you pull that aside, Star Trek’s core tenets have always put forth the idea that we’re better than we were, we can be better than what we are, and how we get there is where the interesting stories are to be found. I mean, it’s not as though the basic issues the original series used to comment on have gone anywhere, right? Plus, we even have a few new ones to toss into the mix.
So, make me a Star Trek show that does some of that. I’ll leave the details like characters and setting and ships and stuff to the folks in charge. As for me working on the show? I think we all know the only thing I’ll ever be called up to do on a new Star Trek TV series, or really anything in Hollywood, is take people’s lunch orders, so let’s put all those little bits of wishful thinking back in our junk drawers, all right?
That said, if they decide to adapt Star Trek Vanguard for the screen and they don’t call me, Mack and Dilmore to help out? I’m probably going to have to hop the fence at CBS, tunnel my way into the production offices, and start doling out Atomic Wedgies.
Don’t let it come to that, people.
This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #227 on March 6th, 2016. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.
As always, thanks to Nick, Terry and Mike for continuing to make me a part of their show.