No word yet on what era--or "universe" (traditional vs. reboot) this will be set in. J.J. Abrams' collaborator, producer Alex Kurtzman will oversee the series. My guess is that if Kurtzman is involved they're going for setting planted in the reboot or "Abrams-verse".
I'm pretty okay with that, being that I enjoyed the '09 reboot (which was more wa-hoo space action than Trek normally identifies with). I'm a lover of all flavors of Trek: original, TNG and beyond, NX-01, you name it.
What I'd like to see...
I'm optimistic regardless, so at the very least my hope is only for a compelling storyline with great characters doing what Starfleet does best--seeking out new life and new civilizations...going where no one has gone before!
But if I had to pick the top five elements to appear in the new series? Hmmmm....
1. A fancy new spaceship. Something definitely "Starfleet-y" but not necessarily the Enterprise. We've seen that old gal so often. Let's keep it as something special for occasional guest appearances and the movies. The new vessel should be sleek and well-prepared to voyage into the unknown, but also designed with a modern perspective. We use touch screens now--something that was predicted with the '88 Next Generation series. Trek is all about the futurism, so it MUST be bleeding-edge, STATE OF THE ART.
2. Alien crew members. Let's throw into this category "artificial" too, since we're well-acquainted with Data by now. A healthy mix of human, alien, and robotic and/or cybornetic beings gives us a diverse cast of unique personalities. I'm not saying a Borg, a Cardassian, and an Andorian on the bridge will make things better. But a fully commingled crew made of up old rivals and new allies would make for some pretty interesting drama if and when we're leaving home territory. Which brings me to...
3. Boldly going strange new places. Please, please, please--no more origin stories. No more, filling-in-the-gap histories. Those are already covered with existing storylines in both official and unofficial entries in Trek lore. We need--no, we DESERVE--something completely fresh. I recall reading a rumor a while back about a possible intergalactic Trek where the Enterprise, uh--errant-unnamed-starship--would have entirely new worlds to seek out as it zoomed between galaxies. While the reality of this is sort of insane (the Milky Way is plenty big!) from a story perspective, I can see how giving the writers a fresh slate on which to work would be a welcome change both creatively and for the audience. Either way: NEW worlds, NEW civilizations.
4. Optimize, learn from past mistakes. Too many alternate reality stories gives Spock the sad-sads, so let's keep those to a minimum. The best storylines were often the personal ones--The City on the Edge of Forever (TOS), Inner Light and The Offspring (TNG), In the Pale Moonlight (DS9). And when they touched back on Trek history, they did it with care--Trials and Tribble-lations (DS9). Not every episode can be so focused as these, but it's worth mentioning how well each of these examples relied on the outstanding acting ability of the cast to bring some deeper meaning to character arcs. But there's one final element that needs to tie this all together...
5. A crew we can feel a part of. This one is all about the feels, as the kids say. I grew up watching original Trek re-runs which then rolled right into The Next Generation. I graduated on to DS9 (falling away partly through Voyager)--and all the while was hooked into the movies. I feel differently about each crew and the members that made them up.
While #2 is important, it's absolutely essential for there to be a real chemistry with the cast. Firefly, Star Wars, Stargate are all examples of media where the casts are the most memorable element. I'm not sure that's the case for all of Trek's crews (I know I think so about my favorites, anyway!), but it will be the single-most important piece of the puzzle, if there's any hope of keeping an audience engaged. So let's shoot for nothing less than the best cast possible.
The best episodes were the ones where (to borrow new Spock's lingo) the crew performed admirably in the face of danger, chaos, disaster. Everyone did their duty to their utmost to get the engines back on line, to beam back to the ship, raise shields, and fire photo torpedoes. Sometimes in that order. But in the end, what mattered most was: the crew, the crew, THE CREW.
Enough blathering on my end of the comm! What do you think?
So, what era would you like to see the new Trek take place?
Let's assume this is in the Abrams-verse for now. To the transporter--er, comments!
Top image: Enterprise concept illustration by artist Christopher Doll, created as a personal tribute in his #spaceshipaday series and in celebration of the announcement. My thanks to him for his permission to reproduce here.