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Thank You, 50th Anniversary Pressure: Star Trek Reportedly Coming Back to TV

We can’t really pick which TV shows get officially revived and which don’t. Sure, we can Kickstarter a Veronica Mars wrap-up movie into existence, but we can’t do the same for Pushing Daisies because its proposed budget would be somewhere between five and ten times what Veronica Mars needed. We can celebrate when Fox announces a 6-episode limited series revival of The X-Files with Chris Carter again producing and Duchovny and Anderson again starring, but we can also scratch our heads when NBC announces a 13-episode order for a revival of the generally inoffensive Craig T. Nelson sitcom Coach which originally ran from 1989-1997. I guess Nelson must have had some real clout coming off of Parenthood, but why is this a world in which Coach is coming back while Quantum Leap and Star Trek remain mere artifacts of the past (or simply limited to films)?

Well, no savior is on the way for Quantum Leap, but if LatinoReview is to be believed – and, frankly, they’re probably not, at least not completely – Bryan Singer might save Star Trek:

So, GREAT news, Trekkers, CBS is looking to bring Star Trek back to TV […] Bryan Singer’s name has been mentioned for the new CBS Trek as a possible Executive Producer through his Bad Hat Harry production

That’s really it in the way of any kind of concrete details on this potential new Star Trek TV show. Bryan Singer was previously connected to Star Trek right around the time JJ Abrams came along to reboot the film universe. Singer, Chris McQuarrie (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) and producers Robert Burnett and Geoffrey Thorne developed something they called Star Trek: Federation, which would have jumped past the timelines of Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager much in the same way Next Gen jumped from the Original Series and seriously switched things up (There was a Klingon crew member of the Enterprise!). LR explained the specifics of it:

Federation would have seen the titular group reduced to a mere peacekeeping force as the old ways broke apart. Vulcans withdraw from the United Federation of Planets and reunify with the Romulans, the Bajorans of Deep Space Nine would have also withdrawn and become a planet full of religious monks, like a “Tibet in space.” The Klingons wouldn’t be as warrior-obsessed anymore, but would instead be warrior mystics. The Ferengi would have a female Nagus. The Cardassians would have abandoned war and become an artist/philosopher race.

That’s all presumably out the window now given the alternate timeline approach to rebooting the Star Trek universe in the Abrams films. Or not. Honestly, who the hell really knows outside of CBS and maybe Bad Hat Harry Productions, who may not have actually been contacted about any of this yet. Michael Dorn has been trying to get a Captain Worf TV show off the ground for years now, basically ignoring the Abrams films and simply picking up with the Worf character 16 years after the events of Deep Space Nine. That’s probably not what they’re going to do, but it is an indication that there was already someone out there trying to simply soldier on with Next Gen/DS9/Voyager continuity despite the Abrams films.

5captainsIt was actually just around a month ago that I took a deep dive into why we didn’t have a new Star Trek TV show and the various ways it might come back. It’s slightly more complicated than you might originally guess because the rights don’t just sit in one place. Paramount has the films and CBS is responsible for any TV shows, and JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot is pretty heavily involved as well, at least through their third Star Trek movie due out next year. BadAssDigest had heard CBS was holding off from doing anything more on TV for a while, thinking that the glut of shows during the DS9/Voyager/Enterprise era saturated the market and cheapened the brand. It didn’t want to risk repeating the same perceived mistake by having both the Bad Robot movies and some kind of TV show going at the same time. Now, BadAssDigest says that if CBS truly has changed its mind it’s most likely because next year is Star Trek’s 50th anniversary and Abrams’ stranglehold on the franchise is loosening.

As for what form a new Star Trek might take, longtime superfan Mark Altman thinks they should mimic AMC and have a pitch bake-off to hear ideas from some of Hollywood’s most accomplished writers and noted Star Trek fans. Todd Vanderwerff, formerly of AVClub and now of Vox.com, wants to see whether or not Star Trek could maybe work as an anthology series, ala True Detective, American Horror Story, or Fargo, not just changing casts but also show-runners (and maybe even formats) with each new season as a way of allowing busy Star Trek alums like Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Ronald D. Moore (Outlander) a chance to work it into their schedule. While still improbable, that’s actually something CBS Studios could seriously consider if they are indeed actually bringing Star Trek back to TV, it’s natural habitat.

The-CW-Star-Trek-LogoDue to corporate synergy, the most likely homes for any such new show are ones somehow financially connected to either Paramount (EPIX) or CBS (Showtime, CW), and CW President Mark Pedowitz would love a shot at a new Star Trek.

The funny thing is you don’t have to wait another minute to actually get an idea of what a Star Trek TV show could even look like today. One of the producers behind the proposed Star Trek: Federation, Robert Burnett, is actually one of the many people behind Star Trek: Axanar. I won’t pretend I’d actually heard of this before today, but LR’s report describes it as “a 90-minute fan-made feature film about ‘The Four Years War,’ as mentioned in the TOS episode ‘Whom Gods Destroy.’ The film has scraped up and impressive cast and released Prelude to Axanar last year to show how this great venture can be pulled off on a fan-donated budget”:

That’s something superfans made, and it looks great. So, if that’s what can be accomplished by fans on a mission what might happen if CBS Studios partners up with someone like Bryan Singer to make something official? I can’t wait to find out.

What about you?  Do you want to see a new series that picks up the Next Gen/DS9/Voyager continuity?  Or would you rather whatever they do be connected to the JJ Abrams films somehow?  Or maybe something totally new?  Or are you just wondering why I would bum you out in my first paragraph by prefacing the news about a new Star Trek with a reminder that there’s still no new Quantum Leap?  Yeah, sorry about that.

Sources: LatinoReview

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5 comments

  1. There was a time when I thought that Star Trek needed to stop airing new episodes on television as the franchise had gone on for too long. Like farmers need to rotate their crops and give their fields a rest, I felt that’s what needed to happen with Star Trek on TV as stories were too often trite. Considering it has been almost ten years since the last episode of Enterprise aired, I think it’s reasonable to assume that the fields are ready again for sowing.

    I do like the idea for “Federation”. It does reflect on some of how life as a human is and that’s what was great about original series of Trek – a reflection into the human condition through science fiction. It seems a little silly that the surname Kirk would last so long. Maybe a Worf mini-series would be a good idea (but not a full show). It could be an action series! In an article on a different web site, it stated that the document that was trying to sell “Federation” to a network acknowledged that TV has moved away from stand alone episodic format and tends to have story arcs – I think that was a great acknowledgement.

    I think I have already mentioned the time I met Dean Stockwell at Armageddon Pop Culture Expo in 2013. His feeling was that it’s been too long and it all depends on Donald Bellisario but if “Coach” is returning, what is too long? *cue the music* “It’s been a long time… getting from there to here…”

    How does anyone remember anything about “Coach”? I barely remembered that it existed. I can only remember the TV show “Just the Ten of Us” (which prominently featured a coach) because it was a spin-off from “Growing Pains” and featured some teenage crushes Heather Langenkamp and Jamie Luner.

    1. By the time you started seeing Voyager and Enterprise simply recycling certain episodes from Next Gen or DS9 you could tell that it was time for a break, although Enterprise did turn pretty bold for its third and fourth seasons.

      Star Trek used to need to be so stand-alone because that’s how The Original Series had done it, and because Next Gen and DS9 were syndicated with no guarantee that the episodes would air in the correct order and on a set schedule everywhere. Obviously, times have changed, and the syndication part wouldn’t be a concern since a new show would likely either end up on a network or cable. And DS9 and Enterprise both had their heavily serialized story arcs, particularly Enterprise. So, it’s not like it’s hasn’t been done in Star Trek before. It could be done again now that all of TV is drifting towards the binge.

      As for Capt. Worf, it just seems odd to me to have a TV show set in a different continuity than the films because to this point Star Trek has been the great cinematic shared universe where all of the films and shows existed together, pre-dating Marvel Studios’ model by decades. So, to suddenly change that now would just be weird, although I guess you could guess that just because the Abrams films changed doesn’t have to mean Next Gen didn’t happen exactly as it did before. It’s just that they have established an alternate timeline for the new movies, and Worf was part of the original timeline.

      I don’t know why I brought up Quantum Leap. I didn’t really plan to. I guess I just know that a lot of people who read my quantum leap stuff on the site leave comments indicating they’d love to see QL come back. I think Stockwell is right that it has been a little too long at this point.

      I know that I used to watch reruns of Coach in the 90s, and I remember how odd it was watching the last season when the titular Coach jumped from his Minnesota college to heading up an NFL expansion team in Florida. I remember Craig T. Nelson, his former played turned assistant coach played by the guy from The Stand and later Marshall’s dad on How I Met Your Mother, and that Jerry Van Dyke was around firing off one-liners. Also, Mona from Who’s the Boss played the team owner during the NFL expansion season. That is the extent of what I remember about Coach. During NBC’s Sunday Night Football over the past couple of years, they’ve been doing these recurring halftime sketches involving Craig T. Nelson as Coach paired together with someone who used to actually coach football in real life. Lots of jokes with them referring to each other as Coach and getting confused. I don’t know. They’re horrible. I’ve never watched one for longer than a minute and a half. My main reaction was that I was surprised people apparently remember Nelson as Coach. And now the dude has his own show again. Good for him. Never saw it coming.

      I would watch a Just the Ten of us revival for I too had a crush on Langenkamp and Luner.

      1. All that talk of Craig T Nelson made me remember him as the coach in “All The Right Moves” only because he chews out Tom Cruise for tackling his opponent before his opponent had the ball, throwing him off the player’s bus and making him take the cheerleader’s bus but Lea Thompson was an attractive cheerleader.

        Did you see Jamie Luner on “Better Call Saul” (episode 2 or second half of the pilot episode)? I didn’t realise it was her until afterwards. She’s not even redhead in it! She didn’t have any lines. Jimmy (everyone’s favourite sleazy lawyer before changing his name to Saul) is about to pick up Luner at a bar but is put off by the breaking of bread sticks.

        Although a Worf show would be set in a different time and different time line, the sort of brain dead people who like action Abrams Star Trek would enjoy the action of Worf.

        I have never binge watched Star Trek. Maybe it’s time for a new era of Trek where it’s bingeable.

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