An Open Letter to Paramount Studios

I know you want another Star Trek TV show; we all do! If you would be so kind, I’d like to suggest some ideas as to how you might make it happen, maybe overcome some possible objections.

You don’t need to bring someone from the original series. You didn’t bring one of the original cast when you started The Next Generation (except as cameos) and I think everyone was a little surprised, but it worked; it worked so well that you made three more series the same way, and that worked out okay. Maybe you don’t want to invest a pile of cash into an unknown quantity, but you totally can. Maybe you don’t want to have to negotiate with actors at the end of every contract, and a lot of actors don’t want to be locked into Star Trek because it makes it more difficult for them to break out of the mold after the series is over. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with being remembered for Star Trek, but you gotta eat and if you’re typecast by Star Trek, well, you’re a little stuck.

So here’s how you get around it: don’t sign anyone to long-term contracts. In The Next Generation, there were a couple of episodes revolving around junior officers, and the senior officers, known to us as the main characters, rarely showed their faces; they were background. This is something you can do over and over again. The ships all essentially have the same background, the same corridors, similar command areas, and only need a little bit of tweaking to look different. It would be easy enough with slightly different lighting to allow audiences to understand they were on a different ship. Different actors playing different characters on different ships, and you get around the whole years-long contract issue. It’s basically Law & Order in space.

This kind of structure allows for a revolving cast of characters and you can bring any of them back at any given time because it’s basically a military structure and people get transferred. You can have short story arcs, or long story arcs, or overlapping stories between ships. You could show different perspectives of the same event as seen by different ships. We’ve already seen this with the battle of Wolfe 359 from the perspective of Cmdr. Sisko on Deep Space 9. From my perspective, that of a Next Generation fan who saw it all from the Enterprise, seeing the effects from someone who was not emotionally attached to Captain Picard, and who lost family while Picard was leading the Borg, it was quite interesting! Of course, you don’t want it to get too messy, and you could always have a couple of main characters, just like Law & Order, to anchor it: maybe an admiral? Or a holographic doctor? Maybe someone from the Q Continuum?

Another benefit to this structure is that you can appeal to the non-Star Trek fan who might be reluctant to begin watching as they don’t know the background. This type of newbie would be attracted by the freshness of the story, and it’s easy enough to maintain and grow the interest of established Star Trek fans by throwing in a reference or two to something from before, or have someone from the earlier series show up periodically. Maybe someone from the Q Continuum? No pressure. Heck, throw in a mirror universe episode and they’ll be hooked. I’m ready to tune in now!

I have been for years.

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