See, I’ve loved Star Trek since the 1970’s when I started watching the original series in re-runs in the afternoons, as well as the animated series on Saturday mornings. I’m never happier than when I am watching Star Trek, be it a new episode and/or movie, or one I have seen hundreds of times.
I am not ashamed to admit that I have watched and enjoyed many of the fan films that are available in various corners of the internet. (I have unashamedly enjoyed and will recommend fan-made episodes written by writers such as David Gerrold, Robert Sawyer and Bobby Nash).
However, as I have said many times, we live in a golden age. We can watch any Star Trek any time, any where. We don’t have to wait for your local station to play an episode. We can watch any episode any time (if you have Paramount Plus or, here in Canada, Crave TV)
But wait! There’s also NEW new Trek. There’s Star Trek: Discovery… four seasons of that and a fifth on the way. That’s for the newer, hipper Star Trek fans. But then there’s also Star Trek: Picard for all the nostalgic Next Generation fans. Two seasons of that with a third on the way. An there’s Strange New Worlds which is kind of like Classic Star Trek but with state of the art VFX. One season of that with a second on the way.
Animated Star Trek is also in the mix. You’ve got Lower Decks for the iconoclastic teen viewer (two seasons and a third in production) and you’ve got Star Trek: Prodigy for the Nickelodeon age viewers. One season of that with another surely on the way.
And there’s more coming, so much so that trying to keep track of it all feels like trying to stop a tribble from procreating.
For those who prefer their Trek dark and morally ambiguous, there is Star Trek: Section 31 which is still in development. Michelle Yeoh will return as former emperor of the Mirror Universe’s Terran Empire, Phillipa Georgiou in a show about Starfleet’s seedy, shadowy, spy organization.
And, naturally, a show for the CW young adult crowd based on Starfleet Academy. The producers have been trying to develop this old chestnut for a long while now and it will likely get to tv screens sometime in the next year.
So, all this Trek and I haven’t even touched on the movies (a dozen so far and a promise… or a threat?… of at least one more to come). Like I said: A Golden Age.
Star Trek, the original series was a classic space opera. It was inspired by the type of stories that one would read in Amazing Stories Magazine back in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. It wasn’t great literature, though the original series did strive towards such. Gene Roddenberry, the show’s creator called it “Hornblower in Space” (though to the less highbrow television executives he coined it “Wagon Train to the Stars”). Roddenberry could clearly read a room and was able to tailor his pitch as necessary.
But, with all this Star Trek about, with a different Star Trek tailored to different audiences, with seemingly a Star Trek for everyone… do we have too much? Is there such a thing as too much Star Trek?
I know dyed in the wool trekkers will tell me to shut my mouth with that kind of talk, but I think this is a question that most certainly needs to be asked. As Captain Kirk said himself in the classic series episode The Trouble With Tribbles (written by David Gerrold) “Too much of anything… even love isn’t necessarily a good thing.”
Well, I unashamedly and unabashedly will declare my love for Star Trek, but even I have to admit that some is not for me. Star Trek: Prodigy, for instance. I just couldn’t get over the kid’s show-Nickleodeon-type feel of the thing. For a long while I thought that it was just not for me at all. It’s aimed at younger viewers. I know, even the animated series was aimed at younger viewers, and I was a younger viewer when it first aired, but, at was also kind of… not, you know? There was a sophistication to the writing of what was originally just supposed to be a show for kids, that could not be denied. Indeed, the writing for that series was deemed worthy of an Emmy award, the only one the franchise had won up until that point.
But now, by god, there is an embarrassment of riches laid before us, a literal banquet of Trek. Is it too much? Is it endemic of our Western society where consumer demand is usually outstripped by seemingly endless supply?
Is there too much Star Trek?
If there is a Trek for everyone, which one is for you? Which ones are not for you? Which Trek will you simply not watch?
See, I thought that Star Trek: Prodigy was that Trek for me. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it, until one night… just the other night, in fact… I did. And… it wasn’t bad. It had the Trek dna, and… Oh, hey! Is that Captain Janeaway? I just might watch another one. I kind of have to find out what happens!
What about you? Which Trek is for you? Which isn’t and why? Weigh in. Leave a comment.