For the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Wired's Scott Thill posted some great interviews with producer Ronald D. Moore and star Michael Dorn (Worf), in which they both talk about why it's so important for us to get a new Star Trek show. We've already talked about what we'd like to see from a new Trek show, but it's really thought-provoking to hear Moore and Dorn's ideas.
Moore tells Wired:
People have to understand that the Star Trek films are a different animal. And that goes for the original series' movies, as well as those from The Next Generation, and from J.J. [Abrams]. By their nature, the Star Trek films are much more action-oriented, with space battles, big villains, lots of running and jumping. The stakes for Earth and the universe are always enormous.
But the lifeblood of Star Trek's television shows is its morality plays and social commentary. It's sci-fi that provides a prism on human society and culture. The movies are never really going to do what the episodes do, like split Picard into two in a transporter beam and then talk philosophically about the nature of humanity, which parts of our strength come from good and which from evil. The movies are never going to do that. Star Trek: The Next Generation was about those moral issues, about how societies grow and are differently affected. None of these are topics that the movies are going to tackle.
To create Star Trek in the form that people are familiar with requires another television series, and I think it will be successful again in that medium. You have to spend some time talking about its form and structure, and how to update it again for a new audience. You still want the "boldly go where no one has gone before" part with a ship, crew and ongoing mission. That's part and parcel of the franchise.
But you have to be able to tackle big ideas, which are larger than chasing the villain of the week. That's really not what the series was very good at. I mean, you could look back at the original Star Trek series or The Next Generation and find some cool action-adventure episodes with space battles, but the show is about so much more than that. If you were trying to do that flavor of Star Trek on television every week, it would just fail.
In a separate interview, Michael Dorn tells Wired:
We could definitely use more of Star Trek: The Next Generation's optimism. It feels like we've gotten further and further away from that.... [But] I don't think Star Trek: The Next Generation could get greenlit in its original form. Sci-fi has taken on a different look these days. We don't see the social messages that it was famous for. If you look at science fiction's origins, there was always social commentary mixed in with its monsters and aliens. And we don't see any of that these days...
Of course we're worse off by not having a Star Trek show on television. But only if it's good. It would be nice if Star Trek could be a catalyst for change, along with being an entertaining show.