Four Things I'd Like To See In The New Star Trek TV Series

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 12.06% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Star Trek Desire #1: A Viewpoint.  
While the fandom is messy, there’s generally a consensus: either The Original Star Trek or Next Generation were the best, followed by the dark horse of Deep Space Nine, then Voyager and Enterprise leading up the rear.
I’d argue that’s because Star Trek, at its best, has a sharp agenda that’s not afraid to throw elbows.
TOS had a distinctly martial feel to it: sacrifice was needed to protect good people, sometimes even the lives of good people (witness poor Edith Keeler).  While you had to retain compassion, when you found Actual Evil you had to be ready to kill it.  And the best old Star Treks were often the ones that explored the gaps in that philosophy – where something that looked evil turned out to be not what it seemed.
Whereas TNG supposed that almost everything could be negotiated with profitably, that all creatures had some decency inside, and the best Star Treks were often the ones that questioned that philosophy – especially when The Borg, an enemy that seemed tailor-made to destroy that assumption, showed up.
And Deep Space Nine, it must be said, only really got interesting when it got a philosophy a few seasons in, and Sisko’s willingness to show the dark underbelly of the Federation turned up.  And when Sisko started compromising his morals profitably, that became riveting.
But each philosophy turned off some people. I know some folks who won’t watch TOS because frankly, Kirk exists to fight it or fuck it, and they don’t want to watch that. Some folks won’t watch TNG because it’s too huggy.  Some folks hate DS9 because it is about moral compromise.
What philosophies did the movies have?
Pretty much none.
So I want a Star Trek that, primarily, takes a viewpoint on What Makes Civilization Great and then starts questioning that assumption through action-driven plots.  And no, I don’t know what that viewpoint should be – but like TOS was a reaction to the Cold War mentality that permeated the 1960s and TNG was a reaction to Reagan and Bush’s New Order, this new series should be a reaction to today’s battles.
And yeah, that’s a complex issue.  But when Star Trek doesn’t have a cohesive viewpoint, it’s… okay.  Like the movies.  Like the first few seasons of Voyager and Enterprise (and maybe they got better later on, but I never got there).  But it’s not compelling. It’s just idiots wandering around in space, and that’s something you can get anywhere these days.
What we need is a Star Trek that tells us when we’ve made the wrong choices.  And yes, that risks getting preachy.  That’s another failure state of Star Trek.
I’ll be honest: I would by far rather watch a Libertarian Star Trek – a viewpoint I generally loathe – than I would a generic Star Trek.  Because the Libertarian Star Trek would be something I couldn’t get anywhere else.
Star Trek Desire #2: A Trans Gay Crew Member Whose Presence Is Not Questioned
Star Trek’s lack of gay people has long been a shame – there’s been a few in the crevices, but none front and center.  And we’re long beyond needing a gay person on the crew, especially since gayness has largely been normalized on television.
I want a trans queer person on the fucking crew.
And I don’t want storylines where that trans queer person finds acceptance.
A most centrist friend of mine derided me for this desire, saying, “Oh, a person being accepted? Now, that’s the stuff of drama.” And no, it isn’t.  But if Star Trek posits a world view, as I’ve said I want in #1, then part of that world view is what is not questioned.
There were no Uhura storylines about whether a black woman would be accepted on the ship.
There were no Chekov storylines questioning whether a Russian man would be accepted.
There were no Geordie storylines about whether the crew could handle a handicapped man.
And in my Star Trek, I’d want someone who had issues that were a part of the plotline – the dating issues that arise when you’re trans and queer are good fodder, especially if we posit an accepting Star Trek where everyone isn’t uniformly hetero/homo/bisexual – but I don’t want storylines where the trans member is subjected to ridicule and everyone works it out afterwards.
Show some fucking respect.
Star Trek Desire #3: A Sex-Positive Male Character
I’ve written about this before, but one of the great issues with the movie is that it took TOS Kirk – who had a lot of sex, but also seemed to genuinely value his quote-unquote “conquests” as people – and turned the movie Kirk into someone who used people for sex, forgetting their names.
I’d like to have a male character who doesn’t commit, but also genuinely cares about the people he’s sleeping with.  Not a love-’em-and-leave-’em person, but someone who doesn’t view sex as an act of friendship, if not commitment.  Someone unapologetic about his desires, but also respectful if someone doesn’t return them.
When have you seen that character on television?  Maaaaaaybe Captain Jack Harkness, and look at his fanbase.  Now imagine doing that better.
Star Trek Desire #4: A Well-Characterized Enemy
As noted, Star Trek only gets good when they find an enemy who hits them in their weak philosophical points.  The Borg and the Klingons were effective not because they were badass – though they were – but because they forced the characters to question the show’s viewpoints.
And in both TOS and DS9, the villains were kiiiiinda lame for the first two seasons.  Ferengi?  Not so much.
So I’d want the writers to consider who is the Big Bad – and why.  Snap judgment is to go, “Oh, more Klingons!” – but why would the Klingons be the enemy?  It’s like having a Starbucks across the street – yes, it’s supposed to be there, but what function does it serve to the plot?
When you devise what this new Star Trek’s viewpoint is, posit a villain who hits them in all their worst points.  I suspect that villain, these days, would look a lot like either terrorism or a government that oppresses its people Ferguson-style while wrapping itself in a cloak of patriotism.  I’d be okay with either, or both.  But make them relevant.  Make them someone we want to see defeated, and badly.

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