Right now is the best time to be a nerd (and proud of it). In the past decade, it feels as though we've been truly spoiled rotten, with the Marvel universe currently thriving on the big and small screen, and the cinematic reboots of both the Star Wars and Star Trek universes all doing right by our heaving, fangirl hearts. So, when CBS announced last November that a new Star Trek series will premiere in January 2017, it felt like the greatest early Christmas present that fans could have received. While the Star Trek reboot movie franchise has been met with mostly positive reactions from fans thus far (and hell, I'll watch just about anything if Zachary Quinto is involved), the movies continue to feel like more of a tease for a potential new TV series, one which I'm sure every Trekkie wants.
After all, movies might come with a bigger, more galactic budget but a TV series allows for more plot and character depth and for greater ideas to be explored, which is something which made the original series so phenomenal. On a cultural level, too, it feels like we need more TV shows which can accurately add commentary to current social and political climates — and let's be honest, the new Star Trek series is exactly the sort of show which could do that.
For Star Trek fans who love the progressive nature of the original series, there have also been two subsequent announcements that could imply that the new Star Trek series will be as boundary pushing as the original. The first is that on July 18, Variety reported the confirmation that Star Trek will be co-produced by both CBS and Netflix. Though the show will still be broadcast on CBS in the US (and on Netflix, internationally), the involvement of Netflix, a streaming network which prides itself on boundary breaking shows like Orange Is The New Black and Grace And Frankie, is still incredibly encouraging.
The second important factor to consider is that it was confirmed earlier this year that Hannibal's Bryan Fuller is the Star Trek showrunner for the new series. And, if some of his interviews are anything to go by, then we can trust in Fuller to deliver a Star Trek series which will be just as politically potent as it is true to the spirit of the original series. Speaking to Empire Magazine, Fuller described how much of an important impression Star Trek had made on him, saying:
...We learned that in Star Trek there is an entire universe out there of different varieties of people — and all of them are okay. It was an early lesson in inclusivity. I was living in a household where my dad didn't want me to watch The Jeffersons because it had black people in it. It was that level of kind of small town '70s suburban racism.
As such, the diversity and inclusive nature of Star Trek clearly had an impact on Fuller, and it would be easy to imagine that he'd love to continue this tradition with the new series, helping to provide a powerful and inspiring outlet for a whole new generation of viewers. To further suggest that we could be seeing a Star Trek series full of all the charm and power of the original, Fuller told iF Magazine back in 2009, "I would love to return to the spirit of the old series with the colors and attitude. I loved Voyager and Deep Space Nine, but they seem to have lost the '60s fun and I would love to take it back to its origin." And let's face it, who doesn't want to return to that vision of the Star Trek universe? There's no denying that America is currently experiencing some challenging issues on a social and political level, but also that the amount of conflict and unease currently affecting people on a global level is of a very real concern right now. Entertainment can be a spectacular outlet for escapism to help people through such worries, but it can also be used as a powerful tool for change.
The original Star Trek series was so wonderful for the fact that it was the perfect blend of escapism alongside important political allegories, and that's exactly the sort of a show that we desperately need on a broad, mainstream level right now. As Fuller suggested in his interview with Empire Magazine, Star Trek added important commentary to many vital (and extremely troubling) political and social issues of the time, and the show did it so well that it even managed to inform and influence an entire generation on the importance of being inclusive and understanding. In a time where it feels as though people of particular races, gender identities and sexualities are being marginalized and even, hurt for who they are, more than ever, a show like the new Star Trek series could be perfect for providing a platform for those voices to be heard and ultimately, understood.
With Netflix set to "beam" the new Star Trek series into no less than 188 countries Worldwide, it seems like the spirit of the original series is more vital and timely than ever. As such, it would be great to see the show reboot with the same social and political consciousness and diversity of the original. After all, understanding different cultures and lifestyles is something which needs to be done on a global level, and though the Earth can seem like a scary place right now, we'll always have the Star Trek universe to boldly escape to when we need it.
Images: CBS (4)