back to article Hello, Star Trek? 25th Century here: It's time to move on

Visiting the new Star Trek Exhibition in Blackpool recently I was reminded of my soft spot for quark – no, not the elementary particle or the curdled dairy treat but that ugly little alien who runs a strip bar in Deep Space Nine. I say “reminded” because things have changed considerably for the franchise since the Federation …

  1. David Robinson 1

    For those of us who play Star Trek Online, it's already the 25th century.

    It's also the 23rd, 29th or 31st centuries if the story arc involves time travel.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      bah that is weenie time travel

      If you are going to do time travel right you don't deal with centuries but hundreds of millennia. All the more bold H.G Wells was thinking so, well over a century ago.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Best part of the 31st century is Bender.

  2. LDS Silver badge

    Noone competente at the helm, the ship wrecked.

    Star Trek is now in the hands of some C-suits and a bunch of incompetent "creatives" - writers and directors. Without anybody competent and with a clear vision about its development, we can only see "reboots" and attempts to reuse old ideas.

    It's no surprise that TOS -> TNG -> DS9 -> VOY always evolved into the future, then with ENT they attempted a flashback - easier, less to envision anew, more already established to work on (despite that, ENT could have been made well, by someone competent...).

    Reusing old characters is even worse, it shows an utter lack of new ideas (and writing capabilities), and just an attempt to make money piggybacking someone else already done work.

    All good things.... and there will be no Q to "help".

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Noone competente at the helm, the ship wrecked.

      Agreed. As someone the other day commented, Jar Jar Abrams has devolved the franchise into generic action flicks with zero character development. It's really bad when the best Star Trek film in the last couple of decades was made by amateurs. I'm talking about Prelude to Axanar.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W1_8IV8uhA

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Noone competente at the helm, the ship wrecked.

      It's no surprise that TOS -> TNG -> DS9 -> VOY always evolved into the future, then with ENT they attempted a flashback - easier, less to envision anew, more already established to work on (despite that, ENT could have been made well, by someone competent...).

      ENT was challenging in some ways - the tech had to be older than TOS, but look not-absurd to modern viewers. It started with some promise, then devolved into rubbish quickly, and retro-conning didn't help.

      I didn't really like the Kromaggs thing either.

      1. Jess

        Re: ENT

        The last series really started showing some promise, the Mirror Universe story was excellent. But they canceled it before this promise could develop. (And the final episode was the biggest POS.)

        However, the fan made Star Trek Continues really captures the feel of the original. (Not to be confused with the New Voyages, most of which I have seen are pretty rank)

        1. Jess

          Re: ENT update

          Just watched a recent new voyages. Much better.

    3. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Noone competente at the helm, the ship wrecked.

      This "Noone Competente" bloke deserves a damned good thrashing.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      flame on

      I know this heretical to many on here but ole Gene's writing wasn't always up to snuff for good sci-fi either. The example I always think of is how even the doctor can unarmed take out bad guy aliens built for hand to hand combat. Even Kirk comes across more as a sci-fi version James Bond than anything. Well since I am on a roll my all time favourite William Shatner online appearence was on SNL back in the 1980s where he goes off on the trek nerds at a convention and asks a treked out Dana Carvey, you there, you look about 30, have you even kissed a girl? Anon of course as I fear for my families safety the next time a Trek convention is in town.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: flame on

        >treked out Dana Carvey

        Actually it may have been Jon Lovitz as I remember him taking some good shots in that skit as well lol. Trek nerd wasn't too much of a stretch for his wide chops lol.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: flame on

        you there, you look about 30, have you even kissed a girl

        Why did he show a juvenile desire to publicly state a bad case of the "not-gays"?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: flame on

          Not what came to the audience mind in the mid to late 1980s. For you millennial kids would be something along the lines today of asking if he lives in mom's basement still or something.

  3. theOtherJT

    I have a speech...

    ...that occasionally comes out when I'm a bit drunk about why the world badly needs Star Trek.

    I genuinely believe that it does. Not just Star Trek either, but all the optimistic forward looking scifi that I used to watch across the kitchen table at dinner time in the 80s and early 90s - that itself so often a rerun of 60s or 70s stuff.

    It was a little ray of light in the world. The present was bleak, but the future - in the future we could be better than we are. The world could be better than it really is if only we worked for it.

    I don't really consider myself a "Fan". I'm not the sort of person who dresses up as a vulcan or even goes to conventions. I don't have a list of favourite episodes, I certainly couldn't _name_ any - but I have seen them all. Every episode of every season of every incarnation. Whilst a lot of them were pretty bad, over all, the message was good.

    The future can be better than the present.

    We can put all this pettiness behind us and go to the stars.

    It will be - and should be - hard.

    When I was a kid I sat down and watched good triumph over evil in epic space battles. I enjoyed the (now rather cheesy) effects, and the space ships, and things that went "Wooosh" - all that was great because I was a kid. What I didn't realise then, was that I was being subtly influenced to believe that it was possible for good to win - and most often by diplomacy and understanding, not just by superior military force. I was being taught that there is room for more than one idea. That we need to try and understand other cultures and social values - even if we can't embrace them. That there is such a thing as right and wrong and we should always stand up for what we know to be right. Very subtly I was being made a better person.

    We live in particularly troubled times again it seems. So many issues from the 60s remain unresolved. So many new ones have arisen. It would be good for us to have Star Trek back, because I think there's a whole new generation of kids who need to be taught what I was taught.

    I've seen very little of that in the new movies. I really hope the TV show can bring some of it back.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: I have a speech...

      Most scifi these days seems to focus on things going badly wrong, which probably reflects the mood that our best days are behind us. All very depressing, so a bit of optimistic forward looking would be quite welcome.

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I have a speech...

      Contemporary philosophy seems to be simply that there's nothing you can't solve with a big enough hammer, and naturally by being one of the "good guys" because of course "we" are always the good guys and ends always justify the means. *sigh* ...keep teaching that kind of shit and I think we really are screwed.

      1. theOtherJT

        Re: I have a speech...

        Contemporary philosophy seems to be simply that there's nothing you can't solve with a big enough hammer

        Well, you know the saying. "When all you have is a hammer..."

        I think that was one of the most important things that Star Trek did. It convinced - if not actually millions certainly a very large number of thousands - of young people who watched it that we could, if we tried, have things that weren't hammers; and that having things that were not hammers was in fact beneficial.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: I have a speech...

          >Contemporary philosophy seems to be simply that there's nothing you can't solve with a big enough hammer

          Well that was thinking until they found nearly every human had appreciable amounts of Strontium 90 in their bones for the first time in our species history. Of course I have heard stirrings lately of coughing up yet more money to modernize our arsenal. Just what the world needs.

          1. Roj Blake Silver badge

            Re: I have a speech...

            "Well that was thinking until they found nearly every human had appreciable amounts of Strontium 90 in their bones for the first time in our species history."

            At least Johnny Alpha and his fellow Strontium Dogs will save us.

            Maybe the bigger hammer is Wulf Sternhammer!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          About that Hammer ....

          Leonard Nimoy sang about it - "If I had a Hammer". Check on the you tubes. Quite unintentionally hilarious (though not quite the "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" standard).

    3. Trilkhai

      It doesn't need to be Star Trek

      The world does indeed need tales that show people a more utopian alternative to the grim world we're living in and rekindles the urge to strive to make our reality a bit more like it, but the fictional universes that can fulfill the need vary from one person to the next — it doesn't need to be Star Trek, and that wouldn't/doesn't work for everyone. It's just what speculative fiction does at its best, regardless of how the setting is described or what year it's labeled as.

      There's a fairly neat recent article covering a parallel effect people found in Tolkien's works back in the 60s/70s that you might find interesting:

      https://wearethemutants.com/2016/09/01/and-in-the-darkness-bind-them-the-first-lord-of-the-rings-paperbacks-and-the-making-of-fantasy/

    4. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: I have a speech...

      > Most scifi these days seems to focus on things going badly wrong

      Most scifi back then focused on things going badly wrong.

      That's why Star Trek was such a breath of fresh air.

      It showed a world where we'd made to the stars w/o killing ourselves, in a time when we didn't know if the USA or USSR was going to push the big red nuclear "instant global annihilation" button at any time.

      Most of the episodes also showed we could solve intergalactic problems w/o major violence, other than Kirk talking the aliens to death.

      That's still an uncommon concept 50 years later.

      1. Slx

        Re: I have a speech...

        Picard talked the aliens to death, Kirk was more likely to date them!

        1. Kurt Meyer

          Re: I have a speech...

          @ Six

          "Picard talked the aliens to death, Kirk was more likely to date them!"

          Amen brother. I'd rather have Dr. Szell for my dentist than watch that miserable clown and his wretched crew.

      2. JustNiz

        Re: I have a speech...

        >> other than Kirk talking the aliens to death.

        What? The way it normally worked was that Kirk would create diplomacy by starting and winning a fist-fight with the baddest motherfucker on the planet that he could find, showing them mercy, then shagging their (often green-skinned) women.

    5. asdf Silver badge

      Re: I have a speech...

      >but all the optimistic forward looking scifi

      Science in general. I go out of my way to show my 5 yo old Apollo and Space Shuttle launches because I don't want that love of space exploration my generation and the boomers before us have to die. Sadly with our current asshat policy makers far more willing to devote resources to bombing brown people, our space program starts to look much more impressive with time's arrow going back in time. Hard for kids today to dream when we now have to rely on our frenemies to even get us in low earth orbit and what they now see on TV is private companies fscking up rocket launches like the US government used to pre Von Braun. Always worth reinventing the wheel if someone can make a buck to do it. Rant over.

    6. shawnfromnh

      Re: I have a speech...

      I remember some of those issues to this day. The episode about overpopulation. The black/white white/black face guys trying to kill each other. I realized later in life they didn't have religion in the original Star Trek which I believe was a great thing.

  4. DropBear Silver badge

    As Andy Warhol kindly reminded us some things are not meant to be multiplied indefinitely, and as much as it was supposed to be just one of the many ships of the Federation, the Enterprise was certainly one such thing. That, in turn, makes Trek in general uniquely unsuitable for basing an MMO on (the only game that seem to exist nowadays) where nobody can be "the" hero. Yes, if all you want to do is skip from planet to planet, fight some Klingons with your org mates and just be a good little pawn of the federation in general you'll have a grand time - unfortunately, that's not at all what Trek was about. Grand Adventure needs the whole Universe to revolve around YOU which is what MMOs can never do, and thoughtful social commentary needs a painstakingly engineered narrative that contemporary "masterpieces" proud of being open-world sandboxes absolutely, categorically refuse to even consider.

    Funnily enough, none of this would be much of an issue to a single player game, but we apparently forgot how to make those a few centuries ago...

    1. David Robinson 1

      makes Trek in general uniquely unsuitable for basing an MMO on

      Damn, better not tell Cryptic Studios, the current curator of Star Trek Online that. It's only a ST MMO that's been running since 2009 on PC and just only this week launched onto PS4 and XBone.

    2. salamamba too
      WTF?

      Over MMOs

      I have the same issue with Elder Scrolls MMO. You're in a tomb that has been forgotten for hundred of years, creeping around - and all chance of the proper atmosphere is ruined by having more people run by you that Union Station!

  5. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I was introduce to ST in the US on NTSC tellies

    as a kid and am still firmly of the opinion that if the red shirts dont flood out then it cannot be called Star Trek. It was never meant to be taken seriously but was great fun at the beginning.

    1. IvyKing

      Re: I was introduce to ST in the US on NTSC tellies

      I was careful not to set the color saturation at reasonable levels to give a somewhat realistic color rendering and didn't see much of the red shirt blooming. Speaking of red shirts, the very first red shirt fatality occurred just a few minutes into the first episode aired 50 years ago tonight.

      Now for the bad news - I watched all but the first five minutes of that first episode when it hit the airwaves in the Pacific Time states.

      1. Benchops

        Re: I was introduce to ST in the US on NTSC tellies

        I believe it stands for Never Twice the Same Color [sic]

  6. adam payne Silver badge

    So it will be set around the time of the four years war.

    It just seems to be a big coincidence that Discovery will be set around the same kind of time as Axanar.

  7. andy gibson

    strip bar?

    Did quark run a "strip bar"? I thought it was holosuites and Dabo tables. Oh and Chief O'Brien's dartboard.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: strip bar?

      Quark? Yes, the greedy little Ferengi... However a prior show already had used that name.

      Quark is an American science fiction sitcom starring Richard Benjamin broadcast on NBC.[1] The pilot first aired on May 7, 1977, and the series followed as a mid-season replacement in February 1978. The series was cancelled in April 1978. Quark was created by Buck Henry, co-creator of the spy spoof Get Smart.[1]

  8. Chika
    Mushroom

    Hollywood is creatively bankrupt

    Just another example of how creatively bankrupt Hollywood actually is.

    Recycle old stories, old characters, old scenarios, slap the well-known franchise title on the front and sell it to the great unwashed for a nice, juicy profit.

    A dip in interest? Try putting something that is bound to grab headlines. Make a character turn into an alien, change their sex or their sexual preference, their race, their age, kill a popular character off. It worked with Spock, after all!

    If the fans start whining, just label them in some way.

    If the great unwashed finally work out that they are being shafted, then shelve it for a decade or so then try again, meanwhile moving on to the next franchise.

    As long as the money keeps coming in.

    If all that sound cynical, consider that it is this same cynical attitude that the types in control of this sort of production are using.

    1. acid andy

      Re: Hollywood is creatively bankrupt

      Yeah you've absolutely nailed it. Same thing is arguably happening to the Bond franchise and many others.

      I think it's not just the pursuit of profit though, it's the ubiquitous short-termism in modern businesses. Who cares if what sets a brand apart gets diluted until everyone loses interest and it dies, just as long as the broader demographic appeal gets bums in seats just *this* one more time? Right? I mean just look at Windows 8 and 10 - one could argue M$ are burning users' goodwill and solely riding on brand loyalty and inertia while they can, so long as it maximizes their profits right *now*. To hell with the future.

      I wonder what drives this obsessive short-termism. It's happened in politics too. Is it that people have shorter careers now for some reason or is it a widespread moral bankruptcy where they just don't care about their long term legacy? Or is it pure short sighted idiocy? It can't just be the latter, otherwise that would have always been the case, unless humans really are getting dumber as a species. So what's changed?

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Hollywood is creatively bankrupt

        @acid andy - I think the "short termism" comes from not respecting people as valued humans on their own merits but as objects to be milked or abused right now. If the powers to be respected people they would value a long term relationship even if it is only commercial.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hollywood is creatively bankrupt

        "So what's changed?"

        In the 60s people had careers. Places where they could work safe in the knowledge they would have a regular pay packet and a job for life, and be able to walk into another one if needed and be able to buy a house and then retire with income.

        Now people have zero job security, constantly looking over their shoulder waiting to be fired or outsourced, paid the least amount possible, in the full knowledge that the employer doesn't give a fuck about them. Where the rich 1% have all the wealth and don't pay their fair share.

        This makes people look out for themselves, self centered, & battle hardened.

        Society has changed because the rich overlords are prepared to fuck over everyone in the process of making themselves beyond rich.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Hollywood is creatively bankrupt

          In the 60s people had careers. Places where they could work safe in the knowledge they would have a regular pay packet and a job for life, and be able to walk into another one if needed and be able to buy a house and then retire with income.

          Would love to know why this post got a downvote?

          Think it was fairly correct myself.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Hollywood is creatively bankrupt

      I agree. Instead of telling a compelling story with Sci-Fi Hollywierd just recycles old shows that are well beyond their sell by date. Star Trek was good but the basic franchise is tired in its current format.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    There's a simple reason for all this...

    Problem is, all this lacks the big-picture feel that added the gravitas, the appeal and the narrative of the TV series – and even the follow-on films."

    I think the main underlying issue here is what drives current producers and what drove the original ones. The original ones had to come up with something new and creative, also because there was some "Sci-fi competition" on the other channel, and that led to Star Trek.

    The current drive, in my opinion obviously, is solely fueled by money. That's why they're trying to keep a broad appeal: the more people go to see it the more money they'll get. Nothing more or less.

    Maybe I'm just old fashioned but if they truly loved the Star Trek franchise then I think they should have either left it alone or come up with a new spin off / idea instead of continuously trying to re-do the original era. Take the Next Generation, I think that series was quite satisfying, and in general I don't even like reboots and the re-doing of stuff all that much.

    Of course that comes with a risk, and that brings us to the underlying issue again: taking a risk with something new could mean that it might fail. And that would cost them money, so they won't do that. Instead they go with something which has much bigger chances of grossing in some extra cash: stuff which people already like.

    1. Slx

      Re: There's a simple reason for all this...

      The budgets and time frames for production aren't what they were when the big networks dominated the whole market.

      People may end up paying for subscription models or they may not, but TV is extremely expensive to produce (at least with any quality) and as we get more and more 'content' to fill space, a lot of it is just garbage and recycled old ideas.

  10. Kaltern

    Risk no longer equals reward.

    Creativity comes from imagination. Imagination comes with costs. Costs comes from money. Money comes from profits. Profits come from sales. Sales come from certainty.

    Certainty does not come from creativity.

    Profits do not come from imagination.

    Thus the world is broken.

  11. Dave 122
    Headmaster

    Pedant Alert

    Tut tut. Failed to split the infinitive on the final sentence. -10 geek points.

  12. tekHedd

    Ubisoft?!?!

    Ubisoft? I thought you *liked* Star Trek.

  13. David Webb

    Voyager

    As much as I enjoyed Voyager, I think it broke the system so they can't go forward unless they go on the reboot timeline. Voyager came back after 7 years in the Delta with so much new tech. Quantum slipstream which will let them get anywhere really, new shields which even the Borg had trouble with, not including the fact they instigated a Borg civil war followed by killing the queen and trashing stuff. Also Warp 10.

    Where can ST go from there? They can now explore vast areas of space, okay, more vast, they have new tech which probably made Voyager the most powerful ship in Starfleet when it got back (and therefore the most powerful ship in the Alpha quadrant).

    A followup I'd like to see is the Federation going back to the Delta quadrant and fixing the issues that the Caretaker (and then the Federation and other Alphas) caused, sort of a "Janeway caused this, we have to fix it" sort of thing, maybe with the children of the original Voyager with Wildman as Captain and the Borg boy as Commander, Torres being engineer.

    1. Dave Hilling

      Re: Voyager

      Without Seven, I would not watch any sort of "close reboot" unless its zoomed in reallly close on Seven's ummm assets.

  14. Someone Else Silver badge
    Stop

    OK, I get it!

    You don't like the turn Star Trek has taken, so you see it as your Sacred Duty™ to trash the franchise and anything associated with it. Fine! I get it! Now, bugger off and allow those of us who don't hate it to not hate it in peace.

    1. Kurt Meyer

      Re: OK, I get it!

      @ Someone Else

      After reading your post I thought of a line from one of my favorite Sci-fi movie series.

      "Chill out, dickwad!"

  15. trottel

    Ok, let us be creative here...

    It is easy to bitch about what the reboot movies have done to Star Trek. I did not like them at all, not even the effects. Yes, they look great, but i do not need effects to look that great, for the same reason i can read a book and still "see" what is happening. In fact, those too-explicit effects limit my imagination in "completing" what i see. Sort of like when i see a cute girl from behind and then wish she had not turned around... but i digress.

    One reason that might make a new series a bit tricky is to incorporate the new technology developed since TNG, DS9, and VOY. I think it has not gone the right way for Star Trek. If i extrapolate what is happening now, then i guess the Borg would be what humanity looks like in the 25th century, with rounded corners et al.

    And i think that it should not become "darker", as so many franchises and movies have. It should be the light fun that TNG has been, as one of our fellow commentards rightfully noted.

    So, where does that leave us? I know there are some fan-fiction things and i have watched some of them on youtube. Not bad, but they also just play with the old characters. Even though some of the plots are better than in the originals. Which somehow proves that it is possible to come up with new things there. But i digress again.

    I am asking you to post ideas for a potential new series here. A little like a brain storming. Let us show Hollywood that a bunch of commentards is more creative than them. If we cannot come up with something better, then i guess we should shut up and watch whatever they produce?

    For my part, i think we could use Data as something to link to the new series. He is now commander of a star ship, the first android to have such a rank. The Enterprise would have to be much smarter, without becoming something like the ships in the Iain Banks novels. Even though that is fun, it takes too much attention away from the "humans". The underlying theme could be something like the tendency for humans to "augment" themselves versus not becoming Borg in the progress, i.e. walk that fine line. There might still be a conflict with the Borg, but subdued, since the Federation has caught up in technology and there are easier targets for them to assimilate.

    The problem is: i want Picard and Q back. Some of the speeches Picard made should be taught at schools. And Q was just too good - an element of "benevolent chaos" just there to "imbalance the equation", as the Oracle said. Ok, that was my last digression.

    Here it is: please reply to this post with concrete ideas how to continue Star Trek in the 25th century. Or 26th. Just forward in time, not backwards.

    If we get enough posts here, i pledge to put up a website with all comments.

    1. E 2

      Re: Ok, let us be creative here...

      '...it should not become "darker",...'

      Absolutely correct. Star Trek was entirely about a brighter nicer more egalitarian future.

      Distopias are easy. Being positive is harder. The people who do the new movies and new series should work hard and do the hard thing.

  16. streaky Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Quark

    "runs a strip bar in Deep Space Nine"

    This triggered me because untruth and I didn't even like DS9...

  17. BenR

    Question: Where is the header image in the article from?

    It appears to be of a ship in the Kelvin timeline (based on the shape and bulk of the warp nacelles), but we've only ever had decent "hero" shots of the Enterprise and not any of the other ships.

    (As an aside, I don't mind the JJ-Trek films, but 'Into Darkness' annoyed me. It now occurs to me that the first one would have been better if it built up to the destruction of Vulcan as the final battle, rather than the destruction of Earth, as that would solve the Spock = Superman conundrum. And I was desperately hoping that the ship being built at Starbase Yorktown in 'Beyond' was going to be a Kelvin-timeline interpretation of The Great Experiment (NX-2000 USS Excelsior).)

  18. FuzzyTheBear
    Coat

    Time ...

    for the whole Star Trek franchise to imitate Picard and > baldly < > ha ha < go where no one has gone before .. in mothballs.

  19. Volisios

    I'd let Seven of Nine assimilate me anytime... resistance would be futile

  20. E 2

    Quark's Bar in Deep Space 9 is not a strip bar.

    Quark's Bar in Deep Space 9 is not a strip bar.

  21. Nano nano

    In the First JJA Trek film ...

    Since they arrived too early from the black hole, the first time, why did they not just go directly to the supernova star before it was too late, and drop it before it scorched Romulus ?

  22. John Savard Silver badge

    Even so...

    Star Trek: the Next Generation was only set in the 24th Century, and supposedly the Original Series was in the 23rd. The most famous association of the 25th Century in science-fiction is with a rather less sophisticated science-fiction franchise... Buck Rodgers.

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