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Star Trek - The United Federation of Planets

Updated on January 17, 2012
Logo for the United Federation of Planets
Logo for the United Federation of Planets

Necessary Updates for a New Star Trek TV Series

Star Trek needs a serious face-lift in order to be unique and daring from everything that has come before. I have a few suggestions for anyone in a position to consider taking another stab at this old franchise. In no particular order, I recommend:

  • Have a small, rotating cast of regulars, but let most of the stories focus on unknown Federation members (most of whom would only be depicted for a single show). Because we (the audience) would know nothing about these individuals, it opens up all kinds of possibilities. With very few exceptions, none of the main cast members in the previous series (take your pick) were ever killed, and this ruined any sense of suspense. In this more flexible venue, characters could live or die, as the plot required. Making a limited group of "A" players practically invincible was always a weak and off-putting device --especially since the highest ranking officers were always the first to be put in harm's way.
  • Another positive of this more fluid approach would be the elimination of the really boring soap opera framework that plagued all the previous Star Trek TV shows.
  • Another change I'd like to see is close-to-zero stupid-looking aliens (preferably no stupid-looking ETs at all) -- and definitely no aliens that could morph into the human form -- that is such an over-used ploy in bad sci fi.
  • While this is all a drastically different approach, the scripts would be more difficult to write (and more original), while forcing the screenwriters to actually use their brains for a change.
  • Higher some of the top-notch sci fi scribes in the field to write a few scripts. Toss out all the cute (but false) interplay among a static cast of regulars, and the story possibilities widen tremendously.
  • Star Trek always needed a more unnerving (scary) atmosphere, less predictability.
  • Get rid of the warm/fuzzy approach. Allowing each episode to rise or fall on its merits would be more entertaining -- rather like "The Twilight Zone" or "The Outer Limits," but with a sprinkling of "stars" to keep things glued together and retain a sense of continuity and cohesion.
  • Another request would be for the writers to dump the idea of having a starship be some kind of space faring luxury cruise, complete with red carpeting, families/children, restaurants, etc. A real starship should look more like the interior of a submarine. No holo-deck, and put some damn seat belts on everyone's chair. How many times have we seen the people on the bridge falling to the floor and rolling around like mannequins?
  • And what gives with all the pyrotechnics -- sparks, smoke, steam (or gas) whenever a starship is hit by anything? How can a civilization that created transporter beams, tractor beams, and force fields not get their basic electronics shielded? Realism folks ... try it out.
  • Lastly, no "whooshing sounds in space," no doppler effect, and the use of environmental suits IN EVERY CASE -- even if the atmosphere of a foreign planet has sufficient oxygen for the landing crew.

I'd enjoy watching a new Star Trek series but only if most of the above suggestions were incorporated; otherwise, we'd all be subject to science as it was known in the 1950's. This terrible time lag made so much of the science in each Star Trek series groan-worthy. Bringing the science up to date shouldn't bust their budget. But, more importantly the franchise has to break out of its formula of making one show nearly indistinguishable from the next. In short, it desperately needs to take some risks and chances to capture today's audience.

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    • must65gt profile image

      must65gt 5 years ago

      You have many valid points, but Roddenberry brough many things into our living rooms that are now considered normal that were taboo and unacceptable then. Think about the satire he imposed during a racial powder keg society overcast with political up rival the threat of communism Vietnam, war protestors and free will hippie mentality. Ohura (A black female who's native language was Swahili. The weapons officer Pavlov Checkoff A Russian who inwardly wished to be like a Cossack. and the most intelligent individual was a alien? He brought us humility by displaying the fallacies of the American man in Kirk, and he showed how people of different races could live and work together in a close nit group. his weekly series were depictions of political and social issues that headlined the newspapers and television. He humanized life and death, travesties of scientific inventions and accomplishments done for "The Betterment of Mankind" Roddenberry taught his television audiences how to accept people of other races and backgrounds, and co-exist in a world that was in a constant of change. LOL.....he should have run for president, I think he was the originator of forward thinking in a backwards world.

    • rjbatty profile image
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      rjbatty 5 years ago from Irvine

      must65gt: What you have brought up about the Roddenberry bible is exactly the thing that makes the entire mythology stale and grounded in 50's sci fi. I understand that there are entire encyclopedias dedicated to the Star Trek lore, and this gives us all an idea of how much influence the franchise has engendered. But, I tend to think that Roddenberry would not be opposed to updating his invention in order to retain a following. He was a very forward-thinking guy, and when he brought us the original "Star Trek" TV show, he captured an amazing amount of originality and progressive views about our place in the universe. The truth of the matter is that with the assistance of programs like "Star Trek" most of us are a bit wiser as well as a bit more inspired about the possibility of traveling through space. In order to make intergalactic travel possible, Roddenberry came up with the simple but horrifically difficult idea of "warp drive." He was light on the science, but mind expanding when it came down to encounters with alien cultures as well as the hazards of traveling into unknown realms. The original series and "The Next Generation" were exemplary in demonstrating what human kind may never expect. The latest movie took into consideration a number of my suggestions -- no, I'm not claiming any credits. The writers and director instinctively knew that to satisfy a modern audience, the realism would have to be brought up several notches. Personally, I did not get a "Star Trek" feeling from the movie, but, for the most part it was engaging and did try to modernize the mythology. And that is the essence of my hub. I believe that another Star Trek series could be successful, but only if it doesn't overshoot known physics. A writer can create a concept like warp drive, and we will accept it, but that isn't really the problem. The problem is that I think most people of my generation -- who watched the original series in a state of enthralment -- have become better educated, more mature and sophisticated. This is evident in the comic book hero films -- especially Christopher Nolan's Batman. Us geeks who spent their allowance buying ten and twelve cent comics have come of age, and we want to take our comic books with us into a modern realm -- one that encompasses what we have learned about society, civilizations, space travel, and a glimpse into the human heart. One of the most successful shows in the last ten years or so has been the series "Lost." The series began very grounded in reality then wandered into the the area of mysticism. Even with this huge transition, the fans of the show became fanatical and devoted. The key reference here is that TV watchers will accept almost anything as long as it has an over-arching continuity. They managed this with a core of regular actors and many others that came and went. I think that the audience has matured to the point where they could accept some touch-point characters and several subplots involving non-core characters. I think we have all matured in being able to track weekly ups and downs -- even with a temporary crew. I think this would augment any series, and Star Trek lends itself quite beautifully to the idea of a non-regular depiction of characters. Like "Lost," the idea would be to keep the audience off-balance. Yes, this would be non-traditional, but I believe that the irregularity would be a strength not a weakness. Thanks very much for taking the time to leave a comment on my hub. We really have no disagreement other than I think the boomers (at least) are not only ready but expectant of much more than was provided in early TV shows or comic books.

    • must65gt profile image

      must65gt 5 years ago

      lol...Kirk and Spock died, and the latest Star trek shows ships on different axis of travel. but be careful..true treckies will find a way to shoot down any arguments that contradict the "Gene Roddenberry" bible of star trek. your ideals on bringing in new characters is original but the main characters give the plot balance and stability. they establish the basis for maintaining the Prime Directive. Nice hub though, thanks for posting it.

    • gmarquardt profile image

      gmarquardt 5 years ago from Hill Country, Texas

      I've often wondered why spaceships have an up and down in outer space. Not just artificial gravity, but when they meet in space, they are always on the same plane. They could be totally inverted, traveling different directions, and yet both of them would see the other as upside down and backwards!