An eighth(-ish) live action Star Trek series is in the works
May 15, 2020 9:00 PM   Subscribe

CBS All Access today announced a series order for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, based on the years Captain Christopher Pike manned the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The series is a spinoff from Star Trek: Discovery, which in its second season featured three characters dating back to the original unaired* pilot of Star Trek -- Captain Christopher Pike (James T Kirk's predecessor as captain), Number One (his executive officer), and Spock, whom you may have heard of before.

No air date has been announced, but depending on the timing, but what with Discovery and Picard, Short Treks and the forthcoming Star Trek: Lower Decks all in some stage of production, it's possible that Trek enthusiasts could wind up with an unprecedented four five different series airing concurrently to geek out over argue about.

*Unaired-ish
posted by ricochet biscuit (86 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
I am sort of fascinated by the trajectory of Pike as a character at a meta-level. The lead in a scrapped pilot for a show made in 1964, he surfaces again in flashbacks in an episode later built around the scrapped pilot; he is also played in the “present” by a different actor, but now as a mute and severely disabled guy in a wheelchair after a horrific accident.

Then he goes pretty much unmentioned for forty-plus years.

Then he turns up, recast, as a supporting player in the eleventh (!) movie spin-off from the original series. Then ten years later he is recast again as a recurring guest character in another show on the franchise. And THEN he gets spun off into a series as the lead, which is sort of what they were trying about 55 years ago for him.

I’m trying to imagine some new show — let’s say, a police procedural — being made now. The pilot episode is kind of unsatisfactory so the show gets retooled and relaunched with a different focus. The main character of the original pilot vanishes but ultimately becomes the lead of a series of 3-D holovids that begin production in 2078.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:02 PM on May 15 [33 favorites]


There's ~10^21 stories in the universe to explore, why they keep digging this one up??
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 9:20 PM on May 15 [13 favorites]


I’m trying to get my head around the idea of a spinoff of a sequel to a prequel of the original.

That’s a tight buttonhole, and it’s a big universe.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:32 PM on May 15 [7 favorites]


Mild Spoiler Alert...

Perhaps even stranger, Pike's fate, as depicted in TOS, is shown to have been sealed by decisions he made in the final episodes of the second season of ST:D. So now we get a new show about a guy who *knows* he's eventually going to have to pay that particular piper. I wonder if/how that will figure into the new series.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 9:37 PM on May 15 [9 favorites]


I blame Bruce Greenwood, for being the space-dad you wish you space-had. I know he’s not associated with this at all, but the genesis of interest in resurrecting Pike as a character must come from watching Abrams Trek and wondering why we weren’t watching a movie about him instead of some young jackass with no business on the bridge of a starship.
posted by rodlymight at 9:48 PM on May 15 [38 favorites]


Hit it!
posted by katra at 9:55 PM on May 15 [5 favorites]


Confused by the idea of Pike as a guest character on ST:D - I thought he was a main character.
posted by stevil at 9:58 PM on May 15


ricochet, if they could find an actor as charismatic as both Anson Mount and Jerry Orbach, I would totally watch Law & Order: 1970’s Briscoe.

I think all other past portrayals aside, Mount’s turn as Pike on Star Trek: Discovery was just such a welcome breath of fresh air (especially now, when our current leadership is so blatantly, almost comically mustache-twirlingly toxic); a leader who came on board, learned everyone’s name, was actually interested in their informed ideas, and demonstrated that he would always do the right thing... I think viewers were like “God yes, more of this please!”
posted by blueberry at 10:02 PM on May 15 [29 favorites]


The three of them are all so magnetic, I don't think this series happens with different casting. But Mount, Romijn, and Peck outshone the series they appeared in as guest stars.

If they can avoid having the curse of Trek showrunners, they could have something special.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:03 PM on May 15 [13 favorites]


Two words. The first one is “Akiva.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:15 PM on May 15 [5 favorites]


I suspect the primary focus of ST:SNW (standard ST abbreviation formula) will be toward the Young Spock, but I saw both Pike and Number One show enough chemistry in DIS to make this show a near-slam-dunk. This is the Pre-Kirk Trek show we really needed and it allows the crew of the Discovery to do whatever they want after the Season 2 Finale time jump*. And order is returned to the Trekiverse.

* I was hoping a big Star Trek Time Jump would somehow bring back Scott Bakula, but you can't have everything.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:17 PM on May 15 [6 favorites]


Confused by the idea of Pike as a guest character on ST:D - I thought he was a main character.

DSC played around with the standard Trek trope of the show being based around the leader/captain (DS9 toyed with having the leader being a commander, but Sisko got promoted to captain at the end of Season 3). Burnham was the lead; the captain kept getting replaced--Georgiou by Lorca after a couple of episodes, and then Pike in S2.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:50 PM on May 15


Also, WRT the concurrent number of shows, remember that DS9 and VOY overlapped for five years of their respective histories, with DS9 overlapping with TNG for a couple of seasons, which meant that, for DS9's seven years, there were over fifty Trek episodes being produced every year. Plus movies.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:53 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


I'm like legit amazed and slightly suspicious of the sheer amount of Trek that CBS is committing to. There's also apparently a 'Lower Decks' cartoon from the Rick+Morty dudes in the works.

It seems like Trek is proooobably the main thing producing revenue on their streaming service, so they're leaning hard into it? I guess if lots of your subscribers are just paying for access to Trek, you better keep making it on a regular schedule. The endgame could be like 3-4 Trek seasons per year, with about ten episodes each; this would be only slightly more episodes per year than the old network model, which had ~24 episodes per season. And maybe each series gets three seasons, on average, so there's some continuity.

Upside: This would lead to a waaaay broader view of the Trek universe in the long run. Could be awesome!
Downside: The best Star Trek casts have taken a few seasons (historically) to get into their best ensemble-y goodness. So one fears an endless stream of not-quite-good Trek. Especially since presumably very few of these will be written by Michael Chabon.

I am totally on board for "Seven of Nine: Bounty Hunter," no matter what, though.

[this comment is shamelessly crossposted from the discussion in the fanfare disco s2e14 thread.]
posted by kaibutsu at 11:28 PM on May 15 [7 favorites]


Hey, if it takes ten concurrent Trek series to utterly sink and destroy the misbegotten concept of Section 31, let alone a whole show devoted to Federation Staatspolizei, sweet, have at it
posted by mwhybark at 11:57 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Why are they so shit-scared of not doing prequel garbage. I hate it.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:02 AM on May 16 [8 favorites]


A leader who came on board, learned everyone’s name, was actually interested in their informed ideas, and demonstrated that he would always do the right thing... I think viewers were like “God yes, more of this please!”

See also President Josh Bartlett during Dubya's administration.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:52 AM on May 16 [4 favorites]


Worst Spock ever.
posted by biffa at 1:06 AM on May 16


Why are they so shit-scared of not doing prequel garbage. I hate it.

Neither Picard, Lower Decks, or (essentially) S3 of Discovery are prequels.
posted by modernnomad at 1:26 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I imagine that there is a faction within Trek fandom and production that, whether they know it or not, clings to
"These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise...".
So any Trek not set on a ship named Enterprise is an also-ran.
Which leaves them stuck with any new content either being:
The Next-Next Generation. What are we on, the Enterprise-G now? H?
The Lost Years. We just skipped the Enterprise-C? What aren't they telling us?
Pike. Unlike the other shows, the TOS Enterprise wasn't brand new when Kirk got it. So what was the First captain like?
I get it. By mining lore, you've painted yourselves into a corner.
And even when you've tried new things, like a different ship in VOY, or staying in one place for DS9, the fans haven't shown up to support it as much as you'd want. They want to see (or write & produce) a show about the adventures of the starship Enterprise. So that's what there'll be. I hope it's good.
[I mean, I doubt I'll live to see Star Trek: Federation Colony. Or a Crusoe show where they emergency crash land a saucer section on an uncharted planet after a warp core breach, now they're stuck forever, as the pilot episode. Because who wants to watch that?]
posted by bartleby at 1:35 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I'm excited about this. Disco S2 was a little rocky but I loved the cast of Pike, Spock and Number One and the design of the Enterprise is terrific.
posted by octothorpe at 4:07 AM on May 16 [5 favorites]


> Or a Crusoe show where they emergency crash land a saucer section on an uncharted planet after a warp core breach

Watch the new Lost In Space. It has a lot of Trek qualities (key amongst them faith in science and working together as a team). Seriously, it would have fitted really well into Trek canon with only minor uniform changes.
posted by Leon at 6:20 AM on May 16 [3 favorites]


I dislike prequels, and I find it frustrating that just as Discovery has escaped this sinkhole they're making a new show which is even more constrained by the established chronology, but I totally understand why this is happening. This is a strong trio of actors, and they have tons of charisma together and separately.

(I liked Anson Mount before he was cool! I watched all of Hell On Wheels! I think that he's not exactly a versatile actor, but if you have the kind of role that Anson Mount is really good at playing, he's going to be really good at playing it.)
posted by confluency at 6:38 AM on May 16 [5 favorites]


I predict, and hope, that they go episodic with it, a la TOS and TNG, but with secondary serialized elements, kind of along the lines of DS9 season ~4.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:14 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I'm waiting for a live-action series based on TNG's Chief Miles O'Brien. I console myself with Chief O'Brien At Work, but it's barely enough.
posted by tommasz at 7:18 AM on May 16 [7 favorites]


Because who wants to watch that?]

posted by bartleby at 4:35 AM on May 16


You would prefer not to?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:46 AM on May 16 [7 favorites]


I imagine that there is a faction within Trek fandom and production that, whether they know it or not, clings to
"These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise...".
So any Trek not set on a ship named Enterprise is an also-ran.


I suspect that any such fandom faction is a tiny minority. The dinosaur suits in charge of CBS, on the other hand…
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:53 AM on May 16 [3 favorites]


I imagine that there is a faction within Trek fandom and production that, whether they know it or not, clings to
"These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise...".


I have no doubt there are. I mentioned once before on the blue my puzzlement at a series of books I used to see alongside the Star Trek novels on bookstore shelves: The Best Of Trek, which was an anthology of articles from a fan magazine. I am 100% certain I have never actually seen the magazine itself, or indeed any photos or scans of it online (although I have never gone looking), but in my misspent youth I had several of these anthologies.

They were still appearing at least into the early nineties and I was always puzzled by their by-and-large polite refusal to even acknowledge that The Next Generation existed. They were not, to my recollection, around late enough to ignore DS9 but even in the final volumes I saw, there might be one or two articles mentioning Picard and Riker while there were plenty of think pieces about whether the Organians and the Metrons had philosophical conflicts.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:58 AM on May 16


Unlike the other shows, the TOS Enterprise wasn't brand new when Kirk got it. So what was the First captain like?

*cough*RobertApril*cough*
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:01 AM on May 16 [10 favorites]


I guess my pitch for the "Adventures of Harry Mudd" hasn't been picked up then. Thanks CBS, this is a hell of a way to find out.
posted by nubs at 8:22 AM on May 16 [7 favorites]


See also President Josh Bartlett during Dubya's administration.

*ahem* Josiah, aka Jed, Bartlett. Josh (Lyman) was Deputy Chief of Staff.

posted by cooker girl at 8:44 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I dislike prequels, and I find it frustrating that just as Discovery has escaped this sinkhole they're making a new show which is even more constrained by the established chronology,

I see where you’re coming from in principle, but I cannot agree in practice. Of the three principal characters announced, we know one survives and we know at some point in the next decade, Pike has his accident. And I suppose the Enterprise is not destroyed. The rest is blank space.

In most TV shows I think it is a safe guess that much of the cast is not killed during the run of the show, nor is the main setting destroyed. I think if the Powers That Be are in charge of the unwieldy canon of Star Trek mythology, there has to be some consideration of how Continuity Lockout begins to limit the approaches potential new fans could take. There have at this point been 760 episodes and movies, sayeth Memory Alpha. I am a moderate Star Trek fan and, save for a few of the seventies animated episodes, I think I have seen all of them over a span of decades. Not only is that an incredibly daunting mass of content for a new fan, I am not sure you could pay me enough to sit and watch them all again.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:53 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I think all other past portrayals aside, Mount’s turn as Pike on Star Trek: Discovery was just such a welcome breath of fresh air (especially now, when our current leadership is so blatantly, almost comically mustache-twirlingly toxic); a leader who came on board, learned everyone’s name, was actually interested in their informed ideas, and demonstrated that he would always do the right thing... I think viewers were like “God yes, more of this please!”

This scene specifically made me tear up just a little. I found it really effective that they put off direct introductions of the bridge crew, name by name, until they were serving under a captain who gave an actual shit about them.

I put off watching Discovery for years because of all the haterade out there, only getting around to it once I ran out Picard to watch. I was delighted to discover that I loved it! It was about standing up for Starfleet values in a cynical world which was, uh, pretty damn timely. It was better than Picard, and it problematized the Federation's version of utopia in interesting ways. Casting Michelle Yeoh was particularly inspired - first Starfleet captain able to do fight choreo, amazing.

I loved the spore drive, and the mirror universe stuff, and the freaky Farscape looking Klingons. Season Two was even better. Anson Mount is a being of pure charisma and Ethan Peck found depths in Spock that Zachary Quinto missed. Part of the appeal for me of their performances was the ache of saying goodbye to them at the end of the season. But that said, I went immediately from there to devouring all of their appearances on Short Treks. I won't mind seeing more of them.

My only hesitation is that what I value about these new Treks is that they are emphatically not chasing after the 60s or the 90s. Discovery's jump to the far future is the most exciting development in the franchise in decades. I have confidence that Strange New Worlds will continue to expand the idea of what Star Trek can be. I hope it doesn't fall back into playing it safe with 60s and 90s pastiche.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:42 AM on May 16 [10 favorites]


I love Discovery and will stalwartly defend it against the reactionary “this isn’t REAL Trek” nonsense, but part of me still feels like I was bait-and-switched with all the promo stuff about a new Trek series starring a black female officer on a ship captained by an Asian woman, only for the main captain to turn out to be a white dude. And then again, when it looked like we’d get an alien captain for the first time — nope, another white dude! An extremely cool and charismatic one, but still!

What I’m saying is that I love Pike, baby Spock and number One and I’m psyched for this, but I really need this show to use the popularity of those characters to springboard some equally lovable new (human!) POC characters and not become the Real Trek Show About White People.

So, seconding EatTheWeak basically. Also baby Spock should have kept his goofy-ass beard, that’s a molehill I will die on.
posted by bettafish at 10:38 AM on May 16 [9 favorites]


part of me still feels like I was bait-and-switched with all the promo stuff about a new Trek series starring a black female officer on a ship captained by an Asian woman, only for the main captain to turn out to be a white dude.

Seriously! I like Burnham a lot, and find it pretty telling that all these nerds who see no problem with James "Good At Everything" Kirk rolled out the tiresome old "Mary Sue" trope to complain about Trek's first black female lead.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:45 AM on May 16 [3 favorites]


Now what would be interesting is if STW tackled this “cis white dudes in charge” directly. Explore the racism within Starfleet and work through how this set up an unfair system for Pike and Kirk (and even Picard). That, I’d take over retconning the ridgeless Klingons.
posted by hijinx at 11:09 AM on May 16 [3 favorites]


Continuity lock-in:
I kinda like the Black Mirror approach to this. Things are actually kinda-sorta in the same 'universe' but the connections are vague, and the perspectives on what's important or not changes depending on who's involved in a given story. Put your show in the right place and the destruction of Romulus doesn't matter at all. (Hell, some variant of this was probably in the pitch-deck for Voyager...) But furthermore, you can change the perspective of the writing to subtly change the continuity: It's not a retcon if the previous show was telling things from the imperialist viewpoint, and /this/ show is telling things from the perspective of the oppressed. Rashomon on the franchise level.

Some seeds for this are already there: What if the various Klingon 'looks' over the years are just projections of Federation's prevailing stereotypes of Klingons?
posted by kaibutsu at 11:15 AM on May 16 [6 favorites]


I’ve said this before in the Disco Fanfare threads but since I started my Big Chronological Trek Watchthrough* a little before Discovery started airing it’s even more noticeable how many white fans hold it up to a standard that classic Trek can’t maintain either. For instance it’s almost universally acknowledged that TNG s1 is 90% unwatchable garbage, but I’ve never seen it declared to be “Not Real Star Trek” as was de rigueur for Discovery for at least a season and a half even on Fanfare.

Speaking only for myself, the “post-racism utopia” of the Trek universe is appealing even though the execution has been flawed, and I would prefer the show runners continue quietly working on getting closer to the ideal rather than turning a behind the scenes/production failing an in-universe failing. But it would also depend on who was writing such a storyline!

*Three years in I’m on DS9 s3/Voyager s1, for the curious. Almost halfway done, so I guess I’ll be finished around 2023!
posted by bettafish at 11:16 AM on May 16 [6 favorites]


Now what would be interesting is if STW tackled this “cis white dudes in charge” directly. Explore the racism within Starfleet and work through how this set up an unfair system for Pike and Kirk (and even Picard). That, I’d take over retconning the ridgeless Klingons.

This could be extremely powerful. It's never exactly clear what Trek's overall position on colonialism really is. Sometimes I think First Contact tries to address it somewhat, with both the Borg and the Enterprise racing to be the first to conquer Earth's past. There's an uncomfortable tension in that scene where Picard is Treksplaining the future to Lily, and then points down through the force field at a bunch of Indian Ocean landmasses, and calls them by the same names white men assigned to them centuries ago. I wish I could say for sure whether or not the writers meant for it to squick me out so bad.

That's something else I valued about Discovery, how the Klingons saw the Federation as a force of assimilation. You don't roll out that particular word choice in a Trek show without knowing which villain you're invoking.

It would take some real guts to dig into these themes in a main line series or film, and all the Kylos out there would scream bloody murder the whole time, but it could lead to some urgently relevant Star Trek stories.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:30 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


It's never exactly clear what Trek's overall position on colonialism really is.

IMO despite some attempts to problematize it (eg in the Cardassia-Bajor conflict) Trek is steeped in a settler-colonialist mindset, which has been particularly noticeable to me as I watch the Demilitarized Zone/Maquis and Federation/Dominion conflicts for the first time as an adult. I tweeted about it a bit here but essentially the Federation seems to treat exploration, diplomacy and colonization as part of the same moral necessity and it is imperialistic as fuck. Sometimes it’s just mildly yucky, like when Dax gets outraged that the Dominion doesn’t want Alpha Quadrant people barging into their territory (before it’s clear to anyone that the Dominion are themselves terrible), and sometimes you get a hot racist mess like that one TNG episode where indigenous Americans are recast as settlers on a contested Wild West frontier...

Really, the entire Maquis conflict is bizarre because all these relatively new colonies are treated as though they’re the ancestral homelands of the colonists, and with a couple of exceptions it’s not even clear why people in a post-scarcity utopia would want to go rough it in a colony in the first place! Expansionism is just taken for granted and sometimes you get a post-hoc explanation for one specific colony which ranges from “we wanted to escape racism in your supposed post-racial utopia, and then serve as background flavor to a white guy’s spacetime-bending spiritual journey” to “yay eugenics!” But otherwise it’s extremely opaque what’s going on in the Federation proper (culturally, demographically, economically) that people are leaving paradise in droves so they can eke out a precarious living on the fringes.

I also noted the Klingon perspective of the Federation in Discovery s1 — sadly, it felt like that aspect got buried pretty fast, but I’d be game for it to be unpacked some more in SNW.
posted by bettafish at 12:19 PM on May 16 [6 favorites]


waitwaitwait wot?! How could I not realize that Anson Mount played Cullen Bohannon in 'Hell on Wheels'? Who the heck did I think played Bohannon?

Kirk was a cowboy, Picard was a diplomat. I like Mount's Pike's competent hybrid as a starship captain. He has the energy and "get go" but he's also a thinker.

I am a little worried when I came across a quote/ interview where Mount promised that ST:Strange would return to "classic" Trek, not knowing his definition/ focus of what "classic" Trek is.
posted by porpoise at 12:53 PM on May 16 [3 favorites]


I am cautiously hopeful. In some ways, this is perhaps the most conservative modern Star Trek will get on TV, short of literally recreating the original series with new actors, sets and special effects. The setup seems to lend itself to the episodic nature of old Star Trek, in that it's almost impossible for the show to escape the confines of its canon: we know what happens to Spock, we know what happens to Pike, and we know what happens to the Enterprise. Nothing huge or game-changing can happen unless time travel and multiverses get involved, and I just can't see that happening given that they already have one show pulling that stunt on a semi-regular basis.

So what can you do inside that framework? Smaller stories, ones that aren't about changing the fundamental nature of the universe or the Federation's place within it. This is exactly the sort of thing the modern incarnation of TV Trek hasn't cared for: everything's a season-long arc where the fate of the quadrant hangs in the balance, and if you're not on board with those stories then the entire season is a wash and there's little for you to salvage. If Strange New Worlds discards that formula for something that's more about ongoing adventures and missions of the week, that would be an interesting (and for me, welcome) change of pace and I think would encourage people to think about the show the same way they think about Trek of old: a series with highlights and lowlights, perhaps even fundamental issues, but on the balance mostly entertaining.

With so many Trek shows in various stages of production now, there's room for the franchise to use each show to tell stories in a different way. Discovery and Picard can keep mining the prestige TV puzzle-box vein. Lower Decks will clearly be something very different from what Trek in the past has been (and hopefully to its benefit--having the person behind TNG S8 is a good sign!). A "classic" Trek, in this case, might actually be a good thing.
posted by chrominance at 1:09 PM on May 16 [6 favorites]


Perhaps the pre/Kirk captains should were the turtleneck uniform for chronological continuity.
posted by clavdivs at 1:32 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I was really impressed with Picard and how it did not pull punches regarding the actions of the Federation (and look at some other big questions). But I suspect that was Chabon's hand guiding most of that. I am really looking forward to the next season, even if Chabon will no longer be writing episodes.

Pike and Spock? I've been avoiding Discovery because the initial reviews were tepid and I really didn't want prequels. Picard moves forward and in a big way.
posted by Ber at 1:43 PM on May 16


For instance it’s almost universally acknowledged that TNG s1 is 90% unwatchable garbage, but I’ve never seen it declared to be “Not Real Star Trek” as was de rigueur for Discovery for at least a season and a half even on Fanfare.

I felt the opposite, ST:Disco seemed like the most Trek like Trek since the original series. Lots of fast paced action and adventure and much less talking in ready-rooms.
posted by octothorpe at 1:56 PM on May 16 [3 favorites]


I've been avoiding Discovery because the initial reviews were tepid and I really didn't want prequels.

The initial reviews of any series are often unrepresentative of where the series goes, and for me, Disco got off to a far stronger start than anything else in the franchise. DS9 reached a level that few other shows ever do, but there were a lot of clunkers in the first year, what with the space hopscotch and all.

The most diehard self-proclaimed Star Trek fan was very excited about this yesterday and declared he just "hope[s] it doesn’t follow the recipe of Discovery." I've noticed that all of the Star Trek he champions just happen to be those series where the lead is a white man, but he (a pale fellow himself) insists that is the purest coincidence.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:24 PM on May 16 [4 favorites]


Disco season 1 was good and should have been a solid basis for s2 but to me it felt like they threw out a lot of the work to crush it into the wider universe. Tilly seemed to have a total personality change, and not for the better. Michael was less interesting, new Spock added so little and I just can't get behind team Pike and his stupid speeches. Saru was the only stand out for me, though Hugh grew on me a bit. Mostly though my objection is that I ended up not having a clue what was going on by the end. Even if that was me being thick there was too much crappy writing, poorly thought through ideas, poor pacing. Ramming in the Section 31 stuff didn't really work for me either.
posted by biffa at 3:50 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


So it seems I called it:
“We’re going to try to harken back to some classical ‘Trek’ values, to be optimistic, and to be more episodic,” Goldsman tell [sic] Variety. “Obviously, we will take advantage of the serialized nature of character and story building. But I think our plots will be more closed-ended than you’ve seen in either ‘Discovery’ or ‘Picard.'” (more here: Variety)
I can't think that Pike being a white male means the show will be socially conservative, but I wouldn't put it past the CBS suits to greenlight this as a hedge against a possible near-future fascist regime with an interest in enforcing certain norms in entertainment.

Really, the entire Maquis conflict is bizarre because all these relatively new colonies are treated as though they’re the ancestral homelands of the colonists, and with a couple of exceptions it’s not even clear why people in a post-scarcity utopia would want to go rough it in a colony in the first place! Expansionism is just taken for granted and sometimes you get a post-hoc explanation for one specific colony which ranges from “we wanted to escape racism in your supposed post-racial utopia, and then serve as background flavor to a white guy’s spacetime-bending spiritual journey” to “yay eugenics!” But otherwise it’s extremely opaque what’s going on in the Federation proper (culturally, demographically, economically) that people are leaving paradise in droves so they can eke out a precarious living on the fringes.

I just did some research on this very topic in preparation for a "Cardassian wars" campaign I'm going to DM (when I overcome Covid-inspired inertia enough to finish preparing it, that is). The noncanon Trek expanded universe materials (e.g. novels, RPG supplements) explain that, right around the 2330s (~30 years pre-TNG, following decades of peace in the quadrant), the Federation had become really successful, really aware of its own success, and more than a little bit pushy socially/culturally if not outright imperialistic—beginning to develop some of the self-satisfaction that The Picard Show rightly skewers—and as a result, groups of Federation citizens got disillusioned and renounced their citizenship. These groups often coalesced around deceptive megalomaniacs (HMMM WHY DOES THAT SOUND FAMILIAR) and formed colonies. I infer that a bunch of those colonies were near Cardassian space, both because of astrographical patterns of settlement I've already mapped out and because of the phenomenon you mention, that these colonists seem really emotionally attached to these worlds that they've lived on for fewer than two or three generations.

Now I have to go throw a football around or something.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:07 PM on May 16 [5 favorites]


I, for one, am insanely jazzed to see Rebecca Romijn rock the ever-living, campy hell out of Number One. Yes, more, please.
Also super-excited to see what they get up to in the distant future on S3 of DISCO.
posted by sexyrobot at 4:09 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I'd be really happy to see a show that's at least partially episodic, and have not every season be about an existential threat to all of the federation/galaxy where they crew careens from plot point planet to plot point planet. Disco, and to a degree Picard for all their great actors suffered from being almost always at 11 and feeling like there were only 4 characters in the universe. Having downtime, room to breathe and explore ancillary characters would be really nice.
posted by Ferreous at 4:47 PM on May 16 [7 favorites]


...groups of Federation citizens got disillusioned and renounced their citizenship.

This makes total sense, but then for the Maquis colonies specifically a) how does the Federation have the authority to trade away colonies which aren't part of the Federation? And b) why are the colonists so mad that the Federation isn't protecting them from the Cardassians if they're not part of the Federation? Sorry if it seems like I'm hassling you, CheesesofBrazil, I'm just confused...

These groups often coalesced around deceptive megalomaniacs (HMMM WHY DOES THAT SOUND FAMILIAR) and formed colonies.

"The Conscience of the King" has taken on a few new layers in the past couple of months.
posted by bettafish at 4:50 PM on May 16


Because who wants to watch that?
posted by bartleby at 4:35 AM on May 16
You would prefer not to?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:46 AM on May 16


Oh, no way, forgot the sarcasm tag, I totally would watch the hell out of it.
But no one else seems to want to, and I have the DVD box sets of Earth-2 the series to prove it.
People do seem stuck, mostly through accustomization, that Trek means Planet of the Week.
They meet some new aliens, make a speech about the Federation's moral superiority, and fuck off at the end of 48 minutes.
Even DS9 did a lot of this by casting the station as Space Casablanca, having aliens passing through all the time, in order to get tut-tutted at.

If we're going to make things interesting, why not take a crack at something where the crew has to stay in one place, and those Federation Family Values get some testing, under pressure, in isolation? Maybe we could use a little Star Trek: Are WE the Baddies?

In her ready room speaking to her first officer, is Capt. Maryam Kropotkin Singh, whose Excelsior-class starship has exploded in uncharted space.
But who made a successful emergency landing of the ship's saucer section on a nearby M-class planet. Alive, but forever stranded on this world, with no hope of rescue.
Unfortunately, the planet is inhabited, and embroiled in a multifactional planetary civil war.

We're at the end of episode 4, after a lot of time has been spent Trying to Not Get Involved, Trek-style.
But circumstances dictate that she's going to have to Pick A Side; or Become One.

Captain Singh: You're looking at me like you're used to doing, when we were back in Federation Space, and I was commanding a starship.
But there's no more ship, no more fleet. No tactical orbit, no retreating to the nearest starbase to await approved orders.
There's only Here, on this spot, Right Now.
[rubs brow]
~Ship or no ship, we're still a crew. a Starfleet crew. and you're our Captain. We're counting on you to do your job.~
I know. [sighs]
[looks down wistfully at her PADD, displaying text with heading THE PRIME DIRECTIVE]
And my job? as Captain? To ensure the safety of my crew.
All the choices, all the plans, have to pririoritize the same outcome. There's always only one acceptable scenario.
~Which is?~
The one where this crew survives. The one where We Live.
[Looks down at PADD again, then out window.]
Okay, gather this Landsraad or Council or whatever. Tell them I've made my decision.
~Which is? What are we going to tell these people?~
[a slump of resignation, straightening to a standing resolve]
Exactly what we've been talking about, _____.
[turns]
Here and Now. Starfleet. We Live.
[snaps PADD like it's a burner phone]
[into camera]
We're Starfleet.
And We Live Here Now.
{cut to black}

Even this could be played a couple ways.
Do you want to continue the trend towards grimdark, and make it into Space Game of Space Thrones; and the show is about how a crew gets turned into House Starfleet?
Or do you want some TNG neoliberal "Oops! We Did A Colonialism. Again. But we're doing our best to be really thoughtful and nice about it this time."?
posted by bartleby at 5:05 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I am really looking forward to the next season, even if Chabon will no longer be writing episodes.

He’ll be writing some for Picard S2, he just won’t be showrunner (he and his wife are developing a Kavalier & Klay series for Showtime).
posted by LooseFilter at 6:20 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Disco S2 was a little rocky but I loved the cast of Pike, Spock and Number One and the design of the Enterprise is terrific.

I couldn't get through it. I really enjoyed season 1, I felt like season 2 devolved into completely incoherent plotting, liberal application of the stupid stick to make things happen and - most annoying of all for me - what felt like hours devoted to completely unearned emotional speechifying and soliloquy. Took its emotional gravitas way too seriously, and its plot arcs and pacing not seriously enough. I tapped out at the penultimate episode.
posted by smoke at 6:58 PM on May 16 [3 favorites]


Go back to the Spock's Beard original episode, and start the series immediately after Evil Kirk is transported back. The entire series could be built around Spock trying to overthrow the Federation.
posted by Beholder at 9:36 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


What’s fun about this is that Spock has succeeded to be the only Trek character to be a main character in 3 series. Worf and Picard are now tied at two.
posted by Automocar at 9:49 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Worf is still the Trek character with the most appearances, though, with 11 seasons (seven of TNG and four of DS9), out of which he missed about a dozen episodes, plus four movies. And we know that he's still around in the time of PIC.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:06 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


as a hedge against a possible near-future fascist regime with an interest in enforcing certain norms in entertainment.

naaaaah, that’s Sec. 31. You’ve read my position papers on this I know.
posted by mwhybark at 11:09 PM on May 16


save for a few of the seventies animated episodes,

Rewatch underway! Critical views encouraged!
posted by mwhybark at 11:13 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


for the Maquis colonies specifically a) how does the Federation have the authority to trade away colonies which aren't part of the Federation? And b) why are the colonists so mad that the Federation isn't protecting them from the Cardassians if they're not part of the Federation?

IIRC, these are historic beats from North American colonial history somewhat remixed for DS9 purposes, in which small-scale but oppositional settler economies interacted against one another at the edge of the economy. In the US and Canada, the first settler economy was integrationist and based on trade with the indigenous population, and in DS9 the Maquis take their name from this historically factual culture, although it has been changed from “Métis.”

Post-extractive settlers in the US were, at least in pop culture histories, split between large scale oligarchal cattle ranching, and smaller-scale freeholder mixed agriculture. Both economies were antithetical to the mixed economy and ethnicities of the indigenous populace and of the trading economy.

I think in late TNG and early DS9 the shows were willing to try to open a critically-oriented SFnal examination of these Western movie tropes, but it was just too challenging, especially with all the other things to explore from a pop culture critical perspective that were on the table: torture, terrorism, slavery, occupation, mental illness, racism, I mean they give it a go.
posted by mwhybark at 11:56 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Captain Maryam Kropotkin Singh

Yes SIR! Aye-aye SIR!

oh geez, I love this
posted by mwhybark at 12:00 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Lorca was by far the most interesting part of S1 of Discovery. What we really need is more of that whole thing.
posted by Dokterrock at 12:06 AM on May 17


The Lost Years. We just skipped the Enterprise-C? What aren't they telling us?

"One ship could have stopped this war before it started."

Might be good for a mini-series for events leading up to and right after its destruction (esp. how said event improved the Klingons-Federation relationship), but it's probably not high on anyone's priority list at the moment.

Or a Crusoe show where they emergency crash land a saucer section on an uncharted planet after a warp core breach, now they're stuck forever, as the pilot episode. Because who wants to watch that?]

*Tries to get images of a Federation version of Gilligan's Island out of his head. Fails.*
posted by gtrwolf at 9:30 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


The Skipper = Jonathan Archer
Mr. Howell = Quark
Mrs. Howell = Jadzia, I guess?
Ginger = Seven of Nine
The Professor = Spock
Mary Ann = Troi

and, of course,
Gilligan = Wesley Crusher
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:38 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


*Tries to get images of a Federation version of Gilligan's Island out of his head. Fails.*

I suppose the obvious followup is Spock trying to fix the subspace radio with coconuts (or, if you prefer, stone knives and bearskins), but then I remembered that time Kirk built a cannon out of bamboo and diamonds, like you do. So maybe.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:54 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


in DS9 the Maquis take their name from this historically factual culture, although it has been changed from “Métis.”

Do you have a source for this? Wikipedia and Memory Alpha say the Maquis are named after the French resistance group from WWII, no mention of the Métis.

Who, for those unaware, are still around, and this conversation reminded me that I’ve been meaning to check out the podcast Métis in Space, which has several episodes about Star Trek including one on Journey’s End, the TNG story which kickstarted the Maquis plotline.

I think in late TNG and early DS9 the shows were willing to try to open a critically-oriented SFnal examination of these Western movie tropes, but it was just too challenging ... I mean they give it a go.

I get what you’re saying, but “just too challenging” is what I would say about a black diamond ski slope or a video game on expert mode, you know? The subject matter isn’t unattainably complex beyond the skills of all but the most elite writers and showrunners; the failing was theirs, and it might not have been if they’d hired different people onto the team (ie, ones not steeped in white settler privilege), done more research, or maybe hired a cultural consultant who wasn’t a fraud who’d been exposed back in 1984. Yes, really.
posted by bettafish at 5:32 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


posted by gtrwolf

seiji! wie gehts, hombre! (even if you are a different incarnation, nice to see you here)
posted by mwhybark at 5:33 PM on May 17


Do you have a source for this?

My brain? The parallels are pretty obvious to me, anyway.
posted by mwhybark at 5:34 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I forgot to mention the delightful detail that the hosts of Métis in Space rate Journey’s End on a scale of 1-5 whiny Wesleys.
posted by bettafish at 5:37 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


the failing was theirs

100% hard agree. They did it; they fucked up.
posted by mwhybark at 5:38 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


in DS9 the Maquis take their name from this historically factual culture

So the Maquis aren't based on the Maquis?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:13 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Let me just adjust that for you..
Mr. Howell = Quark
Mrs. Howell = Lwaxana Troi
Ginger = Seven of Nine
Mary Ann = Ezri Dax
The Professor = Emergency Medical Hologram
The Skipper = Nerys Kira
and, of course,
Gilligan = Ensign Harry Kim
posted by bartleby at 7:24 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


GCU, see above. The creator attributions are indeed to the Maquis.
posted by mwhybark at 7:40 PM on May 17


If you want a picture of the future, imagine a reboot stamping on a human face — forever.
posted by thelonius at 7:45 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


The creator attributions are indeed to the Maquis.

But the Maquis were part of the French resistance in the Second World War.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:15 PM on May 17


Yes, correct. I don’t really follow it either. It implies that TNG/DS9 are likening the Federation to the Vichy French.
posted by mwhybark at 9:24 PM on May 17


I think, mwhybark, the self-labeling of the rogue colonists as "Maquis" was meant to posit that they themselves *think* of the federation as a Vichy French collaborating with the Cardassian/Nazis when of course the situation was more complicated. The whole overarching arc of DS9 was meant as a sort of exploration of "collaboration" and "resistance" and "occupation" where it could be viewed by reasonable folks many different ways and the "Maquis" labeling themselves as such was meant to muddy the waters further.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:47 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Basically- the colonists who broke with the federation- some for decent reasons some for not were settler/colonialists who maybe fucked up in settling in star systems that were A) outside of the protective Federation umbrella or that were not B) true strange and uncharted new worlds that would now be theirs- as problematic as that could be. Instead they went V. close to or inside of Cardassian space, known expansionist/resource exploitative fuckboys who at the time of the settling would have been like like a decade into the Bajoran occupation I.E. known folks of danger, and then when the going inevitably got shitty called on big daddy federation to help. Only big daddy federation having learned (somewhat) from the past ICK days of pre-warp humanity were like nah dogs we ain't starting a war for you cats we just ended one, you guys wanted to break with us, that means we can't protect you! Like you wanna stop camping/doing a colonialism and come home fine, we'll let bygones be bygones, but ffs we just ended a war with Cardassia we ain't starting a new one! And then the settlers either went fine fuck I guess we're part of the Cardassian union now. OR they went aw fuck guess I'm going to Pacifica or Rigel or another federation world where my cousin Sue lives OR they went shit fuck you I'm getting in my spaceship and heading for the Delta quadrant you can't tame me! OR they went No I am dedicated to living here in this place I have no business being in and if you won't support me I'm gonna call you a vichy Frenchman so there! So they called themselves the Maquis and inevitably got fucked.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:27 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Homo neanderthalensis, I seriously need you to stop what you are doing right now and start writing and producing that Star Trek show. I would watch the fuck out of it. I want all the stories-- the explorers, the reluctant collaborators, even the sensible ones who went back to Pacifica. It would be like a fantastic Star Trek Rashomon and boy oh boy I am all aboard for that.
posted by seasparrow at 5:10 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I can go deeper. In the (OOF NOT GREAT) Native Americans in space episode of TNG that sorta sets up or extrapolates on the maquis a bit more- they're apart from the other colonists in the area because they left earth way before the others. In other words they emigrated like post-first contact or like in the dawn of humanity coming together because... maybe they just didn't trust this fledgeling federation HMMM WONDER WHY? So maybe they came by the planet honest- maybe it truly was un-inhabited and on no star chart or maybe they didn't have the tech to determine that. After all- the Cardassian expansionist fuckboys are expansionists so it could be they just yanow CLAIMED the planet as theirs because it was close and on a star chart and it was only by the time of TNG that they actually got there in person to set up their own shit when they realize "Oh shit humans". Which makes those guy's decision to join up with the Cardassian union kinda like- ok that's a choice. The other Maquis seem to be from later colonies like IDK 50-80 Years prior to getting fucked over so they might view the NA colony as like betraying them by choosing to swap jurisdictions "How could you they're Cardassians" while the NA colony is like we might be human but our ancestors chose to leave Earth A LONG time ago and were never part of the federation to start with. So the NA colony is largely a homogenized culture group WHEREAS the maquis colonies are NOT all human/not all from the same culture! We see Vulcans (and Bajorans! Crucial!) as well as humans so it looks like these settlers either a) did not come from Earth OG but a settled mixed Federation colony world, or the planets 50-80 years ago were free and clear but oops now they're not. The Bajoran presence is the wrinkle- we know Bajoran space is close to Cardassian space so it could be the older pre-occupation Bajorans who came to live there came via "oh hey new colony I bet they'll need a leatherworker/farmer/other space job and I can't stay on Bajor because of that incident with the Kai's cow..." BUT of course after the occupation how many of the Bajorans in these colonies were refugees fleeing the occupation? Which means it opens an interesting can of worms, could the name Maquis have been chosen not by a human but by a Bajoran who read human history? It would be a lot less fraught and understandable if that was it. Like it's fucking complicated all the way down.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 5:53 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Like it's fucking complicated all the way down.

As it was always meant to be. There, at least, they got it right. Federation thinking could not have handled such a tangled situation too well, and the urgency came from the obvious nature of Cardassian thinking on the other end of the table.

But this discussion, I think, demonstrates that the chief weakness of the Maquis as a recurring element in Trek was that the nature of their origin was a little too muddy. By the time the Jem'Hadar exterminate them, there's a slight sense of relief, as if the writers and the audience alike are just kind of cleaning house. To bend things back on topic a little, I had a similar feeling at the end of DISCO season 2 (like "Thank god they did that massive future time leap!" rather than what I might have instead expected myself to say: "I dunno about this massive future time leap").
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:36 AM on May 19


It would be like a fantastic Star Trek Rashomon and boy oh boy I am all aboard for that.

We already got a Star Trek Rashomon.
posted by hanov3r at 8:19 AM on May 19


Don't all series have to have a Rashomon episode eventually? I'd look it up on TV Tropes but I have work to do today.
posted by octothorpe at 8:52 AM on May 19


Don't all series have to have a Rashomon episode eventually?

Depends on how you look at it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:18 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


It's usually in the same season as the Christmas Carol episode and the Game Show episode.
posted by octothorpe at 8:22 PM on May 21


My only hesitation is that what I value about these new Treks is that they are emphatically not chasing after the 60s or the 90s. Discovery's jump to the far future is the most exciting development in the franchise in decades. I have confidence that Strange New Worlds will continue to expand the idea of what Star Trek can be. I hope it doesn't fall back into playing it safe with 60s and 90s pastiche.

Well, between the third season of Discovery and the imminent Strange New Worlds, I am actually looking forward with some interest to watching. Maybe we have found the corollary to the dictum that every alternate Star Trek movie is good; only every third decade of Trek on TV is enjoyable.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:41 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


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