Should A New Star Trek Television Series Follow Peter David’s Vision?

Posted Friday, January 11th, 2013 03:09 pm GMT -4 by

Because of the popularity of the new Star Trek movies, there has been much speculation about whether or not a new Star Trek series is in the works. There are whispers of Ronald D. Moore taking another crack at it (which is fine with me, as we are all well aware of my deep and abiding love for Deep Space Nine and Battlestar Galactica), and even some talk about Bryan Fuller (a little less okay with me because, despite his propensity for making great shows like Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me, they all get cancelled in quick order).

So, I figure since something hasn’t been done yet, and there a lot of interest, I’m going to toss my pitch into the ring and hope some exec stumbles on it. It may not be the most effective pitching strategy, but here it is:

I want them to take the Star Trek: The New Frontier book series, by Peter David, and turn that into a television show.

Now, I know I’m in the minority of people who like Star Trek enough to read the books, so hear me out.

(Warning: Very minor spoilers ahead.)

The Universe

What’s cool about the New Frontier series is that it has all the space adventuring of The Next Generation and The Original Series, mixed with all the political intrigue of Deep Space Nine, making it the best of all possible Star Trek worlds. How is the possible? Well, they set it in a corner of space that is relatively untouched by the Federation and was once controlled by the very recently fallen Thollanian Empire. This means that they are moving around from unknown planet to unknown planet while dealing with increasingly complicated and entangled alliances. There, the Starfleet ship Excalibur is sent on what is supposedly a humanitarian mission, but really ends up being an ass-kicking mission.

As cool as this universe is, what with all the political intrigue, back-stabbing and journeying into the unknown depths of the stars is, it would be nothing without its characters.

The Cast

  • Captain Mackenzie Calhoun –It took a lot of effort to not put “freakin’”, or an analogous curse word as his middle name, because seriously, this dude is awesome. If he were to enter the captain debate, there is little doubt in my mind that Kirk would find himself crying in the darkest corner of the Enterprise wondering why he couldn’t be that debonair/rash/AMAZING. Mackenzie’s backstory revolves around being a warlord who single-handedly saved his planet from eons of bondage. Then, because he realized that he had achieved all he could on his podunk planet, he went to Starfleet where he became the only man to schtoop Commander Shelby. Also, the only man since Kirk to consistently change the rules of the Prime Directive and somehow get away with it.
  • Commander Elizabeth Shelby – She wasn’t exactly the most popular character on The Next Generation, and I think that was largely because everyone was scared that Picard was going to kick it forever as the Borg, and Riker was going to be Captain with Shelby in tow, and as we all know, Star Trek fans hate change. In any case, she loses a bit of her fast and loose style in the wake of a Captain who takes fast and loose to hyper-speed and epically wide, and she has to become a sort of by the book foil.
  • Lieutenant Zak Kebron – Kebron, a Brikar, is basically brick-built Worf, which is good, because if Deep Space Nine taught us anything, a show only gets better with more Worf. Also, apparently the two were roommates back at the academy. But really, he’s better than Worf. Think of The Thing from the fantastic four with actually witty one-liners, and a complete calm in all situations, including taking down thirty-armed hostiles, or talking to a bratty prince who hasn’t quite accepted he’s not a prince anymore. He’s no nonsense in all the ways he needs to be, and deadpan in all the ways I wish Worf was.
  • Lieutenant Commander Burgoyne172 – Burgoyne, a Hermat, is a hemaphroditic sex god who is particularly good at convincing Vulcans to sleep with him/her outside, and is a decent engineer to boot.  S/he also has the distinction of Scotty drinking him/her under a table though s/he never really knew who it was. S/he did have a bit of a crush on him, though. Burgoyne would be an awesome character because s/he would finally introduce different sexualities into the Star Trek universe. For Burgoyne’s character alone, I want Star Trek The New Frontier to be made into a TV show. I need him/her to be canon.
  • Si Cwan – Si Cwan is the former prince of the Thallonion empire. He is good at heart, but hilariously bad at showing it seeing as his father used to rule a vast galactic empire. Despite being adorably out of touch with anything the Federation would consider as basic human decency, he becomes a vital part of the crew due to his intelligence and fighting prowess. Also, his bizarre bromance/hateship with Kebron makes for one of the more interesting dynamics in the series.
  • Lieutenant Soleta – Every ship needs a Spock, as evidenced by Tuvok and T’pal, so in comes Soleta, who takes Vulcan adherence to protocol to some pretty awkward heights, all to compensate for the fact that she just recently found out she is half Romulan.
  • Doctor Selar- I really want to boil her down to this: Vulcan doctors have horrible bedside manners. Hilarity ensues. But I can do a little bit better than that. Essentially, her past revolves around a Pon Farr gone wrong (not as sexy as it sounds), which forces her to confront some unpleasant emotions she isn’t exactly prepared to handle.

These are not all the characters, but a sampling. Still, this should give you an idea of how diverse the crew would be, and how interesting of a television show it would make. I do understand, though, that having a good plot and good characters isn’t always enough for a show to get made, so here’s my other argument.

Basing it off the books means there is a built in audience of people who liked the books. Having it be by Peter David will naturally attract the comic crowd, as he wrote some of the best Hulk in decades, and certainly my favorite run of X-Factor.  Add that in with the very large Star Trek fanbase, and I think it’s at least safe for a season. One season, I believe, would be all it needed to convince everyone else to watch it.

What are you waiting for, networks? Make The New Frontier a reality!

I’m going to end this article, however, with a bit of a nonsequitur. In light of Peter David’s recent stroke, I’d like to take the opportunity to remind people that they can help him pay his exorbitant medical bills by clicking here and reading about what they can do.

 

  • Friskyclown

    It would be great indeed. I love the books, and see them as a series parallel to the tv shows in their own right….

  • http://twitter.com/paulthefencer Paul Schram

    I haven’t read those particular books, however before Enterprise aired and the plot was unknown, I was sort of hoping that the series would be based around the “Voyager” episode which revolved around the Federation Time Ship. That would have been a great series. Space travel and time travel. So I think that might make a good premise for any new series.

    • http://twitter.com/BoomComplains Boom

      That would be pretty cool, actually.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chase.brown.9231 Chase Brown

      But what will they do when they need that filler episode, or to fix a plot hole!?! Time travel seems to be the remedy for all Sci-Fi shows when that happens. But both your idea (space and time travel) and Alison’s idea sound great!

  • Unicornsnot

    I have thought this for a good while. The characters are an eccentric bunch, and Captain M’k’n’zy (Don’t forget the gutturals, people!), is kickass enough to bring in both the old and young viewers. I have no doubt they could work through the books and throw in some down-time episodes for a bit of a change of pace, like Deep Space Nine pulled off pretty well, and there wouldn’t have to be any issues with the continuity of the Trekverse. Bring it on!

  • Unicornsnot

    Just adding to my last post. Rarely has a book series made me chuckle out loud or have me in anticipation at some parts like a close sports contest. Please make this into a tv series!

  • Jarvis A. Brodie

    There is nothing on television that is more important now than STAR TREK. I mean I’m getting tired of changing the channels when nothing is on but reality shows and reruns. This is why I believe it’s time for STAR TREK to come back on television and this series should help!

  • Steven

    Not for me I’m afraid. Having read quite a few of the books, I could never picture it as a T.V series after The Next Generation,Voyager,Enterprise etc. On paper (ironically lol) the stories are good, but that is where they serve best, on paper. I don’t think that the majority of fans would take to it at all, as you said yourself (“the minority who reads the books”) and in my opinion that’s exactly what it would be, it would have a “minority” fan base, rather than the huge cult fan base that Star Trek has developed. Best left in the books. There is still a plot for a new Star Trek series, but It is one that must be thought through VERY carefully as to not tarnish the rest and end up being cut short due to poor and low reviews. The scope for a new series is still big though, even though much older now, a lot of people have always wanted to see someone like Riker (TNG) in command (similar to futures end with the new advanced Enterprise) followed by a mix of a young and older cast. Even another Data could be their after Nemesis. Still a lot of stories to be told, as for the books though, I think that’s where they should stay.

    • http://twitter.com/BoomComplains Boom

      That being said, with the popularity of the Titan series, I don’t think they’d pursue a Riker based series unless they were based on the books. Also they got rid of Data for a very good reason, which is to say that the ageless android was obviously aging seeing as Brent Spiner can’t really stop doing that.

      I don’t really like the idea of looking back for a new series, and I think that’s exactly why Enterprise didn’t do so well. Okay, that’s not really the whole reason of why I think that, but that’s a very long a complicated story about that.

      I think my point to the article is that a complicated universe like the one in New Frontier, with more dynamic characters would ensure a good show. I don’t think they should stick to the books completely, though there are a few cases where I don’t see why not. This series is good on paper, yes, but I think is so much of it that would be better on screen. More than half of “Martyr” was done with subtle cues between people that had to be explained (which I think it suffered from slightly), and filled with action scenes that are well-written, but would be easier watched.

      Also, the Peter David fanbase is not a small one, and I think that would make up for the minority who read Star Trek books, though I’m finding out that it is far less of a minority than I originally thought. It should speak very highly of the series that Pocketbooks has never commissioned anyone else to write the series though it is within their legal rights to do so. It also speaks highly that the series has been included in not only the Mirror Universe series, but the Gateway series, which only has books that are based on the canon series. Not only that, it is the only book series to ever have an action figure made for it. As such, I’m not certain the minority is as small as I originally thought.

      • Steven

        It wouldn’t have to be Riker as the main character (that was more of a reference of still having something from the old coming into the new). A lot from what I read from different fans etc was that they always felt that nearly every series was left with far to many questions rather than answers (although I assume that those questions were “what happened next?”) Especially in TNG and Voyager, while the final episodes them selves were good (for the most part) a lot of people were left unfulfilled. If there is to be a new series I think it needs to be a mix of new and old. Even if you take the latest Star Trek movie as an example, while it was a whole new younger cast, it was still centered from the original characters.

        You have to look at, if the books went to T.V, is it going to be good because it stays true to what Star Trek was, with a different twist? Or is it going to be going in a completely different direct to what the previous ST’s were like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.malone.94695 John Malone

    I respectfully disagree. I’m sure these are fine books, and I too would like a new series that reclaimed the darker, edgier vibe of “Deep Space Nine,” with even more politics and less mysticism. But it seems to me the natural candidate is a simple extension of the timeline that ended with “Deep Space.” Think about it: The Federation has been through three calamitous wars— with the Klingnons, the Borg, and the Dominion— in the space of just a few years, with enormous losses of blood and treasure. It emerged victorious from all three, but at a terrible cost. What happened to the United States in the aftermath of World War II? Cold War. Paranoia and McCarthyism. A new, militarized imperialism that led to conflict in Korea and Vietnam. I’d like to see an exploration of similar themes in the Federation’s reaction to its own experience of war and loss. Would there be a faction in Star Fleet that suddenly saw its mission in a decidedly harsher and more suspicious way? Would it come into conflict with those who insisted on preserving the old values of Federation society, with its commitment to openness, peaceful exploration, and tolerance? Would people start to feel pressured to choose sides? And what would happen when they did? I can see it now: “Star Trek: Rubicon.” Consider the possibilities.

    • http://twitter.com/BoomComplains Boom

      I love this idea. Absolutely love it.

      I often think about a series past Deep Space Nine, though mine tends to center around the fallen Cardassian Empire and maybe it’s very rock integration into the Federation. But yours is way more darker.

      • john malone

        Thanks Boom. We’re on the same page. As i envision it, the Cardassians and the Bajorans would be major players here. The Cardassians, for example, would essentially be a “failed state” on the borders of the Federation— its Pakistan, say. And their military, desperate to regain prestige and power, might naturally look to form an alliance of convenience with the more militaristic elements in Star Fleet— for the right price, of course. And wouldn’t that probably have something to do with their former colony, Bajor? Hmmm……

    • VonLaserface

      Brilliant.

    • Tiberius3108

      People said the same thing about DS9 and its primarily
      station based format.

  • joeywreck

    I’d love to see what kind of series someone comes up with.. I’ve been trying to watch some of the fan webshows recently, but it’s just not the same. There has to be some way to continue Star Trek for a very long time.. maybe an online game, maybe work with Apple and invent holodecks. I’m sure that will be a hit with the people that can afford it.

    One of the things I’m not very much a fan of in the Star Trek series coming after the original series are the episodes where two characters are trapped on a planet or a shuttle or something and are forced to work it out. These type of bottle shows go on for even the last seasons of a show.. where you’re bound to know who the characters are by now. You can still make the show personal and emotional without the same script..

  • j murphy

    if they are going to do a series of star trek . I think they should use the new characters from the new star trek movie . because any body else would just not be right. the new star trek movie was very good along with the characters. so if they going to make a series make it from the people from the movie. when they made the othere movies from star trek they kept the same kirk and percard. so keep the same people from the new movie.

  • Luke T

    One trillion five million seven hundred thousand pretty pleases make this a TV series.

  • theone

    We need a new star trek series. I haven’t read the books but i have watched all the tv series. Lets sit back and think for a minute. Deep Space 9 gave us the Gamma Quadrant and Voyager gave us all kinds of new technology like SLIPSTREAM AND 7 of 9 borg technology. Lets keep this in mind when we get a new star trek series.

  • callum

    Sorry as much as I love Star Trek and want a new show I don’t think this would be the show we need. A new Star Trek show shouldn’t be about a ship going from planet to planet making new alliances, That’s bassicly Voyager isnt it?. The new Star Trek show should pick up where we left off… The Alpha quadrant is recovering from the fallout of the Dominion war, Romulus is becoming more isolated a militaristic. After the whole Shinzon thing and the Hobus incident (which I don’t think would have been as devistating as Star Trek Online made it) A new Right Wing government emerges led by Sela who blames the Federation for its problems in recent times. That gives the show a established villian from the off and history the fans can already jump into.

    The other problem with using New Frontiers is that a character like Shelby would no way still be a commander. That was 20 years ago! I’m sure she would have had her own ship by the start of the Dominion war if not after (if she was still alive).

    • Aaron Darkwood

      I agree, that a current (last we saw) timeline continuation would be good, albeit a few years later now. I can’t imagine that any primary face would be a reoccurring or major star in it, but it would be great to see minor faces appearing just for continuity. Maybe a Lieutenant Nog, Garak, or someone from the background bunch? The Admiral Jayneway was a nice touch in the film, I daresay theres an Admiral Riker out there now too.
      I would love to see a series based around the Nova Class, small ship, 8 decks, 85 crew, so you would get to know a lot of them.

  • g-egg

    There’s definitely something in the making. There’s no question about that. The question is, is now the right time?

    With Star Trek becoming more mainstream there’s a lot of money to be made here, sure. But let’s not forget that the franchise is now owned by CBS, the current number one television network in the United States. And with 10 CBS shows running considerably strong (each one of them sharing a spot in the top ten ranking for PB Network Television in the US just last week) the question isn’t what, but when.

    Sure, there is a lot of money to be made in another Star Trek television series, but is it worth the risk? CBS is making good money right now as it is. Elementary, The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, Blue Bloods, The Mentalist, 60 Minutes and Two and a Half Men are just a handful of shows CBS has currently in their prime time lineup. Putting money into another program and fitting it into an already heavy schedule could mean the risk of There’s definitely something in the making. There’s no question about that. The question is, is now the right time?
    With Star Trek becoming more mainstream there’s a lot of money to be made here, sure. But let’s not forget that the franchise is now owned by CBS, the current number one television network in the United States. And with 10 CBS shows running considerably strong (each one of them sharing a spot in the top ten ranking for PB Network Television in the US just last week) the question isn’t what, but when.

    Sure, there is a lot of money to be made in another Star Trek television series, but is it worth the risk? CBS is making good money right now as it is. Elementary, The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, Blood Bloods, The Mentalist, 60 Minutes and Two and a Half Men are just a handful of the shows in CBS’s prime time lineup. Investing in a new program just might be more risk than what it’s worth.

    Once shows like Person of Interest, Mike and Molly, and Hawaii Five-0 begin to lose their ratings, and depending on the success of the next Star Trek film Into Darkness, will we begin to (maybe) hear news of another Star Trek television series on the horizon.

    Have hope, but don’t hold your breath.

    • g-egg

      Whoops! And this kids, is why you should always read your posts before hitting that lil’ [ <--' Enter ] button you see here.

      I don't know what I'm more embarrassed for: "Blood Bloods" or my 2 yokes/1 egg copy pasta.

      [FIXED BELOW]

      "There's definitely something in the making. There's no question about that. The question is, is now the right time?

      With Star Trek becoming more mainstream there's a lot of money to be made here, sure. But let's not forget that the franchise is now owned by CBS, the current number one television network in the United States. And with 10 CBS shows running considerably strong (each one of them sharing a spot in the top ten ranking for PB Network Television in the US just last week) the question isn't what, but when.

      Sure, there is a lot of money to be made in another Star Trek television series, but is it worth the risk? CBS is making good money right now as is. Elementary, The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, Blue Bloods, The Mentalist, 60 Minutes and Two and a Half Men are just a handful of the shows in CBS's prime time lineup. Investing in a new program just might be more risk than what it's worth.

      Once shows like Person of Interest, Mike and Molly, and Hawaii Five-0 begin to lose their ratings, and depending on the success of the next Star Trek film Into Darkness, will we begin to (maybe) hear news of another Star Trek television series on the horizon.

      Have hope, but don't hold your breath."