It’s been 50 years, this Thursday (Sept. 8), since “Star Trek” originally premiered to the small-screen. Since then, Gene Roddenberry’s brainchild has become a cultural phenomenon that has bred multiple movies, TV series, video games, board games, comic books, fan films, conventions and more.
With the newest small-screen iteration on the horizon — known simply as “Star Trek: Discovery” — let this week be a friendly reminder that “Star Trek’s” true home is on television, not the movie theater.
We’re not knocking the big-screen adventures Captain Kirk, Spock and Bones have taken, nor are we shunning the trips Picard, Riker and Data took throughout their movie tenure. But it’s worth noting that, unlike “Star Wars” which was made for the big-screen, the Enterprise crew’s tales were created for small-screen consumption.
Appearing as a guest on Episode 13 of “Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast,” Simon Pegg voiced a similar opinion. The actor who plays Scotty also co-wrote “Star Trek: Beyond” and has been rather vocal about the direction the J.J. Abrams movies took.
But when it comes to taking on the movies vs TV argument, Pegg says, “Star Trek’s home is television. The movies have always been a kind of celebration of that. They’ve been events that have happened at the cinema, but I think the true home of Star Trek really is TV.”
And that is a point that many may have forgotten in recent years. It’s been over a decade since “Star Trek: Enterprise” went off the air. The Scott Bakula-led series ran for merely four seasons and aired at a time when science fiction was experiencing some television doldrums.
In this recent post 9/11 landscape, all eyes were focused on a mixture of Jack Bauer hunting terrorists and reality TV fluff. It seemed no one had the time for space exploration.
But now, it’s a different story. Science is a topic of TV conversations again. Wonderful new programs have capitalized on the serialized nature of comic book entertainment, successfully bringing superheroes to the small-screen.
If ever there was a perfect time to ship another Starfleet crew into the far reaches of space, this would be it. And hey, “Star Trek: Discovery” may not be premiering on CBS until early next year, but a recent bit of news has the show getting backup from a new line of books and comics, as well.
The idea of “Star Trek” books or graphic novels is nothing new. But, Kristen Beyer — the person overseeing the new books — told a packed crowd at this past weekend’s Star Trek: Mission New York Convention that these TV tie-ins will “support the story in a way we don’t normally have the chance to do.”
Why is that? Maybe because there is such a gap in time between the movies, that the connectivity in story can feel a bit disconnected with the books? Presenting a serialized story on paper, as it connects to the serialized narrative of television just feels like the right thing to do.
With the mobile viewing options of CBS: All Access, and the genius of Bryan Fuller behind the new series, “Star Trek Discovery” may finally be bringing Gene Roddenberry’s dream back to the small-screen in style. Keep an eye out for William Shatner … he may be there too.