The Enterprise-C’s stories remain one of the least explored points in the canon’s history.
The Star Trek: Next Generation episode Yesterday’s Enterprise featured the final chapter of the Enterprise-C, a ship tethered to a fate that was inescapable. The plot of the episode featured a drastically different Enterprise-D, due to a timeline change where the Enterprise-C wasn’t destroyed. The resulting change caused a drastically different future where the Enterprise-D was without Worf and the long-dead Natasha Yar was back. The episode detailed the final hours of the Enterprise-C’s existence, before succumbing to damage in a battle with the Romulans.
The loss of the Enterprise-C protecting a Kling outpost brought the Klingons into the a new era with Starfleet, once thought unobtainable.
While the ship’s end was well detailed in that fateful TNG episode, the ship’s entire existence was not. The ship had an entire lifespan without the worry of the Romulans and pending destruction. So think about a show that featured a ship full of crew members that you knew would have to die in order for the galaxy to get a little bit better. What kind of stories could you tell?
Now, you may ask why a ship that’s destined to be destroyed would make compelling television? Well, we all knew how Titantic was going to end, and that movie made a lot of money. So clearly the obvious end results don’t detour people from watching a compelling story. Setting up a show around a group of characters who know that in a few year’s time they’ll end up dying would make for some amazing character exploration.
You’d have some crew members come and go, others fight against their destiny while even more may resign to their fate in a haunting act of acceptance. Across a 12+ episode season, the series could definitely work.
Plus, who’s to say the crew has to die? Sure, the ship’s going to get wiped out, but maybe at the last second, moved by the ships’ crew and their pending sacrifice, a being like Q can pop in and move everyone off-ship just before it explodes. Moving everyone to a time and place outside of their timeline so that they may live out an inconsequential existence as a sign of respect for what they were willing to give up.
Maybe you float out that idea that they’ll be saved last second but are ultimately stopped. Maybe there is no last-second attempt at all, and the last scene of the series is the ship getting the distress call from the Klingon outpost. A worried crew knowing what lies for them still responds, with the last shot of the ship surging off into warp as the credits roll, leaving the audience with a subtle reminder that the end comes for us all.
There are a dozen ways to do this story and do it well. That’s why the doomed story of the Enterprise-C should be the next show explored.