Star Trek is producing two new shows but hopefully, they’re more Strange New Worlds and less Discovery.
Star Trek is currently in a very weird time. It has five shows airing currently, with one already finished, one ending soon, and two more in production. Never before has Trek been this saturated before. To help avoid the stagnation that hindered Trek in the 90s, each show has its own unique taste, so to speak.
Discovery was a darker, more special effects-driven show that turned the Federation into a less altruistic outfit. Picard told a darker tale of aging, death, and distrust while ramping up the violence to a level most fans were not a fan of. Lower Decks tried to embody the tone that adult comedy cartoons like Rick and Morty embraced, and has succeeded to varying degrees. Prodigy tried to truncate Star Trek stories and make them more manageable for kids, while Strange New Worlds returned to the classic format of Trek.
Each show has not been met with the same response, with Strange New Worlds becoming the franchise staple and Picard and Discovery being on the other end of the conversation. While some will claim that shows such as Picard and Discovery will eventually be met with the same late-run praise series like Enterprise and Voyager are getting now, that isn’t likely to happen.
Picard and Discovery are Star Trek really in name only. Both shows tried to embrace other genres and other ideals when producing the shows and didn’t adhere to the formula that makes Trek famous. Enterprise and Voyager suffered because they did adhere to that formula, and the fanbase was tired of it by that point. The franchise had been going on for nearly 20 years on television by the time Enterprise ended.
The burnout was real. They’re still just as good as The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, as they’re the same formates, just with different characters. Picard and Discovery are very different from one another, let alone from the shows that came before.
This makes the argument that Discovery and Picard will one day be heralded in the same way Enterprise and Voyager far less defensible.
This is why the new show has to ignore what Discovery and Picard did and try to embrace Strange New Worlds’ direction.
Strange New Worlds needs to be the standard bearer for new shows
While some fans will defend the idea of making Trek shows for all sorts of fans, the fact is these shows are super expensive to make, so making them for just a small portion of the audience who wants a Star Trek musical, or a Star Trek-gore fest, or Star Trek Ricky and Morty, isn’t a fiscally responsible idea.
Strange New Worlds didn’t do anything new. They took old Trek, made some new characters, and told the same stories. It worked. Why? Because at the end of the day it was the only series that embraced what Trek was. Picard tried to be Star Trek’s Logan, while Discovery was Sense8 in space.
That isn’t Trek. Trek is an established, expected property. Subverting expectations only angers fans. Don’t give fans more non-Trek Star Trek shows. If you want a show that’s like Rick and Morty, go watch Rick and Morty. If you want a sci-fi musical, go watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog.
Trek works when it’s Trek, not when it’s something else with the Star Trek label. So whatever these two new shows are, they need to keep that in mind, or this franchise will once again fall on its face.