The series side of Star Trek could learn a thing or two from Star Trek: Online

Star Trek: Online is giving fans far more interesting plots than most of the current Trek media
50th Anniversary Of The Saturn Awards - Arrivals
50th Anniversary Of The Saturn Awards - Arrivals / Albert L. Ortega/GettyImages

Fans shouldn’t be sleeping on Star Trek: Online, the popular massive multiple-player online role-playing experience. It’s a video game that has been going strong since 2010 and 14 years later, is still giving fans all sorts of amazing experiences. 

The game has been a bridge to most of Star Trek’s fanbase for years and has helped satisfy the itch of legacy characters in the franchise getting another crack at their famed roles. People like Tim Russ (Tuvok), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), Walter Koening (Pavel Checkov), Alexander Siddig (Julian Bashir), Jeffrey Combs (various), Kate Mulgrew (Kathrine Janeway), Chase Masterson (Leeta) and many others have returned to the franchise to reprise their famed characters.

Now, it’s happening again as Denise Crosby is returning to the franchise to play a different version of Sela, now the captain of the USS Enterprise. 

It’s a novel concept and one that will surely get fans interested in the latest update for the game, and also an example of how this nearly 15-year-old game is still able to generate some of the more interesting plotlines that the franchise has seen since the end of Enterprise. 

While the Kelvin Timeline films have their fans, the most recent crop of Star Trek shows have been largely hit or miss for the fandom, with Strange New Worlds arguably being the best of the bunch. A major reason why the shows seem to disinterest such a wide variety of fans has to do with the fact that most of the shows are being written by people who don’t truly understand the franchise and instead want to see themselves as a character in the show first and foremost.

It’s not a bad thing, but when writing a stand-in character is the point of the show and not the complex politics of an ever-changing intergalactic theatre, then you’ve lost the point of the show. Star Trek is about the conflicts, not setting up scenarios just to make one character look like a superhero.

It's why so many shows have failed because the focus is on a singular character, usually not on a larger plot. Not only that, but when the shows do focus on a wider crop of characters, the storylines are often simple and dare we say vapid. Yet, Star Trek Online is able to avoid a lot of this by going off-book more often than not.

It's why it's lasted 14-plus years, and why the shows and films should turn to it and its creative team for direction.