For years, the only place to visit the final frontier of the official “Star Trek” universe was through archival episodes and films. Then “Fringe” and “Lost” co-creator J.J. Abrams came along and revitalized a dormant brand, relaunching it as an epic cash-cow film series featuring such beloved geek icons as Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Benedict Cumberbatch and more.
With the eyes of the world once again focused on space, it’s only a matter of time until Trek returns to the small screen that spawned it. Former Trek stalwarts Michael Dorn, George Takei and Jonathan Frakes have all been linked to attempted TV revivals of various concepts, but here are the ones we want most:
WHO SHOULD IT STAR: William Sadler as Luther Sloane, with guest appearances by Peter Weller as Alexander Marcus, Dominic Keating as Malcolm Reed and Alexander Siddig as Julian Bashir. Have David Lee Smith, the star of Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth appear as Flint, James Daly’s character in “Requiem for Methuselah”, also written by Bixby. Throw in roles for memorable Bad Robot alumni such as Yunjin Kim, Michael Emerson, John Noble and Lance Reddick and we’re set.
THE PITCH: This could be the Homeland of the Trek universe. The covert ops world introduced through Bashir’s eyes in Deep Space Nine, seeded through Reed’s arc on Enterprise and shockingly dropped into the thick of things in the new film Star Trek Into Darkness, has been a particular source of speculation and interest among the fans since its inception in the late 1990s. So why not take its origins and no-doubt centuries-spanning epic saga to television, where it could unfold with careful precision over the course of years? Abrams’ Bad Robot collaborators are no stranger, after all, to the long-form story. Additionally, it could serve as a fascinating companion piece to…
WHO IT SHOULD STAR: Jack Blessing as Dulmer, James W. Jansen as Lucsly, Allan G. Royal as Captain Braxton I, Bruce McGill as Captain Braxton II, Jack Gwaltney as Vosk and Matt Winston as Agent Daniels. With cameos from Ed Begley Jr. as Henry Starling, Chris Pine as James T. Kirk and Matt Frewer as Berlinghoff Rasmussen. Have former Alcatraz star Sam Neill play an Admiral in charge of the lead Starfleet agents and have Farscape lead Ben Browder appear in a recurring capacity as Captain John Christopher and all would be well.
THE PITCH: What a tangled web time travel weaves. Deep Space Nine introduced the Department of Temporal Investigations, Voyager had the 29th Century-set Time Police, and the Temporal Cold War of Enterprise was everywhere and everywhen. Exploring the hypothetical transformation of the Department into a more fascistic Time Police before being split apart ideologically in the Temporal Cold War, this could very easily tie into the Section 31 saga while outright dealing with the damage that Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Nero, Archer and others have wrought upon the timeline. Positively Lovecraftian in the existential horror of a constantly shifting timeline, the Captains Braxton would be at the center of the story, their connection and seeming transformation explained, and the no-doubt scarring role that plays on one’s psyche. Also explored would be the (presumed) elimination from the timeline of characters like Tuvok and Chancellor Martok, and how the time agents would respond.
WHO IT WOULD STAR: John Savage as Captain Ransom, Titus Welliver as Lieutenant Burke, Olivia Berkelund as Ensign Gilmore, Rick Worthy as Crewman Lessing, Mark Rogerson as Crewman Sofin and Robert Picardo as The Doctor. Beloved sci-fi icon Katee Sackhoff could recur throughout the first season or two before having her character killed off to really make that impact with the viewers’ – and characters’ – guts.
THE PITCH: The very best installment of Voyager was the epic two-parter “Equinox”, dealing with Janeway and her crew encountering another Starfleet ship lost in the Delta Quadrant, but one whose crew has succumbed to fear and panic and acts more like a mirror universe version of the Battlestar Galactica reboot cast than anything else. While a large chunk of their story is detailed in the two-parter, who wouldn’t want to see this story take its sweet, episodic time? Post-Galactica, post-Bush and post-bin Laden, it may not be the Trek spinoff concept that springs to everyone’s mind first, but damn if it isn’t one that could force us to take a good long look at ourselves…the way that the best Trek always has.
WHO IT WOULD STAR: Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan Noonien Singh. Have Michael Cerveris appear as Gary Seven (echoing his work on Fringe as September) and David Lee Smith can show up here as Flint, too. Add Lost stars Evangeline Lilly and Emilie de Ravin in the featured roles of Isis and Roberta Lincoln, respectively, and wrap up the cast with the bow of former Hero of Canton Adam Baldwin as Khan’s lieutenant, Joachim. No doubt that Ed Begley Jr. could appear here in a recurring capacity as Henry Starling, as well.
THE PITCH: Adopting the model HBO used for most of the run of Tom Fontana’s Oz – eight episodes a season – The Eugenics Wars could work around Cumberbatch’s many film commitments and his shooting schedule for the BBC’s Sherlock. Although much has been made of this era in the filmed Trek canon, its history has only been detailed in non-canonical novels, so who knows what the Bad Robot gang could do with two or three seasons dedicated to the origin of Khan and his Augments? Throw in a nice chunk of story for Michael Cerveris as Gary Seven, the Trek equivalent of the Timelord we know as “The Doctor”, and we have a perfect portal into Trek history. Naturally, this would require a tight, densely-plotted story, but if this story is to be told in full, it deserves to be told on television.
WHO IT WOULD STAR: Why, the diverse and varied voices of the cast of the current films, of course.
THE PITCH: We were all thinking it. Pine, Quinto, Pegg and the rest are all far, far too busy for the production schedule of a weekly television show…so why not launch the newly-christened five-year mission as an animated series, further developing the characters within continuity (as played by the cast of the last several years), setting up future cinematic developments (as Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD will) while simultaneously allowing for bigger stories not constrained by the budgets of live action television? Characters not likely to appear in future films – Trelane, Gary Mitchell, Balok and others – could be featured here in ways that they couldn’t be on the silver screen. We could meet folks like Kor and Lieutenants Reilly and Kyle before they show up in our local multiplex. And we would love it.
WHO IT WOULD STAR: George Takei as Hikaru Sulu, Tim Russ as Tuvok, Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand, Boris Lee Krutonog as Lojur and Jeremy Roberts as Dmitri Valtane. This would probably be the kind of show where small screen luminaries Michael Hogan, Lance Henriksen, Esai Morales, Margo Martindale and Matthew Fox could shine in season-long arcs.
THE PITCH: The long-sought-after three-year mission starring the King of the Internet? Need I say more? Excelsior would have “instant hit” written all over it. Get on it, Paramount.
WHO IT WOULD STAR: Jonathan Frakes as William Riker and Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi. Rounding out the crew of Captain Riker’s new ship would be Anna Torv, Henry Ian Cusick, Jeremy Davies and Giancarlo Esposito. Colm Feore could play a deadly new nemesis and Delroy Lindo could recur as a Starfleet admiral.
THE PITCH: At the end of the tenth film, Nemesis, perennial Enterprise first officer William Riker is given command of the U.S.S. Titan, leaving Captain Picard and crew behind to pursue new adventures that have, til now, only been chronicled in books. In the ten and a half years since Nemesis, many, including Frakes himself, have voiced an interest in a Titan series. With two strong core characters with a massive fanbase, a cast of beloved television actors (including two recent Emmy winners in Davies and Esposito) and a post-Voyager setting, Titan would be the blockbuster hit series that fans have been wanting for over a decade.
WHO IT SHOULD STAR: Set between the 2009 and 2012 films, the series could star Bruce Greenwood, on the mend as the newly-promoted Admiral Pike, teaching a group of cadets at Starfleet Academy. The group of youngsters could be anchored by Friday Night Lights standout Jesse Plemmons, and the two could be supported by Kaitlyn Dever, Colin Donnell and Alessandra Toressani as a trio of intriguing young officers. Again, Peter Weller could appear as Alexander Marcus.
THE PITCH: Pike, on the mend following his encounter with Nero, is tasked with forming a special class of high-risk, highly-talented Starfleet Academy students, a sort of Avengers Academy in the 23rd Century. But with the timeline altered, and Admiral Marcus pulling the strings, could we be seeing the formation of the legendary Red Squad over 100 years too early? And what would the Department of Temporal Investigations have to say about this?
WHO IT SHOULD STAR: John deLancie as Q, Jennifer Lien as Kes, Michael Cerveris as Gary Seven, Neal McDonough as Trelane and Erik Menyuk as The Traveler.
WHAT IT SHOULD BE: In many classic DC Comics, including Darwyn Cooke’s 2004 masterpiece The New Frontier, characters like Doctor Fate, Billy Batson, The Phantom Stranger, Zatanna, The Spectre and others would come together during important moments in humanity’s history and discuss whether or not to interfere. What would a Star Trek equivalent of that gathering look like? Probably something a lot like this. Working in classic occurrences, creating new troubles and putting a new spin on old stories, The Gathering could shed new light on the mechanics and metaphysics of the Trek universe with an incredibly charming group of regulars.
WHO IT SHOULD STAR: The cast of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, of course. Although Aziz Ansari’s Tom Haverford has to be a Romulan now. Sorry, Tommy. Things happen.
THE PITCH: I don’t really want this. I just want to see Adam Scott’s Ben Wyatt get sucked into his beloved fandom’s universe and see him giggle in the face of certain death against Gul Dukat, explode with glee upon battling Khan and nearly vomiting with joy upon meeting Captain Picard. Now try and tell me you wouldn’t watch this. Plus, any excuse to run a photo of Jim O’Heir’s guest appearance on Star Trek: Voyager is completely worth it. You’re welcome, Internet.