Discovery: Star Trek’s Continuing Mission

Star Trek Discovery logo

I shouldn’t be surprised – ever since the announcement that Star Trek will be returning to TV (or CBS All Access, if you want to be specific) in 2017, I have been asked over and over again…  “What do you want to see from the new Star Trek series?”

The news broke while I was out of town at the beginning of November 2015, and many people beat me to the punch of writing up a wish list of what they’d like to see in the new series. Full disclosure: I first read the full press release not long before formulating this list; the news and immediate response were just so overwhelming. Right off the bat, we knew that the new series wouldn’t be related to Star Trek Beyond and that it will feature new characters, both of which are positive points for me.

With just this little bit of information, my wishlist for the new series (we didn’t even have a name yet!) was very similar to most, and probably exactly what you’d expect:

  • A gender-balanced crew
  • Racial diversity
  • Body diversity
  • A non-human captain
  • A genderfluid/non-binary main character (perhaps a great way to explore the Andorian culture more, which has four genders – especially since the recent shared continuity novels address a fertility crisis on Andor)
  • LGBTQIAP+ characters
  • Characters with disabilities
  • New aliens/more aliens
  • Non-humanoid aliens (which will take some really great practical effects or really expensive CGI, tbh)

Since the original press release, we’ve learned many more details – the time period, timeline, crew composition, feature characters, and more. I can cross some things off my list, I know that some others won’t be met, and we’ll have to wait and see on a few others. But, knowing what I know now, and even with the departure of some of the original creators, I’m feeling pretty positive about Discovery.

But there was one line of this original press release from over a year ago that really caught my attention:

[Star Trek] also broke new ground in storytelling and cultural mores, providing a progressive look at topics including race relations, global politics and the environment.

Now, that is what I want. I want this new Star Trek series to return to the ideals of Star Trek – and I’m not just picking on the Kelvin timeline here. In my personal opinion, Enterprise, some of DS9 and Voyager, and certainly the TNG films all dropped the ball on this one.

So what do I want? I want a Star Trek that pushes the envelope. I want it to make us reexamine the social conventions and expectations of today. To make us wonder what it really means to be human. To ask the difficult questions. I want a Star Trek that looks forward to a future of peace and exploration and shared knowledge rather than war and famine and dystopia. I want a Star Trek that celebrates people for their differences, rather than forcing conformity or turning those differences into the comic relief.

I want a Star Trek filled with optimism. A Star Trek shows us what we can be if we are willing to learn, grow, and change.

And I don’t even care if there’s not a single explosion. Really.

And if this new Star Trek series does those things – continues that mission, pursues that goal put forth by the Great Bird of the Galaxy, really celebrates infinite diversity in infinite combinations – then I truly believe that my long list at the top of this post will basically take care of itself naturally and become irrelevant. Because a show that seeks to do these things should, by nature of actually doing them, have no problem meeting and exceeding my expectations.

This post is an amended and updated version of one originally published on Anomalous Musings on November 24, 2015.  

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