(Full disclosure: I am a Trekkie. Or Trekker, whichever you prefer. I grew up with Kirk, Spock and McCoy, and thought The Next Generation was the best of the bunch. I’ve seen every episode of every series, and own every film on DVD.)
Star Trek fans are in a tizzy over the new JJ Abrams “reboot” of the Kirk/Spock era. (For those of you not in the know, the producer of “Lost” has been handed a new Star Trek movie. The reports are that he intends to make it about Kirk and Spock, and will be “reimagining” Trek in the way Ron Moore has done with Battlestar Galactica.)
The sides are clearly divided between the “give us something new, take us into the future!” camp and the “give us something new, start from scratch!” camp.
In my opinion, a reboot is a good idea — of course, that depends on how well it’s done. Some fans are dead set against it. They don’t want to see the alleged “continuity” of the Trek universe disturbed.
Star Trek TOS (stands for “The Original Series” for you non-Trekkers) barely had continuity from one episode to another, much less from series to series or film to film, so continuity arguments have always amused me. Watching Trekkers argue about continuity and “canon” is just like watching religious fundamentalists trying to resolve obvious contradictions in their holy texts. It’s no coincidence Trek fans actually use the word “canon.”
Star Trek, I hate to say, has been done to death. Any attempt to “recapture” it is doomed to failure, not because writers can’t come up with something good or it couldn’t be done well, but because we the fans have changed. We can only experience it for the first time once. We can only get that magical feeling once.
I was a teenager when I first saw Star Wars and Close Encounters. Star Wars showed me how to have fun at the movies. Close Encounters filled me with awe and wonder like no movie had ever done before.
I can watch both those movies now and REMEMBER the feeling, but I can’t experience the same experience again. Maybe I can see new things I didn’t see before, but not the same things I saw for the first time… the first time. Such is the unidirectional nature of this particular space-time continuum.
So reboot Trek. Give us the familiar touchstones, but show them from a different angle. We’ll experience something different. No, it won’t be the same, it will be different, but different is not always worse.
It’s like being with a woman for 20 years. Yes, it was magical at first, but you get used to each other.
But then one day, she changes her hair style. Wears something new. And all of a sudden, there’s a spark! No, it’s not the same feeling as when you first met… it’s something different, and it can be just as good. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, it can be better. You can’t meet her again for the first time, but you can meet her again.
My only fear about a Trek reboot is that they’ll chicken out. They won’t reboot ENOUGH. If they’re going to do it, jump in with both feet and let the chips fall where they may.
So put a new wig on Kirk and a new dress on Spock, and let’s see if we can get a spark.