I am in San Francisco this week, a place that holds a special place in any Trek fan’s heart. It is the future site of Star Fleet Command and Star Fleet academy. This location has been well established in every era of Star Trek, whether it be the original crew in the movies, or The Next Generation, or even Enterprise, all of them have established San Francisco as the location for Star Fleet command. Even the new movies establish this town as the base of operations for Star Fleet. It is hard for me to not think about Star Trek when I come to this city. And when I think of Star Trek, I always wonder when or if we will ever see a Star Trek television series again. For me, Star Trek will always belong on TV, in a serial format, and not just in the megaplexes of the world.
A recent post over at io9,by Mark Altman, discusses how one could turn Star Trek into the next Marvel mega-franchise. I may not agree with all of his suggestions, like making Star Trek into the Sci-Fi version of Game of Thrones, but I agree with his sentiments. I think there is huge potential for the Star Trek property to become huge. Bigger than anything else out there. I also agree that Star Trek making its triumphant return to television is key to that happening. Star Trek has never been a franchise that could survive solely on the big screen. We need a series of some sort, and if it were the right series, it could be a mega-success.
So, other than San Francisco making me think of Star Trek, what does any of this really have to do with San Francisco or me being here? Well, none of it has anything to do with me being here. I am here solely for work at my day job, which unfortunately has nothing to do with Star Trek (sadly), but it does have to do with San Francisco, because I have an idea for series that I think could be pretty good. Now, keep in mind that I am not a television series developer in any capacity, so at the end of the day, what do I really know about any of this? This is simply my idea, and I think it might be pretty cool.
The idea? Simple. It would be Star Trek: Academy, and it would take place primarily at the Star Fleet Academy, in San Francisco. Brilliant, right? Well let me tell you more, and maybe you might think so. For all you television producers out there, feel free to contact me directly about a development deal. I don’t have an agent (just in case anyone like that reads this).
The story would basically follow a class or cadets who all seem to be a little rough around the edges, or they don’t quite fit in (picture Ender’s Dragon Army, full of outcasts, with a dash of Wolverine-a little rough). This group of cadets seems to always find themselves in trouble. They don’t seek it out, trouble just seems to find them. However, they always find a way out, and over time, they begin to earn the respect of their instructors and most of their peers. Of course there would be one rival group of cadets that would always hate them and try to make their lives harder. Their main instructor would be a Captain (I always pictured his name being either John or Jack Wolf) who, due to chronic injuries, has been forced into instructing at the academy, but he sorely misses the action. He plays by his own rules, and he is a survivor, so he passes that on to the students. That’s the basic premise.
Why it Could Work
The beauty about this is that it could take place in any era of Star Trek (Except for Enterprise, without adjustment, anyway, which is fine because I don’t think they want to revisit Enterprise any time soon), whether it be the Original Series, or TNG, or even the new parallel universe. My vote would be in the new parallel universe, so it could coincide with the movies that Paramount is working on. Also, the new universe is a little more action packed, which I don’t like as a traditional Trek fan, but I recognize that it has more of a mainstream audience appeal. So, I would suggest placing it in that parallel universe and going from there.
I also see it working one of two ways. Either this class graduates and new cadets are constantly being refreshed and brought into the group, causing a need for constant adjustment, or it follows just one class through to graduation. A few might change over time, but the core group would remain intact. The first scenario gives you a way to change the crew as needed, keeping it fresh and preventing it from hitting a slump. The downside would be that the audience would never really connect with the cadets, as they would constantly be changing. The burden for that connection would be with Captain Wolf and the other instructors. The second scenario basically subs in the class of cadets for the bridge crew and the audience would be able to connect with them and watch them grow. The downside here would be that the characters could become stale, so they would need to be changed out anyway. I think somewhere in the middle of the two would be best.
The cadets would obviously be based in San Francisco, but they would also spend a good deal of time on short missions. The missions will always be presented as routine missions, but then something goes wrong, and the cadets, who are all inexperienced, would have to figure out a way to resolve any issues that would arise. The missions would always be closer to home, and so they would involve alien species we already know from the Star Trek canon. This would not be a series of exploration as much as it would be a way for a new generation of Trek fans to be introduced to many of the classic Star Trek races. So, again, while they will be based here in San Francisco (it feels weird to say that), they will not be confined to only San Francisco.
This also gives the Star Trek Universe a place to develop some new characters. Maybe we see one of the cadets graduate and then make it on board the Enterprise with Kirk. Maybe we see some of them graduate and then go on to be part of a bridge crew for a spin-off series. The possibilities are there. This would be just one avenue for new character development.
The biggest thing, I think, a series like this would have going for it is that all the cadets would be fairy young, which could draw in some of the younger crowd. I think it is apparent that most young people enjoy movies and stories where other young people are the main protagonists. That is one of the keys to the success of Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Narnia, even Star Wars, and many more. That is what young people want, so if we want to draw in that younger demographic, make the main characters young. Trust me, it will work.
That’s my idea, anyway, for a new Trek series. What do you think? Would a series like that work? Would it help to bring Star Trek back to TV, where it belongs? What would you do if you were making your very own Star Trek series? Let us know in the comments.