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Trek Treatment by Masters of Science Fiction is Online

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J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5) and Bryce Zabel (Dark Skies) wrote a treatment for a new Trek series back in 2004, but it was never submitted to Paramount given their supposed disinterest in anything "Trek" for at least a couple of years. Now with word that J.J. Adrams has been brought on board to helm the next feature film, Bryce has released their treatment to the public. I haven't read it yet, but I already know that the real loser in this deal is Paramount, not Straczynski and Bryce.

I was jumping out of my chair when I heard about this last year, and I never thought that this treatment would ever see the light of day. Now it has, and I know what I'm going to be doing this morning. Thanks to Lee Goldberg for spreading the news on this, and to Bryce for releasing his and Straczynski's work.

I just got done reading the treatment, and I'm a little bit disappointed. I'm not a real big fan of re-imagining, even if it did work for BattleStar Galactica. I could go over, item by item, all the things I thought and felt when I read it, but I think I can sum it up succinctly by addressing this quote.
What we propose is not Star Trek: Another Generation, or Star Trek: A New Ship, or even Star Trek: The Search for Plots. In other words, not a copy of a copy, or a distillation of a variation.

This is exactly what their proposal sounds like to me. Same ship, same characters, just different writers to guide them. BSG made that work, and if anyone can, these two guys certainly have my confidence, but why? The quote above is a perfect guide, you just have to open your eyes a little wider.

There have been five series set on four ships and one space station, and they have exactly the same thing in common: they revolve around just a single aspect of the Star Trek universe, Starfleet. You can't throw a rock in published Trek without hitting a Captain, or someone wearing a uniform. Why not take the obvious out? Why continue to explore space when you can instead explore Trek itself. The Federation is a big place, and Starfleet is only one part which we are already too familiar with.

Sure, you can explore more of Starfleet via the academy, or Yet Another Ship; boldly going where only Starfleet Captains go, because apparently they are the only vehicle capable of telling human interest stories. The thing is, Star Trek has always been about exploring space, and learning about ourselves along the way, and that's great, but it's not the only damn way to tell a story.

No brilliant high-profile concepts are needed to revive Trek, it just needs to be let out of the box. Pick a place where nobody wears a Starfleet uniform, stick a guy up a tree, and chuck rocks at him. Enjoy.

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Jun 18, 2006, 3:35:00 PM
Personally, I'd have to agree with the notion of creating a Trek series that has no constant tie-in to Starfleet, its predecessors, or successors.

Jun 19, 2006, 1:57:00 PM
It could be interesting, but there would be a lot of work to do. Beyond Star Fleet, the Star Trek universe is very poorly described. Do they even have money? It depends upon which shows you take as canon on this. We know more about how Ferengi society really works than the future Earth.

This would really amount to a totally new work considering how little has been established. I think that those who are interested in writing about a future civilian society might be best off doing this without any constraints from Star Trek, and keeping Star Trek closer to the familar concept of starships and even captains.

My comments on this Trek treatment are at The Democratic Daily, entitled Star Trek Meets The Vorlons:

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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.