To Boldly Go: What I Want From The New Star Trek Series

Star Trek fans can be a hard group to please. We understandably have high expectations for the new series coming to CBS’s All Access platform in 2017. I’ve been purposely avoiding reading every article speculating about it. I don’t want to expect one thing and then get something else. I’ll look at big news, like show runner, producers, writers, etc, but am trying to leave some of it as a surprise. So, when asked to write about what I want in the new series, I had to stop and think. I don’t have a particular time period or location in mind, but what I find myself thinking about are the big ideas.

The things I keep coming back to fit into two main categories: diversity and exploration.

The first, diversity, can mean a lot of things and take different forms. Yes, I absolutely want the next captain to be a woman. Only one out of five so far (or six, if we’re counting JJ-verse) has been a woman. I know it’s been said, but representation matters. Women and girls need to see themselves reflected in pop culture, particularly in a franchise that tends toward the progressive. Not only would I like the next captain to be a woman, I would like that captain to be a person of color or non-human. I’m far from the only person to say this already, so I won’t dwell much on it.

Kate Mulgrew as Capt. Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager
Kate Mulgrew as Capt. Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager

I’d also love to see greater diversity among the main and supporting cast. That includes gender, race and sexual orientation. It’s a Star Trek show in 2017; I think it’s time to explore different kinds of human identity. I’ve heard people say that they don’t want to shoehorn diversity in at the expense of a good story. I’m of the opinion that diversity makes for better stories. The greater variety of lived experience among your characters, the richer the storytelling will be. There would be countless more options available for writers to consider when writing scripts with a more diverse cast.

Diversity for me in the Star Trek world doesn’t just mean among the human characters. I would love to see more non-humans as regulars on the show, whether they are main characters, supporting characters, or the antagonists. The special effects field has advanced eons since Star Trek was last on the air, and I think it will be infinitely easier to explore the more alien members of the galaxy. I’d love to see our crew encounter a species that is so foreign and different that communication is difficult or impossible, and struggle with what that means. I want to see different forms of life and being that challenge the crew in ways mental, physical and psychological.

The second big idea for me is exploration. That means physically, of course, but also morally and philosophically. One thing that has disappointed me in the existing Star Trek shows is the lack of attention to mental health compared to other topics. It’s been touched on briefly, but I’d like to see the series explore the human (or alien) mind. Seeing a crewmember struggle with anxiety or depression and deal with it meaningfully would help de-stigmatize something countless people suffer with. Again, representation matters. It’s important to see yourself reflected.

The main exploration I want to see is moral and philosophical. Star Trek’s strength has always been using a fantastical setting to explore the human condition. That is science fiction at its best. Some of the best episodes of Star Trek have dealt with war, death, love, loss, history, and the consequences of actions that bear similarities to events in the real world.

Brent Spiner and Jonathan Frakes in "Measure of a Man" from Star Trek: The Next Generation
Brent Spiner and Jonathan Frakes in “Measure of a Man” from Star Trek: The Next Generation

Two of my favorite episodes are TNG’s “Measure of a Man,” and “The Drumhead.” Both, in a way, deal with how we classify other beings as “human” and how and why we treat them the way we do. Do we treat androids as disposable people because they’re different? Do we persecute someone because they have the blood of our enemies? That’s peak Star Trek, and really the biggest thing I ask of the new series. Ask the hard questions, explore what it means to be human, and what draws us together.

Diversity and exploration. That’s what I want. The time period, ship or location, and major story arcs are less important to me. The creative team has literally the entire galaxy at its disposal. It’s science fiction. You can do whatever you want and the possibilities are endless. Why keep telling the same stories with the same people when there are so many other options? I want them to do something new, different, something we’ve never seen before. Whether on earth or out in space, I hope the new Star Trek series will boldly go where no Trek series has gone before.

The first episode of the new series will premiere with a broadcast TV special on CBS. That episode and all subsequent episodes will be exclusively shown in the US on the video streaming service CBS All Access.

Alex Kurtzman, Bryan Fuller and Rod Roddenberry have been announced as executive producers, with Nicholas Meyer (director of The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country and co-writer of The Voyage Home) is serving as a writer and consulting producer.

Stay tuned to TrekNews.net for the latest news related to the new Star Trek TV series and Star Trek Beyond. Follow @TrekNewsnet on Twitter, TrekNews on Facebook, TrekNews on Instagram and TrekNewsnet on YouTube.

Michelle Toven

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Michelle Toven lives in northern Minnesota, where she does normal things by day and nerdy things by weekend and night. Her interests range from Star Trek, to history, archaeology, languages, fantasy and sci-fi, politics, and cats. Find her on Twitter at @mtoven.

29 Comments Join the Conversation →


  • Eric Cheung

    I want civilians. I want an exploration of the economics and politics of the Federation. Ideally, I’d like a reconstruction show, either in the aftermath of WWIII or the Romulan War, so that we can see these systems set up and in play.

    • T W

      I want to see that too – partly because I want to see how WE can get to a society like that. If we can dream it, we can make it, so to speak.

      • Eric Cheung

        Exactly. Check out the new book Trekonomics.

  • trojoe

    No. No non-human captains. Trek is about the exploration of the universe as well as the exploration of humanity. To effectively do that, we need a human captain.
    <3

  • ZOD

    I like the anthology series concept that has been floating around for several years. It usually has a title like “Federation” and would features crews from different eras. I think something like that could be cool, especially if the storylines were brought together for the finale of each season.

  • I’d like to see more non-humans. I’d like to see at least in passing starships of the Federation that are not human at all. I want to see the Federation is a bit more than humans calling the shots from Earth. Eric Cheung mentioned civilians, I’d like to see Federation officials arguing with the captain on the methods of contacting a particular new race and the ethics, like in TOS. I DO NOT want the shifting sands of an anthology series, I want a big arc to play out through the episodes. I want characters we grow to know and become fond of, I want to see friendships and relationships grow. I want to see diversity and human alien friendships or more, the norm. I want us to see new worlds, truly amazing worlds, rich ‘alien’ – aliens of all shapes and sizes, not a guy with a pasty stuck on his head who speaks perfect english. I want to see the unavoidable misunderstandings and conflicts at times, but also new species growing to know and trust eachother and share knowledge. I want to try and capture through the crew, their awe and wonder at boldly going where no-one has gone before.

    I just want Star Trek back, and though I live in the UK and will probably just get to watch it on Sky TV anyway, I want the show to be broadcast via normal TV in the US. I fear the subscription only streaming method will lock out long-time fans who cannot or just will not pay to watch a TV show on a phone, tablet or laptop. I’m acutely aware not everyone knows how to get something from the internet to a TV, and not everyone even wants to try to do it. I worry this will kill the show (since US networks are very ratings sensitive) and they will blame Star Trek and not the dumb delivery method they’ve imposed domestically.

    • saurabh

      So… what you want is DS9…….. You described it perfectly. Story arc, rich aliens, getting to know each other, starting to trust, conflict, politics, religion…….

      • I’ve only just finished watching DS9 for the first time ever. I didn’t care for it at the time, but I’m glad I watched it from beginning to end – it was very good.

        But that’s not what I meant. I mean a show on a starship seeking out new worlds etc. but with just more imaginative aliens than people with a pasty on the forehead, big aliens, small ones, most with a different number of limbs than us, things with tentacles and eyes on stalks, benign things, scary things that challenge our preconceptions. More aliens in the crew, to show it as a Federation of more than just north American humans. We’ve seen many ‘human’ Starfleet ships, there must be Andorean or Vulcan ships too, lets see those. I would be nice if some other races, alien ships, crews and characters became regulars too. One thing I loved about Enterprise was Jeff Combs as Commander Shrann of the Andoreans, I could just watch him all day long.

  • nicko

    I doubt the captain would be a non-human. It is much easier to emotionally empathize with a human captain. I do enjoy the idea of a supporting character that could be an alien captain aboard another ship.

  • Elroy

    Vegetarian characters.

    • Klaus VonNudelman

      No, organic vegan artisan characters. With a side of vegetable lives matter.

  • Klaus VonNudelman

    Jesus christ. More PC-police in space? The original series was diverse but the stories and character development were what mattered. The last 4-5 shows tried to be politically correct and they all sucked. You don’t out a woman in a position because she’s a woman. You do it because she or he is the best person for the job.
    But I am in agreement on one thing. Your views will trump any of the good ideas that might still exist out there. We will end up with another exercise in social engineering instead of good old fashion rugged individualist womanizers in space. And it will FAIL.

    • Erik

      How about a female “Captain Kirk” then? 😉

      • Conrad Stonebanks

        Why not a transsexual captain? Just to please the social justice warriors.

    • milojthatch

      Amen brother. Although for what it’s worth, I liked the last four series,but I shutter to think what a 2017 Star Trek will look like. If it’s just going to be SJW is space, I’d rather they keep the Prime franchise pure and put that crap in the JJ-verse!

      • Eric Cheung

        The JJ-verse has gone in the opposite direction, as seen in Into Darkness.

        But Trek has always at least pretended to be about diversity. And that should mean that any new show should make including underrepresented peoples a priority, if for no other reason than such diversity would necessarily include different points of view, and therefore different relationship dynamics, and endless stories. A show could only benefit from such a thing. It would be pretty boring if it was only characters we’ve seen before.

        • Klaus VonNudelman

          Roddenberry wasn’t about diversity. He was about individualism, who presupposes diversity. You don’t herd human beings by PC-standards of tribalism. You judge me as men. As Kirk says!

          • Eric Cheung

            He specifically told Takei he wanted Sulu to represent Asia, Uhura to represent Africa, and he made Chekov Russian to demonstrate we had reached a peace after the Cold War. These were deliberate choices, not coincidences. He also changed the genetic superman from Harold Erickson to Khan Noonien Singh specifically to assert that a genetic ideal need not have blond hair and blue eyes.

            If you want to accuse the people in this thread of using quotas, you have to understand that Roddenberry’s motives were very much based on the racial diversity of the crew. Such a move wouldn’t have been anything less than a subversive and deliberate act of defiant diversity-focused casting given the context of 1960s network television (or sadly 21st century television).

            By TNG, he was actually less interested in diversity of thought though. That was a fault of his. I believe that both must co-exist. It’s essential to having a civil discourse, and a peaceful society, goals of the Federation.

  • milojthatch

    Star Trek is diverse enough to the point it makes sense. No reason for it to go bat si$# crazy like in our real world. The last thing we need is the Captain to identify as a tooth pick. Besides, if it’s set after TOS, they got rid of mental illness by then, so your kind of “diversity” literally would not make since anymore. AKA, Kirk uses the men’s bathroom, dang it! Seriously though, after JJ-Trek if this new show is just SJW is space, I’m officially done with new Star Trek.

    What I want to see is more exploration of both new worlds and old ones. And maybe, we stick around a while longer than an episode to discover those “strange new worlds!” It’s not rocket science!

    • Eric Cheung

      Gendered bathrooms have only been around since the 1920s. I think that we’ll eventually go back to having just bathrooms and people will be adults about it, even if we can’t manage that in this decade.

      Mental health isn’t gotten rid of at any point in Trek, no matter what anyone says on screen. How many unstable admirals are there in each of the series? Look at the TNG era, where there were counselors and O’Brien and Nog had serious post-traumatic stress. At the very least, there would be a need for some kind of social scientists like psychologists and anthropologists to help ease first contact and treaty negotiations.

  • FooFighters

    great you want a Space Sheboon tranny Captain… That will instantly cause it to be a dud.

  • FooFighters

    An all White Male cast would be great. Since by the year 2400, white males will almost be extinct from Earth and their only hope would be to Leave the planet on a Star Ship!

  • R Cambridge

    Dear Michelle, F**k Diversity! Diversity = Mediocrity. I’m fed up with the politically correct bullshit of today. I want GREAT! I don’t want to have to appease the whiners and complainers.
    And Dear Michelle, I guess this includes you. I demand greatness while you demand what??
    Star Trek worked because it has a formula, Not Because it had the proper complement of the societal fringe. Rod Cambridge

    • Ria

      > Star Trek worked because it has a formula

      According to the Official Star Trek Writers’ Guide gender was not a rule or expectant. Did I miss something?

  • Ria

    I love the isolationists in past series. But they all seem to progress towards something unexpected. I would like more of that, possibly a hybrid species from humans for a means of survival that creates a complex gender/sex.

    Also I would like to see a mixture of HP Lovecraft … something so terrifying that it can’t be beaten, but it can be contained … but only by a massive rally of intelligence, research and relic locations.

    Wait one more … I don’t want this to become LOVE Boat in space. I don’t want it to be about the crew all the time. I want more than just about the crew and their families. I want new species, more Klingons, more more more species. PLEASE

  • rara

    Greater diversity is defintely something i want to see in this new Star Trek. Please no tokenism.

  • Sully Bongish

    We dont need Star Trek: SJW Edition. Diversity doesn’t even mean its dictionary definition anymore. It’s code for: no white, straight, males allowed. Mixing things up is fine. But nowadays, if a white male were considered to be cast as the new captain, it would be considered by many like Michelle Toven as simply “not okay” as if it’s a hostility toward every other walk of life. Why has so-called diversity come to mean the majority of entertainment casting *must* be comprised of minorities? That’s not diversity. That’s just regressive attitudes automatically dismissing a certain type of individual for the role based on simply who they are physically and mentally. And isn’t that what sjw’s claim to stand against?

  • T W

    Diversity is a must. I watch a lot of scif because I love it. Star Trek is my favorite and it’s hard to choose one over any of the others as each has its own merits. That said, I have noticed across the board in all scifi, minorities are vastly under-represented and too often, when they are, they are some other off world species or, if they are human, they have something “different and/or special” about them. I have also noticed that nobody ever talks about this — at least I haven’t seen any discussion of it.

  • Elephantinanocean

    Not paying 6 bucks a month just to watch one tv show .