How ‘Big Bang Theory’ snared ‘Star Trek’ legend William Shatner

“The Big Bang Theory” has finally landed William Shatner as a guest star — after trying several times to nab the elusive “ Star Trek ” icon. Shatner, 87, will appear in the upcoming (Feb. 21) episode “The D&D Vortex” along with fellow celebs Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Joe Manganiello and Kevin Smith. “The gang finds out…
Entertainment | New York Post


Patrick Stewart’s New Picard Star Trek Series Should Set the Timeline Straight

Back in August, it was announced that Patrick Stewart would be reprising his role as the iconic Starfleet captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Stunning Trekkers across the world, the news had fans theorizing about what the new show will look like, what familiar characters we might see, and what kind of adventures Picard will get up to. We’re just as excited for another new Star Trek series — of course! — and here’s what we want to see in it. Starting with…

Beverly Crusher as a Series Regular

Doctor Beverly Crusher
Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher.

First of all, let’s get one thing out of the way – Gates McFadden must be a main cast member. Throughout The Next Generation, Dr. Beverly Crusher played a crucial part in some of the show’s most engaging — and important — episodes. The chemistry between Picard and Crusher was always on point. They never made their relationship official in TNG, though, and fans were left disappointed. After all, we love a good ship, even more so when it comes to fruition!

In “All Good Things”, the series finale of TNG, we did get to see an alternate future in which Beverly and Jean-Luc are divorced, however. But their relationship was never fully explored, despite it being obvious in this alternate future that the two harbored strong feelings for one another. Even if the two characters aren’t meant to end up together, Crusher and Picard are so closely intertwined that it would seem like a missed opportunity if Beverly is not involved in the new show in some capacity. In the new show, Picard and Beverly should be married, with a flashback episode unveiling the moment they finally admitted their love for one another. Without her, the new show will feel as if it’s lacking a critical part of Picard’s story.

Countless Possibilities With Guest Stars

The Cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members.

Speaking of guest stars, there’s a wishlist of people we’d like to see make appearances on Patrick Stewart’s new show. There are countless characters in the Star Trek universe that would make excellent additions to the cast. But let’s focus on the Enterprise crew from The Next Generation. Fan favorites such as William Riker, Deanna Troi, Worf, and Geordi La Forge would be welcome in any capacity, but preferably as an integral part of the story. Data’s demise in Star Trek: Nemesis sadly precludes his inclusion. But if there was a way for Data to show up, even in a flashback, fans would be mad for it.

Miles O’Brien, Keiko, Guinan, and yes, even Wesley could all feasibly pop up too. Although Wesley had his haters during TNG, it would be good to see how his character developed. It would be a missed opportunity to not have Wil Wheaton guest star. The new show will reportedly revolve around Picard’s current life, which might mean that the Enterprise crew hasn’t been in his orbit for a while. Perhaps Troi and Riker have settled down and have kids of their own. Is it possible that Worf has mellowed out a bit over time?

The real potential with this new Star Trek show is the fact that it’s set so far in the future. Picard will likely be around the same age that Patrick Stewart is currently. Since so much time has passed, there are endless possibilities. It would be nice to see characters from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine again. What if Kira Nerys and Picard are teachers at Starfleet? Seeing Nana Visitor reprise her role would make fans extremely happy. If storylines from Deep Space Nine are built into the show, this is an easy way to also bring back the character of Worf, who was on both TNG and DS9 and continues to be a fan favorite.

More Ethical Decisions, Less War And Destruction

Deep Space Nine Space Station
Deep Space Nine.

After watching the Dominion War in DS9, as well as the many Worf-centric episodes that revolve around war, it would be nice to see more ethical situations play out on the new show. The show will undoubtedly have conflict, as it should, but, in light of the current volatile global political climate, it would be refreshing to see a more hopeful vision of the future. War, betrayal, and conflict will likely continue in the show, as it does in life, but is it necessary for war to be the central theme?

It was with DS9, but we’re looking further into the future with this new show and hope should be central. Part of the appeal of Star Trek is in the ethical dilemmas the characters are put in, the decisions they make and the ensuing outcomes. Should they save a planet at all costs? Should they interfere in the lives of others? As great as it would be to see Picard in action once again, we’d love to see him debate the ethics of scenarios like he did oh-so-many times in TNG.

Picard In Space Or Picard On Land?

Star Trek Enterprise Starship
The Starship Enterprise from Star Trek.

Should Picard be the captain of a ship 20 years old, or should he be based on Earth, with the story revolving around his life there? Why not some kind of balance between both? Picard will likely not be a starship captain. Nevertheless, we’re certain he’ll be front and center of everything Starfleet. Whether he’s training young cadets or teaching new students, Picard will surely be in uniform, one way or another.

In order to keep the show fresh and to stay true to Star Trek, space must always feature heavily. This means planets, ships, moons, galaxies, and more. Maybe Picard spends his time on a space station with Kira Nerys in some fashion? But hold your horses, shippers — we’re not talking anything romantic, more working as a team. Seeing this duo in action in this capacity would make for a fun dynamic.

Timeline Answers

When we caught a glimpse of the future in the finale of The Next Generation, the characters had mainly continued on their own, individual paths. With this new show, we’d like to see a clear-cut timeline because, well, the many timelines are confusing. Once you add in the wide array of novels, comics, and more, it all gets quite difficult to follow. For this Picard-focused series, it would be nice to address some of the unanswered questions. Such as, why is Data shown in “All Good Things” yet seemingly killed in Star Trek: Nemesis? No matter what you deem canon-worthy, the fact remains: it’s time for a few explanations in terms of the many timelines and time travel elements of the Star Trek universe.

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‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Will Test the Franchise Like Nothing Before

Star Trek fans were surprised last week when it was announced that Rick and Morty head writer Mike McMahon will be creating a new show for the franchise. Titled Star Trek: Lower Decks, the show will focus on “the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships”. In a first for Star Trek, the show will be a half-hour comedy.

The nature of its premise will almost certainly make Lower Decks the most polarizing production in Star Trek history. More than that, it will test the limits of what the franchise can support — and what fans will accept — unlike anything that has come before it. Let’s take a look at why, and what it means for the future of Trek.

Star Trek Has Never Broken the Mould Like This Before

The reboots were bold, but they were still familiar.

It is true that there is a great deal of difference between the various incarnations of Star Trek. But it is also true that for all that difference, they are all essentially variations on the same themes and formats. Deep Space Nine is a little darker. Voyager and Enterprise are more action-heavy. The Next Generation is more cerebral. However, they all fit within the same mould. Even Star Trek’s previous foray into animation, way back in the 1970s, was an adventure series that bore great tonal similarities to the swashbuckling character of the original show.

‘The Animated Series’ was basically ‘TOS’ Season 4, not a comedy.

A pivot to comedy, then, is a first. Not because the franchise has never had funny moments, but because comedy has never been the defining characteristic of an entire corner of the franchise. If that isn’t enough, the premise is said to follow unimportant background characters — McMahon is quoted as saying he wants to make “a show about the people who put the yellow cartridge in the food replicator so a banana can come out the other end”. It will be the first time Star Trek has prioritized lower-ranking characters over captains and a bridge crew.

Incorporating a show that wildly diverges from the audience’s conception of Star Trek is a risky move. Imagine a sitcom released as part of the Law and Order franchise, or as a spinoff from The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. That’s the gamble Star Trek is undertaking. It will demand more open-mindedness from the audience than anything before. And comedy brings with it some unique challenges.

Star Trek Usually Does One Kind of Comedy

Kirk and Spock
Kirk and Spock in “A Piece of the Action”.

Star Trek is replete with comedic episodes. TOS gave us “The Trouble with Tribbles” and “A Piece of the Action“. TNG, DS9, and Voyager gave us hilarious adventures on the holodeck. Enterprise had Trip get pregnant. Characters like Barclay, Rom, Neelix, Keenser, and Tilly often filled the role of “comic relief”. And, of course, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is a comedy through-and-through.

What that unites all of these examples is the nature of the comedy. Specifically, it’s humour that comes from taking something established as serious and subverting expectations. “The Trouble with Tribbles” is a serious story about politics, espionage, and a cold war. It is rendered hilarious because the plot is driven by cooing balls of fur. Holodeck adventures like “Our Man Bashir” are funny because the characters act nothing like themselves in a campy situation. In each case, there is a contrasting effect between the drama we normally see and the comedy we get in certain special cases.

Lower Decks, presumably, won’t be able to take the same approach, because it is first and foremost a comedy as opposed to a drama. You can’t subvert serious subject matter if the subject is not first and foremost treated as serious. Likewise, we can only hope that the show avoids the lazy route of simply parodying established Trek tropes, since, between Galaxy Quest and The Orville, enough of that already exists. Instead, Lower Decks will need to completely reimagine Star Trek through a comedic lens.

If This Works, Star Trek Will Never Be The Same

Star Trek Beyond

If audiences accept Lower Decks, the implications for the future are massive. Not all franchises have the flexibility to fit something as dark as Deep Space Nine or Discovery in alongside a pure comedy. If it works, Star Trek can conceivably tell any kind of story, in any kind of format, without losing its essence. It will transcend its previous status as a sci-fi action-drama and become, in some ways, a genre all its own.

Will every fan accept Lower Decks? No. There is no perfect consensus among Star Trek fans, and this project will probably be the most divisive one yet. But for the past ten years, Star Trek has courted controversy in both its films and TV, mostly successfully. The fact that Lower Decks has been greenlit only a year after the return to TV speaks volumes about Trek’s capacity to evolve and go where it has never gone before.

Star Trek: Lower Decks is currently in development at CBS All Access. Season Two of Star Trek: Discovery begins streaming January 17th, 2019.

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