Wake up the sleeping Klingons and bust out your uniforms – there’s real, actual Star Trek news on the horizon! It’s just a little bit of “big” news and a few smaller morsels, courtesy of the sci-fi wizards at I09. First, the new Star Trek film (the sequel to the surprisingly awesome 2009 Trek reboot), finally has a title: Star Trek: Into Darkness. Spooky, right? They’ve also alerted us to two potentially very cool upcoming spin-offs: a live action series (with seasoned series talent aboard, such as Walter Koenig, Tim Russ – who is starring and directing – and Garret Wang) called Star Trek Renegades and a Brannon Braga-penned comics miniseries about the Borg named Star Trek: Hive, which boasts perhaps the coolest cover art ever made for a Trek product.
This is all coming at a very special Trekkie time for yours truly. I may have stated earlier in this column that I grew up on The Next Generation and Voyager, with a healthy sprinkling of the original series (my parents wanted to be sure their geeky daughter had a good grasp of history, after all). Well, thanks to Netflix and my ever so slightly matured sensibilities, last fall I set out to watch all of TNG, in order, for the first time as an adult. That nostalgic goal accomplished in the spring, I moved out into the uncertain waters of Deep Space Nine, a series I had never gotten into as a teen, and an unexpected thing happened, somewhere in season 2. I fell head over heels in love with the darker, messier, more complicated world of DS9.
I wrapped up just last night, after months of watching almost nightly, with the explosive series finale. It was powerful, in no small part because the show somehow, some way, managed to hook my totally-not-into sci-fi girlfriend, who has never been much for Trek – not until the likes of Kira, Dax, Sisko, Odo, Quark and all the rest wormed their way into her heart. We watched together, utterly rapt, squeezing one another’s hands when the action heated up. It may have aired and ended 13 years ago, but for us, it was happening in the moment. It was, in a word, awesome.
It takes something special to make Trek work for someone who didn’t grow up thinking rubber masks, crazy technology and primary-colored uniforms were totally normal – and a healthy part of a sophisticated dramatic series. While suspension of disbelief comes easily to me (and I think, most geeks), it’s a tough trick to pull off for the uninitiated, and in this, I think that Star Trek (and DS9 in particular) is truly something special. The power of sci-fi is in its boundless nature – marked by the lack of constraints of this very particular reality – and when you can marry great drama, action and comedy to that, amazing things can happen.
Here’s to hoping the new Trek film – and the new spinoffs – can live up to the best parts of the legacy. Q’aplaa!