Imagination Connoisseur, S’wak Props, explains why the largest obstacle facing Trek’s return to its pre-2009 roots isn’t Disney’s Star Wars, it’s Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica.
Ron Moore re-defined serialized storytelling for sci-fi and may have hurt Star Trek in the process.
I recently came across a comment on a forum that said the reason why Star Trek cannot go back to the way it was during the Roddenberry/Berman era is because of Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica.
I love Moore’s Battlestar Galactica… I dare say more than the original Glen A. Larson version… but I can’t help but agree with the above comment, to a certain extent.
When Moore reimagined Galactica, he called the show’s approach “Naturalistic Science Fiction”. He wrote in an essay: “Our goal is nothing less than the reinvention of the science fiction television series. We take as a given the idea that the traditional space opera, with its stock characters, techno-double-talk, bumpy-headed aliens, thespian histrionics, and empty heroics has run its course and a new approach is required. That approach is to introduce realism into what has heretofore been an aggressively unrealistic genre.”
I think this more naturalistic approach to sci-fi is part of the reason why the classic Star Trek episodic three-act structure, i.e. “the Setup”, “the Confrontation” and “the Resolution” doesn’t quite work in the modern age.
Modern shows like “The Orville” (which I also love), which tries to faithfully recreate that structure, whilst entertaining, feel kind of dated when you compare it to modern serialized sci-fi like “The Expanse”.
Rob pointed out in the latest Robservations, that there’s nothing wrong with serialized sci-fi, and in fact, it can be good and enjoyable, IF IT IS WELL WRITTEN. The fact that NuTrek shows like Discovery and Picard, while utilizing the naturalistic sci-fi aesthetics approach, is panned by fans of classic Star Trek, is mainly due to the quality of writing, which doesn’t treat the audience like mature intelligent adults.
When Kurtzman and Goldsman announced that they wanted to give the fans what they asked for with Strange New Worlds, i.e. classic Trek’s standalone episodic nature, I don’t think they quite get what it is the fans actually wanted.
It’s not that we are yearning for the alien threat-of-the-week style of storytelling… what we want is quality science fiction stories that can stand up to such classics as City on the Edge of Forever, Inner Light, Far Beyond The Stars, Blink of an Eye, or Cogenitor.
The first three seasons of The Expanse, while serialized, are such good sci-fi because it is well written. And of course, we have the prime example, the one that set the trend… Battlestar Galactica.
Strange New Worlds doesn’t need to be episodic in order to appeal to fans of classic Trek. It just needs to be better written. In the hands of better writers, it can succeed, be it episodic or serialized, and that seems to be a fact that Kurtzman and Goldsman are oblivious to.
– S’wak Props
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