037_spockStar Trek is dead, and it’s never coming back.

Seriously. The only person who may have really understood what Star Trek was about was Gene Roddenberry, and he’s passed on. I submit as evidence the decline of the Star Trek franchise after the man’s passing away. Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and all the ridiculous Star Trek movies after the first have increasingly failed to capture either the magic or the message of the original show. I can’t watch any of them without thinking about how unlike Star Trek they are.

It’s like putting Conan the Barbarian in place of Aragorn for Lord of the Rings.* You’re watching someone with the same name, but acting completely out of character for what you thought you were watching.

Star Trek as I originally “grokked” it, was about the exploration of problems in consciousness. It had nothing to do with outer space at all; it was all about inner space. Or, as Q very rightly put it, “the unknown possibilities of existence.” The external world of Star Trek seems to be the only thing fans have increasingly latched on to or developed, with all the techno-gadgetry, identity politics of different “planetary races”, and space battles most of all. Got to have space battles! People have gravitated towards the “mapping stars and studying nebula” aspect of Star Trek, and have shied away from the more difficult task of rendering the far out and the unknowable.

If the fans don’t get it, you can bet your two-hundred Quatloos that the studios and networks sure aren’t going to come within a hundred parsecs of the message. But that won’t stop anyone in a suit from trying to resurrect the franchise and give the aging fans one more shot at nostalgia to keep the money rolling in. Yes, it’s coming, the Foetal Scooby Doo version of Star Trek. A “reimagining” of the franchise, now that the old one has hit rock bottom, and the fans are left staring around like stunned fish after a depth charge.

Forget it people! Star Trek is never coming back. We’ll only ever see some space action adventure show with people named “Kirk” and “Spock”, shooting phasers at anyone who isn’t a member of the Star Fleet Empire. That’s all anyone will ever get now. The innovation and creativity of the original has been drained to a husk, and we’re just sucking corpse dust through that straw.

The vision has been lost. If it shows up again in our lifetimes, it won’t be in anything bearing the name of Star Trek.

So go enjoy the space battles. That’s what advanced, interstellar civilizations are based on, right?

* Oh wait, Peter Jackson already did that. Thugs in place of “high men”. I especially loved it when Conan!Aragorn chopped off the Mouth of Sauron’s head. Today’s heroes have to be dark and edgy, rather than courteous and courageous, otherwise they might be considered “sissies”.