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Star Trek Is Facing A Fanbase Problem No One’s Quite Sure How To Solve


Both of the above ideas, however, are based on a fallacy commonly made by showrunners: that kids only want to see shows about their peers. If “Star Trek” was about younger people, the thinking goes, then younger people will tune in, right? “Star Trek,” however, has always been about older characters. The central appeal is that the main characters are mature and well-formed, some of them with unbreakable codes of ethics or command styles they formed many years ago. The franchise is about thoughtful professionals who are good at their jobs, and Trekkies like to see them ply their skills with aplomb. Youthfulness is antithetical to “Star Trek.” We don’t want to see someone grow up. We want to see them already grown up.

The exception to this is “Prodigy,” a series about a group of teens in a distant part of the galaxy unfamiliar with Starfleet. When they find an abandoned Starfleet vessel called the U.S.S. Protostar, they are introduced to Starfleet ideals for the first time and learn to grow up with principles. Someone needs to tell the franchise’s creatives that they already have their “youth” program … Oh, wait. It was canceled.

The truth of the matter is that Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, and the other “Star Trek” poobahs were hoping they could turn a property that was deeply nerdy and comparatively modest into a powerhouse franchise on the level of “Star Wars” … and they simply couldn’t.

I will hereby offer them the solution, free of charge: don’t make more “Star Trek,” and don’t make younger “Star Trek.” Make good, serious, cerebral, thoughtful, slow-moving “Star Trek” that appeals to nerdy kids. The ratings will be lower than you want, but I assure you, you’ll be creating a new fanbase that will stick around for decades.

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