To save the world, Star Trek needs a reboot.
When Star Trek: The Original Series debuted in 1966, fans were awed by the futuristic technology and equipment featured on the show. From the starship Enterprise to the tricorder, Trek established a yet unforeseen view into the future; one that was possible to attain.
And now, 50 years later, we have seen exactly how much of a lasting effect Trek had on our development as a species. 3-D printing, the Internet, Wi-fi, Bluetooth, cell phones, computers, tablets, artificial intelligence — things we use on a daily basis were all inspired (to some varying degree) by Star Trek. If look at how many Trek-themed gadgets surround us, it’s fair to say that we are headed towards a future just like the one depicted on the show.
Or are we?
Star Trek showed us a glimpse into a future where humans have overcome poverty, racism, and war. Instead, they choose to work vigorously for the betterment of mankind as a whole. So why do most modern TV shows and films with a futuristic setting showcase a much different take? Almost all major productions today show humans as lazy, gluttonous, and detached. In most situations, we have become robotic ourselves, caused a global thermal nuclear war, or been killed off by self-aware Artificial Intelligence. What gives? Why have we lost the hope of a better future and replaced it with an ominous one?
The World Has Changed
In 1966 the United States of America was embroiled in the Vietnam conflict, smack dab in the middle of the Cold War, and gripped by the violence of the Civil Rights movement. It was a time of great change for the Nation, but also a bleak attitude about the future. Most people had begun to accept the fact that the world would end within the decade from thermal-nuclear war.
Along came Star Trek, a show that featured a team of Black, Russian, and Asian characters working together — all while taking place in a post-WW3 Earth. This simple sci-fi show gave a younger generation a small ray of hope; that the issues of the day would eventually be solved and that we would all work together among the stars. And it wasn’t that hard of a sell. When the only information you received about the world came from newspapers, radio, and 30-minute news programs, it was easier for people to attain a sense of hope from a television show. Not being bombarded by constant information from every corner of the Earth created a blissful ignorance.
Global Telecommunications dramatically changed the way we, as humans, perceive the state of the world and receive information. While this technology has done an amazing job in bringing to light the troubles of those around the globe, it has also created an onslaught of negativity. Yes, sex sells — but so does controversy.
Take a look at CNN or FOXNews‘ websites and you’ll see what I mean. The “controversial” news gets more hits, so negative stories are all over their site. The more uplifting news stories are listed much further down and usually doesn’t include a picture to draw your attention. But this isn’t an article about business practices — instead, it’s a commentary on what information we like to consume.
Telecommunications, or more specifically the Internet, allows us to learn about anything in the world within seconds. And because of that high-availability of information, most humans want to know everything about everyone at all times. Logging onto any device will show you dozens of stories about rape, murder, terrorism, racism, and corruption. Turn on your television or watch a movie and the Earth has been destroyed with humanity mostly gone. All of this has led to a negatively skewed view of the world. Everything’s going to shit, they say, and we are all just along for the ride.
This mindset continues to perpetuate itself and sounds very similar to the way people felt back in the 1960s.
Save Us Star Trek, You’re Our Only Hope!
Star Trek’s major success came from its ability to comment on the social issues of that generation. From discrimination to the Cold War, the show’s writers weren’t afraid to tackle controversial topics in a smart and creative way.
This is why I feel Star Trek needs to be rebooted for this generation. Forget about continuity, forget about making a shit-zillion dollars, forget about creating the next bullshit cinematic universe. Focus on what matters: giving a younger generation some ray of hope once again.
Creating a new show from the ground up that focuses on overcoming issues like racism, LGBT rights, terrorism, and corruption will not only bring in a wider audience but keep up with Trek’s traditions. But remember: BE CREATIVE! You don’t have to hit everything “on the nose” to ensure your message is getting across. Having an LGBT character on the crew would be great, but don’t include a scene where they have the discrimination discussion… that issue is long dead in the future.
People in Star Trek love and accept the diversity of all of those around them. This idea of acceptance, tolerance, and humanity is the mindset that needs to be represented in the media. It may sound like a small drop in a large pond, but it has to start somewhere. And what better place than a show that did the exact same thing 50 years ago?
Gene Roddenberry took the responsibility to show the better, brighter, and more hopeful side of humanity very seriously. CBS, you owe it to him to carry on that tradition. Make us believe in and have hope for the future again. Show us that everything will, indeed, turn out alright in the end and that we will overcome the harshness of today’s world.
That one day, we will find hope in the impossible.
Find more Star Trek on Ketwolski’s YouTube channel.