My go-to site for nerdish bickering is Trekmovie.com. One of the writers for Star Trek 09 and Star Trek Into Darkness, Roberto Orci, infamously jumped onto fans there a few years ago. For internet anthropologist/historians like me, it’s a goldmine.
Trekkies just aren’t used to having nice things. And Strange New Worlds is a nice thing. Sure it’s not perfect, but overall it’s pretty good Star Trek.
But the latest episode involved a species called “the Gorn” who were first introduced in TOS way back in the sixties. If you’re not a Trek fan, you probably know who they are because a member of that species was involved in one of the most parodied scenes in all of science fiction:
In SNW, the Gorn were updated to look more terrifying and were introduced to Starfleet earlier than what canon allowed (SNW takes place before the adventures of Captain Kirk). This predictably caused a shitstorm with the fans.
Look, I can roll with the best of Star Trek nerds. But to most sane people, this is a big nothing-burger.
This is also why the James Bond series is the most underrated of all the long-running franchises. The producers simply don’t give two shits about canon. Each film can theoretically take place in its own timeline. They just don’t get bogged down in the details because their purpose is to entertain.
Arguably, Star Trek serves a different purpose. Still though, fans are missing the forest for the trees. The larger question should be: was it a GOOD episode?
Personally I thought they killed off Hemmer, a very solid character, too soon. But his death did provide a good character arc for Uhura (and laid the foundation for Spock’s most infamous decision in Star Trek II). Obviously they were going for an Alien feel in this episode (which is okay, science fiction series often steal from one another) but overall it was pretty good.
Some fans are angry because the writers aren’t inventing new species to explore. But this “alien of the week” method that Trek fans have become accustomed to makes the series feel paper thin. I like it when writers take the time to explore an existing world. It adds depth.
But this latest Star Trek struggle session only highlights what is perhaps my biggest annoyance. Just because something is old and established, that doesn’t make it holy. The people behind TOS, to include Gene Roddenberry, were making shit up as they went. Besides, no television writer will want to pour through 9 million hours of Star Trek just to make it all add up. Hell, except for myself and Mike Stoklasa, NO ONE would want to do that. And this not only goes for Star Trek, but also for the Bible, Plato, Aristotle, Karl Marx, etc etc. They are all products of man and they can be changed by man.
As fans, we should have only one question: is it good storytelling?