Star Trek’s new TV show: 9 ideas for an anthology series

If the new Star Trek TV series adopts an anthology format, might we see more of the Dominion War, Starfleet Academy and more?

There are plenty of rumours flying around about the new Star Trek series coming early in 2017, but one that’s gained traction recently suggests that it may follow an anthology format, with every new season being a self-contained, serialised story, each one set in a different corner of the vast Star Trek continuity.

The rumour also suggests that the first season will be set somewhere between the original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, with the smart money on something similar to the idea Bryan Fuller described to Den of Geek back in 2013, with Angela Bassett starring as the captain of the Reliant.

Hopefully though, there’ll be plenty more seasons after that one – so what are some interesting corners of the Trek universe that the new series could potentially explore?

Earth after First Contact

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The period right after Earth’s first contact with the Vulcans is a time ripe with storytelling potential. We know so little about how the fearful, hand-to-mouth existence of the humans in Star Trek: First Contact transformed into the hopeful future that was already at least partially in place by the time Enterprise began. Setting a season twenty years or so after first contact would allow us to see what the immediate changes were and jump into a time of complicated social and political upheaval as optimism battles fear of change. It would also be the perfect opportunity for Alfre Woodard to reprise her role as Lily Sloane, perhaps at the centre of an ensemble cast of humans and Vulcans figuring out how to work together to send humanity to the stars.

The aftermath of the Dominion War

The Dominion War changes everything for the Federation and its citizens – taking it from a sprawling, complacent, almost smug galactic power to a battle-scarred and cautious one. Will the uneasy Alpha Quadrant alliances of the war last in peacetime? How will the Federation rebuild its confidence? There are a lot of good stories to tell here, but a top pick has to be a season following a ship and crew on a mission to get back to Starfleet’s primary goal of exploration, backed by an optimistic faction of the admiralty and hindered by a more fearful and militaristic one intent on protection the Federation against potential new threats.

More stories of the Dominion War

Speaking of the Dominion War, there are still plenty of untold stories there too. We saw Starfleet’s elite struggle for control of Deep Space Nine and the wormhole, but we only heard of the occupation of Betazed in one passing line. The Dominion took swathes of Federation, Klingon and Cardassian territory – what did the resistance on those planets look like? How did ordinary Federation citizens feel about the war? This would be a great opportunity to show us what civilian life in the Federation looks like, and to explore the wider impact the war had across the whole Federation.

A legal drama

Some of the most compelling and enduring episodes of Star Trek are courtroom dramas. The season could follow either civilian lawyers in the Federation or those in Starfleet’s JAG office as they deal with the kinds of cases that could only arise from dozens of species living in working together. Taking inspiration from the acclaimed Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Measure Of A Man, the season’s main arc could involve the ongoing legal debate over the status of artificial life forms, while individual episodes could tackle anything from deciding the age of majority for mixed-species children to territory disputes and cross-species marriage law.

A closer look at another world

Every Star Trek series so far has had a majority-human main cast. We know plenty about the Klingons, Vulcans, Romulans and Cardassians, but we’ve almost never seen them in a context outside antagonising or allying with humans. There’s plenty of scope for a Klingon or Romulan political drama, a Cardassian family saga or a Vulcan historical story about the Time of Awakening. And there are some species who’ve had even less in-canon development – I’d love to watch a season about life on the Trill homeworld outside of symbiosis, a story tackling Betazed’s social hierarchy or a look at how the Vidiians rebuilt their culture following the devastating Phage.

The Mirror Universe

There are just as many untold stories in the Mirror Universe as there are in the Prime one – between Captain Kirk’s initial visit and Kira and Bashir’s first trip there in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the balance of power has flipped so entirely that the once-powerful human race has been subjugated by a Klingon-Cardassian alliance. The upheaval that led to that would make for exciting – if fatalistic – viewing, and there are certainly many more stories to tell about the Terran resistance than we had the chance to see in a handful of episodes.

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Starfleet Academy

There have been whispers on and off for years that a new Star Trek series might focus on cadets at Starfleet’s prestigious officers’ school. For a single-season story, it might be a good idea to focus on final-year cadets as they complete their physically, mentally and emotionally demanding training and vie for their first assignments on the fleet’s finest vessels and space stations. Depending on when it fell in the chronology, this set-up would be ripe for guests stars from previous series to appear as instructors.

The establishment of a Federation colony

We know that the utopian Federation isn’t always as perfect as it looks, especially when you move away from the key planets. Jim Kirk, Tasha Yar and Beverly Crusher were all raised partly on colonies that failed catastrophically, and the Federation flat out gave several of their colony planets to the Cardassians during the deliniation of the Demilitarized Zone. Life as a Federation colonist is much more precarious than life on Earth, and a season set on a new colony could explore the dangers and triumphs with a cast of rugged and independent characters far removed from the Starfleet elite.

The early years of the Federation

Enterprise did touch on some of this territory – its final episodes dealt with the Federation’s initial formation – but it would be fascinating to see a starship crewed by an equal mix of the four founding Federation races – Humans, Vulcans, Andorians and Tellarites – on a mission of exploration just as the Federation begins to find its feet as a galactic power. There’s plenty of scope to explore how many of the familiar Federation races originally joined, and what their first contacts with the Federation were like. A story set in this time, when the galaxy is still largely uncharted by humanity, could capture some of the adventurous flavour of the original series as well as revisiting some of the intriguing questions about the Alpha Quadrant’s history that Enterprise ultimately didn’t have much chance to explore.

These are just a few of the hundreds of stories ripe for the telling in the Star Trek universe – let us know which ones we missed in the comments.