One Science Fiction Fan’s Bucket List
So, I must admit I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first season of “Star Trek: Discovery.” I know I had my doubts early on. But the CBS All Access streaming series came out of the gate strong, with its own fresh style, superior special effects, really interesting characters, and great acting (Sonequa Martin-Green, Jason Isaacs, Michelle Yeoh, Doug Jones and Anthony Rapp). It’s also displayed a whole bunch of plot twists and a compelling, gritty pace.
(And I’ve loved the extended stay in the Mirror Universe.)
“Discovery” has firmly established itself as a new and different Star Trek while not ignoring its own heritage.
Sure, the young series is not perfect, and all of our heroes aren’t exactly shining examples of the Federation’s finest. But that’s what makes the show all the more interesting.
(I still question the choice to drop the F-bomb.)
More Questions are Piling Up
As for what has sometimes been a confusing extended plotline and a threat to Star Trek canon, it’s evident that what doesn’t make total sense early on has been better explained in later episodes. That said, there are still lots of questions that need answering…
(What good TV series with ongoing mystery isn’t chock full of question marks?)
My one suggestion to the writers is to just be sure not to create too many loose ends. Because it can be difficult tying them all up. Now, I don’t expect everything onboard the Discovery to be all nice and tidy anytime soon, because season 2 has already been announced.
But plenty of other science fiction TV series and even some with extended runs have had difficulty wrapping up their major storylines.
So we don’t want history repeating itself.
(Unless it’s part of the space-time continuum)
With all of the storytelling flexibility that sci-fi allows for, it’s amazing how much unfinished business remains.
Usually this frustrating problem for viewers crops up, because a TV series gets unexpectedly cancelled. Similarly, a movie may come out with important cliffhangers that don’t get resolved by a sequel that’s never made.
Now, I get that the economics often require the sudden end to a series that’s not cutting it in the ratings. But without a conclusion to the underlying story, that’s clearly an extremely unsatisfying situation for any fan.
So if there are any Hollywood producers out there trolling for reboot ideas…
Here’s my bucket list of marooned science fiction stories I’d love to see resolved. And I don’t mind that that we’d likely need to reimagine some of the content and hire new acting talent.
Maybe it’s not a whole new series. Perhaps, it’s just a one-off.
But just finish the story!
“Lost in Space” (1965-1968)
Do the Robinsons and Dr. Smith ever find their way back to Earth or to Alpha Centauri?
(Even the writers of the 1998 movie with William Hurt and Gary Oldman, hoping for a sequel… never answered that question!)
“The Starlost” (1973)
(This is the one with Keir Dullea from “2001: A Space Odyssey”)
What happens to the giant space station ark? Do they save it? Does it burn up?
(I think Seth MacFarlane may have already presented his own answer in “The Orville” episode “If the Stars Should Appear.”)
“Space: 1999” (1975-1977)
Do the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha ever find another planet to live on?
Or do they just putter about their Moonbase Alpha forever or until their resources run out?
Does the team ever get back to their universe and their own version of Earth?
(I know by the time the series was cancelled, no viewers in any universe cared anymore… The cast had almost completely been replaced by then, but come on… Getting back home was the whole point!)
“Star Trek: Nemesis” (2002)
Yeah, we lost Data in this final “Next Generation” movie, but there’s a big cliffhanger we’ll apparently never get to see resolved: Does B-4, Data’s earlier (and less evolved) android cousin ever grow to essentially become Data?
(Data shared his neural engrams with B-4.)
“Tron: Legacy” (2010)
What happens after Sam and Quorra escape the Grid and get back to the real world?
Now, this is a sequel the producers could easily do, because “Legacy” is so recent… if Disney decides to finally green-light it.
Any more to add to the list?
Those That Stuck the Landing
If it’s beginning to look like major loose ends are a natural byproduct of sci-fi storytelling, that’s not always true. Here are a few TV series that successfully finished their major narrative arcs…
And yes, except for the original “Star Trek,” all of the subsequent Trek series had their finales.
(But what really did happen to Deep Space Nine’s Captain Sisko?)
And I regard “Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country” (1991) as the original crew’s wrap party.
So, with the exception of the TNG Data storyline… “Star Trek” as a whole has done just fine.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so concerned about “Discovery?”
But the irony about “Star Trek: Discovery” is every narrative door that closes appears to reveal the existence of a new one. We’ve been introduced to the idea of parallel universes (in the plural) and (Spoiler Alert) time travel with the spore drive via the mycelium network. That opens up so much!
Now, since there are (Spoiler Alert) Mirror Universe character crossovers in this series, I want to go find Prime Lorca!
Make it so…
Just please keep track of it all.