It’s entirely possible this is going to come off as fandom rage. If so, I apologize in advance. I try to stay pretty level-headed about such things, but I am not always successful.
I’ve noticed this trend, probably over the last decade, of taking something and redoing it darker. Sometimes this works awesomely. A lot of times it works awesomely, actually, but it’s almost become a requirement, and it sometimes seems like you can’t find genre anymore that it isn’t dark. The grittier and more realistic, the better.
Sometimes, though, it seems like this added darkness takes away from the original idea.
I’m kind of grumpy about this lately because, as I’m sure you know, J.J. Abrams has been named as the director of the new Star Wars movies. And these articles keep using the phrase “since Abrams saved Star Trek.”
Herein lies the fandom rage. Was Star Trek dead? No. Did it have issues? Yes. I’ve been a Trekkie practically since birth, but even I didn’t watch Enterprise, and I don’t consider any of the Next Gen movies past First Contact in my own personal head cannon. It got bogged down in its own mythology, and the people in charge were seemingly unable to come up with any decent new directions. And it did come down to the point where it seemed like people were beating a dead horse.
So, yes, the 2009 Star Trek movie did some good things for the franchise. It got new fans interested, a lot of whom went back and then fell in love with the series. But it didn’t really feel like Trek. It gets away with it with the whole “alternate reality” thing. To an extent.
(I have plot and character issues, but then this really will turn into fandom rage, so we’ll leave that be for now.)
And now, we have Star Trek Into Darkness coming out in May, and I find myself feeling very anxious about the state of Trek. It’s got “darkness” right there in the title, and I’m worried that Abrams is going to take away the thing that separates Trek from most of the rest of science fiction: its optimism.
Star Trek has always showed the good in humanity. We didn’t destroy our planet. We didn’t wipe ourselves out, we weren’t invaded by extraterrestrials. We banded together, we formed a peaceful planet-wide government. We went out into the universe, peacefully, and made friends. Look at us! Hoorah!
Sure, there’s some darkness there. There’s torture, genocide, murder, conspiracies, you name it. But overall, people are good. Humanity is good.
Or at least it was, in Roddenberry’s time.
But we can’t have that in today’s culture. Everything is dark, gritty, and humanity is doomed to failure. Why? Why do we need that? Why, when real life is bad enough, do we need darkness in our fiction too? Why can’t things be happy and rainbows and unicorns every now and then?
Opinions, Squiders? About the trend towards darkness, Star Trek, or anything in between?