With the debate over how Star Trek should move into the future as "Star Trek: Into Darkness" makes its debut on Blu-ray and DVD, a popular name behind the scenes of Star Trek has decided to speak up over the current state of the franchise. And he's not liking it.
Doug Drexler, who did makeup and artwork for "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" as part of a long resume associated with Star Trek, told Trek Initiative that "Into Darkness" and J.J. Abrams' 2009 version of "Star Trek" did not impress him as much as he hoped it would.
"Technically, they are beautiful. The work is stunning," Drexler said. "However, and I hope no one will hold this against me, I did not enjoy the last two films."
Drexler was answering questions from fans on the Trek Initiative, which is a partnership between Wikia Inc. and Roddenberry Entertainment. Roddenberry, of course, is also a partner in the ownership team of 1701News.
"For me, Star Trek has to have a philosophical, humanist bend to it, always making a point, or asking a question," he said. "It should be introspective and self-examining. That's the Roddenberry factor.
"The new films are devoid of Gene Roddenberry, and at the end of the day, I'm not OK with that."
His sentiments, however, are not shared with one of the industry's top trade publications. The Hollywood Reporter's Mark Hughes said people who don't see Roddenberry in the latest film offerings are really not remembering exactly what the "Star Trek" creator brought to the table originally.
"The original series was not just a character study in service to high-minded intellectual and philosophical storytelling," Hughes said. "It was a space Western that took every opportunity (to) insert a fistfight, a spaceship battle, a corny joke, or a half-naked woman for Kirk to kiss. It did all of that with fun, well-defined character relationships and, frequently, a thoughtful theme relevant to society.
"But it was also very often kind of silly, and it consistently offered action-driven shoot-'em-up stories and creature-feature tales."
Hughes acknowledges that a lot of this was more from network demands than what Roddenberry may have actually wanted. And the film series -- showing an older, more experienced crew -- as well as later television shows like TNG -- present a different picture. However, what that does is show the yardstick to compare the new films with the original philosophy is hard to focus on.
"These films are a different kind of Star Trek -- they are big-screen versions of the original series, the pure space Western action-adventure that we haven't yet seen on the big screen because all the other films have moved so far away from that," Hughes said. "Abrams' movies aren't trying to use the original series as a point of departure -- they are using it as their primary template."
Star Trek seems to be stuck on the big screen right now, but Drexler does have a big idea on where it should all go next.
"Star Trek belongs on television," he said. "It works best when it is able to explore lots of ideas. That's what real science-fiction is about -- ideas."