There have been plenty of ideas for what a new Star Trek television series should be like, yet CBS Television — which holds the boob tube rights to the franchise — seems no closer than before in returning Trek to television after a 10-year absence.
But that hasn't stopped even new suggestions from coming forward, including one new column from Vox contributor Todd VanDerWerff that has been making the rounds online.
The concept? Borrow from the success of shows like "American Horror Story," "True Detective" and "Fargo," and make the next Trek television series an anthology series.
"The anthological miniseries has found a way around one of television's most persistent problems," VanDerWerff wrote in his column. "Yes, a show can tell a compelling story, but if it's a success, then it could also run forever. That inhibits attempts to tell incisive, to-the-point stories across many years."
"American Horror Story" popularized the concept in 2011, containing complete story threads into single seasons and then starting fresh and new at the beginning of the next. That style of storytelling has transferred to HBO's "True Detective" series as well as FX's "Fargo," although unlike "Horror Story," those two shows will not reuse actors in new lead roles.
Anthologies have proven popular not just with audiences, but writers as well.
"All stories need endings, but if writers never know when that ending will come, it's much harder to build effectively to said ending," VanDerWerff said. "This has always been American television's Achilles' heel. Even television's best shows have flab here and there, episodes that could have been trimmed or even cut entirely."
An anthology series would allow Star Trek to focus more on the universe, and not a particular set crew or set storyline. It could jump all over the Trek timeline — and maybe even a little from previous Trek canon as well as the new J.J. Abrams-created world.
Of course, "Horror Story" can place a lot of its success on its showrunner, Ryan Murphy. And having a good leader would be needed for a new Trek series as well. VanDerWerff suggests Trek fans wouldn't have to look too far to find the right fit.
Topping his list is Bryan Fuller, a writer who got his start on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," and became a writer solely to pen episodes for Star Trek. Fuller is leading the successful NBC series "Hannibal," and some fans still talk about his premium cable series "Dead Like Me." However, Fuller also has had some missteps — his high concepts don't always connect with audiences, spelling early ends to critically acclaimed shows like "Pushing Daisies" and "Wonderfalls."
Fuller also is attached to run the new HBO series "American Gods."
But Fuller has talked about a Trek series he would like to see, including one that would have "Horror Story" alum Angela Bassett commanding her own starship.
Also suggested is Ronald D. Moore, another popular producer and writer who got his start in Star Trek, and has gone on to some good success, like the reboot of "Battlestar Galactica." Moore tailored that sci-fi show to become an "anti-Star Trek," basically to show that it was time the franchise got out of its creative rut and looked to try something new. It's been 15 years since Moore has been involved in Trek, and VanDerWerff suggests it's time for him to come back.
And then there's Jane Espenson, another Trek alum who would go on to work on shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Game of Thrones" and even a short stint running the "Battlestar Galactica" spinoff "Caprica." Espenson might have stumbled a bit with the Syfy series, but she still has plenty of ideas and could be a strong candidate to bring Trek back into its television prime.
Yet, this is all speculation. It's not clear if CBS is even listening to Trek pitches at all, despite the success of the films at the box office and the upcoming 50th anniversary. But it's good to know some Trek fans aren't afraid to try something a little different.