The original Star Trek TV star still thinks there's an important place for the franchise on the small screen, even with those movies.
It's been eight years since Enterprise went off the air, leaving us with no Trek TV representation outside of syndicated shows. The longest gap ever between Star Trek TV shows was 13 years, from the end of Star Trek: The Animated Series in 1974 to the beginning of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987. That gap was filled with several films (and an aborted TV series) starring the original series cast, though, and it seems that, for the moment, Paramount is happy to keep cranking out a new generation Trek movies and keep fans' attention focused on the big screen. But what about the franchise's original home: the American living room? Will Star Trek ever return to a TV format? William Shatner certainly hopes so.
During an interview to promote his new Trek documentary The Captains: Close Up, Shatner was asked if he thought that a Trek TV series was a better delivery system to get younger minds interested not just in the franchise, but in space exploration in general. Here's his response:
"You know, I think you’re right. Because, JJ Abrams has found the key to getting a large audience into the movie theater, and that’s the ride. So you get a lot of the CGI effects, which is the epic movie making aspect of today, whereas in Cecile B. Demille’s time, you had to use real people. Now you don’t need to use real people and you can have infinity for God’s sake.
"That’s in order to get you into the theater, because the majesty of the movie is shown by the large screen. But when you get into the small screen, you need stories… entertaining, interesting, vital stories that have a philosophy and also have an excitement about them, so that the viewer stays with it, but recieves the philosophy as a byproduct. Those were the best of Star Trek, those kinds of stories. And that kind of thing, there is always room for that. That kind of imaginative approach that stirs young people into wanting to be connected with science."
There are probably plenty of scientists working today who would happily cite Star Trek as the reason they got into the business of exploration, so perhaps Shatner's right. We have no idea when a new Star Trek adventure might finally hit the small screen, but history's definitely taught us that this series isn't easily kept off of television.
What do you think? Is Shatner right? How long before Paramount and CBS take advantage of a new Trek series once again?