Brannon Braga is the writer who wrote more scripts than any other person in the Star Trek franchise. He wrote some of the best time travel/parallel universe episodes, concepts he clearly had a nice grasp on using “time” as a science fiction storytelling tool throughout Next Generation, moving on to use time as an element in episodes of Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. These included “Cause and Effect,” “Timescape,” “Parallels,” and “All Good Things…” on Next Generation, the movies Star Trek Generations and First Contact, “Year of Hell,” “Living Witness,” “Timeless,” and “Endgame” on Voyager, and “These are the Voyages” on Enterprise. It’s strange in hindsight that Braga penned the last episode to each of these series, yet they all are quite similar.
Braga returns this month to Star Trek: The Next Generation writing a new mini-series published by IDW Publishing, titled “Hive.” Issue #1 takes place in both the 24th century and Jean-Luc Picard’s world 500 years prior. Like “Cause and Effect” or any of the series-ending episodes, Braga hops back and forth in time in this new story. We meet a post-Star Trek Nemesis Starfleet, complete with Picard at the helm of the Enterprise-D on leave with girlfriend Vash and Captain Riker leading the Titan. The favorite villains of Next Generation–The Borg–have returned, but this time they are running from something scarier than any species in the four quadrants have met up with yet, Species 1881, freakish masters of chaos that look a bit like Species 8472 (for anyone keeping track). And they want Jean-Luc Picard, formerly Locutus. They want him to help them defeat Species 1881. And they brought along Seven of Nine to help.
But that is all 500 years in the past. In the future, the last remnant of Jean-Luc Picard percolates in a weary member of The Borg looking strangely like Locutus. He uses the memories of Picard to create a facsimile of Data the android. Why? Because Locutus needs Data to help him to defeat the Borg Queen.
It’s all very strange and stretching continuity, but in light of the film Star Trek 2009, that’s the new thing, right?
And before we give all the credit for the new series to Braga, he wrote the “story”–the script itself was co-penned by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett. It’s another nice start to an IDW Star Trek spinoff series.
The best feature of Issue #1, in addition to just seeing all these characters together again, is seeing them look this good, courtesy of artist Joe Corroney. The images are not photo real, such as done by J.K. Woodward on Star Trek/Doctor Who Assimilation², but the likenesses are solid and the overall look easily transports you back to where Star Trek Nemesis left off. Quirks uber-Star Trek fans may notice include Picard in a First Contact style jumpsuit instead of his trademark two-piece uniform, a generous skipping over of background details like LCARS panels and other items you’d expect from the Trek universe, and a lack of technobabble in the text. The story doesn’t feel so much like a Star Trek episode because it speeds past the science of Trek that helps give you the feel of being sucked into the Trekniverse.
But this is only Issue #1, and there is plenty to like about the story and the visuals to come back for more next month. For Star Trek: The Next Generation fans missing the old classic series, this is a good way to catch up with your favorite characters. And the above cover A and alternate cover B to Issue #2 are pretty intriguing enticements to come back for more, too.
I really wish they would start a new Star Trek series. I was resistant to each one when they started, but came to love them all. Do you think it will ever happen?
Personally, I think that the networks are too pre-occupied chasing reality programming audiences and trying to find the next ‘Lost’ by gambling on big FX budget ‘big idea’ series like Terra-Nova, Revolution, FlashForward, and the like. The problem is that these series fail to deliver the engrossing story-lines and interesting characters that we saw with most of the Star Trek series and series like Doctor Who and Once Upon a Time. While in this mode, I doubt a new Trek series will re-appear unless it’s on a cable network where, frankly, a Star Trek series could really flourish.
As we’ve seen with Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Homeland among others (like my personal favorite, The Walking Dead), cable programming could provide a real opportunity to give fans a bigger, more edgy landscape in which to provide some premium story-telling based in the Star Trek universe. In any case, unless some other sci-fi series pops up on Network television to satisfy that audience, I think a Trek series is an almost certainty, but it won’t be seriously considered by the current Paramount team until at least after the next Star Trek movie (due in 2013) and even then it would take another year or two to get something produced and onto the small screen.