I have many thoughts about the various timelines in Star Trek. Really, if you know me, I have many thoughts about Star Trek in general but let’s stick to the topic at hand.
There is a lot to be said for the new timeline that was created by J. J. Abrams. It is a fresh new look at Star Trek that allows new actors to play the parts of our beloved characters. And that can be a really good thing. Not only that, but the new, young actors, and fresh stories allows a new younger generation of viewers to enjoy Star Trek without having to watch the hundreds and hundreds of hours of shows, and 10 previous movies, just know what is going on.
Having said that, I think one of the problems with this new timeline and the new movies, thus far, is that they live in a universe where great things have happened. In another timeline. For other people. With other histories. So while there are a lot things that are similar and there probably is a rich history behind it. We don’t really know what it is.
In a very similar way to the sets in TOS (The Original Series) the new movies feel like a movie set. Everything looks great, it looks all futuristic and fancy, so fancy that it hurts your eyes to look at it. But you know that if you look behind that rock, If you lift up that PADD, or open that door, what you are going to find is an empty parking lot, a painted cereal box, or the outside of the set.
While when we watched TOS, we were willing to forgive the sets and props, these new stories feel artificial. Yes, I have seen the articles that say, if you are going to complain about the new movies, go watch TOS and then come back. And I hear that. I understand what they are saying. I really do. There were many episodes of TOS / TNG / DS9 / Voyager and Enterprise that were very rough. That is true of pretty much any series. I want to make it clear that I am not saying that the new movies were terrible, or that they should not be watched, or even that they were not really Star Trek. (I have other comments about their of story telling choices but that is another discussion) What I am saying is simply this. Right now they feel hollow.
They feel hollow because, while there are in the Star Trek universe, they also aren’t in Star Trek Universe, and because of that, they don’t have all the history built through the previous series. The fans who have spent the time watching all the original timeline series and movies are expecting that fullness, that history and it isn’t there. Right now, that makes them feel hollow.
There is hope for the future. The new Star Trek series is supposed to be set in this, new timeline, and that should help with some of the hollowness. The hope is, just like every successive Star Trek series and movie looked and felt more put together, more full and ultimately more like a full universe, that as this new series and the new movie come out, they will add the the richness of this new time line. That once that have started to fill in this new timeline with new stories, we won’t all be looking for the timeline restoration device. AT least not as much any more.
images from Trekcore.com and Memory Alpha