Star Trek will soon launch its first television series since Enterprise wrapped 11 years ago. While fans are excited about the prospects, there are fewer of them than there used to be.
Ever since news broke of Star Trek Beyond’s box office disappointment, there has been growing concern that perhaps the legendary sci-fi series created by Gene Roddenberry is living on borrowed time.
It’s easy to see why. Beyond grossed less than $340 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. The production budget alone was $185 million. With marketing thrown in, estimates have placed breakeven at around $350 million.
Box Office “Star Trek Beyond (2016)” pic.twitter.com/lJvAPF4seK
— Anggi Izy Pratama (@izypratama) October 1, 2016
What’s worse, the much-maligned Star Trek Into Darkness grossed over $100 million more than Beyond in spite of the fact it generated poor word-of-mouth from the traditional fan base.
Numbers for Star Trek movies are going down no matter how you look at it, and that doesn’t bode well heading into Star Trek: Discovery considering Bryan Fuller, the creative force behind it.
Fuller has never been able to keep one of his series on the air past a few seasons. Inheriting waning viewer interest won’t be doing him any favors.
Still, the reasons for Star Trek’s fall go well beyond creative talent and one particular storyline. They cut to the heart of what is happening in American society from the political realm.
Star Trek was always a series of hope and possibility.
The original series, when it premiered in 1966, told relevant stories through the guise of science fiction. But the difference between now and then is the country was prepared to listen to what the series had to say about the human condition and how everyone was connected.
It showed a future that “could be” — a future of hope, unity, and acceptance. Fast forward 50 years, and the country couldn’t be more different from that original vision.
Media and politics — particularly the politics of division — have bludgeoned people to the point of solitude.
And as much as everyone would like to blame candidates like Donald Trump — as the provocative title of this article symbolically does for his isolationist vision — the truth is it’s a phenomena that knows no political preference.
Democrats and Republicans can’t work together. The far right and the far left hate each other. A 24-hour news cycle with agenda-driven journalism and the viral nature of social media collaborate to ensure Americans stay bitterly divided with one another.
The political reality of today has no place in a Star Trek universe. If the series continues to preach this message to viewers in its next incarnation, it will run the risk of feeling out-of-touch and disingenuous.
The divides today are getting deeper and deeper while at the time of Star Trek‘s debut, there was more receptiveness to its messaging.
Case in point, during the movie era from 1979 and all throughout the 1980s, the country elected Ronald Reagan and re-elected him by one of the largest landslides in the history of American politics.
— Melissa (@MarinaSirtisFan) September 30, 2016
The Republican President had a Democratic Congress during that time, and they were able to reach across the aisle and find common ground.
Blame whoever you want for the state of affairs today, but the bottom line is everybody hates everybody, and whatever happens in November won’t change it.
It all adds up to one simple conclusion. The Star Trek of days-gone-by is outdated. It cannot connect to a world where the populous doesn’t want to work together and aren’t interested in solutions.
As a result, Star Trek has no path forward. Once forward thinking, it is now a piece of nostalgia. A sad reminder of what could have been.
But what do you think, readers?
Does Star Trek have a future in an age of division? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by CBS]