Due to this week being the 35th anniversary of its cancellation, I learned that there used to be such a thing as Star Trek newspaper comics. Once upon a time, there were newspaper comics for everything. The Spiderman one is actually still going to this day.
The final arc of the Star Trek newspaper comic’s premise was very similar to the Doctor Who premise — two children board (are abducted?) the vessel and watch the daring crew performs feats of heroism. According to Memory Alpha, in fact, Spock is intent on blowing up a NASA Space Shuttle and the kids have to stop him. Oof. Good fun.
Sometimes endings are great, sometimes not so much. I’ve talked on here about how I think “All our Yesterdays” is a superior finale to “Turnabout Intruder” for TOS. “All Good Things” is a great ending for TNG, as is “What We Leave Behind” for DS9. “Endgame” for VOY is like a few different other VOY episodes mixed together in a blender (Timeless + Dark Frontier specifically) and then carefully strained to remove all focus on any character other than the Captain(s). But VOY was all about crazy premises, multiple versions of the characters, and stuffing too much plot into an episode. It was a very typical Voyager episode, even if by definition that means it wasn’t the best of the series.
Star Trek: Enterprise’s finale — generically named “These are the Voyages” — was a just great big slap in the face to the fans of that show. The idea had actually been planned out during the previous season, with the idea that this episode would be the end of the series whether that be after 3 year, 4 years, or 10 years. That’s why it jumps so far ahead in the future. The expanded universe (novels and such) have decided that since this episode technically all takes place in the holodeck, none of it is canon. They say it was Riker’s version of what happened and doesn’t need to be paid attention to. I’m fine with that. It was a mess. The previous episode (“Terra Prime”) is about the crew stopping an “Earth First” terrorist organization. Not only is that much more in line with the themes of the 3rd-4th seasons of the show, it’s also more relevant to today.
With all the turmoil surrounding the actors contracts in the JJ/Kelvin-verse, I’m afraid we won’t ever get a proper ending to that iteration. It’s by far not my favorite. I enjoyed ’09 when it came out and Beyond is an adequate addition to the canon of stories, but it failed in its primary mission: which was to become the NEW flagship of the franchise and a rich springboard for years to come. Between Star Trek Online, the novels, Discovery, and the possibility of other new TV shows, it’s pretty clear the Prime Universe is going to outlive its replacement. Recasting and simplifying was not a bad idea, but it was a very anti-geek approach in a cultural period where deep interconnected universes to geek out over are actually in style. That said, placed in a position as one crew among many, the JJcrew has its charms. The casting is spot on and “Beyond” actually managed to show some emoting beyond angst. I would like to see an in-canon proper farewell. I’m not sure if I want a story where they “fix” the timeline. Reset buttons suck and I’d rather not see all these characters get obliterated. I think what I would actually like would be a crossover with Discovery, where they can specifically state “both timelines exist independent of each other.” But that would require a level of both in-universe technobabble and real world legal wranglings that make it very unlikely.
I guess endings are on my mind, though I really didn’t mean to treat this particular column that way. I’m stepping back from doing “This Week in Trek” for a bit. It was always my intention to take a break when the new season of Discovery hit in January. With the holidays coming up and my ability to get my weekly Trek fix with “To Boldly Sew” ( https://the-avocado.org/tag/to-boldly-sew/ ) , I’ll still have thoughts as we come across anniversaries in Trek, and I’ll share them in the “To Boldly Sew” comments. I encourage you to look for me there. I know there are a couple of rewatches that get posted in these columns and I encourage everyone to keep posting them over there as well.
“To Boldly Sew” is a column about DS9 specifically from the angle of the fashion and the visuals, but it’s also so far been great write-ups about each episode from a fresh perspective.
That’s not to say “To Boldly Sew” is the ONLY place to talk about Trek on here. Obviously Trek conversations pop up all the time in the OT and elsewhere and as much as I love listening to myself talk, I love other people’s takes on Trek even more. I hope I continue to see that.
As a belabored pun to tie together this column about endings and “To Boldly Sew,” here’s my question for this week: What dangling plot thread (get it, thread?) do you wish Star Trek had followed up on? A few come to mind for me. First of all, Gary Seven. “Assignment Earth” was supposed to be a backdoor pilot for a show about his adventures. When that didn’t come into fruition, I wish they would have folded his character back into Star Trek and utilized him. It’s a great idea. Second, the aliens in “Conspiracy,” the ones who send a signal into space and then we never hear from them again. There have been a couple different sequels to that episode in novel form, but ever since “First Contact” overwrote much of the novel “Strangers in the Sky,” I never really consider a matter settled until it shows up in canon form.
What about you? What old episode do you watch and wish they had followed up on something?
And now, A random image from Memory Alpha