CBS seems hellbent on building its streaming service around Star Trek. They’ve spun a show off The Good Wife and revived The Twilight Zone, but they have Khan, Picard, and Section 31 on deck. One wonders if they’ll eventually revisit Kirk and Company. In the 1990s and early 2000s, however, Trek suffered from oversaturation. SciFi (now Syfy) ran reruns of The Original Series with The Next Generation headed to the big screen. Meanwhile, Deep Space Nine ran new episodes at the same time as Voyager, eventually replaced by Enterprise. Overkill? Probably. Nemesis marks the first Star Trek movie I did not see in the theater (I and II I saw on HBO), and it was deliberate. I burned out on Trek. There was too much to follow, and I was the guy who knew Captain Kirk’s locker number asked about in that infamous “Get a life!” sketch.
But CBS is betting the farm on Trek. Hell, it’s $6 a month, and I watch the Bengals on CBS anyway. But Discovery season 2 is winning over converts with a storyline that has Captain Christopher Pike in temporary command of the titular ship. The story, about Spock going missing, is slowly goosing Discovery back toward what older Trek fans know and love. With the Kelvin timeline effectively canceled, fans want something that looks and feels like the original Trek. While Discovery is rapidly establishing that navigating by mushrooms is a major pain in the ass, not worth scrapping warp drive over, it’s already its own thing. So…
Why not hire Anson Mount permanently and spin him off into a Pike series? We’ve already seen Number One (played to perfection by Rebecca Romijn looking dead-on like Majel Barrett circa 1965.) and a new Enterprise crew member in Security Chief Nhan. Potential to link the original series to the new further exists in a prominent character from The Cage, Jose Tyler. Are Jose and Ash Tyler related? If so, how? And what does Voq-turned-Tyler-turned-Voq/Tyler do if they are brothers?
Perhaps the biggest potential is finding an actor to compliment Mount’s Pike in the role of Dr. Phillip Boyce, the original doctor aboard the Enterprise. In “The Cage,” Boyce was played by the already cantankerous John Hoyt (better known as the grandfather on the 80s sitcom Gimme a Break.) Dream casting would be Brian Cranston, though Cranston is more a leading man actor. But Boyce was more of a bartender than Leonard McCoy. An actor could take on the role without having to fill the shows of DeForest Kelley and Karl Urban.
An existing story could even serve as a pilot, though licensing and copyrights call this into question. DC Fontana’s Vulcan’s Glory told about Spock’s arrival on the Enterprise and his subsequent withdrawal into himself. Although this story was set before the events of “The Cage,” it, too, showed Spock as a more open, looser person, hardly the steely, reserved rock of the crew played by Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto.
However, Spock would be the show’s biggest stumbling block. Quinto based his performance on Nimoy’s and even took guidance from Nimoy in two of the Kelvin movies. Ethan Peck may be able to play Spock in the context of Discovery and his relationship to Michael Burnham, but a Pike Trek Spock will need to not only act as though Michael does not exist but show how Nimoy’s Spock came about.
And if Fontana’s novel from the 1990s is used, would the show include a young Scotty coming aboard? How would the Klingon War be handled? Or Talos IV? And one of the objections network execs had to the original cast was Pike’s potential love triangle with Number One and Yeoman Colt.
But CBS seems hell bent on spinning off more shows. With Anson Mount already proving himself up to the role of Pike, it’s worth considering. If they’re going to keep making new Treks, why not make this one?