Herkimer Jitty wrote:
You can get away with an alien first officer because they're not the face of the show.
As I pointed out in another thread that had the same discussion going on, the Captain needn't necessarily be the face of the show. It could be a Horatio Hornblower-type deal, then the focus of the story would be a dashing, young, good-looking lieutenant, and the Captain could be whatever. It could even have six heads and three butts, because its not the heroic focus.
This could work. The captain will be exotic and alien, as will many of the main and recurring cast, while the lead - a young, brash ensign - can be "standard," so as to increase the odds of audience acceptance.
"Standard" means young, white and American (or nominally of some other nation, but indistinguishable from being American, cuz you know there aren't any nations anymore - Uhura's nominally African identity being a good template here) Probably male but could be female.
You wouldn't think a "standard" lead would be so important on cable, but just look at the characters who actually are the leads of cable series - predominantly white and American, more males than females, younger than the national average. Plus Star Trek
has already got a lot of odd stuff for the audience to accept, better not to push things by making the lead character one of the exotic elements.