But however TV models are shifting, I think Star Trek is a bad fit for explicitly adult (or more realistically, teens plus) programming like what Showtime is currently known for.
If you define Star Trek
as being a show that was created for the broadcast milieu, sure. But the broadcast-friendly elements - PG-13, episodic, set cast of main characters who never die, etc - are not the "core" of the franchise, and exist only because that's what you need if you're on broadcast.
is simply the ongoing story of Starfleet, which defends the utopian Federation from the un-Utopian galaxy. You can still tell that story and ditch all the broadcast elements. The story's core is very different from the demands of any given medium.
So there's ample evidence that all Trek series don't have to follow the same formula of being centered on a ship and its command crew. It's been done numerous times in tie-in literature, so there's no reason it couldn't be done on TV.
TrekLit is a great example of the franchise being shaped to a new medium. Novels are far more flexible in what the audience will accept, so there's more variation.
Abrams' movies are another example - to be a global action movie hit, you have to shoehorn the story into a format that amps up the action and visuals, and of course fits into two hours. Abrams couldn't have made a 19-hour movie, even if he thought that would have been the best story.
Just because something can work in tie-lin literature doesn't mean it can work for TV, though. They're fundamentally different animals with different goals and markets in mind.
Right, TrekLit is different from broadcast TV and cable, but broadcast TV and cable are different from each other, too. And movies are different from all of them. Each form imposes its demands on the story, and each allows various types and degrees of freedom. You won't get the same Star Trek
from different mediums.
Personally I'd like to see more of the Federation beyond Starfleet. Too often they're treated as equivalent. Sure, ST should be largely about space exploration, but aren't there any civilian explorers?
At this point, the issue becomes, what is Star Trek
, and how is it unique from any other space exploration story. Starfleet is what gives it that distinct character. A story about civilian explorers could be B5
. But civilian characters in addition to, or working for, Starfleet could work.