King Daniel Into Darkness wrote:
Success and reviews aside, what did STID really accomplish?
Entertained millions of viewers for 2 hours and 9 minutes? Give whiney whiners stuff to whine about?
Which brings us to the point, really. What, exactly, are we expecting from Star Trek?
I'd argue that if we're expecting cutting social commentary, Star Trek isn't (and never has been) particularly effective on that front. It's always played it safe, with pat answers and trite conclusions to all the 'issues' presented. Even the much-vaunted DS9 failed to actually create the moral grey area that fans give it credit for. Our heroes always did the 'right' thing and even in their darkest hour, it was alien third-parties that did the dirty work (I'm looking at you, 'In the Pale Moonlight.')
If you're looking for rousing adventure, exciting spectacle and human characters, you'd also be dissapointed by TNG-era Trek. Thanks to Roddenberries self-aggrandising view of 'evolved humanity,' we got stale and stiff characters with a 'higher sensibility.' At least First Contact had the balls to call Picard on his bullshit, if even for a moment.
If you look at TOS, you get relatable people who have interpersonal conflicts, petty fights and make all-too-human mistakes. Sure, it's just as sexist as you'd expect a television show from the 60's to be, but there's a core there that has endured all these years. It's a winning formula: The cocksure captain, emotionless first officer and a collection of colorful crewmembers (mostly) working together. And, as the article linked in the other thread from the Hollywood Reporter correctly points out, that's the source material for Abrams' take on Trek.
Where I break from the article is the assertion that TNG 'moved past' TOS. In reality, it went sideways from the original series and never really honored what it was about.
We haven't had a true, spiritual successor to TOS until Abrams came along. Nothing that came after TOS managed to capture the verve and sheer enthusiasm of that series: the life-and-death stakes mixed with just the right measure of irreverence. If I were to sit down fresh and watch TOS with new eyes, then the succeeding films and television shows, there would be no question:
Abrams got it right.