Now, I need to say before I go too far into this, I fully understand that there are a number of Star Trek fans, especially those of the older generations, that have some issue with the idea of Star Trek being animated. There are various reasons for this, I get that, just please hear me out.
I think that the best way for Star Trek to come back to tv is via an animated show or two. I realize that some have a bad taste in their mouth from the original Star Trek: The Animated Series. Let me just say this about that: TAS was produced in a different era of animation. Had it been animated even a decade earlier, I have no doubt that the production values would have been improved. When you get past the weak animation however, the writing was actually really good, especially for a 1970's Saturday morning cartoon.
I feel that animation has come a long way, and despite the view that prime-time animation has to be funny (thanks a lot Simpsons and Family Guy), I feel it is possible to have a slightly more dramatic prime-time animated show that could be geared for both adults and older children.
Part of the reasons why Enterprise was taken off the air was due to the high production costs that an average Star Trek episode costs. The powers that be finally felt that the ratings just could not justify the production costs that frankly every live-action Star Trek show dealt with. While it would still cost money, a good quality animated show could cost a lot less than a live action show would.
Further, an animated show may literally be the only way we'd ever "see" the TNG cast or other Prime Universe actors reprise their roles again. Think about it: most of the TNG cast, besides being fine actors (or directors), have also done a lot of voice acting. All of them came back for Family Guy, and a number of them, including Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner, have done other recent voice acting roles. I really don't think it would be such a stretch to get these guys, or the living cast members from TOS, DS9, Voyager or Enterprise, to come back as a voice actor for an animated Star Trek show.
Yet, despite the lack of live-action, as TAS showed us, there can still be really interesting Star Trek stories told with the right writers. If it's intresting enough, even some of the most anti-animation fans might find themselves forgeting they are watching a cartoon and get lost in the World of Star Trek.
With animation, we could also finally see a show that explores strange new worlds like no live-action show could ever properly show us. With the animation medium, the sky really is the limit when it comes to imagination.
Such an animated show could be aired as a prime-time show or on a cable network such as Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. Or maybe it could even skip traditional tv and air on NetFlix!?
Lastly, an animated Trek show, if done right, could help make the case for why CBS TV should invest in a new live-action show without the cost of making a live-action show. It could also be used to help transition the fans from the characters that we all know and love to whatever the new characters are that would star on a new live-action show.
There, I've made my case, what do the rest of you think?
Some thoughts on setting for possible Star Trek animated shows:
-The post-Enterprise era
-The Romulans Wars
-The Capt. Pike era of the Enterprise
-The TOS era between the show and the films
-The era between the TOS films and TNG
-The post-Nemesis era
-Something taking place between the TOS films or between the TNG films