Monday, May 09, 2005

Temporary setback? Or putting a dead dog down?

Over at Orotundity, Evan's latest edition of "Versus" has Lord of the Rings pitted against Star Wars; a battle of fanaticism and nerddom that could tie up movie theater lobbies, comic book shops, chat rooms, message boards, and blog comments for generations to come. (I fall on the Star Wars side of the equation. I grew up with Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, not Frodo Baggins and Gandalf.)

Evan's timing is interesting, since the Star Trek TV franchise might be coming to an end this week with the last two episodes of Enterprise on UPN. (Frank Ahrens wrote a great feature on the Star Trek flatline in yesterday's Washington Post. And today, hosted an interesting chat on the subject.)

I wonder if Trekkers think their beloved TV shows, movies, and books belong in the Lord of the Rings vs. Star Wars discussion? I emphatically say no. (Raise your hand if you've watched Enterprise. I rest my case.) I'm not much of a Star Trek fan, but I think it's notable that its train has screeched to a halt. After Friday, there won't be any new Star Trek shows on television for the first time since 1987. And no new Star Trek movies are currently in development. "Live long and prosper" ain't happenin' right now.

I don't think Star Trek is permanently dead. If you flip the channels, you'll find that sci-fi television is still doing well in syndication and on cable. But Star Trek probably needs to go away for a while. In the meantime, maybe someone creative can figure out a fresh take for something that's gotten as stale as William Shatner's schtick and as ill-fitting as one of Captain Kirk's Starfleet uniforms.