Tuesday, May 3, 2016

So, is the new Star Trek TV show Series VI or Series VII?

As anticipation builds for next year's new Star Trek TV series, there's already something to be settled about its place in franchise lore.  Now, I've been calling it Series VII, because I consider it the seventh TV series.  This challenges conventional wisdom (which is not a thing to be settled on the Internet, I admit), because everyone who was around when the last new Star Trek show was being prepped knew Enterprise, originally, as Series V.  That's certainly how I talked about it.

So what changed?  I discovered The Animated Series.  The short-lived '70s broadcast is generally considered noncanonical, since it was never referenced directly by any subsequent production.  It was probably easy to dismiss because it was eventually superseded, as sequel material, by Star Trek: The Motion Picture and later movies and live action TV shows, and became somewhat lost to history, unlike the classic episodes of the original series, which remain roundly lauded by longtime fans.  Being unique in format to this day, The Animated Series remains a thorny aberration in franchise lore, despite the fact that episodes like "Yesteryear" continue to be cited (such as in 2009's Star Trek reboot movie) indirectly.

When I had the chance to watch the show for myself, following its debut on DVD, I found a series that soundly continued the tradition of its live action predecessor, deviating only in terms of what its formatting allowed and the fact that it had half-hour rather than hour-long episodes, with necessarily constricted plotting that goes along with such time restrictions.

So I began considering The Animated Series as part of the family, and that means there have, to date, been six Star Trek TV shows, and necessarily, that means the next one will be Series VII, just until its official name is unveiled.

Which, to me, means that anyone waiting impatiently for the next series could very easily spend their time discovering The Animated Series, too.  It'll be worth your time.  It's filled with the same kind of mix in quality as every other Star Trek TV show.  I've got a handy guide to them here, if you'd care to have a look...

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