Nerd School: Star Trek Failed Spinoff Spectacular!

by Joe on April 25, 2011

So The internet has been abuzz lately with the notion of a Shatner, Bryan Singer, or Jonathan Frakes helmed Trek spinoff.


So let’s take a look at the wacky world of Trek spinoffs.

Actually the first Trek spinoff wasn’t The Next Generation. When the show went off the air in June of ’69, it immediately went into syndication in 1970 and as a result there was enough interest for Roddenbery to create Star Trek the animated series. The animated series, which I fondly remember from my youth in the 80’s was in a lot of ways a better tighter show than the original.

with the exception of this guy

with the exception of this guy

The episodes were only 30 minute’s long, and they did a whole bunch more “sci-fi” storylines because they wern’t contained by budget concerns. Even the aliens looked more alien.

Furries! Hundreds of them!

But the good times didn’t last forever, the show was canceled after two too brief seasons.But in 1977 Paramount wanted to have their own network, and they wanted Star Trek to come back and be their flagship.

"YOU! You gave us the secret diary  of Desmond Pfeiffer!"
“YOU! You gave us the Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer!”

So Roddenberry came up with Star Trek: Phase II. Phase II would have pretty much just contiuned from where the original series ended, but introduced some new characters including

Will Decker: “In his youthful thirties, Decker is the ship’s Executive Officer, second in command. Kirk sometimes calls or refers to him as “First”, which is naval parlance for ship’s “First Lieutenant,” which would have been Decker’s title in the days of sailing ships. Will Decker comes very near to worshiping Kirk and would literally rather die than fail him. The prime responsibility of a “First” is to provide his captain with the most efficient crew and vessel possible and Will Decker takes this responsibility seriously.” ~Gene Roddenberry and Jon Povill between May and August of 1977.

Ilia: “”…a young female of Planet 114-Delta V, which has recently joined the Federation. The Deltan race is much older than Humans, with brains much more finely evolved in areas of art and mathematics. These abilities make her a superb navigator and her artistic abilities are evident in her sure, flowing precision at this task. Ilia’s intelligence level is second only to the Science Officer, and she has also the esper abilities common on her planet. Unlike the mind-meld of Vulcans, it simply is the ability to sense images in other minds. Never words or emotions, only images… shapes, sizes, textures. On her planet, sexual foreplay consists largely of lovers placing images in each other’s minds.~Gene Roddenberry and Jon Povill between May and August of 1977.

Xon: “Can a twenty-two-year-old Vulcan on his first space voyage fill the shoes of the legendary Mr. Spock? Xon (pronounced Zahn) was selected by the Vulcan Science Academy to attempt exactly that. Kirk was stunned when his new science officer reported aboard and found him to be a little more than a boy. (Xon looks something like a young Michael York with pointed ears.) Kirk has assumed the replacement was someone near Spock’s age. The reports he had read on Xon listed him as a prominent scientist and teacher. The truth is that Xon is a genius, even by Vulcan standards. As we’ll see in our episodes, he is as competent as Spock in all fields of science. He lacks knowledge, however, in one very important area – the Human equation. Unlike Spock, Xon is a full Vulcan. He had no Human mother to acquaint him with the Earth species; he has no Human half with which to feel and understand Human emotions.”

But the network never happened (at least in the 70’s)

From there Trek woulda languished in obscurity if not for

Da da da daaaaaaaa daaaaaaaaa dadada daaaaaa daaaaaa!!!!!!!

Yup, Star Wars big splash in 1977 pretty much jump started the whole space opera movement again, and Paramount wanted to ride that gravy train to Lucasville. The characters of Decker and Ilia were recycled into the giant Freudian dream known as Star Trek: The Motion Picture. But we aint talking movies here

However traits of the Decker, Ilia, and Xon were recycled into characters for the next and best spin-off :

baaaa bababa baaa baaa baaaaaaaaaa bababaaa baaa baaa bahbahbahbah

Next Generation lasted for 7 awesome seasons and itself gave us the spinoffs of Deep Space 9 and Voyager which themselves lasted for 7 seasons. When Voyager went off the air in 2001 , The show Enterprise took up the mantle of Trek and lasted for 4 seasons. Enterprise itself was a spinoff of the trek movie first contact. This time the captain was Doctor Sam Beckett who finds himself leaping from life to life, putting things right, that once went wrong and hoping each time, that his next leap will be the leap home. (oops wrong sci-fi)

Sam, You lept into the lead character from Necessary Roughness!

The show really didn’t have a chance.  It was the wrong on many levels.

So when Enterprise was canceled in 2005 it was the first time in 16 years that there was no Trek on the air. what were trekkies supposed to do?

well we know now that Paramount was lying low trying to cleanse the pallet for Star Trek ’09, but what’s cool is that there are all of these little snippets coming out about proposed projects that fell through.

The whole discussion started when UGO did an interview with number 1 himself Jonathan Frakes who stated

“Frakes: I had a Star Trek that I developed for TV, and we were told in no uncertain terms that they said no to a Bryan Singer television Star Trek, they said no to a William Shatner television Star Trek.  They feel at CBS Paramount that they don’t want to make the same mistake that’s been made before, which was watering down the brand by having a TV show and a movie.  That’s what happened with Star Trek: Nemesis, and that’s why I think Star Trek: Enterprise didn’t last the way they expected to.  It was the classic corporate greed of “we’ve got something good, so let’s continue to milk it” and we milked it so dry that the fans had no appetite for a movie.   So I think what they’ve done by taking time off before the Abrams Star Trek, and they’re doing it again because they haven’t even begun to shoot the second one, is a much smarter business plan.  Much to my chagrin! Not that I wouldn’t love the Titan, or the Rikers in Space, or any of those shows on the air.”

That comment created a flurry of internet speculation, and commentary on trek spinoffs that could have been.

In 2004 before Enterprise was even off the air J. Michael Straczynski and Bryce Zabel wanted to reboot the whole shibang and do what JJ Abrams did but for TV

Trek movie revealed on April 15th the entire plot outline of a series now dubbed Star Trek: Federation pitched by Bryan Singer in 2006, I don’t want to steal too much from, but here’s a taste:

  • Earth’s Humans have become “fat and happy” but this has led to complacency where humans are “giving up exploration for incremental colonization and focusing more on the rightness of their own cultural view over all others”
  • Many younger members of the UFP have left, eschewing this “human-centric” Federation
  • Vulcans have been disengaging from the Federation and have reunified with the Romulans, spending most of the last 3 centuries focused on creating a new “joined society” overseen by two “quasi-religious clerics who rule according to logic and what is best for their unified peoples, combining Romulan Machiavellian politics with Vulcan logic.
  • Bajorans have withdrawn from the Federation to become insular in order to focus on their religion and communing with the Prophets. Bajor is now “like a planet sized Tibet”, handing over all temporal concerns to the Ferengi
  • The Klingons have undergone a “massive reformation” moving away from their Viking-like brawling to become a “civilization of warrior mystics” akin to the Tang Dynasty), now flying “sleek” and “serene” ships and while they maintain diplomacy with the Federation they have returned to expanding the Empire via conquest
  • The Cardassians have transformed into a “society of artists and philosophers” who now “walk the path” and are now dedicated to a philosophy with “the view of the galaxy as a place created solely to test the faithful.”
  • The Ferengi are no longer a “joke” but have become “quite powerful”. Equality for females (including a female Nagus) is “the only concession they have made to progress” and with “the Greater Federation’s cashless society as a restriction, the Ferengi Alliance is now able to shine in its full capitalist glory.” The Ferengi are also making big bucks marketing the Bajoran religion around the galaxy, including pilgrimages to the Bajoran Wormhole.
  • Starfleet has been reduced to a “mere peace-keeping force” protecting fringe worlds from aliens and from fighting each other, with starships are old and spread out too thin

Entering into this troubled Federation is a new “powerful” and “ruthless” enemy called “The Scourge” who confronted the Federation ship USS Sojourner at what became a key pivot point. The ship along with two colonies are lost and the sole survivor will become a key player in the future of the Federation. From the document:

Lieutenant Commander Alexander Kirk is the only survivor of the “Sojourner Incident,” as it’s come to be known in the press. And he has no clear memory of the events themselves. Attempts to “help” him remember cause him to become irrational and violent. All he has is images of carnage and death and a hidden malevolent presence lurking behind it all. When called before his superiors, he paints a picture of the enemy that is scarcely believed and which, if true, might tip the already fracturing Federation Alliance into true collapse.

This incident leads Vulcan, Bajor, Betazed and other members to pull out of the Federation leaving it with just twenty systems and surrounded by the Klingons, Ferengi, Cardassians, etc. Kirk is also drummed out of the service.

Read the rest at

Also in 2006 another cartoon series called Star Trek: Final Frontier was also pitched. According to Star Trek Alpha “In this series, the Federation would have fought a war with the Romulans, ending in the 2460s. This war would have been started by unknown persons using a surprise attack of Omega particle detonations. Vast areas of the galaxy would be considered impassable due to these detonations. This causes a split between the two halves of the Federation. During the Federation-Romulan War, Qo’noS was taken over by the Romulan Star Empire, Andoria was destroyed, and Vulcans left the Federation (they were negotiating reunification).”



In 2009 Aint it Cool News put together a story that Star Trek veteran writer and Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller wanted to create a new series in the Abrams time line. This seemed like pure speculation, but a Fuller Trek would probably be the best thing EVER. Critics would shit themselves over how amazing it was, but it would have been canceled after 13 episodes

Frake’s Trek probably would have closely mirrored Star Trek: Titan novels which are hugely popular with trekkies

Titan (from wikipedia)  is a series of Star Trek novels that take place after the events of the film Star Trek Nemesis, detailing the adventures of the USS Titan under the command of Starfleet Captain William T. Riker. Riker was transferred from the Enterprise-E circa stardate 56844.9 (2379). Riker’s prior tour of duty comprised fifteen years as First Officer under Captain Jean-Luc Picard aboard the Enterprise-D and Enterprise-E. These novels are said to be a return to the ideal of exploration,[1] a trademark of The Next Generation TV show. Though Riker’s assignment aboard the Titan is mentioned within Star Trek Nemesis, the novels are not part of the Star Trek canon.

Shatners probably would have mirrored The Shatnerverse series. (from wikipedia hey it easier then me writing it) Beginning in 1995, William Shatner, the actor who played Captain Kirk, launched a series of novels, often referred to as the “Shatnerverse” novels. They work on the premise that Captain Kirk was brought back to life after the events of the movie Star Trek Generations, and are not generally considered part of the continuity established by Pocket Books for their novels. Shatner’s co-writers for these novels are Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. With only one exception, their names appear on the title pages of each of the Shatnerverse novels. The exception was due to a production error for the first U.S. printing of the paperback edition of The Ashes of Eden and was corrected in subsequent printings. Beginning with Captain’s Peril, the Reeves-Stevenses have also been credited on the novels’ covers.

So what of these would I have liked to watch? Singer’s sounds the most interesting. I like the idea of progressing the storyline, but a 1000 years? That’s a bit much.

The Titan series is good, and probably closest to Rick Berman era Trek, but once again it’s treading on well trampled ground. Maybe something in between?

But all of these crazy spinoffs would not have matched

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

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Pat B April 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm

What’s in the fuckin’ box?!


SGM February 2, 2012 at 11:54 am

I wish I remembered more of my college friend’s idea of a far-future series where the Borg were far, far nastier.


Joe February 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm

that would be nice, but the borg were so pussified by the end of the bergman era it wouldn’t even be worth it


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