As I have mentioned in several of my Sunday posts, CBS is currently in the process of developing a new Star Trek television series. While we know very little about the show itself (nothing really), we do know who is going to be serving as executive producer: Bryan Fuller. Over the last several years, Fuller has made a name for himself with shows like Pushing Daisies and Hannibal. He was also responsible for one of my sadly short-lived favorites, Wonderfalls, and I am looking forward to seeing the television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, American Gods, that Fuller is currently working on.
Fuller got his start in Hollywood, though, thanks to Star Trek. In the early 1990s when Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine were on the air, the franchise had a very unusual open submission policy, meaning that anyone could submit scripts to the show. To this day I kick myself for not taking advantage of it.
Fuller, however, did. He was a huge Star Trek fan and his spec script lead to an opportunity to pitch stories for Deep Space Nine, a couple of which he sold. From there, he was hired on as a staff writer for Star Trek: Voyager, joining the show in its fourth season. By the time the series ended after its seventh season, Fuller had risen to the position of co-producer.
I’ve expressed before that I think he is an excellent choice to run the new Star Trek series. Not only does he know Trek inside and out, he’s proven himself to be a unique voice. His shows tend to be visually-stunning and a bit outside of the norm. I’m excited to see what he comes up with for the new series.
But before he takes Star Trek into the future, you might be interested to see what he worked on during his past on Voyager. Honestly, it’s a mixed bag. There’s some good, some ehhhhh, and one hooooo boy.
Probably the best on the list is “Living Witness,” in which a backup copy of USS Voyager’s holographic doctor is brought online 700 years in the future by an alien race that once encountered Voyager’s crew. It’s an interesting study of how the way history records an event can differ from what actually happened. Admittedly, though, Fuller is one of three writers listed for the episode, and the story itself was actually Brannon Braga’s.
Fuller was responsible for the story and co-wrote the teleplay for “Bride of Chaotica!”, a fun romp in which a race of photonic aliens end up taking over a holodeck program based on a 1950s science-fiction serial.
I would, however, avoid “Spirit Folk,” which is another holodeck malfunction episode. This one is set in the Irish village of Fair Haven, a program which the crew had been running for some time. Because of this extended use, the characters in the program begin to notice that the Voyager crew can change aspects of the world by what seems like magic. It is…not good. One reviewer at the time actually declared it to be the worst episode of any Star Trek ever made. I wouldn’t go that far, and this particular reviewer was really hard on the series anyway. Still, it is, as I said, not good.
Fortunately for all of us, Fuller is capable of much better work. We just have to wait until next year to see what he has in store for his new Star Trek.
- Alan Decker
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