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Monday, July 13, 2015

Static Thoughts - 15 Non-Comic Star Trek Crossovers

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Earlier this week I posted a list of comic book properties I thought Star Trek should crossover with next.  While making that list I started thinking about other things Trek should crossover with, a not uncommon occurrence given my status as an avid Trek-cionado.  So I came up with another 15 non-comic book properties that Star Trek should crossover with next now that it’s already crossed into Planet of the Apes, Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, G.I. Joe, and Transformers.  Let us list them.  

15.            STAR WARS
            Saying that Star Wars and Star Trek should crossover is a lot like saying humans should drink water to survive, it’s basically an undisputed fact.  For better or for worse Star Wars and Star Trek are THE dominant forces in space based science fiction, the fact that they’ve gone nearly 30 years without any official crossover is honestly shocking.  I think the best crossover point would either be The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine simply because those are the best two situations to view a meaningful interaction between the United Federation of Planets and the Galactic Empire.  

            With the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Batman crossover just announced it seems people only really see the Turtles as urban level vigilantes.  People tend to forget that there’s a whole part of the Turtles mythos dedicated to crazy space opera antics or rather dimensional antics.  I’m referring of course to Krang and Dimension X, a whole universe of weirdly cheesy, toyettic, and endearing ‘80s space opera ideas filtered through molded plastic and ball joints.  A lot of these ideas end up pretty similar in tone to the kind of out there wackiness you might find the original series or Voyager.  Krang himself could make for a great Trek villain, especially given the franchise’s predilection for Cyborg foes like the Borg.  

13.            THE MATRIX
            The Matrix is such a bizarre cultural touchstone I’ll have to delve into it further somewhere down the line but for now I’ll say that I’ve always found The Matrix’ extended universe material to be far superior to its main content.  Stuff like The Matrix Comics or The Animatrix, though goofily named, are actually really excellent plays on the concept.  It just seems that The Matrix works better as pure concepts for unique creatives to explore on their own and Star Trek is a great testing ground for that.  A lot of this comes from how much Star Trek is compatible with The Matrix thanks to things like the Holodeck and the Borg along with robotic and programmed characters like Nomad, Data, Lore, and the Holo-Doctor.  

12.            PLEASANTVILLE
            Pleasantville was a late ‘90s high concept meta-comedy in which Toby MaGuire and Reese Witherspoon got sucked into the fictional TV show of Pleasantville.  The idea of being sucked into media is hardly new to Star Trek, there’s a whole Voyager episode about being trapped in a pulp scifi film strip adventure, so the world of Pleasantville isn’t exactly new territory.  What would make Pleasantville a unique local for a Trek crew is the inherent rules that govern that world as both a television show and an idealization of the 1950s.  Star Trek has always thrived when thrown into eras of the past like Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home so taking such a premise and magnifying it X10 with the added unreality of Pleasantville has a lot of potential.   

11.            BEETLEJUICE
            Beetlejuice might seem like an odd choice because from first glance his franchise is predicated on the kind of supernatural mysticism Star Trek so tirelessly evaded.  The thing is that Star Trek was never really that free from cosmic weirdness, it just framed it in a different light, usually about the nature of physical laws and thought like with The Traveler in Next Generation or The Prophets in Deep Space 9.  In the case of Beetlejuice the whole film gives a creator license to explore the myriad realms of the dead and all they entail.  There’s a ton of potential there and it’s hardly new ground for Trek given Spock’s history of resurrection.  What’s more Beetlejuice himself fits perfectly into the omnipotent man-child trope that informed a ton of Original Series antagonists and the famous Next Generation villain Q. 

10.            EVENT HORIZON
             Event Horizon as a concept is already thoroughly in tune with a lot of Star Trek ideas.  The concept of using artificial singularities for space was a common theme throughout Star Trek: Voyager and the idea of divinity hiding in gravitational anomalies is a core concept for Deep Space 9.  What really sells Event Horizon as a choice over Hellraiser or The Black Hole is the way it emphasizes personal fear bleeding into our reality.  It’s a stupendous core concept for blending psychological thrills with high concept paranormal space horror and works really well for a broad established cast of characters.  It’s a super way to delve into the minds and workings of a the kind of large crews that pepper all of Star Trek history. 

9.            PROMETHEUS
            I realize Prometheus has a bit of reputation now but say what you will- I still enjoy it.  What’s more I think the central premise about the origins of human life not only resting with alien creators but also being regarded as a major misstep by those creators is fertile ground for a lot of imaginative possibilities.  Applying the same idea to any of the Star Trek races could make for a really interesting story especially given The Next Generation episode ‘The Chase’ already has quite a few similarities to Prometheus.  Trek’s greatest strength has always been in its characters, creating a crew of engaging astronauts that could move freely from space stories of varying genre like first contact, invasion, horror, or even comedy.  I honestly think this idea could work really well on Star Trek: Enterprise given that series emphasis on origins. 

8.            THE RUNNING MAN
            If you’ve ever watched Star Trek the original series then you know one of the show loved to contrive scenarios to result in gladiatorial combat.  Even one of TOS’ most famous episodes, ‘Arena’ the story that introduced the Gorn, is set-up in that manner.  There are a lot of good options for high tech gladiator battles but Running Man makes the most sense to me given the emphasis on colorful murderers roaming around the track in addition to the actual contestants.  Additionally the emphasis on blending high concept weirdness with shiny, flashy pop culture mass appeal like Wrestling and game shows is kind of a perfect amalgam of what the original series did back in the dy. 

7.            ROBOT JOX
            Robot Jox is another high scifi gladiatorial combat situation only this time with a little more weight behind the situation than Running Man’s ‘gladiators as execution.’  In Robot Jox nations work out their disputes over territory and resources by having 2 giant robots beat each other up.  It’s actually a well made movie and worth checking out, sort of the Pacific Rim of its day, but it’d also be a superb source for a sort of Star Trek mash-up.  The idea of the Federation throwing down with the Klingons or the Dominion over territory by building a giant robot version of the Enterprise piloted by Star Fleets best fighters would be an amazing story.  Additionally it’s great territory for exploring character traits under the pressure of this kind of combative diplomacy.  

6.            CUBE
            Cube is a Canadian techno-horror film about a mysterious maze of interlocking cube rooms all fitted with deadly traps.  The film’s simple nature keeps the focus on character interaction and ingenuity, which makes it the perfect conceptual set-up for a Star Trek story.  Additionally the deeper thematic focus of Cube is on the futility of conspiracy and the nature of mysteries in general which would make it an excellent fit for Deep Space 9 and reoccurring villain Luther Sloane of Section 31.  There’s really not much else behind this reasoning, Star Trek has always made great use of lateral thinking and obstacle course storytelling and Cube is about the most extreme example of those ideas you can get.  It’d also be pretty neat to see if you could tie the concept into the Borg cubes somehow. 

5.            THE X-FILES
            The X-Files might seem like a strange choice given everything about it is contemporarily based and not even in the extra-dimensional way Pleasantville is but I still think there’s a lot of potential there.  Specifically I think it’d be great to see a crossover between The X-Files and Star Trek: Enetrprise.  For those of you haven’t seen Enterprise the series always had a big theme of conspiracies and secret wars, which would honestly make it a perfect fit for The X-Files.  What’s more Enterprise is the only Trek show where it still feels like most of the universe is an unmapped mystery, even more so than Voyager.  Captain Archer’s quest to meet and chart new life isn’t that far removed from Fox Mulder’s and given that Enterprise already has time travel and altered history built into its framework it’d be a pretty easy match to make. 

4.            BLACKSTAR
            Blackstar is a fairly obscure animated series from Filmation that aired in the early ‘80s.  The show didn’t really take off though a lot of the designs and artwork were used later on in Filmation’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  The basic pitch was about an Astronaut named John Blackstar who was sucked through a blackhole and dropped onto a mystical new world of swords, sorcery, and science.  Blackstar was a pretty cool show in the kind of sword and planet, science fantasy vein.  That kind of old school scifi tract would make for an interesting meeting point with more modern Trek iterations like Next Generation or Voyager.  Most of all though I’d like to see a crossover between Blackstar and Star Trek the animated series as they were both made by Filmation.

3.            TRON
            Tron is one of those unique properties where the visuals design of the series has ultimately supplanted the deeper conceptual meaning meant to be imbued in the narrative.  Stuff like sentient spreadsheet programs or needing to drink power to survive have been pretty well left behind by the series and the emphasis now is just on the vey unique visual palette.  As with a few similar entries on the comic list Tron’s loose narrative and conceptual constraints would make it a perfect pairing partner for the rebooted Star Trek series.  It certainly works visually as the sleek and flashy designs of Tron Legacy and Tron Uprising would fit perfectly into the slim and shiny designs of Abrams’ Star Trek.  

2.            THE TWILIGHT ZONE
            If Star Trek saw humanity at its best The Twilight Zone saw us at our worst, despite the fact that Rod Serling and Gene Rodenberry were actually creative colleagues.  The two shows make for a lot of polar opposites but in that dichotomy you can find tons of ideas for stories.  Most of all The Twilight Zone seems to work as a world of ironic weirdness that’s always linked to character creating the perfect overlap zone between both series focus.  Any Trek show could work well for this crossover but most of all I think the original series or Voyager would be the best choices, especially considering that both Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner appeared on the original Twilight Zone multiple times.  

1.            METROID
            I realize it’s a bit of a cheat to put a video game on here but Metroid is just too perfect a crossover to pass up.  Specifically I’d like to see a crossover between Metroid and Star Trek: Voyager.  Voyager and Metroid both are great sources for strong women in scifi from the steely to the point of being unhinged Captain Janeway to the incredibly stoic and profession 7 of 9 to the inconquerable bad ass that is Samus Aryn.  What’s more the supreme weirdness of Metroid that helps separate the series from the likes of Alien would fit well into the Star Trek canon, especially given Voyager’s leanings of exploring the nature of life and human interactions on a stage the size of the cosmos. 

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