Prequels Are Hard

I’m really enjoying Star Trek Discovery, but whilst watching the latest episode one thing started to bug me. Does it really need to be a prequel to the original series? With only minor tweaks, it could easily be repurposed to being set later in the timeline. I may be missing something though.

Yes, Discovery is primarily a research vessel, but the technology levels seem rather advances compared with Kirk’s Enterprise. We have holographic communication, and a holodeck. Sorry, training room! Oh, and the spore drive, but I think it isn’t long for this universe. Should I also mention the redesigned Klingons?

It doesn’t make the series bad, on the contrary I believe that it adds to the show. It just feels to me that it a stylised version of how the original series would have looked if it was made today.

That brings me to my question. Should we have science fiction prequels?

There are two main issues that prequels have to deal with. The first is technology, and I’m not just talking about the big things. Touch panels in the prequel; physical buttons in the original. You do want to streamline the look so that it doesn’t look dated, but then you run the risk of it looking newer than the original.

The bigger obstacle that needs to be overcome is that in the viewer knows generally how it is going to end, especially if it is a direct prequel. This constrains the story, as you cannot delve too far away from the original premise. My personal theory is that there is an indirect correlation between the potential of a prequel to it’s relevance to the original.

For example, Star Wars Rebels is quite a good prequel, but the original Star Wars trilogy isn’t really related to it. Let’s look at Caprica shall we, overall it wasn’t that bad a show. However, the weakest parts were always the ones that dealt with either Cylons or anything Adama. You know, the parts that lead to BSG.

Even books seemingly have an issue with prequels. Have you read to Prelude to Dune? God love you, if you have. They have, to me, over complicated things so much that I’m too confused about the universe that it has taken some of the enjoyment away from reading the original ones.

Science Fiction to me should always be looking forward, and over time our ideas of what is in our future changes. Not even Isaac Asimov was able to predict perfectly what is going to happen next technologically or socially. Our view of the future is very much a reflection of our times. I just don’t think that we need to look backwards from our forwards.

One last thing, I thought it was hilarious that the crew of Discovery were getting down to the Bee Gees. When was the last time you boogied to Mozart?


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