At the very beginning of the 1998 movie Star Trek: Insurrection, Captain Jean-Luc Picard jokingly asks, “Can anyone remember when we used to be explorers?” At the time, a lot of Trekkies chuckled uncomfortably in the theater. Over two decades later, the joke has become less funny.
There has been some excellent Star Trek since 1998, but how much of it has been about trekking through the stars? On some level, not since the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005 has the franchise directly explored the theme of well, exploration. But, suddenly, the entire Star Trek franchise seems ready to pivot back to its roots. The next three live-action iterations of Trek — Discovery season 3, Picard season 2, and the impending Strange New Worlds — are all poised to bring the Trek franchise into a format and style we haven’t seen in quite awhile.