|Either J.J. Abrams or Weyoun|
|The Re-Imagined Doomsday Machine|
It's a big galaxy; there's plenty of opportunity for entirely new stories with new characters. That's the thing I appreciated most about the original series when I rewatched it on DVD a couple of years ago: aside from the Romulans, Klingons and Harry Mudd, there were no repeat visits by species or characters. (Yes, we saw two green skinned chicks, but only one was actually an Orion; the other was a human appearing as an Orion.) Each time out, we saw something new in the fictitious galaxy, and each time it represented something different about ourselves. Gene Roddenberry's made-up world evolved concurrently with his vision of humanity's potential.
By the end of The Next Generation, I felt like there was nothing left to explore because we were seeing familiar faces on a semi-regular basis. It worked on Deep Space Nine to have recurring characters because of the nature of the show. But among my long list of complaints about Voyager is that it took them two seasons to traverse Kazon space and then five seasons to get through Borg territory. I realize the Borg had a pretty good grip on things, but the fact that an episode exclusively dealing with them would be followed by an episode dealing with a society that didn't seem to be under any duress living within Borg territory dispelled the whole thing for me. Either they're absolute conquerors or they aren't, and Voyager made clear that they're not.
Anyway, what I'm saying is that repetition of species and characters is something that I think contributed greatly to the decline in fan interest. Maybe it's because we didn't feel like we were seeing anything new, maybe it's because the writers became complacent or lazy or developed tunnel vision for the Star Trek elements and forgot to look outside to the world in which they lived for inspiration. I don't know; I wasn't in the writers's room. I just know that when I contrast the original series with its spin-offs, I see a much clearer sense of exploration--of the fictitious as well as the issues of our world--in the original. If they are serious about reinvigorating the franchise, they have to resurrect that energy, and they can't do it by recycling things we've already seen.