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Retool Time

A series by series look at how the STAR TREK franchise reinvents itself

By Leo Walsh     July 03, 2002


Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Captain Kirk (Wiliam Shatner) and Science Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) from STAR TREK
© Paramount Pictures

Apart from a short-lived NBC Saturday morning animated series, STAR TREK fans journeyed through a decade-long TREK-less desert during the '70s and subsisted on a meager but thrilling diet of feature films throughout the '80s. But when STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION launched, it marked the culmination of almost two decades of off-again, on-again conceptualizing of just what a new STAR TREK series would be. With the success of TNG, TREK officially became a franchise and TNG and subsequent shows had to be carefully designed to keep the franchise flagship from running aground. On a regular basis, the powers that be must react to a deluge of feedback, including ratings, corporate dictates, fan Internet rantings and public perception. Here's how they've done it:

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