Like a good nerd, I love me some Star Trek. I will confess to having a strong preference for the original series (TOS), on account of that was what my parents watched with us when we were wee young nerds growing up. (My dad had a freakish ability to tell within the first few words of Kirk’s “captain’s log” at the opening which episode it was going to be.)
Something I didn’t realize until I was a mature nerd was just how regularly, in TOS, Kirk and/or the rest of the crew of the Starship Enterprise violated the Prime Directive, which, as Wikipedia tells it:
dictates that there can be no interference with the internal development of pre-warp civilizations, consistent with the historical real world concept of Westphalian sovereignty. It has special implications, however, for civilizations that have not yet developed the technology for interstellar spaceflight (“pre-warp”), since no primitive culture can be given or exposed to any information regarding advanced technology or the existence of extraplanetary civilizations, lest this exposure alter the natural development of the civilization. Although this was the only application stated by Captain Kirk in “Return of the Archons”, by the 24th Century, it had been indicated to include purposeful efforts to improve or change in any way the natural course of such a society, even if that change is well-intentioned and kept completely secret.
From the point of view of plotting a gripping episode on a strange new world, you can kind of see where breaking a non-interference rule would come in handy. (It also increases the damage for those drinking along at home.) But we viewers hardly ever saw any official repercussions from these Prime Directive violations.
Here’s where the idea for a new show in the Star Trek franchise comes in.
The show would focus on a set of characters who are the Star Fleet equivalent of an internal affairs bureau on a cop show. These characters would investigate reports of Prime Directive violations. They’d conduct interviews of underlings on starships, and they’d sweat the starship captains they’re investigating in gritty-yet-futuristic interrogation rooms. And, they’d give us a fuller picture of what is at stake in upholding the Prime Directive — and of what kind of fallout intergalactic cultures might experience in the wake of some starship captain violating it for what seemed, at the time, like good reasons.
While the crews of the starships would regard these characters with derision (working title for the series: Star Trek: Rat Squad), we viewers would get to see their perspective on things, including the ways they feel torn in doing their job of investigating their Star Fleet colleagues.
I haven’t really worked out the casting, but I’d love the head of the squad to be a CCH Pounder type (like, maybe, CCH Pounder) — someone who can be very sympathetic and also very tough. I’m leaning toward someone like Jorja Fox as a Klingon, while the main Vulcan character on the squad would be played by Paul Reubens not smirking even a little.
Paramount, email me!