Less than 12 months after Star Trek premiered, it was already in trouble. NBC was warning to cancel the series. Although a large letter-writing campaign by the sci-fi lovers was getting the executives’ attention, Gene Roddenberry was clueless to if his show would survive. He began creating a new show named Assignment: Earth.
At first, Assignment: Earth had nada to do with Star Trek. It was the story of Gary Seven, a time traveler who journeyed to the past to ensure Earth’s history went the way it was supposed to. Journeying with a super-computer, a secretary, and a shape-shifting cat, Seven would combat evil aliens attempting to mess up Earth history. Basically, it was Star Trek combines with Doctor Who, a Comic-Con dream come true3.
The tides ultimately turned for Star Trek, and Roddenberry soon understood he could only get the new show going if it was linked to Star Trek. He reconsidered the idea as a spin-off, making the not so smart decision of using an episode of Star Trek as a launch-off point for the spin-off.
This ended up being the 2nd season finale of Star Trek, ending the season as just an advertisement for a different TV show, one hardly featuring Kirk and Spock. To make matters worse, NBC passed on the series.
- Michael Straczynski’s Star Trek
Back in the ’90s, there were two sci-fi TV shows with a space station in the middle of an interstellar war: J. Michael Straczynski’s Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. JMS tried to sue CBS for how alike DS9 was to his show. When the lawsuit failed, JMS had a crazy notion of joining Star Trek.
It’s an amazing idea, one that would’ve given Star Trek some energy. However, CBS and Paramount felt it was too chancy. Then, 24 months, they changed their minds and signed off on J.J. Abram’s reboot. Who knows what else happened behind the scenes, but it really seems like Star Trek was out to get JMS.