This absurd attention to detail is right up my alley.
Yes, EAS points out countless inconsistencies with everything from warp travel to Klingon physiology, but you'd be hard-pressed to create an airtight continuity with five decades of writers, directors, set designers, prop masters, actors, and so forth making their various contributions to the canon. Of course there will be issues—and with this level of scrutiny, practically anything can be shown to contain some degree of human error. After reading through the exhaustive lists of definite and probable continuity mistakes in J.J. Abrams' reboot universe as well as the preceding ten TOS and TNG films, and after digesting two refreshingly longwinded and nitpicky reviews of the latest films, I think I've finally come to terms with the Abramsverse...and it's thanks to the mistakes of the old Trek.
When you look at the inconsistencies with the Prime Timeline movies, you find some unexplained extra scorch marks on the Enterprise hull between STII and STIII, a turboshaft that reaches Deck 78 on a starship with no more than 23 decks, and some confusion about whether the Son'a are a whole race of people or merely a merry little family of face-stretching misfits. Logic and precedent are occasionally flexible for dramatic effect, minor historical details are sometimes fudged or overlooked, and the writers don't always consider the ramifications of introducing big new ideas, such as a sub-culture of Romulans who we swear have been here the whole time. Still, the majority of glaring continuity issues from ST:TMP to Nemesis can technically be explained away if we're creative enough, or swept under the rug as an obvious but essentially harmless goof.
When you look at the reboot, you see the USS Kelvin firing phasers mere seconds after the weapons are reported to be offline, an astoundingly massive starship (the Vengeance) being constructed in utter secrecy in less than a year (it took 20 years to build the Enterprise-D!), and the only time travel story in Star Trek history where the time-traveler (Spock) makes no effort whatsoever to restore the timeline to its original state. It's not free will, but rather destiny that guides these characters. The Abramsverse disengages itself from all the wrong parts of Star Trek, abandoning a fidelity to canon and an attentiveness to the logic of any given situation. Freed from these shackles, it can boldly go absolutely anywhere it wants...which, ironically, is back to Nemesis and Wrath of Khan, but in a format more accessible to youngsters who've never seen Star Trek but will watch it if it looks like what they had wanted the Star Wars prequels to be.
As summer action flicks based on a popular sci-fi property, these new movies are a great success...but as a reboot of the Star Trek franchise, they are an abject failure. One, they aren't really a reboot; two, they aren't really Star Trek. They are half-remakes more influenced by Star Wars than the show they're based on, and from my own observations and from what I've read on EAS, it's clear to me that the new movies fall spectacularly short of meeting the standards laid out by every other Star Trek. Even the worst of Star Trek—"Plato's Stepchildren," "Genesis," "Threshold," and "These Are the Voyages...", for my money—has its heart in the right place, even if the execution is uncomfortable, ridiculous, or downright awful. Whereas old Trek tries to tell a good sci-fi story and does't always succeed, nuTrek uses somebody else's universe as a playground for gonzo action sequences and tells a story that isn't even internally consistent, let alone in relation to the rest of the universe.
Yes, it's fun to watch these new movies, but I can get fun anywhere. I would've loved the Abramsverse as pure remakes, a pure reboot, or something that didn't claim to be Star Trek but was otherwise identical--I don't hate these movies. But when I order a bacon cheeseburger with onion and lettuce, I expect a bacon cheeseburger with onion and lettuce, not a turkey burger topped with blue cheese, vegetarian bacon, scallions, and cabbage. It might look the same from a distance, and it might even taste great, but it's not what I ordered.
Was it possible to reboot Star Trek without incurring the ire of curmudgeonly fans such as myself? Absolutely—though I think Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future is a big enough place that we could've had another 50 years in the same continuity before even starting to consider the need for a reboot. After all, there's plenty of the Beta and Gamma Quadrants left to explore, there's a lot of history to fill between ENT and TOS, I hear the USS Titan is a fine ship, there's no telling what the universe might be like a century after Nemesis, we've never had a TV series at Starfleet Academy or centered around anyone non-Starfleet, and a Eugenics Wars movie could be interesting...but nah, let's do Kirk again.
Tell me how this sounds instead:
EARTH, 2385: Scene opens in a classroom at Starfleet Academy. Camera pans across a sea of diverse students—humans, primarily, but the likes of a Denobulan, Edosian, Caitian, Bolian, Vulcan, Klingon, Tellarite, Trill, and a Benzite or two make up a fair portion of the class. The instructor begins to speak. "Suppose..." At that moment, one last student attempts, unsuccessfully, to slip into the room without detection. "Suppose you're late for class," the familiar accented voice continues. "Again." Chuckles from the class. We see the instructor is none other than Miles O'Brien.
"Except this time it's not just a...a slap on the wrist, or a few points off your next test."
"Or being pulled out of recreation hour to practice Vulcan meditation with Professor Somak, who won't let you go until he's convinced you've learned the value of every minute," interjects one of the students. More chuckles.
"Or that," continues O'Brien with a half smile. "This time, the Academy wants to expel you. Off you go, back to your family farm in Kendra Province, or your old job shelving bottles of yamok sauce on Pelios Station. Of course, you don't want to go back. You want to stay here with your friends, attending Professor O'Brien's riveting lectures. So you do what any soon-to-be-expelled Starfleet Academy student would do: you find a way to travel back in time to fix your mistake before it happens."
O'Brien asks a few students in rapid succession about their preferred method of time travel. Chronitons and triolic waves. Time portals. The slingshot effect. Politely ask the nearest omnipotent being to send you back. Wait a few centuries and hitch a ride to the past on an Aeon-class vessel. The class grows more animated with each comment.
"What about you, Professor O'Brien?" asks one of the students, bringing a fleeting hush of curiosity to the room.
"The holodeck." Another round of chuckles. "I hate temporal mechanics. At least with a holodeck, the past is just a holographic simulation. You can make mistakes without worrying about how they'll affect the future you came from. No matter where the story takes you, no matter how much you change history, your home is still there, just beyond the doors, same as it was when you left it. And no one's going to stop you if you want to help the Texans win the Battle of the Alamo for once...well, no one except Santa Anna."
O'Brien smiles to himself for a moment. Clearing his throat, "But, somebody's got to watch the engine room when the captain orders a slingshot around the sun, and that's what we'll be talking about today."
Fast forward to the end of class. O'Brien steps out a little too quickly into a busy hallway, and Chakotay—now a professor of Anthropology at the Academy—slams right into O'Brien's bad shoulder. I haven't worked out the rest of it from there, but I figure they exchange dialogue as they walk, tying up a few loose ends from the TV shows in passing ("My family on Dorvan V says you'd almost never know the Cardassians had been there"), foreshadowing a little bit of what's to come, and hinting at the whereabouts of people we haven't heard from in forever ("Starfleet Medical is planning to expand next year; Katherine Pulaski asked me to look over some of the schematics"). They pass a group of students and teachers huddled around a viewscreen, and stop to take a look: it's a live news report of [insert situation that sets the plot in motion—the destruction of Romulus, for example].
TIME TRAVEL ensues! Doesn't need to be obvious time travel, either; whatever's featured on the news may simply vanish, for example, or appear to be sucked into a black hole, or what have you.
EARTH, 2159: Orbital shipyard—perhaps Copernicus, or San Francisco, or Utopia Planitia. A nice, long shot of a handful of starships in various stages of construction. Work Bees go about their business. All is pleasant. Then all heck breaks loose. Whatever it was that disappeared from the news broadcast in 2385—say, Nero's ship—suddenly appears, and begins firing on the shipyard. Widespread destruction, and half-built ships nearly fly themselves apart as they mobilize to defend the shipyard. NX-02, the Columbia, soon joins the fray. NX-01, the Enterprise, isn't far behind. The attacker, enraged at being unable to find what they were looking for, warps away (possibly in search of another means of time travel to get to when they want to be), leaving the shipyard in ruins and the ships—the ones that survived—in no condition to go anywhere.
EARTH, 2267 (or 2255, if we insist on having characters too young to plausibly run the ship): Oh, look. It's James T. Kirk.
There, J.J. I've set things up for you. An olive branch has been extended to the fans of TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT. Maybe it's not a gripping space battle right off the bat with heroic self-sacrifice and women dramatically going into labor IN SPAAAACE! But spending six or seven minutes in Starfleet Academy, or anywhere else in the Prime Universe, might be all it takes to get a curmudgeonly fan invested in the new direction of the franchise. We haven't forgotten about you, and we still care about this universe—we're just excited to put a new spin on it, and we hope you'll come with us. And blowing up a whole shipyard in the early days of Starfleet seems like it'd do a whole heap more to affect the timeline than blowing up just one, a ship whose only notable accomplishment was that it carried both of Kirk's parents, in a century when Earth has more ships to spare anyhow.
I'm sure Bernd would have a field day with my movie.