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'Star Trek' is officially coming back to TV. These 15 things could make it really, really great.

It's official. A new "Star Trek" series is slated to air in 2017...

...and the following reaction would not be at all inappropriate:

That's because the "Star Trek" TV series weren't just fantastic television. Although they were that.


Photo by The Conmunity/Flickr.

"Star Trek" is a show that has long been committed to optimism, progress, and, perhaps most importantly, diversity. The original series featured one of the first black female main characters on a network TV show, as well as one of American TV's first interracial kisses. Racial — and gender — equality have long been established as part of the original series' vision of the future.

Like its predecessors, the 2017 iteration of "Star Trek" has a tremendous opportunity not just to be quality TV, but to uphold the franchise's tradition of breaking new ground as well.

In that vein, here are 15 things we'd be excited to see on the new show.

1. An LGBTQ character ... or several.

Photo by Tim Evanson/Flickr.

"Star Trek" has a history of breaking new ground in casting, but when it comes to LGBTQ main cast members, it not only hasn't boldly gone there, it's behind the times. The franchise has yet to feature even one non-straight, non-cisgender main character. It's high time to get one — or preferably more than one — on the crew, or in the captain's chair, and have it be no big deal.

2. Planets with diverse, complex cultures.

Photo by European Southern Observatory/Wikimedia Commons.

Let's be honest: In "Star Trek" captain-speak, "seek out new life and new civilizations," is often code for, "Let's go to the planet where everyone is greedy," or "The planet where the genders are flipped," or, "The planet where everyone is Benjamin Button."

Planets are big places! Full of all kinds of people! Religious people, secular people, liberals, conservatives, soldiers, civilians, good guys, bad guys, medium guys — and everything in between. Do all Klingons really like to fight? The whole planet of them? What about the pacifist Klingons? What about the ethnic minority Klingons? The conscientious objectors?

Let's see a few more planets that look a little more like Earth — and the way-more-interesting stories that come from landing there.

3. Worf.

Photo by Michael Doss/Flickr.

I mean...

4. Darkness and moral complexity.

Photo by Ryan Somma/Flickr.

Remember the last two-and-a-half seasons of "Deep Space Nine" where the Federation got completely owned by the Dominion in pretty much every episode? Remember how Sisko straight-up committed a war crime to persuade the Romulans to join the fight and completely got away with it? Remember how Damar shot a child in cold blood but, by the end, we're all rooting for him?

That was kind of awesome. More of that please.

5. Gender parity.


European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti aboard the International Space Station as Captain Kathryn Janeway. Photo by NASA.

That doesn't just mean a female captain or a smattering of women crew members. That means an officer corps that's at least fifty-fifty. And let's get some gender nonconforming people in there as well. Who says aliens (and humans!) exist have only two fixed, never-changing genders. It's the freaking 23rd century, people!

6. Fewer stereotypes.

Photo by Jonathan McIntosh/Flickr.

I love Quark. Quark is the best. I would go to Quark's Passover Seder in a heartbeat. But no more weird stereotypes masquerading as "alien" cultures going forward, please.

7. No time travel. Not ever.

Photo by Oto Godfrey and Justin Morton/Wikimedia Commons.

I realize this is controversial. Time travel has been a fixture of the Star Trek universe since the beginning. And ... responsible for some of its weakestepisodes (though shoutout to "City on the Edge of Forever" — never change).

Even "First Contact," an otherwise perfect movie, is rendered 40% more annoying by its time travel premise. It's science fiction! It is possible to comment on the world we live in today without actually, literally going back to it.

No time travel, please. Let's leave that to "Doctor Who." That show does it so well.

8. A diverse creative team.

Writers at the WGAw Committee of Black Writers and LGBT Writers Committee. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

While "Star Trek" has been far better than many of its peers at reflecting diversity on-screen, like so many other shows, its writers' room, historically, has been a white dude party. It's employed some great women writers for sure — D.C. Fontana! Jane Espenson! — but generally speaking, white dudes.

And there's nothing wrong with white dudes! Some of my best friends are white dudes! Some of them are pretty good writers too. But there are lots of good women writers and writers of color out there too, who have stories to tell that many white dudes might not think of. Getting them to the table could lead to some singularly great TV.

9. Ostensibly adorable aliens that create mass chaos.

Tribbles! Photo by Tim Bailey/Flickr.

Awwww. Aaaaaaaaggggh! Awwww. Aaaaaaaaggghhh!

10. Serialization.

Photo by flash.pro/Flickr.

While the vast majority "Star Trek" episodes have historically been self-contained, some of the best runs of the franchise — like "Deep Space Nine's" Dominion War arc and "Enterprise's" third season — have explored a single story for multiple episodes. In the age of binge-viewing, where most of the best shows on TV give their main characters a series-long arc, a "Star Trek" that joined the party could potentially be pretty amazing.

11. A serious exploration of the implications of the holodeck.

Photo by john and carolina/Flickr.

It's incredibly weird how infrequently it's remarked upon that, in addition to tri-corders, photon torpedoes, and emergency medical holograms, Federation starships are equipped with a magic machine that allows anyone on the ship to live out literally any fantasy they so desire.

Some fans hate the holodeck — and holodeck episodes — for this very reason. But I disagree. The holodeck is fascinating. The way people use the holodeck — and what it says about them — is fascinating to think about. The series doesn't explore this often enough.

The franchise already did one great episode on this premise. I hope the holodeck stays. And that there are more.

12. Cameos from a time-traveling Sulu.

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

I know I said no time travel, but come on. This would be worth it.

13. Searing social relevance.

Civil rights marchers in front of the White House, 1964. Photo by National Archives/Getty Images.

This has been "Star Trek's" bread-and-butter since day one. The original series dealt frankly with race relations and civil rights. "Deep Space Nine" explored war, occupation and its complicated aftermath. "Enterprise" took on terrorism and post-9/11 paranoia.

History hasn't stopped happening. Let's hope with the new series, there's lots more where that came from.

14. A captain who breaks boundaries.

GIF via "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"/Paramount.

For a while, "Star Trek" was all over this. The franchise debuted its first black captain and first female captain in the '90s, before retreating in the 2000s and doubling down on the white guys. (Again, love me some white guys. Hey, Josh!)

Stoic, steely, TV-attractive white guys are a dime a dozen. We've seen it. Let's see an Asian captain, a Latino captain, a queer captain, or a woman-of-color captain. How fantastic would that be? Pretty fantastic, is how!

15. An optimistic vision of the future.

"Star Trek" fans at a convention in England. Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images.

At the end of the day, what "Star Trek" does better than anyone else is show us a future we want to be a part of. It can still have moral complexity, darkness, violence, and sadness. But, ultimately, its vision of progress on terms that uplift all humankind and human resilience is what keeps us coming back episode after episode, series after series.

It's why we love it so much.

Even the Tribbles.

Keep it real, Tribbles.

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Three women, three MS journeys: How multiple sclerosis looks different for everyone

Gina, Nathalie and Helga share their reactions to being diagnosed with MS and how they stay informed and positive in the face of ever-changing symptoms.

Courtesy of Sanofi

Helga, Nathalie and Gina all have MS, and their experiences show how differently the disease can manifest.

True

It’s been 155 years since neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot gave the first lecture on a mysterious progressive illness he called “multiple sclerosis.” Since then, we’ve learned a lot. We know MS causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue, including damaging the brain and spinal cord. Resulting symptoms can be debilitating and include fatigue, blurred vision, memory problems and weakness. Huge advancements in our understanding of MS and its underlying causes, as well as treatment advances, have been made in the past few decades, but MS remains a complex and unpredictable reality for the 2.8 million+ people diagnosed around the world.

Ironically, the only real constant for people living with MS is change. There’s no set pattern or standard progression of the disease, so each person’s experience is unique. Some people with MS have mild symptoms that worsen slowly but sometimes improve, while others can have severe symptoms that drastically alter their daily lives.

All people with MS share some things in common, however, such as the need to stay informed on the ever-evolving research, find various lines of support and try to remain hopeful as they continue living with the disease.

To better understand what navigating life with MS really looks like, three women shared their MS stories with us. Their journeys demonstrate how MS can look different for different people and interestingly, how the language used to talk about the disease can greatly impact how people understand their realities.

woman with horse, woman riding horseGina loves riding her horse, Benita.Courtesy of Sanofi

Gina—Hamburg, Germany (diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis in 2017)

When her youngest son was 4 months old, Gina started having problems with her eye. She’d soon learn she was experiencing optic neuritis—her first symptom of MS.

“Immediately after the diagnosis, I looked up facts on MS because I didn’t know anything about it,” Gina says. “And as soon as I knew what could really happen with this disease, I actually got scared.”

As her family’s primary income provider, she worried about how MS would impact her ability to work as a writer and editor. Her family was afraid she was going to end up in a wheelchair. However, for now, Gina’s MS is managed well enough that she still works full-time and is able to be active.

“When I tell somebody that I have MS, they often don't believe me the first time because I don't fulfill any stereotypes,” she says.

Overwhelmed by negative perspectives on living with MS, Gina sought support in the online MS community, which she found to be much more positive.

“I think it’s important to use as many positive words as you can when talking about MS.” It’s important to be realistic while also conveying hope, she says. “MS is an insidious disease that can cause many bad symptoms…that can be frightening, and you can't gloss over it, either.”

To give back to the online community that helped her so much, Gina started a blog to share her story and help others trying to learn about their diagnosis.

Though she deals with fatigue and cognitive dysfunction sometimes, Gina stays active swimming, biking, riding horses and playing with her sons, who are now 11 and 6.

Cognitive dysfunction is common in MS, with over half of people affected. It can impact memory, attention, planning, and word-finding. As with many aspects of MS, some people experience mild changes, while others face more challenges.

Gina says that while there’s still a lot of education about MS needed, she feels positive about the future of MS because there’s so much research being done.

woman in wheelchair holding medal, woman rowingNathalie is an award-winning rower with multiple international titles.Courtesy of Sanofi

Nathalie — Pennes Mirabeau, France (diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in 2002)

Nathalie was a teenager and a competitive athlete when she noticed her first symptoms of MS, but it would take four years of “limbo” before she was diagnosed.

“Ultimately, the diagnosis was more of a relief, than a shock,” she says. “Because when you have signs and you don’t know why, it’s worse than knowing, in the end, what you have.”

However, learning more about the disease—and the realities of disease progression—scared her.

“That glimpse of the future was direct and traumatic,” she says. Her neurologist explained that the disease evolves differently for everyone, and her situation might end up being serious or very mild. So, she decided to stop comparing herself to others with MS.

She said to herself, “We’ll see what happens, and you’ll manage it bit by bit.”

By 2005, Nathalie’s MS had progressed to the point of needing a wheelchair. However, that has not dampened her competitive spirit.

Nathalie began her international rowing career in 2009 and has won multiple world titles, including two Paralympic medals—silver in London and bronze in Tokyo. Now, at 42, she still trains 11 times a week. Fatigue can be a problem, and sometimes hard workouts leave her with muscle stiffness and shaking, but she credits her ongoing sports career for helping her feel in tune with her body’s signals.

“Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to my body, letting my body guide when I need to stop and take breaks,” she says.

Nathalie explains that she used to only look backwards because of the initial shock of her diagnosis. In time, she stopped thinking about what she couldn’t do anymore and focused on her future. She now lives in the following mindset: “Even when doors close, don’t miss out on those that open.” Instead of focusing on what she can’t do, she focuses on the opportunities she still has. Right now, this includes her training for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, where she will compete for another rowing medal.

“I only go forward,” she says. “Well, I try, anyway…It’s easy to say, it’s not always easy to do. But that’s what I try to do.”

woman exiting water after swimming, woman with great daneHelga's Great Dane has become a helpful and beloved companion.Courtesy of Sanofi

Helga—Johannesburg, South Africa (diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis in 2010)

When Helga first started having balance issues and numbness in her feet, she chalked it up to her training as a runner. But when the numbness moved to her face, she knew something was wrong. She never guessed it was MS.

“When I was diagnosed, I felt completely overwhelmed and clueless,” Helga says. “I felt that I had nowhere near enough information. I did not know anything about the disease…I had no idea that it was going to be a process of continually monitoring and adjusting your lifestyle.”

In the beginning, Helga’s symptoms developed slowly, and she didn’t appear ill to others. She was even able to run for a few years after her diagnosis, but she couldn’t do marathons anymore, and she began to fall frequently due to balance issues and right-foot dragging. Then her cognition issues became more problematic, especially in her job as a trainer in a printing company.

“My executive function, decision-making and short-term memory were affected to the point that I was eventually medically unfit for work,” she says. She stopped working in 2017.

However, she didn’t stop living life. Even though she could no longer run, she continued to swim competitively. She got a Great Dane puppy and trained him as a service dog to help her walk. She also serves as vice chair of the patient support organization Multiple Sclerosis South Africa, and she advises others who have been diagnosed to join a patient advocacy group as soon as possible to get reliable information and meet others with MS.

Helga says she is “hopeful” about the future of MS. “I must say that I am so grateful that we have all the new medications available, because my life would not be the same if it wasn't for that,” she adds.

Part of how she manages her MS is by looking at the positives.

“If I could tell the world one thing about MS, it would be that MS is an incurable disease of the nervous system, but it's also the greatest teacher of valuing your health, family, friends, and managing change in your life,” she says. “My life is diversified in a way that I never, ever thought it would, and MS has been honestly the greatest teacher.”

Each MS journey is unique – with each person impacted experiencing different struggles, successes, and feelings as they manage this unpredictable disease. But the common thread is clear – there is a critical need for information, support, and hope. We are proud to participate in World MS Day and share these incredible stories of living life while living with MS. To learn more about MS, go to https://www.sanofi.com/why-words-really-matter-when-it-comes-to-multiple-sclerosis.

MAT-GLB-2301642-v1.0-05/2023

This article was sponsored by Sanofi. Participants were compensated when applicable.

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