We are enjoying “Endeavour.” It gives me an idea for a Star Trek series: “Ensign Kirk.”
This is the story of a young Starfleet Ensign, fresh from the Academy, on his first assignment. He’s a rising star of Starfleet but that doesn’t mean he’s given special treatment; it just means expectations are higher for him. He’s just another junior officer, considered expendable, sent on dangerous missions to spare more valuable officers.
The first episode finds him on his first day of duty out of Starfleet Academy graduation, assigned to a new ship, where he meets and befriends an older doctor named Leonard McCoy.
Younger versions of other characters from the original series will put in occasional appearances, but mainly this is Kirk’s show, with support from McCoy.
This is not the Kirk of the 80s and 90s movies, who broke the law and disobeyed orders. And this is especially not the Kirk of the J.J. Abrams movies, who was a spoiled-rotten privileged fratboy.
This is the Kirk of the original series, where Starfleet is an egalitarian institution and you get ahead on merit, not connections. Jim Kirk is just a plain old farmboy from Iowa who got into Starfleet on talent and hard work, and who respects and obeys regulations and the chain of command (but doesn’t have to like it). He’s a model officer, able to act independently, improvise or obey orders when appropriate.
Like the young Endeavour Morse, Jim Kirk is hungry and ambitious. He yearns to become the youngest person to command a Constitution-class starship and hustles and throws himself into danger to fulfill that dream.
I got this idea from Endeavour and also from a novel I read when I was in my teens, “Ensign Flandry,” by Poul Anderson. Anderson was a prolific, popular and highly respected midcentury science fiction and fantasy writer. He wrote a series of novels in the 50s or so about an interstellar secret agent named Dominick Flandry – like James Bond, a thousand years in the future. This novel was about Flandry on his first assignment. Great fun!