J.J. Abrams made a bold move, if you ask me, by setting his Star Trek iteration in a less advanced time-frame in the (alternate) Star Trek universe. After Star Trek Enterprise failed to gain appraisal, it should have been clear that fans were not interested in a historical series. But then again, Star Trek’s new bombastic die-hard action movie allure probably attracted many viewers that never saw Star Trek in their entire life and don’t care about Science Fiction that much, if at all.
But TV is something different. A formula that works for a movie, often makes bad TV. Star Trek on TV has always been presented in a radical different way than in the movies. While the movies are typically action driven, the series is not. Producer Ronald D. Moore said in an interview that the TV series were morality plays and social commentary, that they were sci-fi that provided a prism on human society and culture. I think that was exactly what fans appreciated so much in Star Trek The Next Generation. It was a TV series that combine Science-fiction with that 70s style savoir vivre and idealistic future society. I believe that made Star Trek TNG the most popular of all Star Trek series. So popular that it is still aired on TV today. When originally aired, it was the #1 syndication and it made good for many losses at Paramount.
I hope a new series will again be following Ronald D.’s ideas. Maybe on HBO?