These are the voyages...
I've had a soft spot for Star Trek ever since the original series was rerun in the UK in the mid to late eighties. During those days my father would never allow the television to be switched on during our family meal in the evening. This was a hardened rule, inviolable, a Prime Directive, if you will. This, however, did not apply to Star Trek. Every wednesday (IIRC) food would be assembled, the TV would be wheeled through from the lounge to the dining area, and dinner would start with the opening credits, and finish with the ending credits, and the girls (my mother and little sister) were absolutely forbidden to ask 'silly girl questions'.
Of course I then became familiar with the films, and soon enough the Next Generation appeared, and for fifteen years there were new distractions. (There was also some silliness with Scott Bakula).
At some point I picked up enough familiarity with the art of writing that I became increasingly dissatisfied with the franchise. Every two years or so I'd watch the whole thing over again. The quality of the Original Series remained about the same - a third of the episodes are wonderful, a third are passable and a third are awful. For several years I was of the opinion that TNG et al were far superior, but as I rewatched these derived works, each time the ratios changed. I had started out feeling that TNG was about one bad episode in every three. Then it was one good episode in every three. Now I struggle to find enough good episodes to fill a single season.
Deep Space Nine is difficult to watch at all if you appreciate Babylon 5, and gets progressively worse the more they try and follow arc storylines. It was with great surprise I realised that Voyager actually has the best ratio of good episodes to bad ones in the whole extended franchise, despite being composed of nothing but inanely stupid ideas, shoddy performances and laughable plots.
So I found myself being drawn back, again and again, to Kirk, Spock and Bones.
Whilst I considered starting from the beginning and doing a script doctoring on the original series, I realised that all I would end up doing is months of formatting, and a few extremely tiny tweaks here and there. It just wasn't going to be worth the effort. With the films, however, well. The more I thought about them the more I realised there were several decisions made during the production that threw the films off.
Firstly, it seems to me that the films ought to be divided into two sections. The first section comprises only the Motion picture. This film ought to be seen as the coda to the original series, it happens two years after the end of the series itself and deals with more metaphysical concepts than the sequels. Starting with the Wrath of Khan we have a saga detailing several arc storylines that ought to have been epic, but instead were very hit and miss.
The first arc concerns the promotion and development of the crew, forming, eventually, the hearts of the generation to follow Kirk. It seems obvious that in WoK the characters of Sulu and Chekov got switched at some point - every time either character is doing something it is precisely what the other would normally do - WoK sees Chekov piloting and Sulu shooting, for instance. Once that switch is made, we see Sulu, in WoK, as first officer of the Reliant, an essential standing stone on the path to where he ends up, in UC, with his own command. Spock was meant to expire in WoK, and it seems clear that Saavik was intended to succeed Spock. Bringing Spock back not only proved implausible, it also wrecked Saavik's own arc, which ought to have seen her go from a fresh ensign in TMP (where she replaces Ilia after the former's zapping) through her time in command school in WoK. In what constitutes the third film, Saavik goes through several events which will reach their conclusion in TUC with her betrayal of her comrades. As supporting elements in the arc of character development we bring in several characters who, though minor, we would see coming to their strengths; Chapel becomes a full doctor, then ship's surgeon. DiFalco rises through from enlisted to officer, following in Sulu's wake as a helmsman.
Whilst working through the basic changes needed to restore these storys to what I consider the best states, it became obvious that Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was unsalvageable. There is no element of the story that could be saved, even though I am aware that it is a film much loved by Lite Trekkies.
Also available below are a set of rewrites with a more comedic bent, built from an extemporizing comment made in a random facebook thread, casting Kirk as being something of a parody of himself. These are not to everyone's taste, of course.
All of these should be considered works in progress, as no work like this is ever really finished and the effort of reformatting and standardising the scripts is a daunting prospect at best.