Obviously, the current regime over at Paramount has decided that the foreseeable future for the Star Trek franchise is in the form of new movies. And frankly, as long as the movies look as good as 'Star Trek Into Darkness', I will be interested no matter how silly the names get. (Future films will no doubt have names like 'Star Trek Up the Khyber', 'Star Trek Screaming', and 'Star Trek At Your Convenience'.) (Trust me, there are people laughing right now, even if you're not one of them.)
But eventually, I'm sure that the Star Trek of my teen/young adult years will develop its own nostalgia, and we'll see a return to the small screen, and a return to the Federation of the 24th century. When that happens, there's something I'd like to see addressed, and it comes out of the problem of Wesley Crusher.
Because there is a problem with Wesley Crusher, and it's got nothing to do with him being a science nerd or him being uncomfortably similar to the show's target audience (oh, come on, you knew most of the Wesley-hate was thinly-disguised self-loathing, even then.) The problem is that Wesley is a civilian, and even as the son of the Chief Medical Officer, there's really no good way for him to interact with the bridge crew without it seeming like authorial fiat. This, in turn, exacerbates the Mary Sue feeling the character has, as he's an ordinary civilian who's somehow always able to wander onto the bridge and take a seat at Comms whenever he wants to. Wesley really needs to be interacting with other civilians, and be given something to do as a normal teenager on board a starship.
Which, on thinking about it, opens up all sorts of possibilities. Because while it was mentioned from time to time in passing that the Enterprise had a civilian population, nothing was ever really done with that. What were they there for? After all, it's not generally like we slap a civilian population onto a battleship. The Enterprise was a vessel that saw combat; why did it have civilians? What purpose did they serve? Then there's the next big question: Who did they answer to? After all, if they answered to Picard, then they weren't really civilians. If the only authority on the ship was a military authority, then they're under military jurisdiction. The specific mention of them as "civilians", the careful distinction of their roles, implies a civilian authority. We're told that the Enterprise is the size of a city; is there a Mayor of the Enterprise? Or, for that matter, a Burgomeister, a Prefect, a Sindaco, or a ChoCho? Does Picard meet personally with the Mayor, or is there a Civilian Liason Officer? Are there conflicts? (If nothing else, there's bound to be a conflict over the fact that there's a cityful of people on board and only one bar.)
To me, this feels like a whole area that never got explored, one which could prove potentially interesting indeed. If nothing else, it would give Wesley something to do until he became an Ensign.