Balance of Terror is not a bad choice as episodes go… but what could it mean? The classic story introduced the secretive Romulans for the first time. A prolonged battle between two starships, Balance of Terror was a challenge of courage, intelligence and cunning.
The Romulan craft was equipped with a cloaking device that allowed the ship to become invisible, yet they could not fire while it was activated. The story fleshed out the identity of the Romulans through the sterling performance of Mark Lenard who would later portray Spock’s father, Sarek. The commander of the enemy vessel and Captain Kirk are both shown in nail-bitingly tense situations, so perfectly mirrored that Kirk gains his enemy’s respect by the end of the episode.
In addition to holding a vital place in Trek lore, the story was also an allegory for the political climate at the time. Like many key Trek stories of the 1960’s, it serves as a time capsule of the American psyche as well as prompting some compassion toward those we define as enemies. If showrunner Fuller is looking to delve into that part of the nation’s gestalt consciousness, he has a hard yet worthwhile job on his hands.
But it could just mean that the new series will explore the Romulan War, something the previous program Enterprise did not get the opportunity to do.
I was chatting at length with someone the other night who put his finger on a key attribute missing from modern Trek which is not preaching morality or politics (some episodes of classic Trek are very conservative while others are liberal and while Roddenberry was a humanist, he didn’t bash belief systems). So while I am certainly on board for a politically charged liberal-leaning sci-fi program, I think one that promotes discourse and inner exploration could be even better rather than one that promotes further dissension and antagonism.