I must confess something. I've only seen one episode of Lost, none of Fringe or Alias or Felicity. By all accounts, I should at least watch Lost, but I've already had my heart broken once this year and have no desire to build up 100 episodes to a sad, disappointing end. So, I have no platform to stand on. But I did see Star Trek...twice.
JJ's Star Trek is, in many ways, more Wars than Trek. The former was more of a fun, fast-paced ride, whereas the latter was almost always about something. There were themes and dabblings into contemporary culture. My favorite homage remains Christopher Plummer's General Chang from Star Trek VI, who spouts "You've not heard Shakespeare until you've read the original Klingon." Well...history buffs would get the joke.
Although Star Trek attempted to bridge some philosophy into the mix, it was simply fun, which is something Star Wars hasn't been for some time. Can you really sit through the first half hour of any of the prequels, let alone the rest?
But, J.J.'s drafting also got my juices flowing because he'll either recruit composer John Williams or have his right-hand musical conscience Michael Giacchino tag along. Some of you nerds will plead for Williams to do three more rounds. At the age of 80, I doubt the maestro will be involved without Lucas (or even Spielberg). Given how Williams' scores have heavily contributed to Star Wars' success, it will take another brilliant musical mind to fill in the gap.
Giacchino's the best choice. I've been a fan of his music ever since the 1997 Lost World video game. (I even own the CD.) Recently, his career has exploded thanks to his collaborations with J.J. and Pixar. His music for Up won him an Oscar. If you wonder why the first ten minutes of that film is so emotionally stimulating, you can thank him.
But, Giacchino's Star Trek score is just as brilliant. He takes many cues from John Williams; allowing the trumpets to blast with optimism and life. He creates an energy for scenes that would seem vacant without it. In many ways, he's John Williams' true heir. He even writes music with themes that you can remember. Can you hum the theme for Spider-Man or The Avengers? Never can I.
Star Wars remains a franchise that changed cinema. It also reinvigorated the classic music score. It hearkened back to films from a prior era, but had gone silent in the wake of a groovier, more cynical time. Just a few notes gets fans pumped as we read a three paragraph opening -- before a singular object or person even appears on screen. Williams' music remains some of the finest to every grace the silver screen and is one of the principal qualities that define the most successful franchise in film history.
The franchise seems to be in capable hands. Without knowing the story or the script, I can at least vouch that Giacchino's music will give Star Wars its soul.