If it lives up to all the weighty expectations, Star Trek will be born afresh in this new century, much as happened with another dinosaur sci-fi series, Doctor Who (which is more popular now than in its original incarnation). If not, it truly will be dead.
That basically sums it up for me. The Doctor Who
comparison is a good one - the new series respects canon reasonably well, though admittedly helped by the fact that its a time travel-based show, where some things aren't set in stone. It keeps the core ideas intact, yet puts a contemporary spin on some of them. The writing is clever and inventive, and the stories manage to balance emotion, action, and intrigue, for the most part.
Sure, there are still purists who whine incessantly about it - but then again, those same people probably moaned when the series went from black and white to colour during the second Doctor's tenure.
The 'New Who' isn't always
brilliantly written - there's a lot of fan division over the increasingly 'fanfiction tone' of Russel Davies' scripts - but on the whole, it's a superb piece of sci-fi which has kept the old fans and drawn in many new ones. It's got mainsteam
popularity, without 'selling out' and becoming nothing more than mindlessly action-fuelled, T&A eye-candy.