Ultimately, the real problem is the American concept of TV scheduling. One of the things that has always kept British TV humor fresh is that it is not extended across a 20 to 26-episode season; instead, a "season" is six to eight episodes. That is also at the root of most dramatic series' failures: the critical information has to be parcelled out so gradually, spread among so many writers, that it gets lost, devalued, and misinterpreted by everyone. (Exhibit A: Tru Calling in the 200304 season; Exhibit B: Easy Street in the 1996 replacement season.) Far better to set up an "annual rotation" of four or five four-episode miniseries (two-DVD sets, eventually), with some overlap of characters and environments but no necessary plot overlaps, each set created by a single writer and single director. That works for cop shows (let's see, we're at the 36:30 mark, time to start closing in on the bad guy), non-cop crime dramas (we can actually let full DNA profiles run in the lab for 7296 hours and do something meaningful in the interim), comedies (no more "Dyn-o-mite!" having to carry 22 episodes of upper-class ghetto living), etc. It most especially works for any show involving culture clashes as a central element… which is definitely the core of what Star Trek should concern.
But that's just me theorizing again, isn't it? I suppose that I could try to tie this into the fan fiction essay that is slowly winding toward a conclusion (I said it's coming), given that Star Trek is one of the largest sources of fan fiction out there. That, however, would be about as challenging as
finding a crooked politician in Chicago shooting fish in a barrel.