STAR TREK had no 'magic formula' unless you consider respect for the audience and hard work a formula. It has been my opinion for years that science fiction, like any other story, should be mainly about people with hardware being secondary. It seems to me the networks and stations have wasted a lot of money seeking some mysterious formula in STAR TREK when really you make your science fiction the same way you make any other good story and there are no shortcuts.
For contemporary cinema, you might as well replace the word "hardware" with "flashy CGI or 3D special effects and gimmicks."
I absolutely LOVE how Roddenberry says that "respect for the audience" matters, too.
I will, if given a chance, talk your ear off about characters and narrative and good stories and such. So I'm stop now.