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The Overlord March 8 2014 09:05 PM

Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
Should the next Star Trek series have a major war or should it solely be about exploration?

I think if a Star Trek series is to survive in the current TV landscape, it will need an ongoing serialized story, rather then being purely episodic.

One way to have an ongoing story is to have a war. However perhaps there is a way to have an ongoing story and have a series about exploration. Perhaps while a Federation Star ship exploring the Galaxy, a rival power is also exploring the galaxy and is trying to sway newly discovered planets to join in an alliance against the Federation or this rival power is searching for resources to use against the federation and the federation has to discover these resources before their enemy does.

I do think it would be good if this series had a Gul Dukat like character, a representative of the rival power that the main characters often deal with.

Christopher March 8 2014 09:41 PM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
God, no. If it were meant to be about war all the time, they would've called it Star Wars, and I think that name's taken. There's a ton of military and war-driven SF out there already, so why should Trek reduce itself to being just one more generic entry in a cluttered genre? Trek has always stood out because it's one of the few SF franchises built around an optimistic future, because it's about people who travel through space to explore and learn rather than conquer or defend against conquerors. Three seasons of the Dominion War and one of the Xindi conflict are more than enough.

And sure, yes, a serialized narrative is worth doing, but there must be a more original basis for one than just another space war.

The Overlord March 8 2014 10:04 PM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
Quote:

Christopher wrote: (Post 9336508)
God, no. If it were meant to be about war all the time, they would've called it Star Wars, and I think that name's taken. There's a ton of military and war-driven SF out there already, so why should Trek reduce itself to being just one more generic entry in a cluttered genre? Trek has always stood out because it's one of the few SF franchises built around an optimistic future, because it's about people who travel through space to explore and learn rather than conquer or defend against conquerors. Three seasons of the Dominion War and one of the Xindi conflict are more than enough.

And sure, yes, a serialized narrative is worth doing, but there must be a more original basis for one than just another space war.

Okay, but about a Cold War like I suggested, with the Federation and a rival power trying to gain allies and resources from a newly discovered planets?

What kind of serialized story can you do with exploration?

Plus why wouldn't the Federation have to defend from conquerors, space is a big place, its naive to expect everyone out there would be friendly.

Christopher March 8 2014 10:22 PM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
Quote:

The Overlord wrote: (Post 9336595)
What kind of serialized story can you do with exploration?

Spend a whole season at each planet. A real exploratory mission wouldn't just drop in for a day or three and deal with one event and one place -- they'd settle in and spend months surveying the whole planet in detail. A full-season arc could let them visit multiple different nations and regions of the planet, get involved in developing local tensions and crises, have evolving relationships with people on the planet, etc.


Quote:

Plus why wouldn't the Federation have to defend from conquerors, space is a big place, its naive to expect everyone out there would be friendly.
Don't misunderstand me. There are plenty of aspiring conquerors and threats of war in Trek. But most of the time, war in Trek is a threat that is ultimately averted because the heroes are smart enough and committed enough to find a better way of resolving the conflict. (Or sometimes because glowing balls of light masquerading as medieval villagers force them to find a better way. Everyone has their off days.) Even the Xindi arc was ultimately a story about averting a war rather than waging one. Most of the time, Star Trek is not about fighting in wars, but about fighting against war. And that's a far greater and worthier challenge. Letting a war start is easy; stopping it or preventing it takes far more courage, strength, and skill.

bountifulboxesjeg March 8 2014 10:35 PM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
I discussed in other boards that I'd like the next series to focus on several captains, an admiral or two, and a fleet of ships. It wouldn't be as much about wars (maybe a season or series finaly) as it'll be about planetary relief, distress response, colony checkups and supplying, and exploration as well. Several captains with different focuses who meet up individually for various reasons and gather as a fleet during large skirmishes.

The Overlord March 8 2014 10:40 PM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
Quote:

Christopher wrote: (Post 9336625)
Quote:

The Overlord wrote: (Post 9336595)
What kind of serialized story can you do with exploration?

Spend a whole season at each planet. A real exploratory mission wouldn't just drop in for a day or three and deal with one event and one place -- they'd settle in and spend months surveying the whole planet in detail. A full-season arc could let them visit multiple different nations and regions of the planet, get involved in developing local tensions and crises, have evolving relationships with people on the planet, etc.

But you need a story that builds up to something and you can't have an episode where they just do a survey, there has to be something exciting that. Unless there is a coup or something, what would the season finale be? Also if there is political turmoil on the planet, wouldn't the prime directive prevent them from getting involved, which means you have a season finale where the Federation just leaves when there is a coup, instead of helping to deal with it.

Quote:

Christopher wrote: (Post 9336625)
Quote:

Plus why wouldn't the Federation have to defend from conquerors, space is a big place, its naive to expect everyone out there would be friendly.
Don't misunderstand me. There are plenty of aspiring conquerors and threats of war in Trek. But most of the time, war in Trek is a threat that is ultimately averted because the heroes are smart enough and committed enough to find a better way of resolving the conflict. (Or sometimes because glowing balls of light masquerading as medieval villagers force them to find a better way. Everyone has their off days.) Even the Xindi arc was ultimately a story about averting a war rather than waging one. Most of the time, Star Trek is not about fighting in wars, but about fighting against war. And that's a far greater and worthier challenge. Letting a war start is easy; stopping it or preventing it takes far more courage, strength, and skill.

But that's not always an option, the nations of Europe couldn't have just hoped that once the Nazis got into a power in Germany, a peaceful solution was not in the cards, despite Chamberlain willing to give Hitler the Sudetenland and pretty well everything else he asked in exchange for "Peace in our Times."

Sometimes it seems like the Federation was so adverse to war, that would make really bad peace deals with other powers, which the other side had no respect for. The treaty with the Cardassians was so flawed, it fell apart after a couple of years and the Cardassians did everything in their power to circumvent it when it was still in effect. That doesn't seem smart, it seems foolish. The Federation should seem more clever then get into bad treaties like that.

I just don't think an anomaly of the week show will be as a popular as it was in the 60s or 80s and is really played out in terms of what we have seen before in Star Trek.

So perhaps a Cold War between the federation and another power is the best compromise. Sure there have times where the Federation has been that state with another power, but how often has a cold war been explored in detail in Star Trek?

We never really saw the Federation have not to sway a non aligned planet to join them over another power and there could be an interesting story where this rival power wants something and the Federation races to get it first. Why does a non aligned planet only has the choices of staying non aligned and being part of the Federation, wouldn't joining the Federation mean more if another power is trying to convince that planet to join them instead? A long arc where the Federation and the other power are not at war, but the other power is trying to become the dominant force in the galaxy, by convicing non aligned worlds to join them and searching out resources that would make any future war a moot issue.

Cookies and Cake March 8 2014 10:48 PM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
Star Trek should not be about war, but nor should combat be utterly absent either. Knowing that war is never going to happen eliminates drama. It's far more dramatic not knowing whether physical danger exists, and it's important and interesting to explore how to diffuse or otherwise resolve situations, once some level of hostility has broken out. Certainty in outcomes, whether in that war will always be avoided or in that war that breaks out must necessarily be protracted total war, is the enemy of drama, especially ongoing series drama. The exceptions I'm aware of are stand-alone one-offs such as On the Beach or post-apocalyptic series like The Walking Dead, and they don't have tones or formats compatible with Star Trek.

So, as to whether Star Trek should have a major war again, I say no. Such a thing would exhibit certainty in outcome on two levels.

One, we know that the war is going to keep going. To borrow an observation by Douglas Hofstadter, it's like looking at the number of pages left in a book and knowing based on how many pages remain that the attempt at resolution is going to fail. It thereby undermines drama. If the premise of the show is that there's a war, you pretty much know that it's going to go on for at least almost the whole show.

Two, we know that the Federation is going to win anyway. So, why did we waste our time jumping through all those hoops?

Besides all that, it's downbeat. In relation to Star Trek, the interesting thing is how the combat is resolved. Drama and suspense in the revelation of that is good, because the show must ultimately function as a drama. But it's not the only subject worth mining for dramatic purposes.

For at least these reasons, the answer is no. A major (hot) war, and especially a show revolving around a major war, is not needed in Star Trek. Cold war is interesting dramatically, because it can always get hot and you never know when or where, and you don't need as much to have it resolved by the end of the series.

Christopher March 8 2014 11:33 PM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
Quote:

The Overlord wrote: (Post 9336709)
But you need a story that builds up to something and you can't have an episode where they just do a survey, there has to be something exciting that.

Obviously, but there are plenty of ways to do exciting stories without involving war. Star Trek offers abundant proof of that, since it's had a total of 30 seasons on the air (including TAS) and only 3-4 of them have taken place in wartime.

Nob Akimoto March 8 2014 11:36 PM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
I sort of think DS9 missed a huge opportunity by making the series finale the end of a war, rather than actually go through, what would have been, IMO a more challenging post-war environment. The humanitarian disasters that they would've had to face after the Dominion War would've been a huge deal. A new Trek series exploring the aftermath of a war might not be such a bad thing.

-Brett- March 9 2014 12:37 AM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
Star Trek has often been a reflection of the times, particularly from the U.S. point of view, and war has been an major influence on the '00s and '10s. A Federation that's gotten so powerful, so complacent, and wrongly thinks it's too big to fail, embroiled in conflict from within with ideologues determined to destroy it just to make the political opposition look bad (or, depending on your viewpoint, a Cardassian sleeper agent that's manged to become president), and from without by Bajoran terrorists, with a renewed cold war with the Klingon and Romulan Empires would be topical. Pretending that it's still the '40s and World War II is still relevant, not so much.

Hober Mallow March 9 2014 03:36 AM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
I don't believe ST absolutely must be serialized in today's TV market. All that matters is that the writing is good and that the stories are imaginative, whether the show is serialized or episodic. Actually, the show might stand out more in today's TV landscape by being episodic.

The Overlord March 9 2014 05:42 AM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
Quote:

Hober Mallow wrote: (Post 9337582)
I don't believe ST absolutely must be serialized in today's TV market. All that matters is that the writing is good and that the stories are imaginative, whether the show is serialized or episodic. Actually, the show might stand out more in today's TV landscape by being episodic.

Standing out by being a throw back to the 80s is not the best way to stand out. I think a serialized series would allow for a deeper plot and better characterization, then an episodic series where the reset button gets hit, each and every time. I would say Voyager was especially guilty of having an indifferent attitude towards continuity and hitting the reset button almost all the time. A new Star Trek show should allow for deeper plots and not rely on a reset button. Plus how much character growth did someone like Harry Kim go through during Voyager? Embracing the old cliches that made Star Trek stagnant in the first place, is not a good way to stand out, planets of the week, anomalies of the week and forgettable one shot bad guys are the way of the past, not the future.

Star Trek will have to move outside of its comfort one to stand out in this TV landscape, trying to be a 60s or 80s show in today's environment is mark Star Trek for the ratings grave yard, not make it stand out as anything but an ancient relic. TNG for the first couple of seasons was trying to be TOS in the 80s and it didn't work a new show trying to be TNG in this decade would suffer in a similar manner and it is less of forgiving TV landscape now then it was in 1987. Part of the reason Star Trek imploded back in the early 200s, is it seemed to have run out of new ideas and was recycling the same old ideas, over and over again, instead of presenting something new. I think a serialized story would help a new show avoid those old cliches.

Really some of the best Star Trek movies had an interconnected plot, Star Trek 2, 3, 4 and 6 were interconnected and stronger for it.

captainkirk March 9 2014 09:22 AM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
Quote:

Nob Akimoto wrote: (Post 9336895)
I sort of think DS9 missed a huge opportunity by making the series finale the end of a war, rather than actually go through, what would have been, IMO a more challenging post-war environment. The humanitarian disasters that they would've had to face after the Dominion War would've been a huge deal. A new Trek series exploring the aftermath of a war might not be such a bad thing.

I believe that JMS said that one of his goals with Babylon 5 was to show all the aspects of war including the aftermath. DS9 didn't really have an opportunity to do that but I don't mind as the finale was so awesome anyway.

As to the original question, I don't think there should be a focus on war. Star Trek should be different from all the other shows that are all about war. I have no problem with it when it's done well but it takes focus away from the trekking that should be happening.

I think that the movies have shown that Star Trek can be successful without being dark. Even Into Darkness had plenty of lighter moments and in my opinion was funnier than ST09. Why would you want to lose the optimism in a world as depressing as ours?

Herkimer Jitty March 9 2014 02:18 PM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
A war as the main storyline? Nah.

Some border war or brush fire out on the edge of Federation space that crops up every now and then in the show, to allegorical effect? Yah.

Hober Mallow March 9 2014 08:47 PM

Re: Should the next Star Trek series have a major war?
 
Quote:

The Overlord wrote: (Post 9337930)
Quote:

Hober Mallow wrote: (Post 9337582)
I don't believe ST absolutely must be serialized in today's TV market. All that matters is that the writing is good and that the stories are imaginative, whether the show is serialized or episodic. Actually, the show might stand out more in today's TV landscape by being episodic.

Standing out by being a throw back to the 80s is not the best way to stand out.

A story can be imaginative in either an episodic format or a serialized format.

Quote:

I think a serialized series would allow for a deeper plot and better characterization, then an episodic series where the reset button gets hit, each and every time.
Serialization wouldn't guarantee a deeper plot or better characterization. A badly-written serialized series isn't going to any better than a badly-written episodic series.

Quote:

I would say Voyager was especially guilty of having an indifferent attitude towards continuity and hitting the reset button almost all the time.
Well, the problem specifically with VOY was that it was conceived as having an overall story arc, and yet the writers ignored that and treated it as an episodic series. It was, as Ron Moore has said, a series that didn't believe in itself. VOY, in other words, isn't proof of an episodic series being a failure, it's proof of a failed serialized series. In either case, the main problem with me wasn't whether VOY was serialized or episodic, it was the unimaginative uninspired writing.

Quote:

Embracing the old cliches that made Star Trek stagnant in the first place, is not a good way to stand out, planets of the week, anomalies of the week and forgettable one shot bad guys are the way of the past, not the future.
What made ST stagnant wasn't its format, it was its crappy stories. The idea that good stories can only come out of a serialized format is nonsense.

Quote:

Part of the reason Star Trek imploded back in the early 200s, is it seemed to have run out of new ideas and was recycling the same old ideas, over and over again, instead of presenting something new.
You just said it -- and that had nothing to do with the format.

Quote:

I think a serialized story would help a new show avoid those old cliches.
Oh, no, they could very well continue the old clichés in a serialized format.


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