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Old June 17 2013, 10:22 AM   #55
Charles Phipps
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Re: Why a reboot was necessary (IMHO)

I appreciate your candor and I apologize for letting my frustration bleed through in my first post. My frustration is not directed at you in particular and I should have stayed more on point with your OP. Part of that frustration has came from sharing my criticisms with friends online and off and then having them brushed away as the rantings of a "fanboy" just because I reject to Trek 2.0 on its own merits.

I'm not a fanboy. I'd have preferred a total reboot with no relation to prior continuity in fact, and I feel that JJ Abrams' decision to reference the prime universe works to Trek 2.0's deficit.
I understand your opinion and I actually have an interesting line of thought for it. Star Trek is sixty years old and has influenced pop culture ridiculously, as I mentioned, but that total reboots have already happened. Babylon Five, IMHO, is literally just JMS' version of Star Trek. It's the same program, only with none of the copyrighted elements. Ron Moore has been more or less clear his version of Battlestar Galactica is "his" version of Voyager. Even the writers of Mass Effect have gone out of their way to state that their video game world is how they wanted to see a Star Trek series.

Much like James Bond has influenced every single spy work since Doctor No was released, either in opposition to or in like to, Star Trek saturates science fiction/fantasy. A reboot that creates a mostly new universe isn't that new a concept when you have a franchise that is almost omnipresent in our lives today. Re-imagining Star Trek must be done in a way that makes it recognizably the same property but also fresh, IMHO.

You are right that continuity has been a sticking point for some fans, but I don't think devotion to continuity has ever been the issue for the production staff or the public at large. The powers that be played fast and loose with it during the production of Enterprise, even having the Borg show up and be defeated by the crew of a vessel from 200 years before TNG. And from the beginning in TOS, there's the problem of how long ago Khan left the Earth, or whether the Enterprise is an Earth ship or a UFP vessel, or whether they are operating under UESPA or Starfleet. Continuity frequently went out the window for the sake of telling the story they wanted to tell and the fans invented explanations to tie up the loose ends.

Would some fans object to a prequel featuring Kirk and Spock which had a larger than expected Enterprise, or Delta Vega close enough to see Vulcan, or any number of other "continuity nods" in Trek 2.0? Sure. But the general audience wouldn't know the difference (and they didn't) and I doubt the majority of fans would care either. Star Trek continuity has always been plastic, much like Doctor Who, which has managed (up until recently perhaps) to tell new and exciting stories in the original universe.
Funny, you should mention ENT and the Borg because "Regeneration" is basically the moment where the series gave up the ghost for me. Not that it was BAD, mind you, but the fact that it occurred to me they were attempting to win over fans by using fan-favorite characters because they didn't have the confidence in their own programming to continue the story. It's like Wolverine being in so many Marvel comics, he's a popular character and we want people to "tune in" so to speak.

For me, ENT's problems were primarily the fact they wanted to recapture the glory of TNG, DS9, and even TOS without actually having anything to build for themselves. It's "borrowed glory" to create a phrase where the creators had a jumble of contradictory ideas that turned off fans because it was obvious they wanted you desperately to like them without really being willing to earn it. It's why the gratituous sex in both ENT and VOY turned off so many people--it was obvious they were pandering because they didn't think you'd like them otherwise.

Any new entry in the franchise needed to have confidence in itself and being full-speed-ahead. To an extent, this means that it wasn't necessary to have Chris Pine's Kirk and Spock anymore than Captain John Colt of the U.S.S Whatever but JJ Abrams walked into the franchise with a radical idea he pulled off. Despite a movie completely based on time travel, it was apparently easy enough for the audience to comprehend that general movie-goers weren't confused while Trekkies were paid attention to.

I liken Old Spock to McCoy's appearance in "Encounter at Farpoint." A way of saying that they're welcome.

And I also don't see why it would be necessary, in the scope of any particular story set in the Prime universe, to explain who the Cardassians are or how many factors are on the warp scale. If a story was set in the Prime universe the writers would only bring up the continuity which was relevant to the story and then condense that into a few establishing lines, as they did with Khan in TWoK or Locutus in FC. Most people probably hadn't seen Space Seed before TWoK or didn't know Picard's history with the Borg when they saw First Contact, but the films simply established how the characters knew one another and moved on. It wasn't necessary to go into the whys and wherefores of how it happened, it was just a premise of the story and the basic story would still have been comprehensible if it involved completely different characters.
This is the Doctor Who formula, in a nutshell, but New Who functions on a slow reintroduction system. Season 1 was the Return of the Daleks, Season 2 was the Return of the Master, Season 3 had Davros, and there were other things too. You're right the Wrath of Khan didn't need Space Seed to be enjoyed. Likewise, a lot of TREK fans don't know Zephram Cochrane wasn't invented by ST:FC. I do think, however, that the basis of a good jumping on point is there's an immediate hook.

They COULD have done it differently but they chose to do it this way to give audiences a sense that they don't need to be familiar with the entirety of the franchise to fully understand it.

My point is that the reboot didn't eliminate the bad. The last minute conflict resolution, the bad science, the miraculous ressurections. It's all still there, and it's competing with the good changes that have been done in the reboot. It frustrates me that Trek 2.0 goes to such lengths to establish itself as different and "cool" and then retreads the exact same things which are supposed to have made Trek lose its credibility and relevance in the first place. So, yes the reboot was necessary but the execution so far has made the reboot itself irrelevant. In my opinion, JJ Abrams could be just as flashy and action oriented in the old universe as in the new. I wish he'd just pick one and stick with it.
I'm not trying to force this reboot down your throat. There's a lot of things I would have done differently (and probably made the film half its budget back). I'm just saying that I think the "Crisis on Infinite Treks" they did versus a total reboot or a new series/movie in the main universe gave new fans an introduction to the setting. That it was an easy introduction into the setting for fans of JJ Abrams other works and open to the public at large.

Much like the Marvel superhero movies that made Marvel superheroes not only mainstream but semi-popular ones like Iron Man massively famous.
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