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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old May 10 2009, 07:51 PM   #1
Location: Cymru
the problem with canon

I've had this discussion with other trekkies and it's about canon.

some people just take canon waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously.

to the extent that they come up with ridiculously weird explanations to explain errors or plot holes.

canon is taking literally as God's word by some. that is the problem with it.

take star trek for what it is- a franchise based on a tv series. a franchise made by people who make mistakes.

that is all...
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Old May 10 2009, 08:47 PM   #2
Fleet Captain
Geckothan's Avatar
Location: People's Republic of Britainistan
Re: the problem with canon

Canon gives the universe consistency and substance.

that is all...
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Old May 10 2009, 10:28 PM   #3
The Wormhole
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Re: the problem with canon

Canon is what makes Star Trek Star Trek.

That is all...
"Internet message boards aren't as funny today as they were ten years ago. I've stopped reading new posts." -The Simpsons 20th anniversary special.
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Old May 11 2009, 05:20 AM   #4
I am not Spock
Location: Australia
Re: the problem with canon

Until now, Trek was the only fictional universe I can think of which was never rebooted. It was all supposed to occur in the one large universe. Now that it has finally happened...I'm cool with it. I can accept Sean Connery's Bond as a product of the sixties, I can accept Craig's Bond as a product of the 2000s. Same with Trek.

I'd rather have an updated living Trek than a dead canonical one.
Senator Vreenak- In the Pale Moonlight
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Old May 11 2009, 11:23 AM   #5
Re: the problem with canon

Canon makes it a living, breathing universe that we can all believe in so continuity is important.
I don't necessarily mind rebooting, as long as in the universe they have created there is continuity.

Continuity is sometimes what makes a show great. I look at Seinfeld as a show that was great in part due to some great continuity - recurring characters, references to the past, it all makes everything much more real and interesting or in the case of Seinfeld, funny.
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Old May 11 2009, 12:39 PM   #6
Butters's Avatar
Location: The Summerland
Re: the problem with canon

The problem with canon is that its meaningless when applied to a TV series.

Continuity is vital for story telling and suspending disbelief, but trek is so riddled with contradictions, continuity errors, plot holes and terrible writing that any idea of Star Trek Canon is pure fantasy.

To see this fantasy defended and guarded with such passion really does frustrate me because its misguided and futile. We have a right to expect continuity from one story to another, but there is no fact, no truth, no canon of Star Trek. Its just TV.
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Old May 11 2009, 02:13 PM   #7
Location: Torontoish, Canada
Re: the problem with canon

I agree, there's continuity (Janeway picks up a Borg baby in her travels which becomes the focus of the episode) and there's insanity (writing an episode to justify why the Enterprise-D fired phasers out of its photon torpedo tube in a previous episode, or the Klingon forehead deal)... and sometimes I've felt the writers went overly far in that regard.
Context Free Thoughts
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Old May 11 2009, 02:24 PM   #8
Re: the problem with canon

Canon died with Nemesis

But the next movie will not have ties to this one.

We certainly can not have any canon to spoil it.
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Old May 11 2009, 02:28 PM   #9
SFRabid's Avatar
Re: the problem with canon

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Canon is what makes Star Trek Star Trek.

That is all...
Star Trek tossed canon in episode 3 of TOS (I think) when Spock's human ancester became his mom and they have never looked back. There has been too much time travel in Trek and time travel seems to always change history, even just a bit.

For me canon is like history. It's there, it's official, and it is loosely based on fact. If you read history books as compiled by various countries you may wonder how things get so wrong. At that point you can either enjoy what you watch and read, or you can drive yourself crazy picking out all the discrepancies.

Sometimes I think Star Trek canon has been the biggest myth in fiction.
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Old May 11 2009, 03:11 PM   #10
Location: Nashville, TN
Re: the problem with canon

I don't see cannon so much as precise details in timeline, as I do in the fact that Star Trek was not just some general science fiction show. What I see as "cannon" is the formula - action and adventure revolving around a premise, a moral theme; I think what has always made startrek stand apart is that it picks a tough issue to discuss. (Star Trek 6, the Cold War, etc.)
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Old May 11 2009, 03:13 PM   #11
Location: Nashville, TN
Re: the problem with canon

I also see cannon as the way star trek characters act; I don't so much mind different costumes and sets as long as the characters are living up to the truth of the character; (this by the way was what bothered me about Star Trek: Insurrection.)
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Old May 11 2009, 05:14 PM   #12
Lieutenant Commander
So, just what IS canon?

I think this an important and fun question. Is Star Trek by Abrams canon? Was TAS canon? How do we define canon, anyway? What's the point of worrying about it at all?

There are certain unanswerable questions, I think. But I understand that some people - who've been dedicated to say, Shatner as Kirk since day one - might be upset to see such changes going on. But it's not serious (the world won't end if, say, there're serious and strange things that occur in the ST universe now that Abrams and co. are at the helm) and no one is asking you to reject Shatner or Nimoy or the work they did. I'd prefer to be inclusive with my canon, accept anything that makes my experience of Trek larger and open to more people and ideas and styles (which is why I accept all of the classical visual stuff: TOS, TNG, DS9, VGR, TAS, ENT, the films, and the new film).

Realize, to begin, that this is an aesthetic question. It's emphatically not something we should, say, have a Reformation or religious wars over (incidentally, this is what the Protestants and Catholics did when Martin Luther decided some of what the Catholics had held to be "canonical Scripture" was bullcrap). Not to say I wouldn't treat Trek as a needed modern-myth and Pine as an avatar of Kirk much as a Hindu would treat Krishna as an avatar of Vishnu...but that's just me, wanting Trek to live on now that we've got a robust writing team, group of actors, and action movie to pull new people in (which it is doing, incidentally:

But seriously, haven't fans of Trek had to revise "canon" through the years? Didn't people around 1987 have to accept Picard as the new Enterprise captain and Archer as the Enterprise NX-01 captain-before-Kirk?

Does a fan have the right to accept what Trek will be for him or her, or do they have to accept the crap Berman (or Abrams...let's say there's someone who doesn't think Kurtzman/Orci/Abrams didn't do a perfect job, as I think they did, for the purpose of bringing Trek back to life) throw at them? I know people who still reject the whole Enterprise timeline as a fluke caused by the Temporal Cold War...

Another, larger question might be: what's the purpose of "canon"? Is it merely to make some people feel better than others, because "they" have the "right" or "intended" Trek and reject all things that merely "pretend" to be Trek?

Answers? Opinions?
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Old May 11 2009, 05:16 PM   #13
Lieutenant Commander
Re: So, just what IS canon?

Mods, I realize this forum would perhaps better be served if I'd simply posted in the canon thread which was already there (which in my eagerness to post, I'd neglected to notice; apologies). If you close this on that account, please could you move this post there?
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Old May 11 2009, 05:23 PM   #14
Re: So, just what IS canon?

While it is a fun question, it is not in any way an important one.

The answer is canon is whatever works for you.

For instance...

canon is TOS, TNG S1-6, DS9, Star Trek movies 1-4, 6, FC, and then this Abrams Trek.

WOw, amazing! Star Trek canon is more or less batting 100% in terms of being at least "good and entertaining"
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Old May 11 2009, 05:25 PM   #15
Rear Admiral
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Location: Indiana, USA
Re: So, just what IS canon?

According to Paramount, canon is anything live-action that appeared on screen in a movie or a regular broadcast. So TAS would not be canon under this definition, but all the series and the movies are, including the latest one.

As for the purpose of canon...well, I have to back up. What's important to me about canon isn't minutia about how this thing occured on star date ____, so how could event X have happened only a month later? Or about uniform colors...or even details of the early life of various characters. I can overlook all those little inconsistences, and I can even overlook some fairly important inconsistencies.

What's important to me is that any movie or series marketed under the name Star Trek needs to fit into the recognizable Trek universe. So that, for me, is the reason for worrying about canon.

Yes, I'd like everything new to fit in with what's come before, but I know that realistically that's just not possible. You can't make 40-some years of TV shows and movies, all written and produced by different people, all made under vastly different circumstances and during vastly different times and all trying to appeal to newer audiences, fit together. So long as they kind of fit together, that's the best I can hope for. And I'm OK with that.

So that is to me what canon is for: To keep it recognizably Trekkish.
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