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Future of Trek Discussion of future Trek projects.

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Old December 31 2012, 05:54 PM   #1
Xhiandra
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My view on a new Trek series.

If it was up to me (it obviously never will be), new Trek would:

1. Take place in the old continuity.
2 reasons:
- there's a lot more background to draw from.
- personal preference.

2. Keep being relaxed about "proper military procedure".
As far as I'm concerned, people that agonise over a poor "at ease" stance or whatever are completely missing the point of Trek.

3. Resolve canonicity on a case-per-case basis: maybe ToS is authoritative on X; but TNG/DS9/VOY on Y and ENT on Z, depending on many factors; but we have to be willing to accept some things won't make sense in the past series.
Example: most "maps" of the galaxy place most of the Federation, most of the Klingon Empire and all the Romulan Empire in the Beta quadrant despite most series (especially DS9&VOY) calling them "powers of alpha quadrant" or talking of "the fate of the alpha quadrant" or "going back to the alpha quadrant"... the new series would use completely different maps.

Once canonicity has been decided, stick to it for the whole run.

4. Now for the interesting stuff: focus on the Federation/alpha quadrant as a whole, not a specific Ship.
Instead of having a regular cast of immortal (plot armour) idealised heroes, the series would span a lot of characters, some dying quickly, some behaving in a less-than-perfect fashion, some manage to beat the odds once but become background characters afterwards, some perform vital but understated roles,... you can have many potential stories in such a setting, be they one-shots about a "back office" character or geopolitics or true exploration of a new sector or resolving a tense situation through diplomacy (or failing to!)...

Such an approach can work and can be successful, as GoT showed (though this would go further).
Pro: Many clichés avoided, stronger storytelling.
Con: Viewers don't get as attached to characters as they otherwise would.

5. Build an actual (abstract) galaxy.
What do I mean? Simple: decide early on what star system is where (in relation to X reference point); where FED/KDF/ROM/other Ships are in the galaxy, what's their mission and capacities, who's their commanding officer and so on.
Not all of that info has to appear onscreen; but it would help in having a consistent world.
No Deus Ex Machinae of X Ship saving the heroes on (at?) the nick of time, you know in advance if a Ship is within range or not; no sudden appearance of a full hostile fleet unless it was pre-planned, same for random nebulae... basically, this approach constricts the writers somewhat, but once again, it prevents a lot of clichés.
Especially if geopolitics/war is important to the setting.

There could still be spontaneous elements, so long as they made sense within the overal setting.


Will it happen? No. Still nice to theorise.
So, what'd you think 'bout my "ambitious but rubbish" concept?
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Old January 1 2013, 11:20 AM   #2
Elvira
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

1. Take place in the old continuity.
Yes please.

2. Keep being relaxed about "proper military procedure".
Something like the way that Kirk or Sisko ran their commands. Picard and Archer were too lose.

3. the alpha quadrant ... the new series would use completely different maps.
Personally I would like to get away from the idea that our heroes are routinely running around one quarter of the galaxy. From what Picard said in FC the Federation is around two (maybe two and a half) percent of one quadrant.

I was a minor astronomy buff in my teens, and little details like this in the show certainly can't hurt.

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Old January 1 2013, 01:06 PM   #3
C.E. Evans
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

I think with a single ship, you can see quite a bit of the Federation. The last three Trek shows, however, either were confined to one area or were somewhere the Federation didn't exist. TOS and TNG had a mix of stories both within and outside the Federation--both the original Enterprise and the Enterprise-D were really more multipurpose vessels, with exploration not being the only reason they were out there.

My own view regarding continuity is that it should only be treated in a general sense. The more you try to "fix it" or shoehorn it to fit the real world, the more problems it creates. Leave certain details vague and don't affix dates to every single thing that happens.

But I also think a new Trek series should focus on the characters and the setting more than "alien of the week" stories. The last two Trek shows had characters that were simply there or faded into the background because the writing staff focused on the easier-to-write-for characters or the characters they personally liked the most. In that sense, a more diverse writing staff led by a showrunner who wants more diverse stories is definitely required, IMO.
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Old January 1 2013, 06:36 PM   #4
Patrick O'Brien
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

Alex Knapp of Forbes Magazine has an interesting take on new Trek: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknap...for-modern-tv/
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Old January 1 2013, 08:12 PM   #5
Temis the Vorta
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

Thanks for posting that article. I may have read it before, not sure, but it makes a good point that DS9 is the best model for a future series, if only because cable is now the only place where an expensive niche appeal series (and that describes all space opera, not just Star Trek) can thrive, and DS9 already has two features of cable drama: strong serialization and moral ambiguity.

But Buffy isn't the model I'd use. Better to grab onto a show that is doing well right now, that appeals to a sizeable niche taste, and whose budget is probably comparable to what a space opera series would require.

My candidates are The Clone Wars, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. A good Star Trek series could be created with any of those three as the basic template, but depending on which one you choose, the results could be very different. GoT would result in the most DS9ish series; the other two would be Star Trek like we haven't yet seen on TV.

Since the author of that article is proposing three Trek series, maybe I'll propose all three of mine. They'd appeal to distinct audiences so that would limit cannibalization, and of course true fans will watch all of them and clamor for more.

For the three concepts in that article, I always wonder when I read ideas like that, "what channel do you think would buy this concept, and why would they prefer it to the pilots they've already got in the works?" Unless you can answer that question, you are going nowhere fast.
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Old January 1 2013, 08:15 PM   #6
Elvira
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
the setting more than "alien of the week" stories
Have slow, on going examinations of aliens who are regular characters.

Don't be afraid to depict them as different than Humans. Klingons with their open blood-lust. Vulcans who send their children into the desert, to see how many come back. Step back from "this is the Human way, let's all copy it."

The scene where Picard asked Worf to make a tissue donation to save a dying Romulan, and Worf nicely told Picard to go fukk himself.

Patrick O'Brien wrote: View Post
Alex Knapp of Forbes Magazine
A good article, with some interesting ideas. I wouldn't like a "goofy" Star Trek, but having TOS level humor as a regular part of the show would be good. Most of the series took themselves far to seriously. A little Quark and Odo interplay in the mix.

No to a ST: section thirty-one. And the same no for ST: west wing. Some politics in Star Trek is good, the occasional episode or mention, but not an entire series.

And Seven was never a "recovering " fanatic, she was unrepentant.

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Old January 1 2013, 09:03 PM   #7
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

^I am glad you both enjoyed the article. Maybe I should post it as it's own topic? It does put forth an interesting take on how to get ST back on TV.
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Old January 2 2013, 10:01 PM   #8
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

Xhiandra wrote: View Post
If it was up to me (it obviously never will be), new Trek would:

1. Take place in the old continuity.
2 reasons:
- there's a lot more background to draw from.
- personal preference.
Agreed.

2. Keep being relaxed about "proper military procedure".
As far as I'm concerned, people that agonise over a poor "at ease" stance or whatever are completely missing the point of Trek.
Disagree. Get a military advisor to vet scripts. Brief him on just what is different and how much it's relaxed, but listen to him when he says "being snotty to your chief isn't a court-martial offense". I don't mind Starfleet having looser standards than today; I mind the writers having no clue about how the military works. They look stupid when CDR Riker tells LT Riker "Picard is my commanding officer, and I am your commanding officer", or when Riker tries to prohibit Ro from wearing her earring. And a poor stance makes the character look unprofessional. As for the court-martial thing, we may not use demerits in the actual service, outside training, but the audience will understand that more than article 15 non-judicial proceedings or extra military instruction.

3. Resolve canonicity on a case-per-case basis: maybe ToS is authoritative on X; but TNG/DS9/VOY on Y and ENT on Z, depending on many factors; but we have to be willing to accept some things won't make sense in the past series.
Example: most "maps" of the galaxy place most of the Federation, most of the Klingon Empire and all the Romulan Empire in the Beta quadrant despite most series (especially DS9&VOY) calling them "powers of alpha quadrant" or talking of "the fate of the alpha quadrant" or "going back to the alpha quadrant"... the new series would use completely different maps.

Once canonicity has been decided, stick to it for the whole run.
Again, mostly agree. Get a continuity advisor, no, a continuity editor, with bthe power to force writers to rewrite. When the writer postulates aliens of the week that match up to something we've seen, he brings it up. When the writer says "warp 9.99673", he says "the new show bible says that we redrew the warp chart again in 2394 to get rid of the silly decimal-place warping. Fix it". Write that established canon down as part of the show's bible.

4. Now for the interesting stuff: focus on the Federation/alpha quadrant as a whole, not a specific Ship.
Instead of having a regular cast of immortal (plot armour) idealised heroes, the series would span a lot of characters, some dying quickly, some behaving in a less-than-perfect fashion, some manage to beat the odds once but become background characters afterwards, some perform vital but understated roles,... you can have many potential stories in such a setting, be they one-shots about a "back office" character or geopolitics or true exploration of a new sector or resolving a tense situation through diplomacy (or failing to!)...

Such an approach can work and can be successful, as GoT showed (though this would go further).
Pro: Many clichés avoided, stronger storytelling.
Con: Viewers don't get as attached to characters as they otherwise would.
Ambitious and expensive. I like it, but that will only be practical in print, graphic novel, and maybe animated.

5. Build an actual (abstract) galaxy.
What do I mean? Simple: decide early on what star system is where (in relation to X reference point); where FED/KDF/ROM/other Ships are in the galaxy, what's their mission and capacities, who's their commanding officer and so on.
Not all of that info has to appear onscreen; but it would help in having a consistent world.
No Deus Ex Machinae of X Ship saving the heroes on (at?) the nick of time, you know in advance if a Ship is within range or not; no sudden appearance of a full hostile fleet unless it was pre-planned, same for random nebulae... basically, this approach constricts the writers somewhat, but once again, it prevents a lot of clichés.
Especially if geopolitics/war is important to the setting.
YES!

There could still be spontaneous elements, so long as they made sense within the overal setting.
But only if approved by that aforementioned continuity editor.


Will it happen? No. Still nice to theorise.
So, what'd you think 'bout my "ambitious but rubbish" concept?
Nice ground rules, not enough about the actual plot.

Some ideas I'd like to see:

STFF (http://www.startrekff.com/blog/?currentPage=2)

A Hornblower series - Start with the Academy appearance of Cadet Hero-to-be for a season. The convention would be that each season is their whole tour at that command. So one season is 4 years at the Academy, and then season 2 is his/her 3 years on their first ship as Ensign Hero-to-be, and so on. The twist?
1. Someone else narrates once an episode - some other cast member from that season's cast. Occasional discussion from others is heard - this all off-screen. Throw in a few "I remember"s and an occasional "No, no, that wasn't the way it happened"s.
2. After season 5 or 6, you find out the "narrators" are actually reminiscing at Captain Hero's funeral, and have been the whole time.

Starbase: Essentially "Emerald Point, NAS" in space. Show a variety of characters living on a starbase, including the Starfleet characters assigned to ships based there. They aren't really Boldly Going. They are MiliOps folks who patrol their sector, then come home to their families. They're Galaxy exploration folks who do the mundane scouting and followup surveys after Picard finds the new life, new civilizations. They're the techs who fly out to the beacons to fix or replace them. And once in a great while, they're the daring Independent Duty spacers on the famous ship that goes anywhere, everywhere amd finds all those exciting things on a port call in home territory. They're the spouses and children, the local support spacers, such as JAG, supply clerks, and dockyard workers. This one would be, like E.P. NAS, a military prime-time soap-opera, and would typically have fewer special effects.

Star Trek: Frontier - the life of a colony on the UFP frontier. Gunsmoke or Bonanza in space, with occasional visiting ships and once in a while, invading pirates or enemy star-nations.
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Old January 3 2013, 06:45 PM   #9
Darkwing
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

Another point I'd like to see: Have an upper and lower ensemble. We need to see the leaders dealing with situations, but they should NOT be the ones going in. This has been a weakness of all Trek series. So in this new series, if the captain orders a landing party, instead of cutting to Scotty beaming down Kirk/Spock/McCoy/Ens Ricky, we now cut to Ens Ricky, Chief Bobby, Petty Officer Timmy, and Crewman Baker beaming over. This also eliminates redshirt syndrome. Ensign Ricky has a better chance to live.
We can also change out lower ensemble members easier than upper ensemble. If Patrick Stewart had left, TNG would have been over. But if half the junior crew cast are on other shows, we simply hire other actors, change the names, and film, so Ensign Ricky is replaced with LTjg Matty in this week's script, and the actor playing Ricky will be available some other episode.
The idea is to have several main characters in the lower ranks, but easily supplemented by other actors in similar roles when needed.
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Old January 4 2013, 09:35 PM   #10
Temis the Vorta
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

Patrick O'Brien wrote: View Post
^I am glad you both enjoyed the article. Maybe I should post it as it's own topic? It does put forth an interesting take on how to get ST back on TV.
This whole forum is about that!

I keep hoping for some definite new news...
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Old January 4 2013, 10:29 PM   #11
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

Xhiandra wrote: View Post
1. Take place in the old continuity.
2 reasons:
- there's a lot more background to draw from.
- personal preference.
Yes. Yes! Please dear gods yes!!!!
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Old January 5 2013, 03:46 AM   #12
BillJ
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

The only thing I expect from a new show is that it be entertaining. Continuity is only important to me in the broad strokes.
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Old January 5 2013, 12:17 PM   #13
Elvira
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

Darkwing wrote: View Post
Another point I'd like to see: Have an upper and lower ensemble.
Maybe something like Space, Above and Beyond? Where the lower rankings were the stars of the show, and the commanding officer was a minor, occasional seen character.
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Old January 5 2013, 07:04 PM   #14
Darkwing
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Darkwing wrote: View Post
Another point I'd like to see: Have an upper and lower ensemble.
Maybe something like Space, Above and Beyond? Where the lower rankings were the stars of the show, and the commanding officer was a minor, occasional seen character.
Never saw it - I was out of the country when it was on. But sorta like that, maybe a 3/4 split?
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Old January 5 2013, 07:30 PM   #15
C.E. Evans
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Re: My view on a new Trek series.

BillJ wrote: View Post
Continuity is only important to me in the broad strokes.
Which was generally how TOS, TNG, DS9, & VOY handled continuity. ENT was really the only series in which continuity was something it had to constantly deal with in every episode.
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