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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Future of Trek

Future of Trek Discussion of future Trek projects.

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Old September 22 2013, 01:01 PM   #31
Mycroft Maxwell
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

In today's television landscape (which happens to be mostly CRAP) I think the only show networks would want is "Keeping up with the Cardassians "
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Old September 22 2013, 06:49 PM   #32
David.Blue
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

I'm going to take a "case study" approach to this question. Various science fiction franchises have been re-booted over the years. Consider two that succeeded--the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica and the new Doctor Who. These two have succeeded admirably in ways that (for example) The Bionic Woman did not. Further I would point to the BBC's Sherlock as an excellent way to refresh an idea that was getting stale.

What these three have in common, at least IMHO, are a few factors:

1. They look at the premise and take it seriously. BSG for example is about an entire civilization all but destroyed trying to survive and re-invent themselves. The original never really examined what that meant, the trauma involved or the consequences. DW tells the story of an immortal lone wanderer in time and space, sometimes accompanied by the mortal, primitive friends he makes and takes with him in his amazing vehicle. SH focuses on a friendship between a social misfit and supreme genius, who then meets a man who somehow becomes his only friend. Keeping the focus on what the story is about remains key.

2. They all referenced the past versions, while not copying them slavishly. Each of the three demonstrate respect for what-has-gone-before but proved unafraid of going in a totally new direction, making a choice utterly at odds with the past. Most obviously in DW, the relationship between the Doctor and his Companions deepened, to the point where such became an integral part of the Doctor's character arc.

3. An interesting trend all three have shown is the blend of a season-long arc in which stand-alone episodes fit. Indeed, the latter can usually work without the arc, although season finales in particular seem to depend on the arc. Lots of shows follow this pattern, which can be a tricky balance. The creators of Supernatural for example felt The X-Files ultimately leaned too much on the arc. I once saw a writer for Buffy note that shows can become over-burdened with their own mythology, especially after five years. Good point.

4. Plus, each of the three gave us genuinely compelling and complex characters, ones with the quirks and flaws and sometimes startling virtues that feel "true." And in doing so completely went against stereotypes. One is hard-pressed to find a more interesting first officer on any ship-based t.v. show than Tigh of BSG for example. Likewise the BBC has brought us the most interesting Watson I can ever recall--not the least because he misses the excitement of combat, yet feels conflicted about it.

I strongly feel that if a new Star Trek did those four things, it could prove a very exciting and successful program:

Take its own premise seriously.
Respect the past, but don't feel at all bound by it.
Balance the stand-alone stories with the overall arc.
Offer genuine, fascinating characters.

As far as specifics go, let us examine life aboard a starship for a second. You're living inside a machine that keeps you alive. Nothing, absolutely nothing, must be allowed to seriously compromise that machine. Safeguards around that machine should be awesome and discipline on board ship would have to be airtight. Violating such discipline means perhaps killing hundreds of people. The lives of people in Starfleet should reflect that. One of the most mind-boggling things in Abrahms' ST remains the lack of clear chain-of-command--a wildly unacceptable state of affairs in a restaurant much less a heavily armed spaceship!

Along the same line, a ST that simply follows the past is just a retread. I found Sisko's ruthless decision to commit terrible crimes to save the Federation one of the most powerful things in the entire franchise. Likewise I would frankly like to see stories that explore what prejudices the Federation might still struggle with--an idea barely touched upon in any Trek yet, and then usually resolved in a formula.

When it comes to characters, I frankly found the most interesting ones were often watered down or little-used in most Treks. Not always, but the tendency towards blandness is there. Two really strong dynamics that to me seemed utterly wasted in TNG were (a) Ryker's initial view of Data as nothing but a machine, and (b) Ro Laran, such an interesting and compelling character she seemed out of place! Yet had she been a regular, replacing the platitude-spouting Deanna Troi maybe, the show would have been far more of a genuine pleasure to watch and less of a not-unwelcome chore. Just a quick list of favorite characters from other shows, to give an idea of what I mean:

Toby of The West Wing.
Jessica of True Blood.
Olivia Dunham of The Fringe
Lumen Pierce of Dexter
Bialr Crais of Farscape
Spenser Reid of Criminal Minds
Ben Linus of Lost

Mind you, I'm not saying any of the above should be transposed into a new Trek but rather this shows the level of complexity which would grab audience's attentions. And this isn't about angst or failure, but about struggle to achieve something difficult. What nearly all the above characters have in common is a genuine desire to do the right thing, but who don't find that an easy or comfortable effort. Yet none of them stop trying, a fact I find heroic.

Just my couple of pennies. Okay, fistful of change.
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Old September 22 2013, 10:25 PM   #33
T'Girl
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

Mycroft Maxwell wrote: View Post
In today's television landscape (which happens to be mostly CRAP) I think the only show networks would want is "Keeping up with the Cardassians "
If Star Trek were to get the same number of viewers as the Kardassians (2.5 million) that might be borderline for a expensive show like Star Trek, but possibly doable.

Better still Mycroft would be rating like those of Duck Dynasty, with 10.5 million viewers.




I said maximum warp boy.


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Old September 23 2013, 12:02 AM   #34
Mycroft Maxwell
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

I am the only person in my area that hates Duck Dynasty. I thought people get a kick out of my Cardassian and Kardashian jive.
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Old September 23 2013, 12:16 AM   #35
SolitaryJustice
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

Man, I have a wonderful idea, and I'll share it with you because I just want to see it happen. I don't care who gets the credit. It's kind of a COMBINATION of Dr. Who and Battlestar, but set in the Abrams-verse, yet ultimately restores the timeline to the one we all know and love.
=
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Old September 23 2013, 12:41 AM   #36
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

I don't know anything about pitching a TV show or how to actually write one, but I have this idea, and it's frakking golden.
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Old September 24 2013, 09:57 PM   #37
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

IMHO, the best chance a Trek Series has on TV right now, is to be an Academy Based Series on the CW. Any other concept is likely going to appeal to too small an audience to justify it's budget. An Academy Based show on The CW could appeal to the young Demographic and could justify a little bit of SciFi budget.
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Old September 24 2013, 10:41 PM   #38
OpenMaw
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

I don't understand why people act like science fiction is somehow unwanted on television? Battlestar, Doctor Who, and other shows of recent past show that science fiction will work just fine on TV.

Star Trek had a problem on TV simply because it was creatively dead. It wasn't willing to bend itself enough, and it had been run by the same people for decades. It needed a refresher.


As some of the writers and actors on early TNG said, it was some of the shows own self imposed and arbitrary rules that hurt it. The same is true of the twilight years of Trek.
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Old September 24 2013, 10:54 PM   #39
Sindatur
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

OpenMaw wrote: View Post
I don't understand why people act like science fiction is somehow unwanted on television? Battlestar, Doctor Who, and other shows of recent past show that science fiction will work just fine on TV.

Star Trek had a problem on TV simply because it was creatively dead. It wasn't willing to bend itself enough, and it had been run by the same people for decades. It needed a refresher.


As some of the writers and actors on early TNG said, it was some of the shows own self imposed and arbitrary rules that hurt it. The same is true of the twilight years of Trek.
BSG got cancelled due to falling ratings, it ended up with less than 1 million viewers. A Space Opera show, is going to need at least 2-3 million viewers on cable, and 3 times that much on Network TV.

Doctor Who is a British Show, with a budget nowhere in the vicinity of what it would be if it was an American show. Heck, the star of the show alone would be paid as much as the entire per episode budget of Doctor Who

There's all kinds of SciFi shows on the air, but, there are no American Space Opera shows, because they cost too much for the viewers they bring in.
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Old September 24 2013, 10:57 PM   #40
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

Modern market? If you're going network? Reality Trek.

Build a partial mock up of the Enterprise. Fill it full of Trekkies, give them "Missions" to do: This week "A virus breaks out on the ship and the crew must find a cure!"; "Next: One of the crew is a murder, who is it? You'll never guess!". Every week, one gets promoted, another gets "lost in a terrible transporter accident". Get William Shatner to play Captain Kirk
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Old September 24 2013, 11:40 PM   #41
David.Blue
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

In terms of dollars and cents, a new Star Trek needs to hold its budget in reasonable levels. That means planning, CGI when needed, no major stars and quite possibly a limited number of episodes via premium cable.

Or wait a few years, when a "fan made" production can be done for a tiny fraction of the budget, using amazing computer-generated effects and tapping into the vast pool of (for example) theater actors.
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Old September 24 2013, 11:45 PM   #42
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

SeerSGB wrote: View Post
Modern market? If you're going network? Reality Trek.

Build a partial mock up of the Enterprise. Fill it full of Trekkies, give them "Missions" to do: This week "A virus breaks out on the ship and the crew must find a cure!"; "Next: One of the crew is a murder, who is it? You'll never guess!". Every week, one gets promoted, another gets "lost in a terrible transporter accident". Get William Shatner to play Captain Kirk
That makes Baby Jesus cry. But you're probably right.
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Old September 25 2013, 01:28 AM   #43
SolitaryJustice
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

BSG got cancelled?! How in the world did they build up to such a fantastic ending?! Five seasons of pure awesome! I think that must be an incorrect fact. FireFly got cancelled, but BSG?! Really?
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Old September 25 2013, 02:01 AM   #44
Sindatur
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

SolitaryJustice wrote: View Post
BSG got cancelled?! How in the world did they build up to such a fantastic ending?! Five seasons of pure awesome! I think that must be an incorrect fact. FireFly got cancelled, but BSG?! Really?
BSG was only 4 Seasons. Yes, it intended to be at least 5 seasons, but after the first half of S4 (Or maybe when S4 in it's entirety was commissioned) they were told to wind it up by 4.20. It wouldn't have gotten that long, except for the prestige, because it was a "Critic Darling" and they gambled that the prestige would improve their brand image., so, they supported it longer than they normally would, to give it a chance to grow, which it never did.

Whedon's Dollhouse, had an awesome finish being cancelled after only 2 seasons, because he was told in enough time to wrap it all up (Though, the 13 episode season 2 could easily have been a 20+ episode season, or even 2 13 episodes seasons)
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Old September 25 2013, 02:55 AM   #45
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Re: Making a Star Trek series that fits in with today's TV landscape

BSG continues as a franchise, though. Just sayin'
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