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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old February 25 2014, 11:25 PM   #256
JJohnson
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
One of the problems we face as Fan Productions working on a shoestring budget with cardboard sets and volunteer actors, (and volunteer just about everything else, for that matter), is that it's a challenge to get people to take our show seriously as it is. (We often get the "Community Theater" comparisons--which is understandable.)

I think it would be an uphill battle to successfully pull off a comedic episode, although I think we're not actually averse to trying. (I recall both STC's and Exeter's "Night Shift" shorts.) Personally, I'd like to push the envelope a bit of what constitutes a "Star Trek" episode--maybe a comedy, maybe a musical, maybe an episode entirely in an alien language like Klingon or Vulcan but subtitled for those few fans who don't speak any of those alien languages.

Mostly, venturing too far out of the Trek formula might be more trouble than it's worth. Fortunately, we have a Senior Executive Producer and a Show Runner who get to make those kinds of decisions. (Also David Gerrold has been working on a "Tribbles" follow-up episode for us, but the scuttlebutt is that he's going counter-intuitive with it, and it's more scary than it is funny. So that might not actually scratch the "unconventional Trek episode" itch we might be having.)



Warped9 wrote: View Post
It would certainly be interesting to see if STC or any other production would attempt something like "Shore Leave," "The Trouble With Tribbles," "I, Mudd" or "A Piece Of The Action."

Mind you nothing as absurd as "I, Mudd" or "A Piece Of The Action," but something with a distinct humourous bent.


In "Lolani" I think Scotty had two of the best lines and each delivered perfectly.

"He seems nice...for a slave trader."

"Lolani says you're a brutal monster."
Two things:

1. I would love to see several minutes of sustained Vulcan or Klingon dialog in your show. That would be utterly amazing, especially if the actors pulled off convincing pronunciation of the two languages (Klingon has q, Q, and H to contend with, along with D and S, which are pronounced in the back of the mouth, unlike English).

2. If you need a volunteer for background actor, or behind the scenes whatever, I'd be happy to volunteer.
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Old February 25 2014, 11:28 PM   #257
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Bixby wrote: View Post
JJohnson wrote: View Post
As an aside, in Star Trek Continues, it would be incredibly awesome to see Captain Robert April and/or Captain Christopher Pike in a flashback or even just visiting the Enterprise 'today.' Maybe even a flashback to Kirk taking command of the Enterprise, with Spock and Gary Mitchell at his side, while "Admiral" Robert April and Captain Pike shake his hand, if it could be tied into the episode somehow.
ONLY if his appearance is needed because of the story, not just as fan wank...You`re in trouble when you write something and you`re adding things because you said to yourself : `wouldn`t it be cool if...?`
Absolutely. If it's in the context of the story, yes, not just as a random scene for no reason.
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Old February 25 2014, 11:42 PM   #258
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

We'll Robert April appeared in TAS' "The Counter-Clock Incident," but I don't know if STC acknowledges TAS. Phase II apparently does given the appearance of Arex. STC might be acknowledging TAS by its inclusion of the prototype holodeck.

Since Robert April could be an Ambassador-at-large then a diplomatic type story could support his appearance. I think that would be better than a flashback, particularly if it involved scenes aboard the Enterprise. A flashback aboard ship could involve redressing the set(s) to look Pike era. That could be problematic.

But as has been mentioned you really need the right story or it does come off as fanwank.
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Old February 26 2014, 02:35 AM   #259
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

JJohnson wrote: View Post
As an aside, in Star Trek Continues, it would be incredibly awesome to see Captain Robert April and/or Captain Christopher Pike in a flashback or even just visiting the Enterprise 'today.' Maybe even a flashback to Kirk taking command of the Enterprise, with Spock and Gary Mitchell at his side, while "Admiral" Robert April and Captain Pike shake his hand, if it could be tied into the episode somehow.
This would be more of the connect-the-dots that fan films are already riff with, and I would rather they spend more time telling original stories and exploring strange new worlds.
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Old February 26 2014, 03:17 AM   #260
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

A lot of fans like the idea of revisiting things or characters they found particularly exciting. They can have this notion that if we revisit those things it will be exciting again. But context is everything. Part or the original excitement was the novelty which you no longer have in a revisit. So revisiting a favoured character will only be interesting if there is something genuinely fresh to bring to the game and it's justified by the larger story. Otherwise it's just meaningless pandering.

TNG began the era of connect-the-dots that continued through the following series. And connect-the-dots is something that's been going on in Trek lit since the beginning. But candidly it's rare that this practice really works and it's usually just more pandering. It also makes the fictional universe seem that much smaller every time it's done. It isn't necessary for everyone to know everyone else and for everyone to be privy to everyone else's experiences.

Please, let's keep it to a minmum.

Truthfully as much as I like Star Trek Continues and the character Elise McKennah I am somewhat disappointed seeing the idea of her character in the TOS era. It's so obviously a connect-the-dots to the TNG era in the face of no evidence that ships' counselors existed in the TOS-TMP-TWOK era. We also don't see evidence of it in the Enterprise C era (although they could have been there). There's supposed to be about a century between the TOS and TNG eras so why the insistence to introduce a Counselor now? It's simply a connect-the-dots move.

The idea of the proto-holodeck is more iffy because GR did have the idea back in the day and it did appear in TAS. But for a lot of folks not knowing those things it is a connect-the-dots move. I don't really mind it, but they could have done without it.

What's being done in Phase II is also a connect-the-dots move and one (in my opinion) which doesn't make sense in the "real" world of TOS. Why would Starfleet drastically refit a ship only three years into its five-year voyage and then refit it again (even more drastically) a few years later just prior to TMP? That strikes me as a lot of unnecessary effort and downtime. But the Phase II folks feel compelled to cement this connection between TOS and TMP to rationalize the visual differences between TOS and TMP. It's an indulgence that in the larger scheme of things---telling compelling stories---doesn't accomplish anything. It's just "because."

TAS did it with Robert April. In a more real world perspective it isn't necessary for Kirk and crew to have ever even met Robert April. Certainly the story he appeared in could have easily been told without him. But the writers wanted to indulge in connect-the-dots. It didn't add anything to the story even as it didn't really take away anything from it either. It's a touch of fanwank and in that instance it did no harm. But I certainly wouldn't want to see this all the time.

Of course, that's just my opinion.
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Old February 26 2014, 05:46 AM   #261
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
A lot of fans like the idea of revisiting things or characters they found particularly exciting. They can have this notion that if we revisit those things it will be exciting again. But context is everything. Part or the original excitement was the novelty which you no longer have in a revisit. So revisiting a favoured character will only be interesting if there is something genuinely fresh to bring to the game and it's justified by the larger story. Otherwise it's just meaningless pandering.

TNG began the era of connect-the-dots that continued through the following series. And connect-the-dots is something that's been going on in Trek lit since the beginning. But candidly it's rare that this practice really works and it's usually just more pandering. It also makes the fictional universe seem that much smaller every time it's done. It isn't necessary for everyone to know everyone else and for everyone to be privy to everyone else's experiences.

Please, let's keep it to a minmum.

Truthfully as much as I like Star Trek Continues and the character Elise McKennah I am somewhat disappointed seeing the idea of her character in the TOS era. It's so obviously a connect-the-dots to the TNG era in the face of no evidence that ships' counselors existed in the TOS-TMP-TWOK era. We also don't see evidence of it in the Enterprise C era (although they could have been there). There's supposed to be about a century between the TOS and TNG eras so why the insistence to introduce a Counselor now? It's simply a connect-the-dots move.

The idea of the proto-holodeck is more iffy because GR did have the idea back in the day and it did appear in TAS. But for a lot of folks not knowing those things it is a connect-the-dots move. I don't really mind it, but they could have done without it.

What's being done in Phase II is also a connect-the-dots move and one (in my opinion) which doesn't make sense in the "real" world of TOS. Why would Starfleet drastically refit a ship only three years into its five-year voyage and then refit it again (even more drastically) a few years later just prior to TMP? That strikes me as a lot of unnecessary effort and downtime. But the Phase II folks feel compelled to cement this connection between TOS and TMP to rationalize the visual differences between TOS and TMP. It's an indulgence that in the larger scheme of things---telling compelling stories---doesn't accomplish anything. It's just "because."

TAS did it with Robert April. In a more real world perspective it isn't necessary for Kirk and crew to have ever even met Robert April. Certainly the story he appeared in could have easily been told without him. But the writers wanted to indulge in connect-the-dots. It didn't add anything to the story even as it didn't really take away anything from it either. It's a touch of fanwank and in that instance it did no harm. But I certainly wouldn't want to see this all the time.

Of course, that's just my opinion.
While not a massive 'refit' military aircraft and ships are upgraded all the time, as are commercial aircraft. This would be difficult to do in small bits and pieces with a ship traveling for years many lightyears from home, so perhaps doing all the upgrades every few years would make sense. How much is this done today? It's the main reason that military contracts are all cost-plus. Often the military changes what it wants several times while the aircraft/ship/hoodiggie is being developed and built. Specs change many times often before the first craft is built. When a bomber that was used in Viet Nam is being flow today, it has modern computer guidance installed, it's not running on the system it used in 1964. However, it often looks much the same from the outside. (I am a military-industrial complex brat. My father spent most of his life designing and upgrading military equipment, including, the last thing he did... the first system that shot down incoming missiles, which was done for the Navy. Reagan based his idea for 'Star Wars' on that system.)

Concerning the ship's counselor, I suspect this has much to do with the actress being Vic's wife. Also, TOS has a very sexist feel that I suspect many people today aren't comfortable with. (I was not comfortable with it as a 'tween.' at that time.) That is not Roddenbury's fault, he wanted a female No. 1, but there was a lack of vision in the suits, and its one of the things that dates TOS to the 1960s. The introduction of this character allows the production to counter that problem without entirely reworking the rest of the characters. They are also giving Scotty a bigger role than in TOS.

Background recurring characters work for some things and not for others. It would have made sense that Kirk would have been reporting to a particular admiral, rather than hearing from a different one with each order. Would it be wrong for fan films to correct this?

I don't know that I had any desire to see what happened to Apollo, but I liked the story. The Orion Slave Girls did seem to beg for some updated twist. That is clearly our ideas intruding on those of the 1960s. It was a revisit, but it took something that was just a passing matter in the background and made it into a central story.

Most dramas today have a story or two each year on the supporting cast. Usually, Castle focuses on Richard Castle and Dect. Beckett, but we get shows that focus on the other police officers once or twice a year. Those types of shows did not exist in TOS. I don't think the greater use of the character of Scotty in STC is wrong or out of place, it's probably a more realistic take on how the crew would work. There was no Chekov show, no Sulu show. Filling those in is also a modern update, but its one I have enjoyed from Phase II.

Part of this I suspect is just how much you like fan efforts. I happen to enjoy them a lot.
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Old February 26 2014, 06:06 AM   #262
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Barbreader wrote: View Post
Also, TOS has a very sexist feel that I suspect many people today aren't comfortable with. (I was not comfortable with it as a 'tween.' at that time.) That is not Roddenbury's fault, he wanted a female No. 1, but there was a lack of vision in the suits, and its one of the things that dates TOS to the 1960s.
Actually a lot of it is Roddenberry's fault. NBC didn't reject Number One as a character and because she was second-in-command. They had no problem with the idea. No, they rejected GR's obvious nepotism in casting his widely known extramarital girlfriend, and they didn't think she was strong enough to as an actress to carry the role as a regular in the series. GR fabricated the story of NBC rejecting the character of Number One to spare Majel Barrett's feelings. Problem is by fabricating that story it gave the impression NBC didn't want to see any commanding female roles which was not at all the case.

No, you can't blame NBC for that one.
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Old February 26 2014, 07:18 AM   #263
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

urbandefault wrote: View Post
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Maurice wrote: View Post
Yes. In fact, in "The Corbomite Maneuver" there's a deleted line where Uhura indicates English is not her first language.
There's also an episode when Uhura's memory is damaged and she has to be "re-educated." At the beginning of the process, she keeps speaking Swahili. I always inferred that it was her native tongue.
That's what I was thinking.

Automatically inserting a black character, regardless of heritage, into a story about slave trade comes off as a little bit narrow minded to me. Not all black people are necessarily "African American." That label is something that we Americans have been conditioned to apply by a society determined to avoid offending others.
Exactly.

As I understood it, the Uhura character was supposed to represent the rise above all that nonsense. I never saw her as "black." I always saw her as a capable officer, and a damn attractive woman.

Sorry for rambling.
Good post. Although, I just want to add an observation: It's easy to say 'I don't see color, I just see [insert non-white character from whatever movie or television series] as just a character.' From my online experience, that usually comes from white individuals who usually don't have to nitpick as much as non-white viewers concerning media representations.

(Note: I'm not saying that you in particular have a malicious intent with your comment, urbandefault. Just using your comment as a jumping point. Even though media, particularly American media, has made some strides, there still is a looooong way to go).

For example, the reason I went to see Independence Day in 1996 was because a black man (Will Smith as Capt. Steve Hiller) saved the world in a summer blockbuster, and wasn't killed off. (I recall seeing media coverage, where a young black male moviegoer said to the effect in regards to Smith, 'A black man saved the world!') Interestingly, in the recent Pacific Rim, the black lead - portrayed by the awesome Idris Elba who has more gravitas than the actor playing the 'white lead' - gets killed off, said white lead gets the love interest, an Asian girl who had immediately fell for him in the early parts of the film. With PR, there are some who claim they only saw the film's action or claimed to not see 'color' - yet, with the addition of the poor story execution, the film hits all the negative tropes we've seen in films for years (i.e. black lead dying to save white lead, Asian male characters poorly executed (pun not intended), Asian girl falling for white lead for no other reason than because he is white).

Now, I'm rambling...

Note: I now find ID4 really, really cheesy. And, as you can tell, I really hate Pacific Rim.

Warped9 wrote: View Post
I think it's all a matter of execution. Uhura isn't just some random guest character of the week. She's a regular that the audience identifies with. She could easily have stepped into the role McKennah serves in "Lolani" and you wouldn't have to insert anything overt into the discussion. She could merely relate to Lolani on a personal "friendly and sympathetic" face sort of way. The poignant juxtaposition would be in the nonverbal symbolism: Uhura as the symbol for what Lolani and others like her long for.

One quibble I have with Kim Singer as Uhura is she doesn't have Nichelle Nichols' exotic aura for lack a a better term. Uhura was African, not African American, and she spoke English with a touch of accent that added to her aura and distinctiveness. STC's Uhura comes across as American. Now if she thought of it or the STC thought of it, depending on her skill as an actress, maybe Singer could try to evoke a touch of Nichelle Nichols' manner of speech.

Note that JJtrek's Zoe Seldana doesn't have Nichell Nichols' presence either. Nichols gave Uhura grace and poise and something of a feline demeanor. I've no doubt that's actually part of Nichelle Nichols' personality and it's not an easy thing to capture. But it's unmistakably the TOS Uhura.

Of course I'm also thinking that Uhura always deserved a little more screen time, and it would have been a strong message back in the day just to see her up front a bit more. Now a production like STC has that opportunity to do something that should have been done back in the day, but wasn't. In "Lolani's" case I believe Kim Singer was available for only one day of shooting so that might pretty well snuff out more of her involvement in this episode. But I would like to see Uhura given some screen time beyond manning the communications board or singing in the rec-room.
Kim Stinger, I think, has a cute/hotness about her, but that's it in regards to what she brings to her character. I would like to see Stinger/Uhura doing more than just working the communications board. (Shades of what Nichelle Nichols was saying about her own version of Uhura!)

On the other hand, Saldana/Uhura is more fiery, but comes off as the hot girl dating the popular guy. Zoe Saldana, right now, is just portraying Spock's girlfriend. And, her role in the films becomes only relevant when it involves Spock. I hope the tentative 3rd film rectifies that.

I like both actresses, but I would like the material to give them both something to work with.
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Old February 26 2014, 07:53 AM   #264
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Barbreader wrote: View Post
Also, TOS has a very sexist feel that I suspect many people today aren't comfortable with. (I was not comfortable with it as a 'tween.' at that time.) That is not Roddenbury's fault, he wanted a female No. 1, but there was a lack of vision in the suits, and its one of the things that dates TOS to the 1960s.
Actually a lot of it is Roddenberry's fault. NBC didn't reject Number One as a character and because she was second-in-command. They had no problem with the idea. No, they rejected GR's obvious nepotism in casting his widely known extramarital girlfriend, and they didn't think she was strong enough to as an actress to carry the role as a regular in the series. GR fabricated the story of NBC rejecting the character of Number One to spare Majel Barrett's feelings. Problem is by fabricating that story it gave the impression NBC didn't want to see any commanding female roles which was not at all the case.

No, you can't blame NBC for that one.
Interesting. I thought she had become his girlfriend later. But, I'm not half the Trekkie most of the posters here are. I am ready to bow to the expertize of others.
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Old February 26 2014, 08:09 AM   #265
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Roddenberry was with Majel long before NBC got a look at "The Cage." GR had also already been pissing off NBC when he was producing his series The Lieutenant before Star Trek.
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Old February 26 2014, 08:39 AM   #266
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

No to April. No to extended scenes in made up languages.
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Old February 26 2014, 10:42 AM   #267
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Maurice wrote: View Post
No to April. No to extended scenes in made up languages.
Indeed.

Too, I'll say for the record that McKennah is perfectly at home in Star Trek Continues. Frankly, the hullabaloo being made about her presence, her role, and her inclusion is rather silly.
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Old February 26 2014, 11:50 AM   #268
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

I like her. I think she's fun!
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Old February 26 2014, 12:40 PM   #269
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Barbreader wrote: View Post
They are also giving Scotty a bigger role than in TOS.
True, Scotty has had a few good one-liners in the two episodes, Barb, but a BIGGER role? If you mean more than the part Scotty had in the pilot episode ''Where No Man Has Gone Before'', granted, but the 3 seasons overall? that`s just silly....


Doubleohfive wrote:
...I'll say for the record that McKennah is perfectly at home in Star Trek Continues. Frankly, the hullabaloo being made about her presence, her role, and her inclusion is rather silly.
I don`t find it silly that they are twisting James T. Kirk`s personality like a pretzel to fit into this planned-out ridiculous 1940s screwball comedy template with the doctor. I don`t find it silly that they make the most interesting overall character, Spock into a non-factor so that she can shine brighter than him in the storylines. I don`t find it silly that Doctor McCoy is relegated to comedy relief so that McKennah can act as substitute in scènes that once were perfect for the Kirk/McCoy dynamic.

But all that aside, McKennah is just like Capt. Picard, getting by on the basis of a good (McKennah)/great (Picard) acting performance, but at the end of the day their character is as thin as a piece of paper.

Basically she`s a sitcom character. She`s earnest and straightforward, and is there to challenge Kirk. that`s it. They want to hand her Bones' schtick where he grates against military protocol but you always knew that McCoy knew his place in Starfleet when push came to shove (for example the scènes between the doctor and Commodore Decker in Doomsday Machine). But McKennae ignores all of that like a bull in a China shop, which is ridiculous because one does not assign someone like that on a flagship. She would have been drummed out of the service long ago...

But a sitcom character can get away with unrealistic circumstances...

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Old February 26 2014, 02:44 PM   #270
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

^^ I don't think it's quite that extreme, but she does feel rather shoehorned in. They would do better to go back to her Episode 1 hairstyle and replace the spike heeled boots. As is she's straying into Troi territory.

It could be worth seeing some scenes where she does overstep boundaries. The "real" McCoy would have no problem reigning her in particularly since as a psychologist she falls under his authority. Neither would the "real" Spock.

Another factor could be not quite having a handle on how to write Spock and McCoy, the dynamic between the two of them and their relationship to Kirk. Also fan fiction has long been known to focus on one or two favoured characters sometimes at the expense of the others---and fan productions are essential fanfic fully realized.

It remains to be seen what they'll do with McKennah. If the STC folks are indeed aware of this discussion as well as others in other forums as well as their Facebook page and feedback through their own website then they should see the general reaction to the McKennah character. Then it's a matter of whether they adjust or temper how they utilize her character.

Small note: in TOS the Enterprise was not a flagship. That notion started with TNG.
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