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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 April 4 2014, 06:10 PM   #361
Warped9
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Re: How desperate are you for a new Trek TV series?

Everyone defines Star Trek based on their individual take-always from what worked for them. Even that which I prefer has things I would have preferred they had done differently or not at all. But then real life is like that, too.

Star Trek isn't the easiest thing to boil down to absolute basics because there are a lot of things that contribute to it working. When it works there's more than one layer at work.

There are key things that I personally believe need to be there (and I've stated them upthread). If those key things go missing then in my opinion they are indeed drifting from what I believe Star Trek is. Something can look familiar and still be different in execution that sets it apart from what I can recognize as being similar to what I understand to be genuine.

NuTrek plays to caricature and gimmick as well as using a lot of film making techniques that are currently in vogue. It's not really surprising that it could appeal to a broad general audience. And it certainly fits right in with the general audiences' expectations of what Trek is.

Is it Star Trek? Many would say "yes" based on their perceptions. I, for one, say definitely "no" because from what I see there are key elements missing.

- A generally adult mindset
- A sense of internal credibility
- A general respect for the subject matter (characters, story, setting and itself)

A lot of people are fond of saying that Star Trek, particularly TOS, didn't take itself too seriously. On that point they are flat out wrong. A significant element of what Gene Roddenberry was trying to do was to create science fiction that did take the subject matter seriously. It's one of the key elements that set the series apart from most of what else was being done at the time. It isn't that it couldn't have a sense of humour or occasionally have some fun, but that the overall mindset was indeed serious minded. It wasn't perfect and mistakes were made, but the overall sense of the show was to do adult level storytelling in a science fiction setting. That means everything in it, be it characters, hardware, setting and world building, had to at least seem credible.

Another important element was generally strong writing. Some of this was bolstered by having established SF writers contribute to the show. Star Trek wasn't embarassed by its science fiction trappings. It was a wonderful balance of intelligence and enthusiasm.

Somewhere along the line, in fits and starts, these things went missing one by one.

What became an issue for me as things progressed over the years was what I perceived as weaker writing for one thing. Another was what was focused on. The original characters were portrayed as professionals in a dangerous job that got along (even with disagreements) and could respect and appreciate each other. Later characters in Trek were made into a "family" and stories placed greater focus on that. In a broad sense later Trek became like an office drama as the angst and trivia became as important as the bigger stories. This wasn't only Trek's issue as it was happening everywhere else on television.

NuTrek is the inevitable result of successively jettisoning integral elements of what made Star Trek distinctive and resulting in just another throwaway bit of sci-fi fluff pandering to every convention.

We can argue about where the final metamorphosis actually happened over the years. But it did indeed happen.
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Old April 4 2014, 06:17 PM   #362
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Re: How desperate are you for a new Trek TV series?

^ Pretty much right on.
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Old April 4 2014, 07:38 PM   #363
BillJ
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Re: How desperate are you for a new Trek TV series?

Warped9 wrote: View Post
A lot of people are fond of saying that Star Trek, particularly TOS, didn't take itself too seriously. On that point they are flat out wrong. A significant element of what Gene Roddenberry was trying to do was to create science fiction that did take the subject matter seriously.
What Gene wanted to do and what made it to the screen are two distinctly different things. I doubt too many military missions that end with multiple crew-members dead would end with laughter like the deaths never even happened. I doubt that the Captain of a modern ship would get away with breaking/bending the rules as often as Kirk did and be as openly contemptible of authority figures sent by the Federation would be in the center seat for long.

We simply don't want to see the captain sit around and read reports all day long. This is entertainment and Roddenberry realized that from Day One when he had Pike leading the mission to rescue the Columbia crew and had him as the center of the action. In the follow-up pilot, he once again had the captain as the center of the action. I doubt there are too many military vessels where the head doctor spends more time on the bridge than down in the ships medical center. Once again, entertainment trumps reality. As far as Star Trek (2009) goes, people didn't want to see Cadet Kirk or Lt. Kirk or Commander Kirk for any amount of time, they wanted Captain Kirk. Do I think that it could have been handled in a less sloppy manner? Sure. But to act like this is the first time Star Trek has bent military protocol for entertainment value is plain wrong.

Star Trek constantly bent reality for entertainment. I, for one, wouldn't have it any other way. YMMV.
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Old April 4 2014, 08:44 PM   #364
Warped9
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Re: How desperate are you for a new Trek TV series?

^^ Doesn't invalidate my point. There was an overall mindset to how the stories were to be told that was eroded over the years. One can argue it even began in TOS' Season 2.

And people can indeed occasional experience moments of levity in the face of danger or tragedy. It could well be one of our mechanisms for coping. Bot excusing it, but understanding that it's not impossible.

Over the years I could recognize familiar elements in various incarnations of Trek even as I also noticed they became ever fewer. During the films I felt it was starting to become tangible that something was beginning to stray off course. In TNG I intially didn't find any appeal in it, but later came to recognize enough familiar elements in it to recognize it as Star Trek. Then came the later seasons where I found TNG becoming bland, becoming much like, as someone said, an office drama. And I could see familiar elements in each of the subsequent spin-offs.

But what changed for me with each successive spin-off was the style of writing I grew to intensely dislike. Yes, there were familiar Trek elements there, but I found the whole execution wanting. And the execution is a very significant element.

And then came nuTrek where despite some familiar names and references there was nothing left of what made Star Trek distinctive. It has become just another disposable and forgettable property.
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Old April 5 2014, 03:27 PM   #365
JirinPanthosa
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Re: How desperate are you for a new Trek TV series?

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
That's right. Like it, or lump it, as long as CBS &/or Paramount hold the pink receipt to it, STAR TREK is whatever the balls hell they say it is.
I don't know what determines what is Star Trek and what isn't, but it certainly isn't just whoever owns the legal rights, if they didn't have any creative contribution to the series.

TOS is Star Trek, and Into Darkness is Star Trek.

You know, the same way Jerry Seinfeld is Jerry, and Jerry Stiller is Jerry.

I'm certainly not the one who gets to decide what is Star Trek and what isn't, but it has way more to do with creative similarity than legalities. And TNG and Voyager have a lot more creatively in common than NuTrek.

I've never heard anyone claim that classic Battlestar Galactica and Moore Battlestar Galactica are the same franchise. Why would it be any different with Star Trek? It has nothing to do with which one is 'Better', or which one is 'The True Trek'. It's all about having completely different creative approaches.

It goes both ways too, if you see them as two different franchises, then NuTrek does not have to be consistent with classic Trek and can do whatever it wants with its own ideas. As it should be. Make Spock date Ohura, make Khan an uncharismatic caucasian, make Chekov a woman, make Sulu a cylon, it's all okay if they're two different franchises. It's only if they're the same franchise that it's a problem.

NuTrek, in my opinion, works a lot better as it's own separate entity than it would as something connected to the original.

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Old April 5 2014, 05:45 PM   #366
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Re: How desperate are you for a new Trek TV series?

It's such a personal thing. I do agree with Warped9 that Trek changed over the years, but I think it never lost anything of the "magical formula". That is, until JJ-Trek.

Yes, later Trek-series often had far more 'soap-opera' than TOS ever had.
Yes, later DS9-seasons were a bit too dark.
Yes, VOY had dumb action once in a while.

But there were always great, intelligent episodes to be found.

Then, we got JJ's Trek. Yes, it looks like Star Trek. As a matter of fact it looks fantastic! But it quacks like a dumb Star Wars-wannabe blockbuster.
The "story" is only a list of "dramatic event" bullet-points that need to happen, glued together by one high-energy action scene after another, fired at us in rapid succession.

The action no longer serves to support the story, but the other way around! For me, that is what seperates JJ-Trek from all the other material.
(although, to be fair, Nemesis is guilty of that as well. )

I could say "Star Trek: 1964-2005", but who knows, maybe there will be a real Star Trek again one day...
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