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Future of Trek Discussion of future Trek projects.

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Old October 2 2011, 10:10 AM   #1
Lighthammer
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Could the next series be animated?

I was watching the animated Trek series the other day on netflix and thinking about how well the Star Wars clone series is doing and it got me wondering: Does the next series have to be live action? Could there be a Trek series that is actually animated instead?

I'm personally dieing to see a lot of the newish lore from STO and the recent novel campaigns get it's time on the air and it seems like an animated version of the series MIGHT allow for that nicely.

But of course, that doesn't necessarily have to be the scope, that's just one of many possible ideas.

With so many animated series these days focused on both Adults and Kids, it doesn't seem out of the question.

Of course, then the next question comes down to, who would air it? We already kind of have to ask that question regardless of the next trek series being live action, but making an animated series will certainly make the demographic slightly different and you need to consider who would want to show the series and do justice by it's airings.
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Old October 2 2011, 01:24 PM   #2
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

Far more likely than a live-action one and there were some such indications a cartoon might happen, from Bob Orci over at Trekmovie. Sometime ago now but the rights with CBS ownership were being looked into. No, I don't remember a specific link but there were at least a couple of articles - usually with the same TAS crew image headlining the whole thing. Should maybe filter down any search effort you might try.
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Old October 2 2011, 04:58 PM   #3
C.E. Evans
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

Lighthammer wrote: View Post
Of course, then the next question comes down to, who would air it?
I vote for Nicktoons or the Hub (The Orci and Kurtzman-backed Transformers Prime series already airs there). Cartoon Network and Disney XD I think are long shots as they tend to be increasingly less open to stuff they don't already have some sort of corporate connection to or get a nice cut of the merchandising profits with.
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Old October 2 2011, 09:14 PM   #4
Lighthammer
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
I vote for Nicktoons or the Hub (The Orci and Kurtzman-backed Transformers Prime series already airs there). Cartoon Network and Disney XD I think are long shots as they tend to be increasingly less open to stuff they don't already have some sort of corporate connection to or get a nice cut of the merchandising profits with.
The big problem with Nicktoons is they really abuse their cartoons. They will find something that seems to be doing well and play it almost non-stop.

DXD has been having similar problems, except they are seeing less return on action series and thus not supporting. They are obviously trying to kill Naruto off by burring it and constantly pre-empting. Avengers, for as good as that series has been, has been having similar problems and it really makes a lot of people warry about what they are going to do with all these new series they funneling a lot of money into creating.

The Hub has been doing really good justice by their series. Even when they had one national feed, they REALLY tried to create an enjoyable (yet scattered) viewing schedule. Now that they are either focusing on one time zone or got another feed (not sure which) they are doing some REALLY NICE scheduling. Hasbro, of course, also offers the ability to break right into Toy lines too. The biggest hurtle Hasbro has is they wouldn't be able to take on another project like this in their own studio and I'm not really sure Star Trek fits with their programming. If, say, they developed a block from 10-12 that was more 13+ orientated that WAS NOT Anime, Star Trek would be a PERFECT fit there, but another studio would certainly have to develop and produce it.

Cartoon Network is has been going through schizafrenia over the last few years, but it seems like things are starting to settle down now. It Cartoon Network's past, they did a lot of justice by anything that was on their network. After Jim Samples resigned, things got --- weird. Stuart Snyder kind of said "We want to be Nick" and started steering the network in kind of weird directions. If I were a rights owner and didn't have a pre-existing good relationship with CN, I'd be a bit scared to throw my property there. I'm still surprised Clone Wars is there.

TBS, Syfy and possibly even Spike are other networks to consider.
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Old October 2 2011, 09:31 PM   #5
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

I think the next series is most likely to be animated because...

- Kurtzman and Orci have expressed interest in doing an animated series and the next Star Trek series won't happen until someone is pushing for it whose phone calls CBS will return.

- An animated series can be made more cheaply than live action and therefore solves the budget/audience size problem (any decent live action series will have a budget that is probably too high for the audience it's going to get.)

- The Clone Wars is a successful example that can make CBS feel better about the risk of doing any Star Trek series. (And yes, that example does mean the show is likely to be pitched to kids and adults both; will be action-heavy; and most likely CBS will make it for airing on the Cartoon Network rather than any of its own channels.) If they hurry and/or Lucas decides to keep doing an animated Star Wars series after the five-year-plan of TCW is up, a Star Trek animated half-hour would be a good lead in or lead out for the SW series.

- An animated series offers the possibility of putting the Abrams move series characters on TV without luring Chris Pine et al into doing a weekly series, which not all of them would agree to. They don't even need to do the voice acting; there are voice actors who could do credible impressions of all of them. Or they can take The Clone Wars' route, and not worry too much about matching the voices. This would be attractive to CBS because it would give them a cheap way of capitalizing on the PR of the successful movie series.
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Old October 2 2011, 10:25 PM   #6
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
- An animated series can be made more cheaply than live action and therefore solves the budget/audience size problem (any decent live action series will have a budget that is probably too high for the audience it's going to get.)
Thats something a lot of people assume that isn't really accurate. Depending on the quality of the show, an animated series can be just as expensive to do as a live action series. Like lets say we took TNG and re-did it as a high quality series translating essentially frame for frame each scene in the series. I suspect without crunching numbers, that the series would be just about the same production cost (translated 1980-1990 cost into todays cost that is).

The thing that would be the cost saver however, is the series could be a ton more diverse while still maintaining a similar budget. We could also have much more diverse scenery compared to TNG too. We wouldn't have to keep taking the original enterprise and dressing it up into other sets. We could actually see more distinct and different scenes.

By and large, it puts doing something like Road to 2409 into a much easier to swallow figure price wise.

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
- The Clone Wars is a successful example that can make CBS feel better about the risk of doing any Star Trek series. (And yes, that example does mean the show is likely to be pitched to kids and adults both; will be action-heavy; and most likely CBS will make it for airing on the Cartoon Network rather than any of its own channels.) If they hurry and/or Lucas decides to keep doing an animated Star Wars series after the five-year-plan of TCW is up, a Star Trek animated half-hour would be a good lead in or lead out for the SW series.
I just don't know what Cartoon Network seems like the obvious choice to everyone. Every network that I listed above has a fair chance at doing a really good job with the series. Heck, The Hub is, of the Big 4, the most family directed station out there. In being out for just a year, it has demonstrated it can bring Kids AND Adults. More accurately, they've demonstrated the ability to have Kids AND Adults watch together.

Beyond that, with everything CN has in its active docet right now, you actually have to consider that they might not want another series.

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
- An animated series offers the possibility of putting the Abrams movie series characters on TV without luring Chris Pine et al into doing a weekly series, which not all of them would agree to. They don't even need to do the voice acting; there are voice actors who could do credible impressions of all of them. Or they can take The Clone Wars' route, and not worry too much about matching the voices. This would be attractive to CBS because it would give them a cheap way of capitalizing on the PR of the successful movie series.
That seems like the obvious choice, but I'd really like to think that there would be more interest in doing the 2409 timeline with the sheer diversity available. The books have far too much good material to just forget about.
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Old October 2 2011, 11:12 PM   #7
C.E. Evans
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

Lighthammer wrote: View Post
C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
I vote for Nicktoons or the Hub (The Orci and Kurtzman-backed Transformers Prime series already airs there). Cartoon Network and Disney XD I think are long shots as they tend to be increasingly less open to stuff they don't already have some sort of corporate connection to or get a nice cut of the merchandising profits with.
The big problem with Nicktoons is they really abuse their cartoons. They will find something that seems to be doing well and play it almost non-stop.
Which is better than the alternative of only playing it once with no repeats. It enables people who may have missed an earlier broadcast to catch the show later and even get caught up if they missed multiple episodes (people who have seen every episode aren't required to watch the repeats unless they want to). This is also beneficial to people who are continually discovering a series for the first time. The shows they seem to "abuse" like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Dragonball Z Kai actually continue to bring in good ratings with multiple airings, so that's why Nicktoons does it.
DXD has been having similar problems, except they are seeing less return on action series and thus not supporting. They are obviously trying to kill Naruto off by burring it and constantly pre-empting.
The thing with Naruto on Disney XD--which was the really the same problem with Naruto on Cartoon Network earlier--was that it's an acquisition rather than a property the network owns outright or gets a big chunk of the merchandising rights to. Back when CN had Naruto, they were actually making more money with lower-rated shows that they fully owned.

On Disney XD, the situation seems to be mostly a ratings issue. Possibly upwards of a million people see Naruto every week, but only a tenth see it on Disney XD. The network can only look at it as a failure in that regard.
Avengers, for as good as that series has been, has been having similar problems and it really makes a lot of people warry about what they are going to do with all these new series they funneling a lot of money into creating.
The second season is supposedly scheduled to start later this month. There's been plenty of speculation that Disney XD has been reconsidering how "eXtreme" they want to be in competition with similar networks.
The Hub has been doing really good justice by their series. Even when they had one national feed, they REALLY tried to create an enjoyable (yet scattered) viewing schedule. Now that they are either focusing on one time zone or got another feed (not sure which) they are doing some REALLY NICE scheduling. Hasbro, of course, also offers the ability to break right into Toy lines too. The biggest hurtle Hasbro has is they wouldn't be able to take on another project like this in their own studio and I'm not really sure Star Trek fits with their programming.
The thing about the Hub is that Hasbro is a co-owner. The other co-owner is Discovery Communications. There wasn't really a problem for the Hub to acquire shows that weren't Hasbro properties like Deltora Quest, Men In Black, Batman: Beyond, and Batman: The Animated Series.

Not to mention acquiring the slew of non-animated sitcoms that are run at night.
Cartoon Network is has been going through schizafrenia over the last few years, but it seems like things are starting to settle down now. It Cartoon Network's past, they did a lot of justice by anything that was on their network. After Jim Samples resigned, things got --- weird. Stuart Snyder kind of said "We want to be Nick" and started steering the network in kind of weird directions. If I were a rights owner and didn't have a pre-existing good relationship with CN, I'd be a bit scared to throw my property there. I'm still surprised Clone Wars is there.
The Clone Wars is co-produced by Warner Bros, which is a sister company of Cartoon Network. Both Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network are a part of Time-Warner, so there's a kind of synergy there.

Time-Warner also owns DC Comics, so expect to see more animated shows based off DC properties in the years ahead (conversely, Disney owns Marvel Comics, so more Marvel properties will end up on Disney XD).
TBS, Syfy and possibly even Spike are other networks to consider.
I think TBS is a long-shot only because they don't really do too much original programming, and what they do are sports, sitcoms, and late-night talk shows. SyFy is a possibility, but an animated Trek series might not be something Spike is interested in since they seem to shy away from "geek stuff" these days--unless there's busty, scantily-clad chicks heavily present.
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Old October 3 2011, 02:11 AM   #8
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

If an animated series isn't cheaper than a similar live action series, then how can The Clone Wars be considered a very solid performer with 1.6M viewers, which is way below cancellation level on any broadcast network, and not so hot even for cable standards? ENT was cancelled getting 3-4M on UPN. The numbers just don't synch. TCW must have some serious cost savings somewhere (maybe inherent in how Lucasfilm is doing it.) Or maybe this has something to do with it:

The Clone Wars is co-produced by Warner Bros, which is a sister company of Cartoon Network. Both Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network are a part of Time-Warner, so there's a kind of synergy there.
If someone can do a live action Star Trek series and make it pay at under 2M, good for them. But I'm skeptical that it'll look very good. The exception would be if it can go on HBO or Showtime, where 2M is doing great because those folks are worth more per person than on basic cable and way more than on broadcast, and you can justify the budget. But the trick is, getting premium cable interested in Star Trek.

And the reason that an animated Trek series would make sense on The Cartoon Network is only because TCW is already there and it would seem like less of a risk, especially if the two could be paired up for an hour block.

That seems like the obvious choice, but I'd really like to think that there would be more interest in doing the 2409 timeline with the sheer diversity available. The books have far too much good material to just forget about.
I don't think they'd get fancy. The general public doesn't know about the "2409 timeline" or what the books are doing. If some good stories can be culled from those sources, great! But the big draw would be crossover PR from the movies. "You loved em on the big screen, now see them on the small screen."

Honestly, I don't even know what "The Hub" is. If it's not on my cheapass basic-plus tier of cable, I'd have to Netflix it.
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Old October 3 2011, 04:17 AM   #9
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

I really hope they opt for live action. Call me old fashion, but Trek wasnt meant for animation. And I love most animated tv shows/movies, but some things are better they way they started.

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Old October 4 2011, 06:09 PM   #10
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

Trek wasn't meant for novels, comic books, or video games either.

And yet, here we are.
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Old October 4 2011, 10:21 PM   #11
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

Or movies.
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Old October 6 2011, 05:12 AM   #12
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

Temis the Bleeding Aorta wrote: View Post
If an animated series isn't cheaper than a similar live action series, then how can The Clone Wars be considered a very solid performer with 1.6M viewers, which is way below cancellation level on any broadcast network, and not so hot even for cable standards? ENT was cancelled getting 3-4M on UPN. The numbers just don't synch. TCW must have some serious cost savings somewhere (maybe inherent in how Lucasfilm is doing it.) Or maybe this has something to do with it:

The Clone Wars is co-produced by Warner Bros, which is a sister company of Cartoon Network. Both Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network are a part of Time-Warner, so there's a kind of synergy there.
If someone can do a live action Star Trek series and make it pay at under 2M, good for them. But I'm skeptical that it'll look very good. The exception would be if it can go on HBO or Showtime, where 2M is doing great because those folks are worth more per person than on basic cable and way more than on broadcast, and you can justify the budget. But the trick is, getting premium cable interested in Star Trek.

And the reason that an animated Trek series would make sense on The Cartoon Network is only because TCW is already there and it would seem like less of a risk, especially if the two could be paired up for an hour block.

That seems like the obvious choice, but I'd really like to think that there would be more interest in doing the 2409 timeline with the sheer diversity available. The books have far too much good material to just forget about.
I don't think they'd get fancy. The general public doesn't know about the "2409 timeline" or what the books are doing. If some good stories can be culled from those sources, great! But the big draw would be crossover PR from the movies. "You loved em on the big screen, now see them on the small screen."

Honestly, I don't even know what "The Hub" is. If it's not on my cheapass basic-plus tier of cable, I'd have to Netflix it.

This is the Hub: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hub_(TV_channel)
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Old October 6 2011, 09:50 PM   #13
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

I scanned my Comcast bill and The Hub is on a tier I don't get. So I don't want anything there. The Cartoon Network is a better option because that's one tier lower and I do get that.
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Old October 6 2011, 10:30 PM   #14
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

I wouldn't need an animated Trek series to "look" good.
I would simply like it to "be" good.


Trek on TV is the way to go. Episodic, alien-of-the-week, escaping the trap, etc. Those are the core elements. Strange new worlds, new life, etc. As much as I enjoyed JJ's Trek, I ache for the weekly serial and it's pleasing that Star Wars was able to make the transition from film to TV.
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Old October 6 2011, 10:32 PM   #15
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Re: Could the next series be animated?

billcosby wrote: View Post
I wouldn't need an animated Trek series to "look" good.
I would simply like it to "be" good.


Trek on TV is the way to go. Episodic, alien-of-the-week, escaping the trap, etc. Those are the core elements. Strange new worlds, new life, etc. As much as I enjoyed JJ's Trek, I ache for the weekly serial and it's pleasing that Star Wars was able to make the transition from film to TV.
You should check out Terra Nova. It's not in space, but it has a very Trek adventure of the week feel. Of course it helps to have Braga and Echevarria involved.
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