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Old September 1 2011, 10:57 AM   #46
Kotik
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

A reboot wouldn't cut it, I think. A more realistic approach would be a DS9-like approach. DS9 was practically a TNG sequel. Several well known TNG characters (Worf, O'Brian) became regulars and others (Picard) made guest apperances. Here's what I would do, if I had the money, rights and cojones to produce Star Trek: Federation.

  • Pilot starts near the end of the Earth-Romulan war. A devastating attack on Earth flattens most of Starfleet HQ and most historical data with it, which handily explains, why 200 years later the holodeck comes up with utter nonsense about Enterprise's last mission.
  • We get to see the preparations and then the Battle of Cheron itself, during which the NX-09 Intrepid, under command of Captain Malcolm Reed turns the tides by destroying several Romulan warbirds by piling head-on into the lead ship.
  • Throughout the pilot we get scenes set on Andoria, where a slightly disgruntled General Shran, kicked upstairs to a desk job after the loss of Kumari, tries his best to help the pink-skins, despite the Imperial Guard's reluctance to help their allies. When he's accused of putting Earth's interests before those of Andoria, he quits service in disgust and calls in a few owed favours to get a ride to Earth, where he offers his services to Starfleet,
  • The pilot ends with the venerable Ambassador Soval mediating the subspace peace talks between Earth and Romulus, which results in establishing the Neutral Zone.
That's my idea of a pilot, which can be interesting without resorting to Jolene flashing two very convincing Vulcan attrib... err... arguments.

The first regular episode deals with the aftermath of the war:

  • Starfleet HQ is rebuilt and Earth realizes that for long-lasting peace, something more substantial than a loose Coalition of Planets is needed. The idea of the Federation is born.
  • Starfleet is ecstatic about Shran's arrival and they are only too happy to make him the second alien in Starfleet. Ideas are pitched to make him Captain of the first of the new Daedalus class boats, after all Earth has no captain remotely as experienced as Shran.
  • Archer is promoted to Commodore.
  • Trip and T'Pol finally admit their clandestine romance to Starfleet and are re-assigned to Earth. Trip takes the project leader post of the Warp 7 project, while T'Pol teaches interspecies diplomacy at the newly founded Starfleet Academy.
  • The Episode ends with the decommission of Enterprise and the closing shot shows the surviving crew members Commodore Archer, (newly promoted) Captains T'Pol and Tucker, Dr. Phlox and Lt. Commander Sato, all having been reposted to different ships throughout the war, reconvene on Earth to honour the fallen crew members of their former boat.
Dammit, the more I think about it, I really should put that in writing
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Old September 2 2011, 02:53 PM   #47
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

Some great ideas there, Kotik. That would be a great continuation to ENT. Unfortunately that's the problem, nobody out there wants to just pick up where it left off... as much as I'd prefer that approach to a wholesale rebooting of any Star Trek. And let's not kid ourselves that the Abrams universe is that. It's essentially part prequel, part reboot with changes tied into the plot.

I think what I'd do is use Future Guy. Explain his motives and give him an identity. Hand him the ability to travel into the past, instead of just being an image imparting information. Like Nero, he then smashes up the 22nd Century at an earlier point than "Broken Bow". He dies somehow, taking all the TCW influences out in one go. There's then a largely new cast and alterations to the look of this century - although several main players from this show (Archer, Shran, Trip, T'Pol and the actors who played them) resurface again throughout the reboot - sweetening the deal for fans of what came before. Then leave all the options open, whether this ties in as a prequel to the Prime, 2009 movie or is its own universe until the very end.

Although there's not much chance of a Phoenix raising from this part of the franchise either way... I guess.
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Old September 3 2011, 12:29 AM   #48
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

If there is a reboot Enterprise, I want Manny Cotto at the helm from the pilot to season nth (final season). I want to see the refit Enterprise NX class and the Romulan war. finally, I want to see General Shran work with the new crew of the Enterprise to kick some Romulan @$$.

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Old September 3 2011, 04:03 PM   #49
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

^ This month's spread in the Ships of the Line Calendar. NX-01 Refit - Back and Packin'

It's hanging in my hallway entrance. Nice timing, as it's the 10th Anniversary of Star Trek: Enterprise.

Not bad, considering she's a decade older. Able to keep up with those Daedalus ships going at warp 7 now.
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Old September 3 2011, 08:14 PM   #50
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

I don't like that refit at all. The secondary hull just looks tacked on and ruins the lines of the NX. Plus it just smacks of "let's make it look more like the 1701 just because we can!"
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Old September 3 2011, 08:57 PM   #51
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

A more realistic approach would be a DS9-like approach.
Since the only place any ST series would survive today is on cable, and cable dramas are generally serialized and character-centric, then it would have to have a DS9 approach anyway.

I can't envision AMC, FX, HBO or Showtime being okay with the planet-of-the-week approach. It's gotta be something you can envision being advertised to, and appealing to, viewers of Boardwalk Empire, Sons of Anarchy, Dexter or The Walking Dead.

Would those viewers go for some complicated show about space politics, founding of an interstellar alliance, and a war with a vicious, mysterious alien empire? Sure they would. Just give them a sci fi version of Game of Thrones. Complicated, character-based, don't be afraid of sex and violence, and remember the show is for grownups.

You could do this by starting from the beginning with ENT and investing more thought in creating a believable 22nd C Earth - a small, powerless planet that must make its way in a complicated, dangerous and messy environment of competing worlds, alliances and empires.

The traditional Star Trek approach, even DS9's, is too simplistic for cable audiences. It was developed for a mainstream broadcast TV audience that doesn't exist anymore because they've migrated to cable and their tastes have been shaped by what they've seen there. A successful Star Trek series on cable would have to go beyond the DS9 approach and make DS9 look simplistic by comparison.
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Old September 3 2011, 10:53 PM   #52
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
A more realistic approach would be a DS9-like approach.
Since the only place any ST series would survive today is on cable, and cable dramas are generally serialized and character-centric, then it would have to have a DS9 approach anyway.

I can't envision AMC, FX, HBO or Showtime being okay with the planet-of-the-week approach. It's gotta be something you can envision being advertised to, and appealing to, viewers of Boardwalk Empire, Sons of Anarchy, Dexter or The Walking Dead.

Would those viewers go for some complicated show about space politics, founding of an interstellar alliance, and a war with a vicious, mysterious alien empire? Sure they would. Just give them a sci fi version of Game of Thrones. Complicated, character-based, don't be afraid of sex and violence, and remember the show is for grownups.

You could do this by starting from the beginning with ENT and investing more thought in creating a believable 22nd C Earth - a small, powerless planet that must make its way in a complicated, dangerous and messy environment of competing worlds, alliances and empires.

The traditional Star Trek approach, even DS9's, is too simplistic for cable audiences. It was developed for a mainstream broadcast TV audience that doesn't exist anymore because they've migrated to cable and their tastes have been shaped by what they've seen there. A successful Star Trek series on cable would have to go beyond the DS9 approach and make DS9 look simplistic by comparison.
You've piqued my curiosity, go on...
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Old September 5 2011, 11:52 PM   #53
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

Uh oh. I don't really have anything more than a general outline of how Showtime, AMC, etc, would do Star Trek, just by looking at what series they tend to do, and matching that up with Star Trek's strengths and "core values."

I usually get impatient with folks who start to describe the series they have in mind in great detail, because I don't think the details are all that important - what century it's in, what the spaceship looks like, if it follows the Prime or Abrams U, or even if you'd be able to tell.

But here are some additional general-scope thoughts about what the series should or shouldn't be:

1. Go back to the basics: Starfleet vessel, going boldly.

2. And part of the basics of TOS (which tends to get forgotten a lot) is that it's not just about exploration, or even mainly about exploration. Kirk & co spent a lot of time playing space cop, patrolling far-flung Federation outposts; playing space soldier, defending the Federation from attack; and participating in Federation politics and diplomacy.

Add in the space-virus-attacks stories and the personal stories of the characters, and only a minority of episodes are left over for actual exploration. And even then, there was often an agenda: not exploring for its own sake, but exploring to suss out promising new Federation member worlds.

This means, they weren't out in the wilds of the galaxy on their own. They were perched the edge of the frontier, with the Federation always nearby and exerting a serious gravitational force. But the stories are not about the Federation - we know next to nothing about it, not its politics or its culture, or the day to day lives of its citizens. It's just a big, utopian black hole, some Ideal Thing that provides a blanket justification for Starfleet's existence.

So this means the show has to strike that precarious TOS balance, of the Federation being absolutely central to everything, yet always being in the background and never the direct topic of stories.

For whatever reason, this element has been dropped by the sequel series. DS9 kept the space soldier element, but the space cop/diplomat/recruiter for the Federation angle has been sadly forgotten. This is the part of TOS that could be expanded to create complex semi-serialized stories that I think could appeal to the demanding cable audience.

3. Assume that the audience is a) the viewers of the channel you're on and b) people who liked Abrams' movies (probably plural by the time the series premieres). Any Star Trek fans of older vintage who are still paying attention will check out anything with the Star Trek name, if only to bitch about it. No need to go to special efforts to attract them.

This means that if you can get one of the movie actors (Quinto would be great) to show up for the premiere episode, grab him! That would place the series in the Abrams U, but there's no particular reason for it to be there, other than that it's a for the PR value of having one of the movie actors in the premiere.

There's the possibility of having one of the movie actors as a regular character - John Cho as Sulu for instance. Or, Quinto might be lured back to TV (he's got a guest or possibly recurring role on American Horror Story now.) The main problem there is that the appeal of the TOS characters lies so much in the ensemble. I'm not sure I'm thrilled about breaking up the band. I think I'd prefer them as guest stars.

4. Adapting Star Trek to a cable audience, now here is where things get tricky. There will need to be more sex (does not need to be particularly graphic) and violence (this is where things can and should be significantly more graphic - Starfleet is a dangerous job). No swearing, simply because swearing has vanished from humanity's lexicon by the 23rd C. If the series is set in the 22nd C, I guess the language can be saltier.

The bigger issue than sex, violence and swearing is matching the sanitized Star Trek style with the more sophisticated expectations of the cable audience, which has become accustomed to seeing antiheroes as main characters. I can't envision anyone remotely like Dexter Morgan or Walter White in Starfleet. Raylan Givens of Justified - maaaaybe. If Starfleet were a little asleep at the switch when they let him through the psychological screening. Yeah I could see that happening.

It would be tempting to think about what might happen if a guy like that got command of a big, dangerous starship, and was crafty enough to never let the bureaucrats back home realize what a loose cannon he was by always toeing the Starfleet party line in public. I'm envisioning Sisko on steroids. If he were a charismatic leader, he could get his crew on his side by rationalizing everything he does, which would never be blatantly "wrong." It would be easy for the writers to create one tricky, ambiguous situation after another.

Just refrain from the usual routine of writing the story to let the noble Starfleet captain avoid having to choose between Bad and Worse. Replace it with a cosmos in which you could never see a Picard type lecturing the Obviously Wrong Aliens of the Week and then flying away, secure in his moral uprightness. That silly, superficial aspect of Star Trek does not fit cable at all. It would have to be completely excised, and good riddance.

You'll step on a few toes, both the fanboys who define the franchise solely by the sanitized standards of network TV, where Star Trek can no longer exist, and the cable audience who will think a story about an idealistic future is always going to be too hokey for their oh so jaded tastes. But there will be plenty of people in the middle who might love a show like that.

Another way to go is to keep the noble, upstanding Starfleet captain and throw a lot of horrible shit at him. Now I'm thinking of a different southern sheriff: Rick Grimes of The Walking Dead. He's straight-up Starfleet material, but the show keeps the gritty cable approach by having a horrific situation that creates more than enough drama.

This scenario would fit best in the 25th C or beyond, so that we could have an unprecedented catastrophe that occurs outside the established timeline. The Borg would be a tempting stand-in for the zombies, as long as they are treated with more respect than they were on VOY. Or, the threat could be something else.

You could have a BSG-style scenario with a Starfleet captain picking up survivors of some disaster, maybe a war breaks out and they're on the wrong side of the fighting. Or, one (or more) vessels blunder into a parallel universe that is significantly nastier than the MU (I'm thinking The Mist now).

5. Business issues: a glitzy space opera is going to be pricey on TV, but if we can have a fancy show about dinosaurs premiering on FOX, I don't see why space opera is outside any potential budget. Star Trek is a well known international brand name and sci fi TV does well overseas, which suggests the possibility of co-financing with an overseas partner that expects to do very well with a new Star Trek series.

Showtime might appreciate the unique ability of the Star Trek brand to attract new subscribers. There are few brands out there that would have more ability to get large numbers of fans to pay $20/month, even in this economy.
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Old September 6 2011, 12:15 AM   #54
Jeff O'Connor
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

Temis posting an outline. Oh my gobrino, this I have to get involved with.

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Uh oh. I don't really have anything more than a general outline of how Showtime, AMC, etc, would do Star Trek, just by looking at what series they tend to do, and matching that up with Star Trek's strengths and "core values."

I usually get impatient with folks who start to describe the series they have in mind in great detail, because I don't think the details are all that important - what century it's in, what the spaceship looks like, if it follows the Prime or Abrams U, or even if you'd be able to tell.
Totally concur. Go on.

But here are some additional general-scope thoughts about what the series should or shouldn't be:

1. Go back to the basics: Starfleet vessel, going boldly.
Only way to fly at this point. Agree.

2. And part of the basics of TOS (which tends to get forgotten a lot) is that it's not just about exploration, or even mainly about exploration. Kirk & co spent a lot of time playing space cop, patrolling far-flung Federation outposts; playing space soldier, defending the Federation from attack; and participating in Federation politics and diplomacy.
All of this needs to come together. Variety is the spice of life... and one of the only things that can help save a show.

Add in the space-virus-attacks stories and the personal stories of the characters, and only a minority of episodes are left over for actual exploration. And even then, there was often an agenda: not exploring for its own sake, but exploring to suss out promising new Federation member worlds.
Yep.

This means, they weren't out in the wilds of the galaxy on their own. They were perched the edge of the frontier, with the Federation always nearby and exerting a serious gravitational force. But the stories are not about the Federation - we know next to nothing about it, not its politics or its culture, or the day to day lives of its citizens. It's just a big, utopian black hole, some Ideal Thing that provides a blanket justification for Starfleet's existence.

So this means the show has to strike that precarious TOS balance, of the Federation being absolutely central to everything, yet always being in the background and never the direct topic of stories.
Sounds good.

For whatever reason, this element has been dropped by the sequel series. DS9 kept the space soldier element, but the space cop/diplomat/recruiter for the Federation angle has been sadly forgotten. This is the part of TOS that could be expanded to create complex semi-serialized stories that I think could appeal to the demanding cable audience.
TNG did this to an extent as well, wouldn't you say? And those numbers, although difficult to take at face value due to the massive change in television landscape, do tend to speak for themselves.

3. Assume that the audience is a) the viewers of the channel you're on and b) people who liked Abrams' movies (probably plural by the time the series premieres). Any Star Trek fans of older vintage who are still paying attention will check out anything with the Star Trek name, if only to bitch about it. No need to go to special efforts to attract them.

This means that if you can get one of the movie actors (Quinto would be great) to show up for the premiere episode, grab him! That would place the series in the Abrams U, but there's no particular reason for it to be there, other than that it's a for the PR value of having one of the movie actors in the premiere.

There's the possibility of having one of the movie actors as a regular character - John Cho as Sulu for instance. Or, Quinto might be lured back to TV (he's got a guest or possibly recurring role on American Horror Story now.) The main problem there is that the appeal of the TOS characters lies so much in the ensemble. I'm not sure I'm thrilled about breaking up the band. I think I'd prefer them as guest stars.
Cho leading a series that just so happens to be called Excelsior would be fun. So long as it isn't hellbent on getting things 'right' and, again, just so happens to be based on that ship. Otherwise, I agree with you... and even then, breaking up the band might just be a bad, bad idea.

4. Adapting Star Trek to a cable audience, now here is where things get tricky. There will need to be more sex (does not need to be particularly graphic) and violence (this is where things can and should be significantly more graphic - Starfleet is a dangerous job). No swearing, simply because swearing has vanished from humanity's lexicon by the 23rd C. If the series is set in the 22nd C, I guess the language can be saltier.

The bigger issue than sex, violence and swearing is matching the sanitized Star Trek style with the more sophisticated expectations of the cable audience, which has become accustomed to seeing antiheroes as main characters. I can't envision anyone remotely like Dexter Morgan or Walter White in Starfleet. Raylan Givens of Justified - maaaaybe. If Starfleet were a little asleep at the switch when they let him through the psychological screening. Yeah I could see that happening.

It would be tempting to think about what might happen if a guy like that got command of a big, dangerous starship, and was crafty enough to never let the bureaucrats back home realize what a loose cannon he was by always toeing the Starfleet party line in public.
Following you and agreeing with you so far.

I'm envisioning Sisko on steroids.
Oh my goodness! But Brooks was already on something for a few of his episodes!

If he were a charismatic leader, he could get his crew on his side by rationalizing everything he does, which would never be blatantly "wrong." It would be easy for the writers to create one tricky, ambiguous situation after another.
A modern take on the space cowboy, then. Almost a contemporary Kirk, really. This could be a big seller.

Just refrain from the usual routine of writing the story to let the noble Starfleet captain avoid having to choose between Bad and Worse. Replace it with a cosmos in which you could never see a Picard type lecturing the Obviously Wrong Aliens of the Week and then flying away, secure in his moral uprightness. That silly, superficial aspect of Star Trek does not fit cable at all. It would have to be completely excised, and good riddance.
To be fair, there were times when Picard himself doubted his preaching. And in some cases he even continued to do so well into the staff roll.

But... yes, I agree. Down with the cleanliness of it.

You'll step on a few toes, both the fanboys who define the franchise solely by the sanitized standards of network TV, where Star Trek can no longer exist, and the cable audience who will think a story about an idealistic future is always going to be too hokey for their oh so jaded tastes. But there will be plenty of people in the middle who might love a show like that.
Like me and a bunch of other people I know.

Another way to go is to keep the noble, upstanding Starfleet captain and throw a lot of horrible shit at him. Now I'm thinking of a different southern sheriff: Rick Grimes of The Walking Dead. He's straight-up Starfleet material, but the show keeps the gritty cable approach by having a horrific situation that creates more than enough drama.

This scenario would fit best in the 25th C or beyond, so that we could have an unprecedented catastrophe that occurs outside the established timeline. The Borg would be a tempting stand-in for the zombies, as long as they are treated with more respect than they were on VOY. Or, the threat could be something else.

You could have a BSG-style scenario with a Starfleet captain picking up survivors of some disaster, maybe a war breaks out and they're on the wrong side of the fighting. Or, one (or more) vessels blunder into a parallel universe that is significantly nastier than the MU (I'm thinking The Mist now).
This is actually eerily similar to a pseudo-pitch I've long since brewed in the backwaters of my brain. Startlingly so. The straight-edge soldier who believes in absolute truth and the deeper meaning of his Starfleet uniform. Thrust into a grim situation, doing his or her damnedest to uphold the letter of Federation law but in many cases losing that personal war. A decent idea.

5. Business issues: a glitzy space opera is going to be pricey on TV, but if we can have a fancy show about dinosaurs premiering on FOX, I don't see why space opera is outside any potential budget. Star Trek is a well known international brand name and sci fi TV does well overseas, which suggests the possibility of co-financing with an overseas partner that expects to do very well with a new Star Trek series.
If only space operas performed as relatively well here in the United States as they did in countries even so close as Canada. You know, even SGU (insert 'ick' here) did pretty well up there.

Showtime might appreciate the unique ability of the Star Trek brand to attract new subscribers. There are few brands out there that would have more ability to get large numbers of fans to pay $20/month, even in this economy.
Only downside here is an argument that you yourself have imprinted upon me: you've gotta make sure the series is something Showtime thinks its audience is going to buy and the one (big) problem they might run into here is that the franchise is associated with networks people don't have to pay extra for.

That said, I'm convinced a modern enough spell on the ol' formula would go a long way toward convincing Showtime. And convincing subscribers, both existing and the all-important potential.
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Old September 6 2011, 10:16 PM   #55
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

Oh no, my outlines have become infamous!

Yeah, since I didn't watch the whole series, I'm probably underestimating the degree to which TNG did the space cop/diplomat thing - which is a point in its favor. Maybe the lack of the space cop/diplomat element contributed to the post-TNG ratings fall-off? (Not that the CW would have been interested in that anyway.)

This is the biggest conundrum that I see in getting Star Trek to fit into the cable mold:

The straight-edge soldier who believes in absolute truth and the deeper meaning of his Starfleet uniform. Thrust into a grim situation, doing his or her damnedest to uphold the letter of Federation law but in many cases losing that personal war. A decent idea.
Just how much of a Dudley Dooright character will cable tolerate? Just how much shades-of-greyism can Star Trek handle? The two have to meet in the middle. One way to do this is to give Captain Dooright a psychological flaw that makes him just a little dangerous and self-destructive, enough that he can fit in with cable's cavalcade of anti-hero lead characters but not so much that it's implausible Starfleet wouldn't notice, or to make the audience roll their eyes at a character who is interfering with their straightforward power fantasy. (Psychological quirks can make characters seem pathetic and taken too far, gets you into angsty territory that will definitely turn off the male audience.)
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Old September 6 2011, 10:23 PM   #56
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Just how much of a Dudley Dooright character will cable tolerate? Just how much shades-of-greyism can Star Trek handle? The two have to meet in the middle. One way to do this is to give Captain Dooright a psychological flaw that makes him just a little dangerous and self-destructive, enough that he can fit in with cable's cavalcade of anti-hero lead characters but not so much that it's implausible Starfleet wouldn't notice.
Hm, now you've got me doing precisely what I'd been avoiding: brainstorming exact pieces of a pitch as opposed to a broad outline.

Something that would cater to cable's formerly-nonconformist character model mentality while believably keeping the guy in Starfleet. Oh, man. Maybe... something happened to his leg? Don't tell me that's taken? (And on network television at that. Geez.)

It's this sort of thing that takes me back to Sisko and his (for the time) relatively edgy character. That man would break a few rules to catch a criminal and he'd be able to live with himself at that.

Blending a Sisko-like character into a world gone mad should be fun and potentially suitable to cable television. By conventional Trekkian standards he was at times dangerously obsessive and bent the rules while serving in an environment that strove to uphold them. Intensify that and then apply it to something more inherently hostile?
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Old September 6 2011, 10:56 PM   #57
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

The way I figure, you should stick with one of these two options (outlined for your convenience).

1. Raylan Givens, Justified - psychologically screwed up anti-hero in relatively normal environment (well, normal for Kentucky).

2. Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead - psychologically stable Dudley Dooright hero in an insanely fucked up environment.

So, are we talking about a TOS-style normal-for-Kentucky galaxy where the Romulans and Klingons and space amoebas make the usual amount of trouble but nothing Starfleet can't handle, or is this going to be a catastrophic Borg-take-over-the-universe situation that we usually see only in alt-universe and time-travel scenarios?
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Old September 7 2011, 01:04 AM   #58
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

I'll sleep on it and get back to you with which option I feel would be more appealing in terms of the raw ratings. What do you think? I could see the justification for either. nuBSG did OK for a while without the familiar brand name founded on the premise of a post-apocalyptic space opera.

But at a certain point the hardcore fans do need to be counted -- they're out there, there are an appreciable number of them and their internet word-of-mouth couldd be vital to the show's success. And if a lot of them aren't crazy about something that grim it could be bad.
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Old September 7 2011, 09:46 PM   #59
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Re-boot ENTERPRISE?

I'd opt for Raylan Givens/Justified because it's easier to maintain a "normal" milieu and focus on the main character as the source of drama over several seasons, vs trying to keep up a turbocharged level of situational drama a la The Walking Dead (which has only had six episodes so far, so it's still anyone's guess how long they can sustain that show.) Zombies are basically just like the Borg, and look at how easy it was for the Borg to become jokes through overuse.

The Justified approach doesn't need to be anything nearly as grim as nBSG. I think it would appeal to most existing fans. Of course there will always be people who are miffed because the show doesn't include X, and without X, it's not Star Trek.
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