10 Things a New Trek Series Must Have

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by bullethead, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Nobody needs to worry about the next series following any old formats that were tethered to the broadcast formula, because space opera can't survive on broadcast (and the survival of broadcast itself is in doubt - unless it evolves into some kind of live-events forum, of ad-zapping-proof sports, news and reality game shows).

    Think of Star Trek as a species whose ecosystem has been destroyed by climate change or a comet. The species is doomed, unless it evolves to thrive in one of the new ecosystems that have emerged. 22 episodes a year is an old-ecosystem quality. Episodic structure is another. Fortunately we're talking about an unusually adaptable species.

    The next series will be a big departure from what we've known before, more different from the previous series than they are from each other. You can make educated guesses about what form it will take simply by looking around at the ecosystems where it might thrive and seeing what already thrives there, such as the complex political machinations of Game of Thrones or House of Cards, or the gruesome violence of The Walking Dead.

    And then there's the issue of not expecting the species to evolve from a bird into a tree. Star Trek does have certain core values it needs to hang onto. Not going hard-R is one of them. Having some sort of spaceship travel element is another. Starfleet as the central principle is a given.

    These are not particularly limiting stipulations. We still have at least two centuries and a whole galaxy to play in and I guess technically two different realities as well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  2. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This simply isn't true. CBS will want to sell the show in syndication markets the world over whenever the exclusive period ends for whoever shows it in first run.
     
  3. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    For it to survive it has to survive despite the name Star Trek which means a totally new take on the premise that can stand on it's own and something more localized like a central mystery that is attracting all other races to it, whatever it is. It could be V'ger reappearing or whatever but it should be stationary in space whether near Earth and threatening or not. It would help if it was threatening but it's necessary to know exactly what it is and may be better to keep vague and complex and lead to bigger questions. Not a puzzle but something unsolvable and incomprehensible.
     
  4. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^Nonsense. All a new Trek show needs to survive is to be popular with CBS's target audience. None of what you wrote has any bearing on that.
     
  5. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No, no holographic broadcasts, but an appearance on the show in the background, much like what happened on an episode of Mannix (Neil Diamond guest-starred as a musician playing in a club that Joe Mannix is in) on on Buffy The Vampire Slayer (the band that plays every time the main characters are at the Bronze) or on Hawaii Five-O and Miami Vice (a particular song is played that sets the mood for the episode [this would have worked for DS9, especially at the end of the episode where Worf loses Kurn for good.])


    Not everybody wants to see a band on a holodeck-many would like to hear and see the band/singer in person. Featuring music in an episode isn't as hard as the article makes it, especially considering how Miami Vice, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Hawaii Five-O and the 2009 movie were able to do it.
     
  6. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    That would be wonderful if it wasn't impossible, so which one is more nonsensical? The name Star Trek to them is meaningless. It has to be reinvented as something they are familiar with that was successful on tv and so it should have a different approach and a revamped premise that is more specific than boldly going nowhere. It has to have a hook like any great song. A sci-fi tv show has to be superimposed over Trek to make it work for them else it's more of the same craziness that failed before.
     
  7. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    The last thing any Trekker would want is a new Trek series on CBS itself (or on any other broadcast network for that matter). Not only would it be gone in less than a season, it'd be the last Trek series for a very long time afterward, IMO.

    But then, the odds of it being on CBS itself are likely somewhere between slim and zero anyway...
     
  8. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Is that "all"? How could they manage that? Here's the puzzle:

    CBS's target audience watches procedurals, mass-market comedy and reality TV. They show little interest in sci fi of any sort, much less the off-putting type of sci fi that space opera represents. The last sci fi series of any type on CBS was Jericho. If that can't survive, then how can Star Trek?

    Another key factor: CBS doesn't greenlight as many new shows as the other networks because it doesn't have to. It has a deep bench of shows that are successful year after year. So that means fewer slots for any show, and a tougher road for any new pilot, even the ones that are procedurals or mass market sitcoms.

    Here's what I mean: look at all the CBS series that have been renewed. Go look at the cancellation bear lists for the other networks to see just how healthy CBS really is.

    Vegas a rare failure for them, going to be cancelled. That was a pretty minor departure from the CBS formula - a cop show, just set in the 60s instead of modern day. If the CBS audience will reject that, that's not a good sign for their ability to accept something radically different.

    Vegas is getting 7.6M viewers now (after debuting last fall at twice that). Can you envision any space opera series getting even that large of an audience on any network or cable channel? I can't. Factoring in all the people who won't watch green people on their TV sets under any circumstances, all the competition shows face nowadays, and piracy, I'd say 3-4M would be a healthy number. Twice that level isn't survival level on CBS.

    Star Trek and CBS don't fit, at least not without some kind of creative approach like they're taking with Under the Dome. If NBC owned the rights, then maybe broadcast would still be a possibility, simply due to NBC's sheer desperation, but CBS is not desperate enough to waste a prime timeslot on a show that they know won't deliver the ratings they expect.

    And I wouldn't hold out much hope for syndication being a factor. The syndication market has changed greatly since the days of TNG. The global audience for Star Trek is definitely one of its strong suits, and Abrams' movies are really helping in that regards, but how to capitalize on that audience in today's environment is another thing entirely.

    One day, the changes we're seeing in TV distribution will cut out the middle men and make reaching a worldwide audience a wonderfully efficient thing, making expensive niche shows more viable (because of the sheer number of the potential audience and the cheapness of reaching them) but that's still in the future.

    Star Trek is also a bad fit for the CW (unless its changed in ways we don't want to contemplate) and Showtime (a name brand associated with free TV is a bad fit for premium cable). That gives Star Trek nowhere to live in the CBS ecosystem.

    The way out of this is for someone with real clout to champion a series and cut through all the negatives that are working against it, and that means Roberto Orci - associated with recent franchise success. And Les Moonves needs to be willing to take a real leap of faith.

    That's where CBS's secure position might help - they are secure enough now that they can afford to take risks that will point the way forward, when their current audience finally ages right out of that 18-49 demo and CBS faces the same armegeddon their competitors face now.
     
  9. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Not really, it's just gone back to the way it was before TNG--dominated by re-runs from existing shows as well as daytime fare. There really isn't a necessity for first-run dramas due to the influx of shows airing on cable (it won't be too long before we'll see re-runs of current shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones popping up in syndication).

    But a new Trek series would have a better chance in being sold in syndication than something new no one's ever heard of before due to name recognition alone.
     
  10. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It doesn't have to be "re-invented," and it doesn't have to rely on heavy sci-fi overtones. TOS didn't rely on that, and neither did Abrams's movie. It relied on a likeable cast that the audience could relate to, and an interesting story.

    While I agree that a new show probably wouldn't be on CBS, I don't agree that if it were, it would die the quick death you think it would. Again, it's all in how it's presented to the audience.

    I said that that's what a new Trek show needs. I didn't say that CBS was going to produce one irregardless of my opinion. However, comparing Jericho to a new Trek series is like comparing apples to oranges. Don't assume that Trek has no future just because a completely unrelated sci-fi show wasn't popular.
     
  11. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    That's really overestimating Trek's popularity. It doesn't really matter how it's presented to the audience if the audience isn't big enough to justify its price tag on CBS. The ideal Trek show there would have to be something done on the budget of the shows already there and appeals to far more than just Trekkies.
     
  12. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, the audience for Abrams's last film was phenomenal for a Star Trek production, so that's proof there's a large audience for it if it's done correctly.
     
  13. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's proof there's an audience for Star Trek as a big-budget tentpole movie. That's an entirely different business from TV.

    Notice how Abrams is shoehorning the franchise into the tentpole movie mold - heavy on visuals and action, not so heavy on characterization or dialogue or worrying about niceties of continuity that the mass audience wouldn't appreciate anyway.

    That's what would happen to a Star Trek TV show, except of course the rules would be all different. It would require more continuity, more focus on character and complex plotting, no concern for the old structures of broadcast TV (episodic format, sanitized for the FCC).

    In both cases, we're seeing a break with the past that is mandated by business realities. In the case of TV, the break will be bigger.

    The original-series syndication market is a very unlikely home for Star Trek. Shows made for syndication tend to be reality TV and game shows, Wheel of Fortune and Judge Judy.

    Star Trek
    would be a much better fit with Amazon or Netflix. I could see them being motivated to spend the money required to create a series because they are trying to establish themselves for the future. Even if they weren't guaranteed a profit right now, it's an investment. Syndication isn't an investment, it's opportunistic so what's the motive to do anything but the cheapest possible show?
     
  14. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Those are two entirely separate things. Aside from one being released only once every few years and the other a weekly series, movie box office results do not translate into TV ratings. If it did, then Trek would still be on the air today.
    Pretty much how things were in 1986.
     
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's a five-hundred channel universe and everyone is desperate for programming. I imagine if there's a new Trek series, it'll show up where people least expect it.
     
  16. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    What's the old saying--"500 channels and there's still nothing on?"
     
  17. CDR6

    CDR6 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Not to put too fine a point on it, but if what you say is anywhere true (and it might be)...WTF did CBS buy Star for in the first place. (leaves me scratching my head)

    Regards,
    Chuck
     
  18. CDR6

    CDR6 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Not to put too fine a point on it, but if what you all say is anywhere true (and it might be)...WTF did CBS buy Star Trek for in the first place. (leaves me scratching my head):shrug:

    Regards,
    Chuck
     
  19. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    They didn't buy it, it was given to them when CBS and Viacom split up in 2006 and divided Paramount between them. CBS got the television division (which included ownership of Trek), while Viacom retained the movie division.

    As the owner of Trek, CBS is well within their rights to use the property in whatever manner they see fit, including their present manner as something they can license out to others (such as Paramount) and make money that way without having to invest millions into a new TV series.
     
  20. CDR6

    CDR6 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Sounds good... (part of the deal I guess) However, they must see something in the franchise worth hanging on to. I wonder if anybody has offered to buy the "rights" to Star Trek from them?

    Regards,
    Chuck