Anthology Series

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by yousirname, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    Once the Abrams trilogy is completed, there will probably eventually be a new TV show. But because the movie actors will almost certainly not sign up for a series with the same cast, it's likely the series won't follow Kirk and Co.

    The temptation would be to continue in the new universe with a different crew, but I feel as though that's more or less played out. What I'd like to see is an anthology series, akin to The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, with 2-or-3-part episode arcs following different characters and telling different stories each time.

    The attractive parts about this are the freedom it allows. We can follow Starfleet characters in one story, non-Starfleet characters who are still part of the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Ferengi, Andorans, Borg, Dominion, completely new races, whoever. We can move from era to era - though realistically any new series will, like the new movies, seek a broader audience than the hardcore fanbase that cares deeply about such matters.

    We can tell different kinds of stories - adventure, comedy, horror, more classical SF-inclined, possibly even a romance story; anything goes. Obviously the Prime TV shows did this, but there was a certain amount of shoe-horning involved, where characters who we might have seen last week in a tense stand-off are suddenly in a comedic situation - this would allow us to avoid that dissonance.

    The problematic areas are twofold as I see it. Firstly there's the budget. The Prime TV shows were expensive enough, and they had the benefit of constantly re-using sets, costumes and effects shots. So it might be that an anthology show, without those benefits, would be prohibitively expensive.

    More broadly, as of late the trend in television is towards greater serialisation, towards season-long, character-driven arcs rather than the episodic fare of old. This might be seen as a step backwards.

    But if it could work, I think it could be an amazing new direction for Star Trek on TV. It's a bold step and one that would likely attract a lot of disdain from the old guard even before shooting began, but I also think that done right, it could really be both excellent Trek and very successful.

    Does something along those lines seem appealing to anyone else?
     
  2. Konata Izumi

    Konata Izumi Commander Red Shirt

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    Sounds good, but finding new main actors, and ideas for new main characters, every few episodes might be too much of a challenge to bother with.
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well there is no reason, why you couldn't build a modular bridge, which could be reconfigured to show different designs of bridges. Corridoor sets have been re-used plenty of times for different ships.

    So set issue issues aren't really the problem. Changing actors every few episodes could be cheaper in the long-term as a series progress through seasons actors salaries can increase.
     
  4. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    There would be a trade-off between the variety offered and the depth of characterisation previous TV incarnations have had, for sure. But we know from TZ and TOL that it at least can be done.

    That's the kind of thing that would probably be necessary alright. And yeah, I'd imagine guest actors on anthology shows cost something more comparable to a heavily-featured guest star than the per-episode rate of a main actor in a normal series.
     
  5. AviTrek

    AviTrek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    What's an example of an anthology series that is successful on TV today? That will be the first question CBS asks when someone pitches an anthology show. If you don't have an answer to that, then nothing else matters.

    Oh, and you can find a lot more examples of characters being recast/shows rebooted than you can anthology shows.
     
  6. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    Season 2 of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror starts next week. Only three episodes a season, but that's more about British budgets than anything else, I think. Recently (though not right now, admittedly) Masters of Horror was pretty good, Masters of SF, less so.

    The mere fact that both TZ and TOL were renewed more than once shows the format has enduring appeal.

    No doubt, but I don't see what that establishes. You can find a lot more examples of shows being cancelled permanently than recast or rebooted. That's not an argument against rebooting.
     
  7. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sounds like an interesting idea, getting into different perspectives and characters would be very interesting. It could an anthology all based around a single event, with each group/crew/etc bringing something new to the plot over the weeks.
     
  8. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    How do you know that? While it's probably true that Pine, Quinto, Urban et. al won't do a TV series, there's no reason why CBS couldn't just recast the TOS roles yet again. The actors in the M*A*S*H movie didn't reprise their roles for the TV series (with the exception of Gary Burghoff). The same roles were recast, to hugely successful effect.

    CBS will retain all the sets, props, costumes, CGI models, etc. from the movies, so they wouldn't have to spend money on those. By recasting the iconic TOS roles again, they wouldn't have to pay movie-star salaries to the new actors. That's the way I'd do it if I were CBS.
     
  9. AviTrek

    AviTrek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CBS doesn't care about British shows. They make their money in the US. Masters of SF was burned off in the summer and was not renewed for a 2nd season. Masters of Horror got a 2nd season, but that was it. TZ and TOL aired 50 years ago. Unless you show CBS something that works today they won't care about a format that was popular in the past. TNG aired longer in the 80s/90s in syndication than TZ did in the 60s. That doesn't mean CBS is going to put a show into first run syndication today either.
     
  10. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I would have jumped on the "anthology shows just aren't successful" bandwagon, mostly because I hate the idea and I think most fans are completely delusional when it comes to coming up with new Trek show ideas, but then I remembered that "The Clone Wars" is an anthology show.
     
  11. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    A new crew in the JJverse is not played out. We haven't seen a TV series like that. Plus, why assume the audience for that series would be identical to the audience for previous Star Trek series? There would be a lot of new viewers brought in by the movies.

    Wherever the series airs, there would be an existing audience that might check out the series. I would expect the series to be crafted somewhat to the expectations of that audience. A Star Trek series on Netflix would be different from one on Showtime, the CW or The Cartoon Network.

    The next Star Trek series is likely to be a sizable departure from the past style of storytelling, but an anthology format isn't likely because where's the audience for that format? More likely the departure will be something like, a more adult approach (Showtime), animated series for kids (Cartoon Network) or teen angst (CW).

    We have different definitions of anthology then. To me, anthology is The Twilight Zone, where each episode features characters for that one episode and they never return. TCW is a series with a large recurring cast, and not all characters can be crammed into every episode, so the focus moves around. That's not as radical as a true anthology format, which doesn't give the audience recurring characters to follow.

    Right - by far the most relevant thing about Star Trek today is the movies being successful, and even that doesn't translate directly to TV, which is a very different business than movies. CBS is looking around and seeing zero successful space opera series in the market right now, and no successful anthology series either. Star Trek already has one strike against it, why make it two?

    That's the easy part, finding writers with creative ideas and good actors who can fill roles well. The hard part is all on the business side. Why should CBS bother with an expensive type of series that has only a niche audience? Another hold-up is that somebody with credibility needs to champion this idea so CBS will even listen. Hopefully when Bob Orci's schedule is free, he can put some effort into it, it sounds like he wants to.

    True, but the reason Abrams recast the TOS roles was to use famous names to revive the Star Trek brand. Now that that's been accomplished, there's less need to use the whole team of Kirk, Spock, etc. Maybe they could bring over one character from the movies -Quinto and Cho both do TV - and build a series out from there.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  12. Konata Izumi

    Konata Izumi Commander Red Shirt

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    The same ones who watch these new Star Trek movies without really knowing anything about the characters before. Movie length stories. They can make it look the same as the movies except it's just people walking around urgently.
     
  13. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Alright, I can live with that.
     
  14. Konata Izumi

    Konata Izumi Commander Red Shirt

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    If there's still recurring characters and continuing stories, it would have both the serial nature of what they like doing now in tv, and room for whatever stories they come up with at any time.
     
  15. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Maybe they could do an anthology show and the twist is that "It wasn't an anthology show", but a set-up for a serial TV series that kicks in the second season.
     
  16. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Movies and TV are such different animals, I don't think you can take what works in movies and port it over to TV, or vice versa.

    Movies ask people to pay $12 or so for 2 hours of zap-bang, visually stunning entertainment. (Leaving aside the Oscar-bait sort of "quality" movie, since Star Trek isn't in that category.)

    Would people pay $6 an hour for a TV series? That's way off the scale of even premium cable, I'm sure for their $100 or whatever people pay now (I cut the cord, couldn't handle the price increases every five seconds), people expect more than 16 hours of entertainment, which works out to just over half an hour a day. Anyone who watches TV that little should cut the cord already!

    If millions of people were willing to pay that much more for TV, then maybe TV would become wealthy enough that they could afford the amazing shit that would justify the price tag. And you also have to factor in sports, which sucks up an inordinate proportion of cable bills. So the costs for movie-style fiction made for TV would drive up costs even beyond what you'd expect, because now it's costly sports plus costly original movies, bwah!

    But as it is, people go to movie theaters if they want the amazing visual action stuff right after it premieres, and expect TV to deliver something entirely different for a much cheaper price, in one of the formats they are used to - broadcast comedy, police procedural, snob-appeal cable drama, etc. Star Trek's dilemma is that it doesn't slot neatly into any of those formats. It's a square peg that needs to be pounded into a round hole, for instance by being animated for kids = The Cartoon Network.
     
  17. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm just establishing that the format isn't dead. And US TV networks certainly remake a fair number of British shows (eg, The Office), so clearly some attention is paid to happenings in that market.

    TZ aired 50 years ago... and 30 years ago, and then ten years ago. TOL aired 50 years ago, and 20 years ago, and coming soon, apparently.

    Well, you're right, I don't know that. M*A*S*H is one example of a hugely successful movie-to-TV transition with new actors. I think with the ubiquity of home video these days, that would be a lot more jarring to modern audiences. But it's certainly possible there'd be a new TOS series with different actors.

    Maybe the innate conservatism of bean-counters makes it unfeasible, but I'd certainly prefer that the next TV incarnation be something new. I'd prefer something completely new to a different crew in the same universe, and I'd prefer that to a TOS Reboot Mark 3.

    Someone mentioned the idea would need to be championed by a reputable name with established credentials. I suppose that's probably true.
     
  18. Dix

    Dix Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    The Apple Bridge and the brewery-engineering? Really?
     
  19. BrEnDoN

    BrEnDoN Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I'm pretty sure that's the property of Paramount Pictures. I'm sure that because of CBS's history with Paramount Pictures, they could probably get a pretty good deal to use them, but they wouldn't be free...
     
  20. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    CBS might adopt the aesthetics of the Abrams movies to some extent, as their budget allows. The art direction work has been done so why reinvent the wheel? A 23rd C TV series by CBS would have the same dilemma Abrams faced, namely that the original TOS aesthetics would look ridiculous nowadays. They either imitate Abrams or they come up with their own solution (and their own breweries because on a TV budget, it ain't gonna look better.)
     

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