Earth based Trek show

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by theARE, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. theARE

    theARE Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    There is very little SciFi on TV these days.
    TV stations seem reluctant to invest in CGI heavy shows that are expensive to produce.

    In that climate, I think a more Earth based focus would work well and lower production costs.

    What I'm thinking of is a sort of a Federation "West Wing" but with 2 focuses - the Office of the President and Starfleet Command.
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    We might occasionally see some space based stuff - some incident or battle that kicks off a new storyline or shows the result of another.

    The President Office stuff would mostly focus on diplomacy and the Starfleet command thread on operational matters.

    Stories would sometimes cross over and intersect, but not always.

    Characters though would interact - head of Starfleet briefing the President etc

    There would be alien Ambassadors, political campaigns, interaction with media, maybe even a bit of family life of some of the character touched on.

    Events on the frontier would often drive the story though we might not see those events.

    Not sure about timeframe - maybe between Undiscovered Country and TNG as that seems like an intriguing time line. Relations with the Klingons still being fragile - the Federation still helping to restore Qo'noS (maybe at the expense of existing Federation members), why the Romulans cut off contact with other species (prior to TNG:Neutral Zone), terrorist groups etc etc

    I think a series similar to that could
    a)be pretty good
    b)shed some light on parts of the Star Trek universe we've only ever glimpsed
    c) have a realistic chance of being commissioned in today's TV climate

    Thoughts?
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  2. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  3. Captain Picard.

    Captain Picard. Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    They would have to call it earth Trek.
     
  4. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Bunch of people on Earth talking about exciting stuff going on elsewhere in the Galaxy instead of participating in it? Can't say I'm interested in that...
     
  5. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The problem with ideas like this is that what people want from Star Trek isn't the West Wing. If that's what they want, why bother with the sci fi angle? Why not watch House of Cards instead?

    Space opera done right is expensive and appeals to a niche audience. That's just a given. The right approach is to find creative ways to address both the budget and audience problem, while still allowing Star Trek to have the eye candy that is expected of the genre.

    One way to address the budget problem is by getting additional revenue sources. CBS is funding Under the Dome (expensive sci fi series this summer) by sharing costs with Amazon Prime, which will have streaming rights.

    This also helps expand the audience for the show. CBS itself isn't really the right target market for any sci fi series (even an Earth based one) as CBS's track record of failures like Jericho has demonstrated. But add in streaming customers, and you've boosted the audience. Plus I'll bet anyone who's already streaming TV is more likely to be a sci fi fan vs. the average CBS viewer.

    This is a business problem, not a creative problem. The solution will not be to change Star Trek beyond all recognition but to figure out how the changes in the TV industry can be used to its benefit.
     
  6. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    I'm not sure setting it on Earth would really lower the costs. You're talking about a show set hundreds of years in the Future, so, you still need to "futurize" the outside and an office stage/set with futuristic looking adornments isn't going to be noticably any cheaper than a Ship's Bridge stage/set
     
  7. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Set it on a future Federation colony that is very Earthlike in appearance, where Starfleet has to provide the muscle to protect colonists vs a terrifying alien species that goes largely unseen.

    Not hugely original to say the least, but the best way to attract the largest audience - horror fans, action fans, not just Trekkies - while keeping costs down. And Star Trek was based on Forbidden Planet once upon a time, right? Time to really get back to roots!
     
  8. theARE

    theARE Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    You'd need some establishing shots in CGI sure, but they could be stock and regularly reused. But something like a window overlooking a park is a window overlooking a park - you'd just need the odd extra in a Starfleet uniform walking past to make it look authentic.

    Yes you'd need standing sets - but that's true of any series - but you could combine that with filming in real "future-looking" buildings. Doctor Who for example has used inside of real buildings like The Millennium Centre and the Senedd in Cardiff for future building type filming and was really effective.

    You wouldn't continuously need a lot of new CGI stuff all the time like you do on a space show where they visit a new planet or encounter a new type of ship every week.

    Some of the political stuff in the president's office in the Undiscovered Country was intriguing, as was some of the Earth based DS9 episodes (like Homefront) showing Starfleet operations on Earth.

    Earlier comment about Earth Trek - true, you wouldn't want to mis-sell it - maybe call it "Federation:For the Flag" , "Federation: Highest Duty" , "Federation:To Serve and Protect", "Federation:Prime Directive" or something like that.

    Yes it would be a very different show - but it would be something new set in the Trek universe that shed a new light on stuff we've only glimpsed at before.
     
  9. Shazam!

    Shazam! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Star Trek is about flying around in space and encountering weird shit. Dudes stood around on Earth chatting is the absolute opposite of everything I want to see in Trek.
     
  10. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Like the part where the president abandons two Starfleet officers because of political expediency? Makes me grit my teeth every time I see it.

    A show that explores the inner working of the future Federation society would be interest. The vast differences of the people, the diversity of the hundreds of species. Traveling to hundreds of unique alien worlds.

    But a show mostly about the politics of the Federation? No thank you. That could a best be a rare episode, or something small going on in the background that we never really see.

    I certainly wouldn't want a Federation government show, where the government is basically a Earth/Human style government structure.

    theAre, now if you could depict a truly non-Human government, something that operate absolutely nothing like ours, that might be something I would be interested in watching. But even there it couldn't be the shows main/sole focus.

    :)
     
  11. theARE

    theARE Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think many would disagree - Trek at it's heart, good Trek anyway is using "aliens" to hold a mirror up to real world issues. Trek at it's best is stuff like "Let that be your last Battlefield".

    Earth is the most important diplomatic hub in the Federation - it's at the very heart of everything.

    All the alien issues, the morality plays can come to you as much as you can go to them.

    What's the real world issues we're dealing with today? Degrading Living Standards, Terrorism, Rogue states with super weapons, failed states and political vacuums leading to extremism.

    So much stuff that can be tackled in a sci-fi context
     
  12. anh165

    anh165 Commander Red Shirt

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    Sounds like a real self-indulgence bore fest. A Trek themed politics drama zzzzzzzz

    By season 2 it would have bombed so hard that they would have to resort to writing in an overused story line like another Borg cube/Romulan renegade with a WMD to try and sex it up.
     
  13. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    I don't see it working, some of the elements that politically based shows deal with have all been resoved by Trek's time so you lose a lot of that story telling.

    Star Trek can work on the small scree, remember it was off the air for some 18 years as a live action TV show (DW was off the air for 16 years). When these shows returned after their long absence the audiance was there. So who knows perhaps in 2020 the TV audiance will be there again and high enough to off set costs. Eventually what ST had left towards the end of ENT run was it's core audiance, it had lost the mainstream audiance, who had gone on to watch other shows, maybe even other Sci-Fi shows on rival networks. Or the audiance had seen a decline in quality and switched off, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

    So whilst we as Trek fans want a new show, give it a few more years and more of the general audiance might be saying you remember that TNG show wouldn't it be nice if they did something similir again?

    ANother way for CBS to gow ith is the go-production method with another TV network say Sky in the UK.
     
  14. theARE

    theARE Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That's true of any show - it's just lazy writing. I do think this sort of thing would need to be a limited run though - and be well planned out in advance.

    I'd be aiming for a 10 episode season and have the broad outlines of a 3 season run in place.

    10 episodes a season is enough to both have interesting stand alone stories and to put threads in place for a big end of season storyline climax. The events off S1 would be felt in S2 but would also mingle with a new storyline and then the driving storyline of S1 and S2 would intersect for a big resolution in S3.

    Keep it small, smart, well written and well plotted. Have a definitive goal in sight. Tell the story you want to tell and then leave it be.

    If it's successful you could pick up the threads in a follow on series and take it in a different direction
     
  15. Konata Izumi

    Konata Izumi Commander Red Shirt

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    It could be quite similar to DS9 and that's liked.

    Could be cool too if they focused on other species' governments too, intercutting.

    There's always been politics. They could do so much more with the weird shit though, than they already have. No limits there really.
     
  16. theARE

    theARE Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    There would definitely be a lot of alien government things going along - at least in the form of ambassadors, how they interact, secret meetings and plotting between them etc.

    One thread that could be picked up in the time period I mentioned earlier would be the Federation's resources being stretched in helping the Klingons rebuild Qo'noS explosion. There might be a group of planets along the Klingon border who had only recently joined the Federation after being occupied off and on by Klingons for generations.

    They joined the Federation for safety and security and to help their worlds rebuild only now to find Federation resources now being channelled to the Klingons instead.

    They might start casting about - talking of succeeding from the Federation - maybe reports of them having secret meetings with Romulan representatives
     
  17. anh165

    anh165 Commander Red Shirt

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    The concept is all very insular and limited from the get go - it sounds like a political documentary and yet fictional.

    I seriously doubt anyone wants to watch characters with lumps on their heads moaning and snarling about territory desputes or securing interstellar aid every episode in some futuristic UPF office. ZZZZZZZ
     
  18. Konata Izumi

    Konata Izumi Commander Red Shirt

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    ^I'm thinking of Breaking Bad. Lots of tension. Replace drugs & thugs with space & aliens. Always on the edge of catastrophe.
     
  19. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Earth is paradise. That'd be very dull, IMO.

    A planet-based series would be different, but go for something more like a colony on the outer edge of the Federation, either into the unknown or just a stone throw away from a hostile species. Give them a Starfleet field office to monitor the region, protect and serve, etc.

    The colony could either be a brand new one, so you have the whole situation of getting things established and building a new home, or (if you wanted to throw in an element of mystery and danger) a planet that has been resettled, after the original colony disappeared--a bit obvious probably, but it does set up a long-term plot element to work with.
     
  20. Worf'sParmach

    Worf'sParmach Commander Red Shirt

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    How good or bad a show like this would be depends entirely on the characters. When DS9 came out people had the same reactions, who wants to see Starfleet Officers stuck on a space station? But the excellent writing and well developed characters made it work.

    I've always thought that the idea that Earth became a perfect paradise handi-capped Star Trek. Because, as Bry Sinclair said, paradise is very dull. It's also very unrealistic, IMO. So it pretty much limited the number of good Earth-based plots you could have unless you went back in time to when Earth wasn't perfect, in other words, when Earth was interesting.