Exploring a darker theme in a future star trek series

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by EmoBorg, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry, but I think that's one of the worst ideas for a Trek series I've ever heard and I don't think it would ever sell.
     
  2. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, here's the problem with your thesis: BSG hasn't been a huge ratings success and now SyFy seems to be dropping it as a franchise in favor of shows that are more in their USA-lite style.

    I wouldn't use BSG as the template for Star Trek's future success. Instead, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are better inspirations, since those are two of the biggest ratings successes on TV right now, and even though they aren't space-based, they have managed to convince millions of viewers who aren't necessarily genre fans to accept a fantastical premise, and also that sf/f is not incompatible with quality drama for grownups.

    The lesson that those two teach is that Star Trek shouldn't be afraid of complex storylines and characterizations, byzantine politics, adult themes, and mega-violence. In fact, those are the elements that will help it thrive on cable, which is the only place it can thrive anymore.

    The Walking Dead in particular demonstrates that the lead characters do not need to be dark or immoral people. If the plotline puts some kind of extreme pressure on them, they might do sketchy things, or at least talk about doing them. But they need to be free to make moral choices, to pull back from the brink if that makes sense for the story.

    I'd stay away from homosexuality as a topic unless it's cast as a metaphor. Homosexuality in the Federation should be no big deal and therefore can't be the basis of a dramatic conflict. I don't know why the Klingons would get bent out of shape about a gay Klingon, either. As long as he/she is honorable and blahblahblah, it's all good, right?

    As for zombies, that's the Borg. No need for other space zombies, just dust those guys off and treat them with respect this time.

    I agree with C.E. Evans, the 60s were plenty dark. Political assassinations, cities exploding in race riots, lots of bad shit happening.

    The dark/light thing on TV is more a product of how TV is splitting up. You still get the lighter stuff on broadcast - Grimm and Once Upon a Time - and cable skews way darker - GoT, TWD. SyFy is falling on the more broadcasty end of the cable spectrum, along with USA and TNT. On the other end is FX, AMC and the premium cable channels. Don't worry about whether the world is dark or light; look at the individual channel and what kind of audience they're catering to.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  3. FreddyE

    FreddyE Captain Captain

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    Well...how about a series about war between the mirror universe and the normal universe. Told from the mirror universe POV. I think you couldnt get much darker for a trek series as a whole. Not sure if that would sell of course. Or how about this:

    A trek series taking place on two entirely different ships. One ship out exploring, while the other ship is a secret ship working for section 31....for the dark stuff. The actions of both ships influence each other...although they rarely interact directly. Switch between the ships per episode. That way you could have a trek thats darker AND lighter at the same time. And instead of using big season arcs the show should use mini arcs of three or four episodes.

    Dont know if that would sell either. Well..,a way to satisfy boths camps of lighter and darker would have to be found.
     
  4. EmoBorg

    EmoBorg Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    i was just giving examples of conflicted characters on a starship. i was not trying to sell anything. We don't need to follow all my examples and put them on one ship in space.
     
  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Mirror Universe is alright for a bit of a jaunt to see how characters we know and love might have been under different circumstances (and only really works if they are well established to begin with). Not sure a series spent jumping from one to the other would work, plus it could get a little confusing from time to time (not to mention its a bit of a rip off of Fringe :)).

    As for Section 31, I think that they should just be left alone. From what's been seen to date, its not a large organisation and very few people know of it. Also if its looked at in more depth, it'll lose some of the mystery that makes it an interesting concept.
     
  6. EmoBorg

    EmoBorg Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Interesting, sounds like the fringe tv series.
     
  7. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Here are just some random ideas for 'conflicted' characters:

    The Trill Captain is a woman who lived through eight months in a Cardassian POW camp during the war. She saw a lot of her crew killed in front of her, was constantly tortured and abused by the Cardassian warden until breaking point. Though receiving counselling, there are some things she just won't talk about.

    The Human XO who was advanced rapidly up the ranks (some believe too quickly), he now finds himself in his first Command position and must now discover what he's truely made of.

    A Romulan Science Officer, after being abandoned by her people she turned to the UFP and has faced suspicion and discrimination since her first days at the Academy.

    A temporally displaced human man from the 22nd century serves as Chief Engineer. Lost in time in the midst of the war, he is still playing catch up but wants to make himself useful--so he can't dwell on all that he has lost to the past.

    The ship's Andorian Counsellor must help the crew overcome their own trauma and pain from the war, whilst also coming to terms with the loss of his bondmates and offspring.

    Conflicted doesn't have to mean issues between different characters, it can also be an individuals own personal journey that the audience gets emotionally invested in.
     
  8. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I like those ideas.
     
  9. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    BSG actually wasn't successful ratings-wise. it was critically aclaimed, and therefore SyFy stuck with it, despite not getting the ratings they would've like, for the prestige. The current "Lighter" crop of shows SyFy airs now, get better ratings then BSG did, and since TNG still does good ratings in reruns, another series in that light tone on SyFy actually might be quite successful. BSG was definitely very good, but, for me, sometimes it was tough to watch, because it was so weighed down with dreariness, a Trek show, certainly shouldn't be that heavy overall, it should only use darker elements sparingly, when they have something to really say in the story with it.

    I actually agree that, yes, a new Trek with darker elements or episodes or arcs, could be very good, but, as stated, it shouldn't be BSG depressing where you want to slit your wrists. It's totally possible to explore darker elements without weighing the show down as a whole with dreariness. DS9 went to some very dark places, but, it only dipped into that darkness, it didn't wallow in it for 7 straight seasons.

    But, as Temis says, it all depends on who carries it as to what will work. Most importantly is character development and consistency, don't have characters flip flop back and forth each week at the speed of plot, if a character changes (which they should change and grow), there should be real, plot/arc related reasons, it shouldn't just be random due to "shoving the characters into the story you want to tell this week". You should grow the characters to fit your story and you should write the story grow your characters.
     
  10. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Enterprise was just too sanitised in its early episodes. It felt more like TNG and failed to capture the pioneer spirit of the original seties. I agree that nuBSG was too dark overall for ongoing Trek but I also agree that featuring some dark story arcs in Trek is a good thing.

    I aimed a bit darker for my youtube comic set just after the motion picture but largely because I wanted to rip off other franchises and write some amalgam stories. The big inspirations so far have been Alien and Babylon 5 but there are a few more I can molest before I'm done and zombies are definitely on the list!
     
  11. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Trek could be darker if dealing with nonFederation characters like planetary surveyors or smugglers but we'd be heading into Firefly territory.
     
  12. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The issue with Civvie Trek is also that they are limited to what they can do, what jobs will pay off for them. On a big starship there are multiple specialists to cover numerous mission types (diplomacy, research, security, etc).
     
  13. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    Complexity is a tight wire act as it's tough to not do the wrong things sometimes. It's similar to how you treat a woman in some respects.
     
  14. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I could see a new Star Trek series being successful on cable without being as dark as BSG. Just return to the TOS roots, and have a mix of episodes with the crew playing space cop (or maybe space sheriff on the frontier is a better analogy), space soldier (keeping the bad aliens at bay), space diplomat (helping the Federation with its difficulties, sussing out new potential members) plus the personal stories and Threat of the Week. Star Trek has pretty much forgotten the space sheriff type of story since TOS, and I'd like to see them return it to the mix.

    The show would need to be more complex and grownup in storylines, characterization and themes, but that doesn't necessarily mean dark. Optimism is one of the salient features of Star Trek. They just need to avoid anything that smacks of being juvenile or simplistic (such as the sniggering approach to sexuality that VOY and ENT sometimes inflicted on us.)

    What it can't afford to be is Terra Nova. That's a great counter-example for Star Trek - an expensive, SFX-heavy show on broadcast that is too simplistic and not targetted enough at grownup viewers. Falling Skies would be a good tone to try for (with better writing of course.)

    I don't think it's necessary to come up with a premise for the series that's anything other than "Starfleet crew, doing its job." There could be a lot of elements, Section 31, the Mirror Universe, etc - but it would be too limiting to force the show to be only about that. Bring in the full range of everything Star Trek has to offer, and utilize it for intelligent, grownup drama that isn't too dark and depressing.
     
  15. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek has had dark episodes all along. Here are some episodes leaning towards the dark side:

    1. The Man Trap
    2. Charlie X
    3. Where No Man Has Gone Before
    4. Dagger Of The Mind
    5. The Conscience Of The King
    6. Balance Of Terror
    7. A Private Little War
    8. The Paradise Syndrome
    9. And The Children Shall Lead
    10. Whom Gods Destroy
    11. Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
    12. The Mark Of Gideon
    13. All Our Yesterdays
    There are some others that arguably could be included. Perhaps not all of these are uniformly dark; there's a lot of silliness in some of them. There's a minority of the episodes represented here, about 1 in 6, but it's certainly not a tiny minority.
     
  16. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Compare those episodes to any random episode of Deadwood and you'll see what I mean. Broadcast TV in the 60s (or today) wasn't allowed to do dark like cable does dark nowadays, not even remotely close.

    Of course my point is not that Star Trek should be Deadwood. That's exactly what I don't think should, or needs to, happen. DS9 is about the right shade of darkness for Star Trek on cable. But in that context, it will look almost pollyanna-ish in comparison with the other shows on the same channel or just a click away.
     
  17. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No it isn't. We need to get out from under all this "dark and gritty" bullshit.

    And the idea that New Galactica was "true sci-f"i is not only laughable, it's absurd. Not to mention false. It was a over-rated soap opera that was trying (and failing) to be sci-fi. For another Star Trek show to work, it can't be "dark and gritty" because then it wouldn't be Star Trek. It would be a bastardization of Star Trek similar to the way Ron Moore destroyed the Galactica concept.
     
  18. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't know about dark and gritty plot lines and stuff but can any new Star Trek series have occasional appearances by Cosmic Horrors and Eldritch Abominations I mean Q pretty much said this stuff was out there is it too much to ask that Trek remember that scary stuff is also somewhere out in the galaxy.
     
  19. EmoBorg

    EmoBorg Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    First of all i want to apologise to C.E. Evans for slamming him like that in my posts. I was looking through my postings and i have realized that i was a jerk to him . My sincere apologies to him. We do need a future star trek series that is a mixture of both light and dark as C.E. Evans suggested .

    I will concentrate on developing darker themed episodes instead of a darker themed series. I do have more ideas for darker themed episodes and as well as lighter moralistic ones.

    1) A starfleet ship (defiant class) responds to the distress beacon of starfleet origins. They rescue a single crewman from a lifepod from a starfleet research vessel (nova class). The crewman informs them that their ship had encountered a borg tactical sphere and in the ensuring fight, the borg had assaulted and boarded the ship. The crewman was the sole survivor as the rest of the crew either died or got assimilated. But further investigations later in the episode reveal that the crewman had actually abandoned his fellow crew members to their fate while they were fighting off the borg drones and he had escaped in the lifepod before the fight was even over. Hence he is a deserter, as he left his crewmates to their fates.

    (issue of neglecting one's duty to fellow shipmates,very unstarfleet )

    2) A borg cube is encountered in the Alpha Quadrant and using Captain Janeway technology from the future (as seen in the Voyager series finale) the federation, romulans and klingons fleets combine together and manage to disable and board the cube. In the fierce fighting they manage to overpower the borg drones, either killing them or capturing them. Using the same technology that was used to recover seven of nine from the collective and restore her individualism, the alpha quadrants powers restore thousands of captured drones to their individualism. These ex borg drones come from many different species and are from the alpha,beta,gamma and delta quadrants. In some cases the restored individuals are the only surviouring members of their race left as their entire race was either assimilated or died off. Some liberated drones find it hard to adjust to their new found freedom. there are cases of suicides and violence breaking out as many ex drones simpily cannot cope with their individualism.

    (an enslaved people getting their freedom but finding it hard to adjust to it)

    3) A remote Starfleet long range exploration starship in the far reaches of the Beta Quadrant encounters a very ancient looking large ship derelict in space drifting aimlessly. the crew board the ship and discover an abandoned ship. To their surprise, when they try to turn on some of the systems to better understand where the ship came from, they find a borg signal. but the vessel is not a sphere or a cube or looks like anything from the borg collective. it is of a conventional ship design. Further into the episode, as they acesses the ship's computer files, they discover very shocking details. This ship belonged to species 1. The species from which the borg came from originally .

    (finally we get to know about the origins of the borg in a canon star trek show)

    4) A human starfleet member complains about his daily life to his crewmates, like having to work with folks he dislikes in his department, his overbearing department head and his personnel dislike of Bolians who happen to serve in signficant numbers onboard the ship he is on. His prejudices against Bolians comes from several encounters with them (culture clash & different mannerisms). One day, his ship (defiant class) is back on earth for home visits and he beams back to his hometown which is in the american south. Unfortunately the same accident that caused sisko,bashir and daz to travel back in time in DS9 season 3 while beaming from the defiant to earth also affects him, and he is left stranded in the mid 19th century earth. The crewmember is either of african,hispanic or native american background (depending on what the writers wants). He happened to be beamed to the old south where he encounters prejudices as he is not white. Finally the Defiant class starship crew with help from Miles O'brien who is now a instructor at starfleet academy (special guest appearance by Mr Colm Meany) ,they help to bring back the temporaly displaced crewmember. The now changed crewmember learns that prejudices are not good to have and he is now more tolerant of bolians after that incident.

    (an episode about prejudices)


    5) a new starfleet academy graduate joins a starfleet ship. Many folks are wary of him as he is a Nausicaan but to the surprise of many, he is quite mild mannered and eager to please even though a little tempermental at times.

    (stereotyping an enitre race based on a some bad apples is not a good thing)

    6) a non federation race that requires aliens from outside their planets to convert to their belief system if you want to live on their planet for whatever reason. A federation citizen and his family stays on that planet for business reason He is then caught performing a ritual from his native belief system, even thought he had officially converted to that planet belief system. he is charged, found guilty and he is to be put to death. The federation intervenes in this matter.

    (it is a prime directive issue regarding a federation citzen on a non federation planet and how far will the federation be willing to go for it's citizens rights like perhaps mounting a rescue thus increasing chances for hostilies to break out)
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  20. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That sounds good. More Doomsday Machines! Bring back the Borg, but treat them seriously. Being assimilated should be permanent, no exceptions.