My view on a new Trek series.

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Xhiandra, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    If it was up to me (it obviously never will be), new Trek would:

    1. Take place in the old continuity.
    2 reasons:
    - there's a lot more background to draw from.
    - personal preference.

    2. Keep being relaxed about "proper military procedure".
    As far as I'm concerned, people that agonise over a poor "at ease" stance or whatever are completely missing the point of Trek.

    3. Resolve canonicity on a case-per-case basis: maybe ToS is authoritative on X; but TNG/DS9/VOY on Y and ENT on Z, depending on many factors; but we have to be willing to accept some things won't make sense in the past series.
    Example: most "maps" of the galaxy place most of the Federation, most of the Klingon Empire and all the Romulan Empire in the Beta quadrant despite most series (especially DS9&VOY) calling them "powers of alpha quadrant" or talking of "the fate of the alpha quadrant" or "going back to the alpha quadrant"... the new series would use completely different maps.

    Once canonicity has been decided, stick to it for the whole run.

    4. Now for the interesting stuff: focus on the Federation/alpha quadrant as a whole, not a specific Ship.
    Instead of having a regular cast of immortal (plot armour) idealised heroes, the series would span a lot of characters, some dying quickly, some behaving in a less-than-perfect fashion, some manage to beat the odds once but become background characters afterwards, some perform vital but understated roles,... you can have many potential stories in such a setting, be they one-shots about a "back office" character or geopolitics or true exploration of a new sector or resolving a tense situation through diplomacy (or failing to!)...

    Such an approach can work and can be successful, as GoT showed (though this would go further).
    Pro: Many clichés avoided, stronger storytelling.
    Con: Viewers don't get as attached to characters as they otherwise would.

    5. Build an actual (abstract) galaxy.
    What do I mean? Simple: decide early on what star system is where (in relation to X reference point); where FED/KDF/ROM/other Ships are in the galaxy, what's their mission and capacities, who's their commanding officer and so on.
    Not all of that info has to appear onscreen; but it would help in having a consistent world.
    No Deus Ex Machinae of X Ship saving the heroes on (at?) the nick of time, you know in advance if a Ship is within range or not; no sudden appearance of a full hostile fleet unless it was pre-planned, same for random nebulae... basically, this approach constricts the writers somewhat, but once again, it prevents a lot of clichés.
    Especially if geopolitics/war is important to the setting.

    There could still be spontaneous elements, so long as they made sense within the overal setting.


    Will it happen? No. Still nice to theorise.
    So, what'd you think 'bout my "ambitious but rubbish" concept?
     
  2. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes please.

    Something like the way that Kirk or Sisko ran their commands. Picard and Archer were too lose.

    Personally I would like to get away from the idea that our heroes are routinely running around one quarter of the galaxy. From what Picard said in FC the Federation is around two (maybe two and a half) percent of one quadrant.

    I was a minor astronomy buff in my teens, and little details like this in the show certainly can't hurt.

    :)
     
  3. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I think with a single ship, you can see quite a bit of the Federation. The last three Trek shows, however, either were confined to one area or were somewhere the Federation didn't exist. TOS and TNG had a mix of stories both within and outside the Federation--both the original Enterprise and the Enterprise-D were really more multipurpose vessels, with exploration not being the only reason they were out there.

    My own view regarding continuity is that it should only be treated in a general sense. The more you try to "fix it" or shoehorn it to fit the real world, the more problems it creates. Leave certain details vague and don't affix dates to every single thing that happens.

    But I also think a new Trek series should focus on the characters and the setting more than "alien of the week" stories. The last two Trek shows had characters that were simply there or faded into the background because the writing staff focused on the easier-to-write-for characters or the characters they personally liked the most. In that sense, a more diverse writing staff led by a showrunner who wants more diverse stories is definitely required, IMO.
     
  4. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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  5. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for posting that article. I may have read it before, not sure, but it makes a good point that DS9 is the best model for a future series, if only because cable is now the only place where an expensive niche appeal series (and that describes all space opera, not just Star Trek) can thrive, and DS9 already has two features of cable drama: strong serialization and moral ambiguity.

    But Buffy isn't the model I'd use. Better to grab onto a show that is doing well right now, that appeals to a sizeable niche taste, and whose budget is probably comparable to what a space opera series would require.

    My candidates are The Clone Wars, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. A good Star Trek series could be created with any of those three as the basic template, but depending on which one you choose, the results could be very different. GoT would result in the most DS9ish series; the other two would be Star Trek like we haven't yet seen on TV.

    Since the author of that article is proposing three Trek series, maybe I'll propose all three of mine. They'd appeal to distinct audiences so that would limit cannibalization, and of course true fans will watch all of them and clamor for more. ;)

    For the three concepts in that article, I always wonder when I read ideas like that, "what channel do you think would buy this concept, and why would they prefer it to the pilots they've already got in the works?" Unless you can answer that question, you are going nowhere fast.
     
  6. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Have slow, on going examinations of aliens who are regular characters.

    Don't be afraid to depict them as different than Humans. Klingons with their open blood-lust. Vulcans who send their children into the desert, to see how many come back. Step back from "this is the Human way, let's all copy it."

    The scene where Picard asked Worf to make a tissue donation to save a dying Romulan, and Worf nicely told Picard to go fukk himself.

    A good article, with some interesting ideas. I wouldn't like a "goofy" Star Trek, but having TOS level humor as a regular part of the show would be good. Most of the series took themselves far to seriously. A little Quark and Odo interplay in the mix.

    No to a ST: section thirty-one. And the same no for ST: west wing. Some politics in Star Trek is good, the occasional episode or mention, but not an entire series.

    And Seven was never a "recovering " fanatic, she was unrepentant.

    :)
     
  7. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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    ^I am glad you both enjoyed the article. Maybe I should post it as it's own topic? It does put forth an interesting take on how to get ST back on TV.
     
  8. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    This dry land thing is too wierd!
    Agreed.

    Disagree. Get a military advisor to vet scripts. Brief him on just what is different and how much it's relaxed, but listen to him when he says "being snotty to your chief isn't a court-martial offense". I don't mind Starfleet having looser standards than today; I mind the writers having no clue about how the military works. They look stupid when CDR Riker tells LT Riker "Picard is my commanding officer, and I am your commanding officer", or when Riker tries to prohibit Ro from wearing her earring. And a poor stance makes the character look unprofessional. As for the court-martial thing, we may not use demerits in the actual service, outside training, but the audience will understand that more than article 15 non-judicial proceedings or extra military instruction.

    Again, mostly agree. Get a continuity advisor, no, a continuity editor, with bthe power to force writers to rewrite. When the writer postulates aliens of the week that match up to something we've seen, he brings it up. When the writer says "warp 9.99673", he says "the new show bible says that we redrew the warp chart again in 2394 to get rid of the silly decimal-place warping. Fix it". Write that established canon down as part of the show's bible.

    Ambitious and expensive. I like it, but that will only be practical in print, graphic novel, and maybe animated.

    YES!

    But only if approved by that aforementioned continuity editor.


    Nice ground rules, not enough about the actual plot.

    Some ideas I'd like to see:

    STFF (http://www.startrekff.com/blog/?currentPage=2)

    A Hornblower series - Start with the Academy appearance of Cadet Hero-to-be for a season. The convention would be that each season is their whole tour at that command. So one season is 4 years at the Academy, and then season 2 is his/her 3 years on their first ship as Ensign Hero-to-be, and so on. The twist?
    1. Someone else narrates once an episode - some other cast member from that season's cast. Occasional discussion from others is heard - this all off-screen. Throw in a few "I remember"s and an occasional "No, no, that wasn't the way it happened"s.
    2. After season 5 or 6, you find out the "narrators" are actually reminiscing at Captain Hero's funeral, and have been the whole time.

    Starbase: Essentially "Emerald Point, NAS" in space. Show a variety of characters living on a starbase, including the Starfleet characters assigned to ships based there. They aren't really Boldly Going. They are MiliOps folks who patrol their sector, then come home to their families. They're Galaxy exploration folks who do the mundane scouting and followup surveys after Picard finds the new life, new civilizations. They're the techs who fly out to the beacons to fix or replace them. And once in a great while, they're the daring Independent Duty spacers on the famous ship that goes anywhere, everywhere amd finds all those exciting things on a port call in home territory. They're the spouses and children, the local support spacers, such as JAG, supply clerks, and dockyard workers. This one would be, like E.P. NAS, a military prime-time soap-opera, and would typically have fewer special effects.

    Star Trek: Frontier - the life of a colony on the UFP frontier. Gunsmoke or Bonanza in space, with occasional visiting ships and once in a while, invading pirates or enemy star-nations.
     
  9. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    This dry land thing is too wierd!
    Another point I'd like to see: Have an upper and lower ensemble. We need to see the leaders dealing with situations, but they should NOT be the ones going in. This has been a weakness of all Trek series. So in this new series, if the captain orders a landing party, instead of cutting to Scotty beaming down Kirk/Spock/McCoy/Ens Ricky, we now cut to Ens Ricky, Chief Bobby, Petty Officer Timmy, and Crewman Baker beaming over. This also eliminates redshirt syndrome. Ensign Ricky has a better chance to live.
    We can also change out lower ensemble members easier than upper ensemble. If Patrick Stewart had left, TNG would have been over. But if half the junior crew cast are on other shows, we simply hire other actors, change the names, and film, so Ensign Ricky is replaced with LTjg Matty in this week's script, and the actor playing Ricky will be available some other episode.
    The idea is to have several main characters in the lower ranks, but easily supplemented by other actors in similar roles when needed.
     
  10. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This whole forum is about that! :D

    I keep hoping for some definite new news...
     
  11. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes. Yes! Please dear gods yes!!!!
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The only thing I expect from a new show is that it be entertaining. Continuity is only important to me in the broad strokes.
     
  13. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe something like Space, Above and Beyond? Where the lower rankings were the stars of the show, and the commanding officer was a minor, occasional seen character.
     
  14. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    This dry land thing is too wierd!
    Never saw it - I was out of the country when it was on. But sorta like that, maybe a 3/4 split?
     
  15. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Which was generally how TOS, TNG, DS9, & VOY handled continuity. ENT was really the only series in which continuity was something it had to constantly deal with in every episode.
     
  16. eighthgear

    eighthgear Cadet Newbie

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    [/QUOTE]Personally I would like to get away from the idea that our heroes are routinely running around one quarter of the galaxy. From what Picard said in FC the Federation is around two (maybe two and a half) percent of one quadrant.[/QUOTE]

    I think a lot of people forget this when making those nice Star Trek maps. The Federation isn't a state like we know them on Earth, with well defined borders. It is likely a porous entity. For example, both Earth, Vulcan, and Andor are members of the Federation, and their systems are likely part of Federation territory. But there may be countless systems in-between full of planets with, say, pre-industrial societies. You can't exactly annex them, can you? I guess the Romulans or Klingons would. Even if we do assume that the Federation and the Romulan and Klingon Empires are non-porous, it is highly likely that they simply can't enforce controls over the space that they claim. Space is huge, and even within the Federation the vast majority of it is unexplored. For every Galaxy-class starship patrolling the outer rim of the UFP, there are probably dozens of Oberth-class vessels studying phenomenon well within Federation borders. In summary, the UFP and the various other powers may cover large portions of the quadrant, but they don't actually have much of a presence, except for in certain star systems - the majority of their "lands" are unexplored and unknown.
     
  17. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Part of it is intentional: I wanted to create a framework, but leave the canvas blank (initially); so as to highlight the importance of said framework, at least to my eyes.

    The idea is very much to enhance storytelling, make the setting more believable, more "real" and limit clichés as much as possible; but what stories are told within that framework is still very open.
    I mentionned writers being confined by some of the "ground rules" as you call them, but in many other ways, they'd be more free: got an interesting story that only involves admirals? Fine, that can make a good ep.
    An ep that doesn't involve the Federation at all? Sure, why not?
    ... the possibilities aren't endless (cliché avoided :p), but quite open.

    Part of it just is how my brain works: I've never had much imagination, so I tend to abstracise everything; my mind is better suited for analysis than creative endeavours as a result.

    But you make a fair point, I included no real premise.
    I'll try to at a later venture (too tired right now).

    Upon first reading, I agreed it was a good idea.

    Upon reflection, I'm not so sure anymore: essential to the nature of Trek (in my view) is the notion that when they beam to a planet, they're not expecting a firefight.
    They do plan for the worse somewhat (phasers, presence of Tac officer(s) in away missions); but for the most part, they expect a rather peaceful contact, in which case it makes sense to involve higher-ranked officers.

    In either case, the redshirt syndrome is irrelevant: point 4 eliminates it entirely.

    Remember that point 4 establishes they all change pretty regularly anyway.
    Indeed, not being shackled by the actors' schedules or desires to depart from the show is an advantage.

    @BillJ: I'm not continuity-obsessed either; I write of settling the continuity arguments so that they can... well, end.
    They end up being huge distractions from the actual content: haven't you witnessed some episodes or movies be entirely dismissed as drivel by some fans because of an inconsequential contradiction to previous continuity? I have, with baffling frequency.
    Also, while I'm not obsessed about it, having an internally consistent show can only enhance it.
     
  18. Mirror Sulu

    Mirror Sulu Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Something I haven't heard anyone propose, is a new series set in yet another continuity.

    Personally, I'd love to see the Shatnerverse on my screen.
     
  19. Tracer Bullet

    Tracer Bullet Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Sadly, I think a Mirror Universe series has a greater chance of getting on air than any of these ideas.
     
  20. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    It's usually proposed in other threads, albeit in passing.