Think We'll Ever See A Trek Series Longer Than 7 seasons?

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Knight Templar, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    I've always had a hankering to see a Star Trek series go on longer than seven years. I would like to see one go 10, 11, or 12 seasons the way some of the other very long running dramas have done with several cast changes and having the show change and evolve over the years.

    Think we'll ever see that?
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It doesn't seem likely. There are practical reasons why the shows were ended after seven years. Actors and other staffers get raises every year they stay with the show, so unless a show rotates its cast pretty often, it will eventually get prohibitively expensive to keep making it. (Smallville ran for 10 years, but largely because it only had one of its original cast members left as a regular by its final season.) And just about any show's ratings will fall over time, so generally they have to cut the budget more and more with each successive season in order to survive.

    So the formula for an extended lifespan for a Trek series would entail 1) getting rid of a lot of the actors and replacing them with new, cheaper ones and 2) slashing the budget and reducing the amount of special effects, location work, action, elaborate sets, guest stars, etc. they can afford to fit into each episode. The question is, would that be desirable? I'd say no. Better to wrap up the show while it's still affordable to make it impressive.
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Nope. And why would we want them too? It was apparent all three shows that ran seven seasons were running on fumes by the end.
     
  4. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    I agree that ST:TNG was literally running on fumes at the end with a very poorly done last season.

    DS9 I thought was severely handicapped by the "let's give Ezri Dax a bunch of episodes to catch her up with the main cast".

    While I loathed Voyager, I thought there seventh season was actually somewhat better than previous ones.
     
  5. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I think five seasons could be the new magic number for future Trek shows.
     
  6. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't think we'll see a 7 year run, since that was basically the syndication/UPN dictate.

    I would guess that the next series would be at least 5 years to get a syndication package (or is the minimum 4 years?)
     
  7. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As much as I would like to see a long-running Trek series, seeing what the last few seasons of VOY and ENT brought us I'd be wary of them coming up with enough material and interesting characters.

    I think they they realistically aimed for a five year run and ended it after that would be better, rather than dragging it out and ruining it. End on a high and leave viewers wanting more, its better than leaving them feeling used and violated.
     
  8. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    20+ episodes per year and seven seasons are too much and one reason for the current hiatus.
     
  9. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek has already gone longer than 7 seasons with cast changes - and location and time changes. ;)

    TV is undergoing big structural changes so that the logic that drove the need for one hour episodes minus ads every week for 22 or 25 weeks out of the year is breaking down.

    Netflix is releasing a bunch of new Arrested Development episodes at the same time. In the future, the notion of seasons will become moot. The question will be, how many episodes do you need to tell your story?

    American Horror Story's anthology format that might also be a good model for future Star Trek series. Seven seasons with the same location and cast seems too long, but keep evolving and there's no reason it ever needs to end.
     
  10. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    I think an anthology format could work for Star Trek. After all what do you need?

    A Bridge, well if you build a modular bridge as a set you can move the modules around to get a different format of bridge if you wanted, but there is no reason as to why multiple classes of ships could use the same bride. Same goes for the rest of the standing sets, Transporter Room, Corridors etc...
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    While I'm not against an anthology, I think it would be extremely complicated for Star Trek to do within a reasonable budget. You'd lose your ability to really use stock footage and redressing the same set over and over would get tedious pretty quick.

    The closest I was ever able to come to an anthology was an idea I had called Generation 3, which took place across three time periods aboard the same ship and had a large overarching story about the evolution of humanity and had a single character that was present in all three time periods, the Vulcan CMO. I should see if I can find those files.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But if you're going to do a Trek-universe anthology series, what's the point of just doing various different starship crews? If you're only doing starship stories in a single era, you might as well just use the same cast week after week. There's so much else to explore if you really want to embrace the anthology format. Do something set aboard a starbase. Explore the civilian side of the Federation. Do a drama about WWIII, and follow it up with one about humanity in the wake of first contact, adjusting to the presence of the Vulcans. Show us the Romulans' exodus from Vulcan. Show us the life of Kahless, or a story from the brief war in "Errand of Mercy" from the Klingons' point of view. In short, do the sort of things the novels have been doing for the past decade or so.

    I often thought, back in the '90s, that Paramount (who still owned and produced the series at the time) should do a regular series of Trek TV movies, maybe 4-8 per year, in that vein -- mingling ongoing/recurring series and single standalones set all over the Trek universe in many different eras. It would've been a good middle ground between a weekly series, where you get a lot of installments per year but only limited budget and time to do each one, and feature films, where you have the money and time to make it more elaborate but with only very infrequent installments.

    Unfortunately, the idea of ongoing series of TV movies, which was popular in the '80s and early '90s with things like the Columbo and Perry Mason revivals, seemed to start fading away about halfway through the '90s for some reason. The Universal Action Pack tried a movie-wheel format for one season in '94, but then switched to doing just a couple of weekly hourlong shows. And these days original TV movies are pretty much extinct, except for cheap productions on some cable channels. The idea of an ongoing franchise of TV movies in a single continuity is pretty much extinct in the US -- although in the UK they still have things like Sherlock and Inspector Lewis and so forth.
     
  13. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps instead of an Anthology series per se, for S1 you do a few episodes with the same cast and change them after 5 or so episodes. A kind of audition ot build a crew for S2.
     
  14. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Or maybe take a Doctor Who approach by changing the cast every three or four years. Keep the ship, but have one or two time-jumps forward to show different captains and crews.
     
  15. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Another feature of Who Trek might want to copy is 13 episodes instead of 26 per year.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  16. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^
    I was thinking the same thing.
     
  17. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    Unlikely for accounting reasons I think. The initial investment in a series gets amortized over the number of episodes produced.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, season lengths are shorter now than they used to be. Heck, the Trek shows continued doing 26-episode seasons long after pretty much every other show on US network/syndicated television had dropped to 22 -- and even there the norm is to start with a 13-episode order and then pick up the back nine if the show does well enough. On cable, it's typical for shows to have seasons between 13 and 20 episodes in length, often split into halves for fall/spring or winter/summer airing.
     
  19. skilzkid

    skilzkid Ensign Red Shirt

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    A lot of good shows are starting to be smart and call it quits before starting to run on fumes. Breaking Bad is a prime example where it will call it quits after 5 years, and that show is strong all the way through IMHO. Some other shows I liked such as House carried on for 7+ years, and I was almost waiting for that one to end. Dexter is about to start Season 7, and that is also starting to get repetitive minusthe huge endings to the even number seasons.

    I think 13 episodes is too short for a season, especially one with 8 or so characters to develop like a Trek series. 26 episodes may have forced some of the plot and character development to be too elongated/filled in. 18-20 might be the magic number for Trek. As for number of seasons, 5-7 works for me. If/when we will ever see another Trek, given TV's propensity for all things over-the-top, is another question.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No reason a Trek series couldn't have a smaller core cast. TOS technically had only three main characters and a handful of recurring players, few of whom got any development at all.