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. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Location:
    Great Britain
    I think the core characters that you need are :-

    Captain
    First Officer
    Chief Medical Officer
    Chief Engineer
    Secuirty/Tactical

    The Helm doesn't need to be a regular, as for science that can be filled by whatever speciality is needed that episode.
     
  2. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Location:
    Tatoinne
    Amortizing the investment is possible if the plan is for several seasons that are 10 or 13 or 17 episodes long, whatever the writers deem to be the right amount needed to tell the story for that year. If the show is made for streaming, you don't even need to worry about the number of episodes to fit the network schedule, it's wide open,

    The anthology idea could be as simple as having a large ensemble cast that all interacts in a certain location - planet, space station, spaceship. Characters can be killed off and new ones introduced.

    The old broadcast TV notion that you must keep certain characters or actors because people watch the show for them, is one of the rules that can get thrown out on cable and streaming services. You might have one central character and everyone else is expendable, or maybe you kill off the presumed central character too.

    You might have those as core roles, but there's no reason a certain character can't be killed or transferred or otherwise out of the action and a new character introduced. New roles/characters could be introduced too, not limited to standard Starfleet ranks.

    It would really raise the stakes to have a show where no character was sacrosanct. In practice, I'm sure the writers would recognize when they have a great actor they shouldn't kill off lightly so the audience will probably catch on to which characters are unkillable for that reason.
     
  3. skilzkid

    skilzkid Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Location:
    Maryland (Washington DC Suburbs)
    I'm trying to imagine a Star Trek that had the regular character rotation of Law and Order, and it just doesn't seem like Trek. Even in TOS, we got to know Kirk, Bones, and Spock fairly well, and I could see them killing off/transferring one of them, but most of Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, Checkov, and the core crew would have to remain. One change I could live with, but with 2 changes I'm thinking there is actor disharmony, and with 3 or more changes it starts to lose too much. I'm sure opinions will differ on this :)
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I wouldn't mind seeing more crew rotation in a Trek series. As I just pointed out in another thread, in real life a typical military tour of duty is usually around 1-3 years, maybe even less. The same crew serving together on the same ship for 7 years is very unrealistic. Especially when they're facing traumatic, life-and-death crises a couple of dozen times a year. After a few years of that, they'd be basket cases.
     
  5. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I agree. I like the idea of there being no character who is immune from getting the axe (or even being transferred and becoming just a recurring guest star).

    I've been annoyed with modern Trek for each Trek character (even completely irrelevant ones like Harry on Voyager or the black guy on Enterprise) having their own circle of fans.
     
  6. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    Randyland
    I doubt it. With the way ratings and such works anymore, we'd be lucky to get seven episodes.
     
  7. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    Deep Space 9
    On Babylon 5, did all the characters not have an "out" written for them, a means of finishing off the character and allowing the actor to leave should they so wish? Such a system makes sense to me, as then if somone wants to move on to other things they have a means to go that finishes off their storylines without just killing them.

    I do admit that some characters are pretty pointless and annoying, but some people just like certain characters for whatever reason and dislike others as well.

    Trek does need to avoid character like Token...sorry I mean Travis Mayweather, who really was there to tick the diversity box.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    That's really not fair. If you watch the first season, you see that Travis gets plenty to do and is given a good amount of character development. As conceived, he was an important part of the 22nd-century worldbuilding -- the "Space Boomer," the embodiment of the early generation of space pioneers who were now being displaced by faster starships. He was also a natural raconteur, a teller of ghost stories and practical joker, and he was a history geek who really embodied the enthusiasm for exploration that drove the cast in the first two seasons. He got more development in the first two dozen episodes than Sulu or Uhura got in three seasons and six movies.

    It was only after the first season that he began to be marginalized. I think it's because he gave a disappointing performance in the climax of "Fortunate Son," his big focus episode that season, so afterward the writers started downplaying him. It's true that in seasons 2-4 he did tend to be relegated to the background. But given his greater prominence in season 1, it is clearly wrong to assume he was intended as merely a token character from the start.
     
  9. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Location:
    Tatoinne
    On broadcast, sure. Audiences are lower for everything because more and more shows are competing for the same free hours people have for entertainment and the population isn't growing nearly as quickly as cable channels and now streaming channels with original content too.

    So to make the math work, some factor has to change. That factor is how much each viewer is worth. Broadcast only gets ad revenues, but add in the fees tha basic cable gets or even better subscription based or pay per view premium cable or streaming, and that could compensate for the high budget/niche audience problem.

    We can get Star Trek back, but we'll have to pay more for it that by just watching ads. That's why broadcast is out, especially since the broadcaster in question would be CBS.

    If FOX or NBC had the rights, I could maybe see them rolling the dice with a pricely space opera series, and even then it would be a long shot and probably wouldn't work. Above all, I want the next series to be on a channel where it can live long and prosper! ;)

    As for Maywearher, he was pretty boring all the way thru ENT but that seems like something we can blame on broadcast TV that will be less likely to be repeated on cable or streaming where audiences are less likely to reward blandness.
     
  10. FreddyE

    FreddyE Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    How about doing more seasons with less episodes? Doctor Who for example, is having great success with its 13 to 14 episode seasons.
     
  11. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Ireland.
    ...and also not so cheap (i.e. actually pretty expensive) TV movies on cable channels. Like HBO's Recount and Game Change and what have you.

    This is true. Dexter really felt like it had run itself into the ground by season six. And this show had seasons which are half the length of any given Trek show. Hence:

    We're back to the never-quite-done 'five year mission'.

    I think it really depends on what kind of show we're talking about. Generally, the more dependent a TV series is on arcs, the more advantageous it is for that show to have a shorter season run.

    But if the series still wants to do a lot of the kind of episodic stories Star Trek is best known for then there's a case for a longer season (though one could still do those in a thirteen episode run).

    In the case of heavily serialized TV, expanding episode counts can be messy - look at BSG, which was never quite as tight as it was in its first season. There, the sideplots can feel like padding or whatever.
     
  12. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    13 episodes is more a mini-series than a season. Not to mention it would put the show at a rating disadvantage by airing repeats so early on in the process.

    Really though, I'm just not sure there's enough interest in an age of hundreds of channels in a basic cable package for a new Trek series. Let's face it, we are a rather targeted audience and it's a lot easier for the people who might casually like it to flip the channel when they have a 100+ other choices at any given time they might like better.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^It's actually been quite common for many, many years now to have 13-episode seasons on cable shows and in the UK, and it's certainly been known to happen with network shows too; for instance, both of Dollhouse's seasons were 13 episodes long, though that's because neither one got the back-nine pickup. All four seasons of Blake's 7 were 13 episodes long, and of course, so is every modern season of Doctor Who.

    So yes, 13 episodes does count as a season, and has for a very long time.
     
  14. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Location:
    Tatoinne
    You've got it backwards, the more options there are, the more important it is that any given option be something that really appeals directly to some audience. Lukewarm-appeal, "it's good enough" shows are the ones that will increasingly struggle in the future.

    When there were just three channels, the choices at any given time might be a Western, a sitcom and a cop show. If you wanted something else, tough. You picked from those options whatever was the least bad approximation of what you really wanted.

    The more options there are, the more you can get what you really want. Audiences are less and less inclined to compromise. The broadcast networks are continuing to see big ratings declines because they havent adjusted to start making more niche content. Financially, they might not be able to.

    This is a great environment for Star Trek, a product with strong niche appeal - for those who like it, there's nothing lukewarm about it - that is well known even outside the niche, so that it can cut thru the clutter and be found even among countless options. The bad news is the budget problem, for which there may or may not be a solution, such as: distribute to a larger global audience; get more revenue from ancillary products; do an animated series.
     
  15. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Location:
    Great Britain
    Well aside from the specials year, the 2005- era has all been 14 episode seasons.

    But the UK model isn't exactly the same as the US model when it comes to TV. Just because the 14 episode season works in the UK doesn't mean it'll work in the US.

    Also in the case of DW, it's one of the most watched scripted drama shows in the UK. It's easier to justify the cost of producing the show if you are one of the best in your type of show (Drama), In the Top 10 for the channel if not for all channels. The DW Christmas special usually appears in the top 10 programmes of the entire year.

    In ST's case by the end it was getting what 2-4m viewers in the US? As DW has already been mentioned, DW is getting about double that in a country with about a quarter of the population (UK)
     
  16. skilzkid

    skilzkid Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Location:
    Maryland (Washington DC Suburbs)
    One show that is showing that a new Trek might be feasible in the US (as Dr. Who does for the UK) and how to approach it is Falling Skies. Their seasons are 10 episodes each so far, which is a little short even for modern shows but points to the 10-15 show seasons being a modern sweet spot. Their ratings are good enough to get a third season, and while it isn't loaded with twisting-phasering-exploding spaceships, it still has a reasonable amount of effects for Sci Fi (it has been pointed out that investors might be scared since special effects cost $$$). Obviously, broadcast is out, but a station that can reair/marathon the episodes to get use out of them for continual ad money, plus enough of a possible viewer base would be an ideal target stations. I guess TBS/TNT are probably on standard cable for all huge providers and can get casual viewer, but don't know if SyFy is well carried or can get out of its image of being a niche broadcaster. I don't know how FS does on DVD/iTunes resell for residuals, or what longer term syndication plans there are, or if Spielberg backing is what is carrying it, but there should be something there that can be taken away for a new Trek.
     
  17. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Location:
    Ireland.
    I was talking about a US model of TV, actually, which is around 10-13 episodes. Like Falling Skies or Terra Nova or Walking Dead or Game of Thrones or American Horror Story... and that's me sticking to genre examples.

    I haven't watched a single new American TV series with over thirteen episodes to a season in years, and I've watched a lot of American TV.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^Exactly. Seasons of around 13 episode in length have been standard on cable for a couple of decades now, and many broadcast network seasons are that short as well, though usually only the underperforming ones. So I'm bewildered by this perception that it's somehow a novelty for American shows. It's already pretty standard.
     
  19. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Location:
    Tatoinne
    I have no idea whether this is relevant, but the chickens are finally coming home to roost with CBS's business-as-usual strategy (keep churning out a narrow range of mass market programming types and depend on volume to make up for an audience that skews too old.)

    CBS is down 25%, worst drop of any network so far (though FOX is not far behind). Okay, CBS had more padding going into this year, but it is an indication that business as usual is not going to be a viable strategy forever, and then what?

    Meanwhile, cable is posting big gains, specifically both Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead. Put the broadcast and cable news together and you have a strong indication of where viewer tastes are headed.
     
  20. skilzkid

    skilzkid Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Location:
    Maryland (Washington DC Suburbs)
    ...and it looks like cable can go round for round with broadcasters. This from CNN about the Walking Dead:

    "Sunday night's third season premiere of "The Walking Dead" delivered a huge 10.9 million viewers for its first telecast. But what's really impressive is the show's adults 18-49 demo rating of a 5.8.
    That's stunning.
    The closest broadcast entertainment programs has gotten this fall to that number is ABC's "Modern Family" season premiere that pulled a 5.5 (all these are apples-to-apples next-day ratings, not including DVR). Football has delivered bigger numbers, but that's sports and we're talking entertainment programming. And AMC accomplished this rating with an extra disadvantage — not having a major distributor, Dish Network, on board due to its carriage contract dispute (imagine how many more viewers the episode might have had with Dish on board). You know, aside from AMC's other major disadvantage being a pay cable network that's only available to a fraction of U.S. households compared to the Big Four broadcasters."
     

Share This Page