Donny's Refit Enterprise Interiors (Version 2.0)

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by Donny, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Rekkert

    Rekkert Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My brain breaks a little when seeing the unchanged TOS uniforms on what are essentially the TMP sets. I often wonder how different the franchise would be today if Phase 2 would've gone ahead.
     
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  2. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Bright Fucking Ideas Premium Member

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    It's hard to tell. Let's say the success of Star Wars didn't prompt Paramount to change Phase II into TMP. Maybe Phase II would have launched the proposed Paramount Television Service, or, if that didn't pan out, attracted the attention of one of the TV networks (the way they jumped at the original Battlestar Galactica). Would the ratings have been strong enough to merit a multi-year run? Would Phase II, like Galactica, have ended up cancelled (in part) because of the expense?

    I'm inclined to agree with the conventional wisdom that if Phase II had gone ahead as planned, it would have fizzled out eventually, and that would have been it for Star Trek for maybe a generation, waiting for someone to come along and reboot the property. We certainly wouldn't have had the TOS movies or TNG and its spinoffs.

    That, in itself, sets us down a rabbit hole of "what-ifs" — if there's no TOS movies, there's no impetus for Paramount to greenlight TNG. If there's no TNG, does Patrick Stewart ever make it big in America? If he doesn't, who ends up playing Charles Xavier in the X-Men movies, because that was damn perfect casting? If there's no TNG, (and no DS9 either), does Ron Moore ever break into TV? If he doesn't, that means there's no nuBSG, and I'm not sure I want to live in that parallel universe...
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
  3. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Phase II would have been another Galactica or Buck Rogers IMO. Star Trek would have suffered a similar fate - lying fallow for years with attempted revivals coming to nothing. It might have been ripe for a nineties film adaptation along the lines of the dreadful Matt Le Blanc Lost in Space.

    Lucky escape.
     
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  4. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Bright Fucking Ideas Premium Member

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    Oh, I didn't even think of that one. I was figuring it would either get resurrected similar to Mission: Impossible, where it touches on some of the elements of the original but it's really its own thing now, or it gets resurrected as an intentional self-parody like Starsky & Hutch or The Brady Bunch.
     
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  5. Retrograde Orbit

    Retrograde Orbit Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    My (positronic) brain hurts... ;)
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm not so sure of either of those. After all, keep in mind that ST:TMP was not a huge success; though it did reasonably well at the box office, it was so expensive that Paramount didn't consider it profitable, and it got a poor reception from critics and fans. Yet Paramount still went forward with more Trek films anyway. In the years following Star Wars, other studios were eager to copy its success with their own sci-fi movie epics. And by that point, Star Trek was a perennial hit in syndication, and Paramount knew it was the most valuable SF property they owned. They weren't about to give up on it because of one failure.

    So it stands to reason that if they'd done Phase II instead and it had been cancelled, it would've left the franchise in pretty much the same place it was after TMP -- stinging from a failed revival, but still Paramount's best bet for a major SF film franchise. The factors that motivated them to go forward with TWOK would thus have been more or less the same. And it was TWOK's success that secured Trek's future going forward.

    So with Phase II instead of TMP, things might still have gone forward in roughly the same way they did in reality, just with one less feature film and maybe a couple dozen more original-cast episodes (possibly added on to the TOS syndication package), as well as some differences in the design of the movie Enterprise and the like.
     
  7. Jesse1066

    Jesse1066 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Two or three seasons of Phase II instead of TMP with everything pretty much the same from TWOK forward is a timeline I think I'd sign up for.
     
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  8. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd at least want to peek in on it and watch a few episodes. I wonder who they would've cast as Decker? (Stephen Collins was cast for the movie by Robert Wise, and Collins has said that he likely wouldn't have been interested in doing a TV series at that point in his career.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
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  9. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's a fascinating what-if scenario to consider. If the series had been given even a one or two-season run, it likely could have established all manner of new and divergent canon that would have impacted every series to follow.
     
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  10. Lt. Washburn

    Lt. Washburn Commander Red Shirt

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    One thing to keep in mind, if they had done only one season, it could be the equivalent of 9 or 10 films, in terms of screen time. And why the presumption it'd fail? I think it would have greater than even odds of being successful.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    For me, a universe without Jerry Goldsmith's TMP soundtrack is too bleak to contemplate.

    Plus, of course, I'm a big fan of TMP overall, and much of my career as a Trek novelist has been built on doing the followup stories it never got, which is the same sort of ground that Phase II would've covered.


    Hmm, eventually, perhaps. Although how many TOS episodes really did get followups later on? I'd say it was a small number in TNG -- little more than "The Naked Time" and "Journey to Babel," plus a few throwaway episode mentions in "Relics." Then a few more in DS9 -- they brought back Kor, Kang, and Koloth (though they were initially scripted as just generic Klingons and only Kang really resembled his TOS character writing-wise) and they did the tribble episode. VGR did a Sulu episode, but that tied in more to TUC than any TOS installment. Really, it's only in ENT and DSC that we've seen a lot of new episodes built specifically on TOS continuity.

    Still, a Phase II series might've affected the movies more than the later shows. It would've had Decker and Ilia as continuing characters rather than one-shots, not to mention Xon. So there would've been a younger contingent of characters already, and thus Saavik might not have been introduced. Indeed, maybe the movies would've phased out the older cast in favor of the younger leads as they went, which I think was the original plan when they introduced Saavik and David.


    Here's the point where I make my obligatory mention that I wish Filmation had done a TAS revival in the wake of TMP. It would be in keeping with other revivals it did in the late '70s and early '80s like The New Adventures of Batman, the Fat Albert revival, and Gilligan's Planet, so it's something they theoretically could've done. And it would've been amazing to see a post-TMP animated series done with the somewhat more sophisticated animation and music Filmation was doing by the late '70s, the time of Flash Gordon and The New Adventures of the Lone Ranger when they were doing lots of rotoscoped animation, experiments with 3D ship models and lighting effects, and really lush musical scores. And if it had lasted a couple of seasons, the time period could've overlapped with Filmation's employment of writers like Diane Duane, Michael Reaves, Paul Dini, and J. Michael Straczynski.


    In the late 1970s? I wouldn't bet a lot on it. Any genre show had an uphill fight back then. Network execs, critics, and general audiences had a low opinion of SF and thought of it as kid stuff. There was a lot of pressure to dumb SF shows down and keep them simple, which worked against their quality. They were also expensive to make in pre-CGI days, which made them hard to keep on the air. In the time frame that Phase II would've been on the air (say 1978 and the next few years), the only genre shows that made it past two seasons were The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman (though that was one season on ABC and two on CBS), and The Greatest American Hero (though its first and third seasons were short and the third was cancelled before completion) -- and Fantasy Island if you count that as genre (which it was, though only occasionally). They were heavily outnumbered by the shows that got canned after 1-2 seasons. And note that they were all present-day Earthbound shows that were less expensive to make than a space opera.
     
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  12. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Bright Fucking Ideas Premium Member

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    If Phase II had aired on one of the Big Three (ABC, NBC, CBS) it might... might... have been a success. If it had launched on the proposed Paramount Television Service — which wouldn't have been a real network so much as a Saturday night programming block, with a new episode of Trek and a TV Movie of the Week, aired on what most likely would have been independent TV stations already carrying syndicated reruns of TOS — the chances of that success become even more unlikely.
     
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  13. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sure. "Kitumba" alone could've sent the Klingons developing in a very different direction. With Spock or Xon there, even a few throwaway lines could've changed our perceptions of Vulcans. And we could've heard all sorts of new & different canon information about Starfleet or the UFP that would've changed our perceptions of them.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Sorry to keep being contrary, but I'm not sure I agree with that either. After all, the Paramount network would've had a lot more invested in a Trek show. It would've been their flagship, the linchpin of their entire broadcast experiment, so they would've been a lot more reluctant to cancel it than one of the major networks, where it would've been just another show competing for funding with every other show on the network.

    Also, if you're right that it would've been a syndication block along the lines of PTEN and the Universal Action Pack, then... well, I'm not sure if this was true in the '70s or '80s, but certainly by the time TNG came along, a syndicated show was sold a season at a time, so any station that picked it up was committed to run the entire season beginning to end -- unlike the broadcast networks, which would often ditch shows midseason if they underperformed, sometimes after as few as 2-3 episodes. So a first-run syndicated show would have more time to find an audience and get some momentum going.
     
  15. Lt. Washburn

    Lt. Washburn Commander Red Shirt

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    A lot of those other shows had little to no existing fanbase, much less one that has, in retrospect, survived over the long-term. In some ways, I think it less likely that TNG was going to be a success. New era, new crew, etc. being hurdles to overcome.
     
  16. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That didn't last long, though.While I agree someone else would have been cast as Decker, by fall '81 Collins was starring in the Raiders rip-off series Tales of the Gold Monkey. Which didn't last long, and allowed his sidekick to go back to Magnum P.I. (in a new role, unfortunately. They killed the original Mac)
     
  17. Norsehound

    Norsehound Captain Captain

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    In some ways I consider early TNG to be the implementation of Phase-II's broad strokes and colors... as TMP itself is kind of prototypical of some TNG elements (one-piece uniforms, the overall advanced tone of the ship). Still I think I prefer TMP over what we see of Phase-II... TMP is sleeker and timeless, in a way the Phase-II concepts aren't (I'm thinking of Kirk's low-back bowl chair).

    However, I still wish we could see more Phase-II stories. One of the few comics I own is the waypoint issue focusing on Xon... would like to see more stories in that period and fleshing out that concept.

    (By the way Chris, Ex Machina is one of my favorite trek novels. If you ever have a chance to write things after that story in the same period, I'd love to read them!)
     
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  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Donald Bellisario created Tales of the Gold Monkey years before Raiders came out; it was inspired by the 1939 Cary Grant film Only Angels Have Wings. But it languished in development at ABC until Raiders became a hit and prompted them to make it at last.

    (On the other hand, Disney's cartoon TaleSpin is a pretty blatant ripoff of Gold Monkey with Jungle Book characters plugged in. It's very odd that they ripped off such a short-lived, obscure show, but maybe that's why they thought they could get away with it.)


    Heck, TNG basically has the same characters as Phase II. Picard is basically the older, more seasoned Kirk, Riker and Troi are Decker and Ilia almost verbatim, and Data is Xon crossed with the title android from Roddenberry's failed pilot The Questor Tapes.


    Thank you! I've revisited that time period already in Mere Anarchy Book 4: The Darkness Drops Again and Department of Temporal Investigations: Forgotten History, and I'll be returning to it in my March 2020 novel The Higher Frontier.
     
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  19. cardinal biggles

    cardinal biggles Bright Fucking Ideas Premium Member

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    They tried to make it sound like a fourth network, and maybe it would have turned into a fourth network, given time, the way that the WB and UPN sucked up most of the indie stations left in the mid-90s that hadn't already joined FOX. But it also took Fox nearly a decade to get its shit together to the point where it was a true contender in the Nielsen ratings, able to go toe-to-toe with the Big Three. Would Paramount have had the patience and the money to see it through? They bought the Hughes Television Network (which itself wasn't an actual network, but rather a provider of syndicated programming, mostly sporting events, to indies and some Big Three affiliates) in 1976, and sold it to Madison Square Garden in 1979 after it became clear Star Trek was going to be a big-budget theatrical movie and this wasn't going to be a thing after all. And even if they did treat it like syndication in the TNG era, where stations committed to the show for a whole season, who's to say that PTS wouldn't have fizzled after one year?
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There's no guarantee, of course, but we're talking about relative probabilities, whether it would have better odds on a network vs. syndication. My point is that one of the regular broadcast networks would've had less incentive to keep it around than Paramount would. On NBC, ABC, or CBS, it would've been just one show out of many, but on PTS, it would've been the flagship series, the anchor they depended on to draw in viewers to the network (or whatever) as a whole.

    That's the same role that we later saw Voyager play for UPN and now Discovery for CBS All Access. And Voyager was the only drama series on UPN that lasted more than 4 seasons, and one of only two dramas that made it more than 3 seasons (The Sentinel being the other). The whole network depended on Star Trek to work, so it was the show they were least likely to cancel. (Note that when UPN did finally cancel Enterprise, they shuttered the whole network the following year. It just couldn't survive without a Trek show anchoring it.) I believe the same would've been true of Phase II and PTS -- there would be no Paramount network without Trek, so that would've made it safer from cancellation than it would be on an established network that didn't need Trek to survive.