Starship, the proposed 1970s Series

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Doctor Jeffrey, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I saw an old thread asking about the proposed Starship series from the mid-70s. I was around when STARSHIP was being proposed and used to have the blue prints for the ship. The forward end had a 2 level cylindrical habitat with living space and labs, a smaller cylinder held scientific equipment and a sphere contained a transporter. The crew was a captain and 5 or 6 top level scientists. Part of the lessons learned from Star Trek were: we'll end up with only 6 or 7 main characters, anyway, so keep the cast small. Don't rely on 1 character to know everything (Spock), so load up with geniuses. Forget shuttle craft and just use the transporter. Use lots of aliens in the crew (the main character was a female human M.D./biologist and the captain was an alien). The normal bridge crew was replaced by a computer that foreshadowed Alexa/Deep Blue/Watson. The captain gives verbal orders and receives verbal information, so the operation of the ship can all be done by computer, leaving the rest of the cast able to focus on science. Think of THE BIG BANG THEORY cast placed on a starship with a take charge alien captain running things, and then turn all but 1 or 2 of the BIG BANG cast into aliens, and you get the intended idea for STARSHIP.
     
  2. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Odd that they wanted the ship loaded with geniuses to avoid another Spockish 1-genius situation, and then did exactly the same with Data in Next Gen. I guess ideas come and go.
     
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  3. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    That's an excellent point. Next Gen was the "grandchild" of Star Trek: Phase 2: VERSION 1. The original idea for Star Trek: Phase 2 was a series of 2 hour made for TV movies. Four were to have been produced in Winter/Spring 1974 (at a time when Star Trek TOS had the second highest ratings in syndicated TV). If those films had high ratings, then the plan was to produce 6 two hour movies per season. 6 movie premieres and 6 reruns per year = a Star Trek movie broadcast every month. This solved a big problem of fixed costs per episodes (new sets, models and costumes for each episode) by amortizing those costs over 2 hours, thus getting twice the advertising revenue (the commercials) for the same fixed costs. It also meant that James Doohan, DeForest Kelly and (I believe) Leonard Nimoy were onboard. None of them wanted to do another weekly series at that time. The plug got pulled on the multi TV movie idea in order to change the plan to a either a new syndicated series, or to have Phase Two become the flagship series for a new Paramount Network, which was planned for the 70s, but did not happen until many years later. Too, bad. The original idea of 6 TV movies per year would have held together the original cast and would have yielded a lot of nice work. When all of this fell through, the scripts and characters being developed for Phase Two, Version Two became the basis of TNG, so the Spock character became Xon became Data. I still like the Phase Two, Version ONE idea AND the Starship idea. Both of those would have built upon TOS and would have benefited by lessons learned.
     
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  4. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Wasn't there talk of revisiting this in the late 90s? I swear I read somewhere about a show called Starship based on a concept from Roddenberry around 1998/1999. When Andromeda came out I just assumed the idea developed into that.
     
  5. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Andromeda was MUCH more like Blake's 7. About the only thing Andromeda had in common with Starship was that it was operated by a sentient computer (although in the 1970s proposal, it was not clear if the computer was actually sentient, or, like Watson and Alexa, a heuristic algorithmic voice activated computer that APPEARS to be sentient). The original Starship concept was a starship that really did use space bubble/warp drive with matter/anti-matter only for the impulse engines, and the ship and crew were on ecological and scientific missions. The starship had no weapons and no military personnel.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's partly true, but the only part of Starship that Andromeda ended up using was the idea of the sentient ship AI. Otherwise it was derived from Roddenberry's Genesis II/Planet Earth pilots, about a character named Dylan Hunt awakening in a post-apocalyptic future and helping to rebuild civilization, albeit transposed to a space setting and blended with developer Robert Hewitt Wolfe's unused ideas for a potential far-future Star Trek series.

    As for Starship, Majel Roddenberry spun it off into a separate project in 2000, and it sounded awesome -- it was to be an animated/online multimedia series produced in collaboration with Stan Lee Media, and it was to be directed by Space Battleship Yamato/Captain Harlock creator Leiji Matsumoto and co-written by Spider-Man: The Animated Series's John Semper. Unfortunately, Lee's company went bankrupt and the project collapsed.

    The concept art for the ship in Starship ended up being used as one of the historic vessels named Enterprise in ST:TMP's rec room display, and was also seen in artwork in Star Trek: Enterprise.
     
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Sounds rather dull.
     
  8. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Yikes! I would hate to think that science fiction is only interesting if weapons and military personnel are included. Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke wrote lots of stories without weapons or military. Yes, they each had some stories that included both, but Asimov had a particular dislike for the military. There are no military or weapons in the space sequences in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Did you find that movie to be dull? Do you really find science fiction to only be interesting if there are weapons and military?
     
  9. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, I see when the show was first announced in 1999 they were going to use Dylan Hunt for the lead's name. That and the ship being run by a sentient AI are probably why I later thought Andromeda originated from that.
    In all honesty, yes.
     
  10. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

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    There were orbital nukes, though the film didn't identify them as such.
    Many do, I'm afraid.
     
  11. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    2001 happens to be my favorite movie of all time, in fact.

    And I disagree that it has no weapons or military. First off, there’s no proof that Dave Bowman and Frank Poole were actually civilians. As for weaponry? It could be argued that HAL 9000 itself was the weapon...

    That said, I would consider it inappropriate for a Trek series to be structured like that. What good is a starship if it has no means to defend itself? (And yes, I am firmly of the mind that Starfleet is military. So there. :p )
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  12. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Mih ssim, mih ssim, nam, daed si Xim. Moderator

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    HAL wasn’t literally meant to be a weapon...but thematically he was the ultimate evolution of that bone that Moon-Watcher threw in the air.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
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  13. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Roddenberry intended Starship to be a non-military series. It was NOT of the Trek universe. He intended the Starship and her crew to be an interstellar version of Jacques Cousteau, Bob Ballard and Sylvia Earle. He wanted the series to be hard science in the tradition of Clarke and Asimov, and even wanted a more accurate depiction of space fabric warping (hence the Ring Ship design) and of matter/antimatter impulse engines. This series was an alternative approach to the military Starfleet. As for 2001: the novel clearly states that Bowman, Poole, and the 3 hibernating scientists are all civilians, as are the 2 transport ships (and crew) from Earth to the Moon, and all the people on the moon are civilian. HAL was certainly never intended as a weapon. But, it you have to call HAL a weapon and have to call Bowman and Poole military, then I am satisfied that I've made my point, and I thank you.
     
  14. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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  15. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, that's a start. A Trek series devoid of the military or of weapons would be, IMHO, completely out of place. If this thing is standalone, then it's not quite as bad.

    Perhaps.

    But 2010 - a film which I also enjoy immensely, and consider a worthy sequel - features Russian crew who are explicitly military (at least Helen Mirren's character is; she flat out says that she is an officer of the Soviet Air Force), so it would seem that the military DOES have a role to play in the 2001/2010 universe.

    (FWIW, the opening text crawl to 2010 refers to Dave as "Commander Bowman". Now of course this could be just a reference to his command of the Discovery mission, but it could also be his actual rank.)
     
  16. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I firmly agree that Starfleet and Trek and very military. Roddenberry himself said that Starship was intended to be completely non-military and made the comparison to it being an interstellar Jacques Cousteau expedition. You are right about the nukes at the end of the novel 2001, but they were not in the movie. However, in neither the film nor novel were nukes onboard the Discovery 1, nor on the space station nor lunar station nor the 2 shuttles. Yes, in the Dawn of Man sequence there are weapons and killing, but the space craft are all devoid of military personnel and military weapons. I appreciate your comments. They helped me make the point clearer.
     
  17. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    So, the only way to include military personnel and military weapons in the movie 2001 is to add speculation, add elements from another story (2010) and reference a scene that is in the novel (the exploding nukes), but not in the movie. Cool. As for the Roddenberry series Starship, it was his idea to create an alternative to Starfleet in a series with a non-Trek universe. I think it would have been worth doing, and by doing so, Roddenberry would, in no way, have detracted anything from the Trek series. It would be good to have variety in the television science fiction. I really appreciate all of these comments, even if some of us are disagreeing. Even if some of us disagree with each other, It's an enjoyable conversation. Thanks.
     
  18. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I find the pew pew parts some of the dullest parts of Trek. Clever problem solving is much more exciting.
     
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  19. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Oh, 2001 was a reflection of the civilian space program of the 60s. 2010 was intended to be a reflection of the Reagan Era and the rise in the Cold War. The Soviet military was added (all Soviets in 2001 are civilians) to reflect that tension and brinksmanship.
     
  20. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, there were nuclear warheads in the film version of 2001.

    After the ape Moonwatcher throws the bone in the air, and it immediately cuts to the view of space, all of the various orbiting spacecraft (the ones that appear before we see the Pan Am shuttle approach the space station) are weapons platforms. They ALL carry nukes.