Trek Nation...Good, Bad, or Indifferent?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by cblmc1296, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    More of him whining about his daddy issues?
  2. Nick Ryder

    Nick Ryder Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 14, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI Da Brew City
    I thought it wasn't too bad - given that it was only a 2 hour thing - couldn't go into every single nuance. Although I was originally thinking for some reason that it would have been an actual sort of mini-series type thing. More than one 2 hour show. Considering he was working on this documentary for a looooong time, 2 hours is all they could do?

    I don't know feels like there was a LOT they cut out for timing's sake. Interviews I'm sure he had done that weren't aired, elements that weren't there. For all we know there was a longer first cut of it, that mentioned the "first family", that went into some of the other aspects. But then again... this is a Science Channel/Discovery Communications production. They're pretty good at hacksaw editing. "Eh, that's boring... let's hear Uhura's MLKJr story!" even though many of us fans have heard that story so many times in so many ways. Although Majel disappointed me, you think she'd have SOMETHING more to say - or at least they could have picked her doing a more forthcoming interview. It's not like Rod was the first one to put a mic in front of her.

    But keep in mind, this was also meant for a general audience, not just us Trekkies. We know all this stuff - there was really very little that we haven't seen in other documentaries, special features, interviews or books. I was actually kinda of glad to see some of the home movies from the Roddenberry family. And the Save Enterprise people. I'm glad to see that was included. It also sort of did a somewhat decent job at portraying us fans in a better light than "Trekkies" did - although the guy in the Borg costume with the vox box and the rather unattractive woman in the Borg Queen outfit sort of were there for the "freak show" element... but those kids he interviewed were pretty cute. 6 Years old and they knew every bit about the show.

    So it wasn't 'horrible' but it wasn't spectacular either. I think it could have been longer but then again you are trying to fit in over 50 years of story in to 2 hours. Really should have been a multi-night event sort of thing. Maybe like the initial 2 hour thing to whet the appetite and then 1 hour shows every night for like 5 nights that go into more detail about Roddenberry's impact and influence on each series. Like Night 2 - TOS, Night 3 - TNG, Night 4 -The Spin offs - TAS, DS9, VOY, Ent, Night 5 - The Future of Trek - at least it would let things take a more in depth look.

    But Rod does have some serious daddy issues - although... speaking as someone who lost his own father a few years back, you do tend to both sort of look favorably on your late old man and not so favorably. It's an odd balance. And since he lost his pop at a fairly young age, I'm sure there are a lot of issues - and maybe this was his way of trying to work through it.

    I wouldn't nominate it for any awards. But at least we fans weren't completely looked at as complete and utter freaks
  3. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 28, 2011
    I just watched the rerun of this last night, and I gotta say, I really liked. Yes, there were issues: no mention of Roddenberry Sr.'s first marriage, a little (read: waaaaay) too much of Gene Roddenberry = Visionary stuff at the beginning, a paucity of interviews with the original actors (just Nichelle Nichols as far as I can recall).

    But there was some really great stuff in there. I had heard Nichols' MLK story before, but not in that level of detail. (For instance, I hadn't heard that it was the only show MLK and Coretta would let their children stay up for.) And the people I was watching with, who are fans, and have seen many Star Trek episodes, but don't have the same amount of behind-the-scenes knowledge that I do, were profoundly moved by her story. I mean, for crying out loud, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Star Trek fan! And he thought it was important that Uhura stay on the Enterprise. How cool is that?

    And we got new interviews with people that we, as members of the Star Trek community, owe a lot. DC Fontana, Ron Moore, Michael Pillar, and, of course, Rick Berman. (Say what you will about Berman, but without him, we would have a lot less to discuss here at TrekBBS. A lot less.) I thought the new interviews were interesting and had the benefit of more hindsight than earlier interviews, so we had new perspectives, etc. I mean, when was the last time someone sat down with Dorothy Fontana to talk about Star Trek and filmed it?

    Also, we had George Lucas talking about Star Trek. Whoa. You know, he basically said that, without Star Trek, he would've had a lot harder time doing Star Wars, noting that Star Trek gave him precedent to not be realistic in space. I thought Roddenberry Jr. handled that sequence very well, and I liked the inclusion of the clip of Roddenberry Sr. talking about Star Wars.

    On the downside, we really did have too much stuff about Gene Roddenberry being a "visionary," especially at the beginning. I thought they did a good job of bringing him back down to earth, but I think they set him up too high to begin with.

    Yes, Gene had a vision of the future. And it was a beautiful one, too. Frakes summed it up perfectly: "In the 24th century, there will be no hunger, there will be no greed, and all the children will know how to read." When people ask me what Star Trek is about, that's what I tell them. And when you realize the time in which Gene had this idea, an era of Vietnam, JFK being shot, people rioting in the streets, the Cuban Missile Crisis... in many ways, it was a terrible time. And Roddenberry said that someday it won't be like this. We're not all gonna die in a mushroom cloud; it's going to be better than that.

    But to call Roddenberry a "visionary," in my opinion, is a bit excessive. And it's much too easy to give Roddenberry waaaay too much credit. For example, I think it's safe to say that we owe TNG and everything that came after to the overall commercial success of Star Trek II, III and IV. And that only happened because Roddenberry was "kicked upstairs" and other people (Harve Bennett and Leonard Nimoy in particular) took over on the ground. TMP may have been a work of art, but it was far from a commercial success. Gene had a vision, but he had a hard time executing its portrayal effectively. And I think that's an important distinction to keep in mind.

    I think this film is important to the Star Trek community for that very reason. It forces us in a healthy way to examine the man without whom we would not be having this discussion today. (For all his faults, we can say that about the Great Bird.)

    Yes, Roddenberry Jr. has Daddy issues. But so what? Lots of people do. As someone who never knew his own grandfather, to whom I owe so much, I am frankly envious of Roddenberry Jr.'s ability to learn so much about his own father. I thought that the film did a good job of exploring a very poignant emotional question: how do I come to terms with the death of a man that I did not like in life but whom I now desperately want to know? I'm sure Roddenberry Jr. is not the only person to have grappled with those feelings.

    Lastly, as someone who found Star Trek when he really needed to find Star Trek, I appreciated the inclusion of some stories about why Star Trek means so much to the fans. I know it is not a universal, but I think many Star Trek fans do form an emotional connection with the franchise that is hard to explain. And I appreciated Roddenberry Jr.'s effort to do so respectfully. And I think he succeeded.
  4. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 28, 2011
    Nick Ryder, I just reread your message, and realized that I may have come across as dismissive of your point here. My apologies. On the contrary, I think you have hit the nail on the head here. It really is an odd balance, and I thought the film did a good job of showing us how Jr. was working out his own issues.

    I also really agree with your points about this film being for a general audience (and not just us) and about the film's portrayal of the fans. A few "out-there"'s, but overall, pretty good.

    My apologies for the double post, everyone.
  5. antiquityscion

    antiquityscion Commander

    Mar 1, 2011

    Exactly how I felt about the documentary.
  6. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 28, 2011
    Thanks! :)
  7. Anji

    Anji Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 7, 2003
    Assisting in the birth of baby Horta on Janus VI
    I am so sorry I missed it. I hope that by making the movie the kid did come to some sort of grip with his father's death. From the videos I've seen of him he took Gene's passing really, really hard. (He seems to be as sensitive as his father was.)

    And for that comment about Gene cheating on his wife: if you've ever been in a loveless, or even married for that matter, you'll know that marriage is in the heart and not on a piece of paper. You can be married and fall out of love or not even marry for love in the first place. We don't know what went wrong in the first Roddenberry marriage and we are in no position to judge. We have never heard from Roddenberry's first wife.

    Majel a slut....sorry, never gonna believe that one.
  8. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

    Mar 8, 2009
    New York City
  9. bbailey861

    bbailey861 Admiral Premium Member

    Oct 14, 2009
    Kingston, ON Canada
    I am still hoping that some channel up here will air it. Space, or the Documentary Channel, perhaps.
  10. The Transformed Man

    The Transformed Man Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 19, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    I thought it was pretty good. It tried to present the myth of Gene in a more balanced light... some parts were compelling and some parts... meh.

    Certainly well made and mostly interesting, but I would have like to have seen more from people outside of Star Trek that knew him. One of the best moments was when he interviewed a couple of neighbors about his dad.

    But if you want a good doc on the Star Trek experience I would certainly recommend Shatner's "Get a Life." While it covers a lot of ground that was presented in the "Trekkies" movies, it really does a great job of discussing the overall mythos of Trek and why people are so attracted to it.

    Good stuff.

  11. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    If she is still alive, maybe we should.

    I can't remember her every being interviewed about Gene Roddenberry and the time period of Star trek's beginnings, and she might have some interesting insights.

  12. Pindar

    Pindar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Apr 20, 2001
    NCC - 1031
    I finally watched this tonight, it was interesting in parts but much of it wasn't new.

    I wonder why Braga was not interviewed?
  13. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    One of the formal definitions of a visionary is "having or marked by foresight and imagination." Gene definitely had some foresight into a better future, certainly one that openly embraces people of all races and other manifestations. And he definitely had a compelling imagination about a future formalized space military that would explore and patrol space. He was the figure head of the idea, yet so many other people contributed to it, bringing the whole idea into visual realization. So, as I see it he was a visionary of sorts. But like most human beings, he had his failings.

    The whole realization of the Star Trek TOS vision depended upon other people besides Gene, particularly people like Matt Jefferies, Wah Chang, Bill Theiss, Robert Justman, Herb Solow, etc. But the guy who starts the idea is usually credited the most.

    Where Gene excelled was in writing and script oversight. He had a good sense of how to take a story and mold it to fit into the episode format he established. He also had a very good sense of what worked and what didn't, which I feel was noticeably lost on Season 3. Unfortunately, from what I read in "Inside Star Trek", he wasn't a particularly good executive producer. He also created and produced the first season of TNG. I thought it lacking in a lot of respects story, pacing and dialog, but production values were quite good.

    Anyway... I often feel like Gene Jr. is just riding his father's coat tails, as his career is intimately focused on Star Trek merchandising when he had absolutely no interest in the series as a young man. I would hope Trek Nation would spend as little time as possible on the Gene Sr./Jr. dynamic. That's ultimately his business, as it's difficult to trust anything publicly stated about it anyway.
  14. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    This. I was absolutely floored when he said he was glad his Dad cheated on his Mom because it made him seem more human. Then when he interviewed Majel, I got this vibe that she thought he was a tool. :lol:
  15. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 12, 2009
    Loads of people involved with Trek weren't interviewed - why single out Braga? He barely knew Roddenberry (coming on to TNG in 1990, and Gene dying in 1991) - remember, it was less about the Trek TV shows and more about Roddenberry.
  16. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    Common misconception, with the money adjusted for inflation, TMP made more money than any of the other Star Trek movies, including ST Eleven.

  17. Morpheus 02

    Morpheus 02 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 3, 2003
    Chicago IL
    I only caught the last 1/2 last night, but thought it was a HONEST documentary, not a pity party for Rod.

    I really respect Rod Roddenberry for making it, and thought it had some good insight on the Trek Phenomenon.

    Interesting thought on the documentary feeling too short.

    Could Trek Nation work as a limited series on SyFy? Like 13 weeks of 1/2 hour or 1 hour episodes, focusing on various issues, and of course lots of scenes that are repeated. Perhaps even some fan videos as well.

    The cost would be minimal, but get enough ratings to make it worth it.
  18. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Oct 8, 2005
    Los Angeles, California
    It is a medicore documentary, which tries to do two things at once and never manages to do either justice.

  19. kennysmith

    kennysmith Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 7, 2013
    Rancho Cordova ca
    i my self didn't get much out of trek nation. it was from 2010. and gene roddenberry jr did not get any answers back from the right people who know the story why they canceled the tv show of star trek. i found out about 2 years ago. it was not good for gene rodderyberry and the stuido back then.
  20. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 20, 2007
    inside teacake
    Terrible. Couldn't choke it down. Had to quit about a third of the way through it. Boring, repetitive wank.