Where No Trek Movie Has Gone Before

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by ST:RPG, May 2, 2008.

  1. ST:RPG

    ST:RPG Ensign Red Shirt

    Apr 12, 2008
    3rd Rock from the Sun
    Ok, so I've posted a few comments here and there, so I figured it was about time I started a thread of my own. I'd like to deal with an issue that seems to be somewhat common in a lot of the discussions I've seen here. The subject being: How can JJ Abram's Trek do better than all the other films?

    Here's my take on the subject:

    First off, there seems to be two entities that are held as the building blocks of all that is 'Trek--The Original Series (TOS), and The Next Generation (TNG). I'd say that's a good estimation of where things lay as far as that's concerned. Now, what I'd like to delve into a bit is the basis of those two shows.

    With TOS (and I'm leaving April and Pike out for the sake of brevity) we were presented with what I like to call "The Age of Adventure". Kirk and his crew were not a special case, in fact, it's been said any captain and crew of this era would have behaved similarly to Kirk and his crew...that is to say, Kirk was not a special case. He stood among his peers as one of many who could be trusted to get things done, the right way, the first time around. That's why he was made a captain, and in fact, the youngest captain at the time. Kirk and crew existed to provide a mirror of the current culture who aimed towards a brighter future. We don't have warp drive in real life, but all in all, the show was grounded in reality. I don't think I need to pursue that issue any further, as I believe almost everyone would agree with me on that point.

    Now, we move into the TOS movie era...and extension of the Age of Adventure. The high water mark here is "The Wrath of Khan", "The Search for Spock", and "The Voyage Home". These three movies told a linear story and marked the best times ever for Kirk and his crew on the big screen. These movies gave us what we'd always wanted to see in Star Trek: High Adventure and deeper insights into the characters themselves. An important note here: with the loss of the USS Enterprise, we may finally realize that it's not the ship that's important, but the crew who actually get things done.

    Of course the bridge "The Undiscovered Country" between TOS and TNG, along with "Generations" cemented the relationship between what was the past (TOS) and what was the future (TNG) of Star Trek.

    TNG invoked the "Age of Diplomacy". We were presented with Picard, who was more of a diplomat than a cold-war era fighter that Kirk was. While at first, Picard makes his tenure on the Enterprise-D seem a grand way to carry on the series into the next century, there always seemed to be something lacking in these stories that was not in TOS. I believe this factor is what we call "deus ex machina" or "god out of a machine". It was with TNG that this problem now inherent with Trek began to emerge. All too often, we were given some exotic form of radiation, or some other non-sensical technological reason for getting the crew out of danger. Granted, the issue may have been something from real science...but the fact of the matter is that most people did not know that, or did not understand that. It was becoming something like magic...that is to say, the show was becoming a fantasy...no longer about the characters and what they could do, but what the ship and technology could do.

    The movies of TNG took this and the fans of Star Trek right along without ever looking back. And so the concept became a given. I think the people that made the TNG movies, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager came to imagine that the fans would accept anything now thrown at them. It was a fatal flaw.

    And so we enter the "Age of War" with Deep Space Nine and Voyager. It is in my opinion that Voyager is the more guilty culprit of damning Trek than any other Trek incarnation. Fluidic Space and Transphasic Torpedoes are just tips of the veritable iceburg. I'll leave this for you to digest a bit, and move on.

    Now we go back in time..Trek time, that is, for Enterprise, and Captain Archer and his crew. Now, this show was quite good in my opinion, with the Xindi conflict being the best of it all. The tragedy of Enterprise was the writing, many people say, and I'd have to agree because the actors were acting out the parts they were handed each week, they had little choice. From this comes my argument that Archer was too weak of a captain as presented to us. He should have been more like Kirk.

    And that brings us full circle back to the movie due out next year, the reimagining of TOS. In is in my humble opinion that going back to what works: a Star Trek that gives us a mirror of ourselves, even though set in the future, provides the audience with realistic characters who deal with things on their own. This is what Star Trek was about, and what it needs to be about: real people dealing with problems without pulling the solution to their dilemma out of a can. It's been said more than once by more than one Trek character "It's not the ship that matters, it's the mission". Sometimes we (the writers of Star Trek) can see things very clearly for a moment, then it all fades into the background.

    Now, arm weapons and raise the shields!
  2. zenophite

    zenophite Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 9, 2003
    As I've said in other posts, Archer should have been the guy Kirk read about as a kid and wanted to always live up to. Bakula is good at nice sensitive guys - not a womanizing, seat of your pants, burly men type characters. he might have made a good doctor on trek...

    that said going back to the original is smart from a business standpoint. people are way more familiar with TOS than any other trek even TNG which I think the non fan population has largely forgotten. Besides "almost everyone knows "bean me up" "he's dead jim" etc while no such "cultural" contribution has been made by any other trek show.

    I'm in it for a fun movie and my motto is "canon be damned!" i hope JJ can deliver the goods.
  3. Triskelion

    Triskelion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 8, 2008
    Nice assessment, ST:RPG. Rings true. What you have here is an insightful and informed conversation of not only writing changes, but also technological, social, production and marketing changes reflected in the perennial story of Star Trek.

    If I may interject before more knowledgeable people join in:

    I submit that each series had its moments of great characterizations, just as TOS had its moments of camp; after all, they carried the franchise for the past twenty years; a time in which production values and technology has undergone incredible transformation (revolution). But since TNG, the Trek characters were no longer quite "us", as they were in TOS. With the benefit of hindsight, stories which relied on technical production or fantasy characterizations are the ones which sometimes hold up the least.

    With TNG Mr Roddenberry was taking Trek in a new direction, updating it, changing it, and I think, in time, producers and writers should never be afraid to try that (though studios should proceed carefully)! Our futures change with our changing present. And science fiction, if anything, should teach us to look forward, to understand our present. To be more than trying to step into the same river twice or recapture static glories of the past, with a deluge of "re-imaginings"--in the hopes of formalizing alchemical success.

    I look forward to XI. I look forward even more to a "re-imagining" of contemporary culture with whole new stories (Trek or otherwise), that don't resemble cheap knockoffs of the premise of the week.

    Yeah, I've seen the young and the beautiful. Is there nothing else? Oh wait - I've gone and turned 41. My crystal is flashing red. I'm outta here!
    Last edited: May 3, 2008
  4. Lookingglassman

    Lookingglassman Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2006
    Other than "Enterprise" I pretty much like anything Trek. I'm eagerly awaiting this movie. SO far I have liked all the movies with the exception of ST:The Motion Picture. I never liked that one.
  5. KeepOnTrekking

    KeepOnTrekking Commodore Commodore

    Oct 18, 2001
    A very insight look at the Trekverse there ST:RPG!!
    I've always been a big Spock fan and looked at his evolving trek into discovering the benefits of balancing his emotions with the rest of his soul. Later, looking into his spiritual adventures from the second movie onward. In a way this could be seen as an "Age of Adventure" for Spock as well as the rest of the Trekverse.

    It's also inteesting that around ST VI onward to the leap of the "Age of Diplomacy" is also the time Spock made a career change into following his father's footsteps as an ambassador. It makes me wonder how much of an influence Spock may have been as a diplomat and helping to usher in that "Age of Diplomacy" we seen in STTNG? You've given me a LOT to think about!!
  6. ST:RPG

    ST:RPG Ensign Red Shirt

    Apr 12, 2008
    3rd Rock from the Sun
    Thanks for the kind remarks.

    I've added you all to my buddy list!
  7. Broccoli

    Broccoli Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 3, 2001
    To be honest, I am not sure where you are going with all of this. Personally, I think the main reason XI is going back to Kirk and Spock is because of all the characters in Trek, the general public are most familiar with Kirk and Spock. Paramount wants to rebuild Trek. Going back to what works is the most logical way to pursue this. I highly doubt it has anything to do with the story telling techniques that were in TOS.

    I find your claim that TNG used a deus ex machina dubious at best. I'm sure the show pulled this once in a while (what show doesn't), but it was not a staple of it at all. I guess I need to know what you actually mean by this. I will admit, that as the years went on, the tech of the show started to be more prominent (although, this problem mostly festered on Voyager), but TNG usually had their problems solved by other means. Along those lines, DS9 almost never needed their problems solved my a magical technology device at the last second.

    Also, DS9 was probably the best show of the spin-offs that dealt with Treks ideals to the point that they challenged them (or more specifically challenged the characters with them). The whole war threw the characters into trying to keep these ideals and uphold them.

    I also disagree that the producers of DS9 or Voyager were just willing to accept that the fans would be willing to watch anything. They wanted to make quality TV. In some ways, they succeeded. In others they failed. In even more others, they were prevented (Voyager could have been much stronger had UPN not interfered as much as it did).

    As for ENT, I liked ENT a lot. There are times that I think it is my favorite of the spin-offs. However, I don't think that Archer should have been like Kirk. I liked the way they presented Archer in the beginning. He screwed up and didn't know what he was doing. I thought that was the perfect way to show how humans are bumbling around in the galaxy. They are not at the point where they can be awesome like Kirk. They are children and need to learn. I know that might have put off some people, but I think that was a good way to go. They they changed Archer and started making him too cool for his own good, thought they still made him goof occasionally.