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  #611  
Old 08-25-2010, 09:56 AM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Funny, I found Spock's repetition of his Sherloch Holmes line from TUC in ST09 quite annoying.
It kinda was. Him referring to Holmes as an ancestor was 'kinda' weird and I still don't know what to make of that. Is it fourth-wall breaking? I don't know. But fortunately it's the same movie in which the Klingons suddenly take up Shakespeare.

I actually like inconsistencies or idiosyncrasies as long as they're intentional. I like creative freedom and audacity. I like if a director says "screw it, I'm going to make this picture my own, and I can change the wardrobe, sets, lighting and music however I want to." I want every picture and every series to show its own fingerprints. The flip side of that is, there is tremendous responsibility and consequences. I think most of us agree that Meyer was a lot less subtle on STVI than II... as if maybe it bothered him for ten years that not enough people 'got' his literary references the first time around, and so he took it into overkill. Maybe VI is like the B-side of II... maybe it's Donnie Darko The Director's Cut.

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Did you also mind rituals in TOS like the forced laugh at the end or Spock constantly bashing with McCoy or Kirk getting the half-naked girl? TV and cinema are arts of repetition, just imagine a car crash in a movie without an explosion. Everybody would be shocked because cineman doesn't repeat its oldest clichée.
You're asking questions I won't have easy or even semi-consistent answers to.

Car crash explosions are like sound in space; movies may seem 'incomplete' without them... as if the visual or sound effects were simply not completed. A skilled director or editor can still experiment with those things.

The Spock/McCoy bashing was pure genius, considering who/what the characters represented, and it was something Roddenberry himself probably wouldn't have recognized or exploited from the characters (he was more a conceptualist than a writer, I think, when handling his characters).

Kirk's 'playboy' qualities represent a kind of recurring cliche that I often suspect (or hope) was unintentional. On a ST09 thread I haven't found time to respond to, you were comparing young NuKirk with (what we know about) young ShatnerKirk. I think your analogy of Kirk constantly falling down and grabbing for the edge was right on, and the symbolic repetition of that visual image throughout the movie was an essential component. As you mentioned, this is not the same Kirk who grew up on Tarsus IV (or wherever) or acted like a geeky, walking stalk of books with legs at the Academy. The thing is, I think young NuKirk is actually more 'true' to the classic character than those biographical details or 'facts' that fans cling to. Even if I were making a Prime Universe Starfleet Academy movie, I would probably just ignore Tarsus IV and James Finnegan (I'd be willing to wager Harve Bennett's script ignored them too). Kirk was still very much "in development" or evolving (devolving?) at the time those facts were established. Maybe network interference was to blame... but for better or worse, the skirt-chaser Kirk from Seasons 2 and 3 is what the world at large came to know and remember. Everyone's favorite ST movie (we all know the one) would have been a very different picture if those now-famous/infamous qualities/flaws had not already existed in Kirk for the director to exploit.

And yes, the forced laugh at the end of many episodes was almost always annoying. And 'Galileo Seven' takes the golden cheesecake award.

These cliches or character traditions however are not the same to me as a laughably clumsy piece of technobabble that gets repeated out of laziness. It's not even something I know how to explain; I already tried. There's no style or purpose to it, it's entirely mechanical. Perhaps Data forgot to look right at the camera when he said the line.

You might see if you can dig up a copy of the 'annoted' screenplay for Nemesis, that was circling the web just after the movie came out. The margins are full of (imaginary) dialogue between Berman and Logan, illustrating the creative gears that were 'probably' at work (use of quotation marks deliberate, just to be fair). It's totally hilarious, and has a disturbingly familiar 'ring' of truth for skeptical fans, with comments like "[BERMAN]: Here, give me that typewriter for a second" written into the margins wherever there is technobabble. Like I said, it's intended to be a cynical portrayal, not a (necessarily) accurate one.

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Sure you throw Berman and the studio together, you just claim that he and the studio are both overprotective. Not that I understand what this word means in this context. All I can deduce is that Mr.Berman sometimes had creative ideas whereas the studio wanted to play it safe.
If I 'just' do it, if that is the one instance, how am I throwing them in together? I never said or implied they were of a like mind or in total agreement with how to run things. Is it necessary to stop every time and specify that 2 does not mean 20 just in order just to not say something that I'm not saying? You've already acknowledged the studio wanted to play it safe, so there's no need to explain that part.

Berman, perhaps out of loyalty to Roddenberry's ghost (I'm not inclined to doubt it) seemed to want to run tight ship and do everything just the way Roddenberry did it. There are two problems with this. Berman is no Roddenberry, nor is he really a writer (he's a producer). Also Roddenberry, I think most agree, did not always necessarily have the best ideas of where to take the series. It took a couple years to get together a group of people who could make consistently strong dramatic television while working within the Roddenberry constraints. I don't have a problem with that; there are 'utopiest' (that's probably not even a word) fans out there who only consider TNG as the one 'true' ST. Maybe they feel our generation needs a new age of progressively enlightened mythology, and for a time TNG was that.

That's all fine, but you still have basic rules of drama that are as old as theater itself. If you can find the next Roddenberry, fine, make him one of the showrunners of ST. But really look for the creative people, and let them be allowed to leave their fingerprints. Bring in the Nick Meyers, the Joss Whedons, the J. Michael Stracynzkis, the JJ Abramses, the people who will never 'understand' Roddenberry but appreciate ST nonetheless. Instead of just grooming the people you already have to continue regurgitating old Prime Directive stories because "this is how (we think) Roddenberry would have done it." You cannot, cannot, encourage creativity by insisting that "established canon" dictates the set lighting must be this way, or the music 'must' be un-intrusive or unnoticeable.

(How did the whole music restriction thing start? At a guess, I would say 19-inch stereo TVs were still a novelty in 1987, and Paramount really wanted to boast the atmospheric quality of the sound mix on their new first-run syndication series. Maybe there's still a memo somewhere. But even the synthesized 'new age' sound of early TNG, I'll take anyday over the ponderous sounds that passed for music from Season 5 up to the cancellation of ENT. Music is almost half your movie! It's the emotions of the film. DS9, in all it's space battles, political intrigue and vast epicness, never matched the simple edge-of-your-seat ticking-clock excitement of 'The Best of Both Words I and II.' And that's why.)

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What is risky about rebooting the most popular Trek series? It's going back to the roots, into territory which you know many people will like. That's as safe as it can get. The Romulan War story would have been risky, a new series would have been risky, but back to the roots certainly isn't. If it really was a gamble they wouldn't have spent 150 million bucks.
I would argue spending 150 million bucks on anything named 'Star Trek,' even at the height of its popularity, was an unprecedented risk. There was no way to predict how mainstream viewers might respond (or not). Even blockbuster franchises like The Terminator don't guarantee success. The only guarantee with Star Trek is the fans, and most of them wanted a new series "set 100 years after Nemesis" (how often have we seen that thrown out there?). I suppose such a series would have kept most of the same people and the same aesthetic as all the TNG spinoffs... at least in the assumptions of most fans (many of them the same fans, I might add, who 'hate' Berman and Braga). Skin-tight jumpsuits, chroniton particles and neutrino emissions, warp 'signatures', and ponderous music... I hate to sound condescending, but can't people get enough? There's nothing risky about that, even if it fails. That's just called not learning their lesson.

The 'Romulan War' movie did sound intriguing, and I sincerely regret Berman never got the chance to (possibly) 'redeem' himself with producing such a movie. Although to me it's 50/50 whether such would have been the result. I guess he had just run out of time. And I'm sorry and all, but it's also kind of just 'too bad.' If anyone has the script I wouldn't mind reading it.
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  #612  
Old 08-25-2010, 10:02 AM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
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I think that the underlying factor which influences our different opinions concerning TNG and post TNG might be the attitude towards techspeak or hard vs. soft science fiction.

In general I am not much of a fan of hard sci-fi, something like Asimov's robot stories are fun to read and an interesting fictional exploration of design issues of artifical intelligence but the characters are so dry and it's all written in a fairly technical manner.
Soft science fiction which explores the human instead of the technological sphere is much more interesting in my opinion (I own not even one book about a natural scientific topic.). Q's lesson in All Good Things or Archer's speech in These are the Voyages visible in my signature emphasize that the exploration of the social space is as least as relevant as the exploration of the physical outer space and it is no coincidence that these points occur in two series finales.

But should Trek be super-soft, should it be indistinguishable from fantasy or ordinary fiction? I don't think so, a bit of techspeak belongs in there. In TOS there wasn't enough in my opinion, you could watch the whole series and get the impression that the nacelles are rockets. TNG got it right, VOY went too far and DS9 as well as ENT kept it roughly on a TNG level.
So if (and please correct me if I am wrong) you are like Ron Moore a proponent of super-soft sci-fi it is understandable that you dislike certain aspects of TNG and post TNG.
Naturally when I write super-long posts, I miss much of the conversation in the interim. So to keep it short:

I consider TNG perhaps the best example of 'hard' sci-fi for television, even if it wasn't that hard. Seasons 1-5, I was at least tricked into the illusion that the technobabble actually meant something. I've said I like things different, I like individuality... and there was a time when TNG looked, felt and sounded quite different from what came before.
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  #613  
Old 08-25-2010, 10:13 AM
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I disagree about the lack of conflict in TNG and post TNG. VOY was perhaps too much of a friendly kid show but DS9 had easily the most explosive crew-combination and ENT was refreshingly politically incorrect for Trek with a very undiplomatic captain and first officer.


About the previous idea for an eleventh Trek movie, well, there is a report by a guy who has read a script draft:
http://www.aintitcool.com/node/34635 or if you want the short version http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Beginning

I llove Romulan war stories, I like the idea to set up a trilogy and despite being part of the Roddenberryian-utopian fan fraction I also like the idea to do warmovies in Trek ... but in general it doesn't sound very good to me. A movie partly based upon a cancelled series with a character who is the ancestor of Kirk? Nah, too fanwankish for my taste. And as you said, as innovative as it all sounds it came too late.
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  #614  
Old 08-25-2010, 10:22 AM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
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Yep and I simply don't mind a bit of techspeak as this is friggin's science fiction ... and I certainly don't mind Data speaking more technical than other characters because it is in his nature. There are plenty of characters who don't use techspeak, Troi usually tells someone like Data to repeat and rephrase it such that she can understand it.
Thing is, "shielding us from the changes in the timeline" is not really techspeak, or even what I would call appropriate Dataspeak. It's just... I don't know what it is. It is, somehow, very typical post-Roddenbery Berman-era Trekspeak, or it wouldn't have made such an impression on the group I was with. With 'timeline' so often being thrown out there as though it were a physical, tangible thing like a forcefield. Maybe showing 'time' as a visual effect, versus actually talking about it as such, is like the difference between the audience hearing a space explosion and Uhura saying that she hears it. But I don't think even that example gets any closer to articulating the problem, because I'm still analyzing something that just 'feels' and 'sounds' wrong.

The only non-fan reaction I've gotten from it is "convenient." This was from my sister, who's not that fond of TNG but enjoyed FC.
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  #615  
Old 08-25-2010, 10:36 AM
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I would argue spending 150 million bucks on anything named 'Star Trek,' even at the height of its popularity, was an unprecedented risk. There was no way to predict how mainstream viewers might respond (or not). Even blockbuster franchises like The Terminator don't guarantee success. The only guarantee with Star Trek is the fans, and most of them wanted a new series "set 100 years after Nemesis" (how often have we seen that thrown out there?). I suppose such a series would have kept most of the same people and the same aesthetic as all the TNG spinoffs... at least in the assumptions of most fans (many of them the same fans, I might add, who 'hate' Berman and Braga). Skin-tight jumpsuits, chroniton particles and neutrino emissions, warp 'signatures', and ponderous music... I hate to sound condescending, but can't people get enough? There's nothing risky about that, even if it fails. That's just called not learning their lesson.
I confess I'm a little confused here - but I might be reading you too literally.

If one is considering a setting for a series - what really makes setting a series in the future any more or less creative than setting it alongside or before any of the other series either.

That didn't seem to work for ENT until it was post-cancellation, it didn't help when DS9 and VOY were concurrent and yet it's also not going to help putting it ahead and leapfrogging?

What you're talking about introducing would have nothing to do with the setting strictly, it seems. You seek someone who would come in and actually run the show in a totally different manner to what has gone before. Which is fine, but I don't see where one setting over another would itself guarantee anything.
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  #616  
Old 08-25-2010, 10:44 AM
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INS and NEM were financial failures, VOY and ENT probably weren't that successful either so when an eleventh movie was discussed I don't think that anyone considered a 24th century timeframe as serious option.
As far as I know TOS and TNG are still by far the two most popular series and, I am not sure about this, in the US TOS might be more popular (whereas for example over here in Germany I am pretty sure that TNG is more popular because the German translation of TOS is so horrible). That's why I think that a TOS movie was the obvious way to go and gladly it worked quite well.
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  #617  
Old 08-25-2010, 11:52 AM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
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INS and NEM were financial failures, VOY and ENT probably weren't that successful either so when an eleventh movie was discussed I don't think that anyone considered a 24th century timeframe as serious option.
As far as I know TOS and TNG are still by far the two most popular series and, I am not sure about this, in the US TOS might be more popular (whereas for example over here in Germany I am pretty sure that TNG is more popular because the German translation of TOS is so horrible). That's why I think that a TOS movie was the obvious way to go and gladly it worked quite well.
Now THAT is interesting, and enlightening if true.

I think maybe TOS 'speaks' to a kind of gung-ho "let's go in there and fix" mentality that we like to see as being part of our heritage. The so-called 'American Way' and all that wonderful stuff. I don't claim to share that view myself, although I love it for the swashbuckling and the energy. But it's also been categorized as a western, and whatever all that implies.

In my college years, it seemed that TOS was considered campy, dated and uncool. I don't know if it was just the production values, or if it was students consciously wanting to appear politically knowledgeable by finding issue with its gender and social themes. Star Trek in general became 'uncool' again after TNG went off the air, although FC temporarily reversed that trend.

I think it's a generational thing, that now the pendulum has swung back to TOS. I doubt most non-fans were really that 'aware' of the continuous spin-offs being made, other than that ST was just as nerdy as they'd heard, that it was still being produced in 'some' form or other (like Law and Order or CSI) and that it simply refused to die already. I don't think they knew that it had in fact finally died for several years.

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I confess I'm a little confused here - but I might be reading you too literally.

If one is considering a setting for a series - what really makes setting a series in the future any more or less creative than setting it alongside or before any of the other series either.

That didn't seem to work for ENT until it was post-cancellation, it didn't help when DS9 and VOY were concurrent and yet it's also not going to help putting it ahead and leapfrogging?

What you're talking about introducing would have nothing to do with the setting strictly, it seems. You seek someone who would come in and actually run the show in a totally different manner to what has gone before. Which is fine, but I don't see where one setting over another would itself guarantee anything.
My bad.

It's not the setting that's the problem, it's the approach. Create a starship, sketch out seven people, make two of them aliens, one of them a half-breed (sorry!), one of them an observer of the human condition, and then give them all names.

To me we've been there. Most viewers outside of 'hardcore' fandom would't know whether it was the same producers or not, they'd just see that ST was doing it again. The pilot would rate higher than most of ENT, but not as high as the ENT pilot. Which of course didn't rate as high as the VOY pilot before that. Which of course...

Maybe a better-directed series might've taken hold, but my feeling is all the feasible options had been squandered and exhausted. Even TNG was now too far back on the rear horizon. Not a bad time for it to dawn on studio execs that, for all the 'nerdiness' in ST, A high-budget commercial film with cultural legends Kirk and Spock had never actually been explored.
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:37 AM
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My bad.

It's not the setting that's the problem, it's the approach. Create a starship, sketch out seven people, make two of them aliens, one of them a half-breed (sorry!), one of them an observer of the human condition, and then give them all names.

To me we've been there. Most viewers outside of 'hardcore' fandom would't know whether it was the same producers or not, they'd just see that ST was doing it again. The pilot would rate higher than most of ENT, but not as high as the ENT pilot. Which of course didn't rate as high as the VOY pilot before that. Which of course...
That's OK, I'm back on track now!

Yes, I think that the approach probably needs to be reconceived as well (not that I pretend to have any ideas, and nowadays the trend is for TV shows to actually have sometimes larger ensemble main casts than in the 80s which I don't think would be a good way to work) even though I do have an interest in post-DS9 stuff.

But conceptually it probably wouldn't have been set up and played very differently from all the other shows.

Maybe, actually getting back to just a handful (like TOS) and have assorted others who were non-regular and not within the usual roster of 'types' would work. Instead of having said 'types' just see what kinda characters seem to emerge out of what the basic idea for a series would be.

Maybe not.

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Maybe a better-directed series might've taken hold, but my feeling is all the feasible options had been squandered and exhausted. Even TNG was now too far back on the rear horizon. Not a bad time for it to dawn on studio execs that, for all the 'nerdiness' in ST, A high-budget commercial film with cultural legends Kirk and Spock had never actually been explored.
To be honest, I think it's the overt commerciality which offends some of the fans who may actually prefer to keep Trek a 'niche' franchise that only they know everything about and which they can use as a way to set themselves apart from others.

Which, I think comes part and parcel with fandom and the idea of identifying with something that you can have as 'yours'.

Going so totally commercial would be the very opposite of what some of them could ever support and accept because it would (and did) require changes and adaptions to adapt it to that big-budget franchise mold Paramount wanted to try putting it in.
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  #619  
Old 07-15-2011, 03:10 AM
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I never paid alot of attention to Enterprise but I just saw the Mirror Universe Episode in it's entirety...

I've heard that people say that this episode confirms that it's the same time line as TOS. But we get to the end...and the Terran Empire is in possession of the alternate Universe Defiant.

That doesn't make sense if it's from the same universe as TOS.
Otherwise TOS would be Far Far more advance than it currently is. The story should have ended with the destruction of the Defiant which would have allowed the Terran Empire to proceed up to the TOS alternate reality.

Now we have an alternate alternate reality...
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:36 AM
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Well, it's the Defiant from the "Tholian Web" and thus from the "normal" universe.
Having future technology in the past is indeed problematic but let's not forget that the story ended with a cliff-hanger and that a follow-up story to "In a Mirror, Darkly" was planned for the fifth season.

Nobody in the Terran Empire analyzes the Defiant, whoever possesses her uses her as a weapon. And a weapon can be destroyed in a battle. I am sure that in the follow-up story this would have happened. Unless the people in charge wouldn't have cared about timeline stuff because they enjoyed the old sets too much. After all that was the true purpose of In a Mirror Darkly, it was simply the third TOS homage story.

About continuity, I liked that it achieved the impossible en passant, to portray TOS technology as being more advanced than ENT technology.
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