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  #1  
Old 07-31-2012, 08:06 AM
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Default The End of Trek

I think it is fair to claim that Trek's Golden Age comprised the TOS movies as well as early and middle TNG. TOS is often quite raw and unsophisticated and while we all have our favourite post-TNG series none of them are as good as TNG if we try to be honest and objective.
I think there is one key structural reason that explains this. In the beginning the universe was empty and in the end it was crowded, universe meaning not just the galaxy, familiar aliens, sense or absence of mystery and so on but also the social universe which became more soapish, emphasizing personal relations among the main characters more and more.

Let's take a look at the Klingons. Initially there are many variations, the cold warriors from TOS, the barbarians from TSFS and early TNG and the more human Klingons from TUC. This was interesting but also a bit unpolished. When TNG changed the Klingons into the Viking-like culture and began to tell epic stories with Sins of the Fathers they became undoubtedly better. But then Trek was flooded with Klingon stories and while they are in no way bad (I do not belong to the 'there are too many Klingons in Trek' fraction) it all became a bit stale. DS9 added little new to them and VOY's B'Elanna did neither.
Of course the crucial question is whether ENT's and ST09's going back to the roots, i.e. varying Klingons again, restarts the cycle.

Now the Klingons are just one example of this overall trend from a blank slate towards a crowded table, from individual stories to serialization, from exploration towards epicness.
To get back to the crucial question, I think that the attempts from the last decade to balance these elements, be it via innovating old aliens, balancing serialized and individual stories or rebooting the franchise itself, are too conservative and remain in this deadlock. There needs to be a more radical cut.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:13 AM
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I agree about the social universe being crowded, back when TNG was just coming on the scene there wasn't a great deal of competition, but a decade later there dozens of sci-fi shows and of course hundreds of other shows and channels for those shows in general that viewership is naturally going to go down. Add into that recycled stories and themes for later series and almost 2 decades of continuous Star Trek and you get a fatigued series and a bored bunch of people who are no longer that interested when there's so much else to whet their appetites.

In terms the aliens, I do think that for better or worse Enterprise did try and reinvent several alien species and do something different. Was it radically different enough and consistently good enough to survive... apparently not but the effort was there.

As for Trek09 we've seen some big changes I do foresee a successful movie enterprise, but after a trilogy say, ending around 2015-2016 I should think that will be the end for Trek for the time being, at least in terms of the big and small screens.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:28 AM
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Of course the Andorians and Vulcans have been great but in the case of the latter there was quite some fan resistance. Perhaps this is different in the case of the Romulans and Klingons; they have been changed after TOS so the fan perception is that they are plastic (and that classic aliens like the Andorians who just appeared once are as well; they might be old but still in the maturing phase so to say) but that the Vulcans are fixed.

I think that whatever emerges after this trilogy is over has to not just care about reinventing characters or aliens or superficial stuff like cinematography and designs but in general virtually start from the beginning. The same is after all already true for ENT and ST09, the problem is not that they have not been daring enough in some respects but that they have not fundamentally started with a fairly empty universe in the broadest sense although the labels prequel and reboot would have justified that.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:54 AM
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I found this guys idea for bringing Star Trek back to the small screen really interesting. I also agree with him about DS9.
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:09 AM
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Thanks for the link EC, it's a fine post. When I try to come up with a rough setup, e.g. a retro 23rd century series that plays on a colony, a freighter or a space station, I think along structurally similar lines, i.e. a highly serialized series that stays at a certain place or with certain characters.

While this might very well be the future of Trek as contemporary sci-fi is often fairly serialized I also believe that from a historical perspective Trek was best around the middle of TNG, when it changed from telling short-stories to novels, when there was this magic of setting up a cosmos that is there to say (it's kinda like a kid playing with Lego, the actual pleasure lies not in playing with finished stuff but in building it), when it captured the best of both worlds, a sense of wonder about a cosmos that is about to be explored as well as the grandeur of stories that will continue.

You cannot tell stories like City or Inner Light in a serialized setting and as much as well all love epic stories, the truth is that the Dominion War or the Xindi conflict are basically just one story.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enterprise Captain View Post
I found this guys idea for bringing Star Trek back to the small screen really interesting. I also agree with him about DS9.
I'd plus 1 him on DS9.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:45 AM
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The guy has some nice ideas, a mini series set in the 'old universe' exploring through this kind of show format would be nice to see.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horatio View Post
I think it is fair to claim that Trek's Golden Age comprised the TOS movies as well as early and middle TNG. TOS is often quite raw and unsophisticated and while we all have our favourite post-TNG series none of them are as good as TNG if we try to be honest and objective.
I think there is one key structural reason that explains this. In the beginning the universe was empty and in the end it was crowded, universe meaning not just the galaxy, familiar aliens, sense or absence of mystery and so on but also the social universe which became more soapish, emphasizing personal relations among the main characters more and more.

Let's take a look at the Klingons. Initially there are many variations, the cold warriors from TOS, the barbarians from TSFS and early TNG and the more human Klingons from TUC. This was interesting but also a bit unpolished. When TNG changed the Klingons into the Viking-like culture and began to tell epic stories with Sins of the Fathers they became undoubtedly better. But then Trek was flooded with Klingon stories and while they are in no way bad (I do not belong to the 'there are too many Klingons in Trek' fraction) it all became a bit stale. DS9 added little new to them and VOY's B'Elanna did neither.
Of course the crucial question is whether ENT's and ST09's going back to the roots, i.e. varying Klingons again, restarts the cycle.

Now the Klingons are just one example of this overall trend from a blank slate towards a crowded table, from individual stories to serialization, from exploration towards epicness.
To get back to the crucial question, I think that the attempts from the last decade to balance these elements, be it via innovating old aliens, balancing serialized and individual stories or rebooting the franchise itself, are too conservative and remain in this deadlock. There needs to be a more radical cut.

Anytime I've ever said that Trek had been due for a reboot you resisted that idea, now it seems you favor it?
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:09 PM
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It's more complex.

You always claimed that ST09 is a reboot which got rid of all the problems of post-TNG while I claimed that it is just a semi-reboot.
In my above post I furthermore pointed out that ST09 is structurally similar to ENT as both try to innovate while maintaining the big cosmos, the weight of continuity which can be contrasted with the freshness of building this very cosmos (as well as the 'single episodes, empty galaxy' type of storytelling of TOS and early TNG) during TNG.

So what I actually favour is not a pseudo-prequel or -reboot like ENT or ST09 but a radical cut which enables the next show to do this again. You believe that the only problem has been that the same guys have been at the helm for too long, I think that the problem still persists and is a structural one that is related to the question of serialization/epicness/continuity vs. single stories, lonely out there atmosphere and whether the franchise has to dynamically go through this again like during TNG or whether it can statically create a balance between these elements like in ENT and ST09.

Last edited by horatio : 07-31-2012 at 12:15 PM.
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  #10  
Old 07-31-2012, 12:12 PM
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No, you've always said that Trek didn't need a reboot. You've been adamant about it. We're had many discussions on that topic. You're changing your tune.

The reasons many of us felt were why Trek was getting stale are some of the same ones you list now.
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