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  #21  
Old 07-31-2012, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Captain Tom Coughlin View Post
The question of serialization is an interesting one. On the one hand, it allows for depth. Serialization dominates the landscape right now in large part because it allows for such depth . But, that depth can come at a price. It can discourage new viewership from people who haven't been with you since the beginning. It's why I don't watch Fringe, even though it looks like something I would enjoy. I'll have to watch it from the beginning. And while it's on my to do list, I haven't gotten around to it.

I think that is the biggest challenge facing a new Trek series if they were to go the serialized route.
That is one of the key vulnerabilities of a serialised/mythology centered show. At some point the 'casual viewer' can't watch it anymore because normally after the first couple of seasons (which tend to be a mix of standalone and 'arc' relevant stories) there is a shift towards more need to concentrate on the mythos (your 'Fringe' comparison being quite good).

Then there are shows like Moore's BSG which was heavily serialised from the first episode onwards by default due to it's premise. And that affects ability to grow ratings - which like them or not are important in keeping a show on air.

Obviously, the vulnerability of standalone shows like TOS is that - you don't have to watch each week. You could miss several weeks of TOS and not be lost with what's happening in it. But then that can also cause casual viewers to drift if they don't consider it 'appointment TV' but just something to watch whenever.

So, a future show will have to decide which of the options it wants to take. The other problem (again, it's unfair but it's the case) is that if a show doesn't explode immediately it may not be given much time to survive. There are a lot of decisions to be made about where to go once this (presumed) Abrams trilogy ends.
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  #22  
Old 08-01-2012, 01:47 AM
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DS9 FTW.

I think DS9 really straddled that line between story arcs and stand alone episodes quite well. I really didn't start watching DS9 heavily until the Defiant was introduced, and then when Way of the Warrior aired, I was hooked for the rest of the series.

I think if you can find a way to balance between the overall arc, and plenty of stand alone episodes, you can have a successful following, but it is so fine a balance to strike that few actually achieve such success.

Many say that Ron Moore's BSG lost its way...that it started suffering from scattered writing. I really don't think this is the case. Loved the show from miniseries to series finale. I think it saw a decrease in viewership for the very reason that had been cited here....it was a highly serialized show, and later on it would be very difficult to catch up on while on its run. It seems to be enjoying decent DVD and blu-ray sales though. I have the entire series on Blu-Ray....and WOW is it amazing to watch in that format.
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  #23  
Old 08-01-2012, 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Chator
Trek is whatever they say it is. Paramount and J.J. have capitalized on the iconography of Trek, so its symbolism has come to identify what Trek is rather than its storytelling. Gone is the undercurrent of social commentary, the moral conflicts of its characters, the attempt to dramatize philosophical viewpoints in a way that entertains while expanding awareness.
Argh that's depressing, I hope you're wrong here!

With serialisation/standalone we've seen that both have their own merits, both can draw ratings and both can make it hard to keep your audience depending on who's watching.

TNG and VOY were more or less standalone but also had running themes over the course of the shows. I think audiences like running themes in terms of character development and the progression of certain aspects of a story like seeing a political situation unfold in the background over a season and how it's nodded to in the series. This type of structure could work again, straddling the middleground, keep the main plots standalone but have a serialised background keeping the show up to date within it's own continuity.
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  #24  
Old 08-01-2012, 07:07 AM
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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.
I don't know what more radical cut you are envisioning horatio. The task is to not veer too far off from familiar territory that what you are doing is no longer recognizable as Trek. Personally, I think Abrams has gone too far with his minimalist approach, reducing Trek to the bare essentials: humans, vulcans, romulans, and klingons, hand phasers, transporters, warp engine technology, a starship named "Enterprise" with same basic design (saucer, neck and body), shuttle pods with same basic design, the final TOS crew, the arrowhead symbol, with everything else subject to change. To me, these familiar externals is not what makes Star Trek what it is, or what it was.

Last edited by chator : 08-01-2012 at 07:20 AM.
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  #25  
Old 08-01-2012, 07:29 AM
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I agree with your assessment of the new movies, they just use some familiar elements but ignore Trek's principles, bones without spirit. That's precisely why ST09 feels a bit like Galaxy Quest despite not being a parody.

What I mean with radical cut is getting rid of continuity and the big cosmos, to get back to the empty galaxy & final frontier roots of TOS and TNG, not to change the texture and the background atmosphere of Trek like Abrams and Co have done.
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  #26  
Old 08-01-2012, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
What I mean with radical cut is getting rid of continuity and the big cosmos, to get back to the empty galaxy & final frontier roots of TOS and TNG, not to change the texture and the background atmosphere of Trek like Abrams and Co have done.
Well, that's exactly what the beginning seasons of ENTERPRISE did, IMO. Which is why ENTERPRISE is my second favorite series after TNG. You could also argue that DS9 and VOY were also attempts to do the same thing. Specifically, DS9 after season 3, with the shift turning to gamma quadrant exploration, and VOYAGER with the crew being lost in the Delta quadrant. DS9 and VOYAGER were failures at this due to the fact that both series were set in the 24th century. ENTERPRISE was able to distance itself enough in time and space to feel fresh.

Last edited by chator : 08-01-2012 at 08:27 AM.
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  #27  
Old 08-01-2012, 11:02 AM
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Argh that's depressing, I hope you're wrong here!
I'm kind of coming around to Sam's feeling that the second film in a series will be a clearer representation, although I kinda felt that way anyhoo about it in fairness.

I can understand the temptation to write off a film series (or attempt at a series - I just did it with The Amazing Spider-Man after all so I'm not pretending to have the high ground) or a weekly TV series (again, I just did that with 'Revenge') very quickly after one episode or after the first film.....................but, in playing advocate and taking a step back..............most TV shows and film series don't start out flawless and without need of development to iron out kinks and problems. And since Paramount is concieving a film franchise we know that there is room and time to address some matters.

It still doesn't mean it will be your cup of tea at the end of the day, obviously.

TNG for instance, did not get up and running really well until three seasons in............even though seasons 1 and 2 had great moments and were perfectly entertaining anyway, and that's the kind of thing I try to keep in mind. TMP was a general mis-step in the original film franchise as well. On the other hand, if we get to films two and three with Abrams and there's practical onscreen evidence of no improvement then...............
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  #28  
Old 08-01-2012, 02:20 PM
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Well, that's exactly what the beginning seasons of ENTERPRISE did,

That's why it failed.
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  #29  
Old 08-01-2012, 04:57 PM
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Well, that's exactly what the beginning seasons of ENTERPRISE did, IMO. Which is why ENTERPRISE is my second favorite series after TNG. You could also argue that DS9 and VOY were also attempts to do the same thing. Specifically, DS9 after season 3, with the shift turning to gamma quadrant exploration, and VOYAGER with the crew being lost in the Delta quadrant. DS9 and VOYAGER were failures at this due to the fact that both series were set in the 24th century. ENTERPRISE was able to distance itself enough in time and space to feel fresh.
I agree but but I also favour the second season (second season syndrome, TNG, DS9 and VOY also feature great second seasons) over the fourth. As great as the last season undoubtedly is, there is no exploring going on, they just cruise around the neighbourhood. So the very same conflict between being at the final frontier and exploring your existing cosmos, between singular and serialized storytelling appears in ENT's last season.
And while tieing the show into TOS and coming up with great stories in the process, i.e. not merely connecting the dots but creating something new while doing it, was terrific and done as well as never before it also limited the show. The best episodes are after all the ones most loosely connected to TOS, i.e. the Vulcan and Coalition of Planets three-parter, not the stories with the Augments or the Organians.

As much as I like ENT and as fine a show it is objectively, I doubt that the next Trek series should use existing continuity as frankly as ENT.

Last edited by horatio : 08-01-2012 at 05:04 PM.
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  #30  
Old 11-22-2012, 09:50 AM
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Well, this thread is a bundle of laughs. We should be planning and plotting and sending messages off to the people we'd like to make more Star Trek!


We should be crying: "Star Trek, arise!"
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