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  #21  
Old 05-15-2014, 07:14 AM
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Maybe it's the trying to stay relevant that's in fact the problem. Trying, forcing the show to be something without just letting it start, exist and then find it's relevance (if it has any). It's like films which desperately want to be taken as being important and weighty they just sometimes become clumsy and fail. Like 'Elysium' and 'Transcendence' or 'Man of Steel'. Or maybe it is just as simple as some people can do this stuff more naturally than others can. I have no real idea. Just the musings of an average Joe.
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  #22  
Old 05-15-2014, 07:45 AM
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Would you be fine with that? Could you look at all the DVDs on your shelf and say "You know what, this was already more than enough." How long would it take to re-watch all those DVDs anyway? Or even one-third of them, if you figure that each series so far has about 30-50% re-watchability?

(On a side note -and I know some of you probably thought this was where I was primarily going- suppose they kept on making ST but it was never again something you were able to connect with? Would this really be any different, practically speaking, then the scenario above?)

How much more ST do we actually need? And is there really anything left that hasn't been done on ST before? (and if you say Star Trek The 'Next' Next Generation, as the forbes blogger did upfront in the first of his three proposals, I promise I'll fall asleep).
I often wondered whether Trek might have already run its natural course and be past its heyday but I don't really think so. There are still ample of stories to tell within in the world of Trek. It just takes some creative people.

Now all this talk about BSG-ifying Trek and DS9 being the best form of Trek miss the importance of background. Suppose somebody would suggest to set a new Firefly show in a world like the Federation. It would be a total travesty, without the Wild West anarchy background Firefly would not be what it is. Same with Trek, you couldn't set it in a BSG-like world with authoritarian leaders, it would not be Trek anymore.
My argument is not that Firefly and BSG are worse than Trek just because they are right-wing and not left-wing shows (to me BSG was utter crap but Firefly was better than average Trek ... but my point is merely that I do not in general dislike right-wing sci-fi shows whereas the folks which implicitly argue under the guise of pragmatism and realism for making Trek more right-wing seemingly have a preference for such shows). No, my argument is an essentialist one: there are basic parameters about shows/franchises that you cannot mess with. If you Trek-ified BSG it would be a travesty and if you BSG-ified Trek it would be a travesty as well.

So what I would like to see are folks who do not mess with the background of Trek and tell some fresh stories. What we are getting since NEM is the very opposite, lot of background changes with blunt story repetitions.
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  #23  
Old 05-15-2014, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
So what I would like to see are folks who do not mess with the background of Trek and tell some fresh stories. What we are getting since NEM is the very opposite, lot of background changes with blunt story repetitions.
I hear you. That is the challenge. Keeping it fresh yet staying true to itself. I think DS9 did a really good job with that balance whereas Voyager reverted to formula. I've been watching the interviews on the blu-ray sets of Enterprise. Hearing the things they wanted to do with it but were shot down by the network is really disappointing. I think Enterprise would have been a better series with those ideas though I still feel it was better than Voyager overall. I think the cool thing about doing three simultaneous shows with shorter episode seasons would be that they could all have a slightly different feel. You can have the classic show "To boldly go where no one has gone before." The Section 31 show could be a bit darker and the Federation Council show could have its own feel. To do that properly they would have to plan it out in advance. You could have a policy change in the Federation Council show that forces Section 31 in to action and a Section 31 agent could be planted on the Enterprise that has to act as well. I'm not a writer but I think there is a lot of potential in the idea. I also think it would be cool if Moore and Braga could be involved. Have them at least give the new writers some guidance.
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  #24  
Old 05-15-2014, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by samwiseb View Post
So here are some rhetorical questions I want to bounce off the wall:
My two cents theoretical thoughts................

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Suppose this is it for ST. This next movie and then nothing else ever again.

Would you be fine with that? Could you look at all the DVDs on your shelf and say "You know what, this was already more than enough." How long would it take to re-watch all those DVDs anyway? Or even one-third of them, if you figure that each series so far has about 30-50% re-watchability?

(On a side note -and I know some of you probably thought this was where I was primarily going- suppose they kept on making ST but it was never again something you were able to connect with? Would this really be any different, practically speaking, then the scenario above?)
This is the issue. Making a connection.

There's so many variables that play into what makes you connect with a series or a film or a book. But, if a new TV series was just going to be a continuation of VOY/ENT level material then I've got to put my hands up and say 'No'..............unless it could circumvent the repetition with people I cared about. Which VOY and ENT failed to do.

(when I remarked that sometimes fans are just happy to accept something with the words 'Star Trek' on it I do have to include myself)

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How much more ST do we actually need? And is there really anything left that hasn't been done on ST before? (and if you say Star Trek The 'Next' Next Generation, as the forbes blogger did upfront in the first of his three proposals, I promise I'll fall asleep)
Again, linking to above, if a new show was just going to continue in the repetitious vein of VOY/ENT without at least being entertaining (I have questions about how many ultimately 'fresh' stories exist when you start setting conditions on what you can and can't do within a series....more on that in a second) then.......well.......I don't even need VOY (I'll watch TNG) and I don't need ENT (I'll watch DS9) even today. The setting of parameters supposedly inviolable is why VOY and ENT are mostly redundant because they were just for the most part repeating even at that time what had come before. VOY IS 'The Next Next Generation' just shunted off to a corner of the galaxy instead of 50 years later.

But telling old stories over and over again isn't necessarily a complaint either. There's an argument for familiarity but if you aren't strictly telling a new story then at least give me the old standards in an entertaining manner with characters and actors I can connect with. Which is basically what Abrams did. If a new TV show could do that I would probably watch it even if it wasn't necessarily a great TV show.

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Let's go back to DS9, arguably the most ambitious of the STs. Could it be redone, only better? For my own money, two other shows already out-DS9ed DS9. They are B5 and BSG (and even then it's an either/or tradeoff between which has better setup/payoff and which has more consistent quality dialogue/performances/production value). Could ST come back and do it better than they did?
I don't know, the only proof would be the show itself.

This would probably come back to my earlier concern about trying too hard to be something specific instead of just letting things find their own way through some perhaps trial and error. If you intentionally try and set out publicly to outdo those shows...............you'll probably fail. No one needs that kind of embarrassment.

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Then there's Joss Whedon, whom the blogger quoted somebody mentioning as an instructive model. I bring him up because I think he did a better job than ST of managing two simultaneous shows and of handling crossovers between the two in an indirect or casual (and sometimes discreet) manner. Does ST need to come back and prove it can do it to it better?
Again, at what point does instruction become copying if a distinct enough 'Star Trek' identity can't be included? But again, you're ('you're' being the fictional showrunners) not doing you're own thing, you're trying to copy what someone else has done who maybe just has more talent in the first place than you do. So, it won't work as well possibly. Or you'll just be accused of copying.

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If it did, so what? What would be the point, what would be the relevance? What would be the inspiration besides "Let's make the ultimate space opera, whatever that is"? What would be the justification?
Probably foremost on anyone with that mindset's head would not be making a good show.

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Should whoever's at the helm be challenged to have an answer? (I don't have one).
I dunno.

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For myself, I like the 10-13 episodes-per-season idea. Ever since The Sopranos I've believed it was time for the next 'big' sci-fi show to implement that format (which makes it now about 15 years too late). It's not just the production that has limits, but also the imagination. For one season I thought that BSG was listening.
That length of season does appeal to me as well nowadays but whether that would be a part of any plan..................who knows.

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I wouldn't know how to make ST relevant again. I think you would have to step WAY back to see how it's been influenced by the '60s, the '80s, or the '90s, versus at what point did it start being more heavily influenced by its own past traditions/cliches/whatever. As a fan, I wouldn't know how to do that.
I think the answer is not to try and force it to be relevant. I don't know you can pinpoint where it started to just repeat what it seemed expected to deliver because no one would be allowed not to do that. I feel the answer must lie somewhere in the 90s at the latest but maybe it was the 80s somewhere.

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Idealism vs pragmatism: I wouldn't claim to know what balance of the two would attract audiences today. But I wonder if ST could keep its idealism, but dial it back (so as to not seem verbally explicit or self-aggrandizing about it) without being accused of abandoning it altogether.
This may come down to the skills of the people involved in the series ultimately. I think people have two main different moods. I think we all like easy shows you watch when you want to sit back and feel good and be fed a happy ending where it all works out OK. But also there are times you want something more reflective of the reality of the world and that not all decisions are easy, are avoidable, or that there sometimes just is no easy way out and some decisions leave you with a burden.

I know I like both types of shows (how else could someone love both 'TNG' and 'BSG'? Answer, it depends on my mood at the time and what I need from what I'm watching since there would be no pretending they were even remotely the same kind of show) but would a Trek show need to heavily side with one over the other or could it find a way to reflect all aspects of human existence and the good and the bad that comes with it.
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  #25  
Old 05-15-2014, 11:22 AM
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Now all this talk about BSG-ifying Trek and DS9 being the best form of Trek miss the importance of background.

The only Trek that justifiably should have been more like BSG is VOYAGER because of the nature of the situation the crew found itself in. VOY unrealistically had the crew getting along like one big happy family going on an extended vacation, the majority of the senior staff held onto the flimsy hope that they would be back on earth soon to an exaggerated degree, so they never saw it necessary to hook up with fellow officers, the ship rarely seemed to run out of fuel or supplies, and never compromised their values-like Archer did-to survive. That's what made the show kinda boring. No in-fighting, backstabbing, mutanies, schisms, pirating, like we know would happen in real life.
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  #26  
Old 05-15-2014, 02:51 PM
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I'd rather say it should have been more like itself during its Seska moments or more like TUC or FC.
The problem of BSG is that its texture gave two thumbs up for the authoritarian leader-pair (they were not coincidentally a pair, playing a mother and father role) whereas TUC and FC showed "the dark side" without applauding it. Same with your example of Archer, in Home we saw that we anything but proud of what he did, he actually felt that a part of him had died out there.
Now this is kind of "dark" or "realistic" Trek I want to see. You can show people at their worst as long as you don't pretend that this is great and you can show decision makers having to face difficult decisions without easy solutions as long as you don't play the authoritarian card.

And lest somebody accuses me of light-headed idealism, let's take what happened during WWII in resistance movements like in France. If these folks suspected somebody of collaborating with the Germans they sometimes made the decision to kill him. I don't have any problem with that and I certainly wouldn't have any problem if something similar were shown in Trek, e.g. the Feds executing a bunch of Romulan spies or some S31 agents. This is far more ethical than e.g. a trigger-happy hormone-driven captain would be. Texture always matters, does it signal that a decision is hard to swallow, nothing to be proud of but necessary or does it signal that it is great fun to kill a bunch of aliens who are not like you anyway. In short, there is a big difference between progressive and reactionary violence, there is a difference between Picard sending some tactical officers into certain death and Adama winning against the only democrat who is conveningly also a terrorist (besides Nolan's third Batman movie BSG is probably Hollywood's most blunt antidemocratic propaganda).
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  #27  
Old 05-15-2014, 06:04 PM
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I'd rather say it should have been more like itself during its Seska moments or more like TUC or FC.
The problem of BSG is that its texture gave two thumbs up for the authoritarian leader-pair (they were not coincidentally a pair, playing a mother and father role) whereas TUC and FC showed "the dark side" without applauding it. Same with your example of Archer, in Home we saw that we anything but proud of what he did, he actually felt that a part of him had died out there.
Now this is kind of "dark" or "realistic" Trek I want to see. You can show people at their worst as long as you don't pretend that this is great and you can show decision makers having to face difficult decisions without easy solutions as long as you don't play the authoritarian card.

Texture always matters, does it signal that a decision is hard to swallow, nothing to be proud of but necessary or does it signal that it is great fun to kill a bunch of aliens who are not like you anyway. In short, there is a big difference between progressive and reactionary violence, there is a difference between Picard sending some tactical officers into certain death and Adama winning against the only democrat who is conveningly also a terrorist (besides Nolan's third Batman movie BSG is probably Hollywood's most blunt antidemocratic propaganda).
I guess you are simply referring to Ronald D. Moore's re-imagined BSG, not the original, which was semi-democratic. You had the quarum of tweleve, but also a President. But in the pilot, you saw the negative consequences of giving one individual too much power. What do you think of the prequel trilogy of Star Wars, and the Hunger Games? I guessing you must really hate Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, and the Alien trilogy?
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  #28  
Old 05-18-2014, 09:35 AM
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Yep, I referred to the reboot as I am not familiar with the original but as you say the original seems to be in this political respect superior to the individual.
About Star Wars and Hunger Games, they take a clear stance against autocratic governing. I never read Heinlein but the movie version is obviously a piece of satire and not, like some people wrongly claim, a piece of fascist propaganda.
I don't see how Alien is related to this but at least the first movie is a classic which I certainly do not hate. The eighties feature some great sci-fi movies which are trashy and sublime at the same time (besides Alien e.g. Robocop or They Live).
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  #29  
Old 05-18-2014, 03:03 PM
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Yep, I referred to the reboot as I am not familiar with the original but as you say the original seems to be in this political respect superior to the individual.
About Star Wars and Hunger Games, they take a clear stance against autocratic governing. I never read Heinlein but the movie version is obviously a piece of satire and not, like some people wrongly claim, a piece of fascist propaganda.
I don't see how Alien is related to this but at least the first movie is a classic which I certainly do not hate. The eighties feature some great sci-fi movies which are trashy and sublime at the same time (besides Alien e.g. Robocop or They Live).

I agree about Wars and Games. Alien is anti-corporate. I wonder what you would think of a show like Continuum, the Canadian time-travel sci-fi show about a time-cop (Kiera Cameron played by the beautiful Rachel Nichols) who follows a group of terrorists (democrats) back in time to prevent them from destroying the world she knows (in the future, where she is married with a beautiful son). The world the terrorists are trying to stop from coming into being is a corporate-run future, where private industry runs and controls everything, even the police. The show seems to illustrate the saying, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."
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