An old, but absolutely amazing interview with Ron D. Moore
Posted 03 April 2015 - 07:13 AM
Apologies if this is old news to all of you, but I just stumbled upon it. I'm not even half way through reading this huge interview with him, but I'm agreeing with every single word he says. It's just my opinion, but I really wish he could be given the reigns to Trek's future, I really do.
I say I haven't read the whole thing, but I did scan read it. The bit where he's giving his opinion on where Star Trek should go next (bearing in mind this is way before Enterprise was announced), is nye-on prophetic!
Amazing read, and very insightful. Whatever your opinion, we've got a nice topic to discuss here.
Posted 04 April 2015 - 09:59 AM
Wow.. I haven't read all of it, but it really makes me wish we could go back in time and get his Voyager....yes we got BSG, which was great, but it wasn't the same. It really did give me a lot of new insight into what was wrong with Voyager, it being my favorite series I kind of just turn a blind eye to a lot of the issues it had.
I would love a new Trek TV series helmed by Moore.
Posted 05 April 2015 - 08:28 PM
"Now," says Ron Moore about STAR TREK, "you do another series or another movie, the attitude is, ‘Oh God, another one?’ That is wrong. Why feed into that public perception? I just don’t know any reason to do it. It doesn’t even serve Paramount’s long-term financial goals, in my opinion. If the studio really wants this thing to last for another thirty or forty years, they should look down the line further than just next year’s profits. They should take a longer term view and say, ‘We should let this rest for awhile. Let it go away; let it percolate down through the popular culture, and let it find its way to a whole new crop of fans.’ People are going to watch these shows in syndication forever. They are going watch the movies on video forever, and they are going to watch them on the Internet soon. Eventually they are going to be saying, ‘Damn. When are they going to put out one of those STAR TREKs?’ They’ll start a letter writing campaigns, and they’ll get nostalgic for DEEP SPACE NINE eventually; they’ll get nostalgic for VOYAGER. You’ll get this, ‘Remember when there were two STAR TREK series on the air?’ People will forget, and they will want to see it again. All they have to do is wait, and then start fresh, and then take advantage of the opportunities, and reinvent the series."
And this, before Enterprise was even conceived of:
If you are going to go into STAR TREK’s past, say, pre-Kirk, you better have an iron-clad commitment to maintaining the continuity that’s been established, or I think you are just going to lose everybody. Because if you go back before Kirk, and you start screwing around, and you just don’t care what NEXT GEN or DS9 or VOYAGER established, or the movies, or even the original series, you just try to make it up as you go along, I think you just lost everyone. The whole franchise will just collapse, because it will have no validity whatsoever. If you are going to go there, you really better be prepared to truly put on the STAR TREK mantle and be the keeper of the flame. I think that is really hard for Rick and Brannon. It’s hard for them to do that, because they don’t like the original show. Let’s not mince words. They don’t like the original show. They have never liked the original show. They’ll bob and weave a bit here and there in public. But they don’t like it; they don’t want to have anything to do with it. If you are going to go before the original series and do something, you better have a change of attitude. You better have an epiphany about how much you love the original series. It’s all going to be about leading up to that.
...is exactly why I loathe Enterprise.
There is a sense of standing still in the franchise, and it’s going to take a creative leap to take it somewhere else. You have to be unafraid of where that direction is going to take you. You have to just shake up the formula, because it is becoming a formula. You can’t have them sitting in those chairs, on that ship, falling out of their seats and looking up at big viewscreens, and say, ‘You’ve got to have all those elements, because that’s STAR TREK.’ Well, that’s hardening of the arteries. You just can’t keep feeding the audience the same thing over and over again, while at the same time, talking out of the other side of your mouth, saying, ‘But it’s all completely different; it’s a STAR TREK you’ve never seen before. It’s so different; we are doing things with STAR TREK that no one has ever done.’ It’s still guys in pajamas looking at viewscreens and sitting in chairs. It can be more than that. DEEP SPACE NINE proved that.
He was very right in that, at the time. You can shake up the formula when the formula is well-established in contemporary pop-culture.
Nowadays, a new Star Trek series will be carrying the torch for the franchise, defining what Star Trek is - that's why I think Star Trek needs to come back with two shows, maybe a year offset from one another, as Marvel has done with their TV offerings - the set-up show that defines the universe: Agents Of SHIELD, and then the boundary-pushers: Agent Carter and DareDevil.
Now I haven't watched much of the Marvel-verse, but how well they're pulling it off is immaterial; all I'm saying is that this is the model we need to jump-start a rich and viable creative playground for the Star Trek reality to flourish in.
I mean, FRAK! When you think of it in those terms, you start to realise how much room to expand there was, even in TNG-era Trek! That era is by NO means played-out, but because that perception holds sway in CBS and Paramount, that's the way it's going to be. There are vast pastures laying fallow! So much ground that could have been covered if producers and studio hadn't been so damned afraid of challenging what they inexplicably saw as a moronic audience!
... and according to this, that fear was entirely illusory:
VOYAGER is given carte blanche by Paramount. That’s one of the great things about Paramount. Paramount left us alone. They always left us alone. They let NEXT GEN do whatever it wanted. God knows it let DEEP SPACE NINE do whatever we wanted. It lets VOYAGER do whatever it wants. The studio is not the problem here. The studio is going to let you go wherever you want to go, as long as they believe that this is quality, as long as they believe it’s good work. You’ve just got to come up with something good.
... so all those tales of producers reticent to embrace awesome new ideas were simply their OWN lack of imagination?! Good grief!
Or, as Moore puts it:
They are not trying to go out there and push, and try and do something really interesting, and something that challenges their audience. Now it’s all about hanging on to an audience, about not letting go of the audience, and about being safe with the audience. Don’t confuse them. Don’t refer to old episodes, because they may not have seen them. Hang on to the audience, instead of being kind of bold and taking risks. Sometimes you are going to fall on your face, and sometimes you are going to do a story that is just out of your reach, like GENERATIONS probably was, but that’s the risk you take. You are storytellers. If you can’t take a risk with STAR TREK which is the biggest, safest franchise in all of science fiction with the exception of STAR WARS, what can you take a risk with?"
One thing I wholeheartedly disagree with is:
I don’t know that mixing actors from the different casts gets you any great ‘want to see’ factor. I don’t know that people are going to say, ‘Damn, you should go see the next STAR TREK movie. It’s actually got actors from all the series.’ I don’t know why that matters to anyone.
Come on, Ron! You don't see the appeal in contrasting Picard and Sisko's approaches to a moral dilemma? Having them [finally - perhaps redundantly] clash over Jennifer's death at the hands of Locutus?! Picard's interaction with Seven Of Nine? His judgement on Janeway for any number of morally dubious decisions she made? Data and The Doctor trading subroutines? Frak, Ron - that's pretty short-sighted of you.
Picardo cropped up in FIRST CONTACT in a cameo, which is cute, and fine, but I think a good chunk of the audience doesn’t even know that Picardo wasn’t in NEXT GENERATION. In their minds, all the characters kind of blend together, and I think they assume that they show up on each others’ episodes more than they actually do.
Ah Ron, what the heck!? You're Bermanning! You're Braga-ing! "The audience is moronic!" "The audience is easily confused!" "They don't remember any previous episodes!"
I wasn't expecting that level of hypocrisy... but then, season 4 of BSG does exist. Unfortunately.
What you want, more than anything else, I think, is for people to start saying, ‘When are they going to do another STAR TREK? When are we going to get another series? When are they going to do another movie?’ You want people saying that, like they said with STAR WARS. Take a lesson from Lucas, who is a very smart man. Say what you will about PHANTOM MENACE, he waited a long time; he refused to do other movies; he sat on the franchise.
Alas, I think Paramount took that too literally. We had our long wait... and then we got Lucas'd. Hard.
He knew that the longer you sit on it, the more ‘want to see’ factor you get. When it came back, he could have run a test pattern and called it PHANTOM MENACE and he was going to get people lined around the block for that opening weekend.
And thanks to all of us lining up around the block, Paramount is under the impression that JJ Trek is what we want! *sigh*...
Excellent interview, thanks for posting that, Jay! And wow - LCARSCOM.net... there's a blast from the past!
Posted 05 April 2015 - 10:01 PM
Great points, and I agree with all your opinions (I likewise disagree with him when it comes to character cross-over, etc). Two things I now feel a bit more vindicated in believing after reading this:
Firstly, in regards to JJ Trek, the Universe didn't need a reboot at all. This nonsense about Trek lore/canon being too suffocating and too restraining - what a load of BS. There's so many story threads which would be perfect for a new series to cover (set in the post-Nemesis TNG era which I'd prefer, or a bit later). Also, DS9 left a time line I'd love to see more of. Cardassians reduced to rubble, Klingons have never been closer allies, and a new era with the Romulans (especially post-Nemesis). I'd love to see that one day.
Secondly, this time regarding Voyager, that simple little point of the ship/sets failing to reflect what they've been through. The bridge was destroyed so many times, and then there's silly little things like the Photon Torpedoes and Shuttles (Voyager having a seemingly endless supply of both). They're stranded on their own, and yet when they reach Earth, the ship might as well have been maybe a few months old at most. Basically, I would've liked to have seen their journey reflected in that way.
This is my favourite chunk of paragraph from the interview:
"The premise has a lot of possibilities. Before it aired, I was at a convention in Pasadena, and [scenic illustrator, technical consultant Rick] Sternbach and [scenic art supervisor, technical consultant Michael] Okuda were on stage, and they were answering questions from the audience about the new ship. It was all very technical, and they were talking about the fact that in the premise this ship was going to have problems. It wasn’t going to have unlimited sources of energy. It wasn’t going to have all the doodads of the Enterprise. It was going to be rougher, fending for themselves more, having to trade to get supplies that they want. That didn’t happen. It doesn’t happen at all, and it’s a lie to the audience. I think the audience intuitively knows when something is true and something is not true. VOYAGER is not true. If it were true, the ship would not look spick-and-span every week, after all these battles it goes through. How many times has the bridge been destroyed? How many shuttlecrafts have vanished, and another one just comes out of the oven? That kind of bullshitting the audience I think takes its toll. At some point the audience stops taking it seriously, because they know that this is not really the way this would happen. These people wouldn’t act like this."
Last points about Voyager, not necessarily based on the articles:
Posted 06 April 2015 - 12:53 AM
Major Kira was always one of, if not my favorite female Trek character because she was so strong... spunky... pert!
Yeah, nice interview, but he does seem to turn back on himself. Ultimately I agree with several points... Star Trek never needed a reboot. it needs new, fresh ideas, to be imagined in a way that can connect to people. I don't know that in this day and age people can accept the the everything is awesome utopian view that Roddenberry saw, but I don't know if its necessary either, but I also don't think it has to go to a completely dark place like they did with the last movie.
I re-watched "Interstellar" as it was available in red box, and while its not perfect... it has its flaws, but I really think that it did a pretty good job of connecting emotionally, while taking us from incredibly drab and forbidding circumstances to a bright optimistic future full of hope. In other words, I felt better about humanity after watching it ... and thats a bit of a what I like about Star Trek.
Posted 10 April 2015 - 07:12 AM
I, too, was crazy about Kira - until they tried to "sexify" her uniform and feminise the character - she just lost all appeal then - and that was what Ron calls "a lie to the audience"... she gets a special uniform design just because? Just like Troi all over again! Thank goodness they never got their greasy mitts on Jadzia!
At least Seven's bodysock got some perfunctory explanation as a dermal regenerative garment following her de-Borging surgery. Moore's right when he says that it doesn't make sense, though - she appears to be all healed up pretty quickly.
Interstellar's tone was exactly what a new Star Trek film needs - grand, awe-struck, monumental and exploratory. I'd lose the heavy-handed bashing of the conservative mindset, and the temporal mechanics that only sorta make sense (the whole thing is a pre-destination pair-a-socks).
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