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What should Trek do to fix itself?


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#1 TheHSBR

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 07:25 AM

Have fun.

#2 knightone

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 01:55 PM

I felt Insurrection and Nemesis were both slow and plodding and tired. It was indicative of how exhausted Star Trek had become and how everyone involved had run out of new ideas and were just rehashing old ones. I felt 90% of Voyager and 75% of Enterprise was the same.

I'd like to see a new series. I think Star Trek's strength has always lied in weekly television and not in film or any other format. Star Trek is slow and cerebral. It needs time to develop and develop on multiple facets in a complex way. Deep character development is important. Storytelling doesn't need to be action-packed or fast paced, but it needs to be imaginative and fresh. Most of all it needs to be intelligent. Star Trek's main strength is that it appeals to nerds like us. That is it's heart and soul. Go back to its roots. That's it's strength.

And by "roots" I don't mean rehash or remake TOS. I mean go back to its core message and meaning.

#3 JMW326

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 02:24 PM

I don't really think it is broken to begin with. I think each show said something to a different fan base. Now Star Trek is doing what it did in the 80's. It is starting to revitalize itself. It may not be as quick as everyone wants it to be but it is happening. Just because a few die hard fans that don't think anything should ever change complain about the movie and think it was a failure doesn't make it so. It was successful enough to spawn a sequel and that isn't bad. The biggest difference between the new movie and the old Star Trek is that instead of talking about the adventures they had orbital skydiving or escaping giant monsters we actually got to see it.
We also saw the release of an online game not so long ago. This is also a step in bringing the Trek name back into the spotlight. Again, it isn't going to be overnight with a full action figure line and everyone running around wearing pointed ears but it is in the process of reinventing itself just as it did with TNG. I have seen quite a few comic books as of late focusing on different eras of Star Trek lately too. All stepping stones. There is still a fan base and it is starting a new one now too. I was just in Toys R us and was walking by the discounted badly done playmates line (which has nothing to do with the success of the movie either) and saw a kid stop in front on them with his little sister and say "Ahhh cool. Star Trek"! It made me smile and think. Awesome. That is what I was like as a kid and I saw Star Trek on the shelves. And trust me. I didnt start watching it for the "core message" or "Greater meaning" either. I started watching it because it was a show about space ships, lasers and cool adventures. The messages came later.

If a new show or animated show comes around (which I think it will) then it needs to do something to bring in new fans as well as some of the old ones. You cant do that by re hashing the same things over and over again. I think that Start Trek is going in the right direction now. Is it going to happen overnight? No. But the new movie showed people that it can be cool to like Star Trek again and that is the beginning.

#4 TheHSBR

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 02:45 PM

I couldnt agree more. I think Trek will find its way back on TV with a new series and Im almost shocked that we havent gotten some form of animation yet. Im hoping that the next series integrates a little more of the DS9/BSG style of action drama.

#5 A Chimpanzee & 2 Trainees

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 03:20 PM

You know, I forget where I heard it, but one of the writers was giving an interview (I think for a DVD commentary) where he said that Gene would always ask "... but what is it ABOUT?" Not literally in terms of plot points, but what the story meant to the characters involved. Star Trek lost its way in this regard when it came to TNG movies because they (the writing staff) didn't want or weren't allowed to make the characters to grow as people. I've been trying to think of what makes a good Trek movie, and I think this is really centrally the issue. Nemesis had a lot of action, but not a lot of meaningful action. Neither did Insurrection. First Contact had the emotional arc of Picard dealing with his Borg assimilation (so long as we conveniently forget he already did that many years ago..).

If I were one of TPTB, edict number 1 would be "Stop asking what makes a good Star Trek movie."

Break everything down to its simplest form. Who are each of these 7 principle characters? Not what have they done, or what time period they are in, but who are they? I'd make a personality profile of each one, then ask "What do I want to see this person deal with emotionally?" ... then I would start trying to build it up from there.

An interesting point along these lines is what I heard from Bob Zemeckis on the BTTF commentary. Paraphrasing a bit... "BTTF is not about time travel. It's about how you would interact with your parents if they were your peers. Would you be friends with them? Would you even like them? Time travel is simply a means to that end."

That's speaking purely in terms of what I think is what's wrong with the movie franchise, but for the franchise as a whole...

There need to be phases of Star Trek to match the needs and expectations of different audiences. An animated show focusing mostly on action is a great way to get kids (and merchandising dollars) into Trek and runs more or less continuously. Power Rangers does this, Transformers does this. The cartoon keeps going but they don't keep producing the same cartoon. They watch the kids' trends and move from one "series" to the next.

Prime Time live action TV that runs about 5 years and explores more sophisticated adult themes and ties very loosely into the cartoon once a cartoon series has ended with movies following on the completion of the TV show. When the movie has run its course, you wait a few years and then UPDATE the TV show to be more current and try again. (This is what Berman failed to do. Enterprise was produced, blocked, shot, and the stories told in essentially the same way they were in 1987. Contrast that with the big differences between a TOS episode and a TNG episode.)

In short... we should be sticking with a crew essentially from the time we're watching cartoons until the time we're watching our kids watching cartoons.... with each phase of the franchise "growing up" with the viewer...

but that's just my insane idea...

#6 Sybeck1

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 03:42 PM

This question has been asked since Enterprise left TV. I don't have a clue, especially if toys is the ultimate goal.

#7 knightone

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 04:00 PM

QUOTE (Sybeck1 @ Aug 6 2010, 04:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This question has been asked since Enterprise left TV. I don't have a clue, especially if toys is the ultimate goal.


For me toys would not be the ultimate goal. Toys should not be the ultimate goal. Good storytelling and the longevity of the franchise as a whole should be. Toys would just be an added bonus, if possible.

#8 s8film40

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 04:56 PM

QUOTE (knightone @ Aug 6 2010, 05:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For me toys would not be the ultimate goal. Toys should not be the ultimate goal. Good storytelling and the longevity of the franchise as a whole should be. Toys would just be an added bonus, if possible.

I think toys are the ultimate goal. A successful toy line is an indication of the lasting impact that the characters and stories of a franchise have on it's audience. I am happy and excited to buy toys from a by today's standards low budget television series that only lasted three seasons. They put a huge amount of effort and money into the Abrams Trek and while I enjoyed the movie I (and apparently many others) just simply have no desire to buy toys from that film. So while the movie was a huge box office success it seems to be missing something. Until they can reach into the core of what Star Trek really is and produce something of real quality Star Trek will not be successful as a franchise, box office success maybe but not as a franchise.

#9 bgiles73

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 05:34 PM

Two licenses that we should keep an eye on are Thundercats and Tron. Both of these saw popularity in the 80's then the fanbase grew up and they both became more or less like Star Trek, niche properties. Now it looks like both are making a comeback. Thundercats has a new animated show in development on Cartoon Network and a toyline by Bandai. Both new and classic will be represented in the toyline. Tron has a new movie coming in December. It is rumored to be a trilogy. There is also a planned animated series. Spin Master is making a toyline for the new movie (hopefully the Classic Movie will see toys too!) The thing is, both Warner Bros. and Disney are backing their franchises with animated series. That is the most important thing to remember in keeping these things fresh in the minds of children today! Ben 10 toys aren't selling because they are any cooler than the concepts behind Star Trek. It's because kids see this flashy animation several times a week. We need an animated action hero Kirk on TV to keep the video gaming and snow boarding, adrenaline thrill seeking crowds mind on Kirk and crew!

#10 knightone

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 05:52 PM

QUOTE (s8film40 @ Aug 6 2010, 05:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think toys are the ultimate goal. A successful toy line is an indication of the lasting impact that the characters and stories of a franchise have on it's audience. I am happy and excited to buy toys from a by today's standards low budget television series that only lasted three seasons. They put a huge amount of effort and money into the Abrams Trek and while I enjoyed the movie I (and apparently many others) just simply have no desire to buy toys from that film. So while the movie was a huge box office success it seems to be missing something. Until they can reach into the core of what Star Trek really is and produce something of real quality Star Trek will not be successful as a franchise, box office success maybe but not as a franchise.


I wouldn't want to compromise the quality and integrity of the franchise just to sell toys. If they can sell toys too, that would be wonderful, but it shouldn't be the ultimate plan.

#11 s8film40

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 07:32 PM

QUOTE (knightone @ Aug 6 2010, 06:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wouldn't want to compromise the quality and integrity of the franchise just to sell toys. If they can sell toys too, that would be wonderful, but it shouldn't be the ultimate plan.


I think the fact that they can't sell toys is an indicator that they already have sacrificed the quality and integrity of the franchise. Star Trek was never really about great sets and expensive SFX, it was about really great story telling that kept you coming back for more. It's that desire for more and the immersive world it creates that makes the toy's successful, most of the non Star Trek fans I know watched the new movie said it was awesome and very quickly forgot about it, sure when a sequel comes out they'll say hey I remember that movie I might go see the new one. The key thing is though the Abrams Trek doesn't generate new fans it just generates box office results.

#12 JMW326

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 07:57 PM

The only reason they couldn't sell toys for the movie was because they were crap. It had nothing to do with the movie being a hit or failure.

#13 s8film40

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 08:07 PM

The Playmates toys certainly weren't great but they weren't that bad. I think if you took a poll here and said Hypothetically you could choose a new line of high quality DST figures to be produced most would not choose Abrams Trek.

#14 bgiles73

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 09:14 PM

QUOTE (s8film40 @ Aug 6 2010, 09:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Playmates toys certainly weren't great but they weren't that bad. I think if you took a poll here and said Hypothetically you could choose a new line of high quality DST figures to be produced most would not choose Abrams Trek.

Actually, I wouldn't go with DST for the mass produced line of figures. I would go with Hasbro and the first waves would be from Abrahm's Trek, follow up waves would be from Classic Trek. I'd like to see the line handled similarly to the way Hasbro did for X-Men Origins and Iron Man 2. Where figures from the movies and Classic Comics were released simultaneously. The mass line should be 3 3/4" only. DST should have the 7" license exclusively and should do figures with bases like they do for Marvel Select, and like they did for Iron Man and Wolverine. Carded figures and two-packs seems to be a waist of DST's talents. With diorama bases they would really be able to shine! This format wouldn't lend it self to part swapping, but I'm sure we would all be willing to pay a little more for a higher end figure with base. After all, many here are wishing that Hot Toys would pick up the license, and those cost an arm and a leg!

#15 s8film40

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 09:26 PM

Well I wasn't so much saying how I think they should be done but trying to make the point that I think most people given the opportunity would choose any other incarnation of Star Trek over Abrams Trek. It just doesn't seem to me to have that certain quality that makes you want to buy action figures, go to conventions, wear costumes, write fan fiction, you know all the geeky stuff Star Trek is known for. When they get back to that Star Trek will thrive again.

#16 knightone

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 09:47 PM

Yes. Geek chic.

#17 TheHSBR

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 11:05 PM

Im with JMW... you cant use toy sales to judge a whole franchise or even part of a franchise.

If Trek is this: "buy action figures, go to conventions, wear costumes, write fan fiction" then Im not sure I want to be a part of it. Trek has been portrayed to be that and that is why most kids today (PRE JJ) think of Trek as a joke. Those are the sterotypical views of what "Trekkies" are and if those are the standards by which Trek is measured then you can count me out. Can those be a part of what some fans might choose to do...sure. Should they be the hallmarks of Trek...absolutely not. If Trek is to survive it needs to go beyond those stereotypes and speak to all different types of people not just "geeks." And yes I personally have been known to attend conventions, buy toys and wear a costume but in no way do I think thats all Trek is about nor do I think that by inspiring people to do this will it make Trek more successful.

#18 knightone

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 11:23 PM

Like I said in my first post, intelligent storytelling and compelling character development is first and foremost. If we can get the other stuff, like toys, that's great, but it's all in the writing and that is paramount. If the storytelling can keep people coming back week after week, then it doesn't matter if there are toys or conventions or costumes to buy. That stuff would probably follow, but the reverse doesn't happen. The toys and the cons and the costumes don't get people watching the show. I think that there was a passion that came across in the Treks until the mid to late 1990's. And I think the only reason it went away is because a lot of the people involved with the show had been there for a decade and got burned out yet refused to leave and refused to turn the reigns over to anyone new. The last couple of years of Enterprise started getting interesting because there was a lot of fresh blood brought in. It wasn't perfect by any means, but there is always a learning curve. Unfortunately, by then, the damage was done and the audience had left long before.

#19 TheHSBR

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 08:56 AM

I still think that last Season of Enterprise was the best season of Trek ever. The writers knew that it was a sinking ship and just wrote good compelling television. Yes the used some gimmicks along the way but it was just outstanding. I think what Enterprise started there was good "cliffhanger television" several times in that season there were multi-part episodes that had cliffhanger endings. I think when Trek shifted from syndicated televsion to network television this is one facet they didnt ever capitalize on. TNG was ok with standalone episodes and the once a season cliffhanger because of the distribution format. I think if Trek incorporated the new Lost/BSG style of storytelling capitalizing on cliffhanger ending a new Trek franchise could easily be successful without compromising what it is.

#20 The_Donster

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 09:39 AM

See, now I thought the last season sucked and was a cop out. Not to mention, as K1 pointed out, a little too little too late. Everyone likes to praise Manny Coto, but he didn't really get a chance to prove himself before the show was cancelled. Not to mention, everything was so arc heavy.




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