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Star Trek XI - moving backwards?
August 3, 2006 12:11 PM   Subscribe

Star Trek XI: First there was the producer, J.J. Abrams from Lost and Alias. Then there was the poster, unveiled at this year's Comic Con. Throw in a little bit of controversy for good measure. Now comes word that Matt Damon has been cast to play a young Captain Kirk.What does Star Trek XI mean for the future of Trek?
posted by tozturk (94 comments total)

 
Imminent Failure.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:14 PM on August 3, 2006


It means that Paramount won't bury the corpse.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:14 PM on August 3, 2006


I take it neither of you liked the Bourne films?
posted by NationalKato at 12:17 PM on August 3, 2006


Maybe they are thinking, "it worked for Batman!"
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:17 PM on August 3, 2006


I remember when I thought the prequel series Enterprise would save Star Trek. Boy was I wrong!
posted by poppo at 12:17 PM on August 3, 2006


Oh for the love of god.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 12:19 PM on August 3, 2006


It's dead, Jim.
posted by Justinian at 12:20 PM on August 3, 2006 [2 favorites]


Ironically, all that needed to be done to save the franchise was to reverse the polarity.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:21 PM on August 3, 2006 [2 favorites]


Whatever you think of it, you will probably see it. You know, the car wreck theory. You just HAVE to look.
Kind of like Battlefield Earth.
posted by a3matrix at 12:22 PM on August 3, 2006


Ugh, prequels. Even aside from the questionable decisions about director and casting, I do wish this wasn't yet another bloody prequel. If only they'd just jump a good hundred or two years into the future of the show's universe and do a new series (and cut out any and all references to time travel while they're at it). A new Trek could be one of the few things on TV to be absolutely bursting at the seams with honest-to-goodness ideas. Instead it looks like they'll be raking over the last one or two unturned stones at the bottom of the barrel for a movie nobody but the fanatical and the nostalgic will want to see. Sigh.
posted by terpsichoria at 12:24 PM on August 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


I didn't go see the last one, so I doubt I would see this one either.

Generations was terrible, First Contact was decent and gave me hope for the franchise... but even the previews for the next flick made me lose interest. If they were giving up on TNG, they should have made a movie set around the goings on around Bajor or something. Or set in the future from the time that DS9/TNG were going on.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 12:27 PM on August 3, 2006


I'll see it if Beyonce plays Uhuru.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:27 PM on August 3, 2006


For what it's worth, I actually like the poster they released.

I'm still waiting to see what happened to Sisko..
posted by tozturk at 12:28 PM on August 3, 2006


No matter how old and rotten the horse is, its corpse writhing with maggots, eyeballs long eaten by crows, someone will find orgasmic pleasure in beating it.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:28 PM on August 3, 2006


Matt Damon. Good. Maybe Ben Affleck as Spock. Better! And then and then Ben brings his wife to play Uhuru. It practically writes itself!
Is it the odd or even ST movies that suck?
posted by hal9k at 12:29 PM on August 3, 2006


I say we give Matt Damon a chance to overact.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:29 PM on August 3, 2006


At least they got rid of Berman. This might actually be at least a half-decent Star Trek movie, if not a generally acclaimed hit.
posted by insomnus at 12:29 PM on August 3, 2006


Old big butt Beyonce or the new slimmer Beyonce?
posted by Falconetti at 12:29 PM on August 3, 2006


Hey! The Bourne movies were awesome!
posted by redteam at 12:31 PM on August 3, 2006


If you're looking for a nice solid wood Spock, there is only The One choice: Keanu.

posted by anticlock at 12:32 PM on August 3, 2006


They've got to get Gary Sinese to play McCoy.
posted by Gamblor at 12:32 PM on August 3, 2006


Let's at least see the trailer before passing judgement. This has to be crafted veeery carefully to play on the amusing aspects of these characters while avoiding the taint of the retro-camp they have now become.
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:35 PM on August 3, 2006


Kind of like Battlefield Earth

Except, of course, no one saw Battlefield Earth.
posted by dorisfromregopark at 12:36 PM on August 3, 2006


Admitably, I am curious how Abrams will slip Greg Grunberg into the movie.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:38 PM on August 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


I thought the mediocre acting and campy feel is what made Star Trek so great. I mean I can't imagine a dark "Batman Begins" version of Star Trek, with everything glossy and cool. What's next, James Woods as an introspective and complex chief engineer? I'm half expecting the next Star Trek to feature a homosexual love affair and several intertwined storylines that make us aware of race issues in space. Damn you Hollywood.
posted by geoff. at 12:38 PM on August 3, 2006


It's just an IMDB listing, nothing else has been said about this. Where is this "word" that you speak of?
posted by davebushe at 12:38 PM on August 3, 2006


Wasn't there going to a be a trek series about american indians who took to the stars to make a new homeland? I swear there was, but everyone looks at me like I'm nuts.
posted by boo_radley at 12:38 PM on August 3, 2006


Wasn't that what they attempted with Andromeda. (Which quickly became Sorbo playing both Captain Kirk and Jesus Christ in outer space?)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:39 PM on August 3, 2006


Whoops, the previous post was in response to the concept of Star Trek aged centuries in continuity.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:40 PM on August 3, 2006


Let's beam this idea into a wall.
posted by cows of industry at 12:41 PM on August 3, 2006


Well, it used to be the rule that the even-numbered Trek movies were the good ones, and the odd-numbered one the not-so-good ones. That changed with Star Trek: Nemesis (i.e., Star Trek X) being a bad one, so I'm hoping--maybe against all likelihood, but hoping nonetheless--that they actually have reversed the polarity, and Star Trek XI will be a good one.

The problem with most movies which remake old TV shows with new casts (which we get like what, 20 a year now?) is that they can't decide whether they're playing the show straight or parodying it, and in trying to do both they fail at both. If it's going to be done straight, it has to be done absolutely straight--no sly, postmodern nods to the original. See The Fugitive for the rare good example of this. If it's going to be a parody, it has to be an all-out parody.

On preview: I mean I can't imagine a dark "Batman Begins" version of Star Trek,

They did that already, and quite well too IMO. It was called Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:43 PM on August 3, 2006


It'd be very hard for me to accept anyone but William Shatner as Kirk. I mean, even when you see Shatner in something else, he's still really "Captain Kirk," moonlighting for a paycheck. Kirk is Shatner; Shatner is Kirk. Damon's failure to be Shatner automatically makes him not Kirk.

Plus hammy Shatnerian delivery is essential to the part, like it or not: "Khaaaan!"; "I! Have had! Enough of: you!"; "You Klingon bastards!"; etc.
posted by Prospero at 12:43 PM on August 3, 2006


It can't be worse than Apocalypto, can it?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:44 PM on August 3, 2006


playing both Captain Kirk and Jesus Christ in outer space?

blasphemer! captain kirk continues and completes the work begun by j. christ. we must not speak of them as though they were completley different beings.

act like you know, kid.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:45 PM on August 3, 2006


Why do you hate the Jews, Blazecock Pileon?
posted by NationalKato at 12:53 PM on August 3, 2006


It's interesting that Matt Damon is supposed to play a younger Kirk, when he's actually older than Shatner was when the series was filmed.


The Trek franchise needs another 15 - 20 (or even 5 - 10) years to lie fallow. That ground has no nutrients left in it now. Leave it be.
posted by yellowbinder at 12:53 PM on August 3, 2006


A picture, even a mere image that hints at a broader picture, can instantly give you a snapshot of things to come.

I just hope this copywriter didn't contribute to the screenplay...
posted by staggernation at 1:04 PM on August 3, 2006


I bet it will be good.
posted by cell divide at 1:04 PM on August 3, 2006


I should have mentioned that while Nemesis was SHIT, Insurrection was actually pretty good.

I just don't like the idea of going backwards instead of forwards. Why limit your options that way? Unless you want to abandon all pretense of loyalty to the Trek base and completely fuck over the established histories, you can't do anything very interesting. If it were post-TNG, they could introduce new races, new advanced ships, whatever. I know they introduced new races in Enterprise but the I think a lot of its problems were due to the limits with what they could do and the nonsense they came up with to avoid conflicts with established histories.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 1:15 PM on August 3, 2006


Weretable nails it. Do post TNG timeline stuff. Also, why on Earth (pun intended) have they never made:

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy.

It would make a pretty decent movie, but a KILLER series, and weaving the other canonical timelines into it is easy. It grabbed me enough when I first thought about it that I even had to write episodes for my own enjoyment, and I don't do that very often.

Why yes, I am a geek. Why do you ask?
posted by ebarker at 1:22 PM on August 3, 2006


Ebarker, that's supposedly what this movie is..Kirk and Spock meeting at the Academy.
posted by tozturk at 1:23 PM on August 3, 2006


A movie with Kirk cannot be other than lame. Go get some new ideas, take a chance with a new character.

Hell, if you want, make a movie about a different ship, even a different Constitution class ship in the same era, and have them run into the Enterprise for some reason, and use Gollum-tech to make Kirk w/Shatner voicing him for their meeting or whatever. Or just do the whole thing as CGI.

I'm half expecting the next Star Trek to feature a homosexual love affair and several intertwined storylines that make us aware of race issues in space.

Because if there's one thing that TOS never did, it was bring up race issues in space.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:29 PM on August 3, 2006


ebarker, I've been kicking that idea around for ages. Have JMS do the concept along the same lines as B5--the story is written before a camera is turned on. Fiddle with the details, sure, but have it mapped out. And have a very definite ending.

I think one possible jumping point would be to have Janeway, perhaps a very old Janeway, delivering the welcoming address to the new class.

Cue four years of hijinks and a slightly rotating cast (a la the first few (i.e., the only good) seasons of ER, and end the show at graduation. Or, follow them through their first year of duty, as they spread across the galaxy in different ways.

Pick it up again ten years later, once they've all developed careers, and follow only the favourite characters from ten years previously--perhaps as indicated by fan response to the movie they could make five years after the show's ending.

No I haven't thought about this much.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:29 PM on August 3, 2006


I say we give Matt Damon a chance to overact.

You mean besides all of the chances he's already had in all of his other movies?
posted by blucevalo at 1:29 PM on August 3, 2006


Yeah but he's so very pretty to look at.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:31 PM on August 3, 2006


I like the part where a Slashdot posting pointing to an IMDb entry is automatically fact, despite this "report" appearing absolutely nowhere else.
posted by jjg at 1:35 PM on August 3, 2006


Why the uproar against Matt Damon as Kirk? Are you guys actually suggesting that his acting would be worse than William Shatner's? Please.
posted by magodesky at 1:36 PM on August 3, 2006


Has nothing to do with better or worse. He's just not Shatner. A lot of Kirk's appeal is Shatner's... abilities (for lack of a better word). As pointed out above, Shatner = Kirk, Kirk = Shatner.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:39 PM on August 3, 2006


This page (from the slashdot discussion) does a good job talking about the IMDB issues with Star Trek XI: http://stxi.blogspot.com/2006/07/taking-red-pen-to-imdb-entry-for-trek.html

I still think the original question is valid however - what is the future of Star Trek, if any?
posted by tozturk at 1:43 PM on August 3, 2006



posted by Gamblor at 1:46 PM on August 3, 2006


This movie is Paramount playing Weekend at Bernie's with the corpse of Classic Trek. It's funny. It's sad. It's distasteful. But it's mostly sad.

Get Abrams and Damon, and whoever else you got, and boldly go where no man has gone before. Stop this incessant need to keep going back over where everyone has already been again and again. And again.

Please?
posted by JWright at 1:50 PM on August 3, 2006


Matt Damon. Good. Maybe Ben Affleck as Spock. Better! And then and then Ben brings his wife to play Uhuru. It practically writes itself!

Actually Jen Garner would probably make a better Nurse Chapel.

But Trek is like Peak Oil to Paramount – why stop when there's another trillion barrels in the ground?
posted by vhsiv at 1:59 PM on August 3, 2006


Has nothing to do with better or worse. He's just not Shatner. A lot of Kirk's appeal is Shatner's... abilities (for lack of a better word). As pointed out above, Shatner = Kirk, Kirk = Shatner.
That's exactly the problem, isn't it? It doesn't really matter what Abrams does. He could make ST11 the greatest cinematic achievement of all time, and fans would still criticize because it doesn't fit with their preconceived notions of what Star Trek should be.
posted by magodesky at 2:10 PM on August 3, 2006


a3matrix writes "Whatever you think of it, you will probably see it. "

Nope.
posted by signal at 2:10 PM on August 3, 2006


The fanbase is a cinderblock chained to the ankle of the franchise as it swims in the sewer of mediocrity.

Seriously. You can't do anything new in the Star Trek universe because the money is made on blatant fanservice. Invite Frakes, Stewart and Shatner to mug for the camera, and you sell seats. You try to do anything without two scoops of fanservice, it dies after a few seasons. The movies are all about self-reference and inside jokes. The only reason TNG managed to take off was because TOS fanboys were starving for attention after a long drought, and were not able to quash the momentum it had.

Many of this comments in this thread demonstrate this whole dynamic. Nobody wants a Star Trek prequel. They want fanservice. They want Shatner.

The question is, why do we even bother with the pretense of a plot? So here is my suggestion for a Star Trek XII that will statisfy both fans and critics:

Get as many members of both casts as you can to go to a convention. In character. Have three documentary crews with handheld cameras, and a few artists with vaseline-smeared super-8s follow them around. Have a panel discussion. Put Spiner in Data makup in a hotel room of spiner-femmes. Have Shatner and Nemoy do an on-stage reading of slash fiction. Splice the result together and premire it at a convention, then at Cannes.

The fanbase will love it because you won't get more blatant fanservice.

The critics will love it because it is fresh, new, and ironic.

And as for everyone else? Well when was the last time anybody who was not a Trekkie or Trekker gave a shit about a Star Trek event?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:16 PM on August 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


Matt Damon playing Kirk as a student at Starfleet Academy?Does this mean Kirk came to Starfleet as a second career?
Anything "canonical" concerning this?
posted by longsleeves at 2:20 PM on August 3, 2006


It will either be amazing, or it will suck balls. Probably no where in between.
posted by geekhorde at 2:20 PM on August 3, 2006


Much as I know we'll all have our faith betrayed. I'm kind of excited...(cue godawful Enterprise theme- "Got to have faith of the heart...")
posted by Rufus T. Firefly at 2:21 PM on August 3, 2006


I think there is a lot to be said for having limits. A great deal of good creativite work comes from developing something new yet within established parameters. But I have to go with what seems to be the general consensus - that’s not why their doing it, they’re doing it to milk the cash cow.
I think ST has a pretty rosy future though. More and more creative type folks in Hollywood grew up taking science fiction (and comics) seriously. Eventually the old-school sci-fi = big boobs in a metal bra types will die off.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:28 PM on August 3, 2006


Now I'll NEVER get my Voyager movie. =(

yes, I'm comfortable being one of the 3 people on the planet who like Voyager.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 2:32 PM on August 3, 2006


A new Trek could be one of the few things on TV to be absolutely bursting at the seams with honest-to-goodness ideas

Geek

First Contact was decent and gave me hope for the franchise

Geek

Kirk is Shatner; Shatner is Kirk.

Geek and wrong. Denny Crane is the poster child of the stem cell loving republican party.

Insurrection was actually pretty good.

Geek and SO wrong. Insurrection wasn't a movie - it was a double length episode of a tedious show.

Why yes, I am a geek. Why do you ask?

No comment

even a different Constitution class ship in the same era,

uberGeek

The fanbase is a cinderblock chained to the ankle of the franchise as it swims in the sewer of mediocrity.

Truth to power.

faith of the heart

Kill me. Kill me now.
posted by Sparx at 2:39 PM on August 3, 2006


Hey, at least I got a new word out of it: didn't know about fanservice , KJS.
posted by muckster at 2:40 PM on August 3, 2006


KJS is an old-school fanhater. Just keep that in mind.

I couldn't really give a whit about this new movie, except as a curious experiment.

At this point, however, the names attached to the project aren't so execrable that I wouldn't pay $6.50 to see it – I reserve that honor for Shyalaman and Ehren Kruger.
posted by vhsiv at 2:47 PM on August 3, 2006


G4 has already given us the perfect idea for a new Star Trek movie.
posted by magodesky at 2:49 PM on August 3, 2006


I agree with JM Strazynski they should give the whole franchise a thorough Galactica

just wipe out all continuity and start fresh with an enterprise, a kirk, a spock, a mccoy and rewrite everything.
posted by Megafly at 2:50 PM on August 3, 2006


Insulting the general mefi community aside, I thoroughly approve of Galactica as a verby nouny sort of thing..
posted by Sparx at 2:57 PM on August 3, 2006


Jesus Christ wouldn't have even given mindshare to the Prime Directive. "Suffer the little Rigellians to come unto Me...."

I would like very much for a non-sucking Star Trek movie, but it's all been precipitously downhill since IV. (I really liked the way III inverted the theme of II, though.)

I wish Paramount would somehow encourage more fan flicks like the Starship Exeter work...maybe even modestly underwrite some efforts in exchange for marketing rights, or something.
posted by pax digita at 3:16 PM on August 3, 2006


But Matt Damon must be about the same age Shatner was when he first played Kirk. For a Starfleet Academy prequel, you need a 19 year old.
posted by A189Nut at 3:16 PM on August 3, 2006


KirkJobSluder writes "Well when was the last time anybody who was not a Trekkie or Trekker gave a shit about a Star Trek event?"

Um, never?
posted by signal at 3:17 PM on August 3, 2006


Web 2.0. The snarky frontier. These are the voyages of the tubular Intarwebs, her endless mission: To regurgitate stale old memes, to Googlebomb YouTube and viral campaigns, to baldly go where everyone has been before.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:35 PM on August 3, 2006


Smedleyman: Eventually the old-school sci-fi = big boobs in a metal bra types will die off.

Oh, I don't know about that. If anything, the original Outer Limits and Twilight Zone had episodes that kicked the socks off of anything produced in the last 10 years.

Ok, Firefly was somewhat good, if somewhat derivative, more western than sci-fi though. X-Files had some good stand-alones but just about every appearance of the smoking man hearalded an episode of booring and incomprehensible insider crap that took its own mythology far too seriously. Babylon 5? after the first season the opening credits frequently heralded an episode of booring and incomprehensible insider crap that took its own mythology far too seriously.

vhsiv: KJS is an old-school fanhater. Just keep that in mind.

Oh, I wouldn't consider myself a fanhater, and I identify myself as a fanboy of a number of various types of entertainment. Being a fan is loads of wonderful fun.

But fandom is something of a voluntary mass-psychosis. Fans tend to fixate and obsess over details and characters. They tend to place an overwhelming emphasis on canon and soap-opera style continuity. Fans love big grand backstories and mythologies that are, objectively complete crap. Their derivative works are almost always complete crap.

I like being a fan, but I've long learned that the collective stupidity of fans should be kept far away from the creative process. And oftentimes, pissing off the fans is a great creative decision. Star Trek: Nemesis would have some redeeming value had they killed off Data with no means of bringing him back later to mug for the camera. But this is entirely the kind of creative decision that is impossible to pull off in a fan-driven franchise.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:36 PM on August 3, 2006


KirkJobSluder: Nobody wants a Star Trek prequel. They want fanservice. They want Shatner.

Change that to "nobody, not even the hardcore fanbase, wants another Star Trek movie," and you've got a deal. And much of the fanbase thought that Shatner had overstayed his welcome by Generations, if I remember correctly.

The problem with recasting Kirk is that, in general, roles in the Star Trek universe tend to be career-making, and aren't recast (except for minor ones, here and there). And TOS was arguably the career-defining moment for all seven of the lead actors on the show--sure, DeForest Kelley had a long career in TV beforehand, and William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy went on to do other things, but who remembers Nimoy as the director of The Good Mother?

If anything, going back to TOS-era Trek at all for a film seems like a shameless, barefaced attempt at fanservice, and recasting the actors shows that the studio might not quite understand what it's doing. It's a movie that doesn't really need to be made, except for financial reasons.

That said, I look forward to a TNG-era movie in about ten years, with Jason Statham starring as Picard.
posted by Prospero at 3:39 PM on August 3, 2006


I can say that my interest is piqued.
posted by crunchland at 4:26 PM on August 3, 2006


Affleck is a stroke of genius, that way we can be sure Spock will never display emotion.
posted by biffa at 4:34 PM on August 3, 2006


I liked the Bourne films, quite a bit actually, and I usually don't like Damon

Star Trek is so uncool that the only hope for the franchise is to inject massive, doses of cool. hence: Laurence Fishburne as Kirk, Sam Jackson as Bones, Gore Vidal as Spock, Jay-Z as Scott, Jackie Chan as Sulu, and Macy Gray (with a huge Afro) as Uhura. the bad guy: Delroy Lindo, at all cost. Directed by Spike Lee. get rid of JJ Abrams and get David Mamet to write the script

if the Hollywood people would listen to me, they'd make billions on this film

posted by matteo at 4:35 PM on August 3, 2006


motherfucking tags
posted by matteo at 4:36 PM on August 3, 2006


Deep Space Nine was by far the best Trek series - and I say this as a die-hard TNG fan that only recently finally saw past the middle of DS9's season three. If you're going to make a movie, please go back there and let us know what's happening with Sisko.

Prequels suck. You'd think they'd take note of the failure of Enterprise here (though the casting of Sam, er, Scott Bakula as the captain might also have been relevant).
posted by evilangela at 4:42 PM on August 3, 2006


Prospero: Hell, Nimoy directed a movie almost all of us have seen and we don't even remember him for it.

(Hey, now there's a franchise that needs reviving; the baby would be like 19 now, right? The movie would be like an American Pie-style romp featuring three overprotective fathers...)
posted by Ian A.T. at 4:44 PM on August 3, 2006


Three Men and a Baby....now that's a real 80s shout out.

I'm a fan of most things Trek, and have to side with the 'go into the future' crowd, definitely. I do think that another movie could be quite successful, if it's good, but it will need to be good on its own merits to be successful. Simply being something Trek no longer guarantees financial return on investment, and this is where the Trek-universe-is-fallow nonsense is coming from.

I'm not sick of the Star Trek universe at all, just of seeing the same characters in it--there must be more than 20 or so interesting people and places in the alpha quadrant....
posted by LooseFilter at 5:19 PM on August 3, 2006


Kevin Pollack as Kirk.

He may not look like him, but he has the impersonation down cold.
posted by bwg at 5:54 PM on August 3, 2006


Persistence is puerile.
posted by rob511 at 5:57 PM on August 3, 2006


I will so be in line when this opens. I miss Trekverse.

(And Uther: I liked Voyager too!)
posted by Hildegarde at 7:15 PM on August 3, 2006


This thread is great. It's cool to see so much Trek-loving and Trek-hating, all mashed together, and done (mostly) out of love for something that most of us truly enjoy.
posted by davidmsc at 7:20 PM on August 3, 2006


Nobody wants a Star Trek prequel. They want fanservice. They want Shatner.

No, no... I'm quite happy not to see Shatner again - in fact I wish the man would retire somewhere instead of doing stupid and tasteless bran commercials. Mercifully he looks just different enough now that I can just about block those commercials out when watching reruns of the original trek.

No, what I want I want story lines that make me think, that make me see things in a new light, that make me consider interesting possibilities. I want the future. All of the Trek reincarnations thru to Voyager did that, some more often and better than others.

Then for some reason the powers that be decided to go retro - and that's what's killing the thing. New life and new civilizations, people!
posted by Zinger at 7:22 PM on August 3, 2006


Gary Sinise as McCoy is PERFECT!
posted by Foaf at 7:45 PM on August 3, 2006


These are ROLES. I can't understand why people refuse to see anyone other than Shatner as Kirk or Nimoy as Spock. Please. It's like saying after Olivier or Burton, no one can perform Shakespeare's works ever again. Give me a break. I wish they'd do a new Star Trek every year with different casts. Reveal multiple approaches to the source material. Go off in completely new directions. Continuity be damned. Just tell me a good story.

To be fair, I didn't leave Enterprise because the timeline was screwed up. In fact I was kinda hoping to see where the TimeWars thing was going and whether or not it'd lead to completely revamping the 'original' Trek in this new temporal wake. So they could tell all the stories again but in new ways. I left Enterprise because of the cagey dialogue and the predictably cheesy interpersonal relationships. The lady vulcan and the country boy engineer -- will they ever find true love? Gag me with a tricorder. I left cuz they couldn't get the normal human relationships right, and they kept treading over the same ground. I left DS9 and Voyager because Berman completely turned his back on Roddenberry's vision of a future the second his body was in the morgue. After Roddenberry's death it stopped being Star Trek and became something named Star Trek but without a soul.

With that in mind...

I like these New Voyages and only wish they had more time, money, and other resources to do up right what they're striving so hard to achieve. "In Harm's Way" worked for me as hokey as it was, and I'm really looking forward to "To Serve All My Days." It's not Roddenberry. It's not Berman. However, it gives more credence and respect to Roddenberry than Berman could ever muster in his pinky finger.

New Voyages isn't Trek for the faint of heart or the quick to judge. James Cawley performs the role of Kirk without purposefully impersonating Shatner. He embodies the role as if he were the first to do it. Conversely, Jeff Quinn's Spock is more of an homage to Nimoy, but I like where he's taking it. Admittedly, I'm not as keen on Kelly's McCoy (as opposed to Kelley's) because Kelly doesn't quite have the comic timing. He looks like a stock car driver pretending to be a plumber. "Dammit Jim I'm an actor not a trekkie!." Still, THIS is what I want. FANS to continue carrying the torch. Paramount needs to let it go, or give it to the fans and let them sort it out. Paramount needs to build new stuff for us to clamor and geek out over, rather than resting on their laurels.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:32 PM on August 3, 2006


I thoroughly approve of Galactica as a verby nouny sort of thing..

Does it mean 'to make overly militaristic, tedious, characterless and Americocentric'?

Geek.
posted by terpsichoria at 12:42 AM on August 4, 2006


"Ironically, all that needed to be done to save the franchise was to reverse the polarity."

That was brilliant...
posted by Shanachie at 5:29 AM on August 4, 2006


Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. It would make a pretty decent movie, but a KILLER series [...]

I pitched this as an animated series a few years back. They said no thank you. It could've been my delivery. I've also been turned down on a Doctor Who feature film, a Peanuts live action feature film with the characters in their late 50s, and a Dune: Tales of the Bene Gesserit graphic novel series. No one wants to listen to a wannabe hack writer. Oh well, I only regret not getting the option on the Dune property.
posted by effwerd at 9:19 AM on August 4, 2006



“...if anything, the original Outer Limits and Twilight Zone had episodes that kicked the socks off of anything produced in the last 10 years.”
Absolutely true. But it seems to come in waves. Those writers were perfectly serious about their speculative fiction. Perhaps it was the money, but they were real writers and took their jobs seriously. They didn’t apologize for the subject matter or condescend to the fans. I don’t think that intellectual earnestness was recovered until, say, around the time cyberpunk started. Not that ‘dark’ is good per se, but the contrast between say pre and post-Dark Knight Returns Batman is stark - excepting the Burton fims which drew of course from the campy t.v. series.
It’s a similar problem with Star Trek. Some folks focus on the campy goofy side, which is fine, and often true, but it misses the point of the work.
Star Trek had a theatricality to it. Similar to Deadwood on HBO. (Fuckin’ beam me up, cocksucker) Like Star Trek, Deadwood has a theatrical feel to it. In both cases the sets are secondary to the presentation (granted, bigger budget, less need for special effects in Deadwood) and the feel of it. ST has lots of monologues, pauses for dramatic effect, etc. Deadwood has over flowery speech and a measured sort of pace. Both devices lend themselves to the creation of a feel of the time. You can’t have modern english or modern concepts (I don’t know what other word to use there - concepts in the larger sense) - in the story because it will fall down. And that Star Trek with the space hippies is a perfect example of that kind of failure.
So everyone rips on Shatner’s acting, but it seems to me it was by design. And there is a good deal of that theatrical morality play going on, which might be a bit trite for today, but is certainly self-aware.
I think DSN had a bit of this with the Sisko mentally going back in time and being a black science fiction writer in the 40s-50s era. No one then would have believed a black man as the captain of a space station - which, I think is true and false. Science fiction fans would have believed it, but perhaps not the rest of society. Hell, Trek had one of the first ‘interracial’ kisses on television. Easier to swallow because there’s all sorts of inter-species romance going on perhaps.
But that lack of prejudice is what I’m talking about. It’s hard for me to get this point across so I’m writing a bit more than perhaps I should. But - lots of science fiction fans are insular because their ideas seem silly and impractical, even hopelessly naive to ‘outsiders.’ Indeed as silly as a black station commander might have been in the 50s.
The goofy outfits and shoddy set pieces are campy, yes, but besides the point, they are there to convey some deep and noble concepts. But many people focus on the insularity of the fans and the trappings of the stories rather than the drama and essential message behind them. In much the same way, the focus on the fans themselves - the stereotypes that they are geeks, fat, pimply, living in their parent’s basement - yet they dream of a better world and become scientists and engineers to work for it. Their expression may be poor but their yearnings for those ideals are real and it would be nice to have a a group of artists who can express that dramatically and without condescention or exploitation. And I grant, perhaps even in spite of the fans themselves. Not merely mythos - I grant Star Wars had a great deal of that - even the (latest) first three films, but it’s not enough on it’s own (and I think the Final Frontier fails completely with this). Gravitas might be the word I’m looking for. Wrath of Khan had that, and still had humor and character development, everything else that plugs into making a good film. DSN was all over this.
Sorry that took a bit, hard to express what I’m driving at.

Also, this who should play Kirk business is stupid. Especially when we all know it’s Christopher Walken who should play Kirk with Robert Forester as Bones and Kevin Spacey as Spock. Duh.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:25 AM on August 4, 2006


Kathy Bates plays Captain Kirk in the next new concept in the Canon.

SHe makes the Kourovians see the error in their ways when she has a strident yet team-building picnic, but then the Cardassians steal the Italian ice treats and Beyonce communicates telepathically with herself and her Moms but gains no insight.
posted by longsleeves at 10:43 PM on August 4, 2006


I wanna see Kirk played by an ikea vivarium, Spock performed by a blowtorch, and McCoy portrayed by a dead fish with its eyes gouged out by a screwdriver.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:05 PM on August 4, 2006


militaristic, tedious, characterless and Americocentric

Militaristic isn't necessarily a perjorative. It is called 'Battlestar' so a certain amount of military activity shouldn't come as much of a shock. Unlike, say 'the west wing' and it's lively household of 8 small children and a magic parakeet.

Tedious and characterless are pretty subjective. You can argue with me, but can you argue with the forces of Time itself.

And americocentric? I suppose that's why the good guys are polytheists and the bad guys mono.

But, anyway. No, I didn't mean that. I meant 'inconceivably better than the original,' which you may feel free to disagree with, but the world will just point and laugh and remove sharp objects from your vicinity.
posted by Sparx at 6:11 PM on August 5, 2006


It is very wise to check out what is actually known before making wild guesses in a FPP.
posted by etoile at 12:38 PM on August 7, 2006


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