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Data's mad at you, and he's still carrying a grudge.
February 4, 2007 12:09 AM   Subscribe

Data's mad at you, and he's still carrying a grudge. Four years after the movie tanked, Brent Spiner, who portrayed the character of Data, still thinks it's your fault that Star Trek: Nemesis performed poorly compared to its predecessor. "'Let's make a movie for the fans, because that's the people who actually go to see the films.' And what happened?," Spiner rhetorically asks. "They didn't go!" (Other films that opened around the same time included a small arthouse production from An Nua-Shealainn.) It might have instead been that the movie resembled "a 65th class reunion mixer where only eight surviving members show up — and there's nothing to drink." Of course, one can take pity on Spiner; one look at his filmography and realize he's only a few cancellations away from having to sing for his supper. But at least he didn't end up (unjustly) on the cutting room floor (In the meantime, Shatner has his own problems.)
posted by WCityMike (89 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
What fans were left?
posted by ?! at 12:12 AM on February 4, 2007


They lost me with Insurrection, and I had been a Star Trek fan for many, many, many moons. I watched the original series in syndicated reruns while growing up in the 70's, and then was a loyal fan of TNG. When the Nemesis script leaked online in advance of the film's release, I read it and thought "There is no way I'm paying to see this." I mean, B-9? Come on....how terrible a pun is that? They changed it to B-4 later but it is still a bad joke. I've still never seen it.
posted by GavinR at 12:16 AM on February 4, 2007


While I know the "sing for his supper" line was just meant as an excuse to link the album he made, it's safe to say that unless he has a serious cocaine and hookers addiction his salary from the multiple movies including the one in question, as well as residuals from ST:TNG, are enough to keep him well comforted for the rest of his days.
posted by hincandenza at 12:21 AM on February 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


The "a movie" link needs an "html", not an "htm". Demmit. Working link. (Rather funny.)
posted by WCityMike at 12:21 AM on February 4, 2007


Spiner's a good actor who's got a decent character actor career in the future. He is great in comedy -- as a kid I loved his recurring character on "Night Court" ('delectable taste treats, anyone?') and I don't think he's on the track to obscurity by any means.

"Nemesis" wasn't bad, but I was so put off by "Insurrection" previously that I almost didn't even rent "Nemesis". The TNG cast and plotlines were such that they should have made for excellent movies, and indeed "First Contact" was terrific. Then someone blandified the franchise and the whole thing died, which was too bad.
posted by smashingstars at 12:47 AM on February 4, 2007


Everyone knows they pimped over Wil Wheaton by offering him a crumb cameo and then cutting it out.

I'd like to suggest that maybe that wasn't the brightest thing to do. Even though he's the target of a lot of good-natured ribbing, he has enough of an online presence that many feel oddly protective.

Not saying it's a make-or-break thing for a movie, but when you're dealing with millions, why go out of your way to honk your fan base?
posted by RavinDave at 12:51 AM on February 4, 2007


Brent Spiner was on Night Court? That show deserves a movie. We'll get Matthew Perry to play Harry Stone and Horatio Sanz can play Dan Fielding and Amy Poehler as Christine Sullivan and Taye Diggs as Mac and then Richard Moll can reprise his role as Bull and Brent Spiner can get into a drag get-up and play Bailiff Selma Hacker!
posted by parmanparman at 12:57 AM on February 4, 2007


Since Insurrection came out in 1998, I guess we never had a proper crack at it.

Let the cracking commence!
posted by dhartung at 1:02 AM on February 4, 2007


Trek pretty much lost me somewhere in the middle of Voyager.

I tried Enterprise, and it was okay for awhile, but it got really stupid really quickly.

I still think DS9 was the best Trek.

I have literally no expectations for the upcoming prequel movie.
posted by Target Practice at 1:25 AM on February 4, 2007


Also, I personally haven't seen Nemesis. (It's kind of funny, actually; the only Trek movies I haven't seen are the very first and the very last.)

How bad is it, exactly? Insurrection bad, or Star Trek V: The God Thing bad?
posted by Target Practice at 1:29 AM on February 4, 2007


How come Data dies in Nemesis, while he's alive in the future in All Good Things? Oh right, Nemesis sucked balls and that's why it did poorly.
posted by knave at 1:39 AM on February 4, 2007



Not a hard core fan so I probably disliked Nemesis for "all the wrong reasons" but... a 4by4 car? driving on a planet? wtf? ... thats about all I remember of the movie.. oh and a cute CGI creature :)
posted by lundman at 2:48 AM on February 4, 2007


How bad is it, exactly? Insurrection bad, or Star Trek V: The God Thing bad?

That line says it all.

Series-wise, what a let-down from DS9 to Voyager, my god. And Enterprise is a farce, designed to help us separate the last Trek zealots from the rest of humanity.
posted by dreamsign at 3:05 AM on February 4, 2007


Brent Spiner was on Night Court?

Hilarious as Bob Wheeler.

"You brush your teeth with your fingers, don't you?"

- Dan Fielding
posted by bwg at 3:16 AM on February 4, 2007


You know, even though Insurrection was a steaming pile, at least I remember what the basic plot was (evil baddies backed by rogue Federation admiral attempt to steal secret of fountain-of-youth planet, crushing indigenous population in process; the Picardettes save the hot, young planet population, Picard falls in love with some woman, Data serves as a floatation device, and Worf goes through puberty again). Lots of it was incredibly silly and pretty stupid, but at least I remember it.

I don't remember much about Nemesis save that it involved Romulans and there was a little ship thing with lasers and shit. I didn't even remember the Data clone thing until I read it in this thread. Cute CGI creature? Really? Holy crap, I must've blocked that out of my memory.
posted by chrominance at 3:25 AM on February 4, 2007


He was in a great story arc on the fourth (and arguably best) season of Enterprise, the one about the Khan-like "augments".

There will always be a vocal group of Trek fans who intensely dislike any new Trek product, regardless of merit. Some have spoken out against the TOS remasters, for example. I've been enjoying those, personally.

At any rate, the stuff Spiner is talking about is what paves the way for the new "reimagined (just like everything else now) Young Trek" with Matt Damon as Kirk or whatever the hell they've shoehorned into it by this point. I'm not sure which is worse. Oh well; if you get American TV, every Trek series is on nowadays...hours and hours of it. It's a large chunk of the programming day for Spike TV and G4.

"First Contact" was definitely the "Wrath of Khan" of TNG movies.
posted by First Post at 3:28 AM on February 4, 2007


I have a lot of respect for Mr. Spiner, and think he's a fine actor and a smart guy, but who in their right mind would think that Nemesis was a movie made for the fans? Let's break it down, shall we?

First of all, Nemesis retconned the shit out of everything to the point that it more or less existed in a vacuum. Romulus has a twin planet we never told you about! Dr. Soong built an android before Lore! Fans hate this stuff-- it makes you feel like you've been lied to.

Nemesis was also full of plot holes that anyone familiar with the back-story would have seen immediately. The most glaringly obvious was that Picard clone. The whole scheme would never have worked, because Picard has an artificial heart! If they tried to swap him out for the clone, the first time he got beamed anywhere the difference would be spotted.

In the final analysis, Nemesis stank on ice, plain and simple. It wasn't a movie for the fans. It wasn't a movie for anybody.

And I don't remember any cute CG creature, either, but would not be surprised to learn that there was one.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:05 AM on February 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Brent Spiner was on Night Court?

Hilarious as Bob Wheeler.



Wheeler Child: "Will we ever see Disneyland now, daddy?"

Bob Wheeler: "Never, darling. Never in a million years."

--Night Court
posted by RavinDave at 4:07 AM on February 4, 2007


"I had been a Star Trek fan for many, many, many morons."

Or, that's how I read your comment, GavinR and I think that sums it up. The movies have a fanbase large enough to act as an independent publicity machine but too small to sustain as an audience unto themselves. I'm all for the franchise, from the distance of having to call a friend to ask if I should see any particular installment. He'll answer in fluent Klingon. I just want to see a good movie.
posted by hal9k at 4:14 AM on February 4, 2007


"Usually the films opened big, even if they had a lot of competition, but 'Nemesis' didn't even do that. That was a message from the fans that they were done with us."

Yes. Yes, we were.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:38 AM on February 4, 2007


Spiner's turn as the creepy Area 51 government scientist was the sole redeeming feature of the awful Independence Day. Not sure why I thought of that just now, but he's a talented actor.

On the whole Night Court thing, juding from Harry Anderson's hilarious bitter appearances on Bill Maher the last couple of years, he's definitely still got it. I think he might be up for a reunion.
posted by psmealey at 5:08 AM on February 4, 2007


I'm glad Star Trek is dying. I've always felt that it crowded out better science fiction possibilities.
posted by srboisvert at 5:09 AM on February 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'd always heard that Spiner was an asshole. Now, it would appear that he's also stupid.
posted by Optamystic at 5:46 AM on February 4, 2007


Yikes! One of your links is to the "Spinerfemmes" woman from the Trekkies documentary. It's strange. I'd always assumed that they'd edited her interview to portray her in the creepiest possible light, but she's actually scarier on her blog than in the movie.
posted by EarBucket at 6:11 AM on February 4, 2007


I loathe Star Trek. Sure there were some good episodes here and there, some interesting ideas, but really, it was mostly crap, in all it's forms.

The new Battlestar Galatica kicks its ass, even including the lackluster (so far) third season. Serenity bitchslapped it in a mere 14 episodes.

Star Trek is the "Peanuts" of Scifi. No longer very good and everyone knows it, but it's like comfort food to fat people, they can't stop.

Death, I say, DEATH, to Star Trek. It had a nice long run, shitty though it may been. Now lets grows up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:20 AM on February 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


On the whole Night Court thing, juding from Harry Anderson's hilarious bitter appearances on Bill Maher the last couple of years, he's definitely still got it.

Speaking as someone who has spent considerable time with the man, which I do not care to detail: No he doesn't.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:20 AM on February 4, 2007


I didn't even bother with Insurrection, but I pretty much gave up on Star Trek a long time ago.
posted by octothorpe at 6:30 AM on February 4, 2007


What Faint of Butt said; Nemesis was in no way "for the fans." I'd like to hear Spiner explain exactly how it was supposed to appeal to the fanbase, 'cause every Star Trek fan I know thought it was a steaming load.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:46 AM on February 4, 2007


Ok, TNG was campy and overacted, but I still occasionally watch the reruns from the early 90s. It's talkiness and that it ponders essential moral and philosophical dilemmas is a welcome change from the ridiculously over-contrived situations, phony "reality" and craven behavior that is so celebrated in today's teevee shows.

I've heard good things about Battlestar Galactica, and maybe that I'd like it... just haven't gotten there yet.
posted by psmealey at 7:00 AM on February 4, 2007


I blame the screenplay, written by John Logan, one of my least favorite screenwriters. Recycling plot elements from the far superior Wrath of Khan was only one of that movie's many mistakes--it's the sort of move that stinks of obvious fanservice.
posted by Prospero at 7:07 AM on February 4, 2007


OK PEOPLE... THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH SINGING FOR YOUR SUPPER!
:: jazz singer slinks away to the kitchen ::
posted by miss lynnster at 7:13 AM on February 4, 2007


I've been watching Enterprise on Sci-Fi occasionaly, mostly because i caught some later episdes and it seemed like they might actually be in some way interesting. Unfortunatelky the early episodes are still the steaming pile of shit i remember - when should I start watching it again?
posted by Artw at 7:13 AM on February 4, 2007


Star Trek went all crap when no one bothered to keep their facts straight, and so every new writer who came along could pretty much make up whatever they wanted and many of those writers were bad bad bad.

As for Battlestar Galactica, the pilot movie and first few episodes were great, the rest of the series is crap. I akin it to Deadwood: start with a great show that is "guy" oriented and turn it into a "woman's" soap opera.

The best sci-fi show ever was Babylon 5, followed closely by Firefly (but then Serenity was blah).
posted by Vindaloo at 7:44 AM on February 4, 2007


I seem to recall that Nemesis was specifically made with the intentions that it was not for the fans. The director they brought in was in part chosen because he had little knowledge of the series and he wanted to make a more accessable action movie, hence the dune buggy crap.

I only saw Nemesis a few months ago. I wasn't really excited to see it but had spent enough time watching the various series that I thought I'd might as well. It was pretty awful. The other Star Trek TNG movies just felt like bland episodes, but this one was definitely a Bad Movie.

Star Trek needs to be put to bed, permanent-like. As Brandon Blatcher said above, new series like Battlestar and Firefly only serve to demonstrate how timid, ultraconventional and bland Star Trek was, save for a few good moments.
posted by picea at 7:54 AM on February 4, 2007


I could be totally wrong, but all I remember about Nemesis was they found what looks like Data's head, and no one even once says "Hmmm, is that Lore?" or "I guess there were more than two of them" or frickin anything. They were all just "OMGWTF DATAHEAD" and I was pissed.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:32 AM on February 4, 2007


Unfortunatelky the early episodes are still the steaming pile of shit i remember - when should I start watching it again?

It picked up for me in the season when Riker grew a beard - season three I think it was, possibly four. Before that they were (badly) rehashing classic Trek plots. I don't know what they did that season but the cast finally seemed to relax a bit and they got some more original and thoughtful plots.

Voyager got much better when they brought on Seven of Nine, as it finally got the writers through their "how do we write Janeway as captain AND mother figure AND love interest AND sex object" dithering.

Deep Space 9 was okay, but I always found it more of a space opera. For me, really good sci fi should make you think.

As for Battlestar... I enjoy the plot twists and turns, but ye gods I hope they drop this Lee/Kara unrequited love angle like a hot potato...
posted by Zinger at 8:58 AM on February 4, 2007


According to the IMDB link ("performed poorly"), Nemesis profited about $27.5 million.

Profited.

Million.

Stop whining.
posted by Flunkie at 9:19 AM on February 4, 2007


knave:How come Data dies in Nemesis, while he's alive in the future in All Good Things?

Um, they restored him from backup?
posted by dr_dank at 9:33 AM on February 4, 2007


Two words on BSG: Boxing Episode
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on February 4, 2007


Zinger - i was thinking Enterprise.
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on February 4, 2007


That's in Hollywood dollars. I'm sure that meant it actually lost $32 million on someone's books and Spiner didn't get any of his expected bonus money.

Oh, Faint of Butt, I'm not a huge ST fan, but I seem to remember years and years ago learning about the whole twin planet thing. Don't ask me where.
posted by ?! at 9:39 AM on February 4, 2007


Insurrection was terrible... Star Trek V: God's an Asshole terrible. Two. Worst. Movies. Evar.

Nemesis in comparison was just a totally bland, dumb movie that had little to do with the Trek universe. As said above, what's with everyone freaking out over finding a Data head? It's like they never had run-ins with Lore. What would this 3rd Data be named, I wonder? "Info"?
posted by papakwanz at 9:55 AM on February 4, 2007


Sorry Artw. But as for Enterprise, ugh. That started out horribly and got worse from there.
posted by Zinger at 10:03 AM on February 4, 2007


"The most glaringly obvious was that Picard clone. The whole scheme would never have worked, because Picard has an artificial heart! If they tried to swap him out for the clone, the first time he got beamed anywhere the difference would be spotted."

If they even knew, couldn't they have given the clone another artificial heart?
posted by catachresoid at 10:05 AM on February 4, 2007


He is pissed because he can't ever play "old Data." His character is over. There will never be an old, wizened Admiral Data.

BSG is starting down the long road to suck because they don't want to just wrap up the story and go home. No, we're going to be subjected to season after season of dross, it would seem. It is the fate of every science fiction series to either be cancelled too early or outlive its welcome.
posted by yesno at 10:24 AM on February 4, 2007


"Let's make a movie for the fans..."

Spiner doesn't have the faintest clue what fans actually want. We wanted the series to continue. We wanted the movies to be an extension of the series. Wrath of Khan is THE penultimate STOS film because it was a continuation of the series. It answered questions the series left open. It revisited one of the better episodes of the original series and made it even better. First Contact looked at the episode "Best of Both Worlds" from the tv series and extrapolated from there.

Nemesis was a piece of crap. Nemesis and Insurrection and Voyager and Enterprise looked at the history of Star Trek and made a laughing stock of it. The writers got tired of feeling trapped by past history - BERMAN got tired of feeling caged by the past shows and wanted to make it his own - so it stopped being a continuation of tales in the same fictional universe.

If you wanna make something for the fans? Make something of good quality, that doesn't trounce on past successes. Brent Spiner is the last person I would go to asking for something for the fans of Star Trek. He's a great comedic talent, but never had a clue what we wanted. I thank him for his tenure as Data, but it doesn't make him an authority on what we want.

By the way I was a diehard fan of Star Trek through the original series, the animated series (the one about Spock's childhood is still one of the best ever made in the history of ST) the long drought, and STNG. They lost me about halfway through DS9. It stopped being about story telling. It started being about how they could milk us for every penny possible. Somewhere after Roddenberry passed away, and somewhere before Worf joined the cast of DS9, Star Trek lost its soul.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:33 AM on February 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I read that BSG intends to actually get home in either this or the next season - there is a method to their madness.

Regarding Nemesis - the link to the little art film tells a chunk of why that movie tanked. Sheer idiocy on Paramount and the producers part. Let's see, there's this new series of films based on books that have literally the largest fandom in speculative fiction, larger than even Trek. The first movie in the series grossed over $300 million, was the first genre film to be nominated for Best Picture and won a ton of awards, and the sequel is all that fandom can talk about. Time magazine made a cover story of it claiming it was superior to the first movie! The Harry Potter movie is actually moved to avoid conflicting with this sequel, as are a number of other holiday movies. Nemesis is already in trouble, the leaked script is being panned, they're killing a beloved character (which doesn't guarantee a return audience), the movie as a whole blows like a closeted conservative clergyman...I know, let's schedule it to open 5 days before the biggest movie of the year. Gee, no one saw this coming.

Trek could have done this right - fans were actually excited about a movie with Romulans because they thought it would tie up the plot line with Spock left on Romulus to start a rebellion. And it was rumored to be as action-packed as First Contact - which was the best movie of the entire series. But instead it had plot holes the size of the sun, the action was dull, and it ignored and even disobeyed the canon. They were just asking for defeat.

Serenity had more sass, adventure, and sheer headlong rush than any of the Trek movies, and this is coming from a Trekker. Not to mention when they killed major characters, it mattered.

Comparing Trek to BSG is like comparing the old series Combat to HBO's Band of Brothers, they're not even in the same universe. The prequel is not going to do it. They need to wait and decade, then totally reboot.
posted by Ber at 10:49 AM on February 4, 2007


Nemesis was also full of plot holes that anyone familiar with the back-story would have seen immediately. The most glaringly obvious was that Picard clone.

Actually, the artificial heart hadn't occurred to me. I thought the most glaringly obvious plot hole was the unsolved mystery of how a bunch of prisoners trapped inside a mine were somehow able to build a gigantic starship with weaponry that basically amounted to a mobile Death Star.

People say Star Trek V was the barrel's bottom, but at least those writers came up with a plausible explanation for how some rogue miscreant could get his hands on a top-grade starship.

As for the series: I've never really watched DS9. Didn't like what I saw, so I never tried to get into it. I've seen some Voyager episodes I liked, though. Hilary Bader wrote one about a tiny wormhole through which Voyager managed to contact a Romulan ship. Bader died a couple of years ago. Sad loss.
posted by cribcage at 10:52 AM on February 4, 2007


I am a casual Trek fan, I have probably seen all the original episodes and most of the TNG (they used to show them on Friday nights and I was in highschool, so strictly in reruns). I saw most of the movies in the theatre, have a few pieces of merch.

I saw Nemesis on a plane and thought it was a terrible movie. I had a ten hour flight across the Pacific and I don't think I managed to make it through the entire thing. It was just a bad, bad movie.

Seriously, you have a spaceship you can use to go through wormholes where you can do timetravel and all kinds of things which provide good storylines - hell an intergalactic Shakespeare rip-off would probably be hellishly enteraining for two hours.

And watching the TNG cast age reminds me of my own mortality.
posted by Deep Dish at 11:07 AM on February 4, 2007


...and frankly I'd prefer if Spiner spent his waning years singing for his supper. "Ol Yellow Eyes" was a damned good album. However the last few times he reprised the role of Data he looked like he was in clownface. It wasn't pretty.

"Serenity had more sass, adventure, and sheer headlong rush than any of the Trek movies, and this is coming from a Trekker. Not to mention when they killed major characters, it mattered. "

Agreed. Again from a Trekker. Firefly/Serenity pulled off what DS9 failed to do. It was the story of people who didn't fit in Roddenberry's idealized vision. Whedon is the evil anti Roddenberry and I loved every nanosecond of it.

Whedon's not doing WW btw. In case you're the last to know, that'd make me the next to last to know.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:15 AM on February 4, 2007


Oh yeah, Farscape totally rocked too. A little long at the end, with a sudden finish, but at least it's finished.

And I agree, BSG is probably gonna wrap it up next season. Hopefully after killing off Starbuck and Apollo REAL SOON.

And Firefly, the series rocked. The movie Serenity was kinda meh, though good. Part of why Firefly rocks is that it ended. Were it to dragged out over 30 or 40 years it would probably suffer a bit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:40 AM on February 4, 2007


Let's not forget Spiner's very brief bit in Cheers, with him hissing out, "Why don't you write it down in your precious little notebook?" Seriously, though, Spiner doesn't strike me as an asshat. If you read Wil Wheaton's commentary about TNG, he seems to regard Spiner as one of the bright spots of the show, on and off camera. Even his rumored deal with Paramount (every Trek film he does gets him four film roles in some other non-Trek film) ended up with awful little unredeemable roles like the one in Dude, Where's My Car? It's like a deal with the Devil, where you get everything you asked for, in every way you wouldn't want.
posted by adipocere at 12:15 PM on February 4, 2007


Deep Dish: I saw Nemesis on a plane and thought it was a terrible movie. I had a ten hour flight across the Pacific and I don't think I managed to make it through the entire thing.

Boy, that's bad when people start leaving the plane. ;)
posted by RavinDave at 12:18 PM on February 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've been watching some original series Star Treks lately. Here's a gem from Where No Man Has Gone Before, which I saw yesterday:

Some chick: "Is this planet completely empty?"
Kirk: "Nobody here but us chickens."

posted by neuron at 12:46 PM on February 4, 2007


Never saw Nemesis, largely on account of Insurrection being a towering pile of uninteresting extended episodeness, but I was never much into TNG as it just seemed such a sterile society, as if evolution had resulted in a human species with three emotions - grim determination, righteous indignation, and jovial bon homie.

I quite liked DS9 - actual continuity and arcs helped, though it was getting a bit mawkish by the end (however cute I felt Nicole deBoer was). Voyager was the worst of all, Jerry Ryan's padded, uncleaving bosom notwithstanding - because it was not only sterile but willfully stupid. And I mean incoherently stupid. They shot a hole in an event horizon so they could fly through it, fer crissakes. It's one thing to get the maths wrong, it's another to not even know what the words you're using mean.

Of the modern stuff. Loved b5 at the time despite, and sometimes because of, its flaws, though it really needed to end before it did and/or for JMS to relinquish the reins a bit. I'm not sure I could rewatch it now, though. It meanders somewhat and its method of retelling stories from different perspectives mean that I'm already over familiar with the main arc.

BSG is still top-notch (I'm not seeing the supposed reduction in quality, just the inevitable remorse of having a slowly revealed enemy not be a chilling as one of which you know nothing...c.f. Borg, but I think BSG has by far the greater consistency and believeable scenario). There are soapy elements, but with a sustained narrative you're going to get those because sometimes relationships are an ongoing issue (plus it seems Kara/Lee have chosen their sides for now - if you really want gonad-less military stories read 'Biggles'). And Firefly/Serenity possessed in spades a quality none of the above shows have really exhibited to a large degree - charm.
posted by Sparx at 12:47 PM on February 4, 2007


Word to ZachsMind.

I remember loving Deep Space Nine when it first started. I was a die hard fan. (To be fair, I was also thirteen.) And I remember then feeling like it grew progressively more trite and lame and pandering-to-a-nonexistant-demographic after the first few seasons, to the point where, by the end, it was just completely intolerable.

So my biggest OMG-I-Now-Hate-Trek moment was the last episode of Deep Space Nine, when they wrapped up the series with a holographic Vic Fontaine (wtf) serenading the entire crew with "thanks for the memories" over an extended slow-fade montage of favorite moments from the series plus the cast starry-eyed and staring into memory. This was just after the protracted action-adventure sequence with Gul Dukat and Kai Gwinn (formerly-compelling characters now turned cardboard) running around a horribly-computer-generated burning/volcanic Bajoran underground cavern for no apparent reason.

It was like some old sad marketing company's botched idea of what fans would want. After that, sad crap like Enterprise and Insurrection and Nemesis were basically expected. Sad, but expected.
posted by Tones at 1:01 PM on February 4, 2007


I think is is only ONE way to redeem the Star Trek franchise. And that is to kill it.

My idea is a series based entirely on the Evil Alternate Universe "Federation as an Empire" from the TOS. Same costumes, hairstyles, sets. Just better effects. Make it more like the HBO series Rome with Star Trek characters.

I already have season one written. It starts where the Enterprise pillages the Amusement Park planet and there is a major crew mutiny over who gets what. One faction sides with Kirk. The other sides with Sulu - who has talked the Caretaker into manufacturing Samurai to fight for him.

I watch it in my head and it is awesome.
posted by tkchrist at 1:08 PM on February 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't know quite how to put this, davy, but you can always steer clear of a thread rather than crapping in it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:11 PM on February 4, 2007


tkchrist wins the right to direct the next Trek film, if I have any say over it. Oh wait a minute ... DAMN.
posted by localroger at 2:20 PM on February 4, 2007


Quite frankly, Star Trek Fans don't need Paramount any longer.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:57 PM on February 4, 2007


knave writes "How come Data dies in Nemesis, while he's alive in the future in All Good Things?"

I read somewhere that he died because he was getting too old to play Data (who isn't supposed to age).

I can't believe they managed to screw up a movie where Romulans play a major role. They were always my favorite enemy.
posted by concrete at 2:59 PM on February 4, 2007


Well, to be fair, they did leave a loophole open for Data to come back in some form. (Which was telegraphed as soon as they found the prototype.) The obvious next movie would be a Search-for-Spock movie with Picard stealing the Enterprise to recover the lost backup tapes of Data's brain from the borg.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:17 PM on February 4, 2007


"The obvious next movie would be a Search-for-Spock movie..."

Ew! Stop that! Don't do that! Berman might be reading this.

If they did another movie (Bob help us) and they included Data, it would be played by a new actor. They'd just put the old brain in a new casing. Why they hadn't already let Brent Spiner go movies ago I have no idea.

But I'm of the opinion that they've taken the franchise as far as it needed to go. Perhaps further. I remember when I was a child being so frustrated that there were only three seasons of the five year mission. I just wanted to see the other two years. I just wanted a five year mission. That's what they said it was gonna be.

I think we got more than we deserved. It was a great ride. We got seven years of STNG, and if you dig around in there, at least five of those seven years are pretty good.

Let's not dwell. There comes a point when you have to know when to let go.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:25 PM on February 4, 2007


All the DS9 bashing here is pointless. It's the best ST series overall, although not as good as TNG at it's brightest.
posted by Critical_Beatdown at 7:26 PM on February 4, 2007


Eh, we're not the ones dwelling, ZachsMind. It's Paramount who is trying to play Weekend at Spiner's.

I tell you what, though. I'd like to see tkchrist's "evil empire" just not in a parallel universe. Just see the Federation from the other side, a la browncoats in Firefly. Of course, the Fed doesn't want conscripts, but maybe it wasn't always so...

(sadly, though, that kind of extended cultural foray -- seeing things from the Klingon side, or Romulan, or Cardassian or some lesser known species -- would only have been attempted if DS9 had been far more popular, being as it is the only real cultural exploration outside of TNG's Klingon droppings)
posted by dreamsign at 7:34 PM on February 4, 2007


Romulus has a twin planet we never told you about!

No, they mentioned it -- waaaay back in the first episode with the Romulans, and then they never mentioned it again until Nemesis. (I'm sad that I know this.)
posted by webmutant at 7:51 PM on February 4, 2007


All the DS9 bashing here is pointless. It's the best ST series overall...

As best I can tell, half the DS9 mentions in this thread are actually praise. On the other hand, what strikes me as "pointless" is hopping into a thread to exclaim, "You're wrong, X sucks/rocks!!" without offering any elaboration on why you think that's true.

For example, I'll tell you what I liked and disliked about Voyager. I loved the premise: throwing the starship into a remote region of the galaxy, totally removing known species and Federation contact and giving the crew a specific end goal. That was new. However, like TNG, I thought they spent too much time aboard the ship (as contrasted with TOS) and I hated the gaping plot holes. (Trek writers rarely managed to implement nonviolence creatively.)

But I'm of the opinion that they've taken the franchise as far as it needed to go.

People felt the same about Star Wars; but as long as there's money to be made, somebody will keep pressing forward. Thus we're getting a Kirk/Spock prequel — just as, mark my words, whether it happens with Lucas's blessing or after his death somebody will eventually film Episodes 7, 8, and 9.
posted by cribcage at 8:19 PM on February 4, 2007


Take a look at the "Read the parody" link from tkchrist's link. Funny stuff, but not as funny as the Futurama episode Where No Fan Has Gone Before [youtube].

I think that's all Star Trek is good for anymore: as a cultural reference. It's like repeating lines from Monty Python. You get to see who around you gets the reference, and you share a brief smile, and then you move on.

Move on, Star Trek. We have.

Oh, and DS9 was pretty good for a while except for all the Bajoran junk, Voyager was so stupid that I couldn't even bring myself to watch Enterprise, most of the movies were bad, and Babylon 5 was awesome though I agree that it could have ended sooner.
posted by dammitjim at 8:30 PM on February 4, 2007


If they really want to bring data back, it'd be easy to give some lame excuse like his father programmed him to age or he decided to age himself to make his friends more comfortable about their slow, wrinkly descent into dotage.

I've watched every episode of TNG and DS9 and I had absolutely no idea that Insurrection and Nemesis even existed. I thought the last two movies were First Contact and that other one with Malcolm McDowell. I might have even wanted to see them, but they didn't make the slightest blip on my radar.
posted by stavrogin at 9:23 PM on February 4, 2007


What would this 3rd Data be named, I wonder? "Info"?

Clearly you've never heard the tale of Thesis and the Minotaur.
posted by mwhybark at 10:24 PM on February 4, 2007


Nemesis might have done a lot better with a decent antagonist. Serious miscasting and just bad writing doomed the character and thus the story.

Alas, a nekkid, blushing Worf at the end would have made up for it all, IMHO.
posted by Poagao at 12:52 AM on February 5, 2007


But I'm of the opinion that they've taken the franchise as far as it needed to go.

People felt the same about Star Wars


Yes, and they were absolutely correct.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:44 AM on February 5, 2007


Star Trek 12 script extract

Picard: Beverley

Cut to Beverly Crusher. Camera suddenly goes into soft focus

Beverly Crusher: Captain

Cut back to Picard. Normal focus

Picard: I... I love you Beverly

Beverly Crusher (in soft focus): Jean-Luc?

Picard: You look so young. Your skin...

Cut to Beverly Crusher (soft focus, again)

Picard's hand brushes her cheek

Picard: ...so soft
posted by ZippityBuddha at 7:45 AM on February 5, 2007


Romulus has a twin planet we never told you about!

What are you talking about? Romulus has always had a second twin planet, called "Remus" by the Federation, or ch'Havran by die-hard Diane Duane fans.
posted by jb at 8:09 AM on February 5, 2007


Star Trek 12 script extract

Your motivation? Right, Gates. You're relaxing after a long day. You're thinking, do I want to go back to school for the advanced diagnostic training, or do I want to go for a command position? Both are good, but you know that both have sacrifices. One advanced your career in Starfleet, but the other expresses more of your own humanity.

And that's when you notice that Jean-Luc has taken his pants off and started strokin' it...

[cue fighting music from "Amok Time"]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:20 AM on February 5, 2007


Wow, now there's an image I didn't need in my head.
posted by COBRA! at 9:25 AM on February 5, 2007


Well, I dunno about Star Wars. I think the prequels get a bum rap because Star Wars: AHN and Return of the Jedi are so horribly overrated compared to their actual quality. I ended up digging out Return of the Jedi about a week ago and spent the entire movie laughing at the plastic puppets, badly designed Ewoks, and a coked-up Carrie Fisher. Take away the fanboy nostalgia and the actual movies age about as well as my favorite childhood drink of Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew.

Most of original Star Trek episodes have aged a little bit better. But I suspect the best future for both of these franchises, along with Firefly (which is only half as great as fanboys claim) lie with comics, novelizations, and multimedia.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:22 AM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I withdraw my objection to Remus, as it appears that it was at least mentioned briefly in the original series. The third (first!) Soong android, on the other hand, came completely out of nowhere.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:27 AM on February 5, 2007


For example, I'll tell you what I liked and disliked about Voyager.

Ooh, I like this game.

Voyager was a great concept ruined by tepid acting, obscene fanservice (naturally a rehabilitated Borg's first clothing choice would be form-fitting velvet), and no vision.

The real promise of the series was the conflict between those who believed that the old regime was irrelevant so far from home and those who felt it was needed more than ever - do the old ways matter in, almost literally, a new universe? The writers were completely unable to hold that tension (or directed not to), so all the crew became cardboard "model federation citizens" teaching wayward aliens about democracy and oral hygiene. Janeway was a one-dimensional, unreflective, authoritarian schoolmarm; the president in BSG became everything her character should have been. The show really shone with the one-off, classical-style sci-fi riddle episodes. Or anything that focused on Robert Picardo.

DS9 in its prime was the second-greatest pre-Firefly TV space opera, in my opinion (next to B5). It was willing to get darker than any of the other series - from the aesthetic to the small stuff like O'Brien's imprisonment and the big stuff like the recurring theme of genocide. It more or less committed to a story arc, which allowed greater development in the roles played by some great character actors (Dukat, Weyoun, Odo) and got in-depth with the Cardassians (I'll take their equivocal nature over the Perennially Sneaky And Evil(TM) Romulans any day); expanded on the tensions between the Empire and the Federation; and added the wonderful Jem'Hadar. And Iggy Pop did a cameo. Too bad about Quark, though. TNG's real saving grace may have been its insistence on no comic relief.

DS9 also shied away from questions of ethical dissidence, but not with as much of a kneejerk as Voyager. If you ask me, DS9 was the franchise's chance to grow; that potential was spat on by every series and nearly every movie that followed.

If Spiner's mad at the fans, he's mad at them for being smarter than he expected.
posted by poweredbybeard at 1:37 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Quark ... I'm amused to recall seeing the ST:TNG writer's bible long before the show first aired. A "bible" is what the producers pass out to prospective writers; providing crucial information for understanding the show, the characters, the technology, the tone. It's a mission statement, so writer's aren't working completely in the dark. Anyway, I distinctive recall that the "Ferengi" were originally slated to be supremely evil and universally feared. The mere mention of their name was supposed to make you break out in a cold sweat. You see remnants of that initial intent in their first appearance, but they were almost immediately changed into lawn gnomes with big ears and bad teeth.
posted by RavinDave at 2:03 PM on February 5, 2007


Just to chime in one more time on the twin planet of Romulus thing:

As most of us dorks who took Latin in school know, Remus was the brother of Romulus in the mythical founding of Rome. Just naming the planet is a pretty strong indicator of the existance of another planet named Remus. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romulus_and_Remus)

Nemesis was still mediocare though. Much love for BSG.
posted by elafint at 5:44 PM on February 5, 2007


the president in BSG became everything [Janeway] should have been.

I agree completely. When Roslin looks coldly at that Cylon and says, "Put this thing out an airlock" — that's the line you wanted to hear from Janeway, a dozen times over.

This is a recurring Trek problem. There's an episode of TNG where a super-soldier trapped aboard the Enterprise fights his way from deck to deck before Worf finally corners him in a cargo bay. And Worf's response, pointing a phaser at this SuperSEAL who just incapacitated 37 different security teams, is to look menacing and say, "Freeze, but I won't shoot!"

Trek sucks at circumventing violence. I understand it's deliberate, they're trying to depict a value system blah-blah-blah; but rather than spend 15 minutes coming up with creative nonviolent solutions, Trek writers just steamroll through and pretend like there's no discord. And it's ironic, because as you say, that discord could have been Voyager's greatest asset.
posted by cribcage at 6:54 PM on February 5, 2007


It was willing to get darker than any of the other series

So... I lied; I cheated; I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men; I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all is... I think I can live with it. And if I'd have to do it all over again... I would.
posted by dreamsign at 3:57 AM on February 6, 2007


Anyway, I distinctive recall that the "Ferengi" were originally slated to be supremely evil and universally feared.

Something I had always made me feel uneasy about TNG and even moreso DS9, where Quark and other Ferengi were featured prominently, is their species's character often seemed to be based on anti-semitic stereotypes. This, of course, has been the subject of much debate over the years, but it's something that's been stayed with me. Not sure if they were meant to stereotype racist views in the "real world", or else be used as a device to throw a wrench into the mix of this futuristic, pluralistic utopian society, but I was never comfortable with it.

Trek sucks at circumventing violence. I understand it's deliberate, they're trying to depict a value system blah-blah-blah;

But the blah-blah-blah is the thing. I'd always appreciated the violence as a last resort aspect of Trek writing. I rather saw it more hopeful than quaint. In my younger days, I probably would have wanted a "darker" version of it, but as I have gotten older and see more and more that we're constantly bombarded with images of violence and carnage, both fictitious and real, the less I want to see of that in what's mostly an escapist medium.
posted by psmealey at 6:05 AM on February 6, 2007


I always saw the Ferengi as a race of (oxymoron ahead) comical Dick Cheneys. Basically-inept free marketeers, for whom ethical considerations were just something to wave around when there was some business advantage to be gained by it. The rest of the time - lie, cheat, and steal, just because they can. No specifically-Semitic connotations for me.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:24 AM on February 6, 2007


The third (first!) Soong android, on the other hand, came completely out of nowhere.

No, it didn't. In the episode 'Inheiritance' Data's mother, Juliana Tainer formerly Juliana Soong, states that there were three androids built prior to Lore. And yes, I'm proud to be so geeky that I didn't even have to look that up.
posted by obol at 10:13 AM on February 6, 2007


In the episode 'Inheiritance' Data's mother, Juliana Tainer formerly Juliana Soong, states that there were three androids built prior to Lore.

What the--AAAARGH!

::hands in badge and decoder ring::
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:53 AM on February 6, 2007


Juliana Soong... states that there were three androids built prior to Lore.

Seriously, you guys didn't know that? What the fuck is wrong with you?
posted by psmealey at 10:58 AM on February 6, 2007


FoB, I'll take good care of them for you.
posted by obol at 2:31 PM on February 6, 2007


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