Let it rest, already!
March 5, 2001 6:27 AM   Subscribe

Let it rest, already! The fifth Star Trek series is going into casting, with filming to begin in May for a release in Autumn 2001. From the character descriptions it looks like it's basically a remake of the original series. I think they've run out of ideas. (Link via GeekPress.)
posted by Steven Den Beste (26 comments total)
Didn't they run out of ideas a long time ago? To be honest, I don't think it really matters. What they need is a decent cast and some really good, well thought out, intelligent writing to be a success. Not that I'd watch it, but I think they could do it...
posted by tallman at 6:44 AM on March 5, 2001

I'm a Level 6.5 fan (on a scale of 1-10), so I'm not a fanatic Trekker. I would probably watch the show on an irregular basis, but I think the initial character sketches aren't terribly encouraging. I realize these are the thin outlines casting agents get, and until the show is cast the writers will not be generating great scripts (TNG's first season was awful). Still, as someone we know would say, "Fascinating."
posted by darren at 6:47 AM on March 5, 2001

Hmm.. you know I have never had much of a thing for Star Trek at all, and the same goes for anything sci-fi-fan-dom. The Sci-fi channel was airing the original series a bit back, I tuned in just for heck and I found the whole thing a bit boring, even with* Shatner. Then today's series are pretty much the same, except they have more makeup masks and such. I just don't see why it's all so popular, which makes that trekkies film all the more scarier. But, yet again I shouldn't talk about that, people like something because they do, and no one should be labeled a weirdo, even if it is for the sake of making a joke.
posted by tiaka at 6:48 AM on March 5, 2001

I enjoy TNG quite a bit, and have lately been getting into Voyager somewhat. But it's clear to me that behind the veil of something like "carrying on Gene Roddenberry's vision", the next series is just another attempt to sell more Trek products, keep a Trek series on the air, and foster in more possibilities for Trek movies... IOW, to keep the franchise going.

I agree with Steven. Let it go.
posted by hijinx at 7:04 AM on March 5, 2001

Star Trek peaked with The Next Generation - that's what got me hooked on the series. I never really got into the original, but have always like the movies (my father took me to see the one with the whales when I was still in short pants).

Anyhow, I agree with the assessment that this new series sounds a bit weak. One of the villians was described as being obsessed with 'genetic enhancements'. As every good trekker knows, this is a referance to the gene wars (or something like that) of which Kahn was the principal villian. I betcha this new series will be less about exploration, and more about war with genetically altered supermen.

Perhaps Ricardo Montalban will make a Cameo!
posted by aladfar at 7:06 AM on March 5, 2001

Character breakdowns always sound contrived as hell. I'm looking forward to the new series because I'm hoping they bring back that groovy '60s look for the costumes, technology and sound effects. I'd also like to see lots of planets with giant boulders all over the place and alien women in micro minis.
posted by rcade at 7:10 AM on March 5, 2001

I'm a bit skeptical about the validity that information. If Paramount actually released those profiles, would it be all over by now? It isn't even on their own Star Trek news page.
posted by quirked at 7:14 AM on March 5, 2001

Perhaps Ricardo Montalban will make a Cameo!

All I want is a ship made of rich Corinthian leather.

"That? That's the Aries! It's a K-class ship!"
posted by hijinx at 7:30 AM on March 5, 2001

I usually check here for advance info on movie and TV projects. They're quoting the same source Steven linked, with the same caveat, that it is a rumor until confirmed by the producers. The discussion boards over there are always a hoot.
posted by gimli at 7:38 AM on March 5, 2001

The original series was a monster. I saw them all over and over. I never regularly viewed any of the succeeding series, which were all variously disappointing. The original focus on very strong characters (and that elusive chemistry) and the strong sense of *discovery* that came from golden-age SF were key. All the successors dwelt too much on (TV-cheap) "psychological drama". Faaagh!

Action! Adventure! BOLDLY go where no MAN has gone before! Monsters! Drama! Steve Reeves!
posted by Twang at 8:00 AM on March 5, 2001

I'm a total fan. From TOS to DS9. In fact DS9's my favourite, War and Peace in Outer Space. Any time a new series starts, I dislike it. By the second season, I'll get hooked. Bring it on!
posted by prolific at 8:08 AM on March 5, 2001

Well, this kind of dashes my hopes for Captain Sulu. Still I'm glad they didn't take it back to the Academy as was rumored early on.

I was surprised at the Fall 2001 date. I truly did expect Berman to let the field lie fallow for a year.
posted by frykitty at 8:25 AM on March 5, 2001

There's great skepticism among the fan-base that this is anything but either a hoax or deliberate disinformation. Berman has said that the plot isn't "out there" yet, but this birth-of-the-Federation concept has been discussed for years. The series is also said to be on hold pending the resolution of the expected actors' strike this spring. Berman also insisted that the concept for the next series had to be unique, fresh, and not a rehash.
posted by dhartung at 8:39 AM on March 5, 2001

TNG was one of my favorite shows growing up, especially meaningful considering its longevity -- I watched it from age 8 until 14, and I'm quite sure I was a different person when the show went off the air from when it started. The mix of political intrigue, a believeable physical/scientific worldview, and characters with pathos, made it a winner in my book. DS9 was decent, heavier on the politics, and you knew it would survive when they brought Worf over. It evolved seamlessly from where TNG left off. In a sense, I was branded on Star Trek, even staying up nights reading the Encyclopedia and Art of Start Trek, watching every rerun, trying to get my girlfriend interested... until Voyager premiered, at which point I ABSOLUTELY lost interest, probably because the series alienated fans who knew the history behind TNG and DS9.

All I can say is, if the new series has as dedicated a crew of artists, writers, and directors in addition to actors, it might succeed where Voyager didn't. If it sews up the remaining TNG and DS9 threads and follows their timeline, maybe I'll follow it. I barely watch TV save for "Law & Order," but it'd be nice to fish out that Encyclopedia again.
posted by legibility at 9:11 AM on March 5, 2001

Details on the new series are still forthcoming, but Braga does say, "It's not enough to plop another captain in a starship.

That quote from Brannon Braga (Series V, executive producer) on the official startrek.com site pretty much contradicts what's been inferred from the casting call.
posted by xiffix at 9:15 AM on March 5, 2001

A while back, the ever-reliable Onion proposed a new ST series called Star Trek : A New Journ-- You Know What? Fuck This.

Sorry, no link.
posted by jbushnell at 9:37 AM on March 5, 2001

Captain Jackson Archer: ...He holds a grudge against the Vulcans, who he blames for impeding humanity's progress. But his science officer is Vulcan, and he's struggling to reconsider those preconceptions...

Sub-Commander T'Pau: Late 20s, early 30s. Vulcan female. Austere yet sensual. She's the Science Officer assigned to oversee humanity's progress on board Enterprise. Although she's cautious and guarded around humans, whom she considers primitive and irrational, she's developed a grudging respect for Captain Archer. She'll become one of his most loyal and trusted crew members.

This cracks me up. Since Kirk/Spock slash became such a big fandom phenomenon around the original series, this time they made the Vulcan science officer female so that they can do a bunch of Mulder/Scully-esque relationship tease stuff. I guess they don't realize that the guy/guy aspect was part of the fan appeal...

Whoops. I stand revealed as a geek extraordinaire. Oh well...
posted by wiremommy at 10:41 AM on March 5, 2001

I agree with Prolific. It's all good. I am late to Star Trek. My girlfriend is a huge fan, and at first I begrudgingly watched. But I ended up loving it. The first season of TNG did suck. Diana cries all the time, and the music is horrible! But I loved DS9. The characters and the actors were great. I especially loved when they brought Worf on.

I used to watch TOS when I was a kid, but hated it because I couldn't stand Shatner, and still can't.

The problem I have with the treatment of this new series is that one loses all the cool technologies and species etc that occurred over the life of the show by going to a prequel. Plus a show that is supposed to "boldly go" (yucky grammar) should move forward and not backwards.

I even like Voyager, but not as much. I think the problems that has plagued Voyager is the UPNification of the show. Like adding Seven of Nine almost exclusively to attract the hormonal younger males viewers or tie-ins with WWF like when The Rock (gag) showed up in an episode.

I liked the idea of the Starfleet Academy, but feared it would turn into a soap opera or, worse, 90210. I think a series such as ST needs exploration. I love how the series shows alien species learning from one another and trying to get along.

posted by terrapin at 10:59 AM on March 5, 2001

OH, COME ON PEOPLE! Look at the list of non-recurring characters in the pilot:

Admiral FORREST, Admiral LEONARD, Commander WILLIAMS, a vulcan named TOS

as in

DeForest Kelley (who played Dr. McCoy), LEONARD Nimoy (who played Spock), and WILLIAM Shatner (aka Cap'n Kirk). And "Tos" as in "Star Trek:TOS," the common abbreviation for The Original Series.

Either it's a hoax, or the people at Paramount have seriously bad inside jokes.

That being said, I think a pre-Kirk Star Trek show might be interesting. Hopefully, the Federation would be a little less settled and goody two-shoes. I'd like to see a series in the Star Trek universe that's NOT about the Federation, but I guess we're stuck with fan fiction for that.

But what would they do with the Enterprise interiors? Would it still have that bad sixties conception of the interface of the future, with lots of knobs and flashing LEDs??? :-)
posted by monkey-mind at 11:02 AM on March 5, 2001

I can't believe I didn't spot that. Monkey-mind: good catch, that's a scream.

On sort of a side-note, I would hate to work continuity on a prequel-type ST show. It's hard enough to stay true to the mythology--which has become huge and convoluted--when you're working in the future. Can you imagine the depth of knowledge required to not contradict something said in shows set later? Ouch.

Of course, I could do it. ;)
posted by frykitty at 11:08 AM on March 5, 2001

monkey-mind, you impress me with your common sense.
posted by hijinx at 11:40 AM on March 5, 2001

Either it's a hoax, or the people at Paramount have seriously bad inside jokes.

The latter is possible, since the producers have been known to name characters as tributes in the past. For example, Geordi LaForge was named for the late handicapped trekker George LaForge.
posted by gimli at 12:36 PM on March 5, 2001

Just for reference, "T'Pau" was the name of the elderly vulcan woman who presided over the "wedding ceremony" in "Amok Time". But that's not implausible; they might mean for it to be the same character.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 1:17 PM on March 5, 2001

And here I thought T'Pau was a cheesy 80's one hit wonder.
posted by bjennings at 1:51 PM on March 5, 2001

Here's the problem with the Star Trek franchise in general: It has become such a bloated cash cow that the producers are absolutely afraid to embrace any facet of humanity.

I'm sorry, but if I'm on board a ship that's hundreds of years away from home, my natural inclination is to get things down to a more egalitarian level of conversation and communion, hit up the lovely ladies of my crew, say to hell with Starfleet and party like it's 2499.

However, in the Voyager universe, NOT ONE HUMAN BEING says to hell with Starfleet. Every human being conforms, despite the fact that there is no outside authority. They go about performing business as usual, as if the future involves nothing more than being a peon for a fascist utopia.

This is certainly not the humanity I am in touch with on an everyday basis. Even if you were to reduce the giddy and laid back revolutionaries of the world down to 1% of the Voyager crew, you would still have a couple of eccentric personalities to contend with on Voyager.

At least the original Star Trek series has some benign sexism and angry medical officers to contend with. We see not a trace of motivated anger or gadflys residing on Voyager. And based off of this ridiculous fifth series scenario, if it is indeed true, it looks as if we're going to see the same old nonsense: a politically correct, safe and sane, international crew that is about as interesting as a Saturday night on Chestnut Street.

Star Trek must die immediately. Its recent incarnation had not one hundredth the charm of the original series. And in the course of four different series, they have run out of nearly every gimmicky idea to use. Of course, if Voyager had actually had characters you could give one good goddam about to begin with, then the writers wouldn't have had to lift every science fiction idea from Heinlein to Dick for the show.

The writers of this new series should be forced to watch every episode of Blake's 7. Cheesy effects aside, at least that show offered crooks, lowlife and general mischevious types in a future world. And guess what? It was a lot more interesting.

posted by ed at 9:45 PM on March 5, 2001

My prediction: Star Trek: Quantum Leap - Takes place after the current incarnations involving a Timeship like the USS Relativity. I hope I'm wrong.
posted by quirked at 11:09 AM on March 15, 2001

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