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Should Star Trek Die? 703

Posted by timothy
from the melodrama-hypercube dept.
securitas writes "The New York Times Television reporter William S. Kowinski writes about questions of the Star Trek franchise's viability due to overexposure, audience fatigue and creative exhaustion. Star Trek actor and director LeVar Burton (Geordi La Forge) is in favor of a hiatus, and is quoted as saying, 'Star Trek's just not special enough, not anymore.... They need to shut the whole thing down, wait five years, create an interest, an excitement, a hunger for it again.' Also quoted are Leonard Nimoy (Spock) and executive producer Rick Berman. The article is particularly salient given the recent announcement of Star Trek Online, a massively multiplayer online game scheduled to launch in 2007. Remember that Activision sued Viacom over the Star Trek franchise last year, ending the license despite a 10-year licensing agreement that originally expired in 2008. So the question is: Should Star Trek die?"
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Should Star Trek Die?

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  • BERMANNNNNNNN!!!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoxCamel (20484) * on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:27AM (#10188687)
    Levar and company are right, Nimoy is high. (not that that's a bad thing...) Although I'd give it even longer, say ten years. It's all a pipe dream though. ST is just too hot a property, and I seriously doubt they'll have the patience to wait two years, let alone five. Coming to a WB station near you: Star Trek Babies!

    But a simple hiatus won't fix ST. ST needs better writing, fresher ideas, and to get away from this fixation of techno-babble saving the day. And while I'd be the first to jump into a goo chamber with T'Pol, the "FOX approach" is simply gratuitous and insulting.

    ST needs to get back to it's cerebral roots. (yeah the current line in Enterprise is better, but after living through Voyager, it would be hard to get worse.) It needs a rest, but it also needs intelligent direction. coughfirebermancough.

    • by tgd (2822) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:52AM (#10189010)
      I watched them all, and I remember a campy western set in space, a all-to-perfect soap opera buried in technobabble, a total fluke in the Trek saga in the form of DS9 when the show sucked until they dropped any semblance of it actually being like "Trek", and went much darker and was far better than the prior series. Voyager shouldn't even be commented on. It was the worst part of all the sci-fi shows on TV all mushed together in a shocking display of suck. Enterprise has been entertaining, I suppose. The acting is horrid, but its never been good in the Trek franchise.

      In all of those, however (even being a Trek fan), I fail to see any semblance of a cerebral root.
      • by MoxCamel (20484) * on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:02AM (#10189123)
        In all of those, however (even being a Trek fan), I fail to see any semblance of a cerebral root.

        Then you may want to go back and rent some TOS DVDs. Were they all cerebral? Hell no. Some of them were downright awful. But when you put them in the context of the era (late 1960s) they were powerful but subtle. They addressed issues of race, politics, social issues, sexism, and more. It seems a simple space western today, because we don't have the context.

        Even the worst episodes of TOS were better than many "better" episodes of later series, because the writers seemed to care.

      • by xdroop (4039) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:30AM (#10189524) Homepage Journal
        Mod me Flame-bait, but I like Voyager.

        TOS was too campy, NextGen was too stateless. DS9 was painful when it started, losing me before they got into the long-story-arc thing once Babylon 5 showed that audiences would follow such a story.

        Don't know why, but it appeals to me and I enjoy watching it. I still watch Voyager in syndication... not daily, but a couple times a week.

        And just to prove to you all that I'm a total crack-pot, I'll also cop to liking Dharma and Greg.

        • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @01:34PM (#10191648) Homepage Journal
          I like Voyager.

          I think I like about 1/6th of Voyager...
          The thing is, there are some good episodes and a few rare really good episodes, dilluted in all the "Well, there's 5 minutes left, many people died this week...lets go back in time and forget all bout it" episodes, the "17 Borg Cubes! Yellow alert, shoot them down, I'll be in my office doing my nails, call me when its over" episodes and the "Hi, I'm Chakotay. I'm an american indian from another planet. I'll take this space shuttle to go practice a ritual of earth worship, in space. Oh no, I've blown up the shuttle...meh, its just the 4th, or 6th or something I've blown up in this exact same way. The captain will give me another one next time I feel religious all of a sudden." episodes.

          The Year of Hell episode and follow ups were fun, despite being time travel shows. The Doctor had a few good moments. 7 was hot...
          I liked the aliens with the space-leprosy, they were creepy...

          But, in all honesty, it was mostly bad. Some good, most bad.

          I'll also cop to liking Dharma and Greg.

          Well, I like watching Dharma. : )
      • by nathan s (719490) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:56AM (#10190040) Homepage
        In my honest opinion, Voyager was the most interesting of the three that I've seen (TOS, TNG, and Voyager). I know a lot of people seem to be blasting Voyager on the basis of its technology or something of the like. However, Voyager tackled some real issues.

        A few that I can recall offhand:
        - Throughout the entire series, a lot of time was spent discussing what is basically Artificial Intelligence in the form of the ship's doctor. Over the course of the show, this 'program' develops a personality and actually some creativity, and at least one Voyager episode is a court case that closely parallels a recent real mock trial (although here the AI is arguing for life instead of the ownership of its intellectual property) http://www.kurzweilai.net/articles/art0594.html?pr intable=1 [kurzweilai.net]
        - Another aspect of the show is the characterization, which I felt is much better than previous Trek series. Capt. Janeway has to make some quite tough decisions, and the series finale is perhaps the most interesting episode for her as she encounters a future self and has to defend her decision to protect millions of strangers' lives at the risk of her own crew/family. This theme repeats throughout.
        - The whole Borg thing was quite well explored, in my honest opinion (although it may be better so in DS9). Some people seem pissed that the Borg aren't all-powerful, but really, apart from the Species 8472, they don't face much real competition. The destruction of some of their collective at the end of Voyager is reflecting another long-lived Trek theme, individuality vs. the collective (and of course, individuality comes out ahead here - good or no, but that's what it was about).

        It wasn't perfect, but overall I felt that the characters offered more to care about than previous Treks. I enjoyed the TNG crew, and was amused by the Western antics of the TOS crew, but Voyager actually had me caring about more than one character (I only found Picard interesting in TNG, and Spock was the main reason to watch TOS for me).

        This is all quite personal, and I'm sure people quite disagree; however, I think that people might appreciate Voyager more if they paid more attention to the characters and less to the technology.
        • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @01:56PM (#10191944) Homepage Journal
          Voyager tackled some real issues.

          A few that I can recall offhand:
          - Throughout the entire series, a lot of time was spent discussing what is basically Artificial Intelligence in the form of the ship's doctor. Over the course of the show, this 'program' develops a personality and actually some creativity, and at least one Voyager episode is a court case that closely parallels a recent real mock trial (although here the AI is arguing for life


          Yeah, hmmm, TNG did the exact same thing with Data, trial and all.
          Its sad when you're ripping yourself off.

          The whole Borg thing was quite well explored, in my honest opinion

          See, here, you're not making any kind of sense.
          TNG Borg: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE, one, ONE Borg Cube defeated the entire Federation fleet and was only stopped by daring and clever hacking.
          Voy Borg: A single lost Federation ship without ressources defeats the ENTIRE DAMN COLLECTIVE. Pussyfication galore!

          individuality vs. the collective

          Was explored in depth in TNG with Hugh, "I Borg" and the follow ups.
          Voyager rehashed it.

          I felt that the characters offered more to care about than previous Treks.

          Kess. Was supposed to age very fast. After 3 years, they realised they had only untied her hair while she should have aged by about 30 human years. Also, they realised by that time that they had to cross Borg space, a daunting task. How did they solve these problems? MAGIC! Kess becomes Q-like, flings Voyager to the other side of Borg space (but no farther, that would have been too convenient), decides she's too hot for them, leaves, and they get a replacement babe in the same show. That disgusted me. That was...horrible.
          Sure, the new babe was better, but the way they solved these problems... They painted themselves into a corner and pulled the magic powers card to solve it. Not worthy of Star Trek.
      • by Tassach (137772) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @12:32PM (#10190646)
        Did you notice that DS9's change in tone corresponded with B5 beating it in the ratings game? Competition is good. Of course once B5 went off the air it was back to the same old Star Drek.
      • by Zerbey (15536) * on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @01:12PM (#10191318) Homepage Journal
        I watched them all, and I remember a campy western set in space, a all-to-perfect soap opera buried in technobabble, a total fluke in the Trek saga in the form of DS9 when the show sucked until they dropped any semblance of it actually being like "Trek", and went much darker and was far better than the prior series. Voyager shouldn't even be commented on. It was the worst part of all the sci-fi shows on TV all mushed together in a shocking display of suck. Enterprise has been entertaining, I suppose. The acting is horrid, but its never been good in the Trek franchise.

        I disagree, TOS looks dated today because you've gotten used to much, much more sophisticated shows. Bear in mind it was made in the 60s and the world was very very different back then.

        DS9 will remain the best Star Trek, unless they can figure out a way to top it. I think it could have easily gone on another 7 series if they'd not decided to end it. Such a shame.

        Voyager wasn't too bad, some of the episodes sucked but there where a few gems in there ("Year of Hell" is one). It was certainly comparable to TNG, which I really enjoyed.

        Enterprise should just be cancelled and disowned :)

        I think ST should just go on hiatus for a few years, the world will change again (like it did between TOS and TNG) and fresh ideas will surface.
    • by dirvish (574948)
      A new series could survive, just not on a major network. However, another terrible movie could really hurt the franchise. Unless the next Star Trek movie gets great reviews I'm going to have to skip it.
    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:33AM (#10189586) Homepage
      ST is just too hot a property, and I seriously doubt they'll have the patience to wait two years, let alone five.

      This is why I sometimes think that aquiring the prestige of a cultural icon should kick you over into public domain faster. Otherwise, it's only natural that people will spend far too long "milking" it, when, justifiably, they've already made their money- Star Wars being another good example.

      I think, if your goal was not to milk the series, but to create the best conditions under which an interesting Star Trek movie/series/book/whatever would be most likely to be made, you'd just open the intellectual property up to whoever wanted to do something with it. A lot of crap would be made, but maybe some really good stuff too. Of course, you can't expect someone holding such a "hot property" to give it up on their own accord.

      • by Suidae (162977) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @03:21PM (#10193191)
        That fits in a bit with my idea for Trek.

        I loved TNG, most of it was really well done. But I got tired of the 'stateless' nature of the show. DS9 was cool once they got a real story going, but then at the end of the story they had to kill the show (well, it had been on the air long enough either way).

        What I want now is a Trek show run kind of like a cross between the last few seasons of DS9 and The Outer Limits. Pick a story in the Trek universe. Any story, past, present or future, choose a story in the empires of humans, vulcans, klingons, whomever. Run it like a SciFi channel mini-series. Use as many or as few episodes as it takes to tell that story. Maybe its just one episode, or maybe it takes a dozen to do the story right. When the story is done, thats it, its over. Lather, rinse, repeat.

        Maintain an active online presence, and actually use fan suggestions. Pick up loose threads from other series, follow characters that showed up in other series. Sprinkle in episodes that tell the same story from the perspective of several different characters of different races.

        The possibilities for such a show, particularly with writers that will pay attention to feedback from fans, are nearly endless, as is the potential for money-making spin-off series in the style of the older shows.
    • by Foolhardy (664051) <csmith32 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @12:32PM (#10190640)
      Nimoy is high.
      He must be on LDS.
    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @12:32PM (#10190655) Homepage Journal
      needs intelligent direction. coughfirebermancough.

      Star Trek was good when Gene was alive and kept "interfering" with its direction.
      For it to become good again, Rick Berman must die.

      He'll never let go, he'll never admit he's wrong, he'll never stop dilluting it and killing every part of it that was good, leaving only an empty husk that looks like star trek, but isn't.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:28AM (#10188688)
    a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away...
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:28AM (#10188694) Journal
    The question is, should we bury it, or spritz it with Fabreeze and see how long we can milk it "Weekend at Bernie's" style.

  • Yes... (Score:5, Funny)

    by AltImage (626465) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:29AM (#10188703) Homepage
    The good of the many outweighs the needs of the few...
  • Overexposure?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:29AM (#10188704) Homepage Journal
    Overexposure is what Madonna has.

    Star Trek is "not special anymore" because it's been taken over by people who can't understand what made it special. Bring in some real writers who understand why Threshold and Meridian were terrible stories and why The Inner Light was a great one, and the viewers will follow.
    • Re:Overexposure?! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by abb3w (696381) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:49AM (#10188967) Journal
      Overexposure is what Madonna has.

      As opposed to what T'Pol [allscifi.com] has?
      Not that I mind having something to appeal to my baser instincts [sbsonline.nl], as long as you can do it while actually telling a thoughtful SF story. And frankly, Bujold's the only author in SF who's had anything new and thoughtful to say about sex since about 1975. Yes, the repetitive calisthenics are fun, but so what?

    • by plover (150551) * on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:49AM (#10188974) Homepage Journal
      I think Star Trek isn't special anymore because the times have changed.

      Back in the 1960s, in the days of Commies and Sputnik and the Space Race, a show about astronauts warping around space with a dashing captain punching the Evil Empire in the nose was exactly the right formula to grab America's attention. Surround him with beautiful but deadly women, tear his shirt off in a fight over them every so often, and it captured the interest of teens and young men and women all over the country. And since there were three whole networks of TV channels to choose from, competition for attention was scarce.

      But now, there are hundreds of channels with thousands of shows. The internet is high speed and in the kids' bedrooms. Soccer moms spend every waking minute taking their kids from activity to activity. Kids just aren't interested in Star Trek. It's now just a show for their dads and moms to watch; there is no excitement for kids, nothing new in these movies and series. There's no evil villain that they could show that these kids haven't already virtually shot a thousand times in their Nintendos.

      Star Trek won't die as long as we adults keep hanging on to our memories of Captain Kirk. But we can't expect our kids to hold him in the same "reverence." And no matter how "special" the stories might be to us, they're just another level in a video game to the current generation.

      • by wwest4 (183559) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:37AM (#10189654)
        > But now, there are hundreds of channels with thousands of shows.
        > The internet is high speed and in the kids' bedrooms. Soccer moms
        > spend every waking minute taking their kids from activity to activity.
        > Kids just aren't interested in Star Trek.

        Mine thinks of nothing else. I'm lucky if I can convince him to go out for a run or a bike ride - he'd rather play starship creator or throw in a DVD and watch episodes. When he flips through the hundred channels, guess where he stops? Trek Uncut. When he's not staring at his SETI@home screen, he's searching google for a Zephram Cochrane birth announcement. His last class project was about his visit to Vegas, and he spent a disproportionate amount of his energy on the side trip to see Trek at the Hilton... in spite of the impact of seeing the strip, GameWorks, In-and-Out, the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, and Zion. It's not just another video game to him. He just gets it.

        Trek hasn't really changed. It's always been about flashing some scandalous bits to attract general viewership. The spoils (occasional good bits of sci-fi, ideas, imaginary worlds and histories) go to the geeks. The difference now is that many older geeks have tired of their dependence on the general viewers and want to divorce the real meaty center of star trek from the filler that keeps Joe Sixpack in his seat and, by the way, the shows on the air. Well, I say that the only way you can really ever divorce yourself from the filler is by creating something on your own. Geek kids understand this intuitively. Some start with Trek as a base and some start something new, but by the end, Trek just whets one's appetite and does not sate it. That's why my son isn't happy only to sit and watch episodes or wait idly for the next movie. He's building ships, coming up with his own stories and characters, and looking for signs of trek-like progress in the real world.

        There is also the argument that there is too much popular filler and Trek has become diluted, but that's another thread...

    • Berman, Braga, and whoever else is involved with Star Trek these days (it's been a while since I followed it actively) don't really understand what the original point of the show was. You only need to watch the original series in order to find it: it's to tell stories. Actual stories with real characters, real plots, and real meaning. TOS wasn't even really a science-fiction show when it came right down to it--it was just speculative fiction (SF) that happened to be set in space. And that's why it worke
  • by richie2000 (159732) <rickard.olsson@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:29AM (#10188712) Homepage Journal
    Star Trek can't die. It can enter a state of suspended animation, however, and that's what it should do. Hibernate, if you will, to be revived when we have the technology to cure it. Put the whole thing in a time capsule and dig it up in five years, conveniently "forgetting" to pack any oxygen for Berman. That should do the trick nicely.
  • by plover (150551) * on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:29AM (#10188714) Homepage Journal
    Did anyone else find the layout of the article amusing? This quote, '[Leonard Nimoy] likens the current situation to the period after the first "Star Trek" feature film, when "I felt that 'Star Trek' was like a beached whale," he said.' was right next to the picture of a 400+ pound 'John Harper, of Tulsa., Okla., in Starbase 21, his booth of memorabilia at the "Star Trek" convention in Los Angeles.'

    Sorry this is so cruel, but it made me laugh.

  • YES! (Score:5, Funny)

    by rdilallo (682529) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:30AM (#10188721)
    If Star Trek would die, so would half of the conversations on Slashdot!
  • by Jonas the Bold (701271) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:31AM (#10188737)
    Clicky Clicky [penny-arcade.com]

    Personally I agree, it's already dead. Voyager sucks, and theres not a big following of Enterprise. The last movie sucked.
  • by ThosLives (686517) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:32AM (#10188742) Journal
    It wouldn't bother me at all to see the current generation of Trek put on hold. I can't really stand any of it since TNG ended (I don't even enjoy the movies all that much). I had such high hopes for Voyager, and that was a let down (I've maybe seen 10 episodes). I had such high hopes for Enterprise, and I think I only watched the pilot.

    I'd agree that there is too much exposure, lack of creativity (it's the same old plots over and over) and way too much trying to be uber-politically-correct and "visionary". It was better when they put the social commentary in without ramming it down your throat.

    I love the idea of having a great spacefaring future, but the best new sci-fi / space shows out there were canned (Farscape and Firefly). I don't really care too much for Stargates; too sappy for my tastes.

    While it may be sad to have no new Trek, I think it would be best if they just let a good thing go and not risk tarnishing the franchise any further.

  • by Iscariot_ (166362) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:33AM (#10188763)
    Which is kinda making it a bit antequated. I mean, we all already have the original communicator (cell phones), we've got teleportation working (kinda, only a few particles at a time over short distances but still).

    Point is, Star Trek is highly based on "science", which is how Gene wanted it. Unless they can find a way to move away from the science, and do more morality stuff, then yea they need to pause.

    Maybe in a decade or two we can revisit Star Trek, only it'll be the Next Next generation. Ugh, and let's pretend the temperal stuff never happened.
    • Well, they should try to stay more internally consistent, and not make up new science to solve a problem all out of nothing.
      But yes, maybe they should take Star Trek into the future with new discoveries and more advanced tech. What would it take to put in a wow-factor, with new technology that is unheard of not only in everyday life, but little known in mainstream skiffy today?
      The thing about Trek is that the technology you see there is put there as a Swiss army knife to give the writers the highest degree
  • by clickety6 (141178) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:34AM (#10188777)
    .. ever since Star Trek TNG when they took all the OS characters, split them in two (Kirk = Picard+Riker, Spock = Data+Troy, etc.) and turned up their smugness factor by 1000. And then forgot to employ any decent writers with original storylines...

    • by Idarubicin (579475) <allsquiet@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @01:01PM (#10191143) Journal
      ... and turned up their smugness factor by 1000. And then forgot to employ any decent writers with original storylines...

      I don't know...there were flashes of brilliance. The first season was mostly crud. Once the writers started to get a little more comfortable with the characters--and weren't so afraid of being cancelled--there was some neat stuff. With his classical training, Patrick Stewart is a particularly strong actor, to wit:

      "The Inner Light", where Picard lives an entire lifetime on a now-destroyed planet;
      "Chain of Command", with its indelibly-etched cry of defiance: 'There are four lights!';
      "Tapestry", where Q gives Picard an opportunity to live a life of caution or die on the operating table;
      "All Good Things", the final episode, was very well-done, and almost redeems the mess that was "Encounter at Farpoint".

      Johnathan Frakes delivered a strong performance as an involuntary insane asylum inmate in "Frame of Mind".

      I also remember with fondness the sense of humour in the series. Data was the ultimate straight man, and the episodes with Barclay had their share of priceless moments. (Barclay facing a midget Riker in a holodeck duel was a hoot.)

      Is it The Odyssey? Is it Citizen Kane? Nope. But it was good television, with good production values and clean writing--and better than most other things on the tube at the time.

  • by holy_smoke (694875) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:34AM (#10188783)
    It was a fun ride but it got old a long time ago. Same with the Star Wars family.

    good things are only good until they get ruined by over-indulgence. They've explored all the angles into a mind-numbing state of mediocrity.

    Star Trek = cool
    too much Star Trek = boring, repetitive, predictable, stale.

    Better to spend their energies creating the next cool thing instead of re-hashing and desecrating the last cool thing.
  • If you don't know... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ari_j (90255) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:35AM (#10188784)
    If you don't already know who Levar Burton and Leonard Nimoy are, you:

    A) Shouldn't be on Slashdot
    iii) Aren't qualified to talk about any Trek, because you missed the only two good series in the franchise

    Enterprise is a great show. They just need to divorce the Star Trek name from it. Great sci-fi, but it doesn't belong anywhere in the Trek timeline.
    • by fr2asbury (462941) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:50AM (#10188980)
      Yeah but . . . what have "In Search Of . . . " and "Reading Rainbow" have to do with Star Trek? ;-)
      • by IronicCheese (412484) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:23AM (#10189398)
        "In Search Of..." and "Reading Rainbow" (ISO and RR for those of us who know and love the Trek Canon) are two of the least-watched and certainly least understood of the Trek Shows.

        ISO was a Spock vehicle, a spinoff meant to explore the mind of our favorite Vulcan. Week after week he would show off his latest research; giving us a sense of what he was doing, peering into that scope of his while Kirk was seducing the alien babes.

        Spock's facination with UFOs (naturally) later gave way to an obsession with Uri Geller and the Bermuda Triangle, by which time, most Trekkers left feeling that this show had jumped the shark.

        RR was a prequel to the TNG storyline -- wherein a very gifted warp physics engineer shows his softer side by reading children's books, set at a time before he was blinded in a tragic e-book explosion. Paramount, for reasons that are not totally clear, decided to set this futuristic space adventure somewhere in modern times, and sadly, the pilot that explains the temporal anomoly was never aired and is lost to posterity.

        Hope that clears things up.

  • They should (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Loadmaster (720754) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:35AM (#10188788) Homepage
    take a hiatus. And in the meantime, someone get Firefly back on the air. Firefly had some problems (Doctor and his sister developed too slowly), but I felt the writing and timing the actors had made it a great show.

    Fox has the rights for 10 years, so no more episodes I guess. Oh well, I'll just wait for the movie.
  • after RTFA (Score:3, Funny)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:36AM (#10188802)
    Did I miss an episode or something?

    Original cast, from left, Grace Lee Whitney, Majel Barrett, Walter Koenig, James Doohan, George Takei and Nichelle Nichols and the astronaut Neil Armstrong

    WTF?

  • Yep (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jellomizer (103300) * on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:36AM (#10188809)
    Yes, Star Trek should die. Right before one series ends an other begins. between TOS and TNG There was a good time frame difference and plenty of time to rethink new ideas new planets and alien creatures. Then DS9 came along DS9 wasn't to bad either it many ways it was a lot better the TNG. But after DS9 Voyager and Enterprise (although Enterprise is better the voyager) are still just kinda sucking the franchise dry. Give them some time for the nature of politics to change and for some of the issues of today be different. Also some time to revaluate our technology that we have in the future to really make a good guess what the future will be like. But the franchise is still struggling to match the ideas of the future of the 1960s and trying to loosely follow that time frame. I Think they need to make a new franchise that will make more sense.
  • Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rlp (11898) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:37AM (#10188821)
    What makes a good sci-fi series is:

    1) The quality of the writing
    2) The quality of the acting
    3) The quality of the special effects

    Many shows get this backwards (such as the current ST series and the horrendous ST Voyager). The old Dr. Who series with Tom Baker had ultra cheap special effects (the special effects budget must have been about five pounds) - but are still enjoyable when viewed today. The original ST's special effects were not special by today's standards, and Shatner's acting - well 'nough said. But, the quality of the writing created the whole franchise. B5 and Star Gate (though I'm a little worried about the later) were good because of the many excellent scripts. Forget overexposure - get some decent writers that understand science fiction and can write interesting, thought provoking scripts. That will revive the franchise. Anything else, and it's doomed.
  • by Moloch666 (574889) <jeff-junk AT tds DOT net> on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:38AM (#10188826) Journal
    It's time for Star Trek to die. It really should have stopped with the death of Rodenberry.

    What they should focus on is Babylon 5. I think the B5 universe as a whole has much more depth than the Star Trek universe. I just got done digging up a lot of the made for TV B5 movies even with bad production value they were quite good.

    When the creater of B5 croaks, so should the franchise. While he's alive, I want more!
    • They tried making another B5-universe show but they didn't try very hard. The acting was CRAPTACULAR with a capital CRAP, and a capital TACULAR. Also, it seemed that their 3D graphics ability regressed somewhat. I would like to see a more concerted effort but I don't see it happening. The B5 Universe not only had more depth but also more conviction. Plus, the quality of acting ramped up faster than TNG :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:38AM (#10188833)
    Does anyone else wish Star Trek would stop trying to be profound with its social commentary episodes?

    In this article Levar Burton mentions a future episode where they hope to parallel questions and concerns about the war in Iraq to some civil war on Vulcan. I know geeks love this kind of stuff, but most of the non-rabid Trek fans hate it.

    Why? Because Trek moralizing is geek moralizing. It's that naive, "I live in an ivory tower mommy and daddy paid for" philosophizing that makes the series so unapproachable. You know the storyline is going to end with a darker hand shaking a lighter hand, and the entire universe commiserating about how stupid and violent we humans are. It's goofy and embarassing - you know, like that stupid poem Data recited about his cat.

    Trek needs to get cool again, and it needs to get cool again fast. Why don't people realize that the reason people liked Kirk was because he was a man's man? He took his ladies and he beat up his enemies. He didn't recite Shakepeare at them.
    • by Morpeth (577066) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:02AM (#10189129)
      Ummmm... there was plenty of social commentary in the original series. A black female communications officer on the bridge, along with a Chinese-American and a Russian? You don't think that was social commentary, not heavy handed perhaps - but very much a statement, especially given when the original series was filmed

      Sure Kirk had his butt kicking episodes, but there was often references to (at the time) contemporary or historical issues. Perhaps because they didn't interest you, you've forgotten them, which is fine, I'm just saying the commentary was clearly there.

      I think if you do it without going over the top, being too obvious, too black-n-white or simplistic, social commentary can be very interesting and effective. Personally, I'd get tired of a program that just did action all the time with no context or reference point, that's was FPS's are for :)

      My 2 cents anyhoo

    • In fact.... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Iowaguy (621828)
      If someone recited Shakespeare at Kirk, he would kick the crap outa em alla star trek VI style. Or, as summarized by one of my favorite Kirk lines:

      "Diamonds, rubies, emeralds. I would trade them all for a hand phaser or a good stout club."

      You da man, Kirk. You da man!


      -Iowa
    • It's funny that you say that, since that is exactly the oppposite of what Gene Roddenberry intended. He thought of Start Trek largely as a social commentary, and he added in the kick-ass Kirk character to appease NBC. The initial pilot was turned down because it was too geeky. The next pilot, which was accepted, involved Kirk kicking the ass of a superhuman character.

      So here we are decades later, and all you remember is the fluff that was there to appease the masses. Your comment is insightful in that
  • by kzinti (9651) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:47AM (#10188950) Homepage Journal
    Star Trek is living the old Dylan Thomas poem "Do not go gently into that good night..." Unfortunately, Trek's raging makes for very bad TV.

    I watched the original Star Trek (TOS) as a kid, and I was captivated and stimulated by the series of new and amazing things it revealed: scientific wonders, new forms of life, alien cultures, and above all the feeling of adventure "out there" among the stars.

    Trek TNG followed this formula pretty well, although it became too immersed in "technology" plots - how many variations on the holodeck plot can they expect us to endure?

    DS9's theme was more political, exploring the various relations between the Federation, the Bajorans, and the Cardassians - and, to a lesser extent, the Klingons and the Ferengi. This variation on the theme seemed to bore a lot of people, but it seemed to me it produced some of the best writing of all the Trek series.

    Voyager was where I seriously began to lose interest. The "journey home" theme - a kind futuristic retelling of the Odyssey was a good foundation to build on, but the series never seemed to take advantage of its potential. You know that a Trek series is failing at its primary mission when the producers feel the need to add cheesecake like Seven just to prop up its ratings.

    Enterprise? They've lost me and I can't even bring myself to watch it. Don't even know its regular time slot. For my sci-fi fix I now turn to Stargate *, and reruns of Farscape, DS9, and Babylon 5. Oh, and I have great hopes for Battlestar Galactica - the human race fighting for its survival is a hugely compelling theme, and from the looks of the premier, the SciFi channel wants to do it right.

    Yes, Star Trek needs to be put to sleep, or at least into a deep coma. I don't even have to RTFA to tell you my opinion on this.
  • Star Trek did die (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dexter77 (442723) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:50AM (#10188987)
    In my opinion Star Trek died when Roddenberry died.

    What we see nowadays is a soap opera in Star Trek clothes.

    All new Trek-series made after 1991 have been pure BS. There have been only about 2-3 good episodes per season. I'm personally ashamed what Star Trek has become.
  • Yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mabu (178417) * on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:51AM (#10188996)
    The lame theme song for Enterprise alone is worthy of burying the entire franchise.

    The biggest problem with the series is that they've pretty much exhausted their ever-redundant plot devices: time travel, super-superior uber hostile aliens that all conveniently have simple secret weaknesses, crew members going bad, intra-crew sexual tension, emotion as an asset/liability, etc. I'm so tired of watching a new episode only to see an old theme played out with different actors.

    Wow, look, the Enterprise season finale has them tossed back in time to where? Of course, WWII and Nazi Germany. /yawn

    Give it a rest Paramount.
  • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:52AM (#10189015) Homepage Journal

    Contrary to what I'm sure a lot of others will write, I actually like the current direction of Star Trek, particularly Enterprise. I actually think Enterprise is one of the best shows yet, probably on par with Next Generation (feel free to argue below - I can take it). It's been a very inventive and original series, and I've been impressed with the ways they've linked our near-future with the events and concepts of the existing Star Trek universe (Andorians vs. Vulcans, not seeing the Romulans in person, etc.). One of my big complaints about Star Trek before Enterprise was that they rarely revisited old storylines and species. Enterprise is the first series to connect the dots to my satisfaction.

    That said, they've made a lot of mistakes recently (not making Captain Sulu on the Exelsior into a series, making Voyager suck for most of its run, and so forth). Their biggest mistake: no hiatus. I actually realized this was a problem a decade ago when Deep Space Nine first aired. I loved the idea of two series airing in parallel, and hoped they'd do some cross-over episodes with TNG (which they failed to do). But after a while it seemed like a lot of work to watch two hours of Star Trek every week, and I realized that one of the things that had driven my interest in the past was the decade of no Trek before the movies, the two years between each film, and so forth. After TNG, they started building on their success a bit too thoroughly. I think Roddenberry wouldn't have treated it as much like a Trek Factory as Berman has.

    I hope they keep going in their current direction with Enterprise, and that it becomes more popular. But I also hope that when it ends, they do the smart thing and take a couple years off. No movies, no nothing. The series needs a rest. And the payoff: after a hiatus, a new movie or series will actually excite fans again for the first time in years.

  • by DeadVulcan (182139) <dead...vulcan@@@pobox...com> on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:54AM (#10189046)

    A while ago, I wrote a quiet little rant about how I broke up with Star Trek [inter.net].

    I think a hiatus would be a very good thing. It just might make my heart grow fonder. But I'm not holding my breath.

  • by abb3w (696381) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @10:57AM (#10189078) Journal
    Sorry, but someone [imdb.com] had to say it.

  • by Vinnie_333 (575483) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:02AM (#10189127)
    Not every property needs to be in the mainstream. There will ALWAYS be a ST audience. It's just the size of the crowd that the money hungary Hollywood execs are overestimating. Lower volume B movies/music/books/games make tons of money. They just have lower production values (which any TRUE sci-fi nerd cares nothing about. It's the story/science/babes they're interested in. Not the over done 'bullet time' effects).
  • by stinky wizzleteats (552063) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:03AM (#10189137) Homepage Journal
    Star Trek isn't going to die in the context of the current entertainment industry. I think it will outlive it. I believe that television entertainment, as we have known it, will give way to what is currently known as fan fiction. This may seem like a pretty far-fetched almost absurdly technophilic idea, and it does nauseate me somewhat to suggest it, but the reason I think this may happen is that the current entertainment industry is operating in mortal terror of digital recording, storage, and playback. MP3s and Tivo completely turned their world upside down, and this has created a barrier between the industry and popular online works such as RvB and strongbad that I believe will become the walls of its casket.

    I've seen several Star Trek themed fan fiction pieces, and they are all based in TOS timeline and feature very good writing, excellent special effects, and reasonably good acting. I think this will be where the soul of Star Trek lives on.
  • by borgheron (172546) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:08AM (#10189198) Homepage Journal
    I'm getting tired of the Borg popping up everywhere. I mean, every time there's a sinister thing happening it's either the Borg or the Romulans. Could we please have some imagination? How many times, exactly, have the Borg attempted to invade earth? I think around 5 times and now the Borg are showing up in "Enterprise"?? HAH! Come on!

    GJC
  • by AliasTheRoot (171859) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:20AM (#10189333)
    Thats pretty much all that can save it. Marina Sirtis should get naked and service Brent Spiner.
  • by Kagato (116051) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:50AM (#10189923)
    It's not that Trek itself is bad, it's the exec producers. Mainly Rick Berman. His direction for the series has been all wrong. Hand the helm over to someone else.
  • by GrouchoMarx (153170) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @11:55AM (#10190015) Homepage
    Funny, I thought Trek died when DS9 turned into a horrid soap opera that revolved around Sisko being a demi-god with writing that wasn't even internally consistent, much less good.

    Then I thought Trek died when every third episode of Voyager was "7 learns to be human thanks to time travel".

    Then I thought Trek died when the best example of Enterprise was "Let's find some way to get the Vulcan chick nekkid on camera."

    Then I thought Trek died when to improve ratings they ran off to fight the terrorists in the Bermuda Triangle in Space.

    Then I thought Trek died when the terrorist plot (Xindii) was word for word predictable based on a thousand scripts before it in a thousand different genres.

    Then I thought Trek died when the best they could come up with for the season finale of Enterprise was "We've done aliens and they're bad guys, Nazis aren't cool enough as bad guys, so how about aliens AND Nazis!"

    So I figure if Star Trek is a cat, then it has to die three more times under Rick Berman's leadership (and I use the term very loosely) before it will finally be put to bed. Given the rumored plans for Enterprise Season 4, that should be "Shatner returns!", "Spiner returns!", and "Temporal Cold War Part 31!" After that, Trek should be dead by any possible metric.

    I grew up on Star Trek, I love Star Trek, I learned a love of science from Star Trek. Berman is not writing Star Trek, he's writing crap. Fire his ass, give it a rest for a few years, then bring in a new staff of professional writers who have a clue. They're out there, Berman just doesn't know how to find them.
  • Forethought (Score:3, Funny)

    by MouseR (3264) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @12:23PM (#10190510) Homepage
    LET GO OF THE FOREHEADS!

    Geez. I really enjoyed TNG when I was in my early 20s but even then I quickly grew tired of foreheads being the only feature that differentiated races.

    We need a ST series that doesn't care about warp. One that pop through universe bubbles and discover REAL NEW STUFF. Not just a forehead.

    And for crying out loud, we could do away with the character repeats. Every ST series has had it's

    1. comical doctor
      bombshell bimbo
      nerdy teen
      over-compassionate captain
      stick-shoved-next-to-spine emotionless moron
      scores of NPG meat-grinder-ready ensign


    Sick of it!

    Bring back Spinner/Data. THAT was both a good actor and character wich doesn't need to be brought back through a stupid plot to appear in a show to spur up interest (Dysan sphere anyone? Nexus?)

    Turn Voyager around damnit! They're explorers. Not whiners that ought to go back to mommy. They have deep space communications now. No need to go back home. Turn around damnit and see if there's more to this universe THAN FOREHEADS!!!!!!!

    Arf.
  • by jeff13 (255285) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @12:27PM (#10190584) Homepage
    Since ENTERPRISE began it has been hailed as being the very worst Star Trek ever done... and after Voyager that's quite an accomplishment. Now, after three seasons of fascistic, racist, and horrifically mysoginistic story lines the TV viewing public, who avoided this show like dog shit on the sidewalk, will get more.

    Why?

    Well, we don't know why. But we can guess. And the best guess always goes with the money.

    Paramount, rather like NBC losing 'Friends', is horrified to learn that their long standing Star Trek franchise is dead. Dead dead. No one cares for the material except a very, very, smelly and small number of Fan boy freaks. You know... the kind who have no life but fetishizing dolls and other 'collectibles'. Forget those who appreciated the intricate and smart stories from the original series 40 years ago... those people are looong gone. Paramount has opted to do what all giant Corps. do when faced with an artistic crisis... they buy more. They market more. They keep it going even if it looses millions simply because they still have no idea what to do. So they keep doing what they are doing.

    Notice how popular shows (can we think of one? Hmm... something by that Joss guy) get the shaft while "franchises" get perpetuated as if they deserve too. The lesson being that a brand name is far, far, more important than a good show.

    Worse, Enterprise is also the producers sycophantic pro George "Dubya" Bush cream dream. Notice how the protagonist, Capt. Archer, is the son of a "great man" who was held back by the (liberal) Vulcans. As the show progresses, Archer becomes increasingly more angry and with a terrorist attack on Earth by an alien race he agrees to "do what it takes" to ... well, the actual goals aren't defined. Stop the bad guys? Sound familiar? Propoganda is not what I watch Star Trek for let alone a soft sell for the War in Iraq. It's become painfully obvious that Enterprise means to present the 'War against Islam" as a great adventure. Sick.

    Then, just to undermine the characters rather like on Voyager... soldiers are brought into the show to "solve the problem". Enterprise just failed first year English... sad.

    Looking at the original Trek compared to ENTERPRISE one has to wonder why in 1965 they had a multi-racial show that portrayed a ship full of different people while today they can't even give the one black guy on the show lines. The producers lack of giving a shit or even basic morals becomes more apparent. There is an asian girl who is portrayed rather like all women on Enterprise; a weak willed child who's job is so unimportant the stories forgot about her main skill early on. And just when you thought you'd seen the main characters turned into put upon tokens Enterprise will come along with an ep about fundamentalist suicide bombers that deserves an award for being the most racist and ignorant story put on TV in some years.

    If this weren't bad enough I can't leave without bringing up the horrifically mysoginistic undertone of Enterprise that is personified by the character T'pol. Even from the first show we see a woman who is attacked by Archer and yet she is drawn to him like a battered wife (and is a psychology T'Pol demonstrates consistantly. I think it's the producers true feelings about women. Scary). Make sense? Only to certain sexually twisted fanboy writers. Anyho', this has continued and is sure to keep on going. Lately, T'Pol has inexplicably decided that wearing a silly cat suit isn't enough to degrade herself so she has become a sort of ships whore by fucking the engineer... again for no apparent reason.

    And now for what might be the real reason ENTERPRISE should go away... it's a joke on the Star Trek fans! The producers of this show have, I can only divine, seemingly tried to turn Enterprise into a kind of childish 'Capt. Proton' (if you get me) that takes gleeful joy in ignoring, destroying, or just plain making fun of everything Trek that came before. Noticeably all the good stuff Paramount doe
  • Do not resuscitate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EvilAlien (133134) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @12:31PM (#10190627) Journal
    Star Trek should be allowed to die. The quality of life Star Trek would be expected to have, should Star Trek ever recover, is minimal. We believe that significant brain damage has been incurred durring previous attempts to bring Star Trek back from the brink of death.

    I think it is time we discuss organ donation with the patient's legal guardians. Star Trek, through such altruism, could allow others to have the second chance that we believe Star Trek does not at this stage of illness. We regret that Babylon 5 could have been saved if only the DNR order for Star Trek had been given years ago. Let us not make the same mistake again... *sniff*

A CONS is an object which cares. -- Bernie Greenberg.

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