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Debunking ‘Go Forward Not Backward’ October 1, 2006

by Dennis Russell Bailey , Filed under: Editorial,Star Trek (2009 film) , trackback

This editorial is the first of a series from Dennis Russell Bailey on ‘Bad Reasons for not doing a TOS movie’

Based on published reports, it appears likely that the storyline J.J. Abrams has conceived for his “Star Trek” movie takes place in Trek’s 23rd century and revolves at least partly around youthful versions of James Kirk and Spock.  Some long-time fans of the Franchise are excited by this possibility, and some are dead-set against it.

Those fans who dislike the TOS-based movie premise have been active out on the Web advancing a number of assertions-passing-as-arguments as to how the premise somehow violates basic principles of “what ‘Star Trek’ should be about.”  There are several themes that crop up again and again on blogs and message boards. 

Here’s one of my favorites: “Star Trek is about the future.  It should move forward, not back.”


Playing the Roddenberry Card
This attitude is sometimes attributed retroactively to Gene Roddenberry himself, as in the case of this 2005 interview with George Takei.  Speaking of “Star Trek Enterprise,” Takei said: “It’s alright but it certainly doesn’t keep with Gene Roddenberry’s vision. Gene was always looking to the future.”

Okay…leave aside for the moment the fact that despite some fannish distain for time travel stories, tales which contrive to place Trek characters into “the past” – theirs and or ours – have been among the most successful and popular entries into the canon.  These would include “City On The Edge Of Forever,” “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,”  DS9’s “Past Tense” and “Far Beyond The Stars” and the movie “First Contact.”    It’s clear that what people mean by Trek being “about the future” is that each new Trek project should take as the primary setting for its main characters some point further into the mythical “Star Trek future” than previous projects.

Why should that be so?  It’s certainly not because each successive “Star Trek” series moving further into the “Trek future” has been more popular or successful as drama than the previous series.

In the interview quoted above, Takei elaborated: ”Gene was always looking to the future, shocking people with things they’d never seen before.” 

All well and good, except that as of 2006 we’ve taken extended tours of three eras of “Trek history” and been given the odd glimpse of a fourth (the 29th century introduced in the Voyager episode “Future’s End.”   And guess what?  Far from presenting shockingly new things that we’ve “never seen before,” it turns out that every “Star Trek” era is pretty much the same for the next thousand years.

The writers and producers move the furniture around every century or so.  One example:  by the 24th century the Klingons, who were introduced in TOS as militant jackbooted fascists who spied upon and slit one another’s’ throats when they weren’t torturing Federation officers, had evolved into an honorable society now friendly to the Federation.  Things have changed so much in a century that the Klingons are allied with the Federation against some newly-invented folks called the Cardassians: militant, jackbooted fascists who spy upon and slit one another’s’ throats when they aren’t torturing Federation officers.Shocking and new!   Substituting the hard “C” for the “K” must be the magic difference.


These boots were made for thugging


In the 22nd century, our heroes explore space in a faster-than-light ship.  They encounter aliens who are a lot like human beings.  They defend themselves with ray-guns called “phase pistols” or lasers and they go to and from their ship by using a teleporter called a “transporter.”  They fight totalitarians called “Suliban.”  They try to avoid interfering with primitive cultures and think maybe they should write that down as a “directive.”

In the 23rd century, by contrast, the main characters explore space in faster-than-light ships.  They encounter aliens who are a lot like humans, defend themselves with “phasers” and go to and fro using a teleporter called a “transporter.”  They fight totalitarians  called “Klingons.”  They say they don’t interfere with primitive cultures because of their “Prime Directive.”

In the 24th century, Picard and Sisko and their crews explore space in a faster-than-light ship (we’re told that it’s a faster faster-than-light ship), meet humanoid aliens, pack phasers and beam around space using their transporter.  They fight the totalitarian Cardassians.  The Big Change this time around is that the transporter has been upgraded into a “replicator” to deliver hot tea to Picard on demand while he debates with himself over whether it might ever be permissible to violate the Prime Directive.

Okay, let’s skip over Janeway – the accidental explorer whose ship has gone further than any in history to discover a wondrous new sector of the Universe dominated by some totalitarians called “Borg,” while resisting the temptation to violate the Prime Directive  – and peek into the 29th century.

Surely, things will be different in the 29th century; we’re talking, after all, about a period of time at least equal to that between Columbus’ arrival in the West Indies in three wooden sailing ships and Richard Branson plotting of orbital getaways for billionaires.

Well…in the 29th century there are these folks exploring in big ships – oh, wait, here’s something:  now they travel in space and time.  That changes everything, no question, which explains why they all still work for something called “Starfleet” and get from place to place (and time to time, now) using transporters and worrying themselves about something called the “Temporal Prime Directive.”

See, the “shocking future” is mapped out for us for the next millennium and it’s based on an ever-repeating fictional template.  Set a new movie or series in the 29th century, and I’ll bet we find some “shocking” totalitarians to fight with our “new” temporal phasers. 


Are we there yet?

All “Star Trek” eras are the same. 
Trek never moves forward.  It turns in now well-worn circles.  Every few years, concepts and storylines that date back to the beginnings of TOS are dressed up in new Spandex pajamas and sent out to explore the Universe with new foam rubber pieces glued to their foreheads.

That will be true even if the next ship “explores” another galaxy rather than the Delta Quadrant.

Some fans who believe that Trek should “always move forward” propose ideas for future stories that they believe will advance and enlarge the “Trek universe.”   When one examines these proposals, too often they simply function within the same repetitive template that we already know.

Let’s take a look at two popular, recurrent proposals of this kind: the “25th Century Return To Exploration,” and “Fall of The Federation.”

The “25th Century Return To Exploration” usually posits some means by which the cast of regular characters are to be propelled into some distant galaxy or some other previously unexplored, distant region.  The flaw in this is easy enough to see, given the multiple examples of the Cyclical Trek History Template cited above.  The next galaxy over – M-113 or Andromeda, or whatever – will still be made up of stars and planets and a lot of aliens who for the most part will have to be portrayed by human actors.  They’ll have their own alliances, and doubtless their own totalitarian baddies.  It’s not, after all, as if the producers will actually be exploring a new corner of the real Universe, where unique and wonderful things might in fact be discovered.  Writers and producers will be working within the same practical constraints, with the same materials and same budgets, as if the story were set in the 24th or 23rd or 22nd centuries.

“The Fall of The Federation” idea posits the collapse of the overbearing political structures that have long formed the background of the “Trek Universe”  in favor of a less civilized, less well-settled and well-explored setting than the one we’ve been watching for forty years.  The thought behind it seems to be that this will make Trek shockingly unpredictable again.   The scenario as described is usually acknowledged by those who advance it as somewhat similar to that of the recent “Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda” television series.

In fact, this premise is not “moving forward” in any but a strictly chronological sense.  It’s a kind of resurgent atavism, a way of setting the story in a pre-22nd century galaxy while calling it the 25th or 26th or 27th or whatever.  

Perhaps more troubling is that in so doing, it discards the single real substantial change that Gene Roddenberry introduced into “Star Trek” when he created “The Next Generation.”

Roddenberry’s “vision,” the vision that’s so often called upon to support the “Trek should always move forward” argument, the vision that he was committed to by the time of TNG, was that human beings are perfectible.  We will become different and better than we are, we will be more effectively socialized and less selfish and less prone to “criminal” behavior.  Now, I don’t personally agree with that .  I think that it’s stripped a lot of the potential for real drama out of the Franchise.  That said, moving further into the “Trek future” by dumping it is really going backwards in a more fundamental and disrespectful way than the proposal to do a movie set in the somewhat rougher, more adventurous continuity of the original “Star Trek” television series could possibly be.


Fall of  The Twelve Colonies  The Federation

Setting is not story. 
Setting doesn’t dictate plot or tone or the visual scope and design of a film. “Shakespeare In Love (1999)” and Elizabeth (1998)” are two films set in the same country, within a few years of one another, even sharing a good deal of the same cast.  They were both successes, and they could not be less alike as stories or as films.

There were five or six decades of the 20th century during which the Western setting and its themes dominated American popular cinema and television.  Everything from drama to adventure to comedy (Lee Marvin won a Best Actor Oscar for his character in “Cat Ballou’) to family sagas were successfully placed during a period of American history which had been less than a century long.

No one suggested during that era of Hollywood entertainment that after a few very successful films set in the 1890s had been made it was pointless to go back and make a movie set in the 1850s or 1860s.   Likewise, an inspired “Star Trek” story featuring attractive characters can be a complete success whether set aboard a starship in the 22nd century or a “timeship” in the 28th century – or, as in  “City On The Edge Of Forever,” in a block of tenements in 1930s New York.


Where would you folks like to go?

 Dennis Russell Bailey is the coauthor of two episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation, "Tin Man" and "First Contact." Most recently he’s served as co-producer, writer, CG effects and design artist and bottle-washer for the independent film ‘Starship Exeter

Comments

1. Keith-H - October 1, 2006

Very nice thoughts… I’d like to see how writers manage to avoid all previous ideas…and do something different. My theatre teacher in college told us that there are really only a dozen or more story scenarios in the world and through time, it’s a matter of how you tell them that makes everything unique… hope our Star Trek writers can do something that gets audiences and says something unique, but not to unique as to scare people off, it’s all a matter of opinion on what is good and bad!

2. NaibMichael - October 1, 2006

Good post. I have to agree with you here. Anything they do will be in the same mold, I imagine, but I honestly hope it’s not. Maybe Abrams can bring something different and new.

3. trekmaster - October 1, 2006

Well, Abrams’ idea is not bad, but also we had good concepts in the past 12 years and success was always a question of realisation. And realisation was a big problem of the near past. “Going to the future” means, that social and political problems of our present will be mirrored within the story, independent of the local or chronological setting. DS9 is a good example for modern trek, it was a new standard of story telling and character development that was absolutely ignored by VOY and ENT. And although 3 series were set in the same timeline, no one came to the idea to combine those elements in a trekmovie to support each other – I really would call this LOST opportunities! And as a fact in the last 12 years there was absolutely no development in the franchise (except DS9 and the ironically unimaginative Nemesis).

4. James Heaney (fka Wowbagger) - October 1, 2006

A remarkably cogent and articulate article. Mr. Pascale continues his run of “hiring” excellent contributors. ;)

5. Jeff - October 1, 2006

I want to see a TOS movie. Always have. So on that score I agree with the editorial 100%.

But there’s a very disengenuous streak at the heart of the editorial, and that is by quoting Roddenberry’s vision of the future, and then listing off a bunch of settings, like DS9, Voyager, Enterprise and calling them repetative – as though Roddenberry himself created them, and that this was his vision of the future. That’s absurd. They weren’t his vision of the future, they were the vision of the people left to run Trek after he died, and their vision was to just copy what had come before, over, and over, and over… and that’s why Trek has almost died. Because they had no vision. So to try and foist that heap of nonsense on Roddenberry is to rewrite history and misrepresent the facts.

The blame of course is not the setting, it’s who is in charge of the execution. Just look at Generations. A painful attempt at a TNG movie that uses TOS characters and fumbles the ball badly.

Any one of those TNG movies could have been brilliant, if the people behind making them had had vision and real talent. They did not, and even First Contact, the best of the bunch, is pretty lousy.

However, even given all of that, no part of the Trek universe should be off limits to new endeavours, and that includes recasting TOS and setting off with our favourite characters again. After all, it works for James Bond.

The fact is, the TOS characters and setting are the most recognizable to a world audience, and the most likely to excite a that audience. The TV series and movies that they are associated with have nothing to do with the visionless team that came after them, and like a bad case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, set the photocopy machine to 11, and just copied away until all that was left was gibberish.

So make an argument for a TOS movie, sure, and I agree one should be made. But don’t bend the facts to make it. It makes the person who wrote the editorial look more than a little shabby.

6. DB - October 1, 2006

TNG was, in most respects, the introduction of the repetitive template — at Roddenberry’s specific direction and under his supervision. The vast majority of the ways that future Trek would imitate TOS were set in place by Roddenberry himself.

I don’t see any reason to assume that Trek would have evolved in a more interesting or imaginative way had GR continued to head it, based on what he did with TNG. No, he didn’t produce the later shows…nor will he be producing any future shows or movies, so that’s a moot point. Nonetheless, if one does not choose to violate the established continuity of the “Trek universe” then it remains pretty static up until — what, the 29th or 30th centuries?

I’m not “making an argument for a TOS movie.” I don’t have to — either Abrams is producing one, or he’s not. I’m discussing the limits of some of the recurrent arguments *against* making one.

7. Adam Cohen - October 1, 2006

If you take into account the several hundred hours of Star Trek produced via TV and film, yes, you’re going to see repetition and overlapping of plotlines in that sample size. And unfortunately, by the end of the film series (NEMESIS) and TV run (ENTERPRISE) you saw some blatant ripoffs of old concepts. But my displeasure with Berman towards the end of his run as STAR TREK’s caretaker was that he stopped being innovative within the established framework of STAR TREK.

Take VOYAGER for example. This was a rather progressive concept for STAR TREK– a ship stranded far frome home trying to figure out a way home. From the first moment I heard of that idea, I was immediately excited. Finally, we’re going to get out of the neighborhood and get into some exotic storylines and new aliens. What did we get instead? Westmore prosthetic nose-aliens and da-da-duuuum: THE BORG! I can’t tell you how underwhelmed I felt by Season 3 of Voyager. I sat through the whole run, through some very good episodes between the start and finish of that series but it always nagged me that they didn’t push it farther. Imagine if after finding a new technology to come home, half the Voyager crew prepares to go home and the other half of the team insists that they stay behind to explore outwards, towards the edge of the galaxy. And at the end, when Voyager finds her way home, the other crew somehow communciates that they are leaving the Milky Way and are off to search further. That’s exciting and it stokes one’s imagination.

But I digress, my point here is that the concept is not old or well-worn. The stories are old. The repetition of scenarios from past shows betrays the infinite possibilites available to a show about space exploration. I honestly believe you can “move forward” with the concept of “Wagon train to the stars” with imagination and a sense of adventure.

8. Sanfranman - October 1, 2006

I am one of the “move forward” people.

“It’s certainly not because each successive “Star Trek” series moving further into the ‘Trek future’ has been more popular or successful as drama than the previous series.”

Certainly not. But not because you say it’s so, but because every show following TOS, with the exception of “Enterpise,” was in the same era, that being, 80 years following TOS. It never moved “further into the future.” So your argument is based on a false premise.

With that said, the one and only prequel flopped. No one was interested. Why would Paramount think trying the same trick in a movie would fare any better?

The fact that some of the most popular “episodes” take place in the “past” is equally fallacious. In each such example the trip to the “past” is temporary and couldn’t have happened unless the story was set in the “future.” And anyhow, we all know that time travel stories are for the most just a gimmick. I’ll admit City was a great piece of television, but its story was dependant on human interaction than stone knives and bear skins. The Voyage home was a cartoon. Voyager is discussed below.

“Far from presenting shockingly new things that we’ve ‘never seen before,’ it turns out that every “Star Trek” era is pretty much the same for the next thousand years.

In the one instance we went into the far “future” in the Voyager series the episode had ironic (almost facetious) undercurrents or hadn’t you noticed? And who is to say we’re locked into that future anyway? It is disingenuous to argue we’re stuck with a “future” setting due to one episode of one Star Trek series. And anyhow, using the TNG era as a starting point, there would be a lot of years to cover between “now” and “then.” Use your imagination. Anything could happen. Your two thousand year theory holds no water.

As far as I’m concerned TOS and TNG are the only series that honor the Great Bird’s vision. Yes, vision, sir. Star Trek on a space station is like putting Andy Griffith in Brooklyn. There’s no “trek” on a space station and the only place anyone boldly went was the men’s room at Quark’s bar. Voyager turned into a farce. Enterpirise? Lying, angry Vulcans save mankind from itself. I never understood why GR wanted to keep the era between 1960 and the 24th century just a little vague until I saw that mess. (I have to admit though, cloning the 7 of 9 costume was a stroke of genius.)

I am of the opinion that Star trek lost its way because the people put in charge of Star Trek abandoned GR’s vision and substitutes their own which had more to do with demographics and television conventions than telling good stories.

The basic original premise of Star Trek is the Enterprise and its crew exploring the unknown. I have no interest in exploring the known. And I think a lot of Trek fans agree with me. In fact I know they do. If Paramount makes a new movie that takes place in the “past” you can count me out.

Maybe Paramount should give the original premise a shot and stop trying to make Star Trek into something it’s not.

(PS I thought Tin Man was an excellent episode.)

9. An olde timey fan - October 1, 2006

1. Gene Coon and some very talented authors contributed more to Trek than its creator.

2. With all due respect to the Great Bird of the Galaxy, GR was a bit off the deep end in his “visions” of serial adultery, “vision enhancing chemicals” and sticking-a-thimb-in-the-eye-of-society religious game playing (his Budhist marriage to #2, for example). In other words, there were valid reasons why he was asked — repeatedly — to leave his own product.

3. Star Trek’s “vision” — if we may call it that — was simple: TELL GREAT STORIES. No one but pimply faced nerds care about the make-believe worlds and “let’s-make-up-some-more-treknobabble-to-impress-the-engineering-majors” dreariness of TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT or whatever. Bailey makes that point far more diplomatically that I choose to make it!

4. Of all the casts and settings, Star Trek was specifically suited to TELL GREAT STORIES becuase “canon” and “timelines” were the furthest thing from the production crew’s mind. Indeed — they kept such bravo-sierra to a bare minimum and then only as an excuse for suspension of disbelief. Who believes any of the made-up “canon” and “timelines”???? WHO CARES??????

JJ Abrams: please TELL A GREAT STORY with your movie. About people. About their problems. About how they overcome their problems. People with money to spend on a movie and popcorn for the family won’t give a slide rule if you leave out every silly word of treknobabble and stupid, made-up aliens, make-belive languages and anthropologies be damned!

GIVE US A GREAT STORY WITH CHARACTERS THAT MAKE US WANT TO SEE THEM!!! PULEEZE!!!!!!

10. Adam Cohen - October 1, 2006

I rewatched CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER tonight as I am also reading the new book CRUCIBLE: McCoy– PROVENANCE OF SHADOWS which ties into that period of the original series. What stuck me as I watched the episode was what Edith Keeler did in talking to Kirk and Spock. She summarized the value of these characters, saying to Spock that he “belonged by Kirk’s side” and that Kirk belonged basically “out there” somewhere impliedly beyond Earth That’s the essence of the show- great characters with a purpose that belong working together. Its rewarding to know that you’re watching characters doing what they were born to accomplish and alongside those whom belong with them. Its meaningful to watch good friends stick together– never giving up one one another. I know it all sounds hokey, but that’s a good thing, I believe. I grew up watching the original series and from that I learned by example what friendhsip means. Yes, the actors, the supporting producers, etc. all had a lot to do with that element to the show, but I do credit Gene Roddenberry with putting that foundation out there himself. Heck, even in The Cage you could see Capt. Pike and Dr. Boyce having a meaningful friendhsip. But the way these characters care about eachother is a huge factor in making this show important. Maybe TOS was truly lightening in a bottle, but if anyone out there is thinking of doing another Trek, they need to keep this notion in mind as they go forward.

11. Captain James B. Quirk - October 2, 2006

I actually find myself in agreement with DRB, but I’m also in agreement with “old timey fan.” I believe the key thing to a watchable and engaging movie, or series of any genre is the depth of the writing, the quality of the acting, the chemestry between the actors and a director that’s able to pull it all together. One of the biggest causes of the decline of recent Trek is it’s unbelievable social utopia and it’s conformity to PC. Where is the conflict? Where’s the drama? What’s there to engage the audiance? If you want a “Buffy” audiance, then all you have to do is tell a stupid story with no depth, but if you want to return to what made Trek great, then you have to have the cajones to go out on a limb and deal with real issues.

This was the corner stone of what made Trek great. Taking the issues of the day and dealing with them in an adult manner, not fearing to offend, but putting the drama of the day out on the table and presenting both sides of the issue. “Star Trek” dealt with the signs of the times and was an open commentary on the issues that were tearing America apart. Viet Nam, for one… The Coms vs the Yangs… Abandoning all in a desparate search for Eden was another. A commentary on the Hippies and the Drug Culture. Racism, Oppresive Despots….. all of this was dealt with by the writers of the first series. No other series in the franchise dealt with things to the same degree.

Look at what Ron D. Moore has done with BSG. The entire series is a running commentary and metphor for what we are dealing with today.

I am very entusiastic about returning to the TOS era, I only hope the movie isn’t a flash in the pan like say a stupid action adventure with no plot.

Mission Impossible comes to mind as do many others.

Please stay away from the social utopianism and political correctness. Please return to what made Trek last 40 yrs. No more action adventure movies without some degree of depth. No more Nemesis.

12. Captain Pike - October 2, 2006

I think those argumenting against a TOS film are being disenegnuous. They don’t have a really point. Their POV is simply that they are TNG generation fans and want a TNG era movie.

I think Mr. Bailey does a good job de-bunking the Spirit of Star Trek / Gene Roddenbery myth. GR himself recycled “The Cage” as a “prequel” to TOS – thats proof enough for me that Star Trek can look back as well as forwards.

As Old Timey Fan points out TOS was a success because fans appreciated the work of many fine writers, producers, technicians and performers – not just Gene Roddenberry. The purest GR Trek we ever saw was ST:TMP and very few people consider that their favorite vision of Trek.

13. Anthony Pascale - October 2, 2006

I do think it is important to note (as DB states) this is not a \’defence of a TOS movie\’ editorial. Only a reaction to those that seem to believe that a TOS movie (or a so called \’going back\’ movie) cannot work. It is true that the vast majority in that camp also seem to advocate another TNG movie.

I for one am in the \’go quality not crap\’ camp. I dont care where the film is set, I just want a well crafted, fun film that feels like Trek and has some good action and drama. I would love to see Trek get the \’summer blockbuster\’ treatment and have Paramount grow the fanbase and the fracchise for the future. I totally agree with Bailey\’s point that setting is not story, and I really dont understand some fans total obsession with setting…as if that is all that matters. I am far more concerned about theme, tone, direction, writing, acting, production design…the setting is waaaaay down my list.

14. Dom - October 2, 2006

I din’t think this new movie is a ‘going back’ film.

It’s a new movie that happens to be set after Enterprise and before TNG/DS9/Voyager. nI believe the term is ‘continuity plug-in!’

If no ‘going back’ was allowed, there would have been no Star Trek V and VI (Trek VI being very much a ‘PREQUEL’ to TNG, please note, prequel haters!) and there could never be any comic books, games or novels set in any era except after Star Trek: Nemesis!

15. Adam Cohen - October 2, 2006

Dom,

Star Treks V and VI take place after TNG premiered and before that show in terms of the timeline, but I think it is incorrect to regard thsoe two movies as “prequels.” The events f thsoe movies had very little to do with TNG, save for a nod to the show by having Michael Dorn play a miniscule character in one scene.

The new movie’s rumoured story is rightly called a “prequel” because it is associated very closely with TOS’ characters and story. Many feel that going back to before the original series’ storylines with these characters is unnecessary. I think its problematic too, but I’m open to the diea for now.

16. Dom - October 2, 2006

Hi Adam.

Well STVI was made concurrently with TNG’s Unification, so there was always the intent that it would be used by the TNG crew as a prequel to that story. The use of Khitomer for the peace conference was a result of TNG’s Worf’s family’s connection to the Khitomer announcement, IIRC.

As for STV, I think even most fans would have preferred STV not to have been a sequel or prequel to anything (although I still prefer it to Generations, Insurrection or Nemesis!) ;-)

Personally, I’m a huge fan of the TOS crew. The biggie is whether they can cast actors who can make the characters convincingly their own and whether the story is any good.

Unlike Marina Sirtis, who condemns Paramount, saying they’re ‘. . . trying to reach a new “Lost” audience . . . they just dont get it!’ I think they actually do get it. The Lost audience are the sort of people the new film has to reach out towards.

Recent years have seen the Star Trek become marginalised the way the old BBC series Doctor Who, which I liked, had. The new Doctor Who series has found a massive new audience (although I HATE it!) and Trek, given new a decent spin, could come back as well.

17. Futuristic attitude - October 2, 2006

I disagree with people who think it’s bad thing for humanity to be portrayed as more evolved in startrek because it is “boring” or the unfortunate stroke of “where’s the conflict, where’s the drama”? If seeing conflict is what engages you then why are you a startrek fan?

It makes absolute sense to portray humanities future as non-confrontational within itself and harbouring feelings of peace and prosperity, this leaves the premise of what we would call drama way opened to explore new depths of the human condition that we wouldn’t be able to if we continually portrayed humanity as it is today.

I honestly do not like the battlestar galactica series because of this, primarily because it spends 97% of its time portraying humanity as being inherently conflicted and warlike and the other 3% of the time on making sure the characters look like they shop out of a macys catalogue circa 2006 earth.

Furthermore it is my belief that the truest trek fans have always been futurists, those who have faith that some of the possibilities of what we see on trek can and will unfold before our eyes, in our time. But most importantly the ethical considerations of the characters, which we consider futuristic by todays standards, is at the very heart f the series.

If you decided to make the human characters on startrek more at conflict with one another you are taking away the very essence of what startrek is, which is an extended portrayal of humanities social evolution. The other very important connection here is that by the time kirk and crew are exploring the galaxy ALL THE CURRENT SOCIAL AND ECONOMICAL TRENDS WE ARE SO FAMILIAR WITH TODAY ARE GONE!

This means that human beings will act inherently different and indeed they had to in order to reach that point because with out inner change, outer change is almost impossible. This is makes total sense that humanity evolve by the 23rd century and even much sooner, as the result of inner psychological changes which facilitate a more advanced culture both socially and economically. I think that anyone who wants anything else should stick to bruce willis films and forget about startrek because it woudnt be trek if humanity wasn’t portrayed differently than it is today.

18. DB - October 2, 2006

“If seeing conflict is what engages you then why are you a startrek fan?”

First of all, because back in the day when I *became* a “Star Trek” fan — back when it ran once a week on NBC — “conflict” was not a dirty word in Trek. The shows were good drama, and as such were full of conflict and the very best ones were about conflict between human beings who could not easily be divided into “the good guys” and “the bad guys.”

Secondly, I’m a fan of good drama, of good science fiction, of imaginative and clever storytelling. All of those attributes are bigger and more durable than “Star Trek” as a brand. To the extent that Trek embodies them it may well survive and be worth watching; to the extent that TPTB pander to the notion that fans must be pandered to with mediocre “utopian” formulae then its future is *exceedingly* limited.

19. DB - October 2, 2006

And I used “pandered” twice in the same sentence and there’s no edit function here that I can find.

I’ll survive and adapt. :lol:

20. Adam Cohen - October 2, 2006

Dom I agree about STV– I prefer it to Generations, Insurrection and Nemesis as well.

I know I’m going to get crap for this, but I actually *like* Star Trek V. Really. I know its poorly written and the plot is silly. But its grown on me…. and the Big Three are great together. Ah, maybe I’m just nostalgic for the old crew, but I am not ashamed to say I enjoy watching Star Trek V. There. I feel better…

21. Dom - October 2, 2006

I disagree. TOS was full of conflicted characters who ran the gamut of human emotions (including the aliens!)

Humans in the TNG era aren’t evolved: they’re stagnant, dehumanised. Data, an unemotional android, even the Borg, are more human than later-era Trek humans.

I don’t go for this ‘Gene’s Vision’ stuff. ‘Visions’ are the preserve of psychotics. Gene was, let’s be honest, a bitter man, an ideas man, who saw his creation embellished on by more talented people and ultimately taken away from him after the near franchise-suicide of ST:TMP. How he must have seethed to see STII:TWOK championed as a better film, more in keeping with the tone of TOS.

In truth, Gene Roddenberry’s beliefs changed and he tried to change Star Trek along with it. He created TNG as a far-future sequel to TOS, surrounding himself with lawyers, so he could regain creative and financial control over the Star Trek concept and have nothing to do with the original series beyond a cameo for Deforrest Kelley, whose ‘Admiral’ character is never even named.

Look at the disaster that is seasons 1 and 2 of TNG. Very swiftly, a worried network placed a young man named Rick Berman on Roddenberry’s team to try to sort out the mess of seasons 1 and 2 of TNG. For a while he even succeeded.

Gene Roddenberry came up with one truly great TV concept in his life: the original Star Trek. It’s sad that he never really understood what made his creation tick; that his series, for all its 60s-era elements, tapped into some great archetypes (thanks to Gene Coon) the same way Star Wars would a decade later.

The later Treks were all trapped in a late-80s/early-90s production style timewarp. By the time Enterprise turned up, the modern Treks seemed dated, no matter how many 9/11 references they made.

Attacking people who like action and adventure in films is a mistake. Sex and violence are essential elements of human nature and learning to focus and control them is another. Equally, TNG writer Ron Moore’s Galactica has created a successful show because conflicts are a vital part of the way humans evolve. The intelligent, yet also naive, behaviour of the Cyons is closer to TNG humans.

The original Star Trek showed a hopeful future, rather than an outrightly ‘positive future’ (the biggest myth a naive section of vocal Star Trek devotees have perpetuated.)

It’s a future filled with possibilities, but still filled with threats, both from within and without. Later Treks showed a perfect universe where forces from without impinged on their sterile existence.

In later Treks, where were the dissidents, the rebels, the artisans, class warriors, outsiders, freedom fighters among the human race? The only way they could not have been there is if they had been suppressed.

Look at humans in the TNG universe, then wonder about the extermination camps, the prisons and brainwashing facilities that must have existed to supress the human urge for freedom that was so much a plot point in The Cage.

Looked at with a revisionist eye, the era of TNG is a frightening one, where humans have become passive, willing prisoners in their own ‘utopia.’ Late-in-the-day attempts to darken the Federation and Starfleet merely add fuel to the above belief.

The new Trek film needs to capture the essential humanity, the zest for live and adventure that gave Trek its thrill. It needs to examine the human condition, for all its flaws, rather than preach a disturbing, fascistic, ‘evolved’ creed.

22. Dom - October 2, 2006

Wasn’t diagreeing with you Adam, btw, this was a response to futuristic attitude :)

23. Adam Cohen - October 2, 2006

That’s cool Dom. I agree with your comments. STAR TREK is about adventure and conflict (inner and outer).

And to Futuristic attitude, let me direct you to several TOS episodes in which Kirk forces Federation ideals down the throats of “backwards” peoples around the galaxy. Even the Organians got the Kirk-treatment (“we offer you protection from the Klingons” etc.) and looking back at that now, you kind of laugh at the colonial spirit that governed Starfleet. I doubt Roddenberry was unaware of that aspect of the show, in fact I think it was intentional. Roddenberry had some pretty silly notions about the human race and he wanted to shove them down the audiences’ throats from time to time. As Dom said, ST:TMP was one extreme example. TNG’s first two seasons are further examples. Michael Piller saved TNG by riting the characters better AND by putting together the single best cliff-hanger in television history with The Best of Both Worlds. That episode was basically TNG’s TWOK. Conflict, baby. It works all the time.

24. Captain Pike - October 2, 2006

I think we’re preaching to the choir here. Obviously Dom, Adam and myself prefer the action / adventure / sf “cowboy diplomacy” of TOS to the PC stagnation and hand-wringing of TNG. I think it’s why Insurrection and Nemesis feel so wrong – we just can’t believe in the TNG characters doing anything pro-active.
(Okay there is alot more wrong with Nemesis – I was half expecting Vern Troyer to make an appearance as Mini-Shinzon).

I think I might even watch ST:V again.

25. Futuristic attitude - October 3, 2006

“I disagree. TOS was full of conflicted characters who ran the gamut of human emotions (including the aliens!)”

The characters disagreements were over more evolved sensibilities, not 20th or 21st century tendencies. The fundamental basis of the character relationships was unity, not conflict in the present day sense of the word.

“Humans in the TNG era aren’t evolved: they’re stagnant, dehumanised. Data, an unemotional android, even the Borg, are more human than later-era Trek humans.”

Why are they “stagnant” and “dehamanized”? Because they aren’t EXACTLY like people of today? Because they aren’t ALL EGO? Because they don’t compete with one another for their place in the universe? This comment of yours reveals an unfortunate tendency to equate how people will be in the future with how they are today, this is unsound and short sighted. Just because they don’t express their thoughts and emotions in sudden dramatical outburts doesn’t mean they aren’t expressing it, but again, one must look beyond this present moment to see this. If startrek depicted humanity as being EXACTLY how it is now It wouldn’t be startrek, I think people of today can learn a lot from these characters.

“It’s sad that he never really understood what made his creation tick; that his series, for all its 60s-era elements, tapped into some great archetypes (thanks to Gene Coon) the same way Star Wars would a decade later.”

Your problem is that you speak of your own experience as though it were universally valid. First of all, both the original series and the next generation both have inspired advances in science, sociology and astrophysics research. Startrek the next generation has inspired many scientists, including stephen hawking to expand their grasp on what they do and to explore new terrain. Perhaps the original series was more entertaining to you, but startrek as a whole is far from an entertainment only medium, it is about changing your philosophy of living by changing your being, lest you drown within the past and become little more than a cheap critic.

“Attacking people who like action and adventure in films is a mistake. Sex and violence are essential elements of human nature and learning to focus and control them is another.”

Startrek has never condemned sexuality, it just hasn’t overtly exploited it, because to do so would have been to not only deny the essence of trek, but to recycle a very tired hollywood cliche. People who need to see sexuality on film constantly are people who themselves have not fulfilled that aspect of their lives. In terms of “action and adventure” startrek has always been more cerebral, and the kind of “adventures” it would be prone to take us on were almost always those of the mind more than the body. Again if you need to see a constant bombardment of “action” on film then perhaps you have not fulfilled that part of yourself which craves activity.

“Equally, TNG writer Ron Moore’s Galactica has created a successful show because conflicts are a vital part of the way humans evolve. The intelligent, yet also naive, behaviour of the Cyons is closer to TNG humans.”

Humanity is quite necessarily depicted as being already somewhat more evolved than it is today on trek, since there is a timespan of about 4 centuries between now and then to be considered, It would be disappointing to watch the characters behaving in the same manner as they do today, one would be inclined to wonder how they survived those 4 centuries. So the conflicts explored must be more than territorial arrogance or else they wouldn’t be believable as futuristic human characters. That doesn’t man they are totally disimilar to humans oftoday just not EXACTLY like them, which is why in 50 years no one wil care about ron moores galactica and people will still be watching startrek. if we survive the next 50 years that is.

“It’s a future filled with possibilities, but still filled with threats, both from within and without.”

The important message is how the threats are dealt with. A starship captains first responsibility is diplomacy, self defense is always a last reasort, and no leader of starfleet unless infected with an alien virus would commence dropping bombs on another world to secure its resources under the guise that “they were a threat to the federation”. Human beings act with patience and inner guidance, not to mention tempered wizdom and compassion in startrek.

“Later Treks showed a perfect universe where forces from without impinged on their sterile existence.”

Later treks did not show a perfect universe, it’s just that the threats were not from within humanity itself and the fundamental expression of humanity is of unity. That’s exciting to me personally. Your use of the word “sterile” cannotes an inability to percieve that human beings can be calm, non ego centered, compassionate and sharring without losing their beings. Again, this opinion of yours is based on the current state of humanity. If cave men made movies and depicted human beings of the 20th century as being exactly how they are wouldn’t this be a little ridiculous? Far fetched analogies aside, startrek is for futurists.

“In later Treks, where were the dissidents, the rebels, the artisans, class warriors, outsiders, freedom fighters among the human race? The only way they could not have been there is if they had been suppressed.”

What were they in conflict with? Nothing about the fundamental concept of starfleet and its philosophy excludes any form of free expression or freedom of activity. No human being is forced to be a part of starfleet, none are treated as outcasts, none are turned away when in need, homelessness is a thing of the past. The healthcare system in the 24th century is all inclusive, no one is in need. If there is ever any serious conflict in trek it is usually politically motivated as with the maqui like ro laren whos dissidence is more than merely words, but can take the form of action that can jepordize the security of an entire quadrant of space and al its inhabitants.

26. Futuristic attitude - October 3, 2006

What I meant to say is that a “dissident” as depicted i startrek is usually someone who is jepordizing lives on a mass scale, not someone who merely thinks or acts differently than the rest of the galaxy. For example george w bush would be considered a dissident in 24th century federation terms because his actions threaten the continued existence of many species.

27. Datas day - October 3, 2006

lol and unlike in todays world he would be stopped!

28. Adam Cohen - October 3, 2006

Ah, Futuristic attitude your George W. Bush comment is interesting in that I would argue Capt. Kirk did his own “naiton building” during TOS on various planets. Kirk manipulated societies frequently, injecting “Federation ideals” into cultures that he deemed backwards or in danger.

Basically, Kirk was a neocon.

29. Futuristic attitude - October 3, 2006

There were exceptions to the prime directive made of course, but these were almost always facilitated by the fact that a species was in danger of self destruction, it had nothing to do with kirks personal gain, with exploiting a cultures resources under the guise of wanting to “spread democracy” or of seeking to instill federation philosophy on other cultures.

Most of the time kirk would say that the society, once freed, would learn its own way toward its own freedom, or that it would take its own path of self discovery, that is not what george bush is doing, but quite the opposite of forcing american democracy on middleeastern society. What Kirk would do is he would free a society then he would say “now it’s up to you where you go from here”. Much much different than forcing a system on a people.

30. DB - October 3, 2006

No, Kirk was what Gene Roddenberry and Gene Coon were in the 1960s — what would later be called “Kennedy Liberals” or, already at the time, “New Deal Liberals.” By current standards this would make many of his attitudes moderate-to-center-right.

Many of the conflicts in the show’s later stories reflect the struggles of its traditionally-liberal minded writers with divisions then rivening American mainstream liberalism concerning our military role in the world as a result of the evolution of the Vietnam conflict.

“Nation-building” was not a popular neo-con idea prior to George Bush’s embrace of it in a specific instance in the Middle East; in fact, Bush mocked the notion during his 2000 Presidential campaign.

31. Adam Cohen - October 3, 2006

Good points by all.

Now, I know this is a silly quesiton, but what do you think Kirk would to with a pre-war Iraq?

32. Futuristic attitude - October 3, 2006

I can tell you what picard might do with a post-war iraq and that is he would try to bring the insurgents together and make all starfleet personel comply with the non-interference directive. I think to call the non-interference directive a product of liberalism is an attempt, either cosciously, or unconsciously, to take some of its overall credibility away as a valid universal concept that can work when it’s needed. Why must anything progressive, peaceful or open minded be considered a feature of liberal politics anyway?

33. Dom - October 3, 2006

Picard’s lot would let the populations of the Middle East kill each other! Picard and his Federation cohorts were willing to stand on the bridge and watch an inhabited planet get destroyed because the Prime Directive had ceased to be a guide and become an unbendable law! Worf’s half-brother was treated as a criminal for doing for saving a race!

How arrogant and distant have 24th century humans become that they can allow innocent people die for no sane purpose?! By evolving, they set themselves up above the gods! If the whole TNG Federation was a person, they’d be someone you’d want to see fall on their ass!

Additionally, while we might be told that humans will be different in four centuries, I’d say that we should look across our previous thousands of years of conflicts. Have we really changed all that much?

I’d posit that we haven’t. Conflict, desire, rage against the system, sex, lust, joy, pain, ambition . . . all the extremes of emotion are vital to our development. That’s something that just won’t change other than through some Nazi-style breeding programme.

Plus I refuse to believe that the majority of human beings would EVER accept having a career where they aren’t paid!! ;)

34. acb - October 3, 2006

I do not understand the notion of the canon bashing that many people tend to take in reference to Star Trek. They seem to draw a parellel between the lower quality of story telling; not to mention acting; that was produced under the likes of Enterprise as a sign that there is a direct issue with the canon and not the actual writing and story developments themselves.

If Star Trek XI is to take on the idea of showing Kirk and Spock early on, the writers should embrace the canon and not reject it. Casino Royale and Batman Begins are not good comparisons with Star Trek simply because both are already understood by the notion of the audience as to be vague in timeline conception. Batman has already gone under numerous incarnations since 1939 and remained 34 since then. And with Bond, we have had 5 actors play the role with two of them (Connery and Moore) playing them til they were really past the prime of the character themselves to only be replaced by a younger actor. The whole notion of belief thus is basically left open for the audience to interpret for each new incarnation, since neither of the previous franchises ever specifically set out a specific time frame to which their stories took place.

Star Trek, however, has come to incorporate the notion of time and date usage into the story telling by both the writers and more importantly by the fans of the series. To go and “revamp” with a start from scratch approach with Star Trek will leave the audience left with the notion of “well then what the hell was the point of watching it then” because those in charge will be telling them that what they have come to know is unimportant and “thus” what they have come to love and their emotional connection to it is also unimportant.

Besides, when actually writing a story all of the canon is not needed to be taken into account in one story. Only small portions need to be refrenced under the notion of showing PROGRESSION. For example, in certain shows and films the entire piece wrapped around the back story of certain characters or incidents (i.e. the Kirk and Gary Mitchell friendship, Carol Marcus relationship during the academy, the kobayoshi maru test.) Now those are probably the three main subjects, with many others also taking center stage such as the Pun farr episode to where Kirk first hears of the vulcan mating ritual or the Finney episode where a former friend from the academy attempts to frame him for his murder. Now in these circumstances these points do not have to be referenced, the story should simply leave it open so as if a viewer or fan chooses too they can simply assume it happened during a certain moment or time.

The whole idea behind Star Trek has been the idea of growth over time, both for the characters we have come to watch and care for and for the time and place in which its society has been set. No, the story does not need to bog itself down in the canon and attempt to add ample amounts of it in to simply say “See, we have canon in here.” Instead, the new film should take certain concepts of canon and apply them but then go on its own path from there. Do not negate certain canon, but simply leave certain aspects of it as “open understanding” meaning- we did not say it did not happen, but we did not reinforce it either. Some of the best stories for Star Trek have done this: Namely in the films Wrath of Khan, Voyage Home, and Undiscovered Country where Nick Meyer either as director or writer knew of certain important notions of the canon and then went on to extrapolate beyond that.

That is all we want for Star Trek, the clever and smart approach of taking in what is there and then giving us something further with it.

35. An olde timey fan - October 3, 2006

Dom – October 2, 2006

Dom, that was one of the most brilliant, penetrating essays I have read regarding the difference between American civilization when I was a boy (the 1970s/1980s) and today. Today, the West is run by people who think much as the TNG world thinks. The oppression imposed in the name of liberation would make a fine Trek episode if we weren’t in truly in danger of arrest for holding a traditional, Western thought.

Frightening is indeed a complete description of the “new” Trek setting. Medicated. Theraputic. Managed. Equal. Without distinctions.

TOS used to tell stories about such nightmares (Return of the Archons, for one); newer Treks became it. So too has our Western civilization become somethign we once abhored.

I find myself hoping for a movie such as advocated here as much as it would be a sign of the reversal of what I call “The Madness” of the nightmare world of the 60s. Honestly, I don’t know how much more of the Leninist-Bolshevik-Deweyan “Religious Secular Humanist” agenda I can stand.

Where’s the duct tape??!!

36. An olde timey fan - October 3, 2006

Futuristic Attitudes writes,

“Why are they “stagnant” and “dehamanized”? Because they aren’t EXACTLY like people of today? Because they aren’t ALL EGO? Because they don’t compete with one another for their place in the universe? This comment of yours reveals an unfortunate tendency to equate how people will be in the future with how they are today, this is unsound and short sighted. Just because they don’t express their thoughts and emotions in sudden dramatical outburts doesn’t mean they aren’t expressing it, but again, one must look beyond this present moment to see this. If startrek depicted humanity as being EXACTLY how it is now It wouldn’t be startrek, I think people of today can learn a lot from these characters. ”

With all due respect, Futuristic, you need to get away from the television and Internet and live your life. If you insist on staying locked up in your apartment, please take time to read something written before 1985:

Ivanhoe. Pride & Prejudice. Crime and Punishment. The Gospels. Leaves of Grass. Heart of Darkness. Pilgrim’s Progress. Mere Christianity.

Or anything by Solzhenitsyn to see what life under people who believe in the perfectability of Man is *actually* like. Hint: it is not pretty.

I feel sorry for you and the many thousands like you. You were cheated of life and its rewards that come only with risk and with failure. Growing up in hermetically sealed schools, with censored and state-approved curricula, taught never to think but to emote, to see the world as a series of Marxist/Leninist oppressions (“What is to be Done” by Lenin would also scarethe bejesus out of a sane man)… and one of the unfortunate side effects has been to so limit the imagination that one becomes fearful of his own humanity.

Lord have mercy on us.

37. An olde timey fan - October 3, 2006

Future Shock wrote,

“Why must anything progressive, peaceful or open minded be considered a feature of liberal politics anyway? ”

Because the first to call themselves “Progressives” were more honestly knowns as “Bolsheviks” who believed mankind could be scientifically improved to remove class, race, and familial distinctions with those former loyalties transferring to an all-wise and benevolent State. Oh yeah, Christianity had to be suppressed as well becuase it also competes for the loyalty due the State.

Liberals today are not the liberals of the JFK era and certainly not of the Adam Smith/John Locke time! Even so, Liberals in the tradition of Robbespiere have ultimately resorted to violence against the very subjects of their “good intentions” that was many times worse than the status quo.

And the “non interference” directive sounds an awful lot like George Washington’s plea to avoid permanent alliances (what Jefferson paraphrased as “entangling” alliances).

Futurama dude, please do yourself a favor and study the past before you dare attempt to dictate the future. D’accord?

38. Josh - October 3, 2006

Captain Kirk was NOT a damn Neocon!
Let’s get that straight right away.

Captain Kirk was intended to be analogous to John Kennedy patrolling in a U-boat, with Lord Nelson overtones, and the fictional Horatio Hornblower, and a little Alexander the Great sprinkled in for good measure.

The paradoxical irony is, despite popular belief and consensus, Kirk NEVER fired first. Kirk represented the notion of talk softly and carry a big stick.
Kirk was always forced into situations and was reactionary, not pre-emptive.
Only when given no quarter or alternative did Captain Kirk become the man of action and John Wayne mold.
Kirk grieved every subordinate lost under his command, took it personally. That is the hallmark of compassionate leadership.
I never once saw Picard pause, stoop over a body, and have a distant look of “why” in his eyes after a crewman was killed.
Also, how often did you hear Picard informing the crew of the current situation over the intercom?
Kirk routinely sometimes 3 and 4 times per episode announced the ships current situation to the crew below decks. What Kirk knew, the crew knew. That is responsible leadership.
Picard delegated authority, Kirk personified it.
Picard would send you on an away mission, Kirk would go WITH you in harms way. That is inspired leadership.
Can anyone honestly say they would follow Picard into battle? Picard is an Admiral in Captain’s stripes, deskbound in mentality pushing pencils.
Picard has the luxury of his style of command because of Kirk, and Kirk having made the galaxy more hospitable and stable. Picard wouldn’t have lasted 5 seconds in Kirk’s era. At the first sign of a decloaking Romulan ship Picard would order a conference in the ready room to discuss the current tactical situation resulting in the Enterprise being reduced to ashes.

39. jon - October 3, 2006

The mass(moviegoing) audience started leaving Star Trek as soon as the next gen cast showed up.They also don’t give a s#$% about some trekker’s obession with minuche (min ewe shay).Get a life guys.If this things gonna fly, canon’s gotta go.They need to make Trek for a mass audience.It needs to be re-interpreted and reinvigorated because it’s dead.Re-cast tos characters just like they do w/James Bond.

40. DB - October 3, 2006

Actually, the mass moviegoing audience took a powder for “Star Trek V,” and the box office for ST 6 was disappointing. If the TOS films had still been going strong, there would have been no TNG films.

41. futuristic attitude - October 3, 2006

It is beyond the point of mere ideological conflict when a leader invades anther nation on the basis of pure greed and vendetta, directing troops to indiscriminately bomb locations at the expense of being more discriminate and saving the lives of some innocent civillians. How could you say this level of conflict is natural? How could you say it has anything to do with free will and choice? How could you pretend to be even remotely open-minded and philosophical after unwittingly suggesting these things?

How could you suggest that violence and persistent conflict is a sign of maturity? Do the countless women and children being murdered by u.s troops in iraq have a choice? Can they even defend themselves against this indiscriminate bombardment? How can you compare what a starfleet officer does with this? Before the invasion there was internal conflict, yes, there was some civillian casuality, yes, but NO WHERE NEAR the extent that it has happened since the invasion.

More iraqi civilians have been murderd in the past 3 years than in the previous three decades put together! There is a reason startrek tries to encourage non-interference and this is one of them. Don’t you think violence would escalate any time an outside world enters the equation, hasn’t history even proven this countless instances? And you must remember that the weapons of the 23rd and 24th centuries are a lot more destructive than anything in human possession today, so the repurcussions of interference must be weigh’d much more seriously by ratio of destructive capacity.

Humans are the only species to create conflict on this disgusting level so please save your notion that it’s natural because someones been misleading you for the past millenium and it isn’t christ because even he was anti-war and pro-unity inspite of what the twisted king james version of the bible tells you. In terms of the comments about sexuality, once again I never once said that sexuality should be condemned, nore has it been condemned by trek, just not exploited for the purpose of selling what some consider entertaining television.

In terms of the “humans never change” comment I want to say that first of all I did not once say the characters of startrek are totally dissimilar to humans of today, just not EXACTLY like them as you wish to insist. Secondly humans DO CHANGE in many ways, both apparent and subtle. Look at the way people spoke 300 years ago and compare it to how we speak today. A lot of the colloquolisms of language have changed, a lot of behavioral characteristics have changed or altered, the way certain groups of people are/were treated has changed for the better, think of womens liberation for one, which changed only within the past 50 years! So it is faulty thinking to suggest that we do not evolve socially.

It is also faulty to suggest that people would care about nothing but money. The reason is this, money is an abstraction that has absolutely no meaning at all. It is what money grants you that you are after, not money itself. And unfortunetly we live in a time where many people have to struggle just to maintain the basic necessitiesand experiences of life. It is these necessities and experiences people are after, not the money.

I think if you took money away and replaced it with something more exciting, like the prospect of space habitation as an incentive for work people would most definitely band together and do it, so long as they had a place to live, clothing on their backs and food in their bellies.

Please, when you reply to my comments reply to them directly and not in a round about fashion and when you repeat things please explain why you are repeating them, for example, give me psychological explanations why human beings are incapable of changing, and if they are not indepth and analytical observations they are nothing but opinions. I have given you sociological and psychological examples of the way in which people change all you seem to do is opinionate based on the nature of todays societal structure.

42. JON - October 3, 2006

Actually the actors(as much as we all loved them) got too old to be believable(Which is why they need to re-cast them with younger actors).That’s! why the studio dredged up tng(with a little Kirk cameo).There’s no audience anymore for a TNG film.Bring on the re-boot ,Forget the trekkies.Star Trek is americana and Mr. and Mrs. america don’t give a flyin tribble what trivia some Trek geek is hung- up on

43. JON - October 3, 2006

Oh,by the way.Trekkies will go to see the re-boot or whatever Paramount decides to slap the “Star Trek” name on.Trekkies will go to see a Star Trek movie called “Star Trek-Plumbing”,so their opinion is irrelevant.

44. datas nodule - October 3, 2006

‘Trekkies will go to see a Star Trek movie called “Star Trek-Plumbing”,so their opinion is irrelevant.”

Wrong! That travesty of a reboot enterprise was cancelled in its fourth season instead of continuing for 3 more as it was scheduled to, because trekkies stopped supporting it

45. JON - October 3, 2006

There aren’t enough trekkies to support a television show,It has to appeal to a mainstream audience.That’s why “enterprise” flunked,BECAUSE only trekkies watched it.

46. JON - October 3, 2006

Oh it also sucked.But since when does a trekkie care about quality.

47. Adam Cohen - October 3, 2006

To Dom, futuristic, et al, I have to add one thing to this discussion:

You have to analyze the behavior of each incarnation of Trek based on the context in which it was written. TOS came up during the New Frontier of John F. Kennedy, like some have suggested here. The whole “ask not what your country can do for you…” notion permeated the writing of the show. Look no further than the diverse crew put forth on the bridge. Week in and week out you saw a cross-section of humanity playing a role in a mission, and they worked *together* in accomplishing their mission. In that sense, TOS was an egalitarian ideal. And human nature was not different from 20th century basics, but what we did hear often was this goal that humans strived to better themselves from past mistakes. I think that’s an ideal that persists throughout history. Certainly we don’t talk about it much nowadays, but it comes in waves.

TNG came at a time of great prosperity in this country. From Reagan to Clinton, this nation enjoyed great success. And the Cold War ended, leaving many to talk about the “end of history.”

I’ll skip over VOY for a sec and talk about DS9. DS9 concerned the Balkanisation of Bajor, analagous to Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia. Was DS9 directly linked to those issues? No. But the parallel is there and it makes sense considering the fact that despite great prosperity in the 1990s, the religious/cultrual clashes in Europe were the dark underbelly of that period in history. If TNG was the UN in space, DS9 was about the UN peacekeeping forces on the ground.

And ENTERPRISE was a post-9/11 show. I don’t have much to say about it, but it reflected the paranoia we have endured these past 5 years.

Those shows speak very differently about the “human condition” and it is probably a result of what is taking place in the “real world” as those stories are written. My point through all of this is that it is very difficult to project a unifying interpretation of Star Trek’s vision of the future because one doesn’t exist. I do think TNG was Roddenberry’s baby in a lot of ways, and even then, I doubt he would have done the show in 1987 the same way in 1966 or 1993 (excluding external factors within the studio-system) because the context chages constantly.

48. Josh - October 3, 2006

Jon, I care about quality.

That’s why I’m a TOS fan, mildly enjoy TNG, tolerate DS9, avoid Voyager, and abhorre Enterprise.

When I was younger I naturally was caught up in TNG success, but that’s the paradoxical irony of TNG. With time, I find myself enjoying TNG less and less, and yearn for TOS more and more. TOS speaks to me in a way TNG doesn’t.
I think in many ways TNG is far more dated than TOS.
TOS episodes have a timeless quality, transcending the era they were produced in. The same cannot be said for TNG, it stinks of post modern 80′s and early 90′s sensibilities. I think this distinguishing characteristic is what seperates TOS from the copycats- the storytelling speaks to us far more and is actually more relevant than the several year old Enterprise, despite being produced 40 years ago.

As far as the motion pictures are concerned, first I think “The Motion Picture” is ENTIRELY underrated and panned because of the ADD generations inherent inability to sit down and focus more than 5 seconds. There are no explosions so, naturally, the interest level wanes as the slobber and drool form.
In many ways “The Motion Picture” is THE most cinematic and epic of all 10 Trek films, certainly the production design, cinematography, and photography of miniatures is leagues above the sequels, and as Daren Dochterman can probably point out, the reason many individuals are in the film business today. The refit Enterprise, and the way it was filmed was a watershed in model photography, unrivaled to this day. Look at the sad way the Enterprise B was framed and photographed compared to the refit.
TNG films sadly never captured the camraderie or spirit of fun the first 4 or so TOS movies featured.
Kirk and crew were not BEYOND having a bit of fun sometimes at their own expenses, they didn’t take themselves as seriously as TNG crew.
The shorthand wink wink nudge of the TOS crew interaction is UNPRECEDENTED among all the various series casts. When you watch these characters you believe they genuinely care for each other and have a vested interest in each others well being. That singularly character attribute never translated for me to the other crews. A true testament to the power of Shatner and crew’s emoting range and versatility.
Contrast Picard sitting and weeping like a baby over the news of his nephews death in a fire, versus Kirk falling on his ass! That’s powerful.
The Captain has fallen on his ass. We weren’t accustomed to seeing Kirk so vulnerable, it was powerful, yet the more “evolved and sensible” Picard was far more in touch with his feelings evidently, and frankly, it just didn’t translate as well, it seemed forced, unnatural, and frankly who gave a crap? I didn’t.
I believe time is going to be very kind to TOS, the one true Trek.

49. futuristic attitude - October 4, 2006

I think the historical context in which they were filmed obviously lends itself to some of the issues discussed in the stories but I don’t think the characters are driven by these contexts, rather I think they are driven by the main trek ideal, which is the betterment of the self. What I mean is that while some of the story relates to events in our own current unfolding history the characters are not reacting to these events as people would today, with fear, paranoia, anxiety and bigotry.

They are instead given a great responsibility to be the spokesperson for our generation, but from the enviable position of being men and women of the future. In other words maybe it’s not so much that people may become like the characters in startrek, more evolved, sensitive, caring and sharring. But that this is how we should be today and the notion that we ought to wait 3 centuries for this inner shift of being is a sad one. I just think it’s faulty to continually relate certain truths to political ideology.

For example being kind, considerate, respectful and compassionate to your fellow beings is not a feature of left or right, it is a feature that is dead center in the heart and it should be appreciated if we plan to survive as a species. So I think the important part is not so much the historical context when the series are filmed so much as how the characters respond to situations.

I mean isn’t it a little ridiculous to consider characteristics like sensitivity and compassion part of a historical trend? I think they’re timeless necessities of mutual survival, let’s be reasonable here, I think we’re taking history a little too far when we start talking about essential survival traits as if they’re merely historical trends.

50. acb - October 4, 2006

hey Jon,

I agree about the tng films and a portion of the tng episodes, namely many after ’91. The whole issue i have with later TNG was that it seems they moved the shift from the crew being “apart of the universe” story wise to being the “central focus of the universe.” With the TOS series and films, excluding some of the lackluster 3rd season additions, many of the stories in TOS revolved around the notion of the universe moving forward and circumstances taking place to where at one point or another the TOS crew played apart in just keeping the river to flow straight as it were. There was no notion that they controlled what was going on around them, they were simply there to attempt to make sure everything comes out in the best possible circumstances. In TNG however, it seems it moved more and more toward everything in the universe beginning to revolve around the crew- (i.e. a picard clone taking down and attempting to take control of the romulan empire and destroy starfleet). There was no sense of real world flow to events.

51. acb - October 4, 2006

actually the previous message should have been addressed to josh

52. smarty pants - October 4, 2006

31. Adam Cohen – October 3, 2006
Good points by all.

Now, I know this is a silly quesiton, but what do you think Kirk would to with a pre-war Iraq?

He’d have ordered Mr. Spock to scan Iraq for those weapons of mass destruction. When indications came back negative, he’d have left the no-fly zones in place, sustained the inspections regime, and gone off to North Korea where some of the world’s problems really are.

53. smarty pants - October 4, 2006

I didn’t mean to indicate that Iraq is just fine and dandy now if thats how the previous post comes across… just trying to point out it probably wouldn’t be the dangerous flashpoint it’s become since if we had stayed focused on real areas of concern rather than violent neocon fantasies.

As for political subtext in Star Trek… I don’t think I’ve ever really seen proof that there’s an inherently liberal/conservative streak to it one way or the other. It seems to vary from series to series and even story by story. If anything it can only be consistently described as uniquely American, embodying all of our ideals and contradictions. That’s what really makes it interesting, not whether Kirk was a registered Republican or Democrat.

54. Dom - October 4, 2006

Nick Meyer’s excellent, analytical commentaries of Trek are worth listening to (a stupid remark, given we’re big enough Trek fans to post here, so therefore must have heard them. . . doh!)

Meyer described Jim Kirk-era Star Trek as ‘gunboat diplomacy,’ which is probably one of the best two-word analyses of Trek that I’ve come across!

Oh, and by the way, I actually do like Star Trek:TMP, for all its weaknesses. The Director’s Edition is great – tighter, funnier and more ‘human,’ with a decent sound mix that brings back all the TOS sound FX.

I just think that both the early cuts of TMP were a sucky way to kick off a franchise. For most people, STII:TWOK is the first ‘proper’ Trek film, I’m afraid! Certainly, it’s the most quotable!! :)

55. Dustin - October 4, 2006

I agree that trek needs to move forward, but not necessarily in the sense of Trek cronologically. The TV format has changed. 50 years ago people watched shows that had adventure and were all wrapper up within 60 minutes. Then they moved on to next week. If you look what works today it is the intense dramas and adventures that take a season or two to unfold. Look at 24, Prison Break or Lost. Neither are my favorite shows but I like the concept. Picture an adventure in the Star Trek universe that was incredibly complex and honestly confusing. If JJ Abrams can get a group of people lost on an island and have probably the most popular action adventure in the past 20 years on TV why can’t Star Trek (the originator of action adventure on TV.) find something in it’s vast universe.

56. Datas Nodule - October 4, 2006

“Picture an adventure in the Star Trek universe that was incredibly complex and honestly confusing.”

Startrek in its many incarnations is already the most complex television concept to date, even the x files didn’t come close to the concepts startrek adhered to. Bear in mind I am referring to the various incarnations spanning several centuries including the films and various alternate timelines and recurring themes. The only show I can think of which comes close to what startrek has achieved in this regard is Doctor who with its many doctors and its time lord arc. Twin peaks could have also entered this venue if it continued for more than two seasons.

57. JON - October 4, 2006

Re; post 52…We re actually at war with Iran.Iraq is the theater.the Iranian pro terrorist government are afraid of our possible success in bringing democracy to their neihbor which would then embolden the majority of Iranians seeking democracy to move against them.That’s one reason why the Iranian president speaks in terms of Jihad and stokes the flames of anti-semitism in the arab world.In the meantime Russia and China both seeking to invigorate their economies and secure the oil supply for their industrial machines are forming alliances with Islamic facists.

58. Datas Nodule - October 5, 2006

“We re actually at war with Iran.Iraq is the theater.the Iranian pro terrorist government are afraid of our possible success in bringing democracy to their neihbor which would then embolden the majority of Iranians seeking democracy to move against them.”

Wrong! You are obvoiously pro-bush so I will say only one thing to you, read the news objectively not from a political stance. The presence of u.s troops has done nothing for the region but escalate violience on all sides! The goal of this administration was to creatre more chaos in the region than already existed. This allows the foothold you so dismissively call democracy to take root, leaving nothing but people like you to repeat what bush anc company are forcing down your throats, why are people like you startrek fans? Startrek is against everything that you are!

“That’s one reason why the Iranian president speaks in terms of Jihad and stokes the flames of anti-semitism in the arab world.”

No it’s the reason george bush is continuing to reinforce and escalate the conflict between the subdivisions of culture and government in that region by make it more and more chaotic for them each and every day, with help from isreali operatives. You know I wasn’t speaking in terms of politics until you pulled this disgusting right wing hack job. Talk about primitive culture. Please whoever posted post# 52 do not believe a word this impartial rightwing individual is telling you, learn the truth for yourself!

“In the meantime Russia and China both seeking to invigorate their economies and secure the oil supply for their industrial machines are forming alliances with Islamic facists.”

Don’t you dare even bring the words “oil” and “greed” into the same sentence without mentioning the white house. Yes they anticipated the need from other larger nations such as china and this fuels the paranoia further in the middle-east of course so that the conflict can deepen till there is no one but the u.s to turn to. This is the first and only reply I will make to this disgusting semantical and political manipulation you have made, I will not reply to further comments about this because they are not worth my time, I just wanted to basically warn people who may otherwise be ignorant of objective facts that what you are doing is repeating disgusting lies. Anyone who wants the truth listen closely, get it from objective research not from people like this, and do not believe anything but what you find on your own, don’t believe me either, just go and search for yourself, never mind what people like me and jon say.

59. Datas Nodule - October 5, 2006

I was at the post office one day waiting for the clerk to proces a money order and I overheard a conversation she was having with another clerk about the poor decisions this administration has made and she so defensively said “you know I kinda like bush” to which I could not help interrupt by saying “miss, the words “i like bush” and free will are diametrically opposed states of being” she stared at me as if someone had shown her a card trick. My following and closing comment was “it’s impossible to like a murderer, if you think you like him you’ve been brain washed” i then walked out disgusted with the situation.

60. Sandman - October 5, 2006

my goodness. who let the fruitcake in here? no one cares about your trip to the post office you dike. keep your political motives to yourself. this is a trek post not a bush bashing event for lefties and haters.

61. Sandman - October 5, 2006

Forward Looking
Original Location
New Cast
New Tech
Far enough from the other time lines so it has a life of its own.
GREAT STORIES that have meaning to real life situations. Like in TOS and TNG where stories related to current crisis like “The cold war” and a nuclear arms race gone wrong, Genocide, persecution, prejudice. All these things were given form in a different light to make people think. Yes all the series were dramas whether you care to admit it or not. But they were well balanced to blend drama, tech, and new ideas to show ourselves in a new light.

TOS was great. Leave it be and untarnished.
TNG was great as well. Leave it be and move on.
They’ve been done to death. You mean to tell me there isnt an original idea for the next 10,000 or billion years to come up with without trying to squeeze something in somewhere???

This movie should be about something new. It should inspire a new line of thinking in Trek and should be a great kickoff to a new television series. The key words being NEW!!! This thing will never survive an old renovated look.

62. Mr. Chet - October 5, 2006

I think part of the reason for Star Trek’s decline is that it’s outlived its premise. Let me start by saying that I DO know that Star Trek is fiction. That being said, however, it’s pretty much impossible to suspend disbelief when watching any Star Trek now. Specific events occurred in Star Trek’s version of our history that have no resemblence to real history. The Eugenics Wars, Khan, DY-100 sleeper ships, etc. being a few.

There needs to be a major revision to Star Trek’s whole premise if it’s going to have any continuing success. Otherwise, just let it rest in peace.

63. storm - October 5, 2006

There’s a lot of debate going on here, as if anyone is going to be convinced, or as if Roddenberry’s vision matters or what.

Personally, I like TNG the best. So, I’d like to see another TNG movie. That’s it. No dissertation on why. Why can’t there be both?

There’s not a “right” answer folks.

P.S. Of course casting aside the straw-men creation of the Limbaughs of the world, is there any real dispute that Trek’s vision is of a liberal future? I find it laughable that anyone would say otherwise.

64. son of smarty pants - October 5, 2006

>>P.S. Of course casting aside the straw-men creation of the Limbaughs of the world, is there any real dispute that Trek’s vision is of a liberal future? I find it laughable that anyone would say otherwise.

65. son of smarty pants - October 5, 2006

Star Trek isn’t a liberal future— it’s the one you simply get when people smarten up and decide to behave logically and with a degree of compassion.

On second thought, if that needs to be called liberal then I guess it’s liberal. I can’t argue that, #63.

That said, I think there’s probably enough evidence in DS9 alone for a reading that includes at the very least a highly authoritarian Federation, one whose actions frequently belie its ideals. Sound like any governments in North America to anyone?

66. ptw - October 6, 2006

I’m a big fan of TOS and pretty much a non-fan of every other Star Trek TV series, though I have seen many episodes and the movies.

I say: screw TOS, and move ahead.

In any good movie the key thing is telling an interesting story and keeping people–not events–as the focus. However, there is no reason why that cannot be done in a “future” Star Trek movie instead of going back to TOS. Furthermore, by going to the future you are not limiting the kinds of stories that can be told. Any story taking place before TOS can really only affect the universe to conform with what we had in TOS. Anything post-TOS and pre-TNG can really only change things up to what we saw at the start of TNG. For example, you can’t utterly extinguish The Borg, since they show up later in large numbers.

That puts really big limits on what you can do, especially in regards to politics and racial/species relations. In a fictional universe made up of galactic empires and alliances, you’d think that their relationships–politics and war–would be an overarching factor with just about everything. That was one of the big downfalls of the recent TV series’, I think: they were given a universe to play in, but for the most part they weren’t allowed to do anything that could change it, and thus their stories typically ended up as small, quaint, and inconsequential. The same thing that would happen to any movie that was was trapped by an already-known future.

It’s like watching a movie where you already know the ending. It can still be interesting, but it loses a bit of it’s punch.

Look at two other sci-fi series that have had success during Trek’s downturn: BSG and Babylon 5. BSG was originally trapped a bit by having to conform with elements of the original story, but they broke free of that and have really become a show with some hard-hitting social commentary along with excitement and drama.

Babylon 5 didn’t have BSG’s grittiness and social relevance, but it had HUGE story arcs where what happened made a big difference in the fictional universe. In other words, it had the ability to tell stories on a grand scale with enormous effects, while Star Trek was trapped in it’s own little, self-limiting sandbox.

Time to get Trek out of the sandbox. Look forward. Go big. Tell us good stories about people, but also stories that make a difference. The Federation is in decline and beset with enemies: isn’t that a strong potential story arc right there? The battle to save what you have without losing who you are? That might resonate well with a world beset with war between cultures.

67. Shatter - October 6, 2006

I don’t care which way they go, forward or backward, as long as they make humans seem vulnerable again, insignificant even, in that big and dangerous universe of ours. The way I see it, a major fault of Voyager and Enterprise (and even the later parts of DS9) is that the Federation/Star Fleet is presented as too advanced, superior to almost everyone. What’s left to discover, when all that needs to be done is fill in the details?

In TNG there were the Q, and some other races that were far superior technologically. There were various phenomena and life-forms that were left somewhat unexplained and mysterious. That’s what I’d like to see again.

68. Shatner clone - October 6, 2006

“my goodness. who let the fruitcake in here? no one cares about your trip to the post office you dike. keep your political motives to yourself. this is a trek post not a bush bashing event for lefties and haters.”

The guy was just telling someone to find their own conclusions about politics man. Yea he seems to hate bush but who doesn’t anymore? Rhetorical question.

69. Some Bod - October 6, 2006

TNG was essentially Gene Rodenberry doing a re-make of TOS. He looked at it and said “if I made it now, what would I do”. The problem is that each series that followed seemed to take that as an indicator that they should change only one small thing in order to seem interesting and new.

I don’t really care what time period any new Star Trek is set in, but I do care whether they repeat the same old formula of a bunch of apparently enlightened and peace loving military dudes going round the galaxy in a giant tank.

How about a Star Trek series set outside the navy (which lets face it is what starfleet is). How about series/movies set around a freighter, or a maqui (I’ve probably spelled that incorrectly) base, or a newly established colony on a barely explored planet.

DS9 was the furthest down this route that the producers ever dared go, and whether people loved it or hated it, it was at least a bit fresh. Everything after that point was just a remake of TOS.

Star Trek’s biggest problem is its uniform fetish. Get the crew out of the Navy and actually explore what the future might be like for civilians.

70. Sandman - October 6, 2006

he most certainly was NOT telling someone to find their own conclusion. did you actually read the comment? sounds like the lady already had her own conclusions. he bashed her and went on a rant. now hes posting his bush hating trip to the post office crap on a forum about a new trek movie. it has no relevance. IRRELEVANT, IRRELEVANT!!! (as the rant goes from the romulan defector in TNG).

71. Slayerprime - October 6, 2006

Wow, I cannot tell you how much I agree with “futuristic attitude”. His posts are well written and to the point.

It’s silly to compare ST:TNG and TOS. They are both products of the times they were produced. For years, some TOS fans have hated ST:TNG and that’s no secret. If you are a fan of TOS and not ST:TNG then you really cannot seperate out the facts from your bias. Only people who can look at both series in an objective manner (such as someone who has never seen any star trek) can possibly render a non-subjective opinion on what is “the focus” of Star Trek as a whole.

There are certainly ST:TNG haters here, so thier arguements are invalaid. If I hate grapefruit juice for example – how likely am I to be able to discuss how it tastes without being subjective?

If I stand back as far as a can (as a fan of most things trek), I would have to say “exploration” and getting “out there” is the overall theme to trek mania, (and the exploration could/should be external and internal) and that any new show or movie should align to this premise.

72. Jon - October 6, 2006

Data’s nodule!Here’s something someone of your caliber might appreciate…whaeva,whaa evah!(waving finger at screen and laughing)wha evah!

73. futuristic attitude - October 6, 2006

“he most certainly was NOT telling someone to find their own conclusion. did you actually read the comment? sounds like the lady already had her own conclusions. he bashed her and went on a rant. now hes posting his bush hating trip to the post office crap on a forum about a new trek movie. it has no relevance. IRRELEVANT, IRRELEVANT!!! (as the rant goes from the romulan defector in TNG).”

Have a good look at the commentary i responded to. It was coming from a political agenda to which I replied by 1. Sharring my own observation of the situation and 2. Telling the individual who posed the original question to SEEK THEIR OWN CONCLUSIONS to not listen to anyone, NOT EVEN ME! Can you say the same for yourself or anyone else who promotes views here? Do you, at the end of your rant, encite individuals to SEEK THEIR OWN CONCLUSIONS? No, you do not! This is the difference between us, though I share my own opinions I warn everyone concerned at the end not to trust anything the hear from another individuals mouth, including my own. My reply was to the person who shared right wing propagandist views about the middle eastern situation with someone who merely asked what captain kirk would do with a prewar iraq. I cautioned the individual who asked the question to come to their own conclusions, and you’re damned straight i’d do it again, but for now I will refrain from replying to your energy wasting Bush loving antics. This is m final reply to anything political, unless I have to warn someone against people like you again.

74. futuristic attitude - October 6, 2006

deleted

75. futuristic attitude - October 7, 2006

deleted

 

spoofing other names will not be tolerated

76. JON - October 7, 2006

FOR THE RECORD.I didn’t enter post # 75.SOMEONE else did.Seems like Data’s nodule and Futuristic Attitude(in post #73) are the same person also.

77. JON - October 7, 2006

I wonder what would have happened if the Klingons had flown 4 battlecruiser’s into starfleet headquarters in San Fran and the federation’s most densly populated civilian centers.Maybe that’ ll get through your nodule.

78. Slayerprime - October 7, 2006

Uh, actually, the diminion on DS9 brought the Federation almost to its knees with thousands of people dying everyday. There were attacks where entire colonies/fleets were wiped out. In fact, I believe the Breen at one point (an ally of the dominion) did actually attack federation headquarters on earth! (this shows your lack of knowledge and the fact that you shouldn’t even be posting here)

The Federation didn’t immediatly abondon thier laws and regulations and stoop to the Dominion’s level. The federation didn’t start using torture to get infomation and they didn’t start taking away the freedom and rights of its citizens in a false claim that doing so would make them any safer. The Federation fought bravely while still keeping their integrity.

And, I’ll add that anyone using someone esle’s name here, just to dislodge the discussion, is an asshat.

79. Anthony Pascale - October 7, 2006

guys I am sorry about the spoofing but I have set the comment system to be very open….if it continues to get abused I will have to move to a stricter system

by the way…threads like this prove to me that this site needs forums and to assure you I am looking at it, but of course there is the time issue. I am currently looking for people to assist with moderating and/or admining the new forums

80. Jon - October 7, 2006

Re #58.So according to you .WE,(the US) are creating chaos in the region along with Iraeli operatives?and you call our white house greedy for oil?If our white house was greedy for oil all we would have to do is stop supporting Israel and we could have all the cheap oil we wanted.As it is the US is practically the only country supporting Israel.the only democracy in a sea of hostile oil rich states.If it wasn’t for the US there would be no Israel .That’s why we were attacked.So the Greed and apathy belong to the rest of the world.God Bless America!

81. Lawrence Ennis - October 7, 2006

I agree that it should look foward, but, not too much. It should have taken the same path as TNG, but, 78 years after Voyager. The only thing is we have an idea where the film is going. Back to Kirk and Spock judging by the movie poster. But, it should not start all the way back to the day they were in the acadamy, they should leave pre TOS alone. Instead, they should do the biggest gap there is about Kirk and Spock, between the end of TOS and ST:TMP. Thier 2nd Five Year Mission. If you look at the timelines most of all the one that Mike Okuda and is wife wrote ( This is the one that carries the most weight. ) . In thier timeline they said that ther was a 2nd 5 year mission before Kirk was promoted to Admiral and Spock going to Vulcan to study for the Kolinar.

82. Jon - October 7, 2006

Interesting point Lawrence.The 2nd 5 yr. mission.that way you’d have well seasoned heros confronting adversaries without upsetting the canon crowd.And you’d be into the Enterprise’s first refit ( the second being ST;TMP)so you wouldn’t have to have the TV show’s sets(old bridge etc.).

83. raven15 - October 7, 2006

Star Trek is by definition liberal. Liberal means believing things would be better if a they progressed a little from how they are now. Radical, on the other hand, means believing things would be better if they changed suddenly and completely into something new. Thus Teddy Roosevelt was liberal and progressive, while Lenin was radical (certainly not liberal or progressive). I tried to use two figures of the same era for comparison, and to show Trek is a liberal show in the truest sense of the word. (Conservative means things should go back to how they were a few years agao to be best, reactionary means they should go back hundreds of years ago, i.e. Jefferson creed). (Long live moderates moderates!)

Actually, I haven’t been watching much Star Trek recently, not since they stopped showing TNG reruns regularly (about 8 years ago, when I was young). The shows just weren’t as fun to watch. I put TOS and TNG on equal footing in that they showed the same society, which had changed over 80 (?) years as all societies do. It just happened to be in direct proportion to how much ours changed over twenty years.

Has anyone ever read the books? William Shatner in particular wrote some great Star Trek books (and others too, but I’ll take a political tactic: go with name recognition). One depicts the Federation on the verge of an internal collapse because of a disagreement on what is best for humanity’s course to the future. It is a very intriguing and dark book, which has enough human drama, action, plot, and storyline (and strictly obeys “canon”) to keep both trekkies and a mainstream audience happy. If no one ever reads these here, they should. Shatner manages to work the action and intrigue deep into Trek history, over a hundred years I would guess, and so much more. Highly recommended for those here and maybe even in general. That is the direction the new series should go, if it is to go anywhere (which currently seems unlikely).

84. Jon - October 9, 2006

Liberalism uses conservatism as a reference point.

85. Sandman - October 10, 2006

reply to 73,74,and 75

Actually none of the posts you made had any objective comments on any of the political topics you spoke of. The people you were speaking to were all obviously pro bush, you obviously are not. None of your topics made anyone think objectively.
You over stepped your bounds by pronouncing me pro-bush. None of my posts was pro anything. I simply stated that you blasted a lady at the post office for being pro-bush and then stormed out like a little girl that had her lollipop taken away. Seriously, enter the 24th century already and get a life.
I was reading an article today about wrath of khan. I find it interesting that the guy wasnt even a track fan, had no interest in bending to the will of trek fans and made the greatest trek movie ever. Makes me wonder if the right choice was made by going with an overzealous trekkie that looks like he will do everything to please other trekkies.

86. Brian - October 10, 2006

Trek has been about moving forward, not looking to the past. But the realmagi has been in the human drama or the people we are watching on the screen. Seeing a Matt Damon “Kirk” shows a lack of imagination. Look to the future; give us a Picard or a Sisko i.e. someone new we can get to know and share their adventure. And for God’s sake Hollywood start showing some imagination! Clones of “Lost” or “24″ or “survivor:whatever” are getting tedious at best. Destroying another Enterprise (or whatever ship you are on) or killing a lead cahracter in TWOK style needs to go too. The reason we followed the dream was because we were caught up in the magic, look there for your ideas!

87. Keith H (different Keith H) - October 14, 2006

It never ceases to amaze me how politics can be worked into any discussion. It wasn’t even mentioned in the article above so how the hell did the subject make it into these comments?

About “Going Forward”

The future is what you make of it, just because one show displays a version of the “future” does not mean that that is where it has to go. The future is malleable as it has not been written yet. So even if a framework is set, however rigid, there will always be ways to bend and shape it to suit.

Who says you have to continue to go into the future with the series? The series is already set into the “future” so no matter what story is told that will be true. Tell a story about Kirk and Spock’s academy days, tell a story about Captain Archer’s crew in a way that doesn’t merely copy an old TV episode. Develop an entire new crew on a different ship. Develop Excelsior, what about it’s crew and stories?

Who says you shouldn’t “go forward”? Tell a story about Voyager’s later years, tell a story about a new crew. Tell continuing story about Enterprise after Picard.

Who says you can’t “go sideways”? Tell a story from the Romulans point of view, the Klingons, Vulcans, what of their “histories”? Does it absolutely positively HAVE to always be about the federation or humans or Kirk and Spock? If so, you are selling yourself short and limiting yourself from limitless potential.

Whatever is told, give the makers a chance to tell it before screaming at them and saying “you should tell it this way!”

88. Spaniard - October 15, 2006

I am a foreign fan from overseas, may be the only explicit trekkie in my country. I do not usually submit opinion or thought to internet forums or the like, but the theme is getting interesting and may be vital to the Trek world in light of the latest TV and movie productions.

My opinion, beyond any political notion or opinion, concerns the series completely. When I was younger (I am 29 as of today), and presented with ST around 1998, I didn’t really like the TOS for its obvious lack of arts, effects, cool interesting tech and the sort. So I took on TNG first, found it ELEGANT and so not dehumanized or arrogant, interesting (even as I didn’t see the action and indubitable emotion per se) and again found it was all about the characters, the acting and the art. The characters intended as what the writers created, the acting as the feeling and detail that the actors have provided from them into these characters; and the art that makes a Sci-Fi series stand apart. The way these three factors combined is, in my view and feeling; really what the series and its transmitting message are all about. The continuity problems are sorrowful, and it is clear that any mythology have to be consistent in its fundamentals and timeline.

What TOS lacked in technical advance (by 1990 standards, don’t shoot!) was compensated in superior acting and character development. In TNG, no financial or health worries and an upper-class dignity for all humans, made the exploration and the challenge to the human nature a good move forward, with wild raging philosophical drama (Hey, we’re near perfect, what do we do now?), and then being rapidly torn it apart by a dose of Borg humility medicine and some all powerful being testing their arrogance at every corner. That produced many cherished characters, did it not? DS9 and Voyager were “Let’s stick these Kirk wannabes all in a new environment and see them develop”. For example, I like the Miles O’Brien of DS9 far more than his previous TNG beginnings.

My point is, in its different explorations, the show (except Enterprise, only defended by art) have combined these three factors successfully and provided variety at least in each of their corresponding micro cosmos. I believe that this new director have a lot of experience in writing and character development. LOST is a character intensive show (weird as hell, but all about the characters and hints). Under his experience, I believe that our most cherished characters may come to be what the have become over the years. Spock had to overcome being ostracized by his own kind for his cross breeding and wish to join the academy (parental conflict and all). Kirk personality, courage, wisdom and ebullience cannot have emerged overnight. Let’s see Kirk’s spark in a scared boy or Spock’s fire in a failed Vulcan. Or may be see them meet for the first time in old NCC 1701, in the middle of hell and moral ambiguity, and really doubt that they could ever be friends or guess how in the world they even got to work togheter with different styles and different notions.

Let’s make Spock confront a young cocky cowboy captain, replacing his good to the death friend Christopher Pike, after his accident. Let’s watch him, sitting in his chair, giving him orders; and let’s see Spock human side trying not to resent it! Let’s see NCC 1701 manoeuvring and fighting and taking hits, more like Defiant in ENT “In a Mirror, darkly”, full CG throttle!

If that’s what ST XI is all about…I’m game! Back or forward is irrelevant then.

89. Alton - October 15, 2006

Well I didnt read all the comments so in all likelihood I may be repeating what has gone before ( thats a lot of coments up there) . But frankly there is an established storyline that simply has not advanced since next Gen and DS9. Let’s follow it into breenspace and the Next generation of Borg and what not.

Although I frankly loved the original series, it’s old hat.!!A funny aside to a series that has places to go. Kirk and Spock in their Academy years is going to be like adding Scrappy Doo to the Scooby doo series! Funny sometimes perhaps but ..might kill the whole thing!

As much as I would love to see Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner get their just rewards for the series, Let’s NOT go there!!!! Give the guys some cash make em happy let em work on it in someway but let’s NOT do that story! Leonard and Shatner shoud help us advance into the next generation…wait that’s been used , the ‘New Frontier’ of Star Trek. Take on issues in current time ie it always had…what if the breen were the Iraqi or something?? I dunno pay ME if you want ideas but don’t pay for old nostalgic BS!!!

90. Joseph S - October 30, 2006

From the looks of this page, I am a rare breed. I like TOS, I Like TNG, I love DS9, I like Voyager, and because I didnt get WB I havent seen much of Enterprise. I like all the series. I dont see the point in getting into a word battle over Kirk vs Picard, or Picard vs Sisko. To share my biased point I like DS9 the best. I thought it gave us a much deeper look into the Star Trek universe. But with that being said. I like the star trek universe. I like the political structure of it. I like the characters, races, and look of it. I think most Trek fans do to. I dont think we need to restart it. In a way it invalidates the emotional connections we have made to it. I think instead we need to move forward. There are plenty of stories to be told about the future of the star trek universe. I think a prequel will feel like reading one of the young star fleet academy books. There is no element of suprise. No element of the unknown. yes like this article says there are still constraints placed on the star trek universe. But these constraints still hold many stories. questions that can be answered like: What is happening to Star Fleet after the dominion war. What about the peace that could begin ater nemesis with the Romulans. What about the bad feelings still left with the klingons? A whole new federation can lie ahead. I think there are a million combinations that can occur now. As a trek fan I would much rather see that then to see Star Trek the phantom menace.
One last thing. Why are so many people on here worried about creating something with mass appeal. Star Trek TOS got canceled after its second season not because it wasnt great stuff. Make something good and it will stand the test of time. Make something crappy and it may be the flavor for the day but it will be gone quick.

91. TJ Trek - August 14, 2007

I agree with the poster who commented that there is no need to reboot the franchize. There is a loot that can be done with filling in the gaps. Enterprise didn’t work not because it was sequal, but because It needed some fresh blood in the writing and producing chairs. And that fresh blood came with Manny Coto. So I think that what we need is someone new who can throw some life into what is already there. There is a whole ream of things that could be done involving what is known of Star Trek Cannon and lore, and back story. I mean, I could go way out on a limb and find some cool things to work with.

1. why not go as far back as the Third World War, and write a series involving that period in Trek History. That is still our future, and there has been enough written and said about it in the Cannon that you could frame a series around it.

2. What about an earth based show durring any period of Star Trek. It could be a West Wing meets 24 meets Law and Order meets….in the world of Star Trek.

3. What about a series involving section 31

4. What about…..

and I could go on….

Hey if anyone can point me to a blog or a part of this website that is devoted to the possibiltys for new star trek series, post it for me.

92. Lazarus Long - December 10, 2007

“A Critic is a man who creates nothing, and therefore feels qualified to judge creative people. There is logic in this. He is not biased, he hates all creative people equally.”

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