Editorial: Star Trek Lives! | TrekMovie.com
jump to navigation

Editorial: Star Trek Lives! December 10, 2006

by Mark A. Altman , Filed under: Editorial , trackback

on J.J. Abrams taking the helm of the Star Trek franchise
It was 40 years ago that Gene Roddenberry first taught the band to play. It was a seminal science fiction series called Star Trek. And despite having spawned a succession of spin-off’s and sequels, the original Star Trek, remains the most prescient and entertaining series of all by far four decades after it first aired on NBC. Ironically, while it’s nearly impossible to watch Next Generation or Deep Space Nine these days, both which seem hopelessly dated relics of the bland 90s; Classic Trek, with its 60s fuelled New Frontier zeal, despite its Styrofoam sets and dated visual effects, remains amazingly potent largely because of the inter-personal dynamics of its troika of leading men; Kirk, Spock and McCoy. It’s because of them I’d rather watch the worst episode of Classic Trek than the best of Enterprise or Voyager.

So now, in a time, where it appeared Star Trek had been buried under the apathetic aegis of Rick Berman forever, comes the news that a passionate fan and advocate of the original Star Trek is poised to resurrect it yet again by going back to the beginning and re-visiting Kirk, Spock and McCoy, the foundation and Mount Rushmore of the franchise that is Trek. 20 years ago fans were aghast at such a notion when Harve Bennett first proposed the idea of doing a Trek prequel, but there was one essential difference back then; the original cast were all still alive and young enough to get more tread from the tire. Two decades later, it’s almost impossible to imagine watching a new Star Trek featuring Shatner and Nimoy, not because they’re both septuagenarians, but because DeKelley and James Doohan are both gone and without them, a new Trek with the original cast seems futile (not to say that it couldn’t be done, but apart from die-hards like me it’s hard to fathom this being of much interest to a mainstream audience). Indeed, it was Kirk himself who reminded us that galloping the cosmos is a game for the young and while I don’t envy J.J. Abrams task in re-casting one of the most iconic characters of the 20th century (and certainly most distinctive), I wish him well. After his brilliant work on Alias and Lost, I can’t imagine anyone (other than the Free Enterprise creative team of Mssrs. Burnett and Altman) that could possibly do better justice to the legacy of the original series which is more relevant today than ever.

In a world overcome by cynicism, greed and pessimism; the timing seems better than ever to restore the luster of a franchise which celebrated optimism and heroism above all else. The great movies and television series of the 20th century were generally about heroes and people who made sacrifices for the good of the world, and in the case of Star Trek, the universe. Whether it be Alicia Huberman in Hitchcock’s Notorious or Vinnie Terranova in Wiseguy, popular culture celebrated those trying to make the world a better place. In the 21st, television shows like The Sopranos extol the mobsters and not the informants and government agents and it’s unfashionable in a political climate stoked by fear by its leaders to speak of optimism for the future and an embrace of other cultures when Republicans would rather build a wall, figurative and literal, creating a real continental divide between us and the rest of the world.

Star Trek was never about that and to me, even the reviled Starfleet Academy concept, always had the tremendous potential to tap into the importance of mentors in the formative lives of a man or a woman. Done right, I saw Starfleet Academy as The Paper Chase in space, with a Kingsfield-like muse (“you earn it, Mr. Hart”) imbuing our heroes with the fundamental decency and thirst for knowledge that would made them role-models toa new generation that has never boldly gone before.

J.J. Abrams, from what we can discern, intends to focus on an early mission of the Enterprise (don’t forget the “the” in Enterprise, Trek started going downhill as soon as they started referring to the ship as Enterprise instead of the Enterprise, BTW) with Kirk, Spock and McCoy, perhaps right after Kirk has taken command, maybe even earlier. Whatever it’s ultimately about, it’s a relief to have the franchise in the hands of those who truly care about Star Trek, respect its continuity and understand the significant place the original troika hold not only in American popular culture, but in the lives of those of us who grew up on it. Not unlike Ron Moore and Battlestar Galactica, J.J. Abrams and his screenwriters, Orci and Kurtzman, have the opportunity to jettison the shackles of the sci-fi stigma and musty cobwebs around the aged franchise and make Star Trek relevant again. Risky, sure. But, at the end of the day, risk is our business.

This editorial is courtesy of

MarkA. Altman is the writer/producer of the cult classic, Free Enterprise (which begins airing on Showtime next month and is available in a Special Two DiscSpecial Edition DVD from Anchor Bay) and is co-publisher of Geek Monthly

Comments

1. conscience of the king - December 10, 2006

I hope your right about JJ.

I am not entirely convinced that he its the IT guy everyone claims, though I think he has a better shot at doing it right than Berman et al.

It’s nice to have “real Trek” back (remastered, animated on DVD etc.)

Let’s hope this movie works out.

2. Dom - December 10, 2006

Nice article.

I agree about TNG etc being almost unwatchable now. It says a lot about the 90s that people put up with such blandness! I always stuck with TOS, even when it was unfashionable and the object of derision.

Now my patience has been repaid!

As portents of the PC movement’s imminent decline grow more obvious, a new time of heroes might be coming our way!!

3. CmdrR - December 10, 2006

While I also welcome a fresh approach, I’m not so quick to slam other Treks. I happen to find a lot to love in TNG and DSN. Voyager sold story and characters for a handful of cheap action. Even so, there are a number of very watchable eps. (GAD, did I just say eps?) Episodes. Enterprise desperately needed writers, but it had a few good moments. And TOS had a few turkeys. This is ever and always an ambitious enterprise (pun intended.) If Sci-Fi were easy, everyone would do it. Battlestar Galactica 1980 wouldn’t suck. The key is in the trying. I hope JJ Abrams is stoked. I’ll buy a ticket and find out. If so, then it’s another great addition to 40+ years of Trek.

4. Mitja Iskric - December 10, 2006

“inter-personal dynamics of its troika of leading men; Kirk, Spock and McCoy. It’s because of them I’d rather watch the worst episode of Classic Trek than the best of Enterprise or Voyager.”
C’mon you’re saying they are better actors as Patrick or Spiner?
TNG was and still is better – in effects, acting, writing and drama – even Roddenberry was more satisfied with it.

5. Jim J - December 10, 2006

Yes, that’s exactly what we are saying!!! :)

6. jonboc - December 10, 2006

#4

“C’mon you’re saying they are better actors as Patrick or Spiner?”

Not better, but infinitely more engaging and charismatic. Shatner blew Stewart off the screen in “Generations”. And it wasn’t by quoting Shakespear….it was by by being Shatner. And that, is where JJ will find his biggest challenge in casting the character of Kirk. Watching Shatner’s wonderful, strong, yet subtle, performance just yesterday in “The Corbomite Manuever” is a strong reminder of that. Finding an actor that can be charming while balancing a presence of strength, laced with good humor and compassion, will not be an easy task.
JJ has cast great characters in ALIAS and LOST and he knows what the character of Kirk should encompass. I just hope they give him enough time to find an actor that can do the character justice.

7. Roger - December 10, 2006

Deep Space Nine is hardly as “dated” as much of TNG. DS9 told wonderfully complex stories (“Duet” and “Past Tense” come to mind) and, for four seasons, had almost an epic feel to it. Also, it was the only Trek series to take religion, faith and the issues that come along with them seriously.

8. conscience of the king - December 10, 2006

I could watch TOS over and over again… remastered or no.

TNG, however, I take in smaller doses. Some episodes are truly great (BOBW, etc) but generally, they just aren’t as exciting. Is it the fact that the 90s were so bland? I’m not sure. Is it the personalities/actors on TNG? Maybe. Was it driven into the ground by Berman? Certainly.

There is something about TOS that makes it superior. The fact that each episode could be seen as a simple adventure or as having a deeper meaning is certainly key to the appeal. Actors? Not necessarily better, but their characters were fun. Scotty- no real clearly defined character arc, but he sure was a hell of a lot of fun. Checkov- not at all complex, but I would rather see him than Gordi, Troi, etc. TNG characters were just not that interesting, except for Picard and Worf. Even Data is simply an inverse of Spock.

TOS is a better show, any way you slice it. I hope that a new movie can do it justice.

9. Adam Cohen - December 10, 2006

Mark Altman is the real deal.

I’ve been reading his stuff from way back, when Star Trek was a vibrant franchise. When I see his name popping up again in the mainstream, I know something good is taking place in Trekdom.

One thing I don’t think we as fans have talked about concerning this new project is that whomever they cast in these iconic roles, they will likely change our perception of the overall characters over time. Much like how Ewan MacGregor (who did a fantastic job as a younger Obi Wan Kenobi) carved out his own unique take on the “crazy old wizard”, the actors taking over Kirk, Spock, McCoy, etc., will leave their own mark on our beloved TOS crew. Hopefully that will be a positive thing. But either way, Star Trek TOS is going to be changed forever by this movie.

Now that I think of it, I’m slightly apprehensive.

10. Picardsucks - December 10, 2006

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Next Gen blows and yes Shatner is a much better actor than Patrick Stewart. Count the Emmy’s and Golden Globes, Specifically for Star Trek Our Lord Shatner created a superhero who all women want and all men want to be, a modern day mythos that like Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood, Horatio Hornblower , ect will always live. The Next Gen, Voyager and Enterprise (which was written and fimed and acted as if it where a bland assed Next Gen era show) are all more BLAND , technobabel filled, ASEXUAL, intraverted,
PSEDO- (not truly- there is a difference) INELLECTUAL, ULTRA LEFT WING SOCIALIST UTOPIA, BORING NONSENCE!!!! STAR TREK had real social issues wrapped up in a fun, action adventure romance drama with a real sense of preil of the terrible dangers of space, real villians, real tension between these friends and crewmates, Next Gen and Voyages had only made up self indulgent social issues of the early 90’s. Deep Space Nine was good, and when it hit it’s stride it was great in it’s own right. LONG LIVE STAR TREK (DS9 can come along for the ride, everyone else stay home and I am excited to have JJ driving our wagon!!!)

11. Josh - December 10, 2006

If I had written out a diatribe like that in the forums I would be chastised for “offending” fans!

;)

Anthony? ;)

12. Bilar - December 10, 2006

Mark,

Once again your right on the money about Star Trek.

I would wager that Bryan Singer is probably a slightly better choich to save Star Trek than J.J. Abrams, but J.J. is still a solid B+.

I just hope that one day you, yourself, embrace the ideals of Star Trek and the Fan in you.

Cynicism, Greed, Pessimism and Self lothing pretty much describes your attempt at a final edit of ‘Free Enterprise’ and the ultimate ownership of Mindfire Entertainment.

You really should treat your friends better, because at the end of the day thats all you have.

13. John N - December 10, 2006

#11 – Josh

Agreed…. this guys is the perfect example of why I had editorialists…. ;)

14. Rick - December 10, 2006

It’s interesting to read the negative comments about TNG, DS9, etc. Particularly with TNG, it was hailed as the ‘best Trek’ in more than a few instances in its time. But time marches on, and so do our perspectives. I wonder if the draw of TOS today is not its enduring value (though I would acknowledge it has that), but that what it offered 40 years ago is what our society needs again — hope, relevance, relationships, wonder, and importantly, heroes.

Best of everything to JJ and his team … for all of us.

15. DB - December 10, 2006

I can’t and won’t watch the “worst episodes of Classic Trek,” period.

Completist that I am, I own all three seasons of TOS on DVD and VHS and gods know what other formats but there are at least two dozen episodes of each that may have come defective from the factory and I’ll never know it.

I foundered on crap like “That Which Survives” during syndicated reruns back in the 1970s – well before there were other flavors of Trek to compare it to, I accepted that a certain percentage of “Star Trek” just wasn’t worthy of any time spent on it.

OTOH, there are good episodes of every other Trek series that I can certainly rewatch on occasion.

16. Mitja Iskric - December 10, 2006

Anybody likes the show he grew up with better. I grew up with TNG and find it the best. There are certain but small differences between TNG, DS9 and VOY because of the standards of Federation set in TNG. TOS was a totally different universe – not better, not worse and not so refined. TNG evolved from TOS and that is why it’s better.
BTW I like the idea that Star Trek IS: “INELLECTUAL, ULTRA LEFT WING SOCIALIST UTOPIA!” And I believe that was also Roddenberry’s intention. But I cannot hate TOS. I love it! ;)

17. Dave - December 10, 2006

Here goes nothing….

For me TOS was always about the characters who happened to be caught up in intriguing and difficult situations. They had real science fiction writers and not studio hacks who were assigned to a team of writers who had to generate so many story ideas per season.

All Trek’s after TOS had their writing staff. They were not all neccessarily versed in science fiction. TOS didn’t worry about lengthy explainations about the technology and how it worked, but in TNG onward we always got the 30 – 45 second explaination about the “cascading warp core breach causing a interdimensional sub-space rift that will disrupt…” blah, blah, blah. Those verbose explainations were never neccessary in TOS and allowed just a bit more time for character development and well paced storylines.

All the Trek series have their memorible episodes, but they can’t touch what was done on TOS. Until they go back to the original formula… sci-fi writers writing TV science fiction they will never hit on the success that TOS has enjoyed all these years. They can resurrect the characters anytime they want. They just have to have the desire to do it correctly instead of just doing it the cheapest way possible.

18. Josh - December 10, 2006

Hey!

I like “That which survives.”
There wasn’t anything wrong with it. It wasn’t the watershed end all be all episode guaranteed to alter your perceptions on reality, but it was a nice little mystery/horror story that emphasized the closeness of key characters-

and besides Lee Meriweather is HOTness.

If not for Losira and “That which survives,” we wouldn’t have the immortal

“I am for you Lt. Diamato” to qoute.

19. Herbert Eyes Wide Open - December 10, 2006

#11. Josh – This may mean not a wit to you but I want to congratulate you for showing enormous restraint and maturity for not jumping on the “bash TNG train.”

I am not going to deride any of the other Star Trek progeny or the actors attached… they all gave me moments of enjoyment. Certainly, some more than others.

I’ll simply say… We all know that there is only one Star Trek, to use the parlance of the industry that spawned them all, that has… legs.

20. John N - December 10, 2006

#11 and #19

I agree with Herbert… kudos to Josh for keeping it light and fun in here! :)

21. Stanky McFibberich - December 10, 2006

Other than the episodes which featured the original Star Trek in some way, I can recall very little of Next Generation or Deep Space NIne. Also, I always tried hard to like Patrick Stewart and the Next Generation, but it just never seemed as exciting as the true original. I taped every episode of Next Generation for the first several seasons, but I can count on one hand or less the number of times I have reached for one of those tapes to watch an episode again.
I am not one to dwell on any inherent message in shows, so the argument about which show was closer to Gene Roddenberry’s vision makes little difference to me. Watchability is all that counts and Star Trek is rewatchable over and over due to its style, and particularly for the performances of Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelley.
I have serious doubts that whatever the next movie turns out to be will capture the style of the original or that other actors will be believable in the roles originated by Shatner and Nimoy. I hope I am wrong, but I anticipate more of the irritating style of editing and pacing that permeates so many movies now.
Keeping the look of the Enterprise the same inside and out is also very important, and I’m sure that will be ignored as well.
And that’s my negative attitude story of the day and I’m sticking to it.

22. Sean's Clone - December 10, 2006

I really take the wholistic approach to Star Trek. I think all the incarnations actually help one another – TNG is made better by TOS – TOS continues to be relevant and interesting because of interest generated by Enterprise & DS9 etc. It’s the circle of life thing I believe.

That being said, TOS is the foundation and continues to be the MOST relevant interms of human struggles, conflicts and politcal turmoil. Beating a dead horse here, but TOS was heavily influenced by the era in which it was made, where the rest of the ST shows were more generic in there representation of current cultural and political events, focusing more the techno babble and sophmoric moral messages in my opinion.

And finally, I’m not conviced that JJ Abrams is the “best” person to helm the new old Star Trek – “Alias” and “Lost”, while impressive, are not what I’m looking for on a resume. Building Abrams up to something he is not can result in a horrible fall when details of the movie he is envisioning get out and some fans are not happy with what they see.

I will say that I’m pleased he has a strong vision and, most importantly, enough clout with the studio to allow independence in putting the show together – but that could be a double edge sword.

23. Josh - December 10, 2006

#19, 20

Don’t you guys think for one moment I wasn’t DAMN tempted! ;)

Especially when the topic and editorial ITSELF is inflammatory.

I never want to hear ANOTHER word from anyone about my being offensive or antagonistic to fans!

24. stallion - December 10, 2006

No need to bash Enterprise and voyager just because it wasn’t Kirk, Spock, and MCcoy. I’m glad other people are a lot more open minded then the idiot that wrote this article. Each trek produce great episode like Dear Doctor, Cogenitor, Damage, United, Babel, Drone, Scorpion, Line line to be honest I can go on longer then TOS.

25. Josh - December 10, 2006

#24

I like how you devastated Drago and rendered him a quasi-vegetative chump. He had it coming for killing Apollo. The Bastard.

26. Big Bill Cox - December 10, 2006

I have to agree that TOS is still the best Trek out there. It has become a cultual phenomenon in our country and an important piece of our pop culture. Hence the great ammount of attention it’s getting in its 40th anniversary year. Do you think there will ever be a TNG Remastered or a Voyager Remastered when they reach 40? Somehow I don’t think so.

27. John N - December 10, 2006

#23 – It’s a deal.

(For this thread at least…) ;)

and #25… you crack me up sometimes… :)

28. Herbert Eyes Wide Open - December 10, 2006

#23. Josh – I don’t think the the topic or the editorial is inflammatory. Certainly, those flames can be fanned by an individual’s response but there is a substantive difference between discussion and debate and… well, offensiveness and antagonism.

More to the point (and case in point,) the thread that comprised “Happy Star Trek VI Day” was terrific. It could have turned ugly given the sometimes disparate feelings about the movie but it never did. It was a marvelous exercise and example in respectful exchange of information and opinion.

The discussion between you, darendoc, Adam Cohen and others was such great fun to read and, frankly, I was a little envious because every time I tried to jump in I would read your post or Adam’s or someone else’s and I’d think, “Damn, I was going to say that and you said it better.”

Contrast that thread with other posts where someone just continues to rant about “this sucks” or “that’s shit” or worse… or when name calling begins like “moron” or “penis-face” when someone disagrees with another… Anyway, it’s a dead-horse and I don’t want to hit the carcass anymore.

For what it’s worth, Josh, I am being sincere in my compliments.

At any rate, I just hope the tenor of respect and fun continues… for everyone’s enjoyment.

29. Thomas Jensen - December 10, 2006

Star Trek is a cultural icon. It certainly was more popular with the public then any show that came after it. There never was a groundswell of interest in conventions for only, say, the next generation, as once was for the original. The spin-off shows could never sustain that, thus the multiple show conventions we see today. That’s just one small indication of the interest in these shows today. There really isn’t any intense interest from the general public for these series.

The original show did it first, the rest were copies. But the shows that came after never quite presented the concept as did the original.

The original presented it’s drama with sensibilities from men who grew up in a much different time with ideas and values which are sometimes looked upon as ‘liberal’ and also as ‘conservative’….. The show was positive about human nature, but also recognized the value of clearly seeing that to be human was a journey worth taking with some safeguards: the ship wasn’t portrayed as ‘greenpeace in space’ with children and families, nor was it a tightly wound military ship bent on the destruction of anything that stood it it’s way, but a pragmatic combination of those ideas that today many people see as ‘general common sense’.

I agree with Mr. Altman. And it’s now time again to revisit the original which set the standard for the spin-off shows. Let’s once again see what can be done with the original characters and concept. Let us hope that they can do justice to the original show. And that they present us with entertainment with original ideas, excitement and a thoughtfulness that the original Star Trek once did so well.

30. Admiral Deem - December 10, 2006

Cannot agree that TNG is unwatchable today. When all is said and done, I like TNG best of any of the treks, a shade more than TOS.

But I do admit that a resurgence of TOS characters would be far more commercially adept than TNG. I recognize I am in the minority here but I also voted Republican in the last election so I am used to that.

Personally, I feel Stewart is light years ahead of Shatner as an actor but Shatner is the far greater personality. Patrick could lose himself in almost any part (think Jeffrey) while Shatner is pretty much Shatner all the time. Comparing acting skills serves no purpose because they are each very strong in different ways. Shatner could nevcer have done justice to the Cardassian hostage episodes and Stewart just could never have been the macho womanizer Shatner played.

TNG remains the best but I am also very glad to see Abrams bringing back Kirk and Spock.

31. Adam Cohen - December 10, 2006

#28, Thank you very much for your compliments. It really does mean a lot to me that you appreciated the discussion we were having in that thread.

The one thing that has amazed me about this site (aside from the lightspeed-fast news and excellent content) has been the maturity of the commenters. I’m a veteran of some not-so-civil websites that discuss entertainment news (you can guess which ones I’m referring to) and coming here is like a breath of fresh air. I tip my cap to the lot of you for keeping the discussions interesting, educating and worthwhile. Anthony Pascale is to be commended too for setting the tone. I know that darendoc and Josh love Trek as much as I do, and having exchanges with them and otheres here is what makes this so much fun. If we all agreed, it would be pretty boring! And keep in mind, we are in the midst of some exciting developments as Trek fans, and being able to share in that with a few anonymous friends is fantastic.

As it turns out, this has been a TOS-centric site. For one, TOS is where the action is (Trek-XI, TOS Remastered, TAS DVDs). Still, I think that the other shows did their part to expand the mythos of Trek. Without Enterprise, and the last couple of TNG movies (and perhaps Voyager), I am certain that TNG and DS9 would hold up to scutiny better than it has, particularly among these discussions. I think we all had a Trek fatigue set-in a few years back, and we’re still recovering. There is certainly more nostalgia attached to TOS, but there have been good adventures in other Treks as well.

That being said, nothing beats TOS! ;)

32. Josh - December 10, 2006

I just spoke with J.J.

the current tentative title is:

Star Trek XI – A franchise divided.

Join the intrepid crew of the Divided Fanbase Enterprise as she boldy reinforces the concept of IDIC and seeks to return to a time when the T in Trek took us places that defy imagination.

33. Dom - December 10, 2006

TOS showed us humans (and others) learning to live in an expanding universe. TNG and its kin showed us a Federation existing mostly within its own borders, compelling us to live their way.

TOS preaches freedom and the desire to expand one’s knowledge. TNG preaches conformity.

The message of TOS thrills me. The message of TNG scares me!

Roddenberry might have preferred TNG, but he was a crazy Hubbardian lifestyle guru by TNG’s inception – a man who believed his own myth. Many of the most popular elements of Trek had nothing to do with him: the Kirk, Spock, McCoy dynamic being the prime example.

Oh, and I’ll ‘bash’ (within limits) TNG, because I always have, even when it wasn’t cool to do so.

I stood up for TOS when people who were supposed to be Trek fans routinely mocked it and hold it up to this day as one of the most important TV shows ever made and certainly the most important SF show ever made. I can even enjoy some of the truly bad episodes, like Spock’s Brain more than a lot of TNG Trek.

34. StephenMartin - December 10, 2006

I’m an avid Star Trek fan. I agree it is the best of the bunch. I disagree that TNG and DS9 are outdated. I watch them regularly and find much that is relevant today. JJ isn’t going to be able to recapture the spirit. He may be good, but he isn’t that good. Why not just do something new? There’s plenty of room in the Star Trek universe for it. Makes no sense to go back and attempt to rework the original.

Just curious. How would you monitor the borders? Or would you?

35. Dom - December 10, 2006

Oh, but at the same time, I’m not gonna foam at the mouth and denounce fans of TNG and so on. Each to his own, but I just can’t bring myself to agree with them.

I have to throw in a thanks too. I stayed away from Trek for the best part of a decade, because I felt there was nowhere for a TOS fan to go anymore and had nothing to do with Star Trek fandom for a decade.

This is the first Trek site I’ve ever got involved with and it’s the first one that keeps discussion sane and news reporting positive. I’ve been on many a discussion board down the years and seen the seething hatred that people have for one another, known the endless bitchiness, the fear of writing a comment because of the risk of being flamed.

I feel welcome here and look forward to reading this site each day. Nice work by everyone involved!!!

36. Adam Cohen - December 10, 2006

Question for the gang: When did you first see TOS? Do you remember the episode?

My first episode was “Tomorrow is Yesterday,” which I caught in syndication on WPIX (Channel 11, NY) after school one day. To this day, that episode is a special one in my mind. The scope of that episode was excellent– time travel, historical implications, etc.

37. Dom - December 10, 2006

Number 34.

I think the reason there won’t be a ‘next’ Next Generation of Trek is that wider cinema-going audiences won’t be interested. You’ll get Trek fans going, but a film can’t only be aimed at them.

Like it or not, to a lot of people, Trek is ‘Beam me up Scotty!’ ‘Live long and prosper!’ the NCC-1701, Kirk, Spock and McCoy. It’s not about ‘Church of Roddenberry’ 1980s lifestyle guru philosophising: it’s about an archetypal group of characters and their exciting adventures in unexplored regions of space beyond the Federation borders.

Face it: the typical Next Gen story of the Enterprise-D on a routine diplomatic mission within or near Federation borders where it runs into something possibly dangerous that somehow traps the bunch of crewmembers who can sort it inside a holodeck simulation, requiring much browbeating about the Prime Directive, just doesn’t interest an audience outside the fanbase (indeed many of us fans would soon have our teeth drawn than watch another of those!)

Trek at its best isn’t niche audience. When Trek tries to be niche, we get Voyager or Enterprise. When Trek tries to be mainstream, we get Star Trek II or Star Trek IV, films Roddenberry loathed.

38. StephenMartin - December 10, 2006

Dom…my name is Stephen. ;)
Paramount has always just assumed that if they make a Trek movie, fans will do. The last couple of movies should’ve taught them that that thinking is mushy at best. Trek fans are much more demanding then they know. Obviously.

Since when, does the mainstream support Trek, excluding saving the whales? Like you said, to the mainstream, Trek and it’s characters are no more than a joke. That being the case, to think that Abrams is going to magically change 40+ years of bias with a new back to the beginnings Trek is naive. But that is Paramounts basic flaw when it comes to the franchise…naive.

39. Dom - December 10, 2006

Adam (36)

My Dad used Star Trek as a resource for bedtime stories back as young as I can remember. So that would be the mid-late 1970s.

The first stories I can remember watching (I was younger than 5, so the memory blurs as to which came first) were And the Children Shall Lead, Spock’s Brain, The Tholian Web, The Lights of Zetar and Operation: Annihilate. There was also one where Spock had a different colour shirt (Where No Man . . .) They were my core learning of storytelling, along with Enid Blyton novels!

I didn’t see the rocks as ‘styrofoam’ when I watched Star Trek: I saw them as ‘alien’ rocks . . . different from what normal rocks on Earth looked like. Star Trek made the universe big in my child’s mind. I saw the world in terms of its place in a larger universe, people of all races as ‘people’, the present in terms of a past I needed to discover and a future I looked forward to being part of.

40. Dom - December 10, 2006

Stephen (38). Apologies for the use of numbers. Just wanted you to know that it was you I was replying to, in the event that someone else said something while I wrote the reply!

However, when I was saying that ‘to a lot of people, Trek is ‘Beam me up Scotty!’ ‘Live long and prosper!’ the NCC-1701, Kirk, Spock and McCoy,’ I wasn’t saying that that was a joke. The public ***like*** those things, even if they send them up. They have a warm affection for those things. That’s what people want to see in Star Trek.

When Kirk bought the big one, the heart of Star trek was ripped out! TNG had one successful film after that, then no one cared anymore, because they weren’t attached to the TNG characters sentimentally or philosophically.

The mainstream audience supported Trek through its return as a cartoon, through its arrival as a disappointingly sterile feature film, was convinced by word of mouth to give the subsequent films a go and embraced all those until the disappointment of Star Trek V. Star Trek VI got smaller returns, but the promise of a good send-off for the crew brought back a lot of punters!

Bear in mind, the mainstream makes up the majority of Star Trek viewers on TV or in the cinema. They’re people who watch the shows weekly or occasionally . . . people who like the show and its characters but aren’t invested in the minutiae.

Star Trek fans are a small interest group compared with the main audience: useful to keep on-side, but not the core focus of who the producers need to please. Later Berman Treks strayed so far out of their depth, for example, that they couldn’t hang on to the fans, let alone the general public.

41. StephenMartin - December 10, 2006

Why do you believe that the mainstream audience is the mainstay for Trek? I have never seen any evidence to support such a theory. Could you elaborate?

42. DB - December 10, 2006

Because the fannish audience isn’t big enough to make producing “Star Trek” worthwhile for the studio. Never has been, never will be.

#16: Anybody likes the show he grew up with better.”

This is the only worthwhile truth unearthed in this discussion. ;)

The future of the Franchise will be driven by the marketplace, as it always has been. The only certainty is that those fans who view the current interest in the original “Star Trek” as some important kind of vindication will be unhappy and kvetching again in a few years.

43. Bart - December 10, 2006

Without TNG there would be NO DS9, NO Voyager, NO Enterprise and definetely NO JJ Abrams doing another movie.
TNG took Trek into the present. Acting was far more superior. Ever seen Shatner do anything Stewart did as in Chain of Command (the interrogation scene)??

44. Adam Cohen - December 10, 2006

We need a Star Trek Fan Census! How many of us are there in the world? Age demos? Does Paramount have any tracking on this?

I think if you take a show like TNG, which had 20 million people tuning in weekly at its peak, you figure that there’s a mainstream appeal happening there. During the early 1990’s, you saw Star Trek on the covers of mainstream magazines (TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, Time) on a regular basis. Dom cites the miserable handling of Kirk’s death as the beginning of the end to Star Trek’s broad appeal, and I have to agree with that statement. Generations was a bad movie, it was dull, dour and it had a terrible ending (Kirk’s death). And here, TNG left weekly television with a lot of fan support, only to squander it right out the gates.

I don’t know how much money “hardcore fans” account for in terms of box-office gross, but Nemesis’ $42 million take might be as good an indication as any of that figure. Even then, I had to be cajoled to see it in the theater by a friend (it was the first Star Trek movie I did not see opening day). I think I was dreading the experience… and I was right to feel that way.

45. Dom - December 10, 2006

Bart. No Shatner wouldn’t do what Stewart did in Chain of Command – he’d do his own thing. In his younger days, he was known as the ‘male Fay Wray’ because of his reputation for screaming!

Just because Patrick Stewart was an act-TOR who appeared in the RSC more recently than Shatner had done Shakespeare (Shatner was also a theatre actor, including the Shakespeare plays, before Kirk, and was well-regarded for his performance in Marlowe’s Tamberlaine) doesn’t make him better than Shatner. Shatner acted Stewart off the screen in Generations!

Stephen. You’re seriously telling me that the Star Trek fanbase is so huge that it alone can sustain profits for multi-million-dollar movies and TV shows? Star Trek fans are a relatively small interest group. No franchise is ever aimed soley at a fanbase. It’s always aimed at the mainstream audience or at least a major mainstream demographic.

You ***can*** make movies for a fanbase, like the farce that Serenity turned out to be where fans proclaimed it to be the second coming and made sure it won almost every public vote . . . even though no bugger went to see it and it still hasn’t made back its budget!

But Star Trek has always been about the mainstream. No studio would ever fund a movie or television show only to capture the existing fans. The fans can usually be relied upon to check out the film, but for the studio to make any money (and in the case of TV TX advertisers to support the show), it needs the people who occasionally look at Trek on TV and the people who never watch Trek, but feel like seeing a movie and the ‘Oh, let’s go and see a movie . . . look that new Star Trek film’s on . . . maybe check that out!’ crowd.

The mainstream is the lifeblood of all franchises.

46. DB - December 10, 2006

#43: “Without TNG there would be NO DS9, NO Voyager, NO Enterprise and definetely NO JJ Abrams doing another movie.”

This is true; the old movies were running out of steam pretty quickly. No, “Starfleet Academy” wouldn’t have salvaged anything at that time.

Roddenberry may or may not have been a particularly brilliant producer at the time that he came back to help create TNG, but if it were not for his conviction that Trek was something with some intrinsic conceptual and entertainment value apart from the increasingly kitschy performances and stories of the film revivals “Star Trek” would most likely be remembered as a phenomenon that surged and waned in the 1980s along with Jane Fonda workout tapes, pastel legwarmers and big hair. And in that parallel world, they’d be planning a remake of it right now anyway — but that version would be starring Jack Black and Ben Stiller. ;)

47. StephenMartin - December 10, 2006

Dom… please support your argument. I’d appreciate some facts. Thanks.

48. DB - December 10, 2006

#44: “I don’t know how much money “hardcore fans” account for in terms of box-office gross, but Nemesis’ $42 million take might be as good an indication as any of that figure.”

Yeah, that’s probably a good place to start. Bump it up a little for inflation and the Kirk/Spock recasting factor and figure about a fifty-sixty million dollar take.

49. DB - December 10, 2006

#47: “Dom… please support your argument. I’d appreciate some facts.”

I’m sure we’d like to see yours as well. :)

50. Josh - December 10, 2006

Kirk’s “risk gentlemen” speech to inspire the crew and remind them why they are out there was equal to if not superior to anything Stewart offered in his 7 year run. That little monologue inspired a many a Trekker including your truly as a child.

So yes, Stewarts three lights is interesting, Shatner’s mission statement is dynamic and empowering.

51. Dom - December 10, 2006

DB. Jack Black and Ben Stiller! Are you in touch with Paramount?! That’s pretty good casting actually!! ;)

But TOS Trek movies survived into the 1990s with the ‘kitschy performances and stories of the film revivals’ being part of their enduring appeal.

If anything, it’s TNG which now has the echoes of ‘Jane Fonda workout tapes, pastel legwarmers and big hair!’ TNG is a very 1980s show, even in its 1990s seasons.

The reason Enterprise failed was that it was made in a 1980s philosophical and programme-making timewarp that ignored everything that had come since. I mean, it even had a naff 80s-style powerballad for a theme tune.

TNG as a TV show could get away with being over-earnest and preachy since it originated in that environment in 1980s California. ST: Insurrection, ST:Nemesis, Voyager and Enterprise had no such excuse.

52. Adam Cohen - December 10, 2006

#43 and #47, Never underestimate a studio’s greed. I don’t think it makes sense to guess what the world would be without TNG because to be honest, TNG was an inevitable event in Trek’s history. In whatever shape or form (film or TV) imaginable, Paramount would have eventually made a new Star Trek without the original cast. Look at how studios revive other shows (Dukes of Hazzard, Bewitched, Get Smart, Mission: Impossible, The Untouchables, etc.). I don’t think Star Trek would have been relegated to the cultural impact of legwarmers and work-out tapes. I think prior to TNG, Star Trek had unique cultural value. I think after ST: VI, something would have been cooked up after the fact to continue the series (an Academy Years show/movie or a “TNG” type reinvention). As long as the public has some awareness of the “brand name” that is Star Trek, there will always be an effort by the studio to cash in on that commodity.

53. jason - December 10, 2006

TNG is still the best.

54. StephenMartin - December 10, 2006

I’m willing to change my mind, DB. All I’m asking for is some supporting facts. I don’t think that is unreasonable. Do you?

55. Eric A.D. - December 10, 2006

I like Mark Altman as a writer quite a bit, but his bias always shows when writing about Trek ( Although back when he wrote for Cinefantastique and Sci Fi Universe in the 90’s, he often had very positive things to say about The Next Generation and DS9. Not sure why the turn around now ) TOS is the one he grew up with and loved, so he sees it through that filter..to him it can do no wrong. Now for me, TNG debuted when I was 13, and went off the air as I was about to turn 20, so they were on all through my formative years, so to me that is THE Star Trek. TNG started off shaky for sure, but by it’s second season it started to get it’s shit together, and by their third season they were firing on all cylinders. DS9 also started off shaky, but by their third season ( around the time Ronald D. Moore came on board ) the show really begin to be more than a TNG clone and became a serialized epic, something never before done in Trek. For anyone who says “I’d rather watch any TOS episode over TNG” I say this: “The Measue of a Man”, “Q Who?” “The Sins of the Father” “The Offspring” “The Best of Both Wolds” “The Drumhead” “Chain of Command”. And those are just the ones off the top of my head. I love TOS as much as anyone, but where I think Shatner is really good at playing Shatner, I pretty much think Patrick Stewert can play anything. In even the worst episodes of TNG, he can take a boring on the page scene and give it real life ( Example: that one episode where he and Wesley are yapping away in the shuttle about Picard’s younger days when he was impaled through the chest. His acting was so great in that scene it overshadowed any action in that episode ) Shatner is a great personality…but Stewert is a great actor. Having said that, I too would rather watch any TOS over Voyager and Enterprise. :)

56. Sponge - December 10, 2006

The T in Trek is Earl Grey, HOT!

“I am for you, Alrik of Valt,” TNG The Perfect Mate (Perfect Coffemate!)

Computer, Jean Grey, HOT!

“Riker to bridge, if anyone needs me I’ll be on Holodeck 4.”

– Riker

Computer: Lev-Lev-Level?
James T. Kirk: Bridge. I hope. I could use a shower.
Spock: [looking at Kirk for several seconds] Yes.

57. Sponge - December 10, 2006

Legacy is a cool game but it’s missing an intro. You click the icon and get dumped in a menu. There’s plenty of story inside the game though. BTW, It costs $1000 to build a barebones PCI express box just to run the game. If you don’t have PCI express now, don’t buy it unless you have money to burn. The game is beautiful, but the ships are not as nice as CBS’ remastered ships.

58. John A. - December 10, 2006

We really need one more TNG movie just to shut people up… lol…

I love TNG, and would like to see it again in one more film. Thats it… just one. Lets have a happy ending for the TNG cast. The Kirk/Spock prequel can come out before a new TNG movie. I don’t t6hink it would effect anything. The other option is to have a TNG mini-series to wrap it up. Would the TNG cast go for that? Who knows….

59. Sponge - December 10, 2006

The GenX Trek!

http://jefzef.com/beam.htm

60. Sponge - December 10, 2006

The proper way to Trek:

http://www.clipshack.com/Clip.aspx?key=80B4C310E0669C95

61. Adam Cohen - December 10, 2006

#55 Eric A.D.

I was ten when TNG premiered and I was 17 when it went off the air. I have seen every TNG episode. Now, mind you I was a fan of Star Trek prior to TNG, having my mother tell me “Star Trek is awesome” as soon as the last Star Wars movie (at the time, Return of the Jedi) was released. So, I came of age, like you, watching TNG, but TOS was an important part of that period for me as well. I would say without a doubt that TOS is my favorite show, but I was heavy into TNG, particulary starting with its third season revival under the direction of Michael Piller, a true talent at storytelling.

I think we have our personal preferences, but objectively comparing the two shows is kind of silly. And rating Shatner v. Stewart is equally dubious. Shatner had different material than Stewart. They also happen to be very different men in real life– different life experiences, different professional experiences and two very different shows in which they starred. Shatner is a darned good actor. I don’t agree that he was a “personality” back in the 1960s. Quite the contrary, Shatner is quite convincing in the role of a starship commander (a role he cultivated with no predecessor). Stewart was himself excellent in his role. I think once the writers figured out his character (again, during Season 3 of TNG) things started to take off for Stewart. Picard went from being a French captain to a British one once Stewart decided “to hell with the story bible, I’m going to play this one a little closer to home.” And Stewart, like Shatner, is convincing as the commander of a starship. But these two shows came from different periods in our history AND they had to appeal to different tastes as well. It’s easier for people to say TNG was “better” because it is closer to what we deem as modern entertainment than TOS. It would be like comparing Perry Mason to L.A. Law. Things change.

As for my personal example, I absorbed both shows concurrently. I was more attracted to what TOS offered based on the characters and the creative storytelling. I don’t profess that my opinion is the right one, I only use it as an example of how these shows can be perceived differently. I can rattle off a dozen TNG episodes that I think are fantastic too. And while I “prefer” TOS, I don’t turn my nose up at TNG. They’re different stories in many ways.

One thing I think we can all agree on is that Picard and Kirk should never have met the way it was done in Generations. Can I get an amen?

62. Dom - December 10, 2006

Stephen. My facts are the whole of film history.

Name me a major franchise that has only been aimed at a fanbase. Name me one single, multi-million-dollar film franchise that is only aimed at a small group of people.

I’ll grant you that there have been small films, made as small films, that have captured people’s imagination and turned into something bigger. But the cinema has been a money-making business from day one.

Star Trek films, like any others are made to make money, not to make a tiny interest group of fanboys get all groiny! ;)

There’s not a single film or TV show I’ve personally worked on that hasn’t been intended to get the biggest audience ratings possible. There’s not a single person I know of in any of the various media who hasn’t had to think in terms of maximum reach and advertising while making a TV show, film or website.

Are Superman films only aimed at DC Comics readers? Are Batman films only aimed at DC Comics readers? Are Spider-Man films only aimed at Marvel Comics readers?

Ask Anthony Pascale about this site. Does he want trekmovie.com to appeal only to hard-core fanboys or does he hope that as Trek (hopefully) draws in mainstream punters, they might feel compelled to look in on this site meaning more advertising and more revenue. Anthony loves Trek and created this site as a result of that. But he still needs advertising and the wider his readership, the more people will want to advertise!

Is Star Trek Remastered being made purely for the fans? No. It’s being made to keep Star Trek up-to-date. By removing a wider audience’s potential intolerance of dated SFX they might appreciate TOS for its great stories and performances and therefore watch the ads in the breaks and buy the DVDs/HDDVDs/Bluerays when they come out, making money.

There’s not a single casting person I know who will try NOT to cast an actor that will attract the most punters.

No producer I’ve ever worked with has ever tried NOT to get a presenter or v/o artist who doesn’t have mass appeal or can’t engender mass appeal.

Star Trek is a movie franchise. It’s not any more special than any other. Look at the history of cinema and you’ll have your answers!

63. Eric A.D. - December 10, 2006

#61 Adam Cohen:

I pretty much agree with everything you just said…It may just seem like I was bashing TOS when in fact, I love it ( And I was also very familiar with TOS before TNG came out, I had older siblings that were into Trek ) Not to mention that Wrath of Khan was on like every day on HBO ( along with Poltergeist ) back in the early 80’s ( And both are still two of my favorite films ever ) And I don’t think Shatner was “just playing Shatner” in those early episodes of TOS, but more towards the end. To this day, I watch TOS as much as TNG. It just bugs me that Mark Altman rips TNG and DS9 now when he said many positive things about them not that long ago. Saying they are dated to the 90’s is as stupid as when people say that classic Trek is “too 60’s” Well DUH….that’s when they were made.

64. Dom - December 10, 2006

Eric. Mark says:

‘Ironically, while it’s nearly impossible to watch Next Generation or Deep Space Nine these days, both which seem hopelessly dated relics of the bland 90s; Classic Trek, with its 60s fuelled New Frontier zeal, despite its Styrofoam sets and dated visual effects, remains amazingly potent.’

Mark is writing from a present day perspective. He might well have had good things to say about these shows at the time of their original tx. But, 15-plus years later, he thinks they’re dated and show up what was, in reflection, a bland era.

He feels TOS still has relevance in the present day, while the other shows are ONLY relevant to the period in which they were made!

It’s not a crime for one’s views to evolve down the years, y’know. Twenty years from now another generation might even fall in love with TNG all over again! ;)

65. DB - December 10, 2006

#64: Exactly.

An opinion remains no more and no less than that: an opinion.

Beyond that; In the case of popular entertainment, a literate, informed opinion based on experience is not much more likely to accurately predict what will succeed and what will not than is a monkey throwing darts at a wall papered in spec scripts. ;)

66. Adam Cohen - December 10, 2006

#63 Eric A.D.

Oh yeah, like you said before, Mark Altman was prolific in writing about TNG and DS9. I still own the magazines where he did his capsule reviews of every episode of both shows, and he had lots of good things to say about TNG and DS9– at the time, I regarded Mark Altman as THE reviewer-laureate of all things Star Trek. I think what Altman said in his editorial above is a reflection of what I said earlier in this thread– were it not for Voyager and Enterprise, I think TNG and DS9 would enjoy a lot more fan support because the Trek-fatigue (aka “Rick Berman fatigue”) would not have set in. The property was overdeveloped. Paramount milked it till the thing damn near died. And I, a “lifer” in Trek fandom, almost didn’t see Nemesis in the theaters!

The way things ended in the past few years has left a bad taste in a lot of fans’ mouths. I think Altman’s statement reflects that sentiment. If he were to comment here to explain that statement, I would expect him to say as much.

67. StephenMartin - December 10, 2006

You are correct, Star Trek or any other franchise, is made to make money, but it’s made in the spirit to appeal to a fan base with the intent of bringing in the mainstream. Franchise movies appeal to a fan base. If the movie is good, then the word gets out, and the mainstream goes…thus expanding the fan base. Also franchise movies rely on their fan boys coming back again and again, if the movie is good that is, which increases profits. That is one of the reasons Nemesis failed. Fans didn’t go two, three or four times. The movie script was weak too, and fans stayed away.

In my 40 years of experiencing Star Trek, with the exception of IV and TMP, I have never talked to anyone in the mainstream that would consider going to a Star Trek movie, or watch the TV shows. Most main streamers laugh when Star Trek is mentioned. If the producers of Trek are unaware of this, then it makes perfect sense they have not been able to come up with a truly successful Trek venture in the last 10 years.

I won’t spend anymore time on this, because this is a no win argument. You have your beliefs, I have mine. I’m 99% sure I’m right on the money. I respect that you feel the same way.

68. Adam Cohen - December 10, 2006

#67, That’s the spirit, mate!

BTW, I loved your work in “Trains, Plains & Automobiles” :)

69. StephenMartin - December 10, 2006

^^
Sorry wrong guy. ;)

70. Adam Cohen - December 10, 2006

I know, I am a loser for making the obvious joke, but it had to be made! Consider that your initiation, welcome to the fray. When did you start reading this site?

71. Dom - December 10, 2006

Stephen, loads of people go to Trek movies or watch the TV shows beyond the fan base or there wouldn’t have been any movies, TNG or whatever.

Trek is a multi-media franchise incorporating novels, comics, computer games, toys and countless other items. These appeal to a fanbase, but the desire is to sell to the mainstream audience. They don’t put trailers out there for fans, y’know! Fans will see a film come what may. The trailers are to suck in the casual viewers.

Most people who watch a Superman, Spider-Man or Batman film have never read one of the comic books. Plenty of people outside of the US who like Superman don’t necessarily even realise it’s based on a comic!

The ordinary people who decide on seeing a Trek movie will do so because of the promotion. A fanboy is unlikely to have much impact on a person’s decision to go (although, in my experience, fanboys are very good at putting people off going to see these kinda films ;))

Star Trek films can reasonably expect to be treated like Bond movies if they are handled right.

Hopefully you’ll meet some nicer people at some stage who don’t laugh at you for mentioning Star Trek. I know loads of people who would check out a Star Trek movie but not be bothered with anything else related to it. To them, it’s a film franchise like Batman or Superman. They like it but won’t ever live and breathe it!

72. StephenMartin - December 10, 2006

I’m breaking my word here, but I’m sure you will get over it. :)

Like many others, you make the obvious mistake of including Trek among other franchises. It’s in a class by itself. Unique in that only certain people are drawn to it. If you’ve been around Trek for as long as you claim, I’m a little amazed you do not know that. For the most part, Star Trek is not taken seriously outside the fan base. That you don’t know that, also surprises me. If the producers of the franchise are thinking along your lines, and no offense is intended here, then we will expect the same results we’ve gotten over the last decade.

73. Big Bill Cox - December 10, 2006

#43: You Can’t Be Serious

“TNG took Trek into the present. Acting was far more superior. Ever seen Shatner do anything Stewart did as in Chain of Command (the interrogation scene)?? ”

When Picard screams out “There are FOUR LIGHTS!” as he is being taken away to be returned to the Enterprise, I absolutely cringed. The acting didn’t seem superior in any way. In fact, it was as over the top and hammy as anything Shatner has been accused of being. Stewart is highly over-rated.

74. Orbitalic - December 10, 2006

Congrats to most all of you….the discussion didn’t devolve into a clubbing in a back alley, like a few threads ago.

I cannot completely disagree with Mr. Altman.
Trek lives!
But contrary to some opinions, I don’t believe it was as near death as you may think. There was a decade between the cancellation and TMP that was only populated with novels and reruns. Now we have finished 5 series and 10 movies (and one in the oven), hundreds of novels …… (shatnerian pause…) and Trek – is – dead?
I cannot agree with Altman’s TNG and etc comments… ALL five series had terrible episodes from Enterprise back to TOS. ENT had dogs in space… but TOS had giant space ameobas. TOS is revered… and it should be…I like it too… But I also enjoyed parts of all 5 series… as I said, some good, some bad. Don’t attempt to make me feel bad because I believe Star Trek is the whole timeline and didn’t begin and end on Kirk’s bridge.

75. MichaelJohn - December 10, 2006

It’s pointless comparing one Star Trek series to another…If you’re already a big fan of TNG and you prefer it over TOS, nothing anyone posts here is going to change your opinion…

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think whatever series you “grew up with” with always be your favorite. I grew up in the seventies and my favorite will always be TOS. I think it’s natural and normal to prefer movies, TV shows and music from your own generation and equally normal, as we get older, to reject or not appreciate things from the current generation. At least in my life that seems to be true..

I have two nephews that are totally into DS9, but they never cared for the other series. They grew up in the nineties, and DS9 is now part of their memories and nostalgia, the same way TOS is part of mine. Maybe one of the big reasons I like DS9 so much is because I remember watching DS9 with my nephews and having a great time!

I don’t think DS9 looks or seems dated at all, but I do find many TNG episodes to be rather boring and lacking in excitement. I like my sci-fi to have more action, while others prefer more cerebral sci-fi. To each his own!

I can’t believe I’m about to say this..but I agree with everything Josh had to say in this discussion! If he had written this article there would have been fireworks in these posts! These type of topics never lead to good debate..just fights and arguements. It’s pointless..

Thanks Josh for holding your tongue. You are showing admirable “restraint” regarding this topic.

Merry Christmas!

Long live Spock and Quark!

Mike :o

76. Stanky McFibberich - December 10, 2006

re: 36. Adam Cohen – December 10, 2006

“Question for the gang: When did you first see TOS? Do you remember the episode?”

The first episode I saw was the first one telecast, “The Man Trap” in 1966. Unfortunately, my mom didn’t like it, so we hardly ever got to have it on again during its original run. Rediscovering it in the 70s in syndication, the first episode I remember catching as I became a regular viewer was “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”. I have been hooked off and on ever since.

77. Eric A.D. - December 10, 2006

#66 Adam Cohen

I remember all those capsule reviews of TNG and DS9 that Mark Altman did too! I wish I still had those magazines. I remember thinking he was by far the best and most objective reviewer when it came to Trek. I remember him championing DS9 when a lot of TNG fans had dismissed it. I think you are correct in that his opinion of Trek might be different had it not been milked to death by Voyager and Enterprise. I was very dissapointed in those shows myself, but I never let it alter my opinion of TNG and DS9 ( After all, aside from Rick Berman, all those shows had different writing staff ) That reminds me of so many people I know who now “hate Star Wars” or “hate The Matrix” because they didn’t like the later inferior installments. Why should that affect your opinion of what came before? Especially when what came before was of high quality? That kind of revisionist opinion just irks me, especially from a reviewer that I would think knows better.

78. Adam Cohen - December 10, 2006

#77 Eric A.D.

It’s funny that you mention Star Wars in this context. I remember in the “wasteland” of the early 1990s, I was a fervent Star Wars fan, dealing with friends that “grew out of” the series. When Episode I was about to come out, Star Wars became “cool” again (bleepin’ fairweather fans!) and once there was a backlash against the series thanks to the prequels, there I was, holding my little “Star Wars” banner all alone (again!).

Fandom is a funny thing. I think what Dom and StephenMartin are talking about relates to this– you have these mainstream surges in a franchise and inbetween what maintains them is the “everyday” fan, the one that (this is very important now) BUYS THE MERCHANDISE, reads the fan mags, goes online to chat about the show, etc. Without the everyday fan, the show does not survive the “lean” years inbetween those surges. Mainstream audiences are important in terms of helping turn a profit, but the more dedicated fans fulfill an important role as well. There is a fuzzy line between “mainstream” and “dedicated”- I mean does reading a “Star Trek” novel make you a dedicated fan? How about ten novels? How about buying a videogame?

Again, my paranoia makes me think somewhere in the depths of Paramount’s facilities, there is a book that has a massive amount of information on this subject, with demographics, statistics and a discreet formula for determining what makes a real fan. Basically, I am of the opinion (and fear) that the Borg run the studio.

79. Rick - December 10, 2006

#36 My first STAR TREK episode I recall seeing was on a black and white tv in a basement in Webster, NY. The year now that is a blur I think it would of been maybe between 69-71when to show was done and in early repeats. I was in the age of 5-7 so the imagery was cool and wild to my child like mind. Well this episode was THE NAKED TIME. What is wild is I think the tv got turned on just as it started because the image of Spock and crewman Tormolen beaming down into the frozen lab/outpost in their protective suits is phaser burned into my mind.;) You know I cannot recall if I saw the rest of the episode that night.;) Maybe within roughly the same time period my dad took my brothers and I to Reds barber shop and I recall the episode THE GALILEO SEVEN was on. I was so interested and wanted to just get in front of the TV while I was getting my hair cut. I was curious yet a touch scared as these monsturous creatures were picking off the crewman of the Enterprise. Those black and white STAR TREK memories what fun. ;)

80. Admiral Deem - December 10, 2006

For what it’s worth, I grew up–and loved–and love–TOS. I was prepared to not like TNG when it debuted. I chuckled at Data’s thesaurus romp about the word snoop in the pilot and was hooked when they trotted out DeForest Kelley. By the time BOBW came along, TNG had become my favorite and still is. I have never believed that loyalty to any one set is an act of treason against another.So for me, the argument that you go with the one you grew up with is wrong.

Regardless of my love for TNG, it is clear that Abrams is making a TOS movie. I applaud it and I am looking forward to it. The fact I wish most for one final TNG film has no bearing on that. I would much prefer the man to make a movie about the ST crew he is passionate about.

For so long there were two camps during the TNG run–originalists vs. NextGens. When Nimoy did his two-part, it healed many of the divides and I, for one was grateful to see it. We all love Star Trek and, while I know trhere are a lot of TOS fans who just hate TNG, I don’t think there are very many TNG boosters who are not also big fans of TOS.

So here is my supposition, which has been touched on previously. If the fate of ST were left, in 1986, in the hands of the former group (originalists), there would have been no TNG, DSP, VOY or ENT or movies 7-10….OR XI. Those who embraced TNG, who gave it a chance and finally accepted it, are those most responsible for the event which we are now anticipating so eagerly.

My two cents on a Sunday night.

81. DreamerOutThere - December 10, 2006

I have to say. “while it’s nearly impossible to watch Next Generation or Deep Space Nine these days, both which seem hopelessly dated relics of the bland 90s; ” I completely disagree. DS9 is the best of trek.

82. DB - December 10, 2006

And you’re pretty much Absolutely Right(TM).

83. Shatber Rules! - December 10, 2006

we can discuss very meaningful stufff here

RIGHT ON TOS FANS!

84. Shatner Rules! - December 10, 2006

whats a shabner? ….a shatner on tranya!

85. Steve-O - December 10, 2006

Now for my two pennies:
TOS was the mold for which all other Treks were made. It was the blueprint to follow, and most of it’s children did it justice.
TNG was like sparkling water to a thirsty hoarde of die-hard fans, who had nearly given up on any kind of Trek on the small screen. It had solid acting, excellent writing, and fabulous special effects. I would have paid to see most of the episodes, had they not been on air.
DSN was too slow, dark, and boring-for me. My brother swears by it, but it just didn’t ever grab me.
VOY was an attempt to milk the cash cow, just one more time. It was Berman’s utter failure. He should be forced to watch it over and over.
ENT was very promising, but started out a very slow crawl, but got it’s legs in the second and ensueing seasons. I do feel the technology looked more modern that TOS, and the continuity seemed just a bit skewed. I think the studio gave up too soon on this endeavor. Two more seasons should have been done, just for us die-hard fans.
The future? Who knows, but I think another film is a bad idea. The SF Academy idea is much more suited for the small screen. But that’s just my opinion.

86. Adam Cohen - December 10, 2006

To Dom, Stanky and Rick,

Thanks for your “Star Trek Memories.” I dig hearing how people found the show, particularly you old guys with black and white television sets (haha!). My how far we’ve come, complaining about 1080p broadcasts not coming out fast enough.

Also, thanks to everyone for another great discussion.

87. Buckaroohawk - December 10, 2006

Wow! What an amazing debate and/or discussion. Mark Altman’s views have always been good for stirring up talk. I’ve been reading his stuff for years and I’ve always found his comprehensive knowledge of Trek remarkable. I’ve also found most of his writing to be terribly egotistical and a bit callous, but that’s just me.

I agree that TOS is the best of the Trek series, but the others have exceptional value for so many reasons, the most apparent being that, just like TOS, they are a reflection of the times in which they were made. Each series also made important contributions to the Trek universe. We wouldn’t have the knowledge and insight into Klingon culture that we do if it weren’t for TNG. DS9 resharpened the social edge that TOS had while adding an epic, serialized nature that the franchise was lacking. VOY returned to the ideas of exploration and facing the unknown with courage, insight, and intelligence. Even ENT (which has often been rightly maligned) had relevence by showing us that exploration of the unknown can be extremely dangerous and thrilling at the same time.

Relevence is an opinion, not a summary judgment. If Mark Altman doesn’t see relevence in the more recent incarnations of Trek, then he’s not looking closely enough. All the series have spoken about the era’s they came from. Personally, I can’t watch the first season of TNG, but later episodes like “The Best of Both Worlds,” “The Drumhead,” “Darmok,” and “All Good Things” still keep me glued to the screen. Likewise with DS9, especially with the Dominion War storyline. Watch those episodes and you’ll see that not only was DS9 relevent, it was ahead of its time in its dramatization of the political underpinnings of war. I felt that VOY lost its way, but the first episode, “The Caretaker” and much of the first season was pure Roddenberry Trek through and through. Lastly, ENT was finally beginning to embrace its heritage as a part of Trek and I believe that had it continued, the show could have become something special.

As Star Trek fans, we will all find relevence somewhere in these series, so to list any part of Trek as “irrelevent” shows hubris at best, and elitist conceit at worst. None of it should be discounted, if only because none of us would be here talking about Trek like this if it weren’t for ALL of its incarnations. You can’t get any more relevent than that.

88. MichaelJohn - December 10, 2006

#80… Admiral Deem

I’ve yet to meet a person that grew up in the sixties or seventies that preferred TNG, or any of the other spin off series, over the original show. I’m sure there are exceptions, like yourself, but I would bet you are in a very small minority.

Since there is no contemporary series in production today, I think it would be interesting to know what Star Trek series is the favorite of today’s generation.

Never before has so much Trek been available to the serious or casual fan. Today’s fan can watch ST many times a week on various cable channels, or they can buy or rent ten ST movies, one ST cartoon series, and five live actions ST series. That’s a “shat-load” of trek!

As much as I love Star Trek TOS, many in today’s younger and more sophisticated generation find the original TOS episodes dated, and the special effects primitive. In many ways they are right about the effects, but not about the great stories that still make TOS so popular to this day.

I know a few people that will never watch a “black and white” TV shows or movie, because they automatically dismiss them as being old fashioned and not worth watching. This is crazy of course, but a reality with many of today’s younger viewers. That’s why studios continue to spend big bucks to “colorize” many old black and white tv shows and films. It’s simply a marketing move to appeal to younger audiences.

In many ways the remastering of TOS is one big marketing move by CBS. I don’t think they are doing this so much to please older fans like myself, but to appeal to future audiences that would not readily accept TOS without the HD and special effects facelift.

Maybe I’m being a bit cynical, but I think it all boils down to money and keeping the franchise profitable today and in the future….

Mike :o

89. StephenMartin - December 10, 2006

^^
I don’t think you’re being cynical at all. But I do believe you are correct.

My first time was on a Friday night (1968-69. Don’t know which). I was out doing my thing with the boys and girls and had to come home for something. My mother was watching “Omega Glory.” I really didn’t know what it was, but thought it was pretty cool. I stood there and watched for a couple of minutes, then I went off and rejoined my friends. In the summer of 1969, I found myself temporarily stationed at Subic Bay Naval Base, Philippines. One day while off duty, I was walking around the base and came onto the base theater. I noticed that Star Trek was playing. Knowing that, seemed to make me feel closer to home. Plus, I was terribly bored, so I wandered in. And right there on the big screen Captain James T. Kirk was battling the Gorn. I was hooked.

90. Dom - December 11, 2006

Agreed about Arena, Stephen. One of my all-time great memories of Trek.

Btw, are you from the US? Being from the UK, I suspect the viewership of Trek might be different from in the US. I know that, here, there’s a substantial casual audience for it. Perhaps the US looks at it differently. That said, it’s in people’s nature to see ‘their’ franchise as special. Star Trek TOS is the only franchise where I’ve felt compelled to buy every film on DVD (although I only count the TOS films in that description! ;))

Chances are that our argument was a little too culturally-specific. Were you US Navy? It’d be interesting to know what insight your naval background gives you of the way Starfleet etc was run.

Hope you didn’t get too cheesed off in the earlier discussion. Waking up this morning you look at the discussions of the night before and realise you can come over way more aggressive than you intended!!! :)

91. Resistance is futile.........so FUKN RUN!!!!! - December 11, 2006

Tng is the best it’s rediculous that this discussion is pointless facts are facts, it is the most popular, most celebrated, best written/acted, best characters/relationships/development etc etc. TNG was the blueprint/mold for the future Treks it broke away a little from the original series (um by like setting it 100 years AHEAD for the smartasses who were going to ask how)

92. Josh - December 11, 2006

If the Next generation was the “blueprint” for future Treks, that isn’t saying much for The Next Generation now is it?

93. Herbert Eyes Wide Open - December 11, 2006

#91. Resistance…

Firstly, you have a very amusing posting moniker.

Secondly, this discussion is very pointed… mainly ’cause it is enlightening, compelling and great fun.

Thirdly, for the sake of accuracy, I think TNG takes place seventy-five to eighty years after TOS. Admittedly, a minor point.

Regarding “facts are facts” and TNG being the “most and the best” whatever… certainly, you are entitled to your opinion. And, I wouldn’t presume to argue YOUR level of enjoyment of that series.

However, there is only one series that has the resonance (I checked with Josh and he said I could use the word) and the “legs” that is relaunching the franchise forty years after it started it to begin with. In my opinion, of course.

#87. Buckaroohawk

Well balanced, thoughtful, and very accurate, observations on the state of Trek. Kudos and a tip of my hat to you.

Anthony, let the fella’ write the next review or editorial.

94. jonboc - December 11, 2006

….rather than a blueprint, I look at TNG as a botched recipe. Not that it tastes bad, it’s just VERY different than it’s namesake. TOS and it’s subsequent spin-offs are truly a case of apples and oranges. TOS was the recipe for apple pie. The other series are called apple pie, yet the apples have been replaced with oranges. For those expecting more apple pie, that substitution can leave a very bitter taste. For those who never liked apple pie to begin with, it’s a whole new taste sensation.

Frankly, I never considered the spin-offs to be “Star Trek” as they were so different in all areas of storytelling, production, formula, etc. For me, personally, these spin-offs are no more “Star Trek” than “Laverne and Shirly” is “Happy Days”, or “The Jeffersons” is “All in the Family”. They are all set in the same fictional universe, but that’s where the similarity ends.

95. Dom - December 11, 2006

Agreed jonboc. TOS and TNG are essentially different universes. I consider them to be a bit like the different numbered continuities in the Marvel Comics Universes.

I also never felt regular TOS characters worked that well in TNG.

Admittedly McCoy, who wasn’t named, worked ok for his scene. Actually, it was kinda poignant that Deforest Kelley appeared as a very old man, given he was the first regular castmember to die.

Spock was dull in Unification, quite honestly. Without Kirk and McCoy as a foil and appearing with Picard and Data, whose characters owe more than a little debt to Spock, he was as drab and grey as his costume.

Scotty came over as a buffoon and Relics was a poor send-off for the character.

Chekov and Scotty otherwise just fade out in Generations playing characters that don’t even sound like Chekov and Scotty.

Sulu and Rand are similarly unremarkable in their swansong in Voyager.

Most significantly, Shatner ate up the screen in Generations and overshadowed everyone including excellent actors like Patrick Stewart and Whoopi Goldberg!

Ultimately, though, I agree that TOS and the TNG-verse are separate entities. The TNG-verse never felt like Star Trek to me. I don’t object to the TNG-verse and the various shows in principal. They all have their plus and minus points. I basically object to the TNG-verse using the name ‘Star Trek!’

96. TheVamp - December 11, 2006

I have never liked Altman and his writing. This was the idiot that said the Star Wars Special Editions wouldn’t make any money. It’s funny, because I liked Free Enterprise very much (except for that menagé a toi part—that smacked of fanboy fantasy). Oh, well. Now that I know he’s the co-publisher of Geek Monthly, I’ll never buy that magazine.

It’s too bad, because I like Jeff Bond’s writing very much and enjoy most of his stuff, especially his work for Film Score Monthly.

None of what Altman says here matters, because no opinon is more important to me than my own—as your own opinions should be of equal importance to each of you!

97. seangh - December 11, 2006

Dom and Jonboc, good points about the differences in the shows. Of course what you both are saying makes perfect sense because TOS and TNG are diffrent entities – they are different shows with different perspectives and sensabilities that live within the ST universe. I don’t think TNG and TOS are really that far apart materially – Dom I think you overstate it a bit, but I don’t think anyone could argue against what you are getting at.

98. Dom - December 11, 2006

Hi seangh.

I often think of multi-media franchises like Star Trek as having ‘elastic continuity.’ Y’know, there can be a really format-/patience-stretching bizarre comedy story like Spock’s Brain, but the show can ‘snap back’ to continue with stories like The Tholian Web.

I think, to an extent, all these franchises have little sub-continuities. I mean look at how The X-Files could encompass both the ‘The Unopened File’ trilogy and ‘Post-Modern Prometheus’ or ‘Jigsaw.’

For me, a departure takes place with ST:The Motion Picture. At that point Star Trek can, and does, go off in different directions, the versions meeting up further down the line.

The ‘Roddenberry true sequel/spin-off’ to TMP is arguably TNG. The Wrath of Khan-The Undiscovered Country (even The Animated Series, arguably) go off in a different direction and represent a different storytelling and continuity path.

I mean, when you watch TNG, you almost wonder if characters from earlier eras should be shown wearing variations on the TMP uniforms rather than TWOK-TUC clothes.

Curiously enough, I think DS9 starts out as a TNG spin-off but improves when it becomes a hybrid of TNG style and the TWOK-TUC film style, sending it off in a very different direction from any of the Treks.

Voyager and Enterprise failed to pick up on DS9’s leads and ended up becoming merely faded TNG clones. That said, I thought Janeway was great. I wish they’d set Voyager in the era of the TOS movies, cos she’d have been way cool in the Bennett/Meyer/Nimoy Trek universe.

I like that Star Trek can have all these different interpretations. I’m not a fan of Roddenberry’s later views of Trek, leading to TNG and so on. I find the Treks of Meyer, Nimoy, even Coto, more vivid and interesting. I’m looking forward to Abrams’ interpretation too.

I don’t think it’s possible to have a definitive Star Trek anymore. That’s a good thing, because like many iconic creations such as Sherlock Holmes, it makes Trek infinitely adaptable and, effectively, immortal.

99. Orbitalic - December 11, 2006

Ok, now it looks like opinions are being repeated.

#92 Josh, I appreciate your restraint on the whole thread… honestly. I picture you “holding it” , almost doing the “potty dance” hands clenched, legs vibrating because you want to type so bad.
I have a legitimate suggestion for you. It’ll save you typing time in the future… consider it “Josh TNG”
Add a concise phrase of your sequel dislike to your name, such as “Josh- I detest TNGDS9VOYand especially ENT”.
I am completely above board with the thought. It’s not a slam by any means. Just avoid “sucks” ..someone took that.
;-)
O

100. Adam Cohen - December 11, 2006

100 posts! I think we’re all done here. Good conversation folks!

101. seangh - December 11, 2006

Dom – well stated. Star Trek and it’s iterations has become nearly as diverse as the universe itself.

I just wish Paramount would have given Joss Wheadon consideration to helm the new flick…but thats for another topic…

102. Dom - December 11, 2006

Hi seangh.

Maybe they will one day! Joss is still a young man! If Wonder Woman does well, he might be approached at some time, if Abrams and Lindelof want to do other things! Same goes for Brian Singer! :)

103. SPOCKBOY - December 11, 2006

Message 12?
Are you kidding me?
After that steaming load of crap called Superman Returns you still have faith in Mr Singer handling the TREK franchise?
He blatantly, and desparately tried in vain to capture the magic, charisma, charm and excitement that Richard Donner created, and failed miserably.
Not to mention a Lois Lane that looks like shes 14 years old with as much moxy and worldliness as “Blossom” and a Superman who likes to stalk people, watching them in their houses like some kind of Super peeping Tom?
Kevin Spacey ‘s feeble impersonation of the wit and charisma brought to the role by brilliant actor Gene Hackman?
SAD.
Other than new effects that ANY effects company worth its salt can do, IT WAS REMARKABLY BLAND. The fact that Singer and his 2 twently year old pals had the arrogance to think they could write a script that could even touch something written by such heavyweights as Mario Puzo (Godfather)Tom Mankiewicz (Diamonds are forever)is laughable.
XMEN 1 and 2 were wonderful, but Superman?
no.

BLAND BLAND BLAND

EXACTLY like the BERMAN TREK
The sad thing is I think that Patirck Stewart and Avery Brooks are excellent actors. Do you honestly think that 40 years after NEXT GEN came out people are going to be excited about it?
NOT A CHANCE

104. Dom - December 11, 2006

Hi SPOCKBOY.

I’m not a fan of Singer either. I think he’d have rather worked on TNG anyway. I simply threw in his name because he’s been mentioned before.

I found the X-Men films disappointing and am not a big enough fan of Superman (Batman fan here!) to be that bothered.

105. StephenMartin - December 11, 2006

96. TheVamp. “None of what Altman says here matters, because no opinon is more important to me than my own—as your own opinions should be of equal importance to each of you!”

Wish I could share the same sentiment, but I cannot. The opinions of the fans, and the producers are what’s important to me. For ultimately, those opinions are what gets the film made, or not made…and how it’s made.

106. seangh - December 11, 2006

Dom – I just threw Whedon’s name out there because he’s sort of hot right now and I think he could really do a bang up job as director on STXI. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised by WW – don’t have high hopes for it.

Singer is a good director working with a mediocre script and cast for Superman Returns and I blame him for it’s blandness and I also blame him for X-Men 3 sucking hard too – he should have stayed with XM3- at least we would have had at least one hit block buster this past summer.

107. Adam Cohen - December 11, 2006

I think Singer is a little overrated.

I watched the Superman Returns DVD extras last week, and it showed Singer goofin around, wasting time and money, building some ridiculously expensive sets from the ground up, etc. He seems like a nice fellow, but he doesn’t appear to possess the maturity of a big-time director. And his concept for Superman Returns was flawed throughout. It was a missed opportunity.

But that’s okay because Batman is boss!

108. StephenMartin - December 11, 2006

Superman returns did $391M worldwide. Batman Begins did #371M worldwide. I would say that Superman is the boss. :D

109. Paul - December 11, 2006

I agree Adam.
I saw those DVD extras as well with Singer and his buddies acting like a bunch of stupid giggling kids with new (remarkably expensive) toys.
I was disappointed however, that Superman didnt rock like Batman Begins did.

Besides, Brian Singer’s eyes are WAY too close together………………;)

110. Admiral Deem - December 11, 2006

For the record, I have had the admiral nickname since college days and I got it just after TWOK was released from people who new what a Trekkie I was. I agree that TOS will always be the most popular of the series and inspire the most loyalty.

Though I prefer TNG I am still a very loyal TOSser. I know I am in a very small minority. But the statement was made that everyone loves the trek he grew up with. I am put in mind of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith when he says, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” BTW–isn’t that statement an absolute in itself? Hmmm…..

As to Superman Returns, I had such high hopes–the opening credits, the music, the really cool airplane save in the ball stadium….then it went south for me. Several reasons. Lois Lane was too bland, Jimmy was a spastic twerp, Perry White was just a grouch with no twinkle in his eye and Brandon Routh is just too much like Chris Reeve–it was creepy.

Spacey’s Luthor was all evil without the humor Gene Hackman brought to the role. I bought the evil but the character was just no fun.

And $270 million? Who in their right mind lets any director spend that munch on a film for a franchise that had previously been in a state of declining receipts? Warner Brothers deserves what happened to it.

111. StephenMartin - December 11, 2006

You make some really valid points, but didn’t a sequel get the green light? Also, I believe the DVD sales will be substantial and the original Reeve DVD’s are hot again too. I really don’t think WB’s has lost out here. But i do agree that $270M to make this flick was way out there.

112. Eric A.D. - December 11, 2006

110: Admiral Deem

The actual budget for Superman Returns was $204 million…the rest is from aborted attempts over the past ten years ( The Nic Cage/Kevin Smith/Tim Burton debacle being the most pricey…sets and costumes were even made for that one, till it was canned after Batman & Robin came out.) the extra $65 million or so should really not be counted against Bryan Singer and company, as Warners wrote off that amount a long time ago.

I see so much bitching online about Superman Returns, I almost wish you naysayers had your Brett Ratner version ( where Krypton doesn’t explode and looks like Naboo from Phantom Menace , and Superman’s suit comes out of a can, and Lex is a Kryptonian ) *ugh* That version was this close to happening.

Superman: The Movie is one of my favorite films of all time, and Superman Returns honors it all the way. It retains all the things that are great about the Donner film, and does away with all the stuff that would be too campy and dated for today’s audience ( the over the top-ness of Luthor, the clutzy Clark, the one dimensional Perry White ) I for one was glad Luthor was finally the evil bad ass he’s supposed to be. I don’t think it’s the perfect comic book movie, but it’s in the top 5 for sure ( under X2, Batman Begins, Spider Man 2, and the original Superman ) And I don’t buy into this rampant “Super Stalker” stuff that people love to harp on; he watches Lois once, bascially to make sure she is happy and ok, and when he sees that she is…he flies away and doesn’t do it again. Stalking is someone who gets a sense of control over people’s lives by watching them from afar. I see zero evidence of this in Superman Returns. Wasn’t it just as big a violation when young Clark watched the girls in the locker room with his X-ray vision on Smallville? I didn’t see anywhere near the violent reaction ( probably because most internet fanboys would do that if they had X-ray vision. ) In any event, I’m glad Warners stuck with Singer for the sequel. Bring on Braniac :)

113. Dr. Image - December 11, 2006

Oh come on Mark, TNG is WAAAY more painful to watch than DS9!
The writing in DS9 blew away the other modern incarnations, as you well know.
And, as you also well know, writing is everything.

And as for S-Man Returns- one word sums that bloated movie up: BORING.

Bring on Spiderman 3.

114. anon - December 11, 2006

Screw the editor, startrek the original was good in it’s day and I still watch it now, but the stories were often very corny and made no sense at all, in my mind the best episodes of Voyager were better than any episode of the the original show. Voyager in my mind was the most enjoyable of the series.

Like how can anything on the orignal compare with the Borg (utterly terrifying)- come on people get your heads on right?

I wish so bad they would go back to developing a new series which followed the voyager/DS9/TNG timeline.

I am a huge Lost fan and MI3 so I love the idea of JJ doing something, so long as he still does Lost too (damn it – I would take either)

115. MichaelJohn - December 11, 2006

#110 Admiral Deem is correct..

I just re-read my earlier post and I mistakenly said the sT series you grew up will “always” be the Star Trek you prefer and consider your favorite.

I meant to say..”the vast majority” of people growing up in the sixties or seventies prefer TOS over the spin offs.

I stand corrected and will report to the “agonizer booth” for disciplinary action!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Mike :o

116. Odo is a Replublican too - December 11, 2006

“..when Republicans would rather build a wall, figurative and literal, creating a real continental divide between us and the rest of the world.”

That is a cheap shot and unworthy of you.

Just pointing out that Kirk & Spock were Republicans back then. BTW the Enterprise also uses walls to keep things from falling apart. Our country is fraying and walls do help.

Its the TNG crowd that scoffed at Kirk’s “Cowboy Diplomacy” thereby proving my point.

And THATS another reason why the old shows are better. They weren’t such p*ssies back then.

117. Adam Cohen - December 11, 2006

#112 Eric A.D.

You sound like a veteran of a certain entertainment website, Ain’t It Cool News. Am I right? I participated in some of those debates over Superman Returns over there.

118. Eric A.D. - December 11, 2006

#117 Adam Cohen

I have indeed posted on the Aint It Cool News talkbacks on occasion…although I honestly do not remember if I ever posted there regarding Superman Returns ( I have posted about it at SuperHeroHype though ) I honestly try to post as little as possible at the AICN Talk Backs because the homophobic, sexist, and just plain stupid remarks about ANY subject just make it an unpleasant place to be for me. That place has become mouth breather central, which to me is sad, because I think Harry Knowles is just a nice, big nerd that really loves film, and Moriarty is a pretty good reviewer. But sadly, the inmates have taken over the asylum there. It becomes impossible to have a civil debate…and with Superman Returns it was the worst, because somehow all the problems people may have had with that movie were because Bryan Singer is gay. At least that’s how it seemed at AICN.

119. Rick - December 11, 2006

Interesting how SUPERMAN RETURNS entered the fray here. You know I saw SR and felt I liked it, yet as time goes on I felt it should of been like BATMAN BEGINS a reboot. It just doesn’t all hold together that strongly in the end. I just don’t get Superman leaving earth for so long, the out of wedlock child with Lois, some of the miss opportunities with a character like Lex Luthor. Sure there were some really nice scenes here and there, but some real missed opportunities in the end. It just seemed like bits of shock value and tying to the early films really limited things. So I am partially bummed out with it and some of those elements I mentioned have really caused some friends of mine to really dislike the film. Oh well such as it goes with some creations.

Of course there is this future STAR TREK film now how will that work out.
I am as going to hope for the best, but not be shocked if it is a mess.;)

120. senya cartel - December 11, 2006

I’m quite sure that the creator of Star Trek – you know, the one who created TOS – Gene Roddenberry would be highly disgusted by comments like “ULTRA LEFT WING SOCIALIST UTOPIA!””.

If that is how you feel about Star Trek, then perhaps you’d be better of watching Fox News. Seems you missed the entire point of most of TOS, much less any other Trek Movie or series. It really couldn’t have been any more painfully obvious.

Go back and re-watch “Patterns of Force” about 5 million times, then come back and we’ll see if you ‘get it’ yet.

Seems to me like many of you here criticizing everything post TOS are hyping what CBS is planning at the expense of Trek’s legacy, you genuinely desire Trek to become something other than it has pretty much always been, or a mixture of both.

Oh and I’d take the ‘bland’ 90’s every day of the week over the stylish but violent 60’s or the barbaric post 2000’s.

121. Resistance is futile.........so FUKN RUN!!!!! - December 11, 2006

Superman Returns topped the original seriously be realistic it’s just like TOS/TNG TOS was good for it’s time but be realistic TNG is better (I’m not being a smartass) the original Superman was as campy and corny as hell, Returns had so much more power and emotion not to mention a better story and actors.

Just like TOS I can’t sit through a single episode of it without going wtf I tried to watch an episode th other day some freakin robot thing that thought Kirk was ‘the creator’ the only TOS that I like is ST6 thats a damn masterpiece of a film better than WOK in my oppinion.

TNG had so many more better stories and acting not to mention visuals lol. The characters were so much more diverse there’s no disputing that a few humans an android, a KLINGON for christsakes and a betazoid/human hybrid. Be objective no disrespect to TOS fans but please try and be objective I hate when people let nostalgia guide their decisions/oppinions.

122. TomBot2006 - December 11, 2006

The angles, specificly political, that are taken on TOS, in some sort of juvenile, mine’s better than your’s tirade, is just bizzarre. If I like TNG, I’m some enervated wuss? If I like TOS, I’m some balls to the wall pioneer Republican? Huh. If I like both, I’m what? Pansexual? ;-P
I hate to admit, trying to recall TNG episodes that made me go wow, is hard, but when other’s start bringing up specifics of TNG, I start to remember them as being pretty darn good. Yes, I grew up with TOS; drowned in TOS books, drew the Enterprise and Klingon ships a million times, made homemade props- even a primitive bridge set for play, bought records, model kits, comics, and even a 8mm film editor to splice some star trek film reel I had. So, it’s easier to fall into that mindset, but it’s unfair. TNG had it’s merits and it’s failings, so did TOS. DSN was it’s own animal, and I regret not following it more. Voyager, um, sucked, but I crawled though it, and feel for some of Berman’s shallow tricks, 7 of 9, like many… Hey, who wouldn’t want to be assimulated? (Course not by the original Borg, no. Oh, how, I loved that Borg cube I got, I should have never sacrificed it for a project.)
I commend those, who are trying to voice differing opinions, and keeping it light…
On one thread, one person wistfully proposed building a Enterprise replica to orbit Earth, perhaps as inspiration or a tribute. Once, upon a time, and perhaps still, Star Trek not only inspired such flights of fancy, but also people with a yearning to reach to a future where something of the sort was actually possible, in a realistic sort of way… not just an orbiting tribute, but an actual, spacefaring, exploring StarShip. Frankly, in my youth, I’d thought by this age, we’d be a lot closer to that reality, not just tweaking the fantasy’s special effects. It perhaps was an over optimistic naivette, same as with original series placing Kahns expatriots in the late 1990’s. ;-)
Anyway, besides crazed arguments of where the turbo lift is, it’s been fun. Let’s just hope that Star Trek XI gives some direction instead of retreads.

123. Eric A.D. - December 11, 2006

#119 Rick

A reboot was planned as of just a few years ago ( penned by J.J. Abrams no less…we come full circle ) That’s the version where Krypton did not blow up, where Lex was a Kryptonian, etc. I think the feeling was that between Superman The Movie and Smallville, the backstory of Superman has had a lot of exposure. Also, since Batman Begins was a reboot, maybe they wanted to have the relaunches of their two main characters not be too identical in nature. That’s just my opinion.

124. Buckaroohawk - December 11, 2006

Herbert Eyes Wide Open,

Thank you for the kind remarks to my post. I really do appreciate it. I’d love to post an official review of TOS Remastered episodes here if Anthony liked the idea, but I don’t get to see the shows until 2:00am on Sunday night (actually Monday morning) where I live, so unfortunately they’d be posted much later than they are now. I’ll just have to be content posting here in the forums (heavy sigh).

Unless, of course, Anthony would like me to write an article about an amateur CGI artist’s perspectives on the new FX. I do 3D CGI work semi-professionally, so I know a bit about how they are created. I’d be happy to write something if Anthony’s up for it. What do say, Anthony? Can I write for your site? Please!

125. Josh T. (Thesaurus) Kirk - December 11, 2006

Dammit, I’ve missed all the action.

126. StephenMartin - December 12, 2006

90. Dom
The navy did give me a unique perspective. I was stationed on an aircraft carrier, with occasional duty on the naval base in the Philippines. The military structure, chain of command, etc., aboard the Starship was looser than on my ship, but basically pretty accurate. I can relate to the camaraderie. One builds some very tight relationships with their shipmates. We all had to really work together because we were out there on the ocean all alone and if someone really screwed up it could put all of our lives in danger. So, you looked out for one another, and took special care in your work. Much of my work took me up on the flight deck. That was pretty awesome. Planes moving around, guys wheeling bombs on carts…it was all very dangerous…and very exciting. And like the TV Enterprise, my ship was a city in itself. Stores, gym, post office, church, barber shop, etc. It housed over 80 planes and 3600 officers and men. Pretty cool place.

127. Herbert Eyes Wide Open - December 12, 2006

#125. Josh T…

Kudos on the new posting moniker!

Certainly a singular sobriquet and a conspicuously consistent cognomen. An appropriate appellation, indeed. :)

Sorry, I seem to have picked up an alliteration ailment.

128. Josh T. (Thesaurus) Kirk - December 12, 2006

Impressive, most impressive Herbert,

But you are not a Jedi yet. ;)

129. nonhypocrite - December 12, 2006

Mr. Altman, I’ve been a big fan of your work for quite awhile. And I was with you throughout the article until you the very end when you threw out of left field a suck-up comment to Ron Moore and Battlestar Galactica, the most overated show on television. To eschew a quality show like The Sopranos because of it’s characters and TV shows in general for cynicism and then hold up a plagiaristic piece of tripe like Moore’s Galactica, a show which itself shows nothing but the worst of humanity and doesn’t have a single likeable character in its cast, is very much the pot calling the kettle black.

I’m cautiosly optimistic of the new Trek. Lost is great. Alias was up and down. But I have read Abrahms’ Superman script and I’m very glad that didn’t get made. Hopefully he “gets” Star Trek more than he did Superman. Time will tell.

130. Eric A.D. - December 12, 2006

#129. nonhypocrite

ummmm….Not that I’m loving everything Mr. Altman says in that article, but just cause he’s giving props to Battlestar Galactica doesn’t mean he’s “sucking up” to Ron Moore. I think that’s a wee bit extreme, dontchya think?? I’m not saying you should be a fan of the show if it’s not your cup of tea, but as a sci fi fan you should be happy that ANY genre show is getting as much critical acclaim as BG has been getting. I mean, It just made the American Film Institute’s list for best series of 2006. When was the last genre show that did that? Especially an “outer space” genre show? I mean, I don’t care for Heroes ( I feel it’s a pretty big cash in on the success of Lost and the Comic Book movie craze ) but it’s success can only be good for genre television. Far be it from me to rain on anyone’s parade.

131. Adam Cohen - December 12, 2006

#130 Eric A.D.

While I am a fan of Heroes and Battlestar Galactica, I do like the point you’re making- the success of genre shows is a good thing for the genre.

I remember after TNG took off, there was a slew of genre shows that came to ride the wave. Anyone remember Space Rangers? There was that show, Babylon 5, X-Files, Space: Above and Beyond, heck even DS9 falls into that category. It’s good as a viewer to have a variety of choices. And its good as a fan to have the networks/studios confidence in making the investment in these shows. Now, I don’t think sci-fi will ever be in danger of dying off (not like westerns) because we are a technologically-driven society and there’s a natural curiiosity among us as to “what’s next.” But alas, the entertainment industry sometimes needs to be lead by their noses to make these shows, and BSG and Heroes are good ways of getting the industry’s attention.

Oh and a mini-prediction- one day, maybe not soon, Ron Moore is going to return to Star Trek. One day…

132. Eric A.D. - December 12, 2006

#131 Adam Cohen

….about your prediction about Ron Moore eventually returning to Trek: I’ve been saying the same thing all year ! I just got into Galactica this year…I resisted getting into it for awhile, despite my love of Ron Moore from his TNG and DS9 days. I just couldn’t fathom that a revival of BG could be any good, because the original was such pure cheese. But I devoured the first and second season dvd sets in a matter of weeks. I couldn’t believe how excellent it was. I’ve even managed to get some of my non nerdy friends to get into it as well…no small feat. But my prediction is that Ron Moore will finish BSG arond the 5th Season, and I’ll bet you that by that time, Trek will return to TV as a Sci-Fi Channel show with Ron Moore as show runner. First run syndication is a thing of the past for quality tv, and now that UPN is gone, I think Sci Fi Channel is the logical place. Unlike many of the writers of recent Trek shows ( like Brannon Braga ) Moore is a Trek FAN as well. I think given creative freedom, he’s jump at the chance to do Trek again. But I doubt it will happen before 2010 though.

133. Mike - December 13, 2006

A few points:

Why criticize TNG and DS9 for being too 90s and not TOS for being too 60s? If the 90s represent the banal, the 60s represent simple mindedness tackiness. Why is one criticism better than another?

The first two seasons of DS9 may have been TNG-bland, but DS9 turned away from that by the third season when Ira Stephen Behr took over. The slightly questionable nature of DS9s characters, the dark cinematography, the unanswered questions of DS9 stories are not 90s bland at all!

Though I liked TOS the best (I grew up with it, and as has been mentioned above, you tend to favor things in your youth)–I find it just as hard to watch, with it’s 60s pulpiness and silly optimism as I do the 90s look and feel of TNG.

In a time when “serious-minded”, near cynical sci-fi and comic movies are the rave, BSG, BATMAN BEGINS, etc., how can he say TOS is relevant today? I don’t see any new TOS movie turning the tide of the direction of more realistic, and perhaps, more cynical stories and characters being done today in genre TV and movies–and thank god for that! I will say here that if this new film attempts to return to the simple, silly heroics of TOS, it will fail miserably. (I doubt very seriously that the film Abrams is planning is going to be the simple minded heroics like the 60s TOS.) Of course, it is obvious that you can incorporate a little realism and cynicism into the new TOS film but that won’t make it any different that the characters and stories in DS9. And, if you go as far as say, BSG, it won’t be TREK. So where does that get you? Been done already.

What is this nonsense about TREK going down hill when the ship started to be referred to as ENTERPRISE? TREK started going downhill when it started tell bland, boring and terrible stories.

How can Altman criticize THE SOPRANOS for cynicism and not BSG, which reeks with it?

Can Abrams make TREK relevant again?
Not if it returns to the long-departed New Frontier (meaning expansionists and imperialistic attitude), space cowboy, mentality of TOS 60’s. To my mind it has to mesh the heroics of classic storytelling–something TNG and DS9 did quite well, Mr. Altman, with the realistic, sarcasm of the present day. This is the world we live in. For any art to ignore it’s present, is not wise.

134. jonboc - December 13, 2006

Sorry, don’t agree with any of the above. In a world filled to the brim with doom and gloom, I think people still like to feel good. Just look at “Happy Feet” or “Cars” or any Pixar movie over the last ten years. And who has been a close runner up at the box office, just slightly trailing “Happy Feet”? Eough and tumble James Bond, that’s who. People still love escapism….a LOT….. and they like heros….and yes, I think there is plenty of room to have both of those elements along with a little, as you call it, “silly optimism”, thrown in for good measure. Trek is a vehicle that CAN, under the right management, rise to the occasion and deliver the goods on all fronts. Trying to be a bleak BSG clone, or expansion of the failed TNG 24th century will kill it and Abrahms knows it. He’s going back to the roots and with the right mix of adventure, optimism, old school heroics and FUN (TNG was way too pretentious), I think this new “old” Trek will do just fine. What’s old is new again, and it’s about time.

135. Eric A.D. - December 13, 2006

#134 jonboc

I wouldn’t exactly call the TNG 24th Century “failed”; it sustained 3 series over 7 seasons. It was Enterprise that really struggled and finally failed, and that was a 22nd century themed show. You may not like them ( And personally, I don’t really like Voyager ) but none of the 24th Century shows were commercial failures.

136. jonboc - December 13, 2006

#135, Your right, “failed” was a poor choice of wording. I think “stagnated” is more appropriate. The stagnated formula, which was almost identical in all the spin-offs, seemed to weigh down the series over the years and I think, ultimately, it was Enterprise’s familiar 24th century style, set in the 22nd century that led to it’s demise. It was just too much of the “same o same o”. After 15 years the whole franchise seemed all too similar, the same beep and bloops for sound FX, the same bland incidental music could be swapped about all the spin-offs and no one would notice….the same “TV Production” sensibilities prevailed on all the spin-offs and while some, like yourself, loved it, others tired of it. I think the old saying “Familiarity breeds contempt” is more than aplicable in this instance. As is “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” The style and storytelling sensibilities of 23rd century Trek has been absent for so long that many of today’s audience equates “Star Trek” with the “same o same o” 24th century Trek that they seen here and there, on cable, for the past 20 years. I think a bright, colorful, loud, fun, imaginative, in your face, adventurous tale, laced with the perils and dangers and awe of the unknown, TOS style, is coming our way.
For the few that want more of the “Same o same o”, there will be dissappointment, for die hard original fans, there will be apprehension and cautious optimism…for the new audience that Paramount wants to tap…this will shake the familiarity of Berman’s 24th century like a dog playing with a rag doll. Whatever we end up, we can bet the rent that it won’t be “more of the same”. And that’s a good thing.

137. Eric A.D. - December 14, 2006

#136

hehe….now that you re-worded it, I agree with you totally. Everything about Voyager and Enterprise was done ( with the exception of effects ) exactly like TNG. Television evolved, but Trek did not. Berman and company did everything possible to copy the success of TNG ( something DS9 never really had because it had the audacity to try to be a different show from TNG ) IMHO, Voyager and Enterprise were desperate attempts to re-capture the mainstream appeal of TNG, and neither really worked for me, although Voyager did have some measure of success with certain fans obviously. The style of TNG got very old, very fast. Voyager needed to be as different from TNG as TNG was from the old show…and it wasn’t. It was TNG scripts re-worked without that great ensemble of Patrick Stewert, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, etc. That is why Voyager to me is the weaker sister of TNG, and Enterprise is even worse. I look forward to JJ Abram’s new Trek for the same reasons you do. I just think TNG was a brilliant show in it’s heyday ( 3rd to 6th Seasons ) and just cuz it was miked to death doesn’t mean it was a bad show.

138. Chris Roberts - December 15, 2006

I think DS9 Is so much better than the NG.It was the best spinoff series.Now when I watch Star Trek I pretty much stick to the OS,DS9,and
the Movies.I am glad now people are starting to realize William Shatner
Is a good actor.Also Star Trek XI has the poentional to be a Marking
dream.Have Shatner and Leonard Nimoy return one last time for sequences to begain and end the film,and the prequel showing how Kirk
first command of the Enterprise,and his meeting Spock and the first mission of the Enterprise under his command.Just Imagne the marketing of showing how Kirk and Spock became legends.Now I also
hope the writers are paying closer attention to history.Sulu was first the
ship’s phycist not helmsman(of course they could just not Include him) as for Mccoy there are over 400 people on the ship they could say when he started on The Enterprise he was not the Chief Medical offiver but a docton under Dr Piper(the chief medical Officer In Where No One Man Has Gone Before) and If they want to Include Uhura they can use the Chekov Explantion she was on the ship but In a different department at the time.I am thankfully this Isn’t a Galactica take by throwing out all history and changing character enterily(Including race and sex)

139. Mike - December 18, 2006

Jonboc wrote–

I think people still like to feel good Just look at “Happy Feet” or “Cars” or any Pixar movie over the last ten years. And who has been a close runner up at the box office, just slightly trailing “Happy Feet”? Eough and tumble James Bond,

The “feel good” one gets from cartoon movies is a little different from more adult entertainment or thinking man sci-fi like STAR TREK. Surely, you don’t want TREK to be as broad and as dumbed down as a cartoon? The act of making TREK more escapist is precisely what helped destroy TREK. Just look at VOYAGER AND ENTERPRISE and TNG films. And the new James Bond HAS been updated to fit a more realistic age. Just take a look at the new Bond’s face and you can see they are going for a more realistic, gritty, less cartoon look and tone.

Don’t know if you read my post carefully. I specifically said the new TREK can’t be simple good guy vs bad guy–like the TOS series, nor can it be as jaded as BSG. It has to be both.

The silly optimism of TOS I spoke of is the “we are all brothers, while we force our philosophy on you message”, which has already been done by TREK. That position was the message of 60’s USA imperialism, which was “be like us, or else”. Silly hypocrisy. The new TREK film needs a new framework or emphasis than 60’s TOS, otherwise, it is going to look silly, old fashion, preachy and derivative. The new TREK film can deal with the current themes of greed, the Iraq war, etc, like TOS (and currently BSG does, and excellently, I might add) dealt with such issues in the 60s, but my point is, it can’t be as obvious, hypocritical, uneven and preachy with it, like TOS.

140. JoeB - December 30, 2006

This reviewer made some good points but he lost me when he started with his political trashing. How in the hell, when you’re talking about an upcoming Star Trek film find a way to slip in some political slam against Republicans? Yeah maybe Star Trek fans are more left leaning but hey we’re not all hard left socialists. And stop with this whole bashing of one series or another. I personally love them all.

141. Mike Niemi - January 12, 2007

I think people are stuck on the stars, Shatner, Nimoy, and Hollywood lost its nerve, you rarely see anything really new.BattleStar is ok, but Adama takes slow sips of coffee it seems between lines, lots of dead air between lines is what I mean, but people love it.

What about Space Cowboys? no one seemed to mind look alikes when Clint Eastwood was at that age and he did the voice overs. It was an essentiial part of the movie and it needed faces and no one seemed to care. It was well written and acted, and I think thats all anyone wants.

TNG took the first drubbing because it was not Kirk, and I dont think Steward gave it his all in the first years. In the movie Dune, Steward seemed very much like Picard towards the end of the series. But TNG petered out of stories as well, remember that last awful episode “MASKS”. And in the TNG movies, way too much Data.

The story for Innsurrection came out of no where and it was great. Characters had brains, and there was even some meaningful tension between Baku characters.

No one seemed to mind a Posiden remake either. Everything is going to be remade.

The real issue is, or should be, like in the Movie CONTACT, where is our sense of adventure? We fret over shuttle launches, put off going to Mars because of the war, we ship off jobs to poor countries. The debate isnt really political as it is are we living on Earth just one big consumer ant farm, or are we ever going to accomplish something worthwhile? Ever?

MrMikl

142. Jake - December 16, 2007

Once again, Mark A(nnoying) Altman proves how biased he is by saying that TNG & DS9(series he initially praised) are now outdated while TOS is not, simply because neither of those two spin-offs has Kirk.
Guess what, Mark? You’re not the world’s greatest writer either(as those House of the Dead films and the overrated Free Enterprise prove) and you’re certainly not the self-proclaimed ‘world’s foremost Trek-spert'(more like the world’s foremost Kirk-spert).

TrekMovie.com is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.