Spiner Comes To The Defense Of Rick Berman (and JJ Abrams) | TrekMovie.com
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Spiner Comes To The Defense Of Rick Berman (and JJ Abrams) December 10, 2008

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Star Trek (2009 film),TNG , trackback

Brent Spiner, Data on Star Trek The Next Generation, is known to speak his mind, but it appears these days he is being rather conciliatory. In a new interview wth SyFyRadio (airing tonight), Spiner defends both Trek’s past and present masters, Rick Berman and JJ Abrams. Some advanced excerpts below.

 

Spiner on Berman
Bashing long-time Trek producer Rick Berman seems to be popular with many Trekkies, but Spiner has a different take, telling SyFy Portal:

It think it’s really short-sighted of people to give Rick grief. I just say to any of them, ‘You go produce a television show and produce hundreds of hours of television shows,’ which these people have watched more than once
….
Rick more than anybody else protected Gene Roddenberry’s vision. There were times we wanted to do things in an episode, and Rick would be, ‘No, no, no. Gene wouldn’t want that and that’s not what Star Trek is about.’

Spiner on Abrams
Some Trekkies are still trying to get their heads around JJ Abrams new Star Trek with a new crew, following the Next Generation, but again Spiner comes to the defense of the change, saying:

I hope it’s a wonderful success. It looks fun and Leonard [Nimoy] is involved and J.J. [Abrams] is a really talented guy. I know a lot of those actors [involved] and they are fantastic. I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be successful.

It’s senseless to be anything other than optimistic about it. It’s also typical of every genre. It’s like in James Bond, well Sean Connery was it. Then Roger Moore came along, and they were like, ‘Roger Moore? No way!’ Then it was ‘Roger Moore, OK.’ Batman is the same way. ‘Not Christian Bale! Christian Bale as Batman? No way’ Then, ‘Oh, that’s pretty good.’

Hear much more from Brent tonight
Listen to the whole 35-minute interview Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on SyFy Radio (www.SyFyRadio.com).

Michael Hinman and Spiner talk about all aspects of Trek, Spiner’s new album "Dreamland" and his January appearance at Phoenix Comicon.

 

Thanks to SyFy Portal for providing advance excerpts of their Spiner interview

Comments

1. Sebi - December 10, 2008

Kudos to Data! He is so right!

2. The Last Maquis - December 10, 2008

I guess With Data Being Blown up and All Brent has kinda assured No one Else will ever play him.

3. Cygnus-X1 - December 10, 2008

Man…don’t EVEN get me started on the Rick Berman issue again.

Won’t hear cries to put him back in charge any time soon.

Nuff said.

4. oztrek - December 10, 2008

There has been too much negative comment about Rick Berman… I agree with Brent. The franchise did great under Berman but overall “All good Things.”

JJ is now the man

5. Sean - December 10, 2008

I can’t find fault with a single thing Spiner said.

6. green ink - December 10, 2008

Well, before Moore took over Bond there was Lazenby of course. But let’s not assume Star Trek is going to be anything like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
And wasn’t the Batman outrage directed more towards Keaton back in the day than Bale? Or was there lots of Bale frustration which I simply didn’t know about?

Anyway, Spiner is quite right.

7. jondh - December 10, 2008

Yeah guys. Lay off Berman. He did his best and produced episodes we all know and love.

8. What does God want with a Starship? - December 10, 2008

Re 6, Green Ink. What was wrong with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? It is actually one of the best Bond stories and a very good film, Lazenby done a good job, he just tried too hard to be Connery that’s all.

You are right about the Batman thing though, nothing was said about Bale, people did question Keaton before the film came out.

Spiner is right, Berman may have lost the plot a bit with Enterprise (I don’t think that show is all bad by the way), but if it wasn’t for him I would not be a Star Trek fan. So thank you Rick

9. Mike Thompson (UK) - December 10, 2008

Well, someone has to take the blame for the last two movies.

10. Chris M - December 10, 2008

I couldn’t agree more! Rick Berman did an outstanding job when he was in charge of Star Trek!!

Did he make mistakes? Of course he did but as Brent said he oversaw hundreds of hours of Televison and four Movies so he was never going to get it perfect!

And I agree with #8 as far as Star Trek: Enterprise goes. An underrated series and I thought the fourth season especially (apart from the finale) was excellent!

And as for JJ Abrams, well he’s my new hero for bringing Star Trek not only back to life but more popular (seemingly) than ever before! :)

11. RTC - December 10, 2008

Spiner’s right, the grief heaped on Berman is unfair. Certainly his time at the helm of Trek has passed – and I suspect Berman would say the same even if, as highly unlikely as it is, he were offered that spot again. But we ought to be grateful that he gave Trek life long beyond its creator.

12. TV's Frank - December 10, 2008

Berman created DS9 and Enterprise and they’re my two favorite Treks. He did a damn good job.

13. Hat Rick - December 10, 2008

You know you’ve watched too much Trek when you can actually hear an actor’s voice in your head as you read his words. It sounds very much like Mr. Spiner — friendly, casual, approachable, and reasonable. He’s long been one of my favorite members of the Trek family.

14. commander K, USS Sovereign - December 10, 2008

He’s on the ball.
People should lay off Rick Berman and get a grip of themselves and reflect on as Spiner says,”hundreds of hours of television shows”. He gave you all your fix of Trek in the 90s.

These right wing trekkies who think they are gods gift and know it all really don’t have a clue.

Rant over.

15. MATT - December 10, 2008

Berman had his hand on the tiller for some of Trek’s finest hours. That he went on too long and over saturated the franchise is a fact, but should not be the enduring memory of his legacy. He was a good bloke, and oversaw some great stuff.

16. Mike T. - December 10, 2008

I don’t think the major problem was Berman. I think the problem was not allowing other writers to submit stories like they did for TOS where you had popular sci-fi writers doing stories for Trek.

When you have a handfull of people writing nearly every hour long story for years then expect the stories to get stale and ideas recycled.

Berman should have stayed the “show runner” and he should have allowed story submissions. If they have a good story make them join the writers union if that was the problem.

17. Sid - December 10, 2008

I dig Berman and Braga too, they put out a ton of top-quality Trek. Admittedly it came along with some not-so-great stuff, but like Spiner said, YOU try to do their job.

It just seems every time they’d stop trying to make a good show and do a nod to the fans, unmitigated disaster would result. The NX-01 being styled after the fan-loved Akira class, for example, and “These Are The Voyages” was supposed to be a “love letter to Trek fans” — ai ai ai.

18. Peter Lemonjello - December 10, 2008

You heard it Trekkies, stop giving Berman grief.

19. Jeff - December 10, 2008

Rick Berman is the George W Bush of Trek.

20. P Technobabble - December 10, 2008

As the Captain of any ship is responsible for the actions of his crew, Rick Berman was the Captain and any short-comings must fall on his shoulders. I completely understand the difficulties in producing hours and hours of television. I once directed a 1/2 hour pilot for a sitcom, which took several months to complete, the producer of that project was constantly in the way, we had actor problems, crew problems, equipment problems… in the end, the whole thing was a disaster and never saw the light of day… thank God.
My biggest criticism with Star Trek under Mr. Berman’s command was that the show became a cliche of itself. I’m not too sure about Mr. Berman being adamant about what Gene Roddenberry would allow or not allow, because there are plenty of items that seemed contrary to Gene’s vision… but that’s just my opinion. I’m also not sure about Mr. Berman not allowing story submissions… well into VOY’s run, Trek was still the only show in history to accept unsolicited submissions from anyone… some of those submissions went on to become episodes.
Making television or film is far more difficult and complex than watching television or film. We watch a show, and then react to it… completely taking for granted what the makers of that show had to go through in order to get it on the screen.

21. Blah - December 10, 2008

Rick Berman is the George W Bush of Trek

22. Enterprise - December 10, 2008

Of course Spiner would defend Berman. He is one of his croonies.

Why would he bite the hand that made him into a prominent star in the Trek franchise and millions of dollars?

23. Paul - December 10, 2008

Berman intentional sank TOS by killing Kirk.

Berman then sank Trek by producing 100s of hours of mediocre, bland & generic sci-fi boredom.

All the while collecting a handsome 8 figure salary as Sherry Lansing (who used to run Paramount) thought he was the man. Not entirely his fault as few would turn down huge money to repeat themselves over & over etc etc but he was always just a Paramount TV producer who got very lucky that Gene did not object to him. You can count on one hand the number of memorable Trek episodes/movies he was involved in.

Paramount made a huge amount of money out of the Berman produced TV series which is why he was retained for so long and the movies budgets were not huge (except for First Contact) so he only had limited resources to work with and Stewart & Spiner sucked up most of them anyway by acting like spoilt children unless they got their own storylines & huge salaries otherwise they would holdout.

I think you have to hold Berman, Stewart & Spiner jointly responsible for the failure of ST9 & 10.

24. Star Trackie - December 10, 2008

“‘No, no, no. Gene wouldn’t want that and that’s not what Star Trek is about.’”

Well ya know Rick…and Brent, NONE of the spin-offs were what “StarTrek” is about. Try watching a handful of episode of TOS, then follow it by watching any of the spin-offs and you’ll see what I mean. They aren’t remotely similar…whether Gene created one of them or not…they are set in the same fictional universe, but that’s where any resemblence to “STar Trek” ends.

25. AdamTrek - December 10, 2008

#24 Gene started TNG and was with the show for a couple of years before he died.

TNG was the modern Trek. You apparently don’t understand what Star Trek really is about. TOS was not the end-all and be-all to Trek. In many ways TNG and the other shows were better. All of the shows were social commentary wrapped up in a sci-fi setting. Nothing changed in that regard. TOS has maybe 2 seasons-worth of good episodes, and that’s being generous.

26. Rusbeh - December 10, 2008

@ #19 and #21
an insulting and absolutely wrong and arrogant comment.
wouldn´t it be Rick Berman i would have never become the Trek fan i am. In my estimation he produced the best Trek episodes of all times during his time with TNG and DS9. He kept the ship on course and dedicated 15 years of his life to Star Trek. Its so easy and self-righteous to sit back in a chair and to criticize and dream about “good ol Trek” which nobody in the Ninetees liked, me neither. Berman did a hell of a job. His greatest failure nevertheless is Voyager and especially the casting of the series (Hate Kate Mulgrew and Harry Kims actor don´t remember his name) but his masterpieces overshine this by far

27. jeffery wright - December 10, 2008

berman would never have allowed the ipod boutique in the new movie represent a constitution class bridge, or approve of that bulbous, droopy goony-bird that is now alleged to be the 1701.

tos, tng and ent were truly trek. the fans that mistook deep snore nine and voyager lost in space for trek are the ones who brought an end to the excellent back to basics enterprise series.

ds9 and voy, for all the probs i have with them, were still pretty good trek, i suppose, and honored trek continuity and standards, but this new movie?

i have accepted it as a big budget fan flick, of sorts

#19 if abrams is the BO of trek, then its worse than i originally feared… of course, at least abrams has experience in the job he occupies, i thought cloverfield was great.

28. Brian - December 10, 2008

I’m glad Brent said something. While I wasn’t thrilled with everything he did, Berman gets trashed far too much. He’s the one that got TNG’s act together and made it a success. If he and others are guilty of anything it’s that they simply stuck around for too long.

29. May 2009 - December 10, 2008

Enterprise is an underrated show, but it’s underrated because Rick Berman managed to turn off lots of people to the show with the stupid theme to the show and the introduction of the Temporal Cold War.

These were Rick Berman ideas and it ruined Star Trek on TV. And then, as Enterprise was fading into the sunset, he made a good decision in brining Manny Coto on (which Berman dropped out most of the writing in the fourth season – hence why it’s so good), but then let the series die and not find another home, justifying it by saying it would be too expensive.

Garbage if you ask me.

Rick Berman deserves all the blame. Star Trek started going downhill after DS9 concluded, and he deserved to get shoved out of the franchise. He did a good job of keeping Roddenberry’s idealism in Star Trek, which is why he wasn’t heavily involved in the writing of DS9. Hmm. No wonder why DS9 was such a good series.

30. Horatio - December 10, 2008

I have mixed feelings about Rick Berman. I think he saved Next Generation. I loved DS9. Voyager was OK. He blew it BIG TIME with Enterprise – a show that should have been the re-invention of the franchise but instead was a stale rehash of TNG, DS9 and VGER. Enterprises 4th season is how the series should have started. Enterprise was an opportunity squandered. OK, i’ll just blame Braga. Rick, you’re off the hook.

31. Robert H. - December 10, 2008

And the funny thing is if Rick did such a lousy job, why did people still watch Voyager, Deep Space Nine and Enterprise and have a whole fan base revolve around those shows? And what makes them so different from the other Treks?

2 out of 3 don’t involve the Enterprise, and Enterprise is claimed that is interferes with canon while ALL the Treks have interfered with canon on many parts. Which many are griping over the new Star Trek movie without even seeing it.

Though the Treks he produced were not among my favourites, the were still pretty good. Except Deep Space Nine which I found too gloomy.

Generations was good, not great, but good. First Contact was great! Insurrection was horribly under appreciated. Nemesis was written by the same guy who wrote Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator”, so no wonder it tanked at the box office.

32. captain_neill - December 10, 2008

Spiner makes excellent points on both Rick Berman and JJ Abrams. I personaly never bashed Berman.

Did he make make mistakes? Yes he did but the was loads of great Trek made under his tenre. The one thing Berman should have done more was to take risks and taken a back when it came to writing, escpecially on Enterprise.

He is a good writer at the start, I loved his first script for TNG, which was ‘Brothers’ but I felt he wrote too much for Enterprise.

Anyway my concerns about JJ Abrams new film are stil strong but I am resigned to the fact that JJ Abrams has changed one thing too many. There is only one way for me to embrace the new movie and that is to not accept it as canon.

I hate the way Abrams has steered the producton design. I hate the new bridge and I hate the nacelles on the redesigned Enterprise, makes me and a friend wish they had gone for Gabe Kroener’s design now.

Its one of the reasons I am so tempted to petition to bring back Rick Berman

33. FREAKAZOID - December 10, 2008

Yet another reason why Brent Spiner is awesome!

34. 1701 over Gotham City - December 10, 2008

Berman deserves most of the trash heaped on him… not all, perhaps, but a heavy amount.
Trek became dry, pasty and utterly unpalatable. A good plot and tension could be developed for an episode that was suddenly solved by two or three lines of completely unsalvagable and ridiculous technobabble in the last 2 minutes. Yes, writers are to blame but it ends at Berman’s doorstep.

I don’t believe he really held on to Gene’s ideals at all. And the absolute best moments of Enterprise are post Berman, when it was far too late to salvage the show.

35. Dr. Image - December 10, 2008

What a lot of hot air.
What do you expect him to say??
Berman had MANY opportunities- and tons of money at hand- to alter the failing course of Trek after Voyager yet he blew it by keeping Braga on the front lines.
I have no sympathy. Nor any interest in “towing the party line” on this.
Bash away. I don’t care.

36. Me - December 10, 2008

23 – You are SPOT ON THE MONEY. Stewart/Spiner/Berman ran Trek movies into the ground. Thank heavens J.J. is rebooting the franchise.

37. thorsten - December 10, 2008

There is a lot of stuff I could say about Rick Berman and Brannon Braga.
I will not do that.

Because Star Trek is about the future, not the past.
And the future is where Bob Orci and the others are taking us, again.

Thanks guys.

38. ThePhaige - December 10, 2008

I thought Rick was a great for the TV stuff, but when things went big screen I feel the scope and the stories were only marginally better than beefed up episodes. With First Contact being the exception.

39. BeyondtheTech - December 10, 2008

Should I let the domain http://www.beambermanout.com expire then?

I didn’t like the meaningless offing of Kirk.
I personally don’t like the whole Holodeck thing in TNG.
Enterprise could have been approached completely differently.

Instead, I felt that B&B ran a multi-billion dollar industry into the ground. The power was way too much for one (or two) people to handle, and it was squandered. Whomever said he’s the George W. Bush of Star Trek, you nailed it.

40. Author of The Vulcan Neck Pinch for Fathers - December 10, 2008

#20: My biggest criticism with Star Trek under Mr. Berman’s command was that the show became a cliche of itself

Absolutely the most spot-on commentary/critique of Berman’s trek.

I find the notion that Berman was faithful to Roddenberry’s vision a little disingneuous. Roddenberry hated the very technobabble that Berman couldn’t live without, and helped turn TNG into the cliched, flying Marriott it became.

Were there some great TNG episodes? Of course. But the general direction of Trek deteriorated under his leadership. Wesley saved the ship once too often; Picard couldn’t make a decision without a week’s notice and ten staff meetings; in TNG’s world, everyone was antiseptic, perfect, conflict-free, and as bland as oatmeal, while in TOS the characters’ flaws went into space with them. Kirk’s bombast, Spock’s internal struggle, McCoy’s irascibility. Not one TNG character had that kind of depth – until Pulaski came in, and Roddenberry got rid of her. TNG had great production values, values a 60’s TV show could never have, so it *looked* better than TOS, so in that vein it had a built-in advantage.

Berman doesn’t deserve all the criticism, but it is impossible to simultaneously credit him with the successes and deny the weaknesses under his charge. No, I’ve never produced a TV show, but that’s hardly a requirement to critique one. Reminds me of the kid in school who “worked really hard” to do his math paper, but still got the answers wrong.

But amid all the debate, remember this: Without TOS as its template, TNG would never have existed.

41. Author of The Vulcan Neck Pinch for Fathers - December 10, 2008

#39 I didn’t like the holodeck thing in TNG….

That wasn’t Berman’s idea. Roddenberry wanted to do it in TOS, but they couldn’t quite make it work….don’t remember why.

42. Chris Basken - December 10, 2008

Enterprise was just flat-out dull. It recycled too many Trek cliches. The actors were given insipid dialogue to chew through. People like to pick out the theme song or story arc elements or continuity, er, discontinuities to blame for the series’ demise. Or the infamous “people are burned out on Trek” excuse, which I hated. People are burned out on being given crap to watch.

But Enterprise failed first and foremost because it failed to entertain and ignite the imagination. If it was a joy to watch each episode, like TNG was (especially for the first 3-4 season), we’d not only forgive things like the theme song, but come to love them.

In the end, it’s about “is this worth spending an hour of my time?” each week.

43. Jtrekker - December 10, 2008

I think the point that is being missed here is that the Star Trek franchise has not only survived over 40 years, but it is alive and kicking. Regardless of whether Berman did the best job he could do, he kept it running for nearly 20 years by himself! There aren’t any other franchises other than Star Wars that have had the same person at the helm for more than 10 years and still have it be successful enough to spawn another TV series or movie.

The one major argument I’m going to make in favor of Berman is his success with TNG after the “changing of the guard” in season 2. Let’s not forget that the first season of TNG is often not considered it’s best, and that was the season that Gene Roddenberry had the most influence. The truth is, Gene was trying to recreate TOS in the 1980s, and it just couldn’t be done that way. Berman had a more forwarding looking concept of the franchise, and he helped put it on track for the remaining 5 seasons that eventually gave us some of the best Trek ever made! And whether you acknowledge it or not, without TNG seasons 3 through 7, there would have been no Trek past that point. I think some might agree with me that seasons 1 and 2 could have easily been the end of Star Trek.

As for Berman running it into the ground, that may or may not be true. Let’s face it, the Trek faithful fell off in droves after the first season of Enterprise. It’s kinda like being a fan of a sports team and leaving before the first quarter of a game even ends. We (because I’ll admit I was one of them) gave up on Berman and Trek. We decided we knew better, and there was no hope. So by the time season 4 rolled around, even the die-hard Trekkies had given up, and Enterprise ran out of time to redeem itself. If the same had happened with TNG, this whole article would have been irrelevant. The point is, Berman and the Trek franchise didn’t end after Enterprise because THEY gave up on it, it’s because WE did. No audience = no Trek.

All that to say, whether you are looking forward to the new movie or not, be thankful CBS/Paramount/JJ Abrams/etc. gave US another shot!

44. SPOCKBOY - December 10, 2008

#40
Well said sir.
I agree about the flatness and blandness.
The Holiday Inn bridge with the Walmart lighting.
TNG had half characters. Spock was split into Data and Troy etc.
TOS had excitement, conflict, and dared to think big when the production struggled every week to keep it up. It was also remarkably inventive and creative and HAD to be, as it was not riding on anyone’s coat tails.
It completely invented itself.
I also agree that TNG has some good shows, particularly at the end.
This new movie at least appears to be a modernized version of the conflict, sexiness, excitement, and color of the original series.
I sincerely hope Abrams and company can pull it off.

peace : )

45. S. John Ross - December 10, 2008

I’ve never had a strong opinion of Berman one way or another, really, mainly because I stopped watching Trek around the time he was coming into power over it (I didn’t stop watching because of anything I can blame on Berman directly … as near as I can tell, everything I found “meh” about TNG was Roddenberry’s fault).

So if Data says so, I believe him. Brent Spiner rocks :)

46. John Doe - December 10, 2008

I for one loved every single episode Rick Berman wrote. I think he is a genius.

47. Scotty's Ashes - December 10, 2008

@ # 10:

Season four of ST: ENT was passable only because Manny Coto had taken over.

There will be no cries of “Give Berman and Braga another chance!” from me or several other Trek fans.

And speaking of Spiner, just what has he done since ST: TNG? Doing occasional gigs at DragonCon? In the end, it doesn’t matter what he or Stewart or Brooks has to say, it matters if the movie sells enough to warrent a sequel. Considering that The Wrath of Khan was Trek’s big reboot and saved the francise, the New Trek Movie has a lot riding on it.

48. sean - December 10, 2008

Well, my favorite Trek (DS9) was one Berman abandoned early on and thankfully turned over to Ron Moore & Ira Steve Behr. But in all fairness, can Rick be blamed for Voyager’s lameness in its entirety? They did hire, ya know, writers on those shows. I think part of the problem was Rick really did constantly think ‘Would Gene do this? Did Gene do that?’ when he should have just made his own decisions and broke from the mold. After all, Gene was also responsible for the first two abysmal seasons of TNG, and if those had served as a model for later shows…oi vey!

49. Brian - December 10, 2008

#40

I totally agree; I felt Trek got increasingly blander over time….alot of that started with Gene’s take on TNG and it permeated the rest of the shows. The fact that the same writers, producers, production designers, composers, etc. kept moving from one spinoff to the next made everything seem the same. Like I said earlier, Berman and gang simply hung around too long and Paramount failed to recognize that.

50. Horatio - December 10, 2008

#43 – “Berman and the Trek franchise didn’t end after Enterprise because THEY gave up on it, it’s because WE did. No audience = no Trek. ”

I stuck it out with all four seasons of Enterprise even though I would just shake my head sometimes at the missed opportunites each week. Still, the first two seasons of Enterprise were just redressed episodes of TNG. The fans had seen it all before, so they left. I still believe that Trek left the fans – the fans never have left Trek.

51. captain shroom - December 10, 2008

Thank you Brent. Rick Berman deserves far more credit than has been accorded by many fans. Three of the Trek series for which he is credited, TNG, Deep Space 9 and Voyager all ran a full seven seasons. How can we possibly view this as a failure? Each show created a unique fan base, and all, and I stress ALL, are Trek fans.

It seems to me that some of the hard-core Trek fans around here should wake up and realize how blessed this franchise has been to have such talented and committed people working for them. None of the incarnations of Trek are perfect and that includes TOS.

Honestly I’ve had enough of the cynicism and armchair critics who have nothing better to do than spew vitriol at those who have contributed so much to Trek over the years.

Was Enterprise unsuccessful? Yes. But there could be any number of reasons. Lack of chemistry, audience fatigue with the franchise, whatever. Certainly it wasn’t for lack of trying new ideas, and that is what every creative process demands. It seems that JJ is following this course, and he is absolutely right in doing so.

Enough whining and bitching and a little more respect for those that have carried the torch as best they could, an if you don’t like it, then in the words of the Shat: get a life.

52. McCoy - December 10, 2008

I agree with Brent in regards to Berman. I just watched Insurrection last night. It was great to get back to some of those old feelings.

I disagree on the analogy he (and others) make about Bond and Batman. Star Trek is different and has a much stronger visual history and reaffirmation of continuity. Like ‘Trials and Tribulations’ and ‘Mirror Darkly’.

There is a bit of wait and see how well the new film is able to sell the idea of using time travel as a way to change designs. But right now, I am not impressed. They had a blank canvas—they could have kept more continuity. It just doesn’t matter if they found a unique way to change things or not. They still did it and they didn’t have to go as far as they have appeared to go.

We can accept the idea of new actors…we have to….but there are other things that did not have to make that transformation. After all, Bond still drives his classic Aston Martin now and then.

53. Dave - December 10, 2008

Rick Berman helped to keep Star Trek alive after Gene died, as is said in the interview. Trek soared pretty high in the later years of TNG and through First Contact. What’s unfortunate is that he also presided over the lowest point in Trek history at the same time. It is due to that this his legecy will always be complicated.

Of course, you can pass both blame and credit for his tenure around. It would be unfair to give Berman all the praise for TNG, the early films and DS9. That would ignore Ron Moore, Brannon Braga, Ira Behr, Robert Wolfe, Michael Piller, etc. To blame him entirely for VOY, ENT, and the later 2 films would be unfair also. Some of that blame belongs to Jeri Taylor, Michael Piller, Brannon Braga, John Logan, Stuart Baird, the execs at UPN and Paramount Pictures, etc.

I hope someone writes a book about the behind-the-scenes of the Berman Era. It would be fascinating.

54. Aaron R. - December 10, 2008

“Short Sighted” Good way to describe it.

55. Christopher Lee - December 10, 2008

IMHO, Berman saved Trek. TOS wasn’t that good of a show. I know I just committed sacrilege, but that’s how I feel. It was an OK show, but not that good. And the first few season of TNG were boring. Then Berman took over and it got much better. I loved all the movies and DS9 was amazing. VOY was a little too slow for me, although I did cry a little when them made it home in the last episode, but Enterprise was the best. It’s the show that made me a Trekker so I’ll always love it. Plus it had Jolene Blalock in a skin tight suitt, so, you know.

56. Wolf Trek - December 10, 2008

Truth be told, I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault. Star Trek ran its course within the limits of its world. This was very evident during the last few years of Voyager. Enterprise was a phoned in performace, with the exception of the last season, which provided interesting back stories to the established canon.
Star Trek is very much in need of what JJ is doing with the new movie – breathing new life into an old classic.

57. OneBuckFilms - December 10, 2008

Like the Presidency of any administration, Rick Berman has done great things, and not so great things.

There is a curious element that seems to think that Berman Hates or has Ruined Star Trek.

I don’t subscribe to that kind of thinking. It’s wrong, ungrateful and vindictive.

58. Jeyl - December 10, 2008

Four Words.

“These are the voyages”- Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga.

I watched the first episode of Enterprise. Didn’t like it. Watched the Borg episode and theorized that this series was not a prequel to TOS, but specifically to TNG. Read the synopsis of the “These are the voyages” and that pretty much confirmed that this series WAS a prequel to TNG in a dreadful way.

Now, I hated Enterprise with every fiber of my being, but this last episode they did was so god awful, I actually felt sorry for the Star Trek fans who actually liked the series as a whole. For my thoughts on Berman’s approach to this episode, well nothing spells “I give up” when you take something that people like, and change the focus of it to a different show that’s already happened. All it does is make Enterprise nothing more than a holographic shadow to all the other series that preceded it. That’s just low.

59. AJ - December 10, 2008

If Roddenberry is guilty of one thing, it’s his insistence in the TNG Writers’ Guide that TNG have no Klingon or Romulan conflict stories. That was thrown out quickly.

Bu what it led to was the need for Trek’s later incarnations to have a points of difference from TOS/TNG that were detrimental to the various series.

DS9: We’re on a space station, so we can’t go anywhere. But we have two tertiary TNG species in conflict below and a wormhole to explore in runabouts. The Solution was Defiant, which then allowed them to fight the Dominion and travel at high warp.

VOY: We’re thrown out of the ‘known’ galaxy, so we’ll meet all kinds of new species, have no contact with home, and we’ll throw in some ‘conflct’ between the Maquis and the Feds on board. We met Neelix and the Kazon’s various factions. The conflict lasted two minutes. The Solution ended up being the Borg, who were exploited to utter uselessness.

ENT: We’re in the past before TOS, but we’ll meet lots of never-before-seen aliens like the Suliban, and have a time-war. Our first encounter with a Klingon will open up the galaxy to us. No transporters or shields, so we’re super-vulnerable. The Vulcans are mean. The Solution: Transporters and acknowledging the canonical universe in season 4.

In all cases, the shows tried to ‘break the mold’ of TOS and TNG, and ended up having to go back to rescue themselves. Berman & Co. never thought after TNG to get another ship and crew, and continue where TNG left off. The Feds, Klingons, Romulans, etc. worked for Trek, so why try to move away from it? Learn from history, folks.

60. Star Trackie - December 10, 2008

#25 “TOS was not the end-all and be-all to Trek.”

Yes it was. It was and remains “Star Trek”.

DS9, Voyager and Enterprise are to TNG as Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy and Joanie Loves Chachi are to Happy Days. And TNG is to Star Trek is like Lou Grant to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Same universe, even some of the same people….but when you watched Lou Grant, as good as it could be, you NEVER mistook it for The Mary Tyler Moore Show. That’s how far removed the spin-offs were from Star Trek. The spin-offs, for the most part, were excrutiatingly ordinary and repetetive and yes,even occassionally good. (the exception, not the rule) But one never mistook them for being anything close to TOS, not in substance, not in presentation, not in execution.

The spinoffs were sometimes interesting tales set in the Trek universe but they never embodied all that gave Star Trek it’s signautre look, style and legendary status. Instead it became Berman’s assembly line where the same o- same o was cranked out over a span of almost 20 years. What’s the saying? “Familiarity breeds contempt.” I can’t think of a more appropriate saying describing the end of Berman’s reign.

And in describing the return of TOS, the old saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder. ” seems most appropriate. The world is ready. And so am I.

61. trekologist - December 10, 2008

I don’t blame Berman as I blame Brannon Braga… Braga hated canon, had no respect for trek history, did not like story arcs, aliens of the week, and was obsessed with rediculous time travel “temporal cold war” style plots that went nowhere.

Braga’s lack of vision and storytelling drove Enterprise into the ground, until season 4 when Manny Cotto took the remote from Brannon and made good trek!

Berman and Braga together helped run the franchise into the ground, but braga put the nail into the coffin for Enterprise.

Regarding the new movie, i’m really looking forward to it! I hope Abrams stays with the Franchise… and i’d love to see Enterprise brought back! I thought the show was GREAT in season 4. :-D

62. Julio - December 10, 2008

#60

“DS9, Voyager and Enterprise are to TNG as Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy and Joanie Loves Chachi are to Happy Days. And TNG is to Star Trek is like Lou Grant to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. ”

I couldn’t have put it better. In my opinion, TOS will still be around and referenced long after all the rest of the Star Trek shows have faded from memory.

63. MORN SPEAKS - December 10, 2008

For some reason it’s “cool” to bash on Berman. While admittedly there was a few missteps here and there, overall the Trek brand did pretty good. To produce hundreds of hours, and most of it be quality is a very rare thing. I mean look at how heroes has gone horribly awry in just 2 seasons! It seems the ones who complain are always the loudest, and I happy of the contributions Berman and Co. have given us over the years, and I look forward to the future stewards of the franchise.

64. DATA KILLED SPOT! - December 10, 2008

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII’MM COMMANDER DATAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I said, a couple months back, Rick is soooo 90’s (yes it has been long enough). There is no way he can appeal to a newer audience. Sorry.

65. trekologist - December 10, 2008

#58: “Now, I hated Enterprise with every fiber of my being, but this last episode they did was so god awful,”

MAN! “These Are The Voyages” was GOD AWFUL! It was so bad, I don’t even count it as canon! :-X None of it! Just terrible!

I blame the Brannon and Berman terrible two for the demise of Star Trek…
Brannon Braga should be kept AWAY from science fiction period!

66. GaryS - December 10, 2008

Good for you Brent!
Well said!

67. Horatio - December 10, 2008

#65 – “MAN! “These Are The Voyages” was GOD AWFUL! It was so bad, I don’t even count it as canon! :-X None of it! Just terrible!”

Yeah, Berman and Braga seemed to have a knack for killing off major popular characters. Kirk’s death in Generations was so totally pointless it takes ones breath away and should be considered a genre felony. Don’t even get me started with Tripp’s death in ‘These Are The Voyages’.

After TATV Enterprise finale I finally realized that the producer’s really didn’t have a clue about their audience.

68. Devon - December 10, 2008

Personally I didn’t think the Enterprise Series Finale was that bad as an episode in general, but it just seemed a bit too forced with the TNG tie in.

They killed Trip off… and I didn’t feel a thing, which solidified my “meh” for the series. It could have been an excellent series with different writers (except for maybe Manny Coto,) and perhaps some more dynamic stories and actors. I was actually looking forward to the prequel premise.

69. Robert - December 10, 2008

Wow, I find it so sad that there is so much disrespect amongst fans for the professionals who may have been as imperfect as we are, but still managed to re-energize the franchise, keep it alive for so long, and create the gateway for this new film. Not a single one of those shows were bad television. Every single one of those shows left us some classics.

Absolutely, there were some shows (and episodes, and writers, and producers, etc.) that were better than others. Absolutely, it all got tired and ran out of energy and ideas after awhile, in great part due to the extremely complex canon and some of the limits they imposed upon themselves (often out of respect to the fans and to Gene’s vision). But there are numerous gems in there throughout those years that are worthy of standing side-to-side with TOS.

Television is a business. Star Trek is a business. Considering how bad it could have been, I’d think “fans” could be a little more forgiving.

70. Number 6 - December 10, 2008

Voyager & parts are DS9 are not-canon IMHP. There’s no way theses shows are part of the same Universe. Enterprise is due to a change in the timeline thanks to First Contact. season 4 Enterprise is part of canon (because the Berman-Braga Monster got their hands off it). Folk that want to defend Spiners comments don’t understand why Babylon 5 became so popular in the 90’s …bcause it was the freshest thing on the menu! I myself stopped watching trek altogether by ’96 and watched B-5 consistantly. I didn’t watch Trek consistantly again till Enterprise premiered.

71. John from Cincinnati - December 10, 2008

I still think they should’ve cast Beyonce as Capt. Kirk, Christian Slater as Spock, Rob Schneider as Scotty and Ian McKellan and Dr. McCoy for the new movie.

Yuck?! I say give it a chance! Just give it a chance!

72. CmdrR - December 10, 2008

There’s nothing wrong with being a lifelong cheerleader for a project you’ve known and loved. Congrats to Brent for his loyalty.
I also flatly reject the all Berman Trek is tainted and dull theory. It certainly worked beautifully at the time. And MOST episodes hold up beautifully. I’ll grant any series a few stineroos per season. Lost and Heroes are each certainly a bucking horse of quality. Good for Brent. Thanks to Rick and JJ for some good Trekkin’!

73. Jeffries Tuber - December 10, 2008

Spiner can be respected for his loyalty, but the facts just aren’t there.

The Paramount regime under Lansing was corporate to the extreme. I can tell you from first hand experience that the only executives who prospered at the company were milquetoast corporate toadies. Does that sound like the franchise Trek you know? Of course Spiner’s loyal, because Spiner was treated like Nimoy, even though his character, his “acting” and his pop culture significance/Q-rating were just a sliver of Nimoy’s.

Killing Kirk.
Over a decade of terrible casting, from DS9-forward.
The metastasization of latex forehead aliens.
The butt ugly USS Voyager.
The undue reliance on humor and revenge in TNG movies, and absolutle lack of science and “new worlds, new civilizations.”
The pandering characters of 7 of 9 and the Vulcan chick from ENT.
and above all….
The theme song to ENTERPRISE.

These things are unforgivable. Let’s say an expert in the development and production of televised Trek knocks half that list off and attributes it to someone else… it doesn’t make a difference. He let it happen and made the other half happen.

Come on folks, just look at what happened when one of the best writers on the show was cut loose: BSG.

74. SexyAsianGurl - December 10, 2008

B5 sucked it had the worst acting, worse sets (even more so than TOS!!!!) & story was a bumbling mess soap opera. The only cool thing was the space battles. Everyone know’s that.

75. charlie - December 10, 2008

My sister says that Rick Berman is a member of an alien race who hunts & eats a race of aliens called the Zy. Scott Bacula is really married to Connor Trinneer (who is really a female Zy called Anna) and they have many children together who look like little geckos (the true appearence of the Zy). And Scott Bakula is extremely GAY & was once shacked up with Dean Stockwell, but had to break it off with him because Dean was physically abusive to Scott… which is also why he left George Clooney. But we all know this, right?

76. charlie - December 10, 2008

OH, and the Connor Trinneer we saw on the show after season 2 was a Zy bodyguard that was used to “replace” the real CT (who had reverted to her true form as a female but human-looking) because RB had his people on Earth to hunt & kill Bakula’s & Trinneer’s children.

You keeping up with me so far?

77. G-Boss - December 10, 2008

Nice comments from Spiner.

78. Jon - December 10, 2008

Had to chime in here a bit…

Berman: He was decent at the beginning of his tenure and did produce some good stuff, but I must concur with others that Trek under his guidance in the 90s became terribly dull and repetitive. That’s not just my opinion…the significant downturn in ratings is undeniable proof I’m sorry to say. Virtually everyone I know who had been an ardent Trek fan left the fandom during the 90s as Voyager sank into utter mediocrity with tired plots that were chock full of technobabble and just plain boring dialogue and plotlines.

It was so sad to see this happen, but Berman was the “Captain” of the ship so he bears the chief responsibility. I read too many interviews with him (and Braga) wherein he would state explicitly that he thought Trek was as good as ever and that nothing needed changing all the while as the franchise slid both in quality and ratings. It wasn’t until the FINALLY allowed some fresh blood to do some writing on Enterprise’s last season that things picked up qualitywise, but it was too late at that point to save the show.

I am hopeful that the new movie will re-energize the franchise and I will give it a proper chance certainly.

And I must also defend B5…it was by far the best Science Fiction show at the time, even if it comes off a little dated these days. Yes, the acting may have not been the best for some of the characters, but some were quite good (the actors portraying G’Kar and Londo in particular were excellent). And the plot kept me glued to my set, certainly for seasons 1-4…season 5 faltered a bit, but was still watchable certainly. The problems with Season 5 are well documented elsewhere. I must say that almost all of my friends that had been “into” Trek in the 90’s switched to B5 at some point and stopped watching Trek for the most part.

Yes, for some folks, B5 was not their “thing,” but for myself and many of my fellow science fiction fans…we all very much enjoyed B5 and were grateful to have it around as Trek at the time was clearly on the decline…

My 2 cents…

79. the king in shreds and tatters - December 10, 2008

Psssh… nobody likes Roger Moore.

80. spiked canon - December 10, 2008

Berman was fine for the show but short sighted on the movies. He killed Trek, period

81. Dr. Image - December 10, 2008

#74Sexy- Wow. Someone who agrees with me!! I’m shocked!!
I could add so many more reasons…. but on to–

the writers of TNG:
The fact is, the good TNG writers- and all the money- went “across the street,” as Frakes has said, to DS9 when it got up and running.

That’s why TNG started to SUCK at that point!
The same crew moved on to helm VOY and later ENT, headed by our pal Braga.

That’s why the writing on DS9 was so vastly superior than the others- they got the cream of the crop- Piller, Moore, Ira Behr, R. Hewitt-Wolfe, etc.

#23 Paul- Yes! YOU know the facts. Teach ‘em all about reality!

82. Scott - December 10, 2008

I never understand all the Berman bashing, honestly. What gives?

83. fro - December 10, 2008

Let’s go down the list here

1. Star Trek Generations – Killed off Star Trek’s leader for no reason
2. Endgame – Everyone that I have talked to said the same thing when the episode ended. “Thats it?” yeah universal disgust there.
3. Nemesis – Dunebuggie and Shinzon yeah they sucked
4. These are the voyages as a series finally? ok yeah im glad hes gone

84. asc1138 - December 10, 2008

Now everyone is jumping on the “Hey give Berman a break” train? Come on, are you serious? Well, If I was paid atleast half of what Berman gets paid, I would probably work a lot harder at creating original ideas. The best years the guy gave us was TNG seasons 3-5 and thats IT!!!! What else has he done thats been successful………………………(is that crickets I hear?). The guy was a pompous ass the whole time he headed Star Trek, and his contempt for TOS and refusal to recognize its relevance, just got way too old. I glad his narcissism is longer strangling Trek to death. Good Riddance!

( And yes, I did said I could do better if I was paid half as much as Berman, and thats not saying much)

85. Cousin Itt - December 10, 2008

Rick Berman was actually a pretty good television Executive Producer. His productions were top notch and made money for his company. When he had good show runners (Michael Piiller, Ira Behr) his shows were good. When he didn’t (Brannon Braga, Jeri Taylor) his shows lacked. Nowhere is this more true than with Enterprise, as one can see the difference between Braga and Manny Coto.

I think everyone would agree, though, that he needed to stay out of motion pictures.

86. RD - December 10, 2008

Spiner is a TNG brat. He was influenced by Berman and Braga and developed one of the most intriguing yet hokey characters in all of Star Trek. The whole sub-plot involving Data is one of the main reasons Nemesis failed. Saying he has ANY valid opinions about TOS merely because he’s part of the franchise is ridiculous. Having been a fan of TOS, I watched TNG with much skepticism and ultimately found aspects worthy of my continued appreciation. But it is in NO WAY TOS. Frankly, no offense to those who love the 24th century Trek saga over any other, but the recent series in the franchise are something completely different and embodied a whole new sensibility, an older more mature Roddenberry, if you will. Spiner is no more a spokesman for what Abrams did or didn’t do right for the franchise than any current studio chief. These TNG guys should just Shut The F*** Up and look for other ways to keep their careers alive, besides towing the corporate line in an effort to keep Paramount from losing the core fanbase and therefore their shirts if a new mainstream crossover audience does not embrace this new film which seems to be an endless series of compromises to appease all.

87. Robert - December 10, 2008

#74Sexy – “The only cool thing (about B5) was the space battles. Everyone know’s that… is my opinion, and I’m probably mistaken”

There. Fixed that for you.

88. the king in shreds and tatters - December 10, 2008

87.

Yeah, they didn’t age very well either…

89. nurturer - December 10, 2008

Berman is the reason you hear incessant musak on almost every TNG episode following Roddenberry’s passing. He didn’t have the confidence in his actors to carry a scene with just the dialog without some sort of background noise, until ultimately, the whole thing became noise. Goodbye Rick.

90. asc1138 - December 10, 2008

81. Dr. Image – December 10, 2008

#23 Paul- Yes! YOU know the facts. Teach ‘em all about reality!

Yeah, speak for yourself dude. I guess YOU are the one that knows it all, teach us oh great master.!! DS9 wasn’t that great either. It was ok. Its funny how you make excuses that production and money were the factor, isn’t that what Berman always says is the problem? The writing has never changed, THATS THE PROBLEM. DS9, VOY, TNG seasons 6-7, ENT season 1-3, the quality writers that you claimed moved to DS9 just continued making mediocre stories. Honestly, Michael Piller was the glue that held it together, and once he was gone, everything went down here.

91. Shane - December 10, 2008

#83

It would be just as easy to come up with a list of great things Berman did. Focusing exclusively on TNG:

1. The Best of Both Worlds
2. Unification – Writer
3. Yesterday’s Enterprise
4. The Inner Light
5. Tapestry
6. Redemption
7. Time’s Arrow
8. Frame of Mind
9. Chain of Command
10. Relics

Those are in no particular order. Now it may be that not everybody is a fan of each of them, which is why I selected 10, but the point is that that is just a fraction of what Berman was responsible for. It’s easy to say, “oh he messed this up,” or, “oh he messed that up” and forget all the good he did. It’s also easy to demonize him as though he’s the only person that ever did anything bad to Trek.

What about “Spock’s Brain?” What about “The Omega Glory?” What about “And the Children Shall Lead,” or “The Alternative Factor” or “Let That be Your Last Battlefield?” Again, not everybody will agree that all of these were bad. Some may like some of them. (For example, I think that “The Way to Eden” is actually a *very* good episode, and that it gets a bad rap due to all the hippie-singing and the dated-ness of it, but the story and the message I find very compelling. Yet many consider it the worst episode of the series.) The point is that for virtually every bad thing Trek turned out under Berman, it is possible to point to something bad it turned out under somebody else, including Roddenberry.

Like Mr. Spiner said: the man spent 15 years on Trek, and it would be impossible that he not turn out some bad stuff. He also turned out much great stuff. Many people, like fro, believe he killed Trek. Let’s not forget the man also brought it to life. Did Roddenberry kill Trek, when it was canceled under his tenure? The first season of TNG certainly wasn’t going anywhere, either. Berman came on in season 2, and TNG vaulted to the height of popularity and led to 3 spin offs. If he is to shoulder the blame for Trek “dying,” he must be given the credit for it even being around to die in the first place.

I’m not saying I am some huge Berman fan, nor am I saying that I am not. I am quite honestly rather neutral. I just hate people bashing on the man and saying that he singlehandedly killed Trek and all of these other things, while failing to grant him the credit he is due as well. Trek has had its ups, and it has had its downs. Not all of either are due to Berman, and its just silly, mean-spirited, and frankly lacking in a measure of intelligent thought to say so.

92. P Technobabble - December 10, 2008

Re: the “Berman era”

The things I remember most about TNG are “Best of Both Worlds,” and “All Good Things.” These are, IMO, two of the finest episodes of any kind of television, and in spite of the fact I had nothing to do with them, I almost feel proud of these episodes… and I think the TNG people must be damned proud of them, too. The things I try to forget about TNG… well, I won’t get into them, cos I’m trying to forget… where is Spock when you need him???

I really liked DS9, although I still insist there was no reason in the universe why this show had to have the name Star Trek attached to it. It could have stood on its own quite well, and I think it had more heart and soul than B5 did (but I liked that show, as well). DS9 could be a great example of solid drama told against a sci-fi setting. It showed us you did not need massive space battles or an alien-of-the-week in order to remain interesting. Apart from TOS, I wish DS9 had had a real finish, rather than leaving us up in the air…

VOY was the biggest disappointment for me, although initially I was very excited about the concept. I really wanted to see Star Trek go where no one had gone before, but VOY turned into a vague copy of TOS and TNG. Substitute Kazon’s for Klingons… wait, there’s a Klingon ship that happens to be in the neighborhood. The Borg… the damned Borg… I came to despise them not because they were a big bad enemy, they were more like John Belushi’s “The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave.” The only thing VOY took where no one had gone before was in the dialogue:

KIM: Captain, I don’t believe this… but… according to my readings,
we’re being attacked by protons! We’ve been reduced to subatomic
proportions!
JANEWAY: (exasperated) Mister Tuvok, see if you can release a positive
ion charge to repel them.
TUVOK: Sorry, Captain, I’m a bit constipated today… (alright, this was my line, but you get the idea)…

ENT just never hooked me. By the time it appeared on television, the previous TNG films had left me feeling rather Trek-weary, and I just couldn’t get into more of the same… Manny Coto might have been able to turn things around, but I imagine Paramount was also feeling Trek-weary.

I think it’s appropriate to be critical at times, but criticism can be handled in a mature and civilized manner. I don’t “hate” any Berman-era Star Trek, and some of it was really great television, period. I don’t think there’s any need to make claims like, “Berman ruined Star Trek,” nor do I think he deserves some of the nasty crap that’s been flung his way. He didn’t ruin it… Star Trek is alive and well, and will probably outlive all of us…

93. David (Flaming Wings Forever) - December 10, 2008

Regardless of the pro’s and con’s of Trek post DS9, one thing is certain: the fan base slowly declined in the later years. Whether it was from disinterest, or a lack of challenging content, Star Trek declined.

It’s deepest low happened IMO with Voyager. It was the first Trek series I gave up on. Enterprise has it’s moments, but like many of the cannonites I was repulsed by the changes to (surmised) cannon.

Like Trek itself, the fan base is in flux. Those unwilling to change to the right, those willing to accept change to the left. It’s hard to say which group is largest, but we know who’s most vocal.

I hold no ill will to anyone who worked on trek, and instead they have my warmest gratitude for providing me with a weekly escape from reality. Some weeks were better than others. Some weeks I clawed my eyes out in disgust (note: a bit dramatic and overstated, but hey, I’m a Star Trek Fan.)

[b]I ultimately gave up on cannon.[/b] For every example of what was, there’s an example of it being ignored. In the end if we argue these things, we’re little better than a group of self-appointed busy-bodies trying to suppress knowledge, and cannonize that which we deem fit. (enough about the Catholic Church – I digress).

Looking to the future of Trek, we can’t look back and say ‘Braga was this’ and ‘Roddenbury was that’, so Star Trek MUST be this… That’s silly. Star Trek is what we make of it as individuals and how it affects us. Ultimately is it just entertainment, or does it move us?

TOS gave us an interracial kiss, and dealt with race issues in profound ways. TNG let us examine humanity and question ourselves. DS9 opened the door to religion, redemption, and gave us some of the best space battles ever on television (with a nod to B5).

Someone please help me with what Voyager did. Seven of Nine does not count.

And Enterprise proved once and for all that good writers make or break a series (the last few Reeves episodes were great).

For many of us Star Trek is about adventure, and experiencing new things. To boldy go…

Just my 2bits.

94. RTC - December 10, 2008

No one is saying Berman is blameless. But it’s neither fair nor accurate to blame him alone (or even him and Braga) for Trek’s eventual spiral. They bear their share of responsibility, but there were a lot of other factors, not the least of which was overexposure. It’s also not fair to paint any of the post-TOS (or post-TNG) series with a broad brush of failure. They had their strengths and their weaknesses, and yes, sometimes more of the latter. Could things have been done differently? Absolutely. But I’m exceptionally weary of the ‘armchair quarterbacking’ of Star Trek. A lot of people gave a lot of themselves trying to make it good and memorable and relevant. Dislike their work if you wish, but let’s stop the character assassinations.

95. E Huff - December 10, 2008

Brent is right, people have no idea the kind of burden producers have, especially Berman producing so many episodes and continuing Gene’s vision. Thats one hell of a job. Thanks Rick!

96. Tangent - December 10, 2008

I pretty much agree with what he had to say, and generally I think Berman did a good job, but the quality definitely deterioted and it was the right move to give someone else a shot at it.

97. Jtrekker - December 10, 2008

I think a lot has been said here that could really be considered relevant either way as to if Berman killed or saved Trek. I’ve already put in my two cents. But I fell obligated to make the point that Star Trek is not just one series or one person or one time period. All of the Treks are called Star Trek (even if ENT did it reluctantly) because they are all part of a much larger universe that is unique and different.

The truth is Star Trek is made up of hundreds of hours of TV and film created by the works of literally thousands of people who took of various rolls to continue to provide TV viewers who wanted something unique and different – something unique and different. There’s a reason why, while it’s was still on, I chose to watch Star Trek (in it’s many forms) over other shows on other channels at the same time. There’s a reason why I own every episode of every series and every movie and take the time to re-watch those on a regular basis. There’s a reason why I get excited everytime I hear about a new Trek development – be it movie or series. The reason why is because, good or bad, I’m a fan and I want something to watch that makes me feel as good as the first time I watched Where No Man Has Gone Before.

Berman gave us something to watch – he and MANY other people who worked with him. I miss having something like that to look forward to each week. Sure, there are other things to watch, but I don’t think i’ve been as excited to watch something as the good ol’ days when every week there was something new in Trek to look forward to.

I’m not saying we all have to give “credit where it’s due” or anything like that. I think we should be glad there was anything at all. And for those who think TOS is the end-all be-all of Trek, then why is there even an argument? The following series are obviously of no bearing on the original, so why even debate the question of Berman? To me, the only relevant point is, for those who appreciated the following series and enjoyed at least ONE episode of TNG, DS9, VOY or ENT – that wouldn’t have been possible if someone had not carried the torch.

98. EFFeX - December 10, 2008

I never understood the Berman bashing, I enjoyed every Trek he was part of, lots of great memories.

99. MORN SPEAKS - December 10, 2008

#97 Jtrekker, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

100. EFFeX - December 10, 2008

I have to comment also that Voyager was a great show beginning to end. I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I can watch the entire series on repeat. There were really some great stories and character development. I think some people couldn’t handle the humor and the lightheartedness, but I thought it was very pleasant and there really were great episodes. Example “Year Of Hell”, some Voyager episodes really rivaled TNG (which is my favorite Trek series).

101. Enterprise - December 10, 2008

Uh, people are complaining about the new movie, and Berman has nothing to do with it. Fans love to complain. Go watch Star Wars.

102. Horatio - December 10, 2008

Berman did do a great job but the shows all started to look alike. Enterprise was *suppose* to be the big new fresh approach to Trek. It wasn’t. It was once again more of the same. When he needed to change he didn’t.

103. Greyward - December 10, 2008

I’m with Mr Spinner on both points. Frankly, I was hoping and cheering for Berman to be replaced; he did indeed make some big mistakes. Like many others I was disappointed with the direction Voyager took; and though I liked Enterprise better, it was mostly due to the charisma and personalities of the actors, not so much the writting decisions. In hindsight though, Berman needed to replaced as head of Star Trek for the simple reason that he’d been in that position for too long without a break. The franchise >needed< a break, new talent, and a fresh direction.

I’m sure Mr. Berman did the best he could, but as much as he wanted to start something fresh, he kept going back and repeating himself. For no other reason that he has his own idea about what Star Trek is. The problem is that there is no one ultimate way of looking at it. Heck, given the cooperative and bumpy genesis of TOS (Gene’s baby but with multiple writers, like DC Fontana and others fleshing it out) I don’t think even Gene Rodenberry can be said to have had the one, true, definitive monolithic vision of what Trek is. It means too much to too many people for too many different reasons, and that might be its greatest strength. Long after other franchises have been driven to the ground, the very best ones see themselves reinvigorated by new interpretations.

Rick Berman had his moment, and he acquitted himself with honor; his biggest mistake being that he hung on too long. And who can really blame him? If he did it for the money then perhaps we can; but we don’t know that. Most likely he simply thought he knew best. And for a while there, maybe he did. But all of that is behind us. Like we do with Balance of Terror vs, say, The Way to Eden, lets rewatch the best episodes and remember the best moments and forgive and (try to) forget the lows. Its over anyway, and now Trek is in different hands. With any luck, long after we’re dust there’ll be young men auditioning to play Captain Kirk, and folks shaving their heads in hope of being the new Piccard.

“This ship and her history will shortly become the care of another crew. To them and their posterity will we commit our future. They will continue the voyages we have begun, and journey to all the undiscovered countries, boldly going where no man… where no *one* has gone before.”

104. Jeffries Tuber - December 10, 2008

I know this appears off-point, but no matter how critical we get on this site, this article on i09 shows you how deeply the geek knife cuts:

http://defamer.com/5106681/carrie-fisher-comes-full-circle

OUCH.

105. Enterprise - December 10, 2008

A lot of it wasn’t Berman. It was the terrible stagnant Trek writers that gave us the same stories every year. For each new series I would have hired a fresh, new writing staff.

106. Bob Tompkins - December 10, 2008

#2- If Data is ever done again for a TNG reboot, he’ll be done in the realm of CGI or possibly true robotics.

107. Nathan - December 10, 2008

Rick Berman was a very good producer…all of the Trek series under his reign were always well-produced to a T. He did a great job, at least in my opinion, at keeping the various Trek shows running smoothly, and making sure the effects, sets, and other productions things were as high-quality as possible within the time constraints. On the creative side, I don’t think he was anything to talk about…but he wasn’t really *that* involved in them in the first place, and when he had a good writing staff working for him (as he did on TNG and DS9) things worked out extremely well.

So, sure, Rick Berman deserves some blame for Trek’s downfall– but by and large the reason TNG and DS9 were good, and Voyager and Enterprise less so comes down to the people actually writing the episodes. Blame them, not Berman…

108. sean - December 10, 2008

While I believe Rick Berman stayed around for far too long (anyone should have been replaced by that point – heck, George Lucas should have been replaced after The Empire Strikes Back), I don’t believe he did anything during his tenure out of malice or a deliberate hatred of Trek. I think he merely was too close to the problem to realize he had fallen into a rut. It happens to all of us from time to time. If each new show had been given a separate creative team, it might have helped.

109. Author of The Vulcan Neck Pinch for Fathers - December 10, 2008

>Wow, I find it so sad that there is so much disrespect amongst fans for the professionals who may have been as imperfect as we are, but still managed to re-energize the franchise, keep it alive for so long, and create the gateway for this new film.

Geez, we’re not passing moral judgment on the man’s soul, we’re assessing his work on a TV show. Let’s get a little perspective.

We’ve been down this road before. Yes, some of TNG was good, and, yes, some of TOS was wretched. The difference is that TOS had no reference point. The kind of dramatic TV TOS offered was unlike anything in that era. TNG knew better. Or at least it should have. Sometimes it worked famously well, but that was in spite of the broader direction the Trek show and universe(s) were taken.

110. AJ - December 10, 2008

Anthony:

Any chance of getting Berman on here?

It’d be great to hear his perspective once Trek 11 is released.

111. Admiral_BlackCat - December 10, 2008

I’ve enjoyed everything Spiner has done. He’s a well rounded actor and his characters have been believable. Nice comments for Berman and JJ.

112. sean - December 10, 2008

#92

I loved that DS9 left things somewhat unfinished. Sometimes shows attempt to tie up every single storyline in a nice little bow in their final episodes and it ends up feeling rushed or forced. To me, DS9 took a balanced approach and tied up what needed to be tied up without overdoing it. Lost of questions still unanswered.

113. Harry Ballz - December 10, 2008

Considering that Rick Berman effectively changed Star Trek:TNG into “The Picard+Data Show”, I’m not too surprised that Mr. Spiner is supportive of him!

Not biting the hand that feeds you and all that…….

114. OM - December 10, 2008

Rick Berman is the George W Bush of Trek

…Nah, he was the Dickhead Cheney. Brandon Braga was Dubya.

115. Thorny - December 10, 2008

I think it is possible that Mr. Spiner is only really conscious of the TNG series and movie. How involved with “Voyager” or early “Enterprise”, which are what killed the Star Trek television franchise, was he, really? He came aboard “Enterprise” for three episodes in its final season, when Manny Coto was breathing new life into an otherwise dead-by-Berman franchise.

Don’t take me wrong, Mr. Berman did great work for TNG, and I salute him especially for TNG seasons 3 and 4, which remain some of the best Trek ever produced.

But Mr. Berman was running on fumes by the time Voyager arrived, and I fully blame him for the failure of “Enterprise”, starting at the beginning when he refused to put “Star Trek” in the title, following that with the poor casting of the series (especially Bakula, who never worked in the role of Archer), and continuing through the idiotic “temporal cold war” storyline that almost no one liked. That’s his fault, no one else’s, and it isn’t like he couldn’t see it coming. Nearly every fan at the time was saying “what the…” when they first heard about the TCW. He let Coto and Company handle the creative decisions for the fourth season of “Enterprise”, but he had one final idiotic decision to make, and that was the fiasco of “These Are The Voyages…” which was an insult to “Enterprise” fans (those few who remained), and instead highlighted TNG characters in Berman’s attempt to relive his long-gone glory days. And then he had the nerve to hype it as a “valentine to the fans.”

Its Mr. Spiner’s perogative to defend Mr. Berman, and I’ll never give anyone grief for speaking his or her mind. But I have to wonder how much of Voyager or Enterprise Mr. Spiner actually has seen, and on what exactly he blames the box office failure of “Nemesis”.

116. McCoy - December 10, 2008

At least Berman didn’t try to alter the TOS universe when the Enterprise characters visited the TOS timeline. I would also note that the Mirror Darkly episodes are two of the highest rated. Trials and Tribulations is the highest rated DS9 episode. This tells me that it’s OK to revisit classic Trek in all it’s splendor. Just add more details.

We don’t really know what the 23rd century will look like. Since we all agree Trek is just fantasy, it’s OK to use all the classic wear and ship design whenever we visit the TOS era in film or on TV. It’s part of the American experience. Have fun with it! No need to wipe it clean for a new vision.

At least Berman kept the continuity. Never thought I would have to worry about loosing it!

117. McCoy - December 10, 2008

Americans love to revisit the past. Get out the old ’55 Chevy and head for the local A&W for some fun (as opposed to driving it off a cliff in Iowa). I just wish we could have had that for TOS. Would have been fun.

New textures, new lighting, new effects with a youthful cast. It would be like going back and moving forward at the same time.

I made myself feel really bad. This movie is so not what I was hoping for. :o( At least we have Leonard.

118. Jason King - December 10, 2008

The biggest issue with Berman was simply that he was doing it for so long. I think the freshness off Star Trek kinda faded because it was mostly the same minds working on it for over 15 years straight.

I think a fresh perspective from another mind is needed every now and then, especially with such a long running show. Good luck to JJ and crew!

119. Jason - December 10, 2008

I would have to say that the problem with Berman were two thing: first, he was with the franchaise WAY too long, and seemed to loose interest at the end. Maybe if he had handed the reigns over to a new team maybe around Insurrection, it would be a totally different story. Also, another big problem during those years is that Paramount themselves did really care for the franchaise, maybe they thought it was done, so they started cutting back, putting a lot of restrictions on Berman and co., and still gave too many orders. Like the disaster that was Nemesis, I think it was Berman who made a fairly good choice of picking John Logan to write it, but it was the studio who shoved that hack Baird down their throughts as director and all the budget and deadlines and stuff were a Paramount problem.

Now, as for Abrams, I haven’t heard as much bashing, other than people not warming up to the new Enterprise design and whatnot, but those people need to relize that any great franchaise can be redone, with a new look but the same ideas and principles. Look at Batman as the perfect example, the new Chris Nolan films look nothing like the Tim Burton films or the Adam West TV show. They have their own unique look at the series and yet still retain what is essential for it to be apart of the series. That’s what happened with Batman, Bond and many others, and that’s what Mr. Abrams and crew are doing.

120. Anthony Thompson - December 10, 2008

6.

Yeah, Lazenby was much better than Moore. But he wasn’t interested in signing up again (he became a hippy!). Which is a pity. Hopefully, Star Trek will be as good (in it’s own way) as OHMSS – which many regard as the best of the Bond films.

121. John from Cincinnati - December 10, 2008

I still think the best way to re-energize the franchise is for…

-refreshing new production/filming values
-increase of budget
-center on Pike era
-adhere to previous designs but update with higher quality effects/materials
-focus stories on the “reality” of serving on a future starship, exploring strange new worlds and the dangers that go along with that while exploring the human condition.
-highlight the comraderie of diverse professionals working together
-portray starship Captains as competant and heroic.
-aliens are dangerous, at least until communication is begun.
-a working starship is complex and dangerous, show that in all it’s gritty detail
-show in more detail, the Orions, Talosians, Gorn, Organians and trading that goes on in the Federation. More of what civilian life is like.
show in more detail the scientific discovery of what it means to discover a new world and interesting civilizations.
-show back story of Tarsus IV, Rigel VII, etc.

This are just my humble opinions and no, I don’t think these are being covered in the new movie. I also think Rick Berman did a couple of nice episodes (Inner Light, Lessons, Chain of Command, Yesterday’s Enterprise) but pretty much missed the boat on the rest of the franchise.

122. Trek is back - December 10, 2008

I think Rick Berman produced some fantastic trek, but then what people forget paramount at the time knew star trek was such a big money maker they said they were going to produce voyager with or without him and i think Rick berman just lost the identity of trek, it became unbeliveable and turned into a sad space series with some really great story lines with poor endings, ships moving without the stars moving, to much political and contriversiol story lines but no backbone action. mix up betwwen ds9 and voyager a poor season seven tng, enterprise being to similar to tng,voy episodes. starfleet officers going to bed in uniforms sleeping on a paper thin pilow. no one actually saying i need the toilet no real life essence. earth and starfleet command always looking differnt to the mood of what show it was on, even though it was the same year. voyager using new ds9 weapons even though they were stuck on the other side of the galaxy, changing miles obrians rank every season. voyager exposing the borg to much!!!!!, worf’s son where do i start. exposing the human race as the biggest race even though the federation had over 150 planets i belive. it just seemed paramount wanted all these series so fans would by loads of merchandise which if you look on ebay my life nothing is selling and thats nothing to do with the credit crunch….

123. EFFeX - December 10, 2008

It’s strange this is supposed to be a site for Trek fans to come together. However, over the last couple months I’ve been visiting this site I’ve started to think otherwise. This is a site for people who do NOT like Trek. Everyone seems to agree that TOS was a great series. Generally, it seems that people like SOME of TNG and people like SOME of DS9. I’ve also gathered that most people don’t like VOY or ENT at all. Considering that 4 out of 5 shows were not TOS, it makes me wonder where are the fans that love the franchise as a whole? Now that it’s all said and done, there were a few things I would have changed, but the universe that they created as a whole was incredible.

124. KDoug - December 10, 2008

I find it surprising to read so many comparisons of Rick Berman to a head of state. Why not make a comparison that’s much closer to the true state of affairs? Personally, I would liken Rick Berman’s stay in the Star Trek franchise to Michael Eisner’s stay at Disney. Both led their respective properties through some very good years. But in the end, both were unable to sustain that success. And that’s nothing to be truly ashamed of. It’s difficult to sustain success for decades at a time, especially in something as changeable as the entertainment industry. But eventually, their companies both came to realize that a change was needed, and that’s what we got.

125. NoRez - December 10, 2008

“”Of course Spiner’s loyal, because Spiner was treated like Nimoy, even though his character, his “acting” and his pop culture significance/Q-rating were just a sliver of Nimoy’s.””

Yep. An incredible amount of screen time, 50% of it being ‘Data acts goofy because _________” bullshit.

126. YARN - December 10, 2008

121.

No, do Star Trek: Gorn!

Put it on a Gorn ship with a Gorn crew. No English and no subtitles. Just girggling noises!

Scene: Gorn ship approaches alien freighter. Gorn ship opens up weapons and destroy ship. Cut to Gorn standing around a viewscreen girggle-laughing and smacking each other on the back. Ship’s Counselor Gorn (who is 1/2 betazoid) looks on disapprovingly.

127. Jordan - December 10, 2008

Rick Berman guided the great TNG from season one. I applaud him and I definitely applaud my man Brent Spiner. A terribly underrated actor, indeed.

128. RD - December 10, 2008

#116. “At least Berman didn’t try to alter the TOS universe when the Enterprise characters visited the TOS timeline. I would also note that the Mirror Darkly episodes are two of the highest rated. Trials and Tribulations is the highest rated DS9 episode.”

Complete gimmick, pandering directly to core Trek geeks, who were not buying the usual pabulum Berman was calling “Trek” and forcing down the fan’s throats. Ratings are subjective. ST aired in syndication and on one of the lowest rated networks in history UPN, which may I remind you no longer exists. While I enjoyed those episodes for the pure camp and novelty they offered. But as a serious offering, well let me put it this way: When Scotty entered the holodeck during TNG “Relics”, I was never more disappointed that they decided to recreate the camp of TOS. The movies and TNG had already moved so far past that production capability, yet they laid the groundwork for future campy Trek episodes by recreating it exactly, simply because that’s what it looked like in 1965. Just dumb. Thank God this new movie throws all that out with the. bathwater. It is time to let that crap go and enjoy it in its own context for the time it was produced. Let’s get on with producing great movies based on the universe Roddenberry conceived of using the technology available to us today. For God’s sake, does anybody really believe Roddenberry would have given us that set if he had available the technology we have today? If you do, you are out of your mind. Even The original Cage bridge was closer to the new movie’s set than TOS. It is so sad that not only do most Trek fans live their lives for that canonical minutiae, but also stuck in the past.

129. AJ - December 10, 2008

RD:

Wow, that was a cynical post. The ‘highest rated’ DS9 episode was one which paid tribute to TOS on its 30th anniversary. Is that a bad thing?

If there was a time when “pandering to core Trek geeks” meant high ratings, I wish I were there. I’ve been watching since 1971.

UPN died, not only because of Voyager, but because of every other show as well. They chose to “go ethnic,” and the shows blew chow.

Roddenberry’s vision of Trek was to avoid technology as much as possible. And to make sure tech never got in the way of a story.

130. James Heaney - Wowbagger - December 10, 2008

#123: This is just what Trekkies do. We bash.

We all watched every episode of every series every chance we got. We love it all. We just don’t say so or agree on anything–or, at least, we haven’t since the original Bjo Trimble Save Star Trek campaign.

I really don’t fully understand why, but it is the nature of the fandom. Don’t let it get you down. Just preach the love of ENT. ’tis a good cause.

131. Mark C - December 10, 2008

#93 Daaaaaaaavid – Cannon? Cannon? Did you say cannon?

132. Bill Peters - December 10, 2008

I Thank Rick Berman for what he did with TNG but he didn’t seem to give much life to ENT as Many Coto did…season 5 would have been wonderful if it had been given a chance. DS9 Rocked, and Voyager was a good Trek…but Now I do look foward to the new movie!

133. Bill Peters - December 10, 2008

I belilve we should give JJ a chance to make trek great again!!!

134. Will H. - December 10, 2008

He’s right, TNG-ENT was a long damn time for something like that to run, and Berman was at the helm for most of it. In fact, he seems mostly responsible for taking TNG from something of a TOS ripoff to something all its own that took off and became something greater than TOS ever could of been (at least in this humble trekkie’s opinion) Sure, he did stuff wrong, but Im can only assume he was under tons of pressure to get more viewers. In some ways its the same thing JJ gets crap for to, he’s trying to expand the Trek universe to a greater audience. Its a noble cause, but its a thin line to walk because if you go too far you betray the core fans that have kept the franchise going as long as it did. We should be optimistic, though, but that doesn’t mean we cant have our reservations either.

135. McCoy - December 11, 2008

128.

I understand what you are saying about “camp” but I might call it low-budget tech instead. A gimmick for ratings to make the fans happy? Maybe they saw it that way. That would be a poor way to think about adding something the fans wanted to see though. I would think more obvious gimmicks would be: nude T’Pol and Trip; a busty 7of9 running around in a tight outfit that no one else on board seems to have; and Uhura taking her top off exposing her bra. Those are gimmicks for ratings and ticket sales.

Mirror Darlky and Trials and Tribulations brought fun and continuity into Enterprise and DS9 respectively. I don’t think Star Trek has to be so “real” as to abandon what came before. If we accept that Trek is real within it’s own world, we can have fun and tell good stories within it.

It’s all Hollywood! We accept that movies depicting World War II will have old cars, old hair styles and the like. We accept that movies about pirates will have wooden ships and muskets. Classic props are necessary for those films. If you accept the look of a world, you are still able to tell the story as real as you like (lighting, acting, camera angles and effects). You just accept that the TOS era had a certain look (but add details to account for the budget issues). If it’s a good story, no one outside of Trek will care!

Based on everything we’ve seen and heard, this new Trek is purposely trying to change certain things in the Trek universe—not just tell a good sci-fi story. That’s where the rub is.

136. Barona - December 11, 2008

116 RD:

“When Scotty entered the holodeck during TNG “Relics”, I was never more disappointed that they decided to recreate the camp of TOS. The movies and TNG had already moved so far past that production capability, yet they laid the groundwork for future campy Trek episodes by recreating it exactly, simply because that’s what it looked like in 1965. Just dumb. Thank God this new movie throws all that out with the. bathwater. It is time to let that crap go and enjoy it in its own context for the time it was produced”. . . “It is so sad that not only do most Trek fans live their lives for that canonical minutiae, but also stuck in the past.”

Sir, I do not know you, but I must respectfully disagree with you analysis. While you are entitled to your opinion, I feel that it is quite dis-respectful for you to disparage those to whom the history of Star Trek is important. I remind you of the following exchange which took place in the TNG episode “Brothers” between Data and Dr. Soong:

DATA
Why did you create me?

SOONG
Why does a painter paint? Why
does a boxer box? You know what
Michelangelo used to say? The
sculptures he made were already
there before he started, hidden
in the marble. All he had to do
was remove the unneeded bits.
It wasn’t quite that easy with
you Data. But the need to do it,
my need to do it, was no different
than Michelangelo’s need.

Now, let me ask you a question.

SOONG
(as if posing a riddle)
Why are humans so fascinated with
old things?

DATA
Old things?

SOONG
Old buildings, churches, walls,
ancient things, antique
things… tables, clocks, knick
knacks… Why?

DATA
There are many possible
explanations.

SOONG
If you brought a Noophian to Earth
he’d look around and say, “Tear
that old village down. It’s
hanging in rags.

SOONG (Cont’d)
Build me something new, something
efficient.” But to a human, that
ancient wall, that old house, is
a shrine, something to cherish….
Again I ask you, why?

DATA
Perhaps, for humans, old things
represent a tie to the past.

SOONG
And what’s so important about the
past? People needed money, they
got sick. Why tie yourself to
that?

DATA
Humans are mortal. They seem to
need a sense of continuity.

SOONG
Ah hah!! Why?

DATA
To give their lives meaning…
A sense of purpose.

SOONG
And does this continuity only run
one way, back into the past?

DATA
I suppose it is a factor in the
human desire to procreate.

SOONG
So you believe that having
children gives humans a sense of
immortality, do you?

DATA
It is a reasonable explanation
to your query, sir.

SOONG
And perhaps to yours, as well, Data.

Data said “Perhaps, for humans, old things represent a tie to the past.”

TOS may be old and dated, according to your standards. However, for those of us who grew up with TOS, the episode Relics was an acknowledgment to that history. And while that may not have been important to you, as it obviously wasn’t, it created for us a sense of continuity, an acknowledgement to Star Trek’s own past. That episode in particular was a great gift to us TOS fans. To see that classic bridge on the small screen again was a great thrill to many of us, along with Jimmy Doohan’s portrayal of Scotty, who we would expect would feel out of time in the 24th century and want to go back to what was familiar.

I’m not going to debate about Canon here, because that has been discussed in many of the other posts on this site, and at this point nothing is going to be resolved by continuing to argue. But as I have pointed out before, you cannot expect die-hard fans, whether you like them or not, to just forget about 40+ years of Trek history, and even though it was only on for 3 years, TOS is a part of that history. Like it or not, that fan base is the reason this new movie was greenlighted, giving you the opportunity to . Sure, after the failure of Nemesis, I’m sure Paramount hopes to make a mess of money, and that’s fine with me. But don’t think for a minute that fans continued interest in Star Trek had nothing to do with this. Your quote “does anybody really believe Roddenberry would have given us that set if he had available the technology we have today?” is ridiculous. This is not even a valid argument, because the fact is, the technology we have today wasn’t around back then. So there is no point in speculating, because while the bridge design that was used in during TOS looks dated today, back in that time period, many people were wowed by what the saw on their television screens. Don’t forget, the bridge represented in “The Cage” as you pointedly laud, had the color scheme that it did because most television sets at the time were black and white. With the invention of Color TV, the studio wished to take advantage of the then new technology and asked Roddenberry to change the color scheme. But essentially, the TOS Bridge is not that much different in design and function from the movie bridge or even the TNG Bridge.

It’s not necessary for you to disparage your fellow fans or their belief in and concern for ST history or canon, if you will. The movie has been produced, the sets will be what they will be, and I personally, while I do have concerns, plan to give Mr. Abrams and his team the benefit of the doubt. For instance, I appreciate that Mr. Orci has posted on this site several times and has attempted to assuage fans fears. To me, this is unprecedented. I can’t recall a time in recent memory where fans have actually had the opportunity to interact with someone from the production team of ANY Hollywood film, let alone one of the writers of that film! I applaud him, and thank him for taking part in the discussion! We are all fortunate we have the opportunity to watch Star Trek on the big screen again, and even more fortunate that some from the movie have at times made themselves available. I think it’s great, and I hope for this movie to be a great success.

137. Barona - December 11, 2008

Sorry in my post above I meant “128 RD”, not 116. Thanks.

138. Scotty's Ashes - December 11, 2008

” know this appears off-point, but no matter how critical we get on this site, this article on i09 shows you how deeply the geek knife cuts:

http://defamer.com/5106681/carrie-fisher-comes-full-circle

OUCH.”

When did Carrie Fisher eat Jabba The Hutt?

Damned! Another figure of my youth has lost to time. And we thought that The Shat was bloated and fat.

139. RD - December 11, 2008

#136 “DATA Humans … seem to need a sense of continuity …To give their lives meaning… A sense of purpose.

This is a poor excuse to keep the sets and look of a film locked in a particular decade in order to tell a story and a sad commentary on ST fans in general. One which I reject. I hope the core fans have more to give meaning to their lives and a sense of purpose than recreating the look of a 1960’s TV show in their modern entertainment.

As for Roddnberry, it was stated numerous times in the re-mastering that he wished to be able to do so much more with the fx than was possible technologically or budgetarily at the time and the re-mastering team took advantage of that. In the end, there are many factors as to why the original set looked the way it did. None of that is applicable to modern film making, which cannot afford a trip down memory lane, but must capture the audience with visual decadence and compelling story telling. Even the ST films redesigned the sets from the series to the films. Some times dramatically.

Take for instance the online series ST New Voyages. It’s a fun nostalgic romp down memory lane and is done quite well. However, they re-created the sets and costumes EXACTLY. What a waste. This was my complaint about TNG’s “Relics”. These sets can be easily improved upon to make them more realistic. Instead they are constructed right down to the glued on costume jewel buttons. Why? Probably for the exact reasons stated in Data & Soong’s conversation. Fans love to see that stuff. So do I. There was no way to do Trials and Tribulations without using those exact sets in order to match new photography. But that was a gimmick. And once you do that in a series “universe”, how do you go back? Answer: you start fresh in a movie.

Why doesn’t your WWII period argument hold water in this instance? Because it was REAL, like it or not. ST wasn’t. Further it was burdened by compromises made due to budget, politics, cultural norms of the era, technology, egos, etc. The fact is the history of the 23rd Century has NOT been written yet. It is open to interpretation and as our technology catches up with what the 1960s envisioned it to be, it looks more and more dated and makes it just that much harder to appeal to a new generation of audiences. Plus you can’t argue the way something looks in a period movie, however ridiculous it looks. Not so with a future film. It is ridiculous to go backward, which is something I think Enterprise straddled fairly well in its art direction. In fact they should have one a lot further, but were saddled by the core fanbase which is all Paramount could guarantee.

Look at Star Wars, it used the technology available during the 70s, a mere decade after ST and it looked nothing like ST. It was iconic in its own right and created a visual world that audiences of the time bought. Some things are timeless, like the Millennium Falcon and the Enterprise. Even Space 1999, only half a decade later looked more realistic than ST ever did – then again much of it was modeled after 2001 which continues to hold much of its futuristic look. But more importantly, Star Wars did incredibly well at the box office. It generated a fan base that went waaaay beyond Sci-fi fans. It resonated with audiences – it took them there. It produced a brand new generation of Sci-Fi fans from kids who did not watch Star Trek, which was airing constantly in syndication. Why? Because it was soooo dated. To this day there are Star Wars fans who really don’t get TOS.

So how do you save the Trek franchise that died on the vine (for whatever arguable reasons you want to debate)? You make it compelling. You take all the best elements from TOS, the founding principles if you will, you write a great story that will appeal to all people and make a state of the art movie that compels people to suspend their disbelief with the latest cinema technology. You create a world that people could only imagine in their heads and bring it to life on the big screen. What you don’t do is go back to blueprints from the 1960s and recreate bolt-for-bolt the look of sets that any industrious Joe with a hammer could recreate in their garage with a little spare cash. If this doesn’t make sense to anyone who still clings to the need to see that TOS set in a 2009 Summer blockbuster, then there is no hope to ever get my point across to you.

I will end with this thought: I have heard many a diehard Shakespearean “thespie” state that you don’t need elaborate sets and costumes to do shakespeare. All you need is a room with black walls and good actors. For anyone who has seen a professional production of Shakespeare and one of these so-called blackbox productions, you will know there is a huge difference. Only die hard “‘Bardies” will be absorbed into the eloquent rhetoric by the master in a tiny 30 seat black-box theatre. Even a modest production with flimsy “cardboard” sets will send more than a few audience members snoozing. But a production with dramatic lighting and sound and beautiful costumes will fill 500 seat houses with a broad cross-section of society, some of whom have never seen Shakespeare and they will walk away mesmerized ready to see more.

So what is best for Trek and Roddenberry’s dream? Holding onto the history which was born into a low-budget TV environment created for a 1960s milieu and social and political sensibility in order to make an aging fanbase happy? Or updating it to appeal to a NEW generation of filmgoers who will be dumbstruck with spectacle and drawn deep into the film’s (and Roddenberry’s) message.

140. Cyberbeagle - December 11, 2008

So, Rick said “No, no, no. Gene wouldn’t want that and that’s not what Star Trek is about.”

idea stifling???? Never a good idea – rules out change and invigoration. Condemns himself!!

141. Berman-hater - December 11, 2008

Oh My GOD!!!

The MASTER of suck-up is standing up for Rick Berman!

It’s really no surprise. In the end, ST:TNG became the “DATA / PICARD SHOW!”

Personally, I believe Rick had one thing in mind for Star Trek – Undo all that can be undone. Enterprise was a FFFLLLOOOPPP because Rick took the true work of a creater (GENE) and attempted the re-make it his way.

Rick is no more than a hack. He should be shut out of anything having to do with science fiction. And he should take his little friends Brandon Braga and Mr. Data along for the ride.

Here’s an idea: Maybe he can lend a hand on LOST. There is very little that can be screwed up on that show that is not already too far gone.

142. Xai - December 11, 2008

after reading #141 I recall why I try to stay out of the “Berman” threads.

143. McCoy's Gall Bladder - December 11, 2008

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was the BEST Bond flick because it followed the book exactly. No gimmicks, no toys, genuine spy work, someone significant dies. Telly Savalas as Blofeld was perfect. His Blofeld was powerful, threatening, and dangerous. Donald Pleasance and Charles Gray played Blofeld weak, effeminate, cowardly, silly. Connery’s ego had to make Bond the only virile, “real” man of the films.

For someone who has never seen the 60’s films, the hidden Blofeld of Russia was scarier than the revealed Blofelds of Gray and Pleasance. So much so that the concept carried over to Inspector Gadget. It’s scarier to imagine a villain than to reveal him and do it badly.

The Connery movies were over the top fantasy. The Moore movies were silly. The Bronson movies were self parody. The Craig movies portray Bond as a cold blooded killer, just as Flemming intended. The men of the cold war were colder. Men didn’t have feelings before the 1980’s. Men were expected to kill to prove your manliness, just as in ancient Greco-Roman or Medieval times. If you were insulted, you fought to the death. Now, we expect to negotiate our way out of a fight instead of doing the fighting.

What does this have to do with TREK?

Nemesis is on TV. An earlier post mentioned TNG being the Data and Picard show, and it was. Data is a cheap imitation of Spock, and the end of NEM is the end of Wrath. Sort of a Wrath of Khan for the TNG set.

Spiner helped write it, I think.

144. Shaun - December 12, 2008

#123 – So, there’s hundreds of hours of Trek out there, no two series are really the same (though it’s awfully easy, and perhaps accurate, to dismiss VOY as “TNG-lite”) and we’re all supposed to love all of it equally?

C’mon… I love DS9 as much as anyone. I think it was the best Trek ever, by a mile, and it saddens me that Paramount never knew what to do with it, never promoted it like they did VOY, and that we’ll almost certainly never see those great characters again (yet less popular shows like B5 and Serenity both got a bit of an afterlife). That said, I’ll freel admit that some episodes were HORRIBLE… Any of the Mirror episodes after the first one, for instance. Quark’s sex change? . DS9 was great, but when it was bad, it was really, really bad.

And I just never liked VOY much, though its pilot episode was wonderful and I thought the show had great potential. it just never lived up to its promise. And ENT was a poorly thought out idea from the get-go. I give Berman props for taking over when Gene couldn’t continue and keeping the flame alive with TNG. The show had a lackluster final season, and the TNG movies were dreadful apart from First Contact, but he should get credit for guiding TNG through its best seasons and for co-creating DS9.

He just ran out of good ideas eventually, after hundreds of hours that would happen to anyone, and Braga’s a hack who never should’ve been given so much power in the first place. I think it’s interesting that ENT actually showed definite improvement when Manny Coto and the Reeves-Stevenses came on, but by then it was too little too late. The less about that final episode that B&B crapped out, the better.

145. Shaun - December 12, 2008

As for Brent and J.J…. Um, some of us never cared for Roger Moore’s Bond (then again, I feel like I outgrew Bond a long time ago… Although I find Daniel Craig’s Bond intriguing), and I never doubted Christian Bale as Batman for a second. Bale, Chris Nolan & Co. were the ones to finally take Batman seriously.

But.. I don’t like the idea of all-new people playing the iconic Trek roles, roles that have all had one face and one face only for over 40 years. Bond and Batman alike have undergone numerous changes and stylistic directions through the years, but we haven’t seen the original Trek recycled before, and I think it’s a huge risk. I also think it might be far too soon for this, given how the most of the original cast are still with us. I just think it’s a classic case of apples and oranges. It’s one thing to make a Next Generation (and the later spinoffs) and make it work,. It’s another to expect people to accept new actors in classic roles, roles those actors defined.

But hey, maybe I’ll be wrong.

146. DigitalLonestarX - December 13, 2008

@ Spiner Amen Brotha!

it disgusts me thta people will sit here trashing the eyars of work someone put into trek, i found every movie and series including Enterprise (yes NX-01 for you haters out there, bring on the flames) Awesome. I mean wtf guys it has star trek for a name, it is star trek. suck it up, the movies were great to. I dont see anything wrong in ricks work (k so I did go omg!!! they destroyed the enterprise! *southpark tone**) but big deal I liked the ent E anyway. nemesis was a good movie, I’m still at a loss of whats wrong with it honestly.

some people here are self proclaimed critics without one ounce of integrity and I thank spiner for pointing that out.

as age old line says

“if you think you can do better, then by all means lets see you do it yourself”

147. captcrunch - December 14, 2008

Rick Berman gave us TNG and DSN … those two things alone will make me overlook any problems with other series or movies. Voyager wasn’t bad, Enterprise was unwatchable … but I hear Season 4 was pretty good. First Contact was simply awesome, but yeah the other TNG movies kinda sucked. Berman gave me hundreds of hours of enjoyment and escapism entertainment in the 90’s and even today when I watch them on my DVD player … much respect.

148. Jack - December 14, 2008

The Berman/Braga factory became just that, Roddenberry probably would have to if he’d had to produce that much Star Trek (and frankly, the first two seasons of TNG suggest he’d lost the touch). They did some great stuff, but the well ran dry. Nothing wrong with passing the torch.

149. Jack - December 14, 2008

‘would have too’ – sorry.

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