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George Takei “Baffled” Paramount Never Made Sulu Series June 11, 2010

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: TOS,Trek on TV , trackback

In the 1991 film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, George Takei finally got that promotion and was seen as Captain Sulu of the USS Excelsior. Since that time, the actor made it clear that he was ready to bring Capt. Sulu to TV in a new series, and in a new interview he says that he is "baffled" as to why it never happened.

 

Takei 'baffled' over no Sulu Series

Takei's comments come in an interview in the International Federation of Trekkers official publication "Voyages". In the IFT was behind a campaign to get Paramount to make an "Excelsior" series. A preview of Voyages interview with Takei is up at TrekToday, where Takei says this about the series idea:

It was a substantial idea. There was a huge following for it. And after all, Star Trek VI seemed to have opened the door for an Excelsior television series. But for whatever reason, Paramount didn’t pick up the idea. So despite that massive and heroic effort that was launched by all of the people, and I was absolutely convinced that the audience was there based on the reception of Star Trek VI, the idea didn’t go through. I was absolutely baffled [more at TrekToday]

Following STVI, Paramount created three additional Trek TV series: Deep Space Nine (1993), Voyager (1995) and Enterprise (2001). Takei did reprise his role as Captain Sulu of the Excelsior in 1996 in the Voyager episode "Flashback".


Trailer for "Flashback" — closest Takei got to his "Excelsior" series

While there was some fan talk of a Sulu series in the 90's, the IFT campaign for “Star Trek: Excelsior” really kicked in as Voyager was coming to a close at the end of the decade. In January 2000 IFT officially started their campaign (see announcement at AintItCool). This time was right when Star Trek had started to go into a decline in terms of ratings, ticket sales, and merchandising. The campaign argued that Paramount should look to Sulu as the savior, here is an excerpt:

The fans involved in the EXCELSIOR Campaign, some one thousand strong and growing rapidly, feel that the best way to resurrect the Trek franchise is to take it back to its roots. "There are 80 missing years in the stories of Star Trek. We've gone from the original crew into the next century to see its recent incarnations. There are a lot of missions and a lot of adventures in those 80 years," quips Haslage. The large and growing group of fans feels that a show focusing on original-era stories will be quite a money maker for the studio.

In the end, Paramount made the call to skip the 23rd century and go all the way back to the 22nd century by creating the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise. The show ran for four seasons on UPN before being cancelled. 

Captain Sulu in other media

Although Capt. Sulu didn't make it to a TV series, he did appear in other media. Capt. Sulu featured prominently in a number of novels over the last couple of decades, including 2007's. "Star Trek Excelsior: Forged in Fire". Capt. Sulu has also shown up on some comics, including this year's "Star Trek: Captain's Log: Sulu". Takei also voiced three "Captain Sulu Adventures" audio books in the 90's. 


Captain Sulu never got a show in the 90's but he did appear in novels, comics and audiobooks

Capt. Sulu also appeared in a number of video games with voice work provided by George Takei. The latest of these was the 2003 Playstation 2 game "Star Trek: Shattered Universe." But it was the 1997 game "Star Trek: Starfleet Academy" (and the expansion "Chekov's Lost Missions") where Takei made his final official 'on camera' appearance as Capt. Sulu. Takei also returned to the role in the Star Trek New Voyages fan series episode “World Enough and Time” in 2007.


Clip from "Star Trek: Starfleet Academy" – Takei's last time (officially) suiting up to play Capt. Sulu

 

POLL: Was Sulu series the right call?

So should Paramount have followed Voyager with a Sulu series starring George Takei instead of creating Star Trek Enterprise back in 2001?

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Comments

1. Dab - June 11, 2010

Why not an Excelsior “reboot”? :)

2. Dab - June 11, 2010

Could even feature “flashforwards” at the beginning of every episode of Takei as Sulu, telling the stories to friends or family, then return to the Excelsior timeline.

3. That One Guy - June 11, 2010

Well… John cho is now free from Flash Forward…. One never knows what’ll happen. ;)

4. Zaranyzerak - June 11, 2010

I wouldn’t go so far as to say “instead of “Enterprise, but why not “in addition to?” for quite some time there were two concurrent Trek shows running, so why not then?

Having both Excelsior AND Enterprise running simultaneously might have helped keep the franchise out of the limbo it fell into after the cancellation of Enterprise…. I know I would have been more inclined to keep watching!

5. Surak1701 - June 11, 2010

Even though I’m not among the ST: ENT haters, I find the idea of a Sulu series fascinating, particularly as it would’ve been set in the Classic movie era, my favourite ST period. It could almost have functioned as a bridge between the original series and the new, setting up sequel storylines in a more organic way than what ENT was sometimes awkwardly shoehorned into doing. And to have a bona fide TOS star as the front, with that awesome gravel baritone! However, I suspect when Trek moves back to TV (as it surely will) it will likely be another interpretation of TOS, either a straightforward continuation of the Abramsverse (probably with the TOS characters recast again, since the movie cast would probably not be interested in a series) or another reboot.

6. boborci - June 11, 2010

That’s a good point!!

7. James Heaney - Wowbagger - June 11, 2010

#4: Exactly. I would have loved Star Trek: Excelsior (heck, that’s the name of the fan series I produce! Shamless plug for starshipexcelsior.com!). But I loved Enterprise, too.

Well, I loved the third and fourth seasons, anyway. :P

8. James Heaney - Wowbagger - June 11, 2010

And (since all three of us at #5, 6, and 7 apparently commented within moments of each other), I’ll add that, much as I enjoy the Abramsverse, I think it would translate very, very badly to television.

ANY reboot, for that matter, would translate badly to television. It doesn’t FEEL right. Trek wouldn’t be improved by the reinvention of canon, as BSG so massively was. It would be more like the Knight Rider reboot.

Let’s do a few more movies with the Abrams team, especially my man Bob Orci. But when we’re done with those, let’s please get back to the far future, leaving *all* the weight of continuity (and reboot continuity, or reboots of reboots) far behind. Let’s tell new stories with new characters and maybe (purely as a bonus) with a few new and shinier gadgets.

I say this not as a fanboy (which I certainly am), but simply as a person who doesn’t want to be *bored* watching television.

9. Jonno - June 11, 2010

I love George Takei. I really do.

That said, he was shockingly bad in that Voyager episode. I know the writing was bad but Takei was overacting to the point of distraction.

Maybe that was a one off, he was great in heroes – but in Flashback it was painful to watch. Really painful. You’d have needed a new bridge crew too. All of them were poor. Grace Lee Whitney looked like she hadn’t acted in 30 years.

Might have lasted 13 episodes or so, which is a shame as Sulu has always been one of my favourite characters.

10. Desstruxion - June 11, 2010

I would love to see the new Sulu promoted in one of the upcoming Abramsverse flicks. That would give Paramount another chance at an Excelsior series (of movies preferably) to pick up where new Trek leaves off. Really want to see a new take on the Excelsior design.

11. Jeffery Wright - June 11, 2010

Could have been produced, direct to dvd like Futurama, while Enterprise aired. Maybe even an episode or two featuring Sulu; a time-rift story. Would have boosted interest… why not? During TNG’s run, the TOS crew was making features that did well.

12. Capt. of the USS Anduril - June 11, 2010

Well, technically the last time Takei “suited up” to play Hikaru Sulu was Star Trek New Voyages’ episode “World Enough and Time”.

13. Ensign RedShirt - June 11, 2010

#9

I sadly agree with you on all counts. Love George, but there’s no way he could anchor a series or a bunch of tv movies.

14. Adam E - June 11, 2010

@2. Dab – awesome idea!

15. AJ - June 11, 2010

There was a chemistry on Board Excelsior amongst the crew for the brief (two) times we got to see them. Takei as Captain Sulu needed no getting used to. We all knew that he’d earned his place in ‘the chair,’ and that he would be one of the last of the ‘old school’ skippers.

Takei made Sulu more and more interesting as the movies came along, and it does seem in hindsight that STVI has ‘spin-off’ written all over it.

“Coulda, shoulda, woulda.” Maybe Messrs Orci and Kurtzman can give Mr. Takei a juicy role as a flamboyant bad-ass Japanese mobster on ‘Hawaii Five-0″ ;-)

16. Scruffy the Janitor/Vampire Slayer - June 11, 2010

I thought the Xindi arc was rather contrived. And the temporal cold war.
I understand why they did both. TOS reflected 1960s Cold War/ Vietnam/ Civil Rights/ Real Life and the producers of Enterprise were trying for the same magic. They shouldn’t have done it. BUT ( hi Bob.O! ) BY having the Temporal Cold War, they tried to use interference in the space time continuum to correct mistakes made during TOS and shoehorn together the crazy puzzle that was pre Kirk Trek into something that could have worked.

For instance: in 1967 no one had ever seen a Romulan because the writers and producers could not imagine the kind of instant communication we take for granted today, which is based on Trek tech.

So the producers of ENT had to pretend that tech that we use every day was somehow NOT available to humans 200 years from now. So they fudged with “CANON” and blended it with “History” and made a compromise that satisfied nobody. They failed because they tried too hard to satisfy everyone.

Personally, I loved 75% of ENT. I had hoped that they would have incorporated more of the “technology time line” laid out in “Federation” by the Stevens team. They researched HOW and WHY trek technology would have been invented in the first place before ever applying it to starships.

Yeah I would have loved a SULU series. They could have moved seamlessly into TNG, and maybe even killed Kirk in a better way than in Generations, and paid tribute to Scotty & McCoy as Doohan and Kelly died, instead of pretending they just vanished into history.

I hated the fake spirituality of DS9 and the near impossibility of Star Wars like space battles during the Dominion War. One of Gene’s beliefs was that “the Fleet” could only be a set number of ships. 14 Connies for example, instead 400,000.

And I hated the general campy goofiness Voyager degenerated into from Janeway & Paris devolving into lizards but being restored by TV magic, to cute little Borg kids.

YUCK!

Bob.O, keep Trek “real” and out of George Lucas’ fantasy universe

And the next time you want to destroy a star, just drop some IRON into it. Ask Stephen Hawking. Much better than Tri-Lithium or “Red Matter”

17. Greg2600 - June 11, 2010

In defense of George, the Voyager episode was a complete and utter disgrace. Or, just par for the course from Berman and Braga and company. It was full of plot inconsistencies with the movie, and really had very little to do with Sulu. George did the best he could in a script that pretty much ignored him.

That said, George was very good in the New Voyages episode he appeared in. It was very clear then that Rick Berman hated the Original Series and anyone associated with it. Actions speak louder than words, and his actions were always clear. He refused to consider a return to TOS timeline at every juncture, especially after Generations. The DS9 Tribbles episode rightly pissed off Nimoy and Shatner, who were both very annoyed that they weren’t offered any kind of participation.

Would the Sulu series have worked? It might have been tough, given that he was pretty old and there might not have been a wide appeal. That said, maybe they could have done something like BSG, where Sulu was the old mentor for a mostly young cast? It would certainly, and ironically, offered a perfect chance to resurrect Captain Kirk. Shatner would have actually been saved by Takei!

18. Brody - June 11, 2010

I would have preferred this Takei idea to any of the other awful Trek spinoffs.

19. I am not Herbert - June 11, 2010

I voted “NO” for the Capt. Sulu series in ’01, BUT…

…they SHOULD have done it back in ’93, before DS9, IMHO.

20. Trek Lady - June 11, 2010

I personally would love to see the reboot actors do a televsion mini-series, much like is done in Britian, where television isn’t necessarily the 22-24 episode full season we have in the USA. A special “made for television” mini-series of about eight hours, split up into either one or two hour sections would be great, and would not tie the actors down the the usual episodic television schedule. I don’t know why this hasn’t been considered. (Or maybe it has and I missed it.)

21. Jordan - June 11, 2010

Wasn’t George “Captain Sulu” in ST New Voyages “World Enough and Time”???

Pretty sure Starfleet Academy wasn’t the last time we saw Captain Sulu on camera.

22. 47 - June 11, 2010

Hey, how cool is this:
I agree with:

#4 and #7

#4 7

47

sweet

23. Lonzo5 - June 11, 2010

I think Takei could easily have held it down with the right supporting cast; now that I’ve been exposed to the idea I find myself just as baffled as George. He’s not the best actor in the world, but his character’s good and I feel as though ST:Excelsior would have kept things far more coherent than Enterprise (which I give a 6 out of 10, especially due to the depressing ending). I also think he’s more weighty as a captain than Scott Bakula, who strikes me as more of a lone wolf type character than a leader; it would have been great if they’d used a variation on the STVI theme for the opening credits, and perhaps (after the release of Generations) thrown in a few cameos with the Enterprise B and Capt. Harriman. It would also be cool to see how Jim and Scotty’s apparent deaths affected the former Enterprise crew. Perhaps Nimoy could have dropped in from time to time as Capt., then Ambassador Spock.

As far as reboots go, I think their best bet would be Star Trek: Stargazer, featuring a young Jean Luc, Jack Crusher, etc. It would portray an era not directly covered in any ST canon, opening the door for a great deal of reimagination and the introduction of a number of familiar, yet mysterious elements of ST history.

24. Gwark - June 11, 2010

#7
Re-watch season one of Enterprise. I think you’ll start to like it, and the characters, a lot more on repeat viewings, just as many people have felt about DS9.

25. 47 - June 11, 2010

#23

and one of the season finale’s would be the death of Jack Crusher… that could be a beauty

However, who would play a young Picard?

26. Jason - June 11, 2010

anything would have been better than ENT

27. scott - June 11, 2010

re: “I wouldn’t go so far as to say “instead of “Enterprise, but why not “in addition to?” for quite some time there were two concurrent Trek shows running, so why not then?”

I think it would have been too confusing to have two different Star Trek series on at the same time, set in two different centuries,

28. Anthony Pascale - June 11, 2010

Fine I added the word “officially” for the nitpickers

29. schnotty - June 11, 2010

Not while Berman & Co. were running the show. TNG-era dialog coming out of TOS-era actors is just awful. Like the beginning of Generations? I can’t stand watching it because it was like my favorite guys were possessed. It wasn’t even them. “Just a shell of a man” or something to that effect.

Now that Berman & Co. are gone, I say hell yeah, bring on Sulu’s Adventures.

30. Dac - June 11, 2010

The most important question here folks: What the hell was Dark Seduction Week?!?!

31. Thorny - June 11, 2010

20… The miniseries idea really should have been implemented when Enterprise collapsed, while Paramount still had the production staff, sets, props, and costumes ready to go (which is how Stargate SG-1 got its standalone direct-to-DVD movies.) Now, the cost of starting up a new Trek for a limited run television program would be prohibitive. Enterprise was already looking cheap (not Stargate- or BSG-cheap, but cheap compared to its modern Trek predecessors) Even a short-run series like True Blood or Spartacus wouldn’t be enough for a high-cost series like Star Trek, They can only hope to make back their investment with a weekly series. But television is dying a slow death of cheap reality programming and hopeless market fragmentation across hundreds of channels, and I think a Trek television series is no longer financially practical.

32. Lt. Bailey - June 11, 2010

ENT served it purpose and was a fine show, even though some may dissagree with me on that. I really enjoyed the show and they could have done more to fill in the gaps before TOS had it not met an early demise.

Star Trek TV nay have started with TOS and the Kirk era but Starfleet had to have some kind of history before Kirk came along.

However, I do agree that Paramount should have done a serie with Sulu in command of the NCC-2000. That would be or would have been a great balance to the 24th century series.

33. Scott Xavier - June 11, 2010

It wasnt a good idea, trekkies are just crazy stalkers who want anything trek on the air. He’s not manly enough to be captain. The show would have sucked. No pun intended….

34. Thorny - June 11, 2010

29… That’s because Koenig and Doohan were saying lines written for McCoy and Spock.

35. P Technobabble - June 11, 2010

I never really felt that Sulu was a strong enough character, or that Takei was a strong enough actor, to carry a series. I hate to say this, because I certainly have nothing against the guy. I acknowledge he is, and always will be, a part of Star Trek. But as the STAR of a continuing series, I just don’t know… That said, if there had been a Sulu Trek, I’d have tuned in to give him a shot. If he were surrounded by a stellar cast, that could have made a difference… If it were a real ensemble cast, like MASH… And if it had some brilliant stories, more like TOS than VOY… I guess we’ll just never know.

36. bgiles73 - June 11, 2010

How about an Excelsior Animated Series. George Takei can definately do some voice acting. An animated series would help to get kids interested and maybe generate some toy and video game sales. CBS and Paramount need to keep the momentum that was generated by the 2009 movie going. I honestly believe a couple of animated series would be the best approach for Star Trek on television at this time!

37. TonyD - June 11, 2010

An Excelsior show might have been fun. I doubt Takei could have carried the show but if he was surrounded with a good ensemble and plots spread out among the rest of the cast it could have worked. Also would have been a great vehicle for other TOS cast members to make the occasional cameo.

Too bad Rick Berman was in charge of TV Trek at the time. It’s pretty clear to me he would have never allowed a TOS-era show as he always seemed to prefer moving away from that timeline in preference of his own concepts, unless of course he needed a ratings boost for one of his shows. With Berman at the helm a full-time Excelsior show never had a chance..

38. David G. - June 11, 2010

It would’ve been really entertaining to have a Takei “Excelsior” series where the crew’s mission would’ve been to revisted some of the places that the Enterprise encountered during the original series.

If nothing else, I’d certainly pay for movie ticket even today for a one-shot film about the Sulu’s Excelsior checking back in on that 1920s gangster planet from “A Piece of the Action” to see what happened after McCoy left his tricorder on that planet….

39. David G. - June 11, 2010

And P.S.: The Voyager “Flashback” episode didn’t even make any sense. It was all about an adventure that took place in Tuvok’s mind, so any of the dramatic threat depicted in the Sulu timeline sequence didn’t even matter to begin with.

40. Perplex - June 11, 2010

An Excelsior series instead of Enterprise? Probably no, I am too much of an Enterprise fan for that. But I would put a possible Excelsior series above Star Trek Voyager any time!

41. Dom - June 11, 2010

I always assumed the powers that be in the 1990s weren’t keen on anything to do with the original Star Trek beyond the occasional gimmick appearance, preferring the 24th century. So a Sulu show, while it would have been popular with fans and perfectly set up at the end of STVI was never going to get past Berman and co. As far as Berman appeared to be concerned, he buried TOS when he had James Kirk killed off.

Anyway, the Captain Sulu ship has sailed now and arguably George Takei is more famous for other things! TIme to move on!

42. Captain Otter - June 11, 2010

I still say Enterprise was the right concept to follow Voyager. I know Ent had its missteps, but at its best, it was pretty darn good.

Now, if the poll had asked me if they should have done Excelsior instead of Voyager (as opposed to after Voyager) I would vote “yes.” Voyager is my least favorite Trek incarnation save for some of the fan-made shows. And heck, I admire the fan fic even though I don’t watch it. I have nothing positive to say about Voyage besides “thanks for the eye candy.”

43. Jonboc - June 11, 2010

An EXcelsior based series could have been great. But considering who was producing Trek TV back in the mid 90′s, it could have also been very very bad. I don’t mind Berman and company doing their own thing with their own characters, but I don’t want them anywhere near the characters of classic trek. While I love Sulu, the absence of a series, at that time, was probably for the better.

44. jas_montreal - June 11, 2010

I’d really love to see Ronald D Moore take on a new Star Trek tv-series. He understands the needs of a good tv sci-fi opera. I really liked his bsg interpretation. His work with DS9 was spectacular. They need to bring that gritty/character-focused stories into a star trek tv series. I’m not saying that they should make a dark trek series, but perhaps a more gritty take that will challenge this idea of a perfect-utopia. I want it to have psychological layers that were not evident in Enterprise or Voyager.

I know JJ’s interpretation of Trek isn’t much of an Allegory of our times. This is a critical aspect that most of Star Trek ALWAYS contained. I agree what Roger Ebert said about JJ Abrams-verse.

“The Gene Roddenberry years, when stories might play with questions of science, ideals or philosophy, have been replaced by stories reduced to loud and colorful action”

Go to the classic Trek episodes of “the drumhead” to “let this be your last battlefield”. This is something a Trek series must implement. It must be a figurative commentary of our times. I don’t want the new generation understanding Trek as a dumbed-down star wars with “space exploration”. Its gonna be much much more then that. JJ needs to do what Nolan did to the batman franchise. Add some serious psychological layers, instead of reducing the story to loud action and annoying star wars references.

But i have nothing against the JJ-Team. I appreciate the effort they made and I hope this is interpreted as “constructive criticism”. I appreciated star Trek 2009, but it could have been soo much more….

Until we get another trek-series… i’ll have to settle for DS9, BSG and TNG.

45. ety3 - June 11, 2010

“Excelsior” should’ve been launched instead of “Voyager.”

46. skyjedi - June 11, 2010

A Sulu series had to be the worst idea since Top Gun Star Trek idea, Harve came up with, and later got made by JJ. Horrible.

47. snoopytrek - June 11, 2010

#9…Right! #13..said the same thing last time this subject was brought up.
#33..yep!

I’m not going to apologize for my comments, but…NOT THIS AGAIN! I have never seen a Trek subject matter so beaten to death or Mr Takei pulling out his defibrillator paddles to try and resurrect it through…i suppose the fan base…thinking the fans would start some sort of campaign to the studio or whatever…

Does he have no other life but to bash Shatner and this?

48. Mark - June 11, 2010

the real reason there was no Sulu series …..was the great TNG series.
they at the time Paramount didn’t wanna go back…the mistake was when they did go back ST Enterprise was DISASTER so in hindsight a Sulu series instead of STE would of worked

49. mia bouvier - June 11, 2010

CAPTAIN SULU!!!!

Hell yeah!!

George is awesome! I would have luvvvvved to see more of Sulu. Personally i am soooooo sick of Kirk and Spock. I had wished Abrahms was going to shake things up….a film featureing other characters instead of kirk and spock for another umpteen years…

Even in the movies…they had to make three in a row that were allllll about Spock, ST: 2,3,4…..ugh, enough!!!! i luv Spock but they blew some opportunities to open the world of Trek up abit…

CAPTAIN SULU!!!!

yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

=^^=
LS

50. NuSpock - June 11, 2010

TO BOBORCI–regarding the Excelsior series, can you talk with the other members of The Supreme Court about reviving that idea? WE NEED A NEW STAR TREK SERIES!!!! and it’d be great to keep interest up in Trek in between films, and keeping the style of the new film series kinda but incorporating elements of Lost into it, and getting a lot of Lost’s showrunners to run the Excelsior series would help out everyone…oldTrek fans would have our new series, the new-to-Trek crowd could take a peek at the best of oldTrek to compare it to nuTrek, and one could bring in still new people by playing up Takei’s sexual orientation by turning Sulu gay in both the Excelsior series AND the new Trek movie saga, thus bringing in the gay community as fans too:)

ANYONE WHO AGREES WITH ME PLEASE KEEP THIS TOPIC GOING IN THE THREAD!!

51. demode - June 11, 2010

Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD -Captain SULU = Direct to DVD … just mt two cents, for what it’s worth. Oh, and I when I say Captain SULU = Direct to DVD, I mean it as a good thing :)

52. Allen Williams - June 11, 2010

generally when it comes to star trek i’ll take more as opposed to instead of.

53. Greg2600 - June 11, 2010

First, I have to defend DS9, that was a fantastic show. That show brought in a lot of new fans.

Second, I agree with those who say that Berman and friends would have had no clue how to write a TOS show. They were clueless on Enterprise until they allowed TOS fan Manny Coto take over.

I’ve floated the direct to DVD thought before, but Paramount likely has no interest. They don’t care about what Trek fans think. Orci would not be able to get such a project done either, they would never let it.

54. Dr. Cheis - June 11, 2010

I don’t think there was really much of a story to tell with Sulu. It would have essentially been Next Gen except the only characters we cared about were the captain and Rand (maybe Tuvok). DS9 Voyager and Enterprise at least had different premises, but Excelsior would have just been “that time period between the old ones and the new ones,” and there weren’t any burning questions from that time to be answered.

55. Cyberghost - June 11, 2010

How many crappy shows have come and gone on the networks after 1 or 2 seasons. A Captian Sulu based series had a built in fanbase, it’s just another example the the suits at the networks making ignorant decisions.

56. Danpaine - June 11, 2010

No question about it, never thought there was. It should have happened.

57. Kev - June 11, 2010

I think they should have, along with kicking out rick berman and getting a fresh bunch of old star trek fans turned tv show producers as the heads of it.

although WITH rick berman and the old worn out writers NO best they left well enough alone.

58. Danpaine - June 11, 2010

“Jonboc – June 11, 2010
An EXcelsior based series could have been great. But considering who was producing Trek TV back in the mid 90’s, it could have also been very very bad. I don’t mind Berman and company doing their own thing with their own characters, but I don’t want them anywhere near the characters of classic trek. While I love Sulu, the absence of a series, at that time, was probably for the better.”

—————————————————————————————————–But think about it….Takei would have refused to perform bullshit Trek. He would have demanded they respect the original material. In my opinion, of course. The power was his.

59. CmdrR - June 11, 2010

51 – I can’t understand you. What are you trying to say??

Love George. While I think Excelsior in theory would work, it’d need great scripts. The one thing lacking in Voyager and Enterprise was great scripts. (Yes, there are some… but, not enough to fill a series to the tipping point.) I’d love to see a later TOS-era limited series (planned for 13 eps!) with George in a meaty supporting role. That’d be great. But, the writing has to be there! You gots ta tickle our brain bones.

60. Scott B. here. - June 11, 2010

Like many, I’d have loved to have seen a Capt. Sulu series. Just the thought of the possible Original Series guest stars is enough to make me wistful. But I agree with those who say that Berman neither respected nor understood the OS, and an Excelsior series probably would have been as poorly executed as Voyager and Enterprise were (And I’m somewhat fond of both of those series, though it’s mainly due to the strength of some of the performers).

Scott B. out.

61. MagicDan - June 11, 2010

By far this would have been the show I would have wanted to see.

I have seen “World enough and time”. It was awesome, and for me is shows what Takei brings to this universe.

He’s just a powerful actor, and I would have paid good money to see him command the Excelsior.

62. Magic_Al - June 11, 2010

The success of a Sulu series would have depended upon the chemistry between George Takei and the rest of the series cast. No Star Trek series has ever been carried only by the actor playing the captain. The captain needs a Spock and McCoy, a Riker and Data, a Kira and Odo, a Doctor and Seven, a Tripp and T’Pol. It’s a safe bet that the entire crew of Excelsior, adequate for bit parts in a movie in which Sulu is only a supporting character, would have been recast for purposes of a TV series with Sulu as the lead. The Excelsior itself probably would have been ditched for a new ship that gave the show a unique trademark and satisfied the style of the moment. Finally, the character of Sulu would, by necessity, gain backstory and traits fans may never have imagined. Ideally, the Sulu show would have been to Star Trek what Frasier was to Cheers.

63. VOODOO - June 11, 2010

I would have enjoyed it, but I don’t know if the people who were running Star Trek during the Berman era had enough respect/knowledge of the original series to pull it off.

I’d still like to see a tv movie or two. There is clearly more interest in the original ST characters than any other series.

64. Hateya - June 11, 2010

Yes to Captain Sulu, only if he’s John Cho or may the gods help me, Rain B!!

65. ShatnerEatsPoop - June 11, 2010

I always thought a cool Star Trek series would be a self-contained “era of the week” type of series.

A few episodes of the season take place in the Sulu movie era…. a few in the Riker Titan TNG era…. a few in the TNG mid-season era on another Federation ship….. a few in the TOS era on another fleet ship recreating the look of the original show like the Cowley stuff.

That would be a deadly series. Just different new stories from different eras in the Trek universe.

66. Lonzo5 - June 11, 2010

#65- That’s a very interesting concept!

67. red dead ryan - June 11, 2010

#65

Interesting idea. And you could also have alternate universe and timeline episodes as well. A few episodes set in a Borgified alpha quadrant, another arc could take place aboard the I.S.S Enterprise 1701 or Defiant under Hoshi Sato’s command. And other stories could be explored as well, such as Captain Pike commanding the Enterprise, the Romulan War and of course, adventures aboard the Excelsior.

But I think your idea might be too intelligent for the execs at CBS. :-)

68. Buzz Cagney - June 11, 2010

Sorry, but i want more Sulu as much as I want to see a Titan show. Thats to say, not at all.
I very much agree with those that say George doesn’t have the chops to carry this off. He barely got away with TUC. imo.
I always picture him crawling around the deck of Excelsior, after the shock wave hit. Fair enough I guess, but did he have to slouch so badly once he made it back to the Captains seat? Kirk would never have done that. Hell, Kirk would have held on to the chair and rode that wave till he’d broke it, branded it, and put in back in the corral!
Sorry, George, but I think you shuld stick to selling televisions rather than appearing on them.

69. Buzz Cagney - June 11, 2010

#62 you mean funnier i assume? I think it would hav been. Perhaps not intentionally!

70. T'Cal - June 11, 2010

George could do it now. Just watch his appearences on Family Guy and you’ll agree.

Hellloooooo!

71. MJ - June 11, 2010

Let us be brutally honest here. While we all love the guy, he is just not a very good actor. Look at the cheesy “my god” dramatic comment he makes in this Voyager trailer.

72. Bucky - June 12, 2010

Everyone should read The Captain’s Daughter. It ret-con’s Demora into continuity quite nicely and is a good follow-up to the Ent-B of Generations, and it’s a total Sulu story to boot.

73. Khan was Framed! - June 12, 2010

I would say not instead of Enterprise, but it should have happened instead of Voyager!

A lot of those scripts would have worked well for Excelsior, maybe even better.

I’m not much of a Captain Sulu fan, I think side characters are there for a reason, but anything would be better than Janeway.

Even her name sounds bad.

74. Crispy - June 12, 2010

Nah, I think an “Excelsior” series would have flopped big time. Sulu just wasn’t a good character at all. He wasn’t strong enough to carry a show, another weak character from TOS was Uhura(both weren’t much good actors either).

75. Zebonka - June 12, 2010

He’s not the only one that’s baffled. I’m not saying that the show would’ve been successful – I’m sure all the young kids would’ve hated it into cancellation – but it would’ve been better than Voyager and Enterprise…

76. William Kirk - June 12, 2010

Excelsior series would be great…

77. Chuck Watters - June 12, 2010

#67 Fan base would not be enough to make it last …….average viewers would be perplexed.

78. Luke Sutton ("The Doctor") - June 12, 2010

I think it is poor poll wording to include “instead of creating Star Trek Enterprise”, no wonder it is landslide Sulu. Of course people were gonna vote against Archer and co.

I would have liked to see maybe a few Sulu one offs, but I very much doubt that a whole series would have worked.

79. Admiral Shatner - June 12, 2010

I don’t think instead of Ent. I loved Ent. maybe in addition it it. Or, even better, instead of Voyager.

80. No Khan - June 12, 2010

You know who didn’t like TOS era BERMAN!

81. captain_neill - June 12, 2010

God I am fed up with the Berman and Braga bashing on this site and the Abrams loving.

Berman and Braga did great stuff in their tenre as well.

82. Trek Lady - June 12, 2010

81

Sorry, but as a mostly TOS fan, I will never like how Berman and Braga treated TOS and its fans. We were dismisses as unimportant and trivial. We didn’t matter. We didn’t count. They could have done their own thing without repeatedly making comments that made it clear they considered TOS and its fans to be passe and worthless. It was childish on their part. I personally will neither forget nor forgive.

83. Scruffy the Janitor/Vampire Slayer - June 12, 2010

to Nuspock:

There was enough gayness between Kirk & Spock in the original episodes. Lots of gay fan fiction came of it between the end of the series and the Motion Picture. In his novelization, Gene deliberately stated that Kirk & Spock were NOT gay.

On the other hand… Sylar Spock IS gay. He attends all the events, donates to all the charities, etc. etc.

Let’s see what comes of that.

84. MorbidGorn - June 12, 2010

to 82,

“I personally will neither forget nor forgive.”

my, how Chancellor Gowron of you! LOL

Seriously though, I would have loved a Sulu series, obviously. Launching it right after Voyager would have been great. And of course, Tuvok should have been on the Excelsior series also kinda like Worf going to DS9. Having a TOS cast member as well as a leter series star would have been a mint situation.

Imagine how cool that would have been with Manny Coto being involved from the beginning. I bet it would have run 7 full season and then Enterprise could have begun after. And if Coto had been there from the beginning, that would have run 7 seasons as well. And yeah I do love ENT. I don’t understand the haters.

85. Thorny - June 12, 2010

I really don’t think a Captain Sulu show would have worked. Trek needs strong, charismatic central stars… think William Shatner and Patrick Stewart, and that just is not a description of George Takei. Without the strong star, Trek has not been very successful. I loved DS9, but I know a lot of people who REALLY didn’t like Avery Brooks, who they said alternated between stilted delivery or scenery chewing. Kate Mulgrew is a good actress but was in a show so badly mishandled that not even good actors like she, Ryan and Picardo could save it. Scott Bakula, who was great in Quantum Leap, was mind-bogglingly bland as Captain Archer, giving Enterprise the double-whammy of an ineffectual star and bad writing (especially in Seasons 1 and 2.)

My compromise suggestion for a post-DS9 series, which I made at the time in various usenet discussions, was for an Enterprise-B show set 5-10 years after Generations. At that time, Sulu is now an Admiral and would appear periodically to give the Enterprise-B (with a younger cast) its orders. There could also be Sulu-centric episodes taking place on Earth or a Starbase. There would be opportunities for Koenig and Nichols (and possibly Saavik) to appear as well.

86. Trek Lady - June 12, 2010

84

“my, how Chancellor Gowron of you! LOL”

Maybe so, but neither have they apologized.

87. Spirit Bucko - June 12, 2010

George Tacky is BAFFLED – based on a LN movie.

88. Jordan - June 12, 2010

NO!

Can’t stand Sulu already.

89. www.chrisfawkes.com - June 12, 2010

That episode if Voyager where they went back to the Excelsior with Captain Sulu was brilliant story telling.

If only they had been that creative with Generations.

90. Ralph F - June 12, 2010

The powers that were TREK at the time were trying to shed as much of the Roddenberry era as possible. They were making *their* Trek universe; i.e., in the post TNG era, so an Excelsior series was just not something they’d even consider.

Agree with many of the posts above; loved the VOY ep with the Excelsior, have read and enjoyed many of the Captain Sulu books. Pity they overlooked what was a great era (post TOS movie/pre-TNG series) of the Trek universe when cranking out series after series.

91. jas_montreal - June 12, 2010

@ 90

I don’t think the idea of “shedding” the Roddenberry era was the problem. I think everything up until Voyager was good. The problem was that they ran out of creative ideas for post-TNG. Ds9 was probably the finest point of trek.

Voyager and Enterprise were purely crap. The powers of TREk did some great work with TNG and DS9. They just ran out of creative ideas. I think Ron Moore hated Voyager because it was the same old stuff and nothing new. I guess Berman and Braga finally saw that by getting fired ! (thank god they got fired).

92. Kev-1 - June 12, 2010

I would have liked to see an Excelsior series, but during the Berman era, anything or anybody TOS that appeared on TNG or later seemed to be doomed — Scotty, timewise and Sarek literally– or ridiculed, i.e., in DS9 – maybe Voyager?— the critical mentioning of Kirk as somebody who routinely violated time travel rules. That said, Rick Berman did maintain the integrity of the Trek he was doing. Also, “Trials and Tribulations” was pretty good and respectful.Had he turned Kirk into a twenty-five year old, blasted Vulcan to slag and put beer vats in the Enterprise, well, he just couldn’t have gotten away with it. But times change.

93. Max - June 12, 2010

I have a lot of respect for Takei, but Sulu was a minor character. A Sulu show would have been watched by a small but loyal audiance. The rest of the world wouldn’t have bothered with it.

94. Jerry Modene - June 12, 2010

Re: #65′s suggestion -

I’ve been suggesting a sort of Star Trek anthology series since the early 90′s, but people keep telling me it would be too expensive.

But yes, you could have had rotating features, not unlike the old NBC Mystery Movie rotation that gave us “McCloud”, “Colombo”, and “McMillan and Wife” on a rotating basis.

Besides the Sulu series, you could have had episodes dealing with the Klingon empire, or Starfleet Academy, either on a recurring basis or as one-shots. Seems to me that “Below Decks”, the TNG episode that focuses on those young crewmembers, might have been a tentative step in that direction.

Oh well – at least nobody’s trying to bring back the other series idea that was bandied about for awhile – there was actually talk of a Lwaxana Troi sitcom before they finally came out with DS9. I kid you not.

95. Thorny - June 12, 2010

92… “Trials and Tribble-ations” was actually the same episode where Kirk was said to be “a menace” who frequently violated time travel rules. I didn’t have a problem with that line (by the Mulder and Scully-clones Dulmer and Lucsly) because, first, well, they were right, and second, because both Sisko and Dax were shown to idolize Kirk and Co.

96. Buzz Cagney - June 12, 2010

I think I’m probably among B&B’s biggest critics but when they got it right they really did get it very right indeed.
Trials and Tribbleations was really quite excellent. In writing and execution it is hard to fault. You could tell the actors had fun with his episode too. It very much showed in their performances. A quite joyous episode.

97. Buzz Cagney - June 12, 2010

but sadly Flashback was just awful.

98. Polly - June 12, 2010

Well what can I say? Definitely not replacing Enterprise, even if it wasn’t the best….but hey, it would have been more trek…..*sigh*

99. JP - June 12, 2010

I just don’t see Takei having the chops and the presence to carry an entire series all his own. Once you get past the nostalgia what would a series like that really bring to the table that would be new? You’d have the same problem that Voyager and Enterprise had in that its too similar to what’s gone before.

100. Comeaution22 - June 12, 2010

Love that idea! Sulu is such a unique captain he would fit right into the Captains of Star Trek. He is more like Picard then anyone else, but think of how cool it would be. They could touch on so much that was hinted in the 24th Century.

Oh and by the way, Never watched Enterprise, and I know why I didn’t. Happy about that it didn’t ruin my thoughts of Star Trek.

101. JulienBashir - June 12, 2010

Should Paramount have launched Takei/Sulu series instead of ST: Enterprise in 2001?

FV CKING YES!!!

102. Comeaution22 - June 12, 2010

99, He has the chops, but if he didn’t, Star Trek has always been an ensemble cast and if you got some really great actors to fill some spots, you could definitely have a great and strong cast.

Also, we could totally get a TUVOK cameo or maybe like Worf, bring him into that series. When age is concerned, well Star Trek writing can explain that.

103. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - June 12, 2010

Do excelsior NOW!! But i bet that paramount waits till the 50th anniversary of STAR TREK to do any sort of tv show!

104. Viking - June 12, 2010

Paramount’s decision not to produce the show at the time was *AHEM* logical.They made the decision to put the original cast out to pasture; they were committed to riding ST:TNG to the finish line; and they had DS9 being developed as NG’s eventual replacement, even as ST:VI was in the theaters. The notion of taking a ‘step back’ in the franchise was apparently not the way they wanted to go, once they’d moved things forward a century. An Excelsior series would have been viewed as an anachronism. It might have been a whole different ballgame if the idea had been pitched right after ST:IV, and the concept would have been whispered into the right sets of ears. But, The Great Bird Of The Galaxy got what The Great Bird Of The Galaxy wanted, and that was a new, younger cast on the Enterprise-D.

105. Patrick Hall - June 12, 2010

Man what is up with all the Berman Bashing? Check it out, every 1 knows Trek got better when Roddenberry wasn’t involved. TMP was ok, but lets face it, it was an ok film. The wrath of kahn, I won’t swear to it, cuz I was only 4 when it was made, but I don’t think Roddenbery was involved to much in that film, what happened? WOK blew TMP out of the water. the same with TNG, lets face it, the 1st season of TNG was blahh. The 2nd season was a little better, But when the 3rd season of TNG came along, well lets face it Season 3 is when TNG got good. And guess what, by season 3 of TNG Roddenberry was no longer fully involved with TNG. And I am glad.

As for Berman not wanting to to a TOS era tv show or what ever, come on. Don’t you think that maybe Paramount Pictures had more to do with that then Berman? Lets face it TNG was on for 7 successful seasons, and probably could’ve been on for atleast 2 more seasons. I’d bet money Paramount wanted the TNG era to continue with DS9 and Voyager cuz they thought it would make them a whole crap load of money.

As for Star Trek Enterprise I loved the entire series, yes it could’ve been better. But it was decent. And I’d be willing to bet that it was Paramounts idea that Enterprise be a prequel. Enterprise debuted after Star Wars Ep. I and before Star Wars Ep. II. So I’d bet, Paramount thought they could get away with makin a prequel to TOS because George Lucas got away with makin prequels to the original Star Wars Trilogy.

Point is, not everything Rick Berman did with Trek was all one big screw up! I’m glad DS9 was created, and glad there was a war in DS9. Peace is good, in real life. But for a tv show dealing with aliens, peace is good, but can eventually become boring.

106. Doug Skywalker - June 12, 2010

considering it was all in the hands of Berman and Co., who knows how it would have turned. for all we know, it could’ve tanked. i mean, i did read a few people’s posts about how badly Berman understood TOS era characters.

107. Mr. There are always possibilities - June 12, 2010

As a fan, I have always liked that idea. I LOVED “World Enough and Time”; I thought it was better than “Nemesis”.

However, timing would have been key. ST:TUC didn’t do so well at the box office. People were very into ST:TNG, and I am not sure ST:EXCELSIOR would have worked then. Also, if they did a Cpt. Sulu series instead of ST:ENT, I am not sure that would have worked, as it was pretty clear that the franchise was running out of steam. I really think the only way it would have worked was if they did Cpt. Sulu instead of ST:VOY. Fresh off the success of ST:TNG and ST:DS9, I think fans and more would have welcomed a return to the original cast. The guest spots would have been killer — imagine Koenig, Nichols, Nimoy and even Shatner. Ratings would have gone through the roof.

Well, its science fiction. Who knows who will turn up through the wormhole…

108. Mel - June 12, 2010

@ 5

“However, I suspect when Trek moves back to TV (as it surely will) it will likely be another interpretation of TOS, either a straightforward continuation of the Abramsverse (probably with the TOS characters recast again, since the movie cast would probably not be interested in a series) or another reboot.”

I hope for a continuation of the Abramsverse, ideally with the actors from the movies, but I also don’t think they would agree to making a series. I just like Kirk, Spock, McCoy and so on and like to see more of these characters.

109. Buzz Cagney - June 13, 2010

‘ I just like Kirk, Spock, McCoy and so on and like to see more of these characters’.

yep. Treks finest. What else is there to say. ;-)

110. Jack2211 - June 13, 2010

I think Sulu was always intriguing because you didn’t know a heck of a lot about him (other than the fencing and the botany) and he had charisma even though, compared to the mains and even Chekov, he barely spoke for 25 years and didn’t really have a discernable personality, other than steady and pleasant.

111. Jack2211 - June 13, 2010

…and keep the mystery, I say. Sorry, George.

112. ProperTrekkieUk - June 13, 2010

Get the new movie team and Ron D Moore together, sit them down and bash out a new series! A mixture of the new movie series and BSG/DS9 (which I still feel is one of the best ST serieses), gritty (not tooooo gritty) but with character and substance. Fringe proves that Bob and Co can write excellant TV, and while The Plan was lame, Ron is still good at good SciFi!

Btw, would have loved a Excelsior series instead of ENT and Voyager combined!

113. Dom - June 13, 2010

Actually, Berman wasn’t the only one who demonstrated some disdain for the original Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry wasn’t keen on much TOS related stuff after he was sidelined and the wider Trek fan world of the early 1990s tended to be more fans of TNG who didn’t necessarily have much experience of the original Star Trek: They were essentially TNG-only fans who had no emotional attachment to TOS.

I have friends who are now in their mid-20s and they grew up with TNG. TOS was a footnote to them. I was lucky enough to grow up in the TOS reruns era when a Kirk/Spock/McCoy movie was still an event and the spin-off books and comics were unhindered by a detailed future history.

The TNG-centric nature of the fan world was pretty much what kept me away from Trek for the better part of a decade, because I simply didn’t like the characters and environment of TNG as much a TOS. But that was the generation I come from and my opinion.

I do think Berman and his team lacked respect for TOS, but I think that lack of respect was endemic to much of the Trek fan world. It was an era where Shatner-bashing was a regular occurrence in magazines and several of the minor TOS castmembers, like George Takei, turned their ire on the former lead actor. If anything put the nail in the coffin of any chance of a Sulu show, it was the behaviour of the actors in the public arena.

So, yes, I do prefer Abrams era and I think the greater complexity of pre-ST09 Treks might well come back in the sequels. ST09 was an exercise in rearranging the furniture and introducing the characters to a young audience who don’t know any Star Trek. My feeling on hearing ST09 was being launched was ‘Great! I get to see Kirk, Spock and McCoy again!’

As for Sulu, Chekov, Uhura and so on, they were never particularly important to me. They were minor roles and weren’t in every episode. I never particularly missed them if they didn’t appear. So a Captain Sulu series, in the long run, would have been a bit like making a series about Tawnia Baker after The A-Team finished!

114. Schultz - June 13, 2010

#113 (Dom): Exactly. I’ve heard similar stuff from friends and family who only liked TNG, DS9 and VOY, but not TOS or any of the old movies—except maybe “The Voyage Home”. They just didn’t care about the original Trek. I started with the 80s Trek movies, specifically Voyage, and then grew up with TNG, but I also watched TOS alongside, and I’m extremely fond of the original series, but it’s not a hardcore fan thing as with the newer shows. But nevertheless I too was thrilled that the TOS characters would return in ST09.

But a Captain Sulu series? Naw. A 3-part TV movie would have been okay, maybe.

115. Jonboc - June 13, 2010

113 is on the money. Many TOS fans, like myself, having watched the original 79 episodes over and over for 10 -20 years before TNG aired it’s first episode, were able to immediately spot the glaring differences between the old and the new and it was a bag of VERY mixed emotions. It’s brand new Trek…I should love it….but I don’t. then you start to analyze TNG and realize it’s nothing at all like the Trek that came before. Not in content, not in presentation, not in aesthetics etc etc. It wasn’t particularly bad television, it just wasn’t Star Trek as the world new it. Conflict was gone, the music was practically non-existent, it centered around 7 people instead of 3, there were usually a and b plots, barely scrapping out 2 stories..many of those relying on technobabbling nonsense to resolve the plot, the musical and memorable sound fx were replaced by generic bleeps and bloops…geez I could on and on. But the new fans who were disconnected from TOS never saw this…it was a non-issue for them because they weren’t, and many still aren’t, familiar enough with TOS to notice or care. Those are the legions that embraced TNG while many of the original fan base was abandoning ship. Would we have come back to trek if a Sulu series had been introduced? Maybe. But if it had been anything like TNG, but with different characters I don’t think they would’ve stuck around long. JJ has brought the fun and the adventure of the Trek I remember back, and I gotta say, it’s good to finally come home.

116. Trek Lady - June 13, 2010

113 “I do think Berman and his team lacked respect for TOS, but I think that lack of respect was endemic to much of the Trek fan world. ”

I agree with you, but it certainly didn’t help when the folks steering the ship kept making disparaging comments about TOS. Maybe if they had shown more respect, then the fans of TNG would have as well. As it was, they felt they had a license to bash – since that was what the Powers were doing anyway. So the fans dismissed TOS as well, a lot of them without knowing much about it besides, “cheesy special effects” and “scene chewing, playboy Kirk/Shatner”.

If nothing else, the new film has introduced a lot of new fans to TOS era Trek.. .and a lot of them have fallen in love with it. it is very interesting to read comments from some of those who grew up on TNG who are just getting into TOS, talking about how they now love TOS and why didn’t anyone tell them about this great show.

Which kinds just goes to show that the TOS fans were right all along.

117. JohnWA - June 13, 2010

Based on what we saw in The Undiscovered Country, the characters on the Excelsior just aren’t interesting enough to last several seasons. Most of them were pretty bland, generic “Federation” humans. And with the exception of Sulu himself and Commander Rand, none of those humans were even from TOS.

Tuvok does not count because that was retconned for Voyager.

118. JulienBashir - June 13, 2010

TMP showed how happy Roddenberry was to update the show. New Klingons, new ship, new grand scale.

119. fax_ - June 13, 2010

I love Sulu, and while the idea of a Sulu-oriented series appeals to me, it would depend (as has been said in some of the posts above) on the writing, and the strength of the supporting cast. Sulu was in the TOS and TMP era a reasonably few-(one?)-dimensional character compared to the Trinity, and I couldn’t bear to watch the same Sulu, same mannerisms and expressions leading episode after episode ad infinitum. However, I do believe that with the right supporting cast the background and nature of Sulu could be built in an interesting and fulfilling way. Hints of this were seen in his VOY appearance, although in that situation the interpretation was entirely 3rd person (from the view of Tuvok or Janeway) much in the same way that Janeway as often observed throughout VOY.

It is unlikely that the same crew-is-family feel of TNG and TOS would/can resurface (my impression is that it never did successfully [in a way in which I cared for the relationships involved more than a ha-penny] in VOY, and only just squeezed through in DS9), but that doesn’t mean it would not be comparable in quality to either of those series, or that the writers would not have come up with a way of extending the ‘family’ trek theme of TNG and TOS. For example, Sulu has moved on (to his own command) but he is very far removed from his ‘family’ and friends of the Enterprise, and there is much room to speculate as to his ambivalence and veneer of self-confidence given that he is seeing those closest to him ‘move on’, and must create a new adventure for himself. Coming to grips with an alien and hitherto unremarkable crew is not only a task that the watcher must face, but is equally the obstacle Captain Sulu must face, and I think were we introduced to the series via such a perspective it is entirely possible that by the end of it all it may be possible to have a strong sense of ‘family’ perhaps not in the same way as it was in the past, but in a greater sense as a Captain coming to grips with his crew, and discovering that unremarkable people can still make life an interesting and fulfilling experience.

120. What Paramount Should Have Done With Sulu... - June 13, 2010

They should have made a small budget TV/cable movie. You had the same standing Trek sets, so the investment is practically there short of a redress of the ship’s sections. If the movie had done well, then the decision could be made to go forward with a series or series of similar movies. If the first effort had failed, you still had the other markets such as cable, video, pay-per-view, etc so the money would have been recouped.

With all the original TOS era sets gone, you cannot go backward without reconstructing anew.

If Trek ever were to be redone in any fashion, it should be to go far forward into the future. As far as a leap or further as TOS was to TNG. The reboot, though a success, has gone away from the “exploration” part of Trek and become more of an action oriented show with THE bad guy. Maybe instead of just exploring ‘space,’ but of time, itself. Perhaps the future Trek would be going backwards in time. I remember Voyager encountering a future Federation where they just did that. That would be an interesting show.

121. Spider1981 - June 13, 2010

Is Voyager hating an age related / genre preference related thing? I ask, because inevitably, I always see a lot of Voyager bashing when there is a discussion about the various series, yet most everyone I grew up with (I’m 29) were big Voyager fans. On an interesting note, many of them weren’t science fiction fans, but embraced Voyager. Maybe that was Voyager’s problem – it appealed more to non sci-fi fans than hardcore trekkies? I, on the other hand, am a huge fan of all Trek incarnations (as I sit here in a room surrounded by trek memorabilia from all series) and yet Voyager was still my favorite series. Watching all the bashing just gets tiring sometimes.

122. Iowagirl - June 13, 2010

I find the idea of a Captain Sulu series almost as thrilling as the idea of a film about the academy days of an alternative Kirk & Co….:))

123. T.'. - June 13, 2010

T.’.

Uh, no.

T.’.

124. KhanSingh - June 13, 2010

Thank God it didn’t happen.

125. Quatlo - June 13, 2010

124. KhanSingh – June 13, 2010

Thank God it didn’t happen.

AMEN.

126. Dan - June 13, 2010

Paramount was only listening to Berman and Braga, and that meant that nothing even remotely attached to TOS was going to get made. Remember, B & B used to keep a bust of Gene Roddenberry blindfolded in the office as a way of saying “This is now OURS!”

127. 4600 II - June 13, 2010

Love Sulu, love Takei but his acting sucks unless he is givin small parts. Has he ever been a lead in anything? No! Well there is a reason for that and the Voyager ep. Flashback had some good acting from the Voyager actors (which isn’t saying much) where Taki and Whitney were terrible.

I think this is why George hates Shatner so much. Even a big ham like Shatner can be a lead in almost anything, George was lucky to be a guest star on anything…..

128. Hugh Hoyland - June 13, 2010

As much as I love the Character of Sulu I have to agree with the notion that a weekly TV series with him in the lead just doesnt seem plausable. That problem almost caused me to give up on DS9 when it first came out, Brooks just didnt appleal to me as a lead (alternating between mostly Stiff to overly Preachy), in fact I was hoping they were going to give that role to Tim Russ who would have made a more convincing commander IMO. And if you listen to the commentary of TUC, Ira Steven Behr in a light hearted way poins out that George came across as being a bit nervous when the shock wave hit his ship, and honestly he does. Either way I still love Sulu as his character was intended to originally be.

129. Hugh Hoyland - June 13, 2010

Appeal* and * TO any other typos present in the above post

130. nuSpock - June 13, 2010

YO!!! #83— I was saying make SULU turn gay NOT Kirk and Spock!!! After all in one of the series i quote in your handle, when in Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire SLayer they made Willow gay it created some of the best character development for her in the entire show’s run (aside from alternaVamp WIllow and the uberDarkWIllow at the end of Season 6…) so the same could work for Sulu in a series dedicated to him… after all TOS was about pushing the boundaries and stuff…and honestly think about it…what were Sulu and Chekov REALLY doing at Yosemite at the beginning of Star Trek V? Two samesex close friends alone together on a camping trip…all you need is some horses and ya got Brokeback Mountain…not to mention how in Where No Man Has Gone Before in TOS Sulu was in Botany… HOW WAS SULU NOT GAY??? Yes there was his daughter Demora, but that couldve been attributed to him experimenting with straightness, or actually being bisexual, or by surrogacy, u name it…

131. Buzz Cagney - June 14, 2010

#115 Great post. I couldn’t agree with you more.

132. Damian - June 14, 2010

I get cracked up with the Berman bashing here sometimes. And where do some people get their information from “Berman had no respect for the original series” as if Berman was put here to bury Star Trek. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know, or even care about the internal politics and machinations of what goes on behind the scenes. All of a sudden we have new people in charge and the Berman years were crap. I loved Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, the 11 movies, the animated series and the novels. It seems some fans wanted the other series to be clones of the original series, and if they did not follow that formula exactly, suddenly they are being disrespectful of the original series. One thing I liked about all the series is they each had their own formula and approach. They were all based on Gene Roddenberry’s creation, but simply approached it from a different angle. That is why I believe Star Trek survived the last 40+ years.

I loved the original series, as well as the Berman et al. created series. There were some episodes that were cringeworthy, but the good far outweighed any bad for me. I’m cool with people who didn’t like a series for whatever reason. We all have different tastes. But the bashing gets a little ridiculous. I almost take it personally sometimes, because some comments seem to suggest that you are a moron if you liked Voyager, for example. I’d defend Gene Roddenberry, JJ Abrams, Harve Bennett and anyone else involved with Star Trek the same way.

As far as a new Excelsior series go, I think you need to look at what was successful at the time. The Next Generation was at the top of its game and the new fans at the time were all about the 24th century. Paramount probably felt an Excelsior series would not have taken off and a failure would have been a huge black eye.

133. Steve - June 14, 2010

I agree, his acting was “shockingly bad” in the Voyager episode. Maybe with a better director as he had never been that bad before but still… It would have been an amazing series otherwise. I always wanted to see more of that ship!

134. Horatio - June 14, 2010

An Excelsior series with George Takei would have permanently destroyed the Trek franchise.

You guys think Voyager/Enterprise and Bermon/Braga nearly killed Trek? Imagine the destruction had this abomination been allowed to gestate!

There. I said it.

135. Shaun - June 14, 2010

#128 “Brooks just didnt appeal to me as a lead (alternating between mostly Stiff to overly Preachy),”

i understand what you mean. it took me a few years to warm up to kate mulgrew’s portrayal of captain janeway. her voice was so shrill that it would actually cause me to cringe while watching each episode. eventually, i got used to her…and came to enjoy the character.

136. Hugh Hoyland - June 14, 2010

#135 yes I was the same way with Janeway as well, but like you over the series I grew used to the character and accepted it for what it was and the same with Sisko. It became obvious to me that DS9 needed some serious rethinking done to its premise and the Dominion War provided that, taking the focus off of Sisko and putting it more on the whole cast and events. I couldnt imagine that series going for 7 years with the way it started out.

137. D3 - June 14, 2010

It’s been 19 years. Get over it already. They didnt want to do it but since you kept forcing it down their throats they gave you the anniversary episode on Voyager.

Besides, Sulu jumped over Chekov in rank by constant harassment and screwed Walter Koenig over in doing it. In TWOK, Chekov was first officer. In TFF, Chekov was second in command.

How could Sulu jump rank? He couldnt. Takei cheated. He got more than what he deserves.

So what’s going to happen next year for the 20th anniversary? Who know and who cares.

138. et - June 14, 2010

While I’m a huge fan of George Takei, I’m not sure an “Excelsior” series would have been a ticket to a new Trek golden age.

I am sad, however, that UPN didn’t elect to do a series of TV movies from different points in the franchise over the well-intentioned but not-so-well-executed “Enterprise.” The occasional “Captain Sulu” one-off might have been a good time.

And yes… He is fantastic in New Voyages’ “World Enough and Time.” Big props to director and co-writer Marc Zicree on that one.

(@ 137 Sulu “jumped rank” over Chekov? WTF are you talking about?)

139. Damian - June 14, 2010

#137–If I remember my information correctly, Sulu was supposed to be the captain of Excelsior in Star Trek III but was passed over by Stiles because of the Genesis incident (noted in the novels for Star Trek II and III). I always felt Chekov jumped Sulu early on. After all, Sulu was a Lieutenant in the original series while Chekov was a new Ensign. Maybe someone can substantiate it for me but I heard during that time that William Shatner was the one that did not want Sulu to be made a Captain. I had read that in some article but can’t remember what. A number of the actors (i.e. James Doohan) have expressed a dislike for Shatner.

Also, Koenig and Takei are very good friends (wasn’t Koenig the best man at Takei’s wedding).

140. Dom - June 14, 2010

132. Damian

I know where you’re coming from. Look, I’m not going to claim to be much of a fan of TNG. It didn’t work for me as a sci-fi show and certainly not as a continuation or evolution of a series called Star Trek which was thought up by Gene Roddenberry and developed into the saga we loved through the contributions of a number of other talented writers and producers.

TNG felt, to me, more like an older producer making a different show and using the Star Trek name to get it sold. And after a rocky start, it became very popular, albeit with a somewhat different fanbase.

Rick Berman openly admitted his lack of interest in the original Star Trek and that he never bothered to watch many of the episodes of the original show in the 15 years he was in charge of the franchise. Indeed, why should he? TNG Trek was his baby and it was popular in its own right. Why else was Enterprise initially less a prequel to Star Trek than to TNG? Because the people in charge had no real investment in and knowledge of TOS. Frankly they had no real need to from their perspective. TOS fans weren’t their main audience.

One place where Gene Roddenberry was certainly correct was when he asserted that the main TOS and TNG casts should never cross paths. Deforest Kelley was the only cast member to come out of a crossover with his own and his character’s dignity intact. Scotty became a comical drunk in Relics; shorn of Kirk and McCoy, Spock was boring in Unification and killing Kirk was an act of stupidity that bordered on franchise suicide. It was disrespectful to the character and to fans of the original Star Trek. William Shatner should have known better and he’s lived to regret the decision to appear in that film ever since.

Major characters should only die in the context of their own environment. Killing Kirk in TNG was like killing off Norm and Cliff in an episode of Frasier, killing Phoebe in an episode of Joey or killing off Jack Bauer when he’s guesting in a Die Hard movie.

So, yeah, I was disenfranchised (excuse the pun!) by Trek in the 1990s. I read articles interviewing bigwigs in the official Star Trek fanclub saying people only watched TOS to laugh at how cheesy it was and for the comedy scenes.

I figured Trek had been put into other hands I didn’t care for and stuck to my DVDs. I moved on and simply accepted a parting of the ways. I had the same attitude towards the first four seasons of nu-Doctor Who. I didn’t like Russell T Davies’ approach to the material, so I stopped watching and didn’t spend my time baiting fans who worshipped it! I will defend people’s right to say they dislike something if they’ve given it a go, though!

I won’t entirely bash Berman, as he took over TNG at a shaky time and saw it become a success. What he was incapable of doing, unlike Denise Crosby and Wil Wheaton, was moving on. Had TNG been a proper ‘ensemble’ show, more characters would have joined and more would have left. As it stood, no one on the TV side of a multi-platform franchise was going to leave when there was the possibility of a movie franchise in the offing.

The trouble is, some people saw moving TNG to the cinema as a ‘promotion’ when, of course, it wasn’t. TNG had to change its nature to become a cinema franchise and never sat comfortably there. Nowadays, with good film actors gagging to appear on US TV (Keifer Sutherland and Glenn Close being obvious examples) maybe things would have been different.

I just think it’s probably fairer that we use the multiverse introduced in ST09 as the best way to approach all the Treks. For me, the last time I saw the ‘proper’ team together, it was in Star Trek VI. And the Spock ‘Prime’ of ST09 was last seen in STVI. The versions of TOS characters seen in TNG were from the TNG universe, which used some of TOS as backstory, but was happy to contradict it where necessary. That works for me, but equally other people might wish to shoehorn everything together!

End of the day, it should all be fun. If we get to the point where the direction a franchise goes in actually makes us unhappy, we’re too close to it and have to walk away! A Sulu show might have been fun, but it would have been a peculiar hybrid, being neither entirely a sequel to TOS nor a prequel to TNG.

And, if we’re honest, Sulu was far too underdeveloped a character to guarantee a wider success. Frankly, he was little more than a fun background character. We know little about him outside of licenced spin-off fiction and, on the basis of Flashback, George Takei simply didn’t have the charisma and the chops to play the lead in a Star Trek spin-off or indeed any TV show.

141. Dom - June 14, 2010

139. Damian: ‘If I remember my information correctly, Sulu was supposed to be the captain of Excelsior in Star Trek III but was passed over by Stiles because of the Genesis incident (noted in the novels for Star Trek II and III).’

Vonda’s novels massively expanded the Trek universe, based on ideas tossed around for the countless different scripts. Sulu was actually supposed to have died in The God Thing, IIRC. Just because an idea was mooted, even scripted at some stage, doesn’t mean it would have turned up in an actual film.

‘A number of the actors (i.e. James Doohan) have expressed a dislike for Shatner.’

There were some fallouts, but James Doohan didn’t declaim Shatner in public IIRC and I seem to recall they patched things up in later days.

‘Also, Koenig and Takei are very good friends (wasn’t Koenig the best man at Takei’s wedding).’

And many other castmembers, including Bill Shatner, have been good friends with each other. Face it, when you spent three years acting in a TV show over 40 years ago and met sporadically over the next four decades to return to that old role for a couple of months, there are bound to be periods in your life where you get on better or worse with people. I’m only 35 and I have friends I’ve fallen out with at times, not seen in years, then patched things up with. And indeed I’ve had friendships that have fizzled out because we became too different and grew apart. Celebrities, unfortunately, have to go through this in public and have fanboys on either side interfering!

142. =A= - June 14, 2010

it take so long before sulu get old man!!! come on let him back on feet!

143. Damian - June 15, 2010

#141–I should have noted that novels, of course, are not considered canon. Officially Sulu was captain in ST VI, no mention of it was made before that on screen. I am an avid novel reader, and I generally accept the stories as part of the Star Trek universe (especially the new relaunches) unless they are contradicted on screen.

The main point of my response to 137 is that Sulu being made captain ahead of Chekov was just not earth shattering to me. My guess is that since the novels of the previous movies mentioned Sulu was supposed to captain the Excelsior, that the writers of ST VI decided to to make it so.

#140–I am ok with people liking segments of Star Trek. A friend of mine is a fan of only the original series and Enterprise. He is not interested in TNG, DS9 or Voyager. Some only like DS9 because of the darker theme. And of course some only like the original series. Some of the posters here just seem to imply that if you like some of the other series, you must need a brain transplant. I guess I’d like to see some dissenters be a little more respectful. I always believed Berman tried doing Star Trek the best way he could (after all, we all want our creations to be loved by others) and in his interviews and others who worked with Berman, their one complaint seemed to be that at times he obsessed over how Roddenberry would view something. He had to be talked into a longer Dominion War in DS9, for example. He also tried breathing new life into Enterprise with bringing in Manny Coto (who many posters here believe made Enterprise watchable at the end).

144. Shannon Nutt - June 15, 2010

With all respect to George, who is one of the nicest actors you’d ever want to meet, he just doesn’t have the range or the appeal to “carry” a weekly, hour-long TV show. One of the things that always bothered me about Takei, Doohan, Nichols and Koenig (who, by the way, is the most talented of the four) is that they felt they were every bit as talented as Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley and deserved equal screentime. There’s a reason you were the supporting cast…you’re there to support the leads, not be included in them! It’s like a backup signer taking over for Paul McCartney.

145. www.chrisfawkes.com - June 16, 2010

I understand the frustration. I too was surprised that i was never given the captains chair after doing the publicity stills for this series http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v316/33/94/566023757/n566023757_674239_9758.jpg

146. KhanSingh - June 16, 2010

Chrisfawkes you are too funny

147. Malcontent - June 18, 2010

Might have been good, but I personally don’t see how shovelling out even more trek would addressed franchise exhaustion. At least Berman tried to freshen up the formula (slightly), not that I cared to watch the result.

It would have been nice to give George a shot at it though.

148. Herb Finn - June 27, 2010

There were several things that killed a possible Sulu Series …

* Berman didn’t want to be in the Shadow of Gene Roddenberry directly again. Yes, Even “Enterprise” wasn’t as close to Classic Trek as a Sulu series would have been.

*George was untested as a lead actor in a television series,as well as the fact he is Asian. (His age wouldn’t be a factor consitering he’s close to Patrick Stewart’s age)

* and maybe his *Ehem* *worst kept secret* would also make the studio heads a little nervous. (This was the late 1990′s remember)

149. Trojan - July 23, 2010

I believe that they would want to Star Trek Series with Enterprise.

I admit that they got away from this in DS9 and Voyager.

Not many people may have wanted to see a gay Captain.

I could be wrong when I say this.

150. Archangel - October 25, 2011

Star Trek: Enterprise was crap!!! The proof was it lasting for only 4 seasons. If it was Star Trek: Excelsior it would have continued the run of 7 years like the previous Star Trek series.

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