Exclusive Interview (pt 2): Alec Peters On Taking Star Trek To War + What’s Next For ‘Axanar’ | TrekMovie.com
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Exclusive Interview (pt 2): Alec Peters On Taking Star Trek To War + What’s Next For ‘Axanar’ August 23, 2014

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Fan Productions,Interview,Star Trek Axanar , trackback

axanar

In the day since part 1 of our interview with Alec Peters was posted, the Star Trek Axanar Kickstarter gathered another $150,000 (helped by a social media plug from Star Trek’s George Takei). The project has now raised over $560K, with more coming in by Sunday’s deadline. See below for part 2 of our interview where we talk more about the story and the future of Axanar
[UPDATE: Axanar Kickstarer campaign ended Sunday with $638,471]

Alec Peters On Taking Star Trek To War With ‘Axanar’

Yesterday in part 1 of our interview with Alec Peters, the star and producer of Star Trek Axanar talked about the fundraising effort, schedule, designs, hiring of professionals and experienced actors and more. Today we get into the story and the fit into Star Trek.

TrekMovie: Let’s talk about the story of "Axanar." The film is set 21 years before the original Star Trek, but "Prelude" did show a glimpse of the USS Enterprise. Will it play a role?

Alec Peters: Yes, but a very minor one. We tell that story in "Prelude" where there is this arms race and the Constitution class was the Federation’s answer to that arms race.

TrekMovie: The original series portrays the USS Enterprise and the other Constitution class ships as ships of exploration. Are you retconning them into weapons of war? And do you feel like you are treading into pushing canon there?

Alec Peters: Not so much. There is nothing to say those ships for military purposed before they were ships of exploration. They are just really powerful ships. It is not necessarily that they were built for war, but they were certainly built during a war.

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The USS Enterprise under construction in "Prelude to Axanar"

TrekMovie: How would you describe what kind of film this is? Would you describe it as a war movie? Action movie? What is Axanar?

Alec Peters: I think it action-adventure. But it is a Star Trek story. I have said at times it is a war story set in the Star Trek universe, but then what is a war story? War stories are drama. War stories are about people. Sometimes you have war movies like Midway or The Longest Day, which is a procedural. Here is what happened at these battles. But the greatest war stories are about people. Saving Private Ryan is about a bunch of people.

TrekMovie: Are those the movies that are influencing you and [director] Chris Gossett when making Axanar?

Alec Peters: There are a bunch of movies. Certainly Midway has influenced us about how it tells the story of a grand scope. Even though that is a procedural about how the battle unfolded, the people are what make it fascinating. Saving Private Ryan is another. David Gerrold has referenced Run Silent, Run Deep and The Enemy Below, which are great submarine war movies. But it isn’t about explosions and starship battles, it is about people. How do people react to war is an amazing thing sometimes.

TrekMovie: Are there specific Star Trek films or episodes that capture the type of film or the tone you are trying to set?

Alec Peters: Films? I don’t think so. It is hard to say any specific episodes are influencing us except that we are huge Star Trek fans. So of course "Balance of Terror" is an important episode. But we are not copying anything, we are treading new ground.

TrekMovie: But Star Trek films have a certain tone – there are certain threads that run throughout them. They are in a way their own sub-genre. Do you feel like this film would fit with the pantheon of twelve Star Trek films or are you going for something different?

Alec Peters: I think we are going for something different. We haven’t seen the Federation at war. What is that like. We set that up in "Prelude." I think you could see where we are coming from about the Federation at war. Some fanboys will say "Star Trek is not supposed to be about war." Well, no. Star Trek is about many things and Star Trek is about how we have evolved as a people 200 years from now is one of them. In Ramirez’s speech in "Prelude" he talks about not losing the dream of the Federation when fighting the Klingons, and I think that tells you everything about Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future.

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Tony Todd as Adm. Ramirez in "Prelude to Axanar"

TrekMovie: But is there a concern about sticking with that vision? Gene Roddenberry himself balked at some of the militaristic elements of the Nick Meyer Star Trek films.

Alec Peters: Ironically, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is considered the best Star Trek movie and it is also potentially the most militaristic…The idea is man is perfecting himself and we are becoming better and we are focusing on working together to better the entire galaxy. That is what Star Trek is about. If Gene didn’t like the militarization, OK. But if there is a war going on, what are you going to do? We address that head on. We address what does the Federation do when forced into war. You can say all you want about how that is not what Gene wants, but Gene talked about the Romulan War. So it is not that he is against war. He is trying to picture a future where people are better than they are now. So the answer is how we approach war. It is not a question of whether or not there is war, there will always be war for the rest of eternity. The question is, how do we as enlightened people deal with it, and that is what Ramirez was saying [in "Prelude"]. We
need to our values as the Federation and win this war the right way and extend that value system to our enemy.

TrekMovie: There are a couple of elements that are constants through Star Trek that differentiate it. One is the hope and optimistic future, and the other is a bit of humor mixed in with the drama. Do you feel that Axanar will continue that tradition?

Alec Peters: Absolutely, that is part of Star Trek.

TrekMovie: A lot of what you are talking about sounds like some of the elements of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which a lot of fans (myself included) really liked, but some didn’t like the darker themes and war elements. Do you feel that Axanar will especially appeal to DS9 fans? And might it also run into some of the same critiques?

Alec Peters: I am not sure it will especially appeal to Deep Space Nine fans, because I am not sure that all DS9 fans like it because it was about war. It is my favorite Star Trek outside of TOS because of Sisko, he is my favorite captain. It will be similar to Deep Space Nine in that it is set up against the backdrop of a war. It is not about whether it is war story or not. It is about everything. It is about how you communicate what the story is about. I think I think there are a lot of TOS fans who will love Axanar as well and from the other shows too. I think we will have our fanbase and it will be because of the characters we write. 

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Inverness V after Klingon attack from "Prelude to Axanar"

TrekMovie: So after you release Axanar, have you put any thought into what is next for yourself and the team?

Alec Peters: Honestly, I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I know that we want to use this as a resume piece to show the work we can do…We want everyone to see it. We have shown that we can make something impressive on a really tiny budget and I think that is a commodity that people in Hollywood are interested in

TrekMovie: Is the goal to try to get an officially licensed Star Trek production made or to move on to other low budget sci-fi films.

Alec Peters: All of the above.

TrekMovie: Has there been any interaction with CBS?

Alec Peters: No, but I am told they are very aware of us.

TrekMovie: Would it be fair to say that the relationship with CBS for these types of productions is sort of a "don’t ask, don’t tell" kind of thing? They aren’t involved, but they don’t stop you either.

Alec Peters: Exactly. They just want us to behave and not rock the boat…So we don’t charge for anything or make any money. There are certain requirements as to how big "Star Trek" is within the logo – like Star Trek can’t be bigger than "Axanar." We respect their IP. There is boilerplate that is supposed to on the website at the bottom. You do things like that, and we try to minimize the use of actual Star Trek IP in "Axanar." We aren’t using the chevron logo uniforms for example. More and more we will just be using the branding "Axanar," because people know what that is now.

TrekMovie: When you look at how LucasFilm – and now Disney – have embraced fan films – even doing official awards – would you like to see CBS get more involved like that or do you prefer the hands off approach?

Alec Peters: No, I would like to see them actively involved. That would be a dream come true.

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The Klingons are coming in Star Trek Axanar

For more on Star Trek Axanar, visit the official site. And there is still time to make a donation at the Axanar Kickstarter page.

Comments

1. Harry Ballz - August 24, 2014

Very cool fan effort. Good for them!

2. Elias Javalis - August 24, 2014

Backed! Thanks to you all, for the Amazing effort to put together, a really Cinematic – Fan Experience! It’s True, with these kind of fans Star Trek WILL NEVER DIE!

3. Hat Rick - August 24, 2014

I agree with those who say that Axanar is definitive proof that the Prime Universe can be made accessible to modern audiences. Almost half a century has passed since TOS first hit the screen. Modern audiences have watched repeats of television shows of all kinds for the last five decades and their tastes have changed. Good storytelling has kept certain shows, like TOS and its progeny, fresh for new generations, but, at least at first, stylistic appearances are what draw new audiences to new iterations.

Someone in the thread for Part I of this interview mentioned the modern BSG series in connection with Richard Hatch. The modern BSG is completely different in style from the old Battlestar Galactica, even though both were about the same universe. The producers of the new BSG did an excellent job modernizing everything about that franchise for the reboot. This sensibility is what I see behind Axanar in all its respects. You can see it in the cinema verite’ approach for the Prelude. Yet the grandeur of space travel has not been sacrificed. The sense of awe that greets depictions of outer space is preserved — a positive thing.

One of the qualities that separates Trek from many other series is what has been referred to as the “heightened” of its drama, an almost operatic manner of direction and acting. Think of Picard’s speech in ST:FC in the conference room wherein he smashes the display case of all the Enterprises. ST:FC was quite operatic and, in some cases, even speechy, and it was quite effective because of it. Yet there were the quick cuts, the relatively realistic depictions of necessarily violence. ST:FC was highly impressive with respect to its blending of classical dramatic tropes with special effects and modern pacing, and the box office results showed it. (In this connection, perhaps this successful synthesis is not quite there in the Abrams movies; this is worth a thought or two.)

The people behind Axanar seem to be serious people with backgrounds that allow deep thinking behind the way the movie should look, in the sense alluded to above. I think that the results show it — financially and optically. More than anything else, this fact gives me hope that a new CBS production will occur sooner rather than later because there are both audiences and producers who are will see to it that it succeeds.

4. Hat Rick - August 24, 2014

^^ “heightened” quality of its drama

^^who will see to it

(Corrections)

5. Jack - August 24, 2014

Thank God Roddenberry didn’t cast himself as Captain Kirk.

6. Robert - August 24, 2014

Proud to be a Backer. I just watched it tick over $600,000! Thank you Alec Peters and the amazing actors and crew who are helping you realize your vision and for sharing it with Trek fandom. Of course thanks as well to all the Trek fans who dug deep these final days to fund the making of this movie. Well done!

7. Commodore Adams - August 24, 2014

“Some fanboys will say “Star Trek is not supposed to be about war.” Well, no. Star Trek is about many things and Star Trek is about how we have evolved as a people 200 years from now is one of them. In Ramirez’s speech in “Prelude” he talks about not losing the dream of the Federation when fighting the Klingons, and I think that tells you everything about Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future.”

Well said Alec, I couldn’t agree more. Star Trek is about many things. Simple and true.

Same could be said about the NuTrek movies. Although we want a peaceful future, there will always be those who try to undermine it. The real meat of it is how we react and deal with those situations, how we as people react and behave in war or peace, and how it changes. Its about the people. So I can understand in NuTrek how those violent situations some fans hate have moulded the crew and can sometimes be a necessary story element.

8. Alec Peters - August 24, 2014

Thanks guys! Appreciate all the positive feedback. We are just like you guys and we want the same thing, great Trek.

Alec

9. Elias Javalis - August 24, 2014

Saw the Prelude. Its Breathtaking!! Soval’s eyebrows are a bit off though…J/K;)

10. Michael Hall - August 24, 2014

Hmm. I can certainly respect the idea of doing a film whose subject concerns how an enlightened civilization tries to retain its values while being pushed into war. (DS9 tried, but barely scratched the surface.). I was hugely impressed by PRELUDE, and have every intention of supporting this project. Still, I find Alec Peters’ blithe assertion, so representative of our time, that “there will always be war for the rest of eternity” pretty disheartening. In the Trek universe it’s readily apparent that while there is the occasional conflict with other species, humanity had, at long last, at least managed to make peace with itself. This is the dream that has kept StarTrek as a going concern, through all of those mediocre scripts, changes in technology and the way stories are told, for the past half-century. But it will never happen so long as most people assume that it can’t. I don’t know that Mr. Peters has thought this through–and perhaps he should, before AXANAR gets anywhere near a camera.

11. Lemingsworth Bint - August 24, 2014

Well, maybe they can get the war over and done with quickly and move on to doing Star Trek.

What’s the latest on Renegades? Any plans for a Renegades interview, Anthony?

12. I am not Herbert - August 24, 2014

WOW! Thank you, Alec and Anthony! =D

THIS is the kind of “TrekMovie” that I want to see!!

CBS: PLEASE give this crew a budget! We want REAL Star Trek!! =D

…maybe just a “movie of the week”? AXANAR II?

13. Yob Benami - August 24, 2014

I am so look forward to Axanar! Thanks to all involved. I have missed seeing Star Trek. Glad to see that I am not alone in that.

14. I am not Herbert - August 24, 2014

War is a form of conflict… conflict = good drama…

I am looking forward to some great dramatic (operatic?) conflict with the Klingon Empire… =)

…and Captain Garth and Star Fleet fighting the good fight! =D

15. Flake - August 24, 2014

First fan production I have watched or been interested in, none of the others thus far have interested this lifelong fan, perhaps due to low budget production values and TOS-era camp etc etc – this is the first one that can be taken seriously.

I hope at some point after Axanar the fans can fund some TNG era shows! That would be awesome and more and more fans will become interested as I have.

16. The Snob - August 24, 2014

Prelude To Axanar is without a doubt the greatest ‘fan-production’ I’ve ever seen… I am so looking foreward to the full film… I love the lighting, the music, the acting… I think you did a great job Alec as an actor! And the visuals… I mean, wow… Tobias is a genius… And I love how this integrated ENT, NuTrek and TOS soooooo well..!

What I wish fo more than anything regarding this production, is that CBS will somehow acknowledge this, and picks it up as an official ST production… Then it can be regarded as canon, and that would just make my day!

17. dolphinboy - August 24, 2014

just this minute finished watching prelude and i got to say im impressed. not a huge fan fiction fan but with the current drought of trek on tv im more than looking forward to Axanar and renegades (any news on that?) heres hoping cbs or whoever finally realise that New trek needs to be on air again, not just NuTrek.

strange but cool to see tony todd and jg NOT playing klingons too!

18. EvanM - August 24, 2014

I backed “Prelude to Axanar” and after seeing the finished product I didn’t hesitate to back the feature film. I’m pretty sure that I’d back whatever Alec Peters puts on Kickstarter if I find the subject matter interesting. Well done to everyone who worked on Prelude and I look forward to “Star Trek Axanar”!

19. Soundslikecrap - August 24, 2014

This sounds terrible! This move to make Star Trek like Star Wars, or other “action” Sc-FI rather than the exploration of different ideas through the medium of sci-fi would leave Gene rolling in his grave.

War movies, of any type, have been done to death, you all just want a plot device to make really cool explosions, drama and action, but are not clever enough to find a more interesting plot device to do so.

Please don’t put the name “Star Trek” on this POS.

20. dswynne - August 24, 2014

I find it fascinating that people still need to sandbag NuTrek in order to praise fan productions like P2A. How about simply praising P2A w/o referring to NuTrek, and critique Peters and company’s work on its own merits? I swear, there are WAY too many “brats” within the ‘Trek fan base…

21. Michael Hall - August 24, 2014

“I find it fascinating that people still need to sandbag NuTrek in order to praise fan productions like P2A. How about simply praising P2A w/o referring to NuTrek, and critique Peters and company’s work on its own merits?”

Not trying to speak for them or anything, but I gather the Axanar people feel the same way, if for no other reason that there are some people out there they’d just as soon not offend. Take heed, AXANAR supporters.

22. Hat Rick - August 24, 2014

As far as the war question is concerned, it’s not surprising that movies are made concerning it, because it is out of war that peace comes. Star Trek, the series, was significantly about war and in fact made references from which the premise of Axanar arises. Unless one assumes that a literal paradise has been created, there will always be an element of conflict, and war is the ultimate conflict from a visual standpoint.

This is not to say that there aren’t psychological thrillers that are equally compelling, or that the search for truth cannot be one rendered peacefully. The truth is that it is extremely difficult to render spectacle on a space-spectacular scale that attracts attention without recourse to war themes.

Perhaps this is an artifact of our modern culture which, after all, has suffered much war. Peace and love valuable in the world today because it is so rare. At the same time, motion pictures as a medium would be hard-pressed to turn pacifist themes into visual spectaculars. Other than romantic comedies, dramatic thrillers (including, for example, “Gravity”), or niche indie productions about relatively obscure subjects, what successful movie has recently presented science fiction subjects in a completely peaceful setting? “2001: A Space Odyssey” is a rarity, and it was released in 1968. Even then it was seen as ponderous, obscure, and, to some, very boring, although it is much admired today.

As an aside, and since the late Robin Williams has much been in the news (and greatly missed), the movie “What Dreams May Come” is an example of a fantasy that contains no themes of war, but such fantasy has little bearing on the universe of Star Trek.

It would be very difficult to generate the kind of buzz Axanar has if not for an appeal to visual effects as well as the excitement of war. It may be too much to expect for any production to make the leap toward a Odysseyland except in the rarest of cases.

23. Hat Rick - August 24, 2014

^^ The truth is that it is extremely difficult to render interesting stories on a space-spectacular scale that attracts attention without recourse to war themes.

^^ Peace and love are valuable in the world today because they are so rare.

(Corrections / revisions.)

Having said what I did, there is something to be said for exploring all kinds of stories. This is where TOS, as a television production, excelled. One week it could be a “submarine chase”-style psychological thriller about the previously unseen Romulans. Another it week it could be a time-travel story. Yet another it could be about a dying ship’s doctor and an ancient spaceship in the form of an asteroid. The plot complexity of these stories is particularly impressive for the fact that all of these them had to be told within the space of 50 minutes.

If Axanar is to hold the attention of more sophisticated viewers, then, yes, the war theme may not suffice, other than an overall arc among more involving plotlines. Star Trek is built for good stories, after all, and not just good wars.

24. Keachick (Rose) - August 24, 2014

Unfortunately I cannot remember where I read it or who said it, but all this reminds me of the statement: “It is easier to fight over a philosophy than it is to live by that philosophy”.

I guess this is why we have so much conflict/war for real (check out the Middle East of late) or have movies made about fictional wars etc…The real challenge is being to write a fictional story that holds people’s attention with its story, characters and visuals that has little in the way of conflict and violence. I guess the same goes with how we live and behave…

25. dswynne - August 24, 2014

@22 (Hat Rick): I think that too many people have been colored by war IRL, in that war is the result of a misunderstanding between two parties. My problem with this sort of thinking is that one side presumes that the other side wants peace to begin with, ignoring the other side’s agenda via transference (i.e. “you are at war because of what I did”). Clearly, the Four Year War was about the Klingons desire to expand its territory and influence, regardless of what the Federation’s agenda entails. This conflict is about how the Federation won that war without sacrificing its core principles. Better yet, it proved to the Klingons that it would just as easily fight for its principles as the Klingons would fight for theirs. How the war ends would set the relationship between the Federation and Klingons for the next hundred years, which would lead into the Federation-Klingon Alliance during the TNG era. But first, the Federation has to earn the respect of the Klingons, and that means conflict. In fact, I would not be surprised if this was what GR had in mind as a parallel to the relationship between the West and the Soviet Union, with the Klingons being the stand in for the Russians during the Cold War.

26. dswynne - August 24, 2014

^^ Having said that, I agree with Keachick. It would be nice to have a high quality ST fan production that isn’t about “conflict with other”, but rather, a production that is nothing more than a good ol’ fashion adventure featuring some mystery (something like the TOS episode “That Which Survives”, which has plenty of themes besides having some “conflict”). Thankfully, P2, Continues and other similar productions are getting to that level of quality like P2A.

27. Michael Hall - August 24, 2014

“In fact, I would not be surprised if this was what GR had in mind as a parallel to the relationship between the West and the Soviet Union, with the Klingons being the stand in for the Russians.”

That would be a very compelling argument, were it not for the fact that it’s patently not true. Just wondering: did you manage to miss the final ten minutes of the original Klingon episode “Errand of Mercy,” in which the story’s theme is revealed as being decidedly anti-war? Or that the rest of the Klingon shows boiled down to pretty much the same observation: Earthmen and Klingons must not fight, as the resulting war would be devastating and counterproductive to both societies. Now, that’s a long way from Trek taking an actual pacifist stance–it’s way too much a creature of its genre and era to even consider going there–but it’s at least equally distant from the show endorsing U.S. policy towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

28. Hat Rick - August 24, 2014

@Keachick, 24, and @dswynne, 25, 26 –

Yes, part of the true promise of good science fiction is how we can improve humanity through overcoming adversity. Science fiction is inherently about the present as extrapolated toward possible futures — utopian, dystopian, or something in between. The roots of science fiction can be seen to extend back to antiquity, but most agree that it shares an interest in the future, or an altered past or present, as seen through the lens of what is presently believed to be reasonably possible. Fantasy breaks the limits of scientific reason and may literally be said to be limited only by the imagination. Trek’s aspiration is to ground the future, or the altered past or present, more solidly in what is known to be a potential admitted by scientific or quasi-scientific reasoning, although significant exceptions do occur (near-omnipotent beings such as Q approach the province of fantasy).

This is important, because it touches upon a present-day reality and recent history riven by monumental battles made possible by machines designed through the instruments of science. Mechanized terror took the form of the machine gun and the tank in World War I; science gave us the penicillin, yes, but also mustard gas. Science created in man the ability to annihilate entire cities through the power of nuclear fission and fusion. Science itself became science-fictional in its power and scope. In generations torn and terrorized by hot and cold wars conduced by scientific knowledge and uncertainty, smaller-scale stories lose their brilliance in a genre that claims “science” as part of its name.

Too much, science has become identified with war, and large-scale war at that.

It is a challenge, therefore, to harness the peaceful aims of endeavor in this conceptual environment. Even the ethereal aims of Clarke’s “2001″ gave way to the much more war-centric environment of “2010,” although one can argue that “2010,” though immersed in the Cold War, deftly avoided the violence of war in a spirit fully consistent with a peaceable intent.

I think it is understandable that the producers of Axanar went for the the ethos of war given the circumstances of our current civilization. But I also agree that stories that tell of valor and nobility without the need for violence and bloodshed are equally, if not more, valuable, precisely because they are so rare.

Let’s hope Axanar succeeds where no other fan production has before, so that these other stories, too, may seen the light of day.

29. Michael Hall - August 24, 2014

@28–

Nice post. Just FYI the Cold War tensions were largely absent from Clarke’s novel of “2010,” but were added to the film version to lend some frisson to HAL’s reboot and the reappearance of the Star Child and so forth. It all worked okay, for a Peter Hyams joint.

War is certainly amongst the more dramatic preoccupations of humankind, however destructive; by making it the subject of their film the producers of AXANAR have taken a shortcut to some potentially great drama, if nothing else. It may even be that they have something new and original to say about war that has so far eluded Trek, or even American pop culture in general. Now that would be just awesome.

30. JRT! - August 24, 2014

Any chance of an interview with Tobias Richter? His work is just gorgeous and amazing!

J-R!

31. dswynne - August 25, 2014

@27 (Michael Hall): I said IF this was what GR had in mind, in relations to Battle of Axanar. Clearly, the relationship between Federation and the Klingons was GR’s take on the Cold War, and that the Organians stood for nuclear deterrence that kept the West and the Soviets in a state of peace, which, like with the Federation and the Klingons, the West and the Soviets learned to establish a relationship. You pointing out that “Errand of Mercy” as an anti-war message does not negate what I have stated, since that episode only emphasizes my overall point: the Klingons being forced to respect the Federation on its own terms, whether by outside forces or by conflict.

32. Flake - August 25, 2014

First thing you learn about Star Trek when you watch it straight through is the crapton of wars they have come through to reach enlightenment. I think a war is to life what a reboot is to a computer, it can rid both of some form of problem that is causing both to ‘run’ poorly.

That being said I would hope there is never a war ever again as that means we all get on well with each other at last :P

People state how Star Trek is a wonderful view of our future but forget to mention that Trek canon requires a third world war as a catalyst to get there!

Star Trek is more than just exploration now, there is a 50 year universe of explored worlds ripe for picking. If that means a war then so be it. New worlds are still out there but we can explore them tomorrow, today a war must be won :P

How many wars & conflicts are referenced in Star Trek? I don’t know but I bet someone has counted them. I think there are a lot!

33. Flake - August 25, 2014

Also toward the end of Voy/Ent people tired of constant aliens of the week never to be seen again; a consequence of exploring new worlds. This led to the Xindi arc and Season 4 of ent instead. Can’t please everyone.

34. Admiral Stedman - August 25, 2014

I would love a made for TV Trek Movie (or trilogy) in the Prime Universe. I can remember loving those Incredible Hulk TV movies. Those don’t hold up as well with all the superhero clutter on the big screen, but this same approach can work for Trek. Here’s hoping CBS looks beyond the Abrams-Verse and sees the buzz that projects like Axanar and ST:Continues are generating.

35. James - August 25, 2014

Star Trek is not about war but discovery, it was never about cool battles and starships. This is. The over riding theme of Balance of terror was the line ‘in another universe, I could have called you friend’. The futility and fallacy of war was something Roddenberry was at pains to point out.

To boldly go where no man has gone before, to seek out strange, new worlds and new civilisations. An exploration of space with an inward reflection on what it means to be human. That’s what I’d like to see.

36. Cygnus-X1 - August 25, 2014

35. Admiral Stedman – August 25, 2014

Hear, hear.

37. Michael Hall - August 25, 2014

“@27 (Michael Hall): I said IF this was what GR had in mind, in relations to Battle of Axanar. Clearly, the relationship between Federation and the Klingons was GR’s take on the Cold War, and that the Organians stood for nuclear deterrence that kept the West and the Soviets in a state of peace, which, like with the Federation and the Klingons, the West and the Soviets learned to establish a relationship. “

Really!? A powerful third party announces its intention to make both sides play nice or be sent to bed without any supper, and your take-away from that is that it was the moral and functional equivalent of MAD? Peace Through Strength? For real?

I think that rumbling beneath our feet is Gene Coon spinning in his grave at warp speed. Just wondering: do you recall all those episodes where Kirk speaks ruefully of how humanity almost destroyed itself in an insane nuclear arms race?

“People state how Star Trek is a wonderful view of our future but forget to mention that Trek canon requires a third world war as a catalyst to get there!”

I don’t forget it at all. But was the event of WW3 really a catalyst in that sense, or was it more a question of humanity deciding that it finally had a bellyful of being stupid?

38. Caesar - August 25, 2014

Prelude to Axanar is the best new Trek I’ve seen in a decade.

39. Elias Javalis - August 25, 2014

All Excellent but..i would really like to put Some Greek Subs to Show Prelude around!

40. Jerr - August 25, 2014

Backed. Can’t wait till next year!

41. Finnigan - August 25, 2014

I am very excited about Axanar and have contributed my money. Star Trek should not shy away from war or conflict, but if it is going to go that route then it has to part of a good story that shows the effect of the conflict on the people in the story.

Let’s not be in denial, while Starfleet’s mandate is to explore and reach-out representing the Federation, it is also charged with protecting the Federation. While Roddenberry’s ideals of a utopian society where war, poverty, and other negative aspects of society are eliminated, he also demonstrated that this ideal was not a galaxy-wide philosophy by all the many lifeforms to be encountered. Starfleet is organized as a military organization. When I see contemporary instances of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps conducting humanitarian aid missions to nations suffering from natural disaster I am compelled to think of Starfleet.

As for Mr. Peter’s comment that” We haven’t seen the Federation at war”, I beg to differ, the Dominion War story arc depicted in Deep Space Nine resulted in may excellent stories that were thought-provoking and about the effects of war and conflict on the characters. I do believe Mr. Peters has a good perspective about Star Trek and what makes a good story. He and his cast & crew certainly have my confidence.

I am more excited about the prospects of good Trek from this production than I am about the next NuTrek movie. I wish they best as they pursue their efforts to bring all of us more Star Trek.

42. Paul - August 25, 2014

There shouldn’t be war in Star Trek, that for another star based franchise! ;)

43. Hat Rick - August 25, 2014

@Michael Hall, 29 —

Thanks for your compliment and insights. Much appreciated.

44. LordCheeseCakeBreath - August 25, 2014

Incredible….truly….

45. dayxday - August 25, 2014

Did anyone catch this from David Gerrold on the topic of war in Star Trek?:

” Axanar is a war story, so some people are saying that Axanar does not live up to Gene Roddenberry’s vision of Star Trek.

Well, no.

There is only one LOGICAL reason why the Federation is SO committed to peace — they know the cost of war.”

Read the whole thing here: https://www.facebook.com/david.gerrold/posts/10203619060929442

46. seleya - August 25, 2014

For this to remain in fans minds as Trek in the long term, I think it has to dive into the world of SF, and have reflective exploration and evolution.

Star Wars has its you-are-here-during-the-building-of-legend theme, X Files its compelling mystery, BSG the question of how automata and organic life can find a way forward. None could be what they are without their core theme.

Trek has a certain light of awakened individuals seeking out engaging, and evolving from the possibilities of existence as arising from the surprises which can be generated in SF.

I think that if the formula is missing, one can make a solid case that war is in the Trek story line, and stories about bands of warriors and personal change are valid drama, but still end up not making Trek. I am looking forward to seeing the story.

47. Michael Hall - August 25, 2014

@44 Hat Rick–

Not at all. You’ve been on fire with your recent posts. Keep it going!

@45 dayxday–

Thanks for posting that link. I worked with David Gerrold a few years back, and it wasn’t an entirely happy experience. But he’s probably made more of an effort to codify what worked and what didn’t about TOS than anyone else, and his comments about Axanar’s themes, and how they fit with Roddenberry’s vision, are spot-on.

48. Cygnus-X1 - August 25, 2014

45. dayxday – August 25, 2014
47. Michael Hall – August 25, 2014

Ditto.

Anyone who’s having a hard time reconciling the war setting of Axanar with it being potentially good Trek should read David Gerrold’s summation: https://www.facebook.com/david.gerrold/posts/10203619060929442

49. Li'l Shat - August 26, 2014

The original Enterprise, NCC 1701 and sans that JJ Abrams’ obomination, is a ship of exploration. Yes, it is armed, but not as an answer to some antiquated arms’ war. Its mission was to explore space–the final frontier–and to seek out new life and new civilizations. It was chartered to boldly go where no man has gone before (“man meaning any human being, as there were clearly female crew members on the original Enterprise).

Please leave the original Star Trek alone, it’s done just fine by itself. Thanks.

50. Khan was Framed! - August 26, 2014

Prelude was unbelievable!!

Thank you!!!!!

I could easily watch an entire Trek series in this “History Channel” format. it works brilliantly!

Everything fits canon perfectly.

The post-war “feel” of the Original series gets a nice boost of continuity from having the Constitution class represent an arms race.

Just absolute perfection from opening frame to last.

Although I am disappointed to hear the creators find inspiration in Saving Private Ryan. it is one of the worst, most cliche ridden pieces of crap i have sat through.

51. Khan was Framed! - August 26, 2014

#49 Lil’ Shat “Please leave the original Star Trek alone, it’s done just fine by itself. Thanks.”

Actually Shat, its doing NOTHING on its own, so saviours like this who come along & put effort & thought into making new Trek work without a network budget should be praised!

52. Go Axanar! - August 26, 2014

The elephant in the room: “ST: Renegades” has been quiet about their post-production work… and I’ll wager that team is looking at “ST: Axanar”, realizing they need to rachet up (or tighten) the final product.

Or maybe the team at “ST: Renegades” is just busy. After all, this is a crowd-sourced, volunteer effort. Scheduling is a likely issue; participants have other work ($$) commitments, too.

All the best to BOTH productions. And keep up the stellar work, Mr. Peters!

Insofar as “ST: Axanar” as a resume piece, I hope the funding makes Ares Studios a permanent fixture in Southern California. :)

53. Melllvar - August 26, 2014

This looks soooooo good. I love the combination of starship styles between George Kirk / TOS era! Amazing. I’m looking forward to this (hopefully) happening even more than the next ‘real’ film hahha!~

And as much as i ALWAYS pay out the nitpickers on this site… I feel the need to point out that the Ares class should have NX rather than NCC :p

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, ey? :)

54. Alec Peters - August 26, 2014

NX = Experimental Thus the Excelsior was NX-2000 in ST III when it was still testing, but NCC 2000 when it was in ST VI and fully operational.

The Ares class is fully operational and thus NCC.

55. star trackie - August 26, 2014

Sorry, this just didn’t do much for me. Just some convention regulars sitting around talking. I get the whole “documentary” approach is cheapest and easiest, just put some talking heads in front of a green screen and go. Intercut that with some special effects and there you have it. Sure, the actors delivered the goods, make up was good, music was good, but nothing drew me in. The content of their words fell flat. But a lot of fanboys are lapping it up like that cat that go the cream. Just goes to show how far good CGI can take a project! Maybe, when there is a complete structured film to watch, I’ll give it another shot.

56. KJ Klingon - August 26, 2014

Very exciting stuff, but if CBS goes after them for making a profit, it may just be the straw that broke the camels back. They could say enough is enough and go after the other’s too. That would be sad, as I’m really enjoying STC. As I said in the previous thread.

Unfortunately, CBS will likely shut this down before it even gets air time. CBS say’s “no profit”. If the actors are making a profit, they may go after them individually. A salary is profit. You may want to re-work how they’re paid. Expenses only, like Star Trek Continues. The actors on STC make nothing.

57. Cygnus-X1 - August 26, 2014

50. Khan was Framed! – August 26, 2014

Although I am disappointed to hear the creators find inspiration in Saving Private Ryan. it is one of the worst, most cliche ridden pieces of crap i have sat through.

Granted, there are well-known personality “types” in the movie, but seriously? You just couldn’t sit through one more war movie where “the mission is a man” and the mercy of the good guys is shown to be ultimately self-defeating? These themes were just to tired and worn for your taste? Not to mention the fantastic realism in the way that it was shot.

58. Alec Peters - August 26, 2014

56 KJ Klingon:

Well, you are obviously from Star Trek: Continues, since you are exactly parroting what your boss has been saying to people. And you obviously have inside info on STC finances. How about sticking to STC articles as you clearly are speaking about things you know nothing about.

Axanar does not make a profit. I am not even sure you understand what profit is. A salary is not profit. That really is a ridiculously ignorant statement. And CBS will not go after actors paid to perform in a fan film. Just utter nonsense.

I have been speaking to multiple people at CBS about fan films for a couple years now and know more about the rules than anyone at STC. We go out of our way to pay attention to CBS rules.

And we at Star Trek: Axanar don’t go and post on STC articles and talk smack, so I would appreciate you doing the same.

59. Jim Nightshade - August 27, 2014

i dont think us fans can jump to conclusions regarding axanar or renegades…i contributed to renegades and after i check out prelude i may do the same…i love everyones comments here as well…thats what trek at its best is all about with us fans…a much deeper and more interesting and hopeful depictions of mankind than star wars for instance.,,i also agree that gr hated war n trek was all about trying to show that mankind is trying to be above war but that doesnt mean there are no wars…kirk n company n klingons for example proved it didnt take much for hatred fear n misunderstandings to ignite…face it the organians basically stopped an attempt at war…to klingons battle is glorious…i see nothing wrong with filling in back histories in treks universe and yes there had to be more wars…starfleet despite being peaceful was always ready for war n their treaties n links with other worlds presume protection of the worlds by starfleet…loved piked explanation of them being a peaceful or peacekeeping armada…this is in a way continuing our (usa) promotion of peace yet having the biggest arsenal on the planet as well as us trying to peacekeep the entire world with our armada….wait and see i think us fans will be pleasantly surprised by both axanar and renegades….hope bob orci n co are paying attention…

60. Xplodin_Nacelle - August 27, 2014

Re: #8

Alec,

I applaud you for taking on this effort. It is a noble one to make the public aware of the majesty that is Trek. Bravo!!!

61. Michael Hall - August 27, 2014

“Axanar does not make a profit. I am not even sure you understand what profit is. A salary is not profit. That really is a ridiculously ignorant statement. And CBS will not go after actors paid to perform in a fan film. Just utter nonsense. “

Actually, Mr. Peters–no offense, but I have actually been wondering the same thing. Unlike you I have no legal training, but have been doing Payroll/Finance work most of my adult life, so within the guidelines laid-down by CBS, what does differentiate a salary from profit?

(Not a challenge, just curious. PRELUDE is a dazzling piece of filmmaking–and no, Star Trackie, that’s not all or even mostly due to the CGI–and I can’t wait to see the finished film next year.)

62. Herb Finn - August 27, 2014

You know, many Non-profits pay salaries to people they employ.

Just saying.

63. Michael Hall - August 27, 2014

@ 62–

Not sure that’s at all the same kind of thing. But, sure, maybe. That’s why I asked.

64. Alec Peters - August 28, 2014

61 Michael Hall:

Well, profit is something a business makes. It is basically income minus expenses. (Actually a bit more complicated, but for our purposes here, that is pretty simple).

So at the end of the day, you figure out how much you took in minus how much you paid out to run the business and you are left with profit. And then you get taxed on that profit.

An individual makes a salary typically. They get paid and that income is what they get taxed on after they get certain deductions (like home mortgage interest, child tax credits etc.)

So an individual is not being commercial by getting a salary, a business is when it makes profit.

And Herb is very correct. A non-profit pays people salaries, but makes sure all its money is invested in its business.

Alec

65. Mad Mann - August 28, 2014

This show looks fantastic. The design asthetic of TOS can be tweaked just a little and it still looks futuristic, functional, and cool. Although, I do kinda wish they would show some TOS Klingon uniforms with minor tweaks to it, but whatevs, it works.

Is it weird that I am more excited for Axanar than the next Trek film?

66. Phil - August 28, 2014

To much is being made about profit here – salaries are not profit, it’s an expense. Regardless of where funds are allocated, a halfway decent CPA will have zeros at the bottom of the profit and loss statement at the end of the day.

The amount of capital raised does present a couple of potential issues – at what point does CBS look at this as it affects their ability to defend their intellectual property rights in the future, and at what point does organized labor step start asking that productions with a demonstrated track record of raising capital honor the labor contracts negotiated with the industry? The studio’s and unions have their interests to defend, so it’s safe to assume that as Axanar breaks new ground interested parties are going to be watching to see if there is potential for a new industry business model here.

Before anyone gets their undies in a knot, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Mr. Peters does seem to be doing his homework, and there are corporate examples where businesses have done well by working with their fan based creative endeavors. Time will tell if the chemistry is right here…or not.

67. Keachick (Rose) - August 28, 2014

Exactly – salaries are not profit. Charitable organizations will often pay a certain number of people, because in order for the organizations to run well, they need a few people working there fulltime. This means that these people need some kind of remuneration (salary/stipend) from the charity, because they may not be able to get employment elsewhere because of their full on time commitment to the organization. Most of the people working for such organizations are volunteers, which usually means they can only help when their time permits.

68. Michael Hall - August 28, 2014

Mr. Peters,

Thanks for your response. As a CPP and finance professional I know my way around a P & L statement and understand more or less how charities and non-profits function. I suppose my question arose from the sense, somewhat addressed by #66 (and thanks for your thoughtful input Phil), that with Kickstarter financing we seem to be in somewhat uncharted waters with respect to CBS’s intellectual property rights. However one cares to define the word ‘profit’, it seems to me that the intent of the law is that no one, aside from CBS or its licensed vendors (who presumably pay a hefty fee for the privilege) are supposed to monetarily benefit from the use of the Trek universe. So, how does this apply to actors or production staff who are being compensated for their time? And note that this isn’t just about money. The poster from STC stated that its actors are only reimbursed for their expenses, but what if those expenses include a stay at a five-star resort and a luxury car rental for the length of the production? Where do you draw the line, and does it make a difference whether the producers pay or the fans pay?

(As an aside, I remember attending a convention many, many years ago where a table was selling ‘vribbles’–Vulcan tribbles with cardboard pointed ears attached. Well, someone tipped off David Gerrold as to what was going on and you better believe that came to a screeching halt right quick.)

Again, let me stress that I bring this up only in the spirit of genuine curiosity and real admiration for what the AXANAR team has accomplished so far.

69. Phil - August 29, 2014

Crowdfunding is an evolving industry. Where this becomes the sticky wicket is how exactly these funds are defined, either as donations or equity. Now, these funds are considered donations, but that definition becomes murky when a teaser trailer is produced in advance of the final product. When, or if, the SEC opens up equity crowdfunding to the general public I’d expect CBS to clamp down on the amount of money an outfit like Axanar could raise, primarily to avoid problems with their ability to defend their intellectual property.

Arguments about profit really are straw man arguments as they relate to these productions – the accountants really don’t care if Mr. Hatch was put up at the Motel 6, or the Four Seasons, as long as the bills are paid, and how extravagant salaries are won’t have a direct bearing on the tax exempt status – if they did a lot of TV preachers will be looking for work. Again, Mr. Peters seems to have done his homework, and as long as he doesn’t run afoul of the CBS attorneys and the labor unions, as long as CBS sees some value in this they probably won’t be shut down.

Actually, and this is just musing out loud, there probably is an end-around that could work for these guys as well….embrace the educational value inherent in these projects. In southern California there are a handful of arts conservatories at the high school and college level, and some of them are quite good. If these productions were opened up to these groups as an internship opportunity, you’d still have the same people doing the work, you’d also be training up the next generation of talent, either in front of, or behind the camera, and as a non-profit status is in place, the company would probably be eligible for education grants to foot enough of the bill, that would reduce the amount of funds needed to be raised through crowdfunding to ensure those funds remain considered as donations, and not equity. It solves the legal issues, creates a lot of good will in the process….I’m no expert, but that sounds like a win for everyone to me….

70. Disinvited - August 29, 2014

#69. Phil – August 29, 2014

“Arguments about profit really are straw man arguments as they relate to these productions – the accountants really don’t care if Mr. Hatch was put up at the Motel 6, or the Four Seasons, as long as the bills are paid, and how extravagant salaries are won’t have a direct bearing on the tax exempt status…”

I agree with your assessment that there’s no there there in regards to questions on Axanar’s ability to maintain its non-profit status.

However, I think you perhaps, unintentionally, brought up the other side of actors’ salaries that I firmly believe is not currently active in fan productions but nevertheless as people get better at raising these funds, CBS and Paramount ARE liable to raise their legal beagles sleepy heads IF they become a factor in inflating desirable character actors’ salaries, for example.

One scenario that may eventually come to pass is say, a Robert Picardo’s agent won’t let him appear in a fan production for anything less than X amount of dollars which actually turns out to be more than he is able to command on the commercial circuit. And crowdfunding supported by fans is actually able to meet his salary demands. Then when CBS tries to get him for say, a WONDER YEARS tv movie and his agent starts noising about how much his client can get on the non-profit circuit, I can easily see a studio suit shutting all the fan productions down just so he can say in negotiations “What non-profit circuit?”

Probably a bridge best left to cross once they get to it, but something to be mindful of as these fundraising efforts improve to the point of giving them the power to compete for resources with the big boys. I mean we have to assume that some studio is going to make a stink if FOX finds their expenses for SLEEPY HOLLOW rising because all the “affordable” FX houses are tied up with fan production commitments? Again, something to be mindful of in that future but not a current concern.

71. Phil - August 29, 2014

@70 I really don’t think this is an issue, for a couple of reasons. First, outside of maybe Patrick Stewart, there really aren’t any ‘A’ listers in Treks stable of performers who carry that kind of clout. These guys are character actors and are happy to get work. Second, the free market being what it is, if there is an influx of FX work out there, FX houses will pop up to fill the need – if these fan productions demonstrate anything, the tech to create the FX work is readily available, and if there is increased competition it could actually have the effect of bring down costs further.

Independent production companies have been around for a while now, and likewise, well known performers have been known to work for the industry minimum because a project was near and dear to them. So, how does this actually become a (potential) problem? Well, only if a studio decides that a great way to do something on the cheap is to circumvent collective bargaining agreements by manipulating a project to appear to be a fan or independent project, when in fact it isn’t. Can’t imagine anyone willing to draw the wrath of organized labor just to squeeze a few points of margin to their bottom line.

Mr. Peters is in a rather enviable position here – other then not skating to close to the copyright infringement line, he pretty much has a free had to do what he wants. His funds are considered donations, so there really isn’t any accountability to shareholders or investors, and his target market is so small he’s really not competing against established interests. For those here who are calling for independent productions to take the Trek helm, well, that brings the accountability and oversight that comes with having to deal with investment capital. So those people need to be careful for what they wish for, because, like it or not, that is what Bad Robot has to do now, and what all other Trek productions had to do before them….and what Mr. Peters would have to do if they make enough of an impression with this that they are approached to prepare licensed content.

72. Jonboc - August 29, 2014

Remember when Art Buchwald sued Paramount for stealing his idea? The studio’s creative accounting claimed they never made any profit on Coming to America. Paramount would have some nerve calling out any fan production…talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

73. John Whorfin - August 29, 2014

Belatedly…

I don’t presume Alec remembers this/me, but I was an early skeptic of this project, and particularly of him taking on the lead role (given he’d never acted before, professionally or otherwise).

So I just wanted to chime in here to say BRAVO!

I was hugely impressed by Prelude to Axanar, especially by how professionally Alec ran the production and above-board he ran the Kickstarter. And yes, by his solid performance. :) Clearly everyone involved really cares about this project, but it also committed to making it great by professional standards with hard work.

After rolling my eyes at so many fan productions that have rested on the shoulders of good intentions but lacked the legs to fully stand on, Axanar feels like it’ll be the first real, full-fledged independent film (as opposed to mere fan film) for Star Trek, which is a remarkable achievement. I am very excited to see it not just for that Prelude promises, but for the potential it represents for possible future Star Trek independent filmmaking.

Congratulations, Alec, and thank you so much for your passion and perseverance. You’ve won me over in a big way, and I am couldn’t be happier to eat my earlier words.

I salute you.

74. Disinvited - August 29, 2014

#71. Phil – August 29, 2014

Definitely, what you suggest is the operating benefits of that in that long term. But you have to remember that this is the entertainment industry in regards to the studios that we are talking about and their history is rife with executives overreacting to temporary blips. I mean, recall that TMP’s FX budget went off precisely because they were attempting to save money as you mention but savings weren’t realized. And rash decisions and scapegoating is just de rigueur in the studio suites. My assumption is the fan productions want to try their very best to avoid coming to mind in any such rash moves from CBS/Paramount and so I brought it up as something that they may need a plan to address if things go that way. For example, expecting that delaying or swapping resource commitments might be necessary to avoid the rashest most nonsensical studio overreaction.

75. Michael Hall - August 29, 2014

“Paramount would have some nerve calling out any fan production…talk about the pot calling the kettle black!”

Maybe so (and Harlan Ellison, among many others, would certainly concur). But I’ve balanced a lot of corporate spreadsheets over the years, including my current job at a film studio, and hypocrisy was never considered a factor in any of them.

76. Cygnus-X1 - August 29, 2014

71. Phil – August 29, 2014

For those here who are calling for independent productions to take the Trek helm, well, that brings the accountability and oversight that comes with having to deal with investment capital. So those people need to be careful for what they wish for, because, like it or not, that is what Bad Robot has to do now, and what all other Trek productions had to do before them….and what Mr. Peters would have to do if they make enough of an impression with this that they are approached to prepare licensed content.

While I do share your general skepticism about indie outfits in all industries selling out after they get a taste of the cash that comes with mainstream appeal, there’s an important difference between the Axanar outfit and Bad Robot.

Axanar has raised so much money largely because fans are hungry for what they find lacking in BR Trek. If fans thought that Axanar was going to be pretty much like BR Trek but on a much, much smaller budget, what interest would it hold for us? Judging by the comments (and by common sense), people are excited about Axanar because it looks to be bringing back substance and drama that has gone largely by the wayside in the BR movies.

So, while there’s always a risk that an indie outfit, once successful, will “sell out” and become just another generic, under-nourishing mainstream product—as is the tendency in most industries—I would expect the executives at CBS (or where ever) who hired Peters & co. to produce licensed Trek, if and when that happens, to remember the original appeal and cause of this product.

Bad Robot were never remotely indie mavericks with any discernible mission statement other than to please their clients; they and their associated writers have been yes-men from day 1, judging by the recurring comments from industry people about how “accommodating” and “eager to please” Abrams, Orci, Kurtzman et al are, not to mention what we can plainly glean from their products. So, there was never anything to “sell out” with BR. They were sell-outs from the start. BR is Lady Gaga, not Radiohead.

The indie/fan outfits, on the other hand, are clearly pursuing a different course with respect to Trek. What people like so much about outfits like STC and Phase 2 is precisely what they find lacking in BR Trek—the focus is on stories, themes, character arcs and sci-fi concepts rather than on action scenes, running around and pew pew. Judging by Prelude to Axanar, I am expecting the full-length production to share the artistic values and sensibilities of the aforementioned indie/fan outfits. If it does, fans will have gotten what they paid for and whoever takes notice will hopefully not ignore why people funded this production in the first place.

There will always be pressure on Axanar or any successful indie outfit to sell-out, but hopefully the degree to which they ultimately sell out will be mitigated by the market responsible for their original success, and the result will be a happy marriage between art and commerce, which is what licensed Trek at its best has always been. Hopefully.

77. Disinvited - August 29, 2014

# 75. Michael Hall – August 29, 2014

” Maybe so (and Harlan Ellison, among many others, would certainly concur).” — Michael Hal

Except the current entity named “Paramount” really isn’t the same as that entity involved in those litigations. In the 2005-2006 split, I seem to recall CBS took on a lot of “old” Paramount’s liabilities and debts so that this “new” entity could start fresh.

I distinctly recall this especially in regards to pensions and retirements which Les used as leverage in keeping whatever old Paramount employees he regarded as assets on his side of the aisle, i.e. it allowed him to be able to offer them an easy route towards continuation of their seniority participation in some rather lucrative plans whereas “new” Paramount could only offer a reset as an entirely new entity, I believe?

I could be wrong, but I suspect Grey found potential lawsuits over those old obligations as one motivating factor in clearing out his roster of “experienced” movie people and replacing them with the inexperienced?

78. Phil - August 29, 2014

@76. Not entirely sure why you need to see Trek in an us vs. them proposition, when that’s clearly not the case. Axanar raised the money it did because fans want more content. Period. Bad Robot sells lots of movie tickets for exactly the same reason. What this demonstrates is that there is a considerable market for the franchise as a whole, that it’s a healthy franchise, and, hopefully, can it operate delivering the desired content through several genres.

As you brought it up, there’s hardly universal approval for Axanar – several fans have voiced legitimate concern that it’s not much more then a live action version of Starfleet Battles. Also, relative to a worldwide fan base, the number of people who contributed is in the few thousands. Axanar owes the success of the fundraiser to the success of Bad Robot Trek, which rekindled interest, created a new fan base that is looking for more content then CBS seems interested in delivering at the moment. While it may pain you to admit it, there is a synergy here, where if the franchise is to grow, we need both Axanar and Bad Robot to do it. These efforts are not mutually exclusive, and there is room to accept that it’s okay for fans to prefer one over the other, or both.

79. Michael Hall - August 29, 2014

Cygnus X-1 and Phil–

I think you both make good points, but I will take some exception to this:

” Axanar owes the success of the fundraiser to the success of Bad Robot Trek, which rekindled interest, created a new fan base that is looking for more content then CBS seems interested in delivering at the moment..”

From the posts I’ve read I see no evidence for this at all. Not to extrapolate from my own feelings/wants/opinions, but it seems pretty evident to me that the bulk of AXANAR enthusiasts are those, like myself, who are long-time fans of the Trek franchise (or just TOS specifically) and are for any number of reasons dissatisfied with the BR films. We also happen to appreciate the artfulness with which PRELUDE was put together entirely for its own sake. And having been around the quadrant a time or two myself, I don’t see a heck of a lot of resemblance between AXANAR and STAR FLEET BATTLES at all.

That said, Phil, I do agree with you that the numbers behind the Kickstarter campaign need to be kept in perspective–thousands, as opposed to the tens of millions needed to make any commercial property a success. And I also agree with you about this: there’s no reason this needs to be a zero-sum game at all. Let a thousand Trek continuities and canons bloom, I say, limited only by the talents, budgets, expertise, and commitment of those involved. The fans, and maybe even the wider world, will be better off for it.

80. Cygnus-X1 - August 30, 2014

78. Phil – August 29, 2014

Axanar raised the money it did because fans want more content. Period.

No, not “period.”

Fans want more content, AND what I said about Axanar being different from BR Trek. I don’t discount the former, but neither can we reasonably ignore the latter. Axanar is necessarily different from BR Trek by virtue of its orders-of-magnitude smaller budget. People who like the thrill-ride action and high-tech production values of BR Trek know they’re not going to get that from Axanar.

So, either they’re hungry for any Trek that looks intriguing—and they’re pretty easy-going about the details—or, they’re hungry for what Axanar in particular promises to deliver in its largely different (vis-a-vis BR) approach to Trek. There has been no shortage of comments indicating the latter, and it is this contingent that is going to be the most passionate about Axanar, as opposed to the folks who just want more Trek regardless of form. To put it another way, if what gets your excited about Trek is what BR is doing with it, then it’s hard to see you getting very excited about a watered-down version of that, which is what an indie production with less than 1/150 the budget is likely to produce if it chooses that course.

Not entirely sure why you need to see Trek in an us vs. them proposition, when that’s clearly not the case.

I was just responding to the point you raised here:

71. Phil – August 29, 2014

For those here who are calling for independent productions to take the Trek helm, well, that brings the accountability and oversight that comes with having to deal with investment capital. So those people need to be careful for what they wish for, because, like it or not, that is what Bad Robot has to do now…

Axanar owes the success of the fundraiser to the success of Bad Robot Trek, which rekindled interest…

I see no reason to believe this.

Firstly, absence makes the heart grow fonder. If there had been no licensed Trek since 2005 (which you appear to be presuming as the alternative scenario to BR Trek), there’s reason to believe that demand for indie Trek today would be even greater. That’s just economics, specifically the inverse relationship between supply and demand.

But, secondly, as has been shown several times now, if Gail Berman had not scrapped Eric Jendresen’s Star Trek: The Beginning, we’d have gotten that instead of BR Trek. Or, we’d likely have gotten some third variation by now.

While it may pain you to admit it, there is a synergy here, where if the franchise is to grow, we need both Axanar and Bad Robot to do it. These efforts are not mutually exclusive, and there is room to accept that it’s okay for fans to prefer one over the other, or both.

I can’t speak to any “synergy,” but I don’t have any particular desire for the Trek franchise to grow in the direction of BR Trek. I’m the guy who prefers quality over quantity.

The strategy of extending the Trek tent around the world and appealing to people who don’t like what Trek is fundamentally about has yielded an unsatisfying Trek-in-name-only that I can do entirely without. Yes, it has thrilling action sequences and titillating visuals, but I can get those in Marvel or other action movies from which I don’t necessarily expect all that much else.

As for what is “okay,” well that is up to each individual fan.

I’m okay. You’re okay. We’re all okay. So let’s have another cup of coffee, and let’s have another piece of pie. ;-)

81. Cygnus-X1 - August 30, 2014

P.S.

I shouldn’t imply that people who are totally satisfied with BR Trek can’t also be excited about a largely different approach to Trek. TNG and DS9 were largely different, and I feel passionately about both of them. Though both of those shows had in common a commitment to substance that is clearly lacking in the overly action-oriented BR Trek.

Though, I have to admit that I have a hard time understanding how people can be totally satisfied with BR Trek [full stop]; and also be excited about indie Trek that differs from it in every important attribute that I can think of. I know that there are fans who like all things Trek regardless, so that probably accounts for some of it.

82. Jonboc - August 30, 2014

#81. “TNG and DS9 were largely different, and I feel passionately about both of them. Though both of those shows had in common a commitment to substance that is clearly lacking in the overly action-oriented BR Trek.”

And, by the same token, there are legions of TOS fans, like myself, who found TNG and Ds9 so utterly removed from Trek’s original formula that the 24th century was a real drag to tune into. Those fans welcome, with open arms, Bad Robot’s return to the formula that created the whole phenomenon to begin with and rejoice the fact that the dull, afraid-of-fun, techno babble-laden sensibilities of 24th century Bermanized Trek have been abandoned. It’s all a matter of perspective.

All these hodge-podge fan films are no different than the fanzines of the past. There will always be those who find something wrong with “official” Trek and create their own to satisfy their wants and desires. And there will always be fans that will want to seek it out. And there will always be fans that don’t. I’m perfectly happy with Bad Robot Trek and am quite content to just read the ongoing comics and spin my TOS DVDs until the next movie comes along.

83. Scott Hedrick - August 30, 2014

Star Trek isn’t about war, but it seems to have evolved that way. That’s not a riff on the Axanar folks, rather, it seems that Trek is being pushed to be Star Wars, and Star Wars is pretty much about the fighting. I’d like to play Star Trek Online if I could play Cyrano Jones or Harry Mudd, because I prefer to trade instead of fight. But it’s clear that STO is all about the fighting. I understand why- flashy ray guns look better on a screen than two guys talking percentages. It’s also easier to write, especially when you can lace it with technobabble. Why put a lot of effort into a real plot when you can just invent a new subatomic particle? You can’t recapture the magic of TOS, because it was a creature of its time. I liked Enterprise, especially the 4th season, but there is no way it could possibly compare to TOS because the things that were new and scandalous in TOS- like seeing Kirk sitting on the edge of a bed pulling his boots on (implying but not showing anything went on with the alien babe under the blanket), or interracial kisses, or Vietnam War analogs, but today you can freely see folks giving each other lotion jobs or rolling off the bed together and it’s commonplace.A few more of the more mundate touches would have been nice, like a hint that Sulu had a daughter (maybe Chekov mentioning to someone in the rec room that Sulu’s daughter just took her first steps, or someone else saying they just sold some stock and got enough money for a down payment on a nice house on Alpha Centauri, or that her kid just got a law degree). Even “fasten and zip, or zip and fasten?” And Bad Robot returned to a formula, just not the Star Trek one. THe single thing I can say at the moment about the JJ Verse is that it is wonderful that the comics are in the same universe as the movies, and I really expect the books in the JJ Verse to be the same. Resetting the Trekverse makes continuity far easier. And I really liked a few tidbits that were just mentioned in the movie that were fleshed out in the comics, like that bit about Mudd’s ship. That lets us know that the JJ Verse continues to exist even when we aren’t watching the big screen.

84. Cygnus-X1 - August 30, 2014

82. Jonboc – August 30, 2014

And, by the same token, there are legions of TOS fans, like myself, who found TNG and Ds9 so utterly removed from Trek’s original formula that the 24th century was a real drag to tune into. Those fans welcome, with open arms, Bad Robot’s return to the formula that created the whole phenomenon to begin with and rejoice the fact that the dull, afraid-of-fun, techno babble-laden sensibilities of 24th century Bermanized Trek have been abandoned. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Well, I agree that you have a certain “perspective,” but I believe that you are overstating its prevalence among fans. I don’t believe that there are “legions” of fans who share your unique opinion.

TOS and TNG were separated by 20 years of significant TV evolution, but what they had in common was a commitment to substance. They both focused (at their best) on meaningful themes and thoughtful concepts, sociopolitical and science-fiction. I see absolutely no evidence that the BR movies are “a return to the formula” of TOS, and loads of evidence to the contrary. How many of these threads have been filled up with very detailed analyses of the ways in which the BR movies have changed the “TOS formula?” Too many to remember.

Anyway, this is issue is tangential to whether Axanar is supplying a demand that has gone largely unsatisfied by the BR movies. I believe that it is, and I believe that to be a significant part of its appeal.

85. Cygnus-X1 - August 30, 2014

P.S. And the comments about Axanar heretofore support what I said about the appeal of this production.

86. Jonboc - August 30, 2014

#84. “I see absolutely no evidence that the BR movies are “a return to the formula” of TOS, and loads of evidence to the contrary. ”

Looking through TNG glasses, you won’t see that. Until you can recognize and accept the HUGE differences between TOS and TNG…and I’m not talking about advances in TV production ( or, in the case of editing on video, steps backwards!) naturally, you won’t recognize those traits that BR Trek brought back…traits that had been missing in the 24th century. BR Trek’s formula is anti-TNG, and that is why so many fans, usually fans who were brought up on TNG, don’t like it. It’s unfamiliar to them…completely alien and jarring…when in reality, it is nothing more than a return to classic Trek making…a formula that had been missing for 20 years while TNG and it’s spin-offs ruled the airwaves. The return to the TOS formula is just as evident to TOS fans as BR’s abandonment of TNG style is evident to 24th century Berman-Trek fans.
And yes, there are legions, like myself who applaud and love the return of TOS style Trek, rock em sock em action and all…but they are simply fans, not necessarily fan-boys who haunt message boards like you and I! :)

87. Cygnus-X1 - August 30, 2014

86. Jonboc – August 30, 2014

The problem with your reasoning is that I like TOS and am familiar enough with it to know that what you’re saying makes no sense.

TOS was a groundbreaking sci-fi show. Its focus (again, at its best) was on meaningful sociopolitical themes and thoughtful science-fiction concepts. I’ll quote Nick Meyer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8GzhjnPV58

“Basically what Star Trek was…was the presentation of moral or ethical human dilemmas in a kind of pop allegorical format. And there were certain philosophical underpinnings to all this…that were all very appealing.”

BR Trek clearly isn’t like that. Here’s how I know that it’s not like that:

(1) Because I’ve seen it, and it’s not like that.

(2) Because we’ve analyzed the lack of substance—the poorly developed themes and arcs, etc.—in the BR movies to death, and it’s beyond abundantly clear that BR Trek is not like TOS with regard to substance. To cite just one of the many examples already discussed in lengthy detail, Kirk’s epilogue at the end of STID clearly is not a summation of the main thematic statement (or even a lesser one) of the movie. It just isn’t. The epilogue does not match up with the events of the story hitherto. STID is not about Kirk’s struggle with revenge obsession turning him as evil as his nemesis. It just isn’t. And if STID had been a TOS episode or movie with that epilogue, the story would have matched up with and supported it. Again, this just ONE of many such examples that have already been discussed.

(3) Because the BR movies are clearly much, much, much more action-oriented than TOS ever was, and this just doesn’t leave much time for developing themes and arcs.

You have every right to be fully satisfied with BR Trek. And I am not trying to sell you on Axanar or any other indie production. But, please, let’s not waste time arguing about things that are clearly not supported by the actual subject matter. I think that I’m a perceptive enough individual that if the BR movies were a return to the original values and sensibilities of TOS, I’d have noticed by now. Or, someone here, some blogger, some professional critic—some human somewhere—would have made a reasonably compelling argument for that notion by now.

Again, I’m not trying to convince you not to like BR Trek. But, I would suggest that you like it for what it is and not for attributes that it is clearly lacking.

88. Cygnus-X1 - August 30, 2014

P.S. And, yes, I realize that there was an attempt made at Kirk’s struggle with revenge, but it was never developed as a theme. It’s like the writers introduced the theme and then forgot about it. By about 1/3 of the way into the story, Kirk has already self-corrected his mission to “bringing Marcus to justice” as opposed to avenging Pike’s murder. And there was no real internal struggle shown in him getting to that point. Again, a lack of thematic development.

89. Cygnus-X1 - August 30, 2014

Oh, man… I forgot to use the vertical line for the “L” in “ana|yze,” so now my post #87 is caught up in the moderation queue.

90. Michael Hall - August 30, 2014

” BR Trek’s formula is anti-TNG, and that is why so many fans, usually fans who were brought up on TNG, don’t like it. It’s unfamiliar to them…completely alien and jarring…when in reality, it is nothing more than a return to classic Trek making…a formula that had been missing for 20 years while TNG and it’s spin-offs ruled the airwaves.”

Well, for this long-time TOS fan . . . no. The BR films are reminiscent of TOS only so long as you skate along the CGI-encrusted, roundhouse punch-throwing, green Orion slave girl surface. Look much deeper and it’s apparent that there’s just no there there. The trouble is at its most acute in the approaches taken between old and nu Kirk–the difference between an explorer and an adventurer; between a confident ladies’ man and a hound; between an intellectually curious poet-warrior who will do his utmost to avoid a fight and a guy with Daddy issues and a chip on his shoulder who lives to mix it up in far-off places. One became the hero of my childhood; the other (so far) I can barely stand to be around for two hours.

I think the best take on BR Trek that I’ve read to date has been by Salon’s resident critic (and long-time Trek fan) Andrew O’Hehir, who wrote that the Abrams movies come off not so much as taking place in an alternate universe as being produced in one–a universe where the source material was a Marvel Comics franchise instead of a vaguely idealistic curio of ’60s pop culture that managed to appeal to hippies and techies alike. And in adapting a cultural institution he admits to never having particularly liked for modern audiences, J.J. chose to retain Spock’s Beatle bangs, the swashbuckling and the miniskirts, while losing much of the idealism and the substance. That may make it the anti-TNG for you, Jonboc, and good enough; but from where I’m sitting it didn’t turn out to be much of a bargain.

91. Keachick (Rose) - August 30, 2014

The theme was about revenge in general, not just Kirk’s struggle with it, but how revenge and similar negative attitudes motivated the actions of others in the STID story, like those Admiral Marcus and Khan.

It also illustrated the difference between the route Kirk ended up taking and that of Khan’s, despite Khan having the opportunity to NOT set the USS Vengeance’s navigation which had the ship crash into the heart of Starfleet Academy, Headquarters and a good part of San Francisco.

This is not hard to work out. One needs to just simply watch the movie and pay attention.

92. Jonboc - August 30, 2014

89 “The trouble is at its most acute in the approaches taken between old and nu Kirk–the difference between an explorer and an adventurer; between a confident ladies’ man and a hound; between an intellectually curious poet-warrior who will do his utmost to avoid a fight and a guy with Daddy issues and a chip on his shoulder who lives to mix it up in far-off places. ”

You do realize that you’re taking the well rounded Jim Kirk…a character that was developed and fleshed out over 79 hours of TV, 6 movies and 50 years of novels and expecting, by some miracle, the same development in the same character, in an alternate timeline, with different influences, before he has even launched his 5 year mission in 4 hours of motion picture screen time. Man, I’m sorry, but that just isn’t going to happen.
I hope Kirk, in the movies, continues to grow into the familiar character we know…and I think he showed much growth in Into Darkness, but being such a different timeline, I don’t expect it and I rather enjoy their “artistic license ” to mix things up.

93. Cygnus-X1 - August 31, 2014

Well, it’s not appearing this Labor Day weekend, so I will re-post the main points…

87. Cygnus-X1 – August 30, 2014

86. Jonboc – August 30, 2014

TOS was a groundbreaking sci-fi show. Its focus (again, at its best) was on meaningful sociopolitical themes and thoughtful science-fiction concepts. I’ll quote Nick Meyer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8GzhjnPV58

“Basically what Star Trek was…was the presentation of moral or ethical human dilemmas in a kind of pop allegorical format. And there were certain philosophical underpinnings to all this…that were all very appealing.”

BR Trek clearly isn’t like that. Here’s how I know that it’s not like that:

(1) Because we’ve ana|yzed the lack of substance—the poorly developed themes and arcs, etc.—in the BR movies to death, and it’s beyond abundantly clear that BR Trek is not like TOS with regard to substance. To cite just one of the many examples already discussed in lengthy detail, Kirk’s epilogue at the end of STID clearly is not a summation of the main thematic statement (or even a lesser one) of the movie. It just isn’t. The epilogue does not match up with the events of the story hitherto. STID is not about Kirk’s struggle with revenge obsession turning him as evil as his nemesis. It just isn’t. And if STID had been a TOS episode or movie with that epilogue, the story would have matched up with and supported it. Again, this just ONE of many such examples that have already been discussed.

(2) Because the BR movies are clearly much, much, much more action-oriented than TOS ever was, and this just doesn’t leave much time for developing themes and arcs.

(3) What Michael Hall says in #89 is correct. You appear to be making a judgment of similarity between BR Trek and TOS based on the most superficial attributes.

I’m not trying to convince you not to like BR Trek. But, I would suggest that you like it for what it is and not for attributes that it is clearly lacking.

94. Jonboc - August 31, 2014

#92. ““Basically what Star Trek was…was the presentation of moral or ethical human dilemmas in a kind of pop allegorical format. And there were certain philosophical underpinnings to all this…that were all very appealing.”

Think this just underscores the fact that you must have not have watched the entire 79 episodes of Star Trek and you think that Nick Meyer, because he was involved in Wrath of Khan, no doubt…is some kind of “last word” on the subject, concerning what Star Trek was….and that would be the worst mistake you could make. He also wanted to scrap the bridge, film the ship like. Submarine and he put “no smoking” signs on the bridge. lol Your reaching too deep for a soundbite that defines Star Trek, and that’s just not possible. Meyer’s most accurate description was concering Kirk being the parallel to Haratio Hornblower, which we all know was Roddenberry’s influence and basis for Pike/Kirk to begin with.

You may not want to believe that there weren’t any Alternative Factors or Operation Annihalates, Catspaws and Wolf in the Folds. But there were. Believe it or not, there were episodes that were just plain, imaginative, storytelling action/adventure. the “themes” and “arcs” you seem to be so hung up with in Into Darkness run circles around “themes” and “arcs” presented in many original episodes! You can’t just cherry pick what you like and qualify that, and only that, as what TOS was all about. TOS covered ALL of the bases, and it had 79 hurs to do so. BR Trek has had 4…FOUR hours to try and pull these characters together in some cohesive, meaningful, fun way, that at least evokes some feeling of TOS. Worldwide, they succeeded well beyond what anyone was expecting…excepting 3 or 4 people from this forum, of course. Lol

95. Michael Hall - August 31, 2014

“You may not want to believe that there weren’t any Alternative Factors or Operation Annihalates, Catspaws and Wolf in the Folds.”

Oh, I believe it. But do you really believe, Jonboc, that those shows are the benchmark against which Bad Robot should be measuring its efforts? Because they are widely viewed as mediocre episodes, at best. While it didn’t always succeed, TOS generally aspired to give its audience smart, thought-provoking entertainment that could both educate and inspire, given the very real constraints the producers faced in terms of time, money and network interference. If you doubt this, check out the Marc Cushman books. So my question is: given their overwhelming material advantages, why can’t the BR people produce better, adult-oriented SF entertainment than a mid-budget ’60s TV space opera?

96. Cygnus-X1 - August 31, 2014

93. Jonboc – August 31, 2014

I was trying to give you some credit as a discerning thinker. I didn’t think that I had to keep qualifying every point about TOS with “at its best”. Accusing me of being ignorant about the infamously unpopular TOS episodes, like Spock’s Brain, is silly. It should be obvious that I’m not touting the merits of Spock’s Brain.

you think that Nick Meyer, because he was involved in Wrath of Khan, no doubt…is some kind of “last word” on the subject

I think that he had a perceptive and cogent word on the subject.

Your argument, on the other hand, is mostly based on the reasoning of because I say so, with the additional point about TOS and BR Trek both having less technobabble than TNG, all of which is decidedly less compelling than what Nick Meyer had to say about the subject.

97. Cygnus-X1 - August 31, 2014

P.S.

And what Michael Hall says in #95 is quite correct.

TOS was a groundbreaking show back in 1966 on a shoe-string budget, and look at what they managed to accomplish.

BR has accomplished nothing of the sort, nor do they appear to be trying to accomplish much beyond pleasing their client, Paramount. And if some of the fans like it, which they are bound to, then all the better. Though it’s become quite clear from the info leaked about Paramount’s global focus group research and marketing strategy, comments by JJ Abrams and so forth, that the BR movies are not intended for the fans, anyway.

98. Jonboc - August 31, 2014

#94 “If you doubt this, check out the Marc Cushman books. So my question is: given their overwhelming material advantages, why can’t the BR people produce better, adult-oriented SF entertainment than a mid-budget ’60s TV space opera?”

I’m reading the first season book as we speak, I’m a junkie for behind the scenes TOS material, specifically when it’s something that actually hasn’t been revealed before…which is rare, and I would agree the book is excellent. I disagree, however, that BR is doing sub-par Trek. With Into Darkness I saw shades of many different TV episodes…Kirk going against logic to save Spock, Kirk bucking authority, Scotty standing his ground despite the consequences, Spock’s loyalty to Pike, Kirk jumping in, where angels fear to tread, a bad-egg Admiral, ruthless Klingons, a super-human opponent, fisticuffs, Ship battles, beautiful sexy women and the McCoy/ Spock love/ hate was in full swing. I didn’t really need some deep commentary on racism or homosexuality….we had an allegory with modern terrorism and that was MORE than enough for me and the characters were on target. What I did miss, and I hope to see more next time, is the imaginative awe and suspense of the unknown. like I said, there are a LOT of bases to try to cover, 79 hours worth, to be exact, in just 2/4/6 hours of summer movies…but I think they are doing an excellent job, especially when I look back at the TNG Trek movies that slowly strangled the franchise.

Can they do better? if you mean will they ever do 2 hours of talking heads to solve a problem with 20 minutes of action, I doubt it. if you mean will they hit us over the with not so subtle social commentary, I doubt it. And can they even push the envelope, similar to the days of an interracial kiss? I doubt it, it’s all been done on “very special” episodes of sitcoms for the last 30 years. So, I’m not really sure what you expect with BR Trek… but I’m finding it a nice trip back to a Trek I know, but different enough to keep me bit on edge, not knowing what they might do or who they might kill off. And I’m ok with that.

99. Jonboc - August 31, 2014

#95 “I think that he had a perceptive and cogent word on the subject.”

And I would say he was simply parroting that oh-so common soundbite about Trek’s “morality plays” that has been bandied about ever since the show went off the air… usually in an attempt to to lift it up above other common sci-fi properties.

And I agree that BR Trek was NEVER aimed at TNG or any Berman era Trek fans, nor should it. The fans of TNG couldn’t even get 50 million out of Nemsis or keep Enterprise on the air. Why on God’s green earth would they make anything to target those fans?? That would be suicide. The whole point was to get back to the basics. Deliver something people would come see. Get Kirk and Spock back out there again as they are the most recognizable. And it worked. You can subjectively argue the quality of the BR movies, but there is no denying they jump-started that dead battery called Trek and did so in a style I’m 100% happy with. Replacing this iconic crew could have ggne so so SO very wrong. I’m glad it didn’t. (from where I stand, anyway)

100. Cygnus-X1 - August 31, 2014

99. Jonboc – August 31, 2014

I agree with you about the TNG movies.

They had many of the same kinds of problems as BR Trek—logic problems, plot holes, character inconsistencies—but, in some of the movies, to an even worse degree. Though, some of the movies (Insurrection), were better in terms of thematic focus (but also worse in terms of the aforementioned problems).

Trek was never a dead battery, though. It had slowed down from its 1990s heyday of two simultaneous first-run series plus a feature film every two years, but Erik Jendresen’s Star Trek: The Beginning was scrapped due to shakeups at CBS/Paramount and the Eleventh Trek film development was totally re-started in 2006, after Enterprise had gone off the air. I’m not expressing regret that there were no more TNG movies after the abysmal Nemesis, but I’d much rather have seen Jendresen’s compelling trilogy than these shallow BR action movies. Though, maybe Paramount would have turned the Jendresen movies into lame action movies for the foreign market, too. But, also, maybe Jendresen and whomever was hired to direct his movies would have fought for a compromise between art and commerce.

And I suspect that you’d have been just as happy, if not more so, with the Jendresen movies as you are with the BR movies. I’m sure they’d have had plenty of action.

101. Jonboc - September 1, 2014

#99 “And I suspect that you’d have been just as happy, if not more so, with the Jendresen movies as you are with the BR movies. I’m sure they’d have had plenty of action.”

I would have welcomed Jendresen’s as well, my only concern would have been Berman’s involvement, bringing his all-too-familiar brand of Trek-making to the table while being afraid to change the aesthetics and over-all “style” of Trek…making it just more of the same-o same-o that had wore down the franchise over the prior 2 decades. Trek needed a kick in the pants and fresh blood all the way around. I think Jendresen’s script was probably very good, and if put in the right creative hands, ( NOT the tired Trek factory of yore) it probably could have had the same impact as BR…provided it wasn’t too serious and had more humor than Band of Brothers.

102. Disinvited - September 1, 2014

# 100. Jonboc – September 1, 2014

” I would have welcomed Jendresen’s as well, my only concern would have been Berman’s involvement,…” — Jonboc

Then it’s a lock that you’d enjoy it as Berman’s involvement in the Jendreson project was non-existent as it was Paramount’s David DeLine’s baby.

103. TrekMadeMeFat - September 1, 2014

Jendresen’s script was not Star Trek at all. It wouldn’t have been well received by any but those who would tolerate anything set in the prime universe.

104. Cygnus-X1 - September 1, 2014

101. Jonboc – September 1, 2014
102. Disinvited – September 1, 2014

I totally agree about Berman’s involvement in the TNG movies.

I don’t know what it was about that guy, but his serving as producer and head-honcho for the TNG movies seems to poisoned all of them. With the TV series, his role seems to have been to manage the production side and hire show-runners to manage the day-to-day creative decisions.

But, with Berman as producer for the TNG movies, normally good Trek TV writers—Moore, Piller and Braga—consistently turned in screenplays filled with plot holes and logic problems. Even First Contact, widely regarded as the best of the TNG movies, is replete with nonsensical bits and pieces that clearly nobody bothered to think through or question. The Plinkett reviews of these movies are so insightful and good that I enjoy them as much or more than the movies, themselves. In the case of Generations and Nemesis, the best reason to see those abominations, as far as I’m concerned, is as a pretext to their Plinkett reviews.

The comment has been made that the TNG actors were not able to translate their TV roles into feature film roles, but I think that this problem was largely, if not entirely, attributable to the way that the characters were written for the screen.

Picard, for example, was written differently for Generations and First Contact, and seems to have suffered from the same malady as Alt Spock in the BR movies: increased emotionalism for the sake of emotionalism. My guess is that the rationale was the same—it’s a feature film, we want to appeal to a wider audience, so let’s give the main character some crises to deal with that non-Trek fans can relate to, like losing a nephew and struggling with revenge lust. For fans of the TV series, however, Picard seemed oddly out of character crying and raging.

The same would appear to have been the case for Data. Yes, everyone familiar with the TV series knows Data as the logical, unemotional android, but this is a movie, so let’s find an excuse (no matter how lame) to make Data emotional. In Generations, they had him on the emotion chip; in First Contact, they had him under the spell of the Borg Queen; in Insurrection, albeit to a lesser degree, they had him malfunctioning from a conflict in his ethical programming; and, finally, in Nemesis—for the coup de grâce—they had the crew discover a mysterious, earlier version of Data which they called…(ugh)…”B4.”

And the rest of the crew weren’t really given much to do in the TNG movies. Worf was given extraordinarily cheesy lines in every movie, “Definitely feeling aggressive tendencies, Sir!” (And, Data, too, for that matter: “Saddle up, lock and load.”) Frakes was the director and basically phoned in his performances. Troi and Crusher had almost nothing to do. The only character who was pretty much the same in the movies as in the TV show was Geordi.

Anyway, yeah…no regrets about the departure of Rick Berman from my end.

105. Michael Hall - September 1, 2014

I never saw Rick Berman as worthy of so much of the praise or approbation he’s received. As Trek’s chief show runner he may have been responsible for coordinating the logistics that kept everything going, but I think the record clearly shows that the series he produced succeeded or failed largely depending on the strengths and weaknesses of those who worked for him. (Some would say the same about Gene Roddenberry with regards to TOS, but the truth there is considerably more nuanced.). It may very well be that his expanded involvement in the feature films weakened them, though it appears that it was Sir Patrick’s demands that turned INSURRECTION from a Heart of Darkness parable with Data as Kurtz to a tepid political thriller. Certainly, Berman’s two teleplays for TNG were entirely forgettable. But give the man this much: he ran the Trek franchise during a time when it dominated the cultural conversation in a way it never had before (or likely will again), with tens of millions of viewers every week, coverage in every form of major media, and hundreds of millions in revenue from merchandising. By comparison, all Bad Robot has managed to do is sell some movie tickets. As a TOS diehard (and I prefer it myself) you may not care to hear that, Jonboc, but it’s just the fact of the matter.

106. Cygnus-X1 - September 1, 2014

105. Michael Hall – September 1, 2014

I pretty much agree with you.

I found all of the 5 TNG episodes that Berman penned and/or conceived to be good, solid episodes—decent and enjoyable.

- A Matter of Time (1991) … (written by)
- Brothers (1990) … (written by)
- Unification II (1991) … (story)
- Unification I (1991) … (story)
- Ensign Ro (1991) … (story)

But Berman’s greatest contribution to Trek does appear to have been managing the business. Whatever his creative shortcomings may have had, he did keep the lights on and the store open for business for a good long run.

Those TNG movies are just head-scratchers, though. Very interesting what you said about Insurrection. Let me venture a guess here…

In the original story, Data never recovers from his ethical sub-routine malfunction and leads the Ba’ku resistance against the Son’a and Federation (sounds like the basic Avatar premise, doesn’t it)?

107. Jonboc - September 1, 2014

#105. “As a TOS diehard (and I prefer it myself) you may not care to hear that, Jonboc, but it’s just the fact of the matter.”

Oh, I understand oh too well! It was a burr under my saddle for almost 20 years. lol A lot of people were really into it…. It was just so radically different from everything that had been labeled “Star Trek” prior to that….and not for the better IMHO, that I just never understood the attraction. Outside of a handful of episodes like Yesterday’s Enterprise, The Visitor and Inner Light, the lion’s share of those 17 years just wasn’t very good television, much less good Star Trek…just average, if not a bit boring, paint by numbers television production….by my criteria anyway.

108. Disinvited - September 1, 2014

#105. Michael Hall – September 1, 2014

FWIW, I don’t think I ever totally fingered Berman for all of TNG etc.’s problems. However I did call Braga and Berman together the BBgun as I never knew any two other people who seemed to like each other bring out the worst in each as a team in working together. I called them “The BBgun” because they would seem to take any semi-coherent script and wouldn’t be happy until they shot it full of plot holes as if they had mounted it on the wall and used as target practice for their high-powerd BBguns deciding to introduce plot holes where each BB manage to penetrate..

I also had resentments about Berman’s nonsensical musical rules which I finally discovered were all on him when on a SLIDERS early list server where that show’s producers directly hooked us up with Dennis McCarthy and he explained Berman’s near phobic belief that music could never add to an actor’s performance and only served as an unnecessary detraction from it.

Even with these resentments, I never took the view that Berman was all bad and acknowledged the important milestones he took Trek past in spite of his “flaws”.

But for me, after ToS the most frustrating thing about Trek developments after is that I wanted the writing on both the small and the big screens to be evolving to ever higher standards. Instead what we constantly seem to get were resets which were used as excuses to take the writing backward with the logic being “it’s a new team” and we had to give them time to “grow”. This reset philosophy became so embedded in Trek that I used to claim that finally evolved for VOYAGER scripts being just too darn in love with “resets” that every episode seems to hide a BIG RED RESET BUTTON and once they hit it whatever happened in the previous 40 or so minutes was a complete waste of time for the characters as there was no possible way for them to grow or learn from those experiences.

In Trek’s first season ever a script written for it won a WGA, that was the standard I wanted to see met (or at least a half-hearted attempt at least.), but instead I got a lot of excuses along the way as for why that’s impractical. And that’s my personal frustration with corporate Trek, and I am very cognizant this frustration goes back to that first season itself.

109. Cygnus-X1 - September 1, 2014

108. Disinvited – September 1, 2014

I was a fan of Sliders until it jumped the shark. Though, I even found the final season watchable. The show got cheesy, but in an endearing sort of way—it was ridiculous, but wasn’t pretending not to be.

Voyager was easily the biggest disappointment of the 5 Trek series, as most fans seem to agree. I still don’t understand how Braga managed to take a concept with so much potential and do so little with it. VOY seemed to have had the B-Team of writers, with the A-Team busy on DS9. I’m not exactly sure what you mean about each episode being a reset, though. I remember series arcs for some of the characters—Seven, Janeway, The Doctor….

I know this is a minority opinion, but I think that Enterprise Season 3 is underrated. I’m watching it now for the third time in a couple of years and it sure is fun. Granted, I skip over some of the episodes, but some of them really are good. I’d point people to episodes like Similitude (3×10), written by Manny Coto and directed by Levar Burton. Sure, they could have gone deeper with that theme and the denouement is a tad abrupt, but they did enough with it to make it touching and relevant. It’s a powerful story and the actors pull it off nicely. I’d stand that episode up against some of the more popular TOS, TNG or DS9 episodes.

And Impulse (3X5). Sure, it’s basically a zombie picture with Vulcans, but it’s thrilling. As a sort of horror movie genre piece, it totally works. It’s got great action for Trek TV, and the paranoia theme with T’Pol works nicely. Though, again, they could have done so much more with it. In any case, it’s a fun Trek episode and I’d encourage anyone who tends to lump ENT Season 3 in with Seasons 1 and 2 to watch episodes like the aforementioned.

110. Disinvited - September 2, 2014

# 109. Cygnus-X1 – September 1, 2014

“I’m not exactly sure what you mean about each episode being a reset….” — Cygnus-X1

Well, I didn’t exactly mean every episode but the preponderances of them came to so be with some wiping out entire developments that had come before.

They started by using time travel for resets but they evolved all manner of other mechanisms to reset their tales along the way returning to the original time travel dodge in their finale.

It wasn’t these mechanisms use per se that drove me to frustration but the pattern of the storytelling that went along with them.

It took the form of look how brave we are exploring this area of storytelling where major characters are killed, heartache and scars from what it is going to take to survive on their own. And then BLAM, the rug would be pulled out from under me as the reset would occur and then it would be like “they died but they didn’t die”.

It hurts to make my mind go back there but the earliest I recall was some weird time travel event that created two duplicate Voyagers and their crews. Both Janeways were trying to get their ships out of a bad situation alive but it became obvious to the Janeways that it was impossible for both ships to make it. One Voyager would have to make the supreme sacrifice for the other. Problem was the Voyager that was going to make it was in bad shape and had lost its Harry Kim and a baby. As I recall, they had even revealed their deaths in a powerful poignant way early in the story before the duplicate was revealed.

So what was the reset involved at the end of this tale? Well the Voyager with the casualties makes it but what does the closing scene reveal but Harry alive on the bridge carrying the baby. A RESET occurred.

Now, I beg of you don’t ask me to explain the convolution of how this reset was employed as it was done inelegantly and infuriatingly without really thinking it out. But it is an example of this constant theme that eventually took over of we can have our cake and eat it too story telling that developed that left me cold to VOY’s writing.

111. Cygnus-X1 - September 2, 2014

110. Disinvited – September 2, 2014

Ah, OK. I know what you mean.

And there was that whole “Year of Hell” arc, too. Where the crew suffered terribly in some alternate timeline that was then undone and never really happened.

VOY did overuse the whole alternate timeline concept, just as they overused the deus ex machina/technobabble device for resolving the story tension. The crew is about to die, but then Harry or Tom comes up with some new way to push Voyager’s buttons and the day is saved. Or they’d invent a new technological conceit as a plot convenience; it’s VOY that we have to thank for the site-to-site transporter that became the duffel-bag “transwarp” beaming in BR Trek. One set of lazy writers influencing another.

And the whole annoying focus on the Prime Directive, with Janeway constantly sacrificing the lives of her crew in order not to inconvenience some alien culture. She should have faced a lot more mutinies than she did. And I’d have rooted against her. And they used that in STID, too, with Spock all too willing to die in the volcano, except he’d already violated the PD by that point, so it was also illogical in the absence of any alternative explanation for what “Prime Directive” means.

However, they did eventually start to address Janeway’s PD habit in the second half of VOY—I can only assume that they’d heard complaints about it by that point—and Janeway even goes so far as to throw concern for the timeline out the window by the end of the series. It wasn’t a particularly good series finale, but at least they dealt with the issue and gave Janeway an arc… One version of Janeway, anyway.

112. Michael Hall - September 2, 2014

*Sigh* Whenever there was an episode featuring two Voyager crews, you could always bet your bottom credit that the more interesting crew would be the one you’d never see again.

113. Jonboc - September 2, 2014

112 “*Sigh* Whenever there was an episode featuring two Voyager crews, you could always bet your bottom credit that the more interesting crew would be the one you’d never see again.”

LoL

114. Jim Nightshade - September 3, 2014

i just found out a kinda cool connection between star trek, both universes and one of my very favorite scifi movies of all time, 1954s disneys 20,000 leagues under the sea….yeh i know nemo(not the fish) is supposed to be arabian, and james mason is european but what an awesome movie that was still looks great today….now i know many of you will already know this connection,..so first one to say gets a no prize from me ok…hahahm i actually got a no prize from marvel once when i was young…it was in an empty envelope haha…

115. Disinvited - September 3, 2014

I suppose you are referring to the penal colony “Rura Penthe”? But I don’t recall any mention of it actually making it on screen in the 2009 effort even thought it featured prominently in its script?

116. Jim Nightshade - September 5, 2014

Yep you are correct sir…yuh i think uhuru just referred to it as a klingon prison colony or something…however it is named in star trek 6….pretty cool…now the colony was not named in the verne book, only in the disney movie….wonder how they came up with it…nice homage to a truly great scifi movie imho…

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