Adam B. Vary of BuzzFeed just published an in depth article on Star Trek fandom (centered primarily around the reboot movies and Axanar as two different sides of Trek and fandom), titled “Who Owns Star Trek? How Star Trek Created, Lost, And Won Back Its Devoted Fandom”. With interviews from Trek actors, producers, directors, and fans, it’s a great read. Click through for some choice excerpts.
Ron D. Moore on trying to introduce new fans to the ever expanding Trek franchise:
With Star Wars, if you’re a new fan and you wanted to watch The Force Awakens, your homework is watch six movies, with Star Trek, your homework is hundreds of hours [of TV and films]. It was an impossible task to bring new people into it without them feeling like, Well, god, I have to read the Encyclopedia Britannica just to understand who the fuck the Klingons are.
Damon Lindelof on the Harrison/Khan not-so-well-kept-secret:
The audience went into the theater already feeling like they were being played for fools, and then their suspicions were validated, I think probably many of the core fans never overcame that feeling of, like, “How dumb do you think I am?”
William Shatner on J.J. Abrams revitalizing the franchise:
The Star Trek movies I was a part of never made more than $100 million, J.J. Abrams comes along and makes $1 billion or something — he broke the bank. He discovered why people will go and see Star Trek. He gives them this great ride… But the thing I admired most about Star Trek were the intricate stories that worked on several levels. Maybe those movies will become that, maybe they’ll just be the ride — in either case, J.J. has solved the problem of keeping the franchise alive.
CBS/Paramount owns Star Trek. But the fans are the shareholders of it’s Philosophy and Inspiration.
The Fans own Star Trek. It’s so much bigger than just one studio.
While that may be true, legally that argument wouldn’t hold up in court.
Exactly. She is the unappreciated player in Star Trek. She gambled her studio on Star Trek. Had she not, we would not even be discussing this now.
The fact that in all the “Star Trek” stories ever told,
she is not even mentioned ONCE is astonishing.
She’s mentioned all over, have you not read any ‘making of’ accounts. Sweeping the WNMHGB set while in an evening gown, (mistakenly) thinking it was a show about movie stars, etc.
The last time trek fans really threw their weight around was to get the first space shuttle renamed ENTERPRISE, back when fandom was a genuine movement and going concern. Then SW came along and tore everything asunder.
the original series were followed by the desilu logo
The falsity of the paucity that you claim is easily demonstrated on a Google search of this very site alone:
where it can clearly be seen that from 2006 to present Lucille Ball has been mentioned 19 times in 19 distinct articles from 2006 to date. The most prominent being, STAR TREK LOVES LUCY from 2011:
The studio owns Star Trek, lock, stock and barrel.
Fans are the pawns that pay to see it and keep it alive.
And if one fans don’t like the product, there’s always 10 more that do, which explains why it has kept on going for 50 years.
But if a fan wants to own it, then offer the studio $500,000,000 for it.
Funny you say that ….
I was wondering what if someone wanted to buy “Star Trek” from Viacom
what it would cost. $500M, you say? That’s an eighth of what “Star Wars” cost.
Not at all undoable.
iPadCary: Sold, and you also inherit all us whiny self centered, I’m right because I said so, your not a fan, fractured fan base nerds!
No one. They abandoned the core Trek trademarks long ago in the 70s.
That was a stupid reply.
No, they most certainly did not.
Shatner seems to have pretty much hit the nail on the head. Thanks for sharing this today.
I don’t know about that. Maybe it’s our common old age afflicted memory but it seems an odd thing for Shatner to say now when he spent the entire decade of the 80s saying something quite different:
“I couldn’t not do it [That other STAR TREK TV movie that later became THE WRATH OF KHAN]. I created the role on TV and look forward to another feature. After all, Star Trek — The Motion Picture has grossed over $170 million to date when it has not even been reissued yet, and has a worldwide following as well.” — William Shatner to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER circa 1st quarter 1981.
Or maybe he’s just been drinking too much of JJ’s kool-ade at those lunches the two have shared?
that 170 (or 175) figure was everywhere in the 80s, and it dovetailed with the rental figures and other numbers available. Amazing how it got downgraded in the 90s to SO much less, yet the revision passes with almost no questioning these days.
Ron Moore’s quote is exactly what’s wrong with writers today. If a writer can;t put together a story with sufficient internal logic and exposition to stand on it’s own, then they have failed. A writer who keeps falling back on those “hundreds of hours” of TV clearly has nothing of his own to add. You can watch ANY ONE of TOS original episodes, without having seen ANY PREVIOUS ONE, and it will still make perfect sense and be completely understandable to a new viewer.
He’s explaining, not excusing.
You may understand basic plot lines but that’s about it, that’s what? 25%? For example if you jump in right in the middle of DS9, the short war between the Federation and the Klingons… sure you understand they are at war but you’ll never understand why it is such an important event in the long run and short run. You don’t understand why the Romulans are reluctant and isolationist. You don’t know why the Maquis is fighting or why the Bajorans are what they are.
Yes TOS was strictly made as One Week-One Adventure but that doesn’t fly anymore… and that’s one the main gripes people have with Voyager, that it was strictly made in that way with no regard to what happened to the ship and crew.
One Week-One Adventure concept works perfectly fine hence the shows like NCIS finishing up it’s 12th season and Star Gate SG1 lasting 10 seasons (until they adopted the long form seasonal story in the last couple seasons).
It’s when they deviate from that strategy that they walk a fine line between massive success or massive failure. When you don’t do stand-alone short stories then you need an extremely good big story to hold everyone’s interest across the entire season (or entire series). Extremely good big stories are hard to do.
The best option I’ve seen, for wide audience appeal, is to do stand-alone episodes with a secondary seasonal story arc that concludes at the end of the season. That keeps the new viewers interested, while also building die-hard fans that stick with the show or go back and watch older episodes.
Selor Kiith “Yes TOS was strictly made as One Week-One Adventure but that doesn’t fly anymore…”
I’ve never been one to pick up a novel and start reading the 7th chapter first. Soap opera serializations do nothing for me when it comes to repeated viewing, or picking up interest in a new show mid-season. One week, one adventure flies with me just fine. Just don’t overload it like TNG and the spinoffs felt they had to do with dreadful “B” plots that did nothing but eat up precious time that should’ve been used to better flesh out the “A” storyline.
I really don’t blame Moore for Generations, and I don’t think its the worst Trek movie either. It’s not his fault that Paramount demanded a movie be developed in parallel with the TV show and released to theaters just five months after the TV show ended. That was a prescription for disaster and it is really amazing that Generations turned out as good as it actually is. It has its moments, but desperately needed a complete re-write of the opening scene once Nimoy and Kelley refused to participate. And that Kirk death. Both scenes needed to be chucked in the circular file and started from scratch. But there wasn’t time. Thanks alot, Paramount.
Re: Rewriting scenes
What are you talking about, no time? Kirk’s death scene was orginally written and performed with Kirk getting shot in the back and when the test screening came thumbs down on that Paramount made time to rewrite that whole ending.
The reshoots on the finale of the movie took place less than two months before the theatrical release date. That’s a pretty tight schedule.
I don’t think you are getting my point in response to Thorny that even with waiting for the test screening they had time for a rewrite. It wasn’t time that was at a premium for rewrites of GENERATION prior to filming but Paramount’s purse strings. We all know they had to rewrite it anyway. What might have been if they had rewritten it months before addressing Nimoy and Kelley’s concerns, instead of months later addressing the test screening audiences’?
If your argument is that the studio should have taken more time, then I agree with you. They backed themselves into a corner by releasing the movie a mere 5 months after TNG ended. Thus the panic when they realized the ending wasn’t working and the last minute call for rewrites.
I thought you were saying it was Moore & Braga’s fault and they had plenty of time for rewrites, and that was what I was disagreeing with. They weren’t exactly calling the shots. Not to mention they were writing the script simultaneously with All Good Things as well as Moore working on Season 3 of DS9. It’s amazing they were able to write a script that was even semi-coherent.
Star Trek hasn’t won back its devoted fandom. Rather, the BR movies have changed the fan base, and changed it to a fan base comprising a substantially larger portion of lesser devoted fans. People who are primarily fans of BR Trek have a variety of action-spectacle franchises to satisfy them these days—Marvel, Disney’s Star Wars, other comic-book movies. BR Trek is in the same genre as those franchises. If STB is the last BR Trek movie, BR Trek fans won’t miss a beat, as there will be plenty of action-spectacle movies with similar appeal coming down the pike from the other franchises. Fans of pre-BR Trek, on the other hand, had no such options. There was no alternative. When Paramount decided to fundamentally change the nature of Star Trek in film, they lost a large swath of fans from the TOS era [sidestepping the mixed bag known as the Berman era]. TOS was for thoughtful people. BR Trek is not. They’re two fundamentally different franchises sharing little more than names and likenesses.
Maybe those movies will become that, maybe they’ll just be the ride — in either case, J.J. has solved the problem of keeping the franchise alive.
He’s solved the problem by creating a new franchise that dresses itself in the clothing of the original franchise. JJ may have solved a problem for Paramount, but in so doing he’s created a problem for the fans. JJ’s “solution” is zero-sum, and his legacy will be one of infamy.
Your problem is that you assume a “devoted” Trek fan cannot be – at the same time – a fan of “action spectacle franchises”. This is a very, ahm…”monotheist” approach towards Trek. I’ve been a Trekkie since 1992, and yeah, up to 2005, it was my main focus, but I’ve always loved other worlds such as Alien, Star Wars, Stargate etc… and of course I also apprecciate the recent CBM wave having given us the X-Verse, the MCU, the Arrowverse and the DCEU. It’s not as important as new Trek, but it’s still interesting…NuTrek emulating that style is welcome to me!
Claiming it’s a different franchise because it’s stylistically diverse is bold. TOS and the movies based on TOS are also kinda different. The spin-offs are very different from both and different from one another. The NextGen movies are highly different from the TV shows too. The only series that felt the same – while it was supposed to be different – was ENT and that’s why it failed. I’m fine with NuTrek being and feeling different but of course I expect different from the upcoming TV show. All is part of a great mix: Infinite Diversity in Indefinite Combinations…
And that’s what Star Trek is supposed to be. Trekkies who can’t tolerate NuTrek are unable to embrace the very core concept of Star Trek…
smike June 18, 2016 11:24 pm
Your problem is that you assume a “devoted” Trek fan cannot be – at the same time – a fan of “action spectacle franchises”
I make no such assumption. Rather, I’m saying that fans like me—and there are many of us—object to Star Trek being turned into an action-spectacle franchise. There’s no shortage of action-spectacle franchises, but Star Trek used to be unique. There was nothing quite like it. Now, it’s been dumbed-down, turned into Pablum and explicitly made and marketed to audiences that never liked Star Trek, all under the direction of a producer/director (JJ Abrams) who admittedly never liked Star Trek. This has all been out in the open for years now—the global focus groups, JJ’s own comments, the deeply divided fan reaction, etc….
P.S. You can enjoy action-spectacle without wanting Star Trek turned into it. I appreciate campy movies now and again, but I wouldn’t want Star Trek turned into a campy movie series. I appreciate sexy movies, but I wouldn’t want Star Trek turned into a sexy movie series. Etc….
Have you enjoyed any of the Trek movies then? They’re all pretty camp – and the TNG movies are all dumb action films (with the exception of Generations).
James Today 10:15 am
I won’t put up much of a fight over the TNG movies. On the whole, they were bad. The writing was very poor and the stories were riddled with plot holes. But, the themes in the TNG movies were not all dumb. On the whole, even the TNG movies were more Trek-like in that they were stories with overarching themes, whereas the BR movies are not. The BR movies introduce themes and then never develop them—there’s simply not enough time to develop them with so much time devoted to action sequences. The TNG movies were more balanced with regard to drama scenes vis-a-vis action scenes. Again, I’m not touting the TNG movies—they were pretty bad on the whole. But, even so, they were more Trek-like and had more substance than the BR movies, which is a testament to how shallow and superficial the BR movies are more so than a lauding of the TNG movies.
I doubt ALL are. But what I like about the best of them is they raised the bar even in attempting something like camp:
“The problem with sequels in this genre (“Return of the Jedi” springs to mind) is that the filmmakers feel the burden of making each movie more spectacular than the last, with predictably bloated results. The great virtue of director Nimoy’s approach [in STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME] is that comedy automatically keeps things human. “Star Trek” was born in the days before sophisticated special effects were possible, and “Star Trek IV” returns it to the TV series’ roots in character-based comedy — low camp then, high camp now, infused with the inventive dialogue of a quartet of screen writers (Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, Harve Bennett and Nicholas Meyer).” — ‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home’; By Paul Attanasio; Washington Post Staff Writer; WASHINGTON POST; November 26, 1986
And that’s what we are calling for here in Trek movies is that they at least attempt to best its best, and NOT this so lacking in hope vision of future generations that they aren’t evolving so it has to be reduced to drivel for them to keep it corporate viable, as if corporate viability was all the phenomenon of the history making show and its history making fans merely ever was, which it wasn’t.
I would really like to stop seeing people excusing poor choices in Trek movie scripts thoughts with what reduces to me as “If we don’t let them put in Mayans riding dinosaurs there won’t be anymore corporate STAR TREK and that will be the death of it.” as if it thrived because of proper corporate tending when in fact it thrived in spite of the worst corporate neglect.
James June 19, 2016 10:15 am
Have you enjoyed any of the Trek movies then?
TWOK and TVH hold up really well even after many viewings. TSFS also holds up pretty well. TUC somewhat less so. It’s got some plot holes that pull me out of the movie, and the mystery story isn’t nearly as compelling today as it was in 1991. TMP holds up alright, but I always found it too laboriously paced. Also, it’s hindered by being basically a reboot of the TOS episode, “The Changeling.” I hated TFF when it came out, and I still see many problems in it, but I’m impressed at the scope of the undertaking. Shatner bit off more than he could chew, but his was a noble effort—taking on nothing less than God, the cosmos and the meaning of life, in addition to the psychological and cult-leader themes. What all of the TOS movies have in common is an overarching theme—a through-line taking you on a journey from the beginning of the story to the end. The BR movies are pretty meaningless. The characters don’t learn anything and there’s ultimately no point to the story other than just “to make a Star Trek movie,” as Nick Meyer put it.
It was a campy television series.
As per the writers guide of the original Trek, Star Trek is an action adventure show first. If some brief social commentary could be slipped in, great, but per that same writers guide: “we are not here to preach”. That same writers guide also stressed the need to appeal to as big an audience as possible or there was no show.
The same has been applied to these movies. Sorry some fanboys don’t like the recasting and new look, but the movies have had heart and STiD had a message mixed in with the action….in the same tradition of that original action adventure show that slipped in a message here and there, but wasn’t there to preach. What some “fans” want, is an incredibly niche’ product and Hollywood rightly recognizes that those people can’t sustain either show or movie.
The Lensman Today 11:26 am
As per the writers guide of the original Trek, Star Trek is an action adventure show first. If some brief social commentary could be slipped in, great….
So, it’s just a coincidence that pretty much every episode of TOS comprised a thematic statement, moral/message/meaning pertaining to relevant social issues, science concepts, interpersonal issues, psychological/emotional issues, philosophical/moral issues, etc…?
If there’s one thing I can’t abide it’s people trying to dumb down TOS just to make the Bad Robot Trek movies appear legitimate. Absolute rubbish.
Clunky morality plays were the norm for TV dramas then. Trek wasn’t unique in that. Some of it was good – but shows like Twilight Zone dod far smarter, edgier stuff yeats before. And Trek isn’t always all that smart – ‘space racism is bad’ wasn’t particularly provocative by that point.
Jack Today 2:44 pm
We can cite several bad TOS episodes, more so in Season 3, that did not live up to the standard set by the best episodes of the first two seasons. But, doing so would not invalidate the point that TOS was intended to be—and more often than not succeeded at being—a thoughtful, meaningful show that used action as a means of moving its theme-driven story along rather than as a centerpiece of the show. The BR movies are the opposite. They’re mainly about action-spectacle. And the story has been relegated to a means of delivering the action-spectacle.
Jack Today 2:44 pm
Just one example that immediately comes to mind: the scene in ST09 where Kirk gets chased by monsters on the ice planet mistakenly referred to as Delta Vega. This scene has absolutely no dramatic or thematic value. It’s main purpose is to thrill the audience, i.e. action-spectacle. Secondarily, it’s a cheap, lazy, mindless way of getting Kirk into the cave where Spock Prime happens to be hanging out so that those two characters can meet. An Earth-sized planet, and Kirk just so happens to get randomly deposited in a location right next to where Spock Prime is hanging out. Imagine orbiting the Earth in a space shuttle while wearing a blindfold, and then arbitrarily choosing an entry point, landing the shuttle, removing the blindfold and finding yourself right next to your best friend. It’s an absolutely ridiculous scenario, typical of the poor writing in BR Trek.
That’s the STAR WARSization, that luck/fate covers all coincidence. Technically you can say that about any story if you scrutinize it, but the issue for me has always been whether the contrivance is effective and credible – and the ‘just happens to land in the right spot’ in 09 is just badBadBAD wrong. And the monster eating little monster is just a callback to PHANTOM MENACE, not that ANYbody really wanted to go back to Naboo to begin with.
“This scene has absolutely no dramatic or thematic value. It’s main purpose is to thrill the audience, i.e. action-spectacle. Secondarily, it’s a cheap, lazy, mindless way of getting Kirk into the cave where Spock Prime happens to be hanging out so that those two characters can meet.”
No dramatic appeal? I think that when people first saw that scene, there must have been a sense of trepidation. There was with me. What is that creature coming towards Kirk? Will the creature with those obscenely huge fangs manage to get hold of Kirk? (It’s a given that it won’t kill Kirk, but injure him – well we didn’t know that…). So an action-spectacle can’t be dramatic? Huh?
Kirk was heading toward the research station (Federation outpost), as was Spock. The cave was on the way. Why wouldn’t Kirk perhaps find it and use it as a safe bolthole from the inclement weather, even if he hadn’t been chased into it by a local? Spock did.
Both Spock and Kirk was dropped off in the vicinity of the station. NuSpock did not want Kirk to die. He wanted him out of the way and to teach him a lesson. Nero did not want Spock to die because he wanted Spock to suffer as he did through bearing the loss of his world. Get it!
Then there is SYNCHRONICITY!
Edit: “Spock and Kirk WERE…”
“…he wanted Spock to suffer as NERO did through bearing the loss of his (Spock) world.”
The Lensman, Re:The Writers Guide Is that the version where Spock’s still a Martian? That guide didn’t come into existence until most of the first season scripts had been written. And it wasn’t sent out to the writers in a final form until the show was accepting treatments for the second season episodes. Besides, this letter gives a better idea of why the STAR TREK series hit the heights that it was aiming for and why it ultimately ended on a lesser note: http://www.lettersofnote.com/2010/11/maybe-its-just-catharsis-but-i-think.html ”For those at NBC who honestly do not like it, do not understand or dig it, do not believe it has audience potential, no complaints from me if they turn thumbs down. I have learned to applaud people who make decisions. But I have no respect or tolerance for those who say things like “If it were just a couple minutes shorter…”, or “Yes, but if it were not so cerebral…”, and such garbage. And I respectfully suggest to you [Mr. Alden Schwimmer of the Ashely-Famous Agency] as sale representatives for this product [STAR TREK] that tolerating or compromising with this kind of thinking could only lead to us making a bad show out of what could have been good. In other words, am wide open to criticism and suggestions but not from those who think answers lie in things like giving somewhat aboard a dog, or adding a cute eleven-year-old boy to the crew. I’m not saying anyone has suggested the above. Or that you would stand still for it. But having been around television for some time, I do know that shows sometimes reach frantic sales moments in which things like that have been known to happen. And it’s only fair to let you know I’m not that anxious to sell the show. Which, I guess, is my central point. There seems to be a popular delusion that networks do people a favor by buying shows. I happen to think the truth is somewhat nearer the other direction — that a man who creates a format and offers integrity and a large hunk of his life in producing it, offers much more than networks or advertisers can give in return. Therefore, it logically follows, that side has a right to some terms too. Mine have not changed. And no matter how difficult or tenuous any negotiation for sale may become, they will not change. a. We must have an adequate budget to do a show of this type. b. We must have a time slot which gives us a chance, otherwise the labor involved is foolish and meaningless. c. Network must give early notification that they are buying the show, or at minimum an early story order so scripts can be put into work. d. Network must agree that any notifications of pickup or cancellation must be made early, or additional story orders must be made early enough to permit proper continuation of schedules. Without the above, a sale would be completely meaningless for me. Have no desire to risk heart attack or ulcers without at least a fighting chance to make entertainment I can be proud of. If terms should turn out different, I will cooperate with all involved to find a producer who feels otherwise. Incidentally, I’ve told both Oscar and Herb Solow I’ve had it with the audience testing thing. The fact that there was this enormous twenty point different between the two STAR TREK tests so far certainly must indicate to any sensible man these people are capable of gross error. And since they are obviously capable of this, I insist that this final test be run in number one position so it is at least a fair comparison with the last test. And no amount of statistical rationalization will budge me from this position. It’s make or break with me, Alden. If they are going to use these tests (and we both know they give great weight to them despite anything they say), then they’ve got to at least give us the benefit of an even chance. Although I’ve been nervous about STAR TREK for this couple of weeks of decision, actually it’s been a good thing for me. Like a fever reaching a crisis point and then breaking. For the first time I think I see our particular and peculiar medium exactly for what it is. It has been and can be very good — and if someone proves to me they want me to try for that level, I gladly will. On the other hand, without that proof, I intend to aim for safe copies and parallels of existing successes — settle for doing it just two or three percent better than the next guy so that job and profits are always there, and I eat dinner… Read more »
I still don’t think it’s any more an action/spectacle franchise than it’s been all along.
And, even with that said, movies have changed – you’re probably not going to get the relatively slow build of TWOK anymore (that said, it started with explosions and then we soon had creatures slithering into people’s brains).
I like the Abrams movies. Loved Trek 09. Wanted to like Into Darkness (it had its heart in a very Trekky place – but the story didnt really work and it felt unnecessary [and they knew it])
And I like Trek to be spectacular – just not empty spectacle. TMP is spectacular. TWOK has some incredible suspense and action.
Jack Today 2:40 pm
I still don’t think it’s any more an action/spectacle franchise than it’s been all along.
Well, you’re just factually incorrect about that. I can prove it to you by having you add up the amount of time devoted to action scenes as a ratio of the running times of the pre-BR movies vs. BR Trek. If you watch STID, you will find that literally the last half of the movie—from the showdown between Kirk and Marcus onward—is entirely composed of action scenes. There is no character or thematic development after the midpoint of STID. You can verify this yourself.
And, even with that said, movies have changed – you’re probably not going to get the relatively slow build of TWOK anymore
I don’t think we’re going to get it, either. But, not because it can’t be profitable. Simply because Paramount lacks vision. I refer you again to INTERSTELLAR. Plenty of drama and thematic development in that movie, no shortage of action, and it made far more money than any of the BR Trek movies. I can understand people enjoy the BR Trek movies as escapism—just shut your brain off and get carried away by the thrillride for 2 hours (although I literally can’t enjoy either ST09 or STID in this fashion at home any more)—but I can’t relate to people being satisfied by these movies as Star Trek. To me, they’re as mindless as a slasher film. I can appreciate that people enjoy mindless slasher films, but that’s not what Star Trek was meant to be. Trek was meant to be thoughtful and meaningful from the start. Not necessarily complicated, but definitely thoughtful and meaningful.
Won me back after Enterprise. The new movies aren’t more or less ‘deep’ than what came before. The TNG movies are all action and sacrifice tenants on which the series rested.
James Today 12:17 am
The new movies aren’t more or less ‘deep’ than what came before.
They’re less deep than the TOS movies. It’s not even close. If you don’t see that, then you haven’t fully grasped the TOS movies, nor taken note of the thematic development in them. As I mentioned above, I’m sidestepping the TNG movies. Strictly speaking, the TNG movies had better thematic development than the BR movies, but they also had as many or more plot holes.
You totally lost me there for a minute, it took me a while to realise that ‘BR’ stood for ‘Bad Robot’…
My wife suggested ‘Before Roddenberry’ while I thought it meant ‘Beyond Redemption’, which was pretty close I admit. :-)
We really need to put up a list of abbreviations here in order to understand the comments…
Haha I thought he meant RB like ‘reboot’
“Star Trek hasn’t won back its devoted fandom”
Speak for yourself, please.
Thorny Today 7:31 am
No, I insist on speaking for you.
It was an impossible task to bring new people into it without them feeling like, Well, god, I have to read the Encyclopedia Britannica just to understand who the fuck the Klingons are.
This is a valid concern. I never got into Games of Thrones, and tried watching last week’s episode. It was complete nonsense to me. Nothing that any of the characters said meant anything or even made sense. I have no idea what people see in that show, but as it’s wildly popular I have to assume that it’s seven-years’ worth of story arcs built up that’s driving the appeal and meaning of the show.
But, there are fixes to this problem. One is that you have a re-cap at the beginning of the episode/movie. Various serial TV shows have done this to great effect—as I recall, Moore’s BSG was one of them. Mad Men was another. You spend a minute or two at the beginning bringing the newbies up to speed. And then you proceed with your story. Another fix is to focus the writing on themes and tropes that don’t require previous knowledge to appreciate. A family struggle amongst Klingons can be just as relatable to the newbie as to the Trek fan—we all have families, we’ve all been at odds with them, and hence we can all relate if the writing is mindful of not assuming too much prior knowledge. You include some payoffs for the long-time fans, while being mindful of the new fans. TV dramas have done this successfully for decades. Shows like LA Law, Dynasty, MASH, The Practice, Boston Legal—all successful and all serial to some degree without being impenetrable to newbies.
If you want a fan’s explanation of the appeal; Game of Thrones is simply escapism. Star Trek is escapism to a fictional future, GOT is escapism to a fictional past. Forgetting reality and immersing yourself in another universe for an hour or two.
Your example would only work if its strictly about humans… Without prior knowledge we cannot know the dynamics in Klingon families which are different to what we are accustomed to… so, No… it cannot be relatable because its a different social system unless you completely ignore Klingon Culture and make it a carbon copy of Western Civilizations…
SelorKiith Today 6:43 am
You’re missing the point entirely.
The aliens in Star Trek have always been there to mirror issues in humanity, to view allow the writers to examine controversial and delicate social issues from a presumed distance. Klingons, Vulcans and other alien species all represent various facets of humanity. Specifics about Klingon law and social customs can be primed at the beginning of the episode, as I suggested. But the meat of the story—the issues and themes—should be intrinsically relatable to people regardless of the species, or else the story is meaningless.
And no one learns anything about the Wookie culture by watching any and/or all of the STAR WAR films, but somehow audiences find a way to relate to Chewie.
I don’t care how fucking much the Illuminati-driven, mainstream media-hammered home
message of “dumb down everybody” is delivered:
THAT JJ ABRAMS DOGSHIT IS NOT “STAR TREK”.
…yeah, sorry you don’t grok it, but it kinda is. lol
Hey guys. Anton Yelchin died in a car accident. I can’t find more details than that.
Accident — pinned by own car in driveway.
BREAKING: Anton Yelchin reportedly dead at age 27.
This is how Enews reported Yelchin’s driveway accident:
I understand that sentiment that wants to honor the very deserving Yelchin.
But for the life of me, I don’t get these weird twists of logic that arrive at the conclusion that the most appropriate way to do that is to retire a role he once played, as if recasting it would be some sort on insult.
Which is why I think it is very appropriate to ask here, “Who owns a role?”
RIP Anton God Bless.
Terrible news about young Anton. Very sad to hear this.
Shatner is totally ignorant of the Box office
A few of his Universe Trek Movies made over $100 Million & JJ’s didn’t make more than $500 Million
The Voyage Home made over $100 million before inflation.
I’m 48, and a hardcore fan of many things. “Star Wars,” for one, has been with us since ’77, and I find fans classic and new to be a blast. Comic book fans run the gamut in ages and preferred formats, but I love hanging with them all. Animation fans, anime fans, Batman fans – it comes down to a group of people with a passion for something, and a joy in sharing it and your life-long experiences with it between like-minded fans. I’m also a hardcore “Star Trek” fan. TOS. TNG. TAS. The Films. But, over the last 15 years, I’ve found the best way for me to enjoy “Star Trek” is with friends, not the fans. Why? Because it seems “Star Trek” fans keep growing more bitter, argumentative, disillusioned, divisive and perpetually “the glass is half-empty.” I always thought after “The Phantom Menace” this would be the fate of “Star Wars” fans. I never thought I’d get so fed up with the negativity and conflict within the “Trek” community that I’d walk away from it. I was even more shocked when more and more friends joined me.
This seems to be a symptom, being fed up with perceived negativity of other fans, of those that came to STAR TREK in later decades. I was there from the beginning and I can assure anyone that wants to know that the Sheldon Cooper character’s dismissiveness of other’s opinions as portrayed in THE BIG BANG THEORY, was right there from the start, and even a little before as most fans of SF thought anything outside of literature was something lesser to be looked down upon. Its TV or film renditions were often dismissed as pablum and this included STAR TREK. In fact, I believe this snobbery ultimately led to the creation of conventions dedicated solely to STAR TREK.
People think I am joking but there were fans back then that argued the James Blish novelizations of the episodes were the only true STAR TREK as THAT was the only true pure SF version of it.
As I think back, it is a poser as to what held our little snooty factions together in unity behind enjoying the concepts and expositions created for STAR TREK.
I can only offer that for me, the answer appears to be, indeed, the one woman who gets most of the credit, Bjo Trimble, much as it confounds her that her husband, John, who was right there doing the heavy-lifting too, gets forgotten in these reminisces.
There was something about her that brought out the best in fans and more to the point, was able to identify who was worth her time in the regards of having something better to appeal too. She wasn’t perfect. In fact, in dividing Trek fans into Don’t Bees and Do Bees, which was a very common thing in our time being promoted daily on Romper Room, of Trekkies and Trekkers she might have inadvertently helped cement the warring dividing line that seems to persist to this day.
And yet, in spite of everything that one would imagine should have pulled STAR TREK apart into a distant nostalgic memory, it persisted. I suspect largely because Bjo and John set the gold standard for what a good convention experience should be because that’s what they did for me.
I agree with you. I think I was really militant in my teens – “Trek is this, not this! Don’t they know that Vulcan doesn’t have princesses – or a moon.” And I bought into this fervour that only true fans understood Trek and only true fans had saved it.
But the truth is, every darned perdon who has ever watched Trek saved it. I had buddies who watched all the episodes, but I was the only true fan among us – I thought – because I had every spare inch of space in my room plastered woth Trek stuff and I knew the nsme if every guest star and yadda, yadda, yadda.
And now, I still get mildly irked by lazy mistakes, but I’m just happy to see new Trek. I think it’s amazing that Trek is getting true blockbusyer treatment and it’s anazing that it’s still kept its spirit. I don’t think fans have any unique claim to it.
See I never felt like researching all the series and movies was “homework”. It was THE highlight of my entertainment life personally. I do however understand what Ron Moore is saying. You add what he said to the fact that attention spans of today’s audience are at at all time low (among other things) and it’s no surprise that you see constant reboots of movies and tv shows. It’s why television seasons are shortened. Filler episodes are a thing of the past. People want sports seasons shortened. Comic book series are constantly being renumbered because for some insane reason people are more likely to buy an issue 1 than an issue 732. I’m the exact opposite of today’s audience even though my age puts me in that demographic at 31. I’ve always thought I was born in the wrong time frame since my views trend wholly old school. I mean my favorite series is TOS. How many 31 year olds would say that? Lol!
Why seasons are shortened and there are no (or few) filler episodes, like in the past, is because all these shows have become very expensive to make.
One thing I have always noted is that television series coming from the BBC in particular tend to be shorter, yet each episode usually maintains its expected standard which is often extremely good. My impression is that the production companies like the BBC/ITV Thames have always tended to opt for quality over quantity. This still seems to be the case today, with series like Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Sherlock, Midsommer Murders, Father Brown, Vera, Happy Valley (anything but happy it seemed, but that’s another story), Grantchester and so on.
This has nothing to do with so-called “shortened attention spans”.