This week TrekMovie’s Jared Whitley is finishing out the 50th anniversary with a decade-by-decade look at the franchise’s history. Today he looks at the fourth decade and the post-TNG world.
As the 50th comes to an end we’re looking at the various periods of Trek history, decade by decade. Yesterday, we looked at Trek’s Bronze Age that started with TNG “Encounter at Farpoint” and ended with the movie First Contact. Given all the cash made in these years, we called it the Latinum Age. Today we’re looking at Trek’s fourth decade.
Iron Age: 1997 – 2005
While a big-screen battle between Starfleet and the Borg marked the end of Star Trek’s Latinum Age, fans were first greeted to what, at the time, seemed like a bit of comparatively unremarkable Gen-X nostalgia: the Star Wars – Special Edition trailer.
I feel a little disloyal starting off not just the Transparent Aluminum Age but this one as well with something from Star Wars, but it’s pretty hard to discuss the success of either franchise in a vacuum. (Rimshot) We went into the relationship of the two pretty well last year on an episode of The Shuttlepod. If Leonard Nimoy had to thank George Lucas for Star Trek’s second coming, then George Lucas absolutely has to thank Patrick Stewart for Star Wars’.
While Star Trek would continue to plug along in its fourth decade (almost 300 hours worth of new material!), it was obvious some of the holo-paint was beginning to crack. Yes, we had highlights like Seven of Nine, the Dominion War, the Las Vegas Star Trek Experience, and the sublime Y2K-inspired Q vs. Spock. Notable also is the creation of Memory Alpha, started in 2004.
People have talked about franchise fatigue until they’re green in the face, but it wasn’t just that. 1999’s Galaxy Quest gave the world a deconstructionist Star Trek movie that did to our franchise what Austin Powers did to James Bond’s.
A year later, the superhero movie frenzy would start with X-Men and, oh yes, they stole our captain and his perfect mate to do it.
DS9 and VOY both kept the seven-season TNG tradition, but both ended with lower ratings than they’d started. Insurrection was a disappointment and Nemesis was an embarrassment. George Takei’s attempt to get his own series failed. True, the Enterprise pilot roared out of spacedock … but then the series sputtered as though someone had gummed up its trans-warp drive.
The Enterprise pilot’s ratings were such an outlier for the rest of the series that, statistically, you’d conclude the pilot never happened.
Because the franchise was still resilient, but not tough enough to endure the photo torpedoes of the new era, I call this time the Polarized Hull Plating Age. It ended in May 2005 with last flight of the NX-01. “These Are the Voyages” saw more fans yelling to get Star Trek off the air than there were yelling to keep it on. It’d been a long time, but our time was finally … over. Or was it?
Polarized Hull-plating Age
- Start: Jan. 1997
- End: May 2005
- Episodes: 284 – 68 (DS9), 118 (VOY), 98 (ENT)
- Movies: 2
Return tomorrow for the fifth and final chapter, as we enter Trek’s Modern Age!
|Read the rest of the 5 Ages of Trek:|
|The 5 Ages of Trek – Day 1|
|The 5 Ages of Trek – Day 2|
|The 5 Ages of Trek – Day 3|
|The 5 Ages of Trek – Day 5|
Nemesis was hardly an embarrassment. In fact, it was the 2nd best Next Gen feature and it was better than for sure 3 and perhaps even 4 of the TOS features. It was actually a pretty good send off for the TOS crew. Most of the whining I think stemmed from envy that TUC was the superior send off. Which seemed appropriate to me. TNG ended with a good movie. Just not as good as what TOS got to end with. Would you rather then ended with Insurrection? THAT would have been an embarrassment.
Nemesis was horrible. The writing and editing was crap, the director didn’t understand the franchise, and it flopped at the box office.
Box office success or failure doesn’t = good or bad. Look at Trek… The movie with the biggest box office was also the worst movie they made.
Nem isn’t just bad trek, it is plain out bad filmmaking, pretty much start to finish. That guy is zero for three in the directing department, and being able to make three turkeys in a row when you have great help like Jerry Goldsmith for each film is a pretty good indicator you don’t know what you’re doing. Plus Logan’s script is plain-out rotten. Missed opportunities galore, reminds me of the Abrams pics in that way, though I rank NEM way above 09.
Aye. NEM was so bad that me and the missus walked out of the theater less than halfway through. But we discussed it outside the auditorium, then foolishly chose to go back in to endure the whole disastrous mess (very bad move).
For us, NEM and STID are tied for worst of the franchise.
Agree – 100%
Well yes, I think Insurrection would make a better send-off. Picard should have stayed with the woman. And, of course, TNG already got a send-off, it was called All Good Things…
The major problem with Nemesis is how pointless, contrived and generic it is. The Picard’s clone, ruling a race of telepatic nosferatu morlocs, builds a gigantic star destroyer right next door to the most paranoid and surveillance-obsessed race in the known universe? Yet another Soong android nobody ever heard about, and once again he’s a demented evil twin? There’s no longer room for families on Enterprise, but there’s enough room not just for captain’s yacht, but also for captain’s dune buggy – even though Picard had never shown any inclination to drive anything that’s not a horse? And on the top of all that, did we really really needed yet another scene of Marina Sirtis desperately trying to portray a state of telepathy-induced distress? What’s the point? What’s the moral of the story, and is there any at all?
Well, I got to admit, it was not *all* terrible. With some minor rewrites, it might make a fun Voyager movie…
Except… All Good Things was simply terrible. Nothing happened. Q told them everything and no character grew or moved on.
What you are doing to Nemesis is called “nit picking.” It wasn’t perfect. The entire Argo piece was out of place and a waste of time, sure. Troi has always been worthless from day one but at least she actually HELPED this time. Yes, Data’s double seemed tired because we already had the pathetic Data’s evil twin story before. (Talk about pointless and contrived). But in Nemesis B-4 (I preferred the B-9 designation in an earlier draft) did indeed serve a purpose. It was meant to mirror the Picard clone. Picard, and Data, had to deal with the concept of “another me”. It helps if you forget Lore, however. Which is fine because Lore was just lazy writing anyway. Both dealt with their doppleganger differently and it was Data who helped with Picard’s uneasiness. It ended with one of the better Trek space battles on screen. And ultimately the characters grew some and moved on. It was totally appropriate for Data to be destroyed. He had pretty much grown and learned about being human as much as his programming would allow. And Spiner was aging out of the role anyway.
The Captain’s yacht was a device used in the underwhelming Insurrection. Which was a silly idea to begin with. Ending with Insurrection would have been like ending with All Good Things. Neither were very good and neither resolved anything for any character. And for the record, I can find issues galore with event the best of the Trek movies. They ALL have nit picks. Doesn’t make the movies terrible.
I still think the only people who complain about “Nemesis” are doing so because “The Undiscovered Country” was a better send off. It’s envy. Nothing more.
I’d agree that the undiscovered country was a beautiful send off for the original crew. It aimed high and scored higher with clear themes and an allegorical tale that dealt with both the final voyage of the original crew and the collapse of the USSR.
Well, it was the model designation for the LOST IN SPACE Robot in their episode, THE GHOST PLANET with that exact scene designating it reused in CBS’s NATIONAL SCIENCE TEST for a question on computer programming with Walter Cronkite shortly after it aired. No doubt both used for the pun on benign.
I’m sorry I have to agree with others here. I thought Nemesis was an abomination. To this day it is still my WORST Star Trek film to date easily.
And listen I think like many here I was genuinely excited for the movie. It looked dark which after First Contact was a good thing. I loved the fact the Romulans were going to be the antagonists of the film (or so I thought). Finally for the first time in a Trek film. I thought the Picard clone idea was interesting and would bring up a lot of philosophical issues. The action looked great. I didn’t really love the idea of the bad guys. Hell I can’t even remember their names but I was open to it. And it was an ‘even number’ movie, we all know all the even films are good.
And then I saw it. I couldn’t have been more disappointed with what I saw either. It was badly paced, the Argo scene was ridiculous, B4 was just an excuse to bring Brent Spiner back if they really really had to and I hated everything about Shinzon. So much build up over this character that they even gave him his own poster without the other stars. It was the first time they gave so much attention to a single villain before. Not even Khan had his own poster for TWOK and his name was in the title. And after all that he was terrible. Now I’m not saying Tom Hardy, he did the best he could (and kind of funny its now THE Tom Hardy) but the character was awful. On top of the fact he came off just creepy his motivation just made no sense. I still don’t understand how the Romulans treating him bad meant he should try to destroy the Federation…with some ridiculous super weapon. His reasoning just never made sense. They didn’t create him or treated him like crap. They didn’t know he even existed but the producers knew it has to be a villain who wants to destroy the Federation because movies so they just wrote that in there without any sense, rhyme or reason. And sadly every villain since has became the same tired boring end game. I had a bad childhood so now I want to destroy the Federation over it.
And lastly the whole WOK symbolism. The biggest eye roll for me. The whole build up to the ship about to destroy the Enterprise, Data self sacrifice, etc. I wish Star Trek would get off of the WOK thing. It was great in…WOK, now just move on. Of course I say this now with the insight STID would not only do the same thing but this time LITERALLY redo WOK ending down to using scene by scene beats. Yeah that worked wonders for the fan base. I know for the writers they have good intentions with this stuff but fans don’t want all this ridiculous fan service. Sometimes it works great and it works better on TV like Trial and Tribbulations did in DS9. But films are a different monster and most of us want to see original stuff or as much as possible. When Nemesis went that route, although not the end of the world, it was another bad decision. Maybe if the film was better or MAYBE if Shinzon’s sudden hate against Picard actually make a lick of sense like Khan did with Kirk I could buy it. The problem with the entire film is nothing in it made much sense to begin with and why it was such a bad film.
Nemesis had the potential to be great, it did. But they wrote an inane script with a lot of questionable scenes, made the whole thing depressing with a lot of unlikable characters. The only thing I liked in it was Janeway’s appearance and I know I’m in the minority of that. But I love stuff like that in Trek. The film however I didn’t love.
that poker game at the end showed how far picard had come.
How far did he have to walk from his office to the poker room? Was it really that far?
that moment was about picard still having one barrier to cross to his friendship with the other crew mates.
again, why this revisionism about what at the time was considered a brilliant series finale?
“All Good Things was simply terrible.”
And with that absurd statement, you just lost all credibility whatsoever.
Forgive me of preferring situations where the characters actually figure stuff out on their own without the ridiculous omnipotent Q telling them everything. It wouldn’t have even made for a good standard episode. Much less a series finale. Sorry. That finale was no better than Farpoint. Itself a rather weak episode. Feel free to love it. Your prerogative. But the fact that I expected more does not destroy my credibility. In fact, I’d say it solidifies it.
AGT falls apart upon scrutiny, but sometimes you just let things go because the ride is pleasant (which is why nobody gets their nose too far out of joint about Indy Jones apparently tying a bullwhip round a sub conning tower and riding the vessel 1000 miles without incident.) I’m bugged by certain aspects of AGT, but it ‘feels’ right — which I can’t say about much TNG.
I think it’s uncharitable to assume that the only reason people may dislike Nemesis is envy that Undiscovered Country was a better send-off for the TOS crew. You’re assuming people have the same experience you have watching Nemesis (or UC, for that matter), when some of us do not have that experience. People value different things in movies and they bring different life experiences to them.
I am glad you enjoy watching Nemesis. With the exception of a few bits like the wedding and the farewells at the end, I do not: I find the bulk of the movie pointlessly “dark”, and honestly kind of boring. It imitates the story structure of the Wrath of Khan, but in Wrath of Khan I felt every decision Kirk, Spock, Khan propelled the story forward in a way that kept me on the edge of my seat. In Nemesis, scenes felt shoe-horned in to meet arbitrary quotas for action (the dune buggy chase, Riker’s fight with the Viceroy) and drama (Troi’s mind-rape), and I was thus often bored. I could theoretically find a movie good if it had any of these elements, but they have to feel justified in the story to me. Troi’s mind-rape was especially disheartening to me because torturing a character like that should be a big deal, and in Nemesis it feels brushed off as a C-plot that only exists to give the film a secondary villain.
The basic premise of Shinzon also feels so contrived and unbelievable that it’s hard for me to get past in maybe the same way that Spock’s half-brother Sybok or Tasha’s daughter Sela are for others.
For me, Nemesis is my least favorite Trek movie, for these reasons. The send-off of the TNG crew aspect of it is actually one of the only parts I like.
I like Insurrection more than you seem to. Which is fine, I understand. To me, it’s a movie that clearly could have been more with higher stakes. I think it would have been great to see the Enterprise in a stand-off with another Federation ship, where neither wants to fire the first shot but knows they might have to. And I would have loved the film to climax with a speech by Picard to the Federation Council or some larger group, instead of a single Evil Admiral who says he’s authorized but feels like a lone wolf in the film since we don’t see anyone else.
Nevertheless, what’s onscreen still has the thoughtfulness and the charm of former TNG showrunner Michael Piller. A common criticism of Insurrection is that it feels like an extended episode, and I used to have that complaint, but these days that’s part of what I’ve come to appreciate about it.
All this beind said, the article author’s comment that Insurrection was a disappointment and Nemesis an embarrassment is probably referring to their box-office returns, not necessarily their quality. And from that perspective, he is just stating a financial fact and is correct.
“The article author’s comment that Insurrection was a disappointment and Nemesis an embarrassment is probably referring to their box-office returns, not necessarily their quality.”
I’ll give you that. I didn’t consider that side of it. Although I still think it unlikely given that “embarrassment” is normally not an adjective commonly used to reflect on box office.
It’s good you liked Insurrection. I know there are people who did. I sort of felt they were trying to capture a First Contact feel especially with Picard’s morality speech to the admiral guy. But it felt forced. Like they had to give Stewart a moment because the last movie was successful with one. I could go on and on but they would be picking nits. (like Riker using a joystick to fly the big E) The biggest thing was the fact that the Enterprise and Picard could have saved Ruafo to face justice. Instead they willfully left him to die. They were judge, jury and executioners. Something I do not recall ever seeing a Trek crew do.
Thanks for a thoughtful response, ML31.
The reason I think the article author meant box office returns (and not necessarily quality) for Insurrection and Nemesis is that the rest of that paragraph is about business stuff: TV ratings and the like. The author seems to be citing evidence that Trek was on the decline, in terms of popularity, from its peak at the height of TNG.
I agree the wording is ambiguous, but personally I’ve seen the term “disappointment” and “embarrassment” used elsewhere to describe financial failures because that’s a way for journalists to describe the studio’s reaction and make it feel more like a story and less like cold numbers. A movie that didn’t quite make as much as the studio hoped is a disappointment for them, a movie that lost a lot of money for them is an embarrassment, that kind of thing. I guess if the author chimes in, we’ll know.
Movies have marketing costs beyond production, and not all of the box office gross goes to the studios, so a rule of thumb I’ve heard is that a film should gross twice its production budget to break even for the studio.
Insurrection grossed $112 million worldwide on a $58 million production budget, so it probably broke even.
Nemesis grossed $67 million on a $60 million production budget, so it would have lost money.
This is not counting home video sales. I imagine a big reason the studio continues the Star Trek franchise even when they don’t get a First Contact-like hit is that the movies have a long shelf life. Here we are talking about movies from 14+ years ago, for example. :)
These charts are also an interesting showing of Trek’s downward trend in popularity, even while doing some of its best work, in my opinion, like Deep Space Nine.
Going back to the story discussion, I understand what you mean about Picard’s speech in Insurrection and about the manner of Ru’afo’s death. If you’ve seen the DVD special features, you probably know that Ru’afo originally died differently and the ending was changed with a reshoot. When they made the replacement ending, I guess they didn’t put enough thought into giving some plausible reason why Picard couldn’t save Ru’afo. And I would agree that the replacement ending unfortunately casts Picard and crew in a bad light.
If you’re interested in behind-the-scenes books, you might enjoy The Secrets of Star Trek: Insurrection by Terry J. Erdmann, or especially Fade In: The Writing of Star Trek Insurrection by Michael Piller (the movie’s author). They didn’t diminish and maybe even strengthened my opinion that the movie needed more Federation presence to have clearer stakes for the Enterprise crew to be up against, but I think reading them helped me make peace with the good-but-flawed movie on the screen and how it came to be that way. Also, I miss having new Star Trek a lot and thus have mellowed with age when it comes to my opinions on Star Trek that is good but not great, now that I have a greater appreciation for having good Star Trek in my life at all. :)
Maybe someday I’ll even mellow on Nemesis, haha…
I think there is a core story idea of nature vs nurture at the heart of Nemesis. Unfortunately it’s lost in a sea of ill judged ideas such as Lore, I mean B4, dirt buggies with an orange filter and a bizarre sacrifice at the end.
I would say the B4 was a far better idea than Lore. There was a lot to like in Nemesis and little to hate on. As said before, the Argo sequence was out of place. But it really wasn’t THAT big a deal. And the only reason B4 was an issue was because we’ve seen Data’s twin before. The difference is this time it was done well. Which is fine with me. Not sure how the sacrifice was bizarre, though. Seemed pretty reasoned to me.
It’s bizarre because time and again we’ve seen that shuttles have transporters. Not to mention that there’s the captain’s yacht to use. Also, the self destruct system is offline!!!! Puh-lease. Phaser the warp core or whatever.
Re: Phaser the warp core
Exactly, a phaser set to build up to overload (It was good enough to zap Trooper.) would get the job done and leave enough time to transport out.
Re: the Argo sequence was out of place. But it really wasn’t THAT big a deal
It is when you are trying to hold yourself out as a far more environmentally aware civilization than the one that had to save the whales.
Re: the only reason B4 was an issue was because we’ve seen Data’s twin before
No, the twinning issue was that Data, in trying to be more human, had rewritten is body map to “age”. It’s nonsensical that either the vain non-aging Lore or oblivious non-aging B4 would still be identical twins to the aging Data with his hundreds of years older head by the time of NEMESIS?
It was NOT done WELL as you assert.
Re: Not sure how the sacrifice was bizarre, though. Seemed pretty reasoned to me.
But Data’s limbs are detachable. Why couldn’t he just sacrifice a limb to the needed function instead of his entire being?
I can nit pick the best Trek movies too. The reason the Argo sequence was out of place was because it flew in the face of the Prime Directive. They said they were a pre-warp society. It had nothing to do with being “environmentally aware”. Please…
I recall in All Good Things he mentioned he added the gray to look older BECAUSE he doesn’t age. So if he did make himself “age” why add the gray? Let’s just forget about Lore. That was just plain dumb anyway. Besides… Spiner was playing both parts. Of course they looked identical.
He sacrificed himself because it was time. He knew it. Besides, if replacing his limbs was so easy why were there not tons of Data’s all over starfleet? The entire idea that it was impossible to reverse engineer Data was ludicrous anyway. Be we all went with that. Or how about the silliness of such an advanced computer incapable of using contractions? I agree there are nits to pick even in the best movies and episodes. Let’s try and stick with why the movie was bad. Because if you liked it, those nits wouldn’t matter to you.
Re: I recall in All Good Things
Wait a minute. You are going to try to refute Data’s NEMESIS aging conundrum by referring to an episode that you yourself find flawed with its giant red reset button which means the event you are trying to use never happened?
I, on the other hand, am referring to what was established in INHERITANCE 15 episodes back:
“LAFORGE: It’s part of her [Julianna android] aging programme. Not only does she age in appearance like Data, her vital signs change too. ” — Dan Koeppel and René Echevarria, ‘Inheritance’, episode, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
which explains why Data has a paunch and other signs of ageing compared to how he looked in the first episode. It does not explain why B4 looks identical to the “older” Data whose elapsed time indicator in his head indicates he’s much older (Hundreds of years due to his time travel and its moving forward in standard elapse time progression.) than anything similar that could possibly exist in B4’s. Nor does it explain B4’s paunch. Whether you want to argue B4 having an ageing programme himself or not, there’s no logical way to account for how he could possibly be age-synced identical looking to an “ageing” android built AFTER he was with hundreds of years under its belt.
Regarding using a sub par episode to make a point… It’s all supposed to be canon so even the worst episodes supposedly can be used to make points.
If he did have an “aging” program then it is one of a number of contradictions that appear in Trek.
The reason B4 looks like data is because Spiner is playing both parts. Most non nit pickers can accept that the two are identical because it’s the same actor. They weren’t going to spend thousands on CG head replacement just to please a guy on the internet. I’m very sorry tiny little nit picks are capable of ruining your enjoyment of a perfectly good movie.
Re: the Prime Directive
Its not an either/or. It was BOTH.
Apparently, unlike you, I recall numerous Picard pontifications about how the Federation learned not to foul its nest.
Name any other post warp society episode prior where Starfleet tore up a planet’s pristine undeveloped environment with an off-road 4-wheel vehicle travelling at high velocities?
Nothing in your post addresses anything I said. I don’t care about what Picard said in some forgettable episode. Nor have I ever whined about them driving on the planet like you have. Them driving around was not the problem. The problem was them appearing to a pre-warp (not post warp) society. Which I thought went against the prime directive. Only you are crying about them leaving tire tracks and ignoring the far far bigger picture there.
Re: replacing his limbs
Replacing his limb wasn’t my issue; maintaining his viable still able to contribute sentience, without discarding it senselessly due to a need to give in into to a random suicidal impulse because some nonsensical scriptwriter handwaving “told” him it was his time.
Impossible to reverse engineer? You mean except when you need to reassemble a brother or two or create a daughter? Besides the issue with Loll wasn’t the inadequacy of her limbs but her neural net’s inability to maintain her sentient mind. Also, how much of a limb would he have had to sacrifice to fire a phaser at the appropriate moment? One finger? Or he could have attached the phaser after setting it to build up to overload and beamed out with Picard.
I have to chime in on “. . . the Argo sequence was out of place. . .” My career is in the automotive world, and those scenes were so far and away out of place, it just did not belong in any Star Trek movie. They were Volkswagen pans on vehicles of an alien species on an alien planet and it made me say, “Uh oh” aloud in the theater and the rest of the flick didn’t really do much to win me back afterwards either. It was sloppy from the start.
I have to concur with the vast majority on this.
Nobody can tell you that you’re wrong to feel as you do, but you do have very unusual taste in movies. It just goes to show that every possible opinion, no matter how bizarre, is held by someone.
I wouldn’t say my taste in movies is so very off. The Wrath of Khan and Undiscovered Country were by far the best. And First Contact was the best TNG feature. I’d call those 3 the best three. How is that so off?
Those three titles seem to be popular with most when discussing the series, but popularity doesn’t guarantee quality of view or say anything about your tastes (of your three pics, I’d only include TWOK on my list of faves, along with TMP and TFF, which have their faults but also have many virtues I find absent in the Nimoy-directed and Nimoy-produced entries — I find very little of value in any TNG feature, and believe FC might be the biggest miss in terms of blowing a piece of TREK history, since they sidestep the whole issue of what Earth looks like post WW3, which visually should have been among the film’s biggest moments. You can’t get to the phoenix without showing the ashes first!)
TUC remains watchable, once you turn a blind eye to the character assassination on the two principles, but that is a big blind eye issue for me, and it took years for me to be okay with TUC’s for-the-sake-of-plotting transgressions.
No Nemesis wasn’t better than 3 and definitely not 4 of the TOS movies. That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it but you’d be in the extreme minority while holding that opinion. I actually like Nemesis (a lot more than others) and in no way do I think it was an embarrassment. I’ll watch Nemesis over all of the JJ verse movies everyday of the week and three times on Sunday but saying it’s better than most of the TOS movies? That’s an opinion I can’t wrap my mind around.
Fortunately I do not subscribe to wikiality. Popularity is does not = quality. Never has. Popularity often means catering to the lowest common denominator.
Nemesis was in no way better than any of the nine movies that preceded it, in my opinion (shared by a number of acquaintances); it was aggressively stupid and filled with gaping plot holes based in the foundational nature of the Trek universe itself. It had a good Goldsmith score and strong effects, but it was populated by morons wearing the faces of our beloved crew and strung along with mindless action sequences that required jettisoning both logic and established technology in order to occur. (Okay, I will admit I like the Scorpion escape). Its tone is dark, dismal, and unpleasant, its character crises contrived, and its ideas largely derivitive. In short, an embarrassment. Even Star Trek V, against which many of the same criticisms could be leveled, had a certain innate charm and warm tone to counteract its deficiencies. Nemesis lacked even that; for all their flaws, Generations and Insurrection don’t manage to sink to the same depth.
It seems we saw two entirely different movies. The Nemesis I saw was NONE of what you described. In fact, apart from the dark tone, it sounds like you are talking about The Voyage Home.
Yeesh, Nemesis was awful. I left the cinema completely perplexed, what with random dune buggies and who were those aliens shooting at them. Never mind, none of the TNG movies captured the spirit of the TV series. The rational science based show where reason overcame violence more often than not. As for Enterprise, the franchise was running on fumes and the series slipped into Voyager lite territory before the fan service final season.
I’m reading that the new show is based around a war with the Klingons. I’m gutted about this, Star Trek should be about exploring the final frontier. I wish the producers would go back and rewatch TOS season one. That’s the template, just bring the science and technology up to date.
Shame on CBS and Paramount for such weak 50th anniversary celebrations. Star Wars meanwhile has conquered all and seen the once mighty Trek slip into obsalece.
Here is my opinion on TNG. It really wasn’t very good. It had too much of Gene Roddenberry all over it. The only thing TNG had over TOS was the quality of lead actor. Stewart could act circles around anyone in any Trek show. Hands down. It was only his charisma that made the bad episodes even close to watchable. There were indeed some REALLY good TNG episodes. The problem was they were few and far between. The ratio of good eps to bad ones in TOS is actually quite good. But the opposite is true in TNG. Maybe that was a function of having 4 more seasons, I don’t know. But there were a LOT of stinkers in that series. In fact, DS9 was the vastly superior show of all the Trek spinoffs. But, without TNG there would be no DS9. So it does have that going for it…
And don’t get me started on the idiot idea of having families on board the star ship. That’s just ludicrous. So happy that ended when they replaced the USS Hilton with a much better looking starship.
Patrick Stewart IS a great actor. I definitely agree with that. But I would say Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal of Spock is in my opinion the best performance by any actor in any television series. He created a character that makes people feel so many things. In the hands of a lesser actor, Spock could have been a joke or a one note character, but he really became the person we all want to be. Logical, Loyal, intelligent, kind, compassionate, did I say intelligent and indestructible.
William Shatner’s portrayal of Kirk is also iconic and Bill brought his unique combination of humor and bravado to be so much more than typical TV or movie hero.
…and on Nemesis, I thought the Dune Buggy scene was about the most enjoyable scene in the movie. We sometimes forget these movies are meant to be entertainment. If everyone can just lighten up and enjoy them.
Re: the Dune Buggy scene was about the most enjoyable scene in the movie
And the biggest slap in the face to our beloved Director Nimoy’s returning Trek’s narrative to relevancy in making the audience aware of the catastrophe such foolish enjoyment wreaks in fouling the environment of our spaceship Earth.
NEMESIS also trashed the whole Ambassador Spock role set forth in the TNG series. Threw logic out the window, not only in the buggy use but in that while the series explained Data’s paunch and aging it never explained why B4 looked identical to his younger brother with his 400 and some odd years much older head? Why would a civilization with the mastery of gravity to the point of using it for space travel need to trash the surface of a planet for “fun” when they could fly or levitate right over it?
Well before NEM came out, I put forward the notion that the wheels on the buggy would get painted out by vfx, so it would have all the bouncing/jouncing action of a dune buggy but seem to be doing that jiggle on a cushion of air. I figured that was the LEAST they could do to stay somewhat true to trek aspirations, but hey, who knew if there was anybody riding shotgun on that production?
Still I think one of NEM’s biggest fails, the zero emotional impact of Data’s death (which is almost GEN-like in its failure to execute), could have been headed off very simply, by looking back to the film’s opening, when Picard tells Data to ‘shut up’ at the wedding. All Data needed to do was echo that remark while slapping that plot contrivance on Picard at the end before the Captain is beamed away, and you’d have had some teensy bit of resonance that Goldsmith could have made his score work for and it would have been SOMEthing rather than what we got.
Re: my opinion on TNG
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that TNG was bad so much as it was poor STAR TREK, in that he wasn’t even trying to resurrect it. I even recall several quotes where he said something to the effect that trying to resurrect the old show was madness. He intended to use TNG as he had the first series: to get shot down previous story ideas on the air. So what we got was the adventures of Questor in a PAX TEAM on a STRANGE NEW WORLD set on the trappings of a STAR TREK universe stage. I was disgruntled with TNG as STAR TREK but as that STEWART and SPINER SF show I tuned in and forgave it for more things than I would have if I thought of it as the 4th through 10th seasons of STAR TREK.
Also, I saw no evidence that Roddenberry was the source of the dictum that the written dialogue was so absolutely essential that no lighting, music, etc. should be the slightest bit “interesting” lest they risk losing the audience’s focus on the dialogue being spoken. A view rendered totally absurd by the invention of, and incessant insertion of, technobabble. I believe that’s all Berman.
TNG is my second favorite show after DS9. It did suck in the beginning and all those issues with Roddenberry are true. But once he got kicked off the show it became a much better show and why it became so iconic in its own right. I think if Roddenberry stayed though it probably would’ve been cancelled by its 3rd or 4th season.
Agreed, a lot of the production failings and writing shortcuts are on Berman rather than GR, which is borne out by how much things stayed the same post GR’s involvement. Poor taste and failure to adapt to changing times (and then doing so in a reckless and derivative way) is the way I think of Berman. Thank God he didn’t interfere much with DS9, or there probably wouldn’t be any aired Trek post TOS that I could unabashedly enjoy.
Only saw Nemesis once. It was as much an chore to get through as all of the other TNG movies. And what can I say about Gene “Frankenstein” Roddenberry’s monster, TNG? PLenty. But, ultimately, for me, the show was a whole lot of unrealized potential and technobabble, and frankly…from the writing and the acting…it just wasn’t that good. Sadly, more often than not, I found it to be excrutiatingly dull, with professional, but lackluster, production. Sure, TOS has some crazy episodes, but even the worst of the worst is watchable…or even, in cases like Spock’s Brain, enjoyable on a level completely different from the show’s intent. But, due to the actors, a wild premise, the colorful art design, the powerful muscical score…it can still be fun to watch. When TNG hit a stinker, or even the more common average episode…which was most of the time (and I know, because I labored through every season, hoping against hope that things would improve) it was just more medocrity (mixed with a heavy dose of Bermanized pretentiousness) wrapped in a pretty package. Of the hundreds of hours of TNG produced, I can count, on one hand, the epiosdes I’ve revisted over the years.
Whose stupid idea was it again to put Riker and Troi into the ENT finale?
I think it was Berman’s. I heard it sorta cheezed off the Enterprise cast, as well.
That finale was the absolute worst. Even worse than All Good things. And that was a though thing to do.
Ah Galaxy Quest – the greatest Star Trek movie that wasn’t actually a Star Trek movie. Love that flick. And oh, we don’t speak of the SW Special Editions. They exist the same way the Holiday Special exists – in that it doesn’t. Greedo shooting first, Han stepping on really, really bad CGI Jabbas tail, extra scenes of really really bad CGI monsters and jawas. Ugh.
It looked quite good (the restored CGI) in 1997. In 2017 it looks bad! We need at least another special edition to correct the special edition.
In some ways, I feel kinda bad that my first exposure to Trek was during the so-called “nadir” years typical of this era. Still I have fond memories of this time, watching Voyager in the early 2000’s probably formed my first true attachment to the Trek lore.
It was pretty painful to see Nemesis not living up to the hype and ENT effectively waning over the years.
There is nothing to feel ‘bad’ about. Voyager was loved by many people and its actually the show that brought other new fans such as yourself to the franchise like TNG did, just a smaller base. DS9 didn’t really do that but Voyager was designed that way from the beginning.
It is sad though that Star Trek last years kind of died a slow death but same time it was a franchise that was on for nearly 20 straight years. There is really nothing out there that did that outside of Law and Order. I dont count movie series like James Bond or Star Wars. One film every few years is not the same as new content for months at a time every year.
Obviously they went to the well too many times with Enterprise and I always say while Enterprise probably wasn’t a great show it was fatigue that killed it off too. I’m sure if they waited a few years and then put it on the reception wouldve been stronger even with the exact same show we got. And it was actually strong out the gate, Enterprise has one of the biggest seen pilots out of all the Trek shows. I don’t think it was the most watched but I think second place so people were curious for sure and I think wanted to see how a prequel would be handled. But it stumbled out the gate from then on and people were ready to move on much quicker than they probably wouldn’t be if they just didn’t have literally 500 hours of Star Trek in the last decade before it premiered. I include myself in that, I just didnt love the prequel idea to begin with, I still gave it a chance though but stopped watching after first season and you’re talking to someone who didn’t miss a single episode of Star Trek from TNG’s first episode to Voyager’s last. Even when I didn’t love all the shows I watched them all loyally. Enterprise was the first time my heart just wasn’t in it anymore and I think I represent a lot of people and why the ratings fell so quickly.
I always kind of laugh how both Star Wars and Star Trek both ended in the same year, 2005 and both prequels at the time with roughly the same reception by the time they were both done (although one still made about a billion dollars ;)). I think both fanbases thought that would be it for both for a long time if not ever. And then crazy enough they both came back in their own way, each by the same guy JJ Abrams. You can’t make this up. Sadly though while SW is hitting all cylinders Star Trek is in an iffy phase again but my guess is its not going anywhere anytime soon again, especially if Discovery is a hit.
but ENT actually went on top with its best set of stories in season 4.
that finale does not count though.
and picard’s last scene with riker is my fave part of ‘nemesis’, a call back to their first scene together in ‘farpoint’-
‘it was an honour to serve with you’
‘the honour was mine’
Nemesis was the nadir of the TNG crew’s movie adventures. And I thought it couldn’t get worse after Insurrection, which was a mess.
Does anyone remember that the shooting script for Nemesis was leaked to the internet several months before the movie was released? It was “annotated” by a mysterious poster called The Facer, and his snarky commentary was absolutely hysterical. From the script, it was plainly obvious that John Logan had no clue about what made Star Trek work, as the action description was filled with direct references to other movies.
Because of that, I wondered if the script may have been an elaborate fake… and then it turned out to be dead-on accurate.
That’s pretty much how I felt about STID
Good analysis; I enjoy the wordplay. A sad era- but at least it’s in the rear-view mirror. (And those Enterprise ratings are quite… illuminating. Having watched the series, I understand the massive dropoff. :-) But a shame that later seasons never recovered it.)
One very brief highlight of this era of “Trek” was William Shatner “crashing” the AFI Tribute to George Lucas. I’m sure most of you have seen it but search for it on You Tube, in case you haven’t.
It is very funny and has some fun “in jokes” for fans of both TREK and Wars.
Ahhh, yes the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation marked the beginning of the dark age of Star Trek.
Gone would be inventive stories, humor and whipping in a bit of a lesson that mirrored our world today and be replaced with a slow often ponderous story telling forcing us to learn a how to tie our sneakers by one dimensional mono emotional cookie cutter characters with assorted dysfunctions, all of which would bar one from being in Star Fleet in the first place.
The dilution of Star Trek would get worst with every new spin off clobbering us with endless recycled stories trying to be the TV version of intelligent Star Wars complete with half baked reason to have ship battles….and a new forehead alien of the week.
Creative thinking would be laid waste as fans insisted on extra amounts of techno babble with an imaginary strict adherence to cannon to propel us forward to often very anti climatic endings.
And then they couldn’t figure out why Star Trek was spiraling out of favor even with the most diehard of fans.
They created their own failure and damnit they are going to stand by it to the end.
Moral of the story, you shouldn’t have messed with the formula of the show just to please the fan boy’s who thought it was real and wanted to play space cadet.
Oddly the original still endures while the rest gets brushed to the side and forgotten.
Amazingly they are going to try it again, on the web none the less.
Will likely be the shortest run for the franchise.
Any way HAPPY NEW YEAR and Keep on Trekken!!!
why this revisionist view of the merits of TNG?
it was a great show by its third season and begat ds9, also raising the bar in the 90s for the kind of sf tv we would get later on.
TNG reached a certain level of watchability third season, but for me never sustained that again. Then again, they didn’t have time to rewrite the scripts into mediocrity as much third season, so these shows are less diluted than most. Plus you have a messed up gestalt of good people working in bad circumstances and leaving (like Snodgrass and Behr) and new blood like Moore arriving, so the conditions weren’t ever again like that during the ModernTrek (what I guess I should now call BermanTrek) era.
It isn’t revisionist to criticize a show you never particularly liked, and I never liked TNG much. It ruined and threw away its best SF notions, like the neutron star and space pollution, and trivialized a lot of what should have been emphasized, in favor of … of well, what we got.
Agreed about DS9, and believe that and B5 probably helped get us FIREFLY and nuBSG among others.
but there are lots of great eps running through the series up to ‘all good things’ including ‘the drumhead’, ‘reunion’ ‘the wounded’, ‘the inner light’, ’cause and effect’, ‘chain of command’, ‘the pegasus’ and ‘parallels’
‘nemesis’ should have marked a turning point for the franchise with a accommodation with the romulans found just as TUC brought us khitomer.
but the shinzon/b-4 thing gets in the way.