Alex Kurtzman Hopes Gene Roddenberry Would Be Proud Of Star Trek’s Endurance

Alex Kurtzman began his connection with Star Trek as a co-writer and producer on J.J. Abrams’ first two Star Trek feature films, and was later tapped to co-create Star Trek: Discovery. He now heads CBS’ growing Star Trek: Universe, overseeing the creation and development of multiple Trek TV shows. In the recently released Star Trek: Picard – Official Collector’s Edition from Titan, the executive producer opens up about how much the franchise has taken over his life and his hopes that creator Gene Roddenberry would be proud of the work.

Kurtzman is dreaming Star Trek

In the official Star Trek: Picard guide, Alex Kurtzman talks about how hands-on he is with the different Star Trek series:

I very much enjoy it. My involvement, it’s not just in the writing of it. I post all the shows, so that means I cut them, and I’m involved all the way down to the color timing and mixing. That’s a lot of work. But… I’ll show you how I enjoy it. My wife and son actually deliberately like to stay out of any knowledge of what I’m doing until it airs. So, when it airs, we all sit down and watch together, and I see it fresh through their eyes, which is really fun, because it’s the culmination of all the work, and now we get to sit together as a family and enjoy it. And, in a funny way, isn’t that what Star Trek has always been about? People sitting together as a family and loving it?

I’m now at the point where I’m eating, breathing, dreaming Star Trek. And I love it! I love it for one reason. The work itself is very challenging, but it’s also some of the most satisfying work I’ve ever done, and I think that the reason why is because I’m recognizing and seeing in so many people that I meet how critically important it is to their lives. I see that Star Trek has influenced people’s lives in a real way. It’s not just a form of entertainment. It’s an inspiration for the kind of people they want to be, or the kinds of things they choose to pursue in their careers or the principles they want to live by. That’s put such a tremendous responsibility on our shoulders to deliver and to maintain that message.

Alex Kurtzman at Star Trek Universe panel, San Diego Comic-Con 2019

Hopes Roddenberry would be proud

Here is what Kurtzman had to say when asked how he thinks a hypothetical meeting with the late Gene Roddenberry would go:

It’s funny. I think about that, actually, probably more frequently than I should [laughs]. I hope that he recognizes that, well… First of all, he’d probably take issue with me for the amount of conflict the characters have. I know that was a big thing he struggled with on Next Gen. But my hope would be that he would recognize now, from his grand perspective in the sky, how much that opened the door for Star Trek’s endurance, and how much it’s iterated and changed and yet has remained, I believe, very true to his vision. There isn’t really a day that goes by where we don’t think very consciously about how he would want the messaging of Star Trek to go, and is what we’re doing consistent with the messaging of Star Trek, as he envisioned it? It’s really important to all of us. I hope he would appreciate it. I hope he would be proud.

Star Trek: Picard Official Collector’s Edition Book

Titan’s 100-page behind-the-scenes guide to Star Trek: Picard features interviews with stars Sir Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner (Data), Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Marina Sirtis (Troi), plus the new cast members Isa Briones (Dahj/Soji), Michelle Hurd (Raffi), Harry Treadway (Narek) and many more. In addition to Kurtzman, the guide also includes interviews with showrunner Michael Chabon and director Hanelle Culpepper.

It is available at Amazon now in hardcover for $14.01 or as an e-book for $10.94.

The full first season of Star Trek: Picard is available now on CBS All Access. If you haven’t yet subscribed, you can get a free month: CLICK HERE to try CBS All Access FREE for 1 month. Use code ALL to redeem. 


Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news at TrekMovie.

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tom riker

kurtzman wont win over the haters… but i think he’s done a great job and not just him but all the other writers and showrunnewrs… when you hear them talk you know they LOVE star trek… but bring on season 3 of DISCO already… i hate not knowing when it’s coming

Yeah, I don’t get the haters, either. Godzilla is a guilty pleasure, all of them. The analogy here basically is if it’s not a guy in a rubber suit, it’s not Godzilla.
It’s not hard to figure out – if you prefer the vintage Trek, great. If you prefer BR Trek, also great….but it’s all Trek.

kmart

Is it valid to weigh in with a negative opinion on it if you feel the writing is amateurish and often downright stupid? That except for the casting of Mount, I don’t feel really good — as in enthusiastic — about any creative call that has made on these shows? Now that I’ve actually seen all of dsc s2 and PICARD, my earlier ops about DSC s1 just seem utterly reinforced. Even when they lay out creative beats that include moments that SHOULD work, they somehow don’t realize the dramatic potential of them, the weighing of suspense vs. surprise, and especially they mess up with the talking everything to death in advance of action. This is stuff that would get called out as amateur hour in screenwriting 101, let alone THE WORLD OF STAR TREK.

The Collector

Hear hear, Kmart.

albatrosity

wooo :claps approvingly:

Holden

I’m not as down on the newer shows as you, Kmart, but that point about “suspense vs. surprise” is a great one. A lot of newer films and TV shows (not just Trek) seem to confuse the latter with the former, as the latter is often much easier to write (and also can help cover up plot holes better).

kmart

I actually learned the ‘suspense vs surprise’ thing years after I did my first zero-budget film writing, and I came across it in quotes from Harve Bennett. He cites Laurel & Hardy, saying you either show the banana peel before somebody slips on it, so there is anticipation, or you don’t show it at all till after, so it comes as a shock. It kind of explains why TFF doesn’t work all that well, as it relies too much on surprises and not enough on the suspense.

Pretty sure the quotes are in MAKING OF ST2 and CAPTAIN’s LOG, the ST 5 making of book, or perhaps STAR TREK INTERVIEWS.

Boze

Yes, it’s Star Trek too. And that’s the problem. If it was called, say, “Tales Of The Future”, nobody would even bother to spit in its general direction. Most of “haters” would probably think “Hey, that wasn’t half bad for a random no-name show.”

Discovery and Picard aren’t despised because of what they are. They’re despised because of what they could’ve (and should’ve) been. The “Star Trek” name raises big expectations – and “Kurtz Trek” simply doesn’t fulfill.

The Collector

Nail hit firmly on the head there.

Imagine Star Trek Discovery, same cast, different ship design, set post Dominion War, a battle hardened but weary crew putting down arms and becoming explorers again.

Opportunity sadly missed.

Baxter

Completely

tom riker

Completely wrong… Any slings and arrows tossed to DISCO or Picard from the never TREK brigade is the same same same SAME SAME SAME thing that fans of TOS said about TNG and fans of TNG/TOS said about DS9. You think you’re all being clever and supportive but it’s the opposite… you’re repeating what your dad and grandfather did 30 years ago or you’re just really old. Like I said he will never win you guys over like ds9 to this day hasn’t won over some of those 80s 90s angry trekkies… It’s 1995 and they stubbornly declared it’s not star trek, there’s conflict, if you call it something else that’s fine but it’s not my star trtek (stomping food on ground.)… same same same… many DS9 fans today were born after ds9 premiered… styles changed and DS9 with it’s different structure fits right in… luckily trek lives because of forward and different thinking… it stays trek and stays modern and keeps moving forward. and again it’s like talking to nerdy brick walls… so i’m not in any way trying to convince the stubborn army of the whine of what is what… just pointing out you’re no different than all the others in the passed half century declaring that “it’s not star trek”… every time you say it i imagine some 80’s nerd in a mullet and washed out ripped jeans whining that the enterprise can’t split into two parts… OMG they got so angry… wait there’s conflict in DS9? NOOOOOOO!!!!!!

alphantrion

The thing is tom riker, I think everyone here wants Trek to “move forward” as you put it, but this can be done better than what we have got so far. Most of the criticisms I’ve heard here, especially regarding the writing, seem valid and I don’t think it is as simple as “being new” that is gonna make Trek good. It also needs to keep its strong writing and more focused approached to its story. You can make a good serialized show and you can make a modern show, but so far I have only seen glimpses of these in the new Trek. There is potential, but something seems to be missing.

Tiger2

Exactly alpantrion!

What gets frustrating at times is that people seem to want to pretend these shows are perfect or infallible when we all know that’s not true. And of course you can say that about every show or film out there. All people are doing are just expressing where the show has problems and if enough of us point it out the producers might agree and make changes for the positive, which to give Kurtzman lots of credit here, he has done that. That’s exactly why I am very supportive because he can recognize that. And of course they all done it, but he is one of the few people who said he reads every piece of criticism and ponders on it. It doesn’t mean he’s going to change any time someone on Twitter or Reddit spouts off about something but its nice they take the criticisms to heart and doesn’t just shrug them off like other TV producers have done.

And clearly its working. Discovery felt like a very different show in many ways in its second season. And nearly all the changes were met positively. But yes the show still has a ways to go but at least it’s going the right direction.

And again, I always think of the irony every time someone says, ‘well look how much trekkies hated TNG, DS9, etc’ back then. I mean that’s the POINT!! Many fans didn’t like them, not just because they were ‘new’ but also because the writing was still subpar. Fans complained, writers took in what they said, made changes and then fans slowly but surely got on board because the shows simply got better.

So what is the difference today? This is what drives me nuts. They seem to act like these shows just suddenly became beloved without mentioning the amount of crazy work and changes it took them to GET fans to love them. Before Discovery, I would argue DS9 made the most significant changes out of any shows by adding the Dominion as a permanent villain and serializing the show. None of that was remotely the game plan at the beginning. And that only happened because most fans simply didn’t feel there was enough urgency happening on the station, the Bajoran-Cardassian conflict wasn’t that interesting enough to most fans and that they still wanted characters to do more things off the station. So they spiced it WAY up from third season on and then threw in Worf in fourth season to get more TNG regulars to watch the same way Pike and Spock was thrown on Discovery for TOS fans.

But that’s the irony about mentioning DS9. It only shook things up on that level because fan feedback was telling them they needed to shake it up beyond a crisis of the week story which TOS and TNG famously did. Because the station DIDN’T go anywhere, they had to find ways to heighten the drama to make fans care about a space station literally in the middle of nowhere…and they did.

But if they didn’t listen to fans, I highly doubt we would have the show today that we ended up getting. It doesn’t mean it would’ve been worst but it certainly wouldn’t be the same show. And looking at where Discovery is now (literally) versus where it was just two short seasons ago its clear we will be saying the same thing whenever that show ends.

ML31

Tiger, I do believe that DS9 was intentionally made to be different from TNG. But after the first season they came up with the Defiant in an attempt to give them the ability to more easily leave the station. I don’t think that was in response to fans. I think that was in response to how they felt the first season went. In fact, I think most of the things they did on DS9 were less because of fan input and far more because they felt the new direction would be better for the show.

I do think it a fine line for how much fan input you want to listen to vs what the showrunners want to do to make a good show in their view. My opinion is that in general, it’s probably better to NOT listen to fans. But that is certainly not an absolute.

kmart

tom riker, why are you going on that it is this series vs that series? It’s about whether the hour you’re watching is any good. Most TNG seems mediocre at best to me, but there are good ones. DS9 has a lot more good ones and took some much-needed chances, but I’ll never watch a Trill-centric episode of any series based on what I’ve seen before. This is about good stuff and bad stuff.

ML31

Kmart, I tend to agree regarding TNG and DS9. I find the bulk of the TNG episodes to be mediocre at best. Yes, there are some real good ones. But I agree that DS9 took more chances and ended up with more good episodes.

Lemonwolf

Tom Riker you couldnt be more wrong.
I loved every Trek show, started with TOS and liked TNG right away, same with DS9,VOY and Enterprise.
I loved them all because i approached the shows with an open mind. Of course there were differences between the shows but the concept was always the same. It always felt like the next show was part of the Trek universe. We saw many different aspects of the Trek universe in the old shows but it always felt cohesive and it was about a future where humankind had grown out of its infancy. A future to aspire to with great characters, wonderful writing and a general positive view.
But with DSC and especially Picard its radically different.
These shows are nothing but a mockery. Everything is wrong there. The characters, their motivations, the story, the visuals, the language. Its all too contemporary,edgy,gory and quite frankly boring.
Most characters are totally unrelatable and downright annoying.
And lets talk about all that cursing….Whats that about? It makes no sense and its written in such a disrespectful and awkward way that i really feel lots of vicarious embarrassment when watching it. Its terribly cringy. Picard is nothing but a dark dystopia with a bleak view of the future. If i want to watch a show like that i can literally watch any other generic scifi show. DSC and Picard lack what made Star Trek great. Its a space soap opera that takes too many elements from Game of Thrones and various other shows and movies. It lacks originality and the writing is just so bad, its absolutely atrocious. Whats most depressing is that they bring back beloved characters from the past and totally ruin them or they kill them off. Seven is no longer Seven, shes a grumpy drunk and bitter murderer. Well done writers….. What were they thinking? Space flowers…..wow that was just so stupid! Elrond the space elf that served no purpose in the show other than being a plot device. Raffi with her constant JL’s,ugh what an insufferable character. Same with Jurati, a boring character with no substance. Why did Maddox send Soji on the Borg cube in the first place? What happened to all the scientists and workers on the Borg cube? Where did they go? Drones can survive in the vacuum of space, why did Seven not beam them back? Whats with that silicon based Virus that killed Rikers son? What the actual fu..? A silicon based Virus would need life based on silicon to. If something like a silicon based virus would exist it could not use the cells of carbon based lifeforms to replicate itself. Why? Because there is no silicon in the cells of carbon based life forms. In the old shows they really tried to make the science somewhat believable. Its safe to assume that Trek inspired tech like tablets etc. With the new shows the technobabble is based on nothing but nonsense and you know that the writers think they are geniuses because after long tech nonsense come lines like “This is the power of math people! or “I like science.” Its so cringy!!! Ok i stop for now otherwise i will bring up so many examples that it would take an hour to read my comment. And no if DSC and Picard had any other title i would still think that they suck because its badly written television.

BuzzCagney

It’s fair to call out bad when it’s bad. TOS and TNG both had real stinker episodes. But at least they also had real stand out episodes too. Television that have stood the test of time.
Kurtzman produces mostly forgettable TV. Like a microwave dinner, sure it may fill a hole but it certainly isn’t very nourishing.

Star Trek Fan

Completely wrong? Wilfully choosing to ignore the reasons why STD and STP are criticised, means you have no idea of what you’re talking about in your posts.

Please, go on conflating two separate things

Jeff

More proof that the guys in charge aren’t thinking about the bigger picture, but only what seems cool in the moment.

Star Trek Fan

Your analogy sucks because it isn’t true. STD, STP and Short Treks are criticised because the writing is terrible

drij

Because His version of trek is 25% not Star Trek.

kmart

It’s the 88% that’s not good that bothers me, a lot more than the branding.

Star Trek Fan

Polarising the fanbase into apologists and critics isn’t evidence of doing a so-called good job

A young Roddenberry, probably. A later in life Roddenberry, not a chance. The Roddenberry discussed in the WOK thread was self absorbed, more worried about himself then the franchise.

Tiger2

Well I’ll say something positive before all the negativity, infighting and the rage begins but I do believe him when he says he loves and enjoys Star Trek today. It seems obvious he has embraced it on a wide level because its a franchise that you can do practically anything with and it must be a lot of fun to dream up stories and come up with so many fantastical ideas. The hard part obviously is dreaming up GOOD and CONSISTENT stories and probably where he gets into trouble with some fans. ;)

And although I still don’t like his shows that much, I completely accept them. I’m totally onboard with Picard even if first season still had many flaws and plotholes but showed real potential going forward. I’m mostly just happy to be in the post-Nemesis era finally. They didn’t need to bring back a single old character including Picard himself and I would’ve been just as excited about it. But I am happy they did decide to do that and it’s feeling like a nice reunion to see so many other characters back from the various shows and can’t wait to see who shows up next or where the show is going (hopefully somewhere with better writing ;)).

Discovery has easily been a lot more mixed for both me and the fanbase in general but I will say all the changes Kurtzman made from first season to second proves A. they are listening to fans at least and made appropriate changes in areas many people complained about and B. they desperately want to get it right. Season 2 was a vast improvement even if still highly flawed with some bad character and story arcs but it DID improve and not get worse. And they did an amazing job with characters like Pike and Spock. Section 31, not so much. And yes I am still very excited to see how it will deal being so far in the future. In some ways this excites me more than Picard did.

And finally I don’t think most Star Trek fans cared about the no conflict rule. Most seem to feel the opposite and it was stupid and unrealistic to begin with. All the writers have said it made writing Star Trek harder and partly why TNG struggled early on. But that rule has basically been ignored in TNG since third since third season and was completely abandon in every show from DS9 through Discovery. So even if people have issues with Kurtzman’s version of Star Trek I don’t think that’s one of them.

Hopefully in time the shows will simply get better and he can prove Star Trek will live long and prosper for the next decade. It’s STILL very early but I’m honestly rooting for the guy even though I do really miss the former era of Star Trek. But I want to love these shows as much he says he loves making them. Hopefully it will happen sooner than later.

DeanH

Well said Tiger2 and a well articulated critique. Whether I agree or not is not really relevant – all fans whether they like what they are seeing with Discovery, Picard and Short Treks or they hate it, feel what they feel so who is to argue with those feelings. IMO I think most legacy fans who have watched TOS through to Picard can strongly relate to many of the thoughts you communicated above. Of course there are those loud voices on social media who resoundingly hate everything that CBSAA has done, but I don’t personally know any of them. Every one of my friends, family members and other peers who are Trek fans, like, really like or are at worst luke warm to what we have seen over the past three years and that is why I appreciate your representative post. The new shows are far from perfect. That said, the passion is clearly there and I choose to be optimistic that the shows will continue to improve. For now, I am looking forward to what they come up with for the crew of the Starship Discovery in the 31st century. LLAP and stay healthy everyone.

Tiger2

Thank you DeanH!

At the end of the day we just want a good show that we can relate to and entertains us. And while maybe not EVERY Trek show or film does that, clearly enough of it does if you been a fan for decades and reading this now. We all get the skepticism when something new comes along and Trek doesn’t have the greatest history for getting it right out of the gate. But most of us feel all the shows has improved with time and changes on some level, its only a degree of how much it improved. For me, I felt every single show got better from TNG through ENT so I think its only fair (for me anyway) to give these shows the same chance and time to be better.

And maybe they won’t improve, but again, Discovery DID get better and I will argue it was better over most shows in their second seasons but that’s just my opinion. Picard is not EXACTLY in the same boat of Discovery. I don’t feel it needs to ‘prove’ itself so much as it just didn’t reach the potential most of us was hoping. But yes for others they simply felt it didn’t capture the spirit of TNG which the writers kept promising it would and that’s valid too. But its still has lots of time to get there.

I just feel if you were one of those people who thought TNG sucked early on and DS9 just felt like it belonged in another franchise entirely only to embrace them both by the end, then I think we should give these shows a bit more leeway too. But you can STILL be very critical of course because as its been said a thousand times, the classic shows improved BECAUSE fans complained. And as you pointed out there is a difference between having legitimate gripes but being civil and constructive about about it versus the morons on Youtube who are just stirring up total hatred for anything Kurtzman Trek while spreading BS rumors for clicks. Not all of us are in that boat.

I have no problem saying what was on my mind with these shows and its exactly why I think Discovery had a better second season than first even if a lot of it still wasn’t great. I’m hoping third season really hits it potential now that its free to do whatever it wants!

The Collector

As a critic of the more recent ‘Star Trek’ series, I have to be fair to Kurtzman and say that he shouldn’t be blamed entirely for the dumpster fire that is Star Trek Discovery. Brian Fuller’s disastrous choice of setting, magic mushroom drives and crowbarring in Michael Burnham as Spock’s adopted sister should draw more ire from suffering Trek fans.

Tiger2

Yeah that all goes to Fuller unfortunately. Maybe the execution would’ve been better at least if he could’ve ran the show first season but I really doubt it. He’ll always be the guy that gave us those bizarre looking Klingons when no one was complaining about the old ones.

That said, they could get rid of the spore drive easily and they don’t seem to want to part with it at all, even when the show seem to suggest it was going away. So they were for some of these things themselves. At least that will finally be in a century it makes sense to be in. ;)

kmart

Hold on a sec, Kurtzman was on this pre-Fuller as the Trek honcho, so anything Fuller cooked up, had to get Kurtzman’s approal. If all these creative choices are Fuller’s, then the responsibility has to be shared, because Kurtzman didn’t order him back to the drawing board. Or maybe he only hired Fuller to mine his notions and then depose him. Maybe that was what happened with Meyer too — or did they just hire him to be able to say they had him on the team?

Way too much unknown about early days — shoot, all the days — of DSC’s development. Some of that may be due to how information has been controlled, with precious little in the way of journalism on the b-t-s aspects, since access seems to have been limited to PR-oriented stuff. Shoot, in a couple weeks it’ll mark 3 years since I first inquired about doing DSC VFX and cinematography stories for two very legit (and one longstanding) print magazines, and I never secured a single interview about DSC in the many months I chased it, even though more than one VFX vendor plus an in-house person all confirmed they would be happy to participate.

My hat will be off to whatever Trek equivalent to Ronan Farrow manages to unearth the inside story — even if it turns out to be much ado about nothing. But if you just look back to TMP and TNG for all the trouble in their creation, I think the answers about DSC will likely be nearly as fascinating.

The Collector

I didn’t know that, Kmart. Point about Kurtzman retracted lol.

alphantrion

Yeah, the BTS stuff of Discovery in that first year seems on par with all the BTS shenanigans TNG had in its early days. I am just speculating here kmart, but I feel like there was a totally different reason for the involvement and then un-involvement of Nick Meyer. It could be that either they found his ideas too old-fashioned (wasn’t Andre Bormanis also part of the writers room at this stage?) too un PC or a mixture of both.

kmart

I was just idly musing about Meyer while letting my cynicism show. The only stuff I remember reading about him doing actual writing work on the show was that he originally wrote or was assigned ep 2, the binary star one. And I think that was reported here as well as trekbbs.

My first takeaway on DSC was that they were maybe going to be in LORD JIM territory with the main character. In Conrad’s book, a moment of cowardice haunts the character’s whole life (something I find fascinating, and which makes, for me, Harriman — who may well have gone done in Starfleet history as TheGuyWhoGotKirkKilled — the great unexplored character of Trek history, and contributes to why I find the post TUC environment the one I’ve always been most anxious to explore), whereas here, Burnham could have been haunted by the fact that her snap judgement on the Klingon cost so many lives.

I’d think Meyer could have been hooked by any allusions to Conrad (and I’m not being a literary snob here, I can barely read any Conrad, most of my knowledge of his work has been second-hand, though I did spent a torturous amount of time having to read HEART OF DARKNESS in high school), and maybe that was a wrong turn with this bunch, at least after Fuller was gone. Maybe Meyer’s work wound up on the scrap heap soon after Fuller left, or it could be as you said, he proved too old-fashioned for them.

I was surprised to see that he has been more active than I expected in the last decade and with some good notices too; I haven’t been taken by any of his post TWOK stuff myself, but I do love what he did with that and I liked his MAKING OF LOVE STORY book (THE LOVE STORY STORY, you don’t find it around too much anymore) and adore his novel CONFESSIONS OF A HONING PIGEON, which came out right before he did TREK and touches on a lot of the mortality themes in a similar fashion (and the book is also funny as hell.)

DIGINON

Maybe someone at Secret Hideout has read your comments here where you basically trash almost every aspect of the shows. Of course, it’s your privilege to do that but it might explain why they don’t get back to you about those stories. I mean why waste time talking to someone who loathes what you’re doing?

kmart

Dig,
Well, even if they did read the comments here, it didn’t stop them from letting me cover PICARD’s VFX for the upcoming summer issue of VFX VOICE magazine.

And, for the record (which is borne out by my having covered tons of films and shows that I thought were bad or just flat-out disliked), my personal opinions don’t enter into my journalism, else it wouldn’t be journalism — it’d be Fox News.

DIGINON

So they do allow such BTS stories after all.
I like reading about this stuff. If Trekmovie posts a link or an excerpt when it’s released I will check it out. I guess I’m not interested enough to actively follow any VFX-themed magazines. When I was younger I dabbled a little in CGI myself but it was never really any good ;-) It’s still fun looking at some of my old stuff that hasn’t been lost to dying hard drives.

kmart

They have allowed some for PICARD (not many so far), but I haven’t seen anything in any of the industry trades about DISCOVERY, which has been around longer, just the ‘authorized’ CBS stuff and convention panels where stuff is monitored. CBS may have alienated some places in the process; about six months into chasing DSC initially, my first two outlets both gave up. About five months after THAT, I got something from CBS saying they would ‘consider’ doing a future story with ONE of those magazines. I checked back with that editor and got a scoffing NO WAY! from him.

In writing this just now, I was reminded that the burning bridges thing had happened in a different more signficant way for TREK previously. Because freelancers were treated so badly early on during TNG s1, things reached a point where most agents had stopped submitting their writers for pitch sessions (and this was well before the strike), because nobody felt it was worth the bother (maybe the only time in TREK history when perception of the show was so dire.)

I was looking for an agent at the time (this was at least 18 months before the open submission policy happened under Piller, and closer to two years before I heard about it), and actually got two replies from agents who actually took the trouble to read my spec in its entirety, and both said the same thing: ‘you have a throwaway reference to the original series included, and that is enough to make sure they will refuse to consider it.’ (there was a scene when the ship receives what they believe is an overreaction alert for the sector, given the situation, and Riker cracks wise that, “Somebody must have lost a tribble.”)

The fact that more than one agent seized on that specific aspect made me think that all those reports we were hearing about the show’s b-t-s issues had to be true. I tried a real desperation move, sending treatments to the home address of a story editor on TNG, but she quite rightly refused to open them, though she was very kind in calling me and reminding me of WGA rules about that stuff. But when you hear stories of people succeeding by throwing a script into somebody’s backyard, you figure, ‘Why not me?’ (I did get in to pitch a couple years later, but that’s another story.)

ML31

Tiger, I would argue the extent of the 2nd season of Discovery being better than the first. Yes, I cannot deny it was better. But it was still pretty awful. The changes that were a consequence of fan input were cosmetic. Quite frankly, this fan would have more easily accepted the cosmetic inconsistencies had the overall story arc been any good. I suspect I am not alone in that.

AllenWrench

Well. That answers some questions I had.

Danpaine

Well, the endurance of the brand is not in question, and he evidently loves the subject matter and the work. However, overall thus far I’ve found the writing to be muddled and overly melodramatic, the storytelling bland and weak, the characters mostly one-dimensional and cliched. What we’ve seen so far is pretty unimpressive, imo. Not hating, just one guy’s opinion. I really want to love these shows, I just…don’t.

Faze Ninja

I don’t agree with his vision of Star Trek but I respect what he’s trying to do for the brand.

The haters will keep throwing shade and he keeps on giving.

He won’t win you over but at least he loves his job.

Lukas

He might love the subject matter and the work but he definitely doesn’t understand it or what it’s about. I’ve been rewatching TNG lately and nothing I’ve seen since the end of Enterprise (not counting the finale of course) comes close to that level of writing.

DIGINON

To be fair, even with Roddenberry and several other Trek veterans on board, it took TNG about 50 episodes until it started to get a little more consistent in terms of quality. The writers needed time to figure out how to do this new show that was markedly different from TOS. Similar thing with DS9 which needed several seasons to really find its rhythm. I’m not sure about VOY. Some people seem to think it improved when Kes left and Seven joined. For ENT, it seems to be season 3 or, for some, even season 4 where they think it got better. Why does it seem to take Trek shows so long to fire up?

Even though it’s been 2 shows and 3 seasons by now Kurtzman and co have “only” done about 40 episodes in total. Like TNG (and DS9 after it) they wanted to shake up the formula and try something new. I think they are still figuring out how to do this new type of Star Trek. Sometimes it works and you get a pretty good episode, some are unremarkable, and some are outright bad. Hopefully, with more experience, they will produce less outright bad and more pretty good or even great episodes. DSC and PIC will most likely never be like any of the previous shows. So much seems certain. So some fans may never warm up to them (like some fans never warmed up to some of the previous shows). But hopefully, the writers will figure out how to tell the kind of Star Trek show they want to make, and do it well.

Cmd.Bremmon

I hate to say it, but basically they waited for Roddenbery to leave because he was dying (1990/1991). Then suddenly the bag guys aren’t the Ferengi (yep, the ultimate “bad” guy for TNG was supposed to be the capitalist Ferengi) but a collective unimind. The ship gets a Chief Engineer.
Ds9 then takes the TNG rulebook and completely ignores it all, almost symbolically (dare I say joyfully?) blasting the Galaxy class Odyssey into a thousand pieces with it.

Lukas

I didn’t really have an issue with the Dominion War Arc, we’ve known ever since the Roddenberry era the Federation has gone to war a few times since it’s inception, the Section 31 concept bothers me now that I’m a bit older though, completely against everything Star Trek/the Federation stands for.

In response to the other shows taking a few seasons to fire up, that was common back then, these days with the amount of pre-planning of a season long arc it just shouldn’t be the case. Besides the issue isn’t the production value I.E the quality of the sets, VFX etc it’s the fact the writers just don’t seem to get what Star Trek is about.

Star Trek Fan

Not true. TNG always had that which makes it TNG, from very the beginning. By season 2 it pretty much is what the show would be.

Same goes for DS9. In that first season, they did several episodes that showed they had the rhythm and then season 2, just like with TNG, solidified that.

Another reason why both shows “suddenly” got good in their later seasons is because of their showrunners being not only capable writers but the right person for the job.

Sofar, no one at Secret Hideout has this quality and no single episode has shown an overall great promise indicating the elusive rhythm has been located

ML31

Part of that I think was because TOS had something special from the get go. They successfully captured lightning in a bottle and other shows have been trying to recapture that magic ever since. But none have ever been able to match it. Yes, there have been a number of good shows and even decent characters. But as good as many of them were, they still were unable to match the Kirk Spock McCoy chemistry. I think DS9 succeeded the best because I think they were the only show to not even really try.

ML31

It just goes to show that love of the product doesn’t mean you should be making it.

Sully

Anymore clueless and this man would be Alicia Silverstone.

Baxter

Bwahahaha

Faze Ninja

Star Trek has endurance, that is no question. He has done wonderful work for the brand and fans should be happy there is Star Trek at all to begin with.

I don’t like all of it but most of it is descent enough to be watchable. Picard was perfect and Discovery was polarizing at best.

Gene Roddenberry would be proud of him. Deserves a pat on the back.

I want to be positive in a sea of negativity.

Calastir

Are you kidding? Gene has been spinning in his grave ever since season 4 of TNG!

kmart

Thought he was only spinning in his grave since they hauled his ashes to low earth orbit! (I’m a nut for zero-gravity humor … it’s something that weighs me down in life.)

Datamat

It either evolves or it dies. Roddenberry died and he wouldn’t even understand today’s world, just as much as some of us wouldn’t understand life before the internet.

The Collector

Wow… “wonderful work”… I’m glad some people take enjoyment from it.

Jeff

I wish they could get some realistic lighting on these sets instead of the annoying “spotlights everywhere you look” aesthetic and the transparent holographic monitors. I think that is one of the reasons the earlier shows have such a optimistic look and feel because their sets look lived in yet functional (even while being futuristic) rather than like they are a part of some moody art project.

kmart

It’s kind of a dark equivalent to the unappealing Abrams movie sets. In both instances, the glare makes it so you don’t even WANT to look at things, and if you could, you still wouldn’t be able to see any detail. And you also start thinking, how can anybody get work done when everywhere they turn, they’re getting Manfred Mann’d by all these bulbs? You’d think the ship actually was built of cardboard and they were trying to distract away from the fact! There’s a shot toward the end of s2 DSC where Spock looks out the window at the Enterprise, and the window is smudged and glare-filled that you’d think the ship just drove through a bunch of insects on the highway at sunrise.

It is even worse on PICARD, because nearly all you see is the heads-up holographic stuff, not even much hint of instrumentation.

I think you can get away with a ‘moody art project’ look if it is done in the proper context. ALIEN certainly had lens flares and and visual aberrations, but it wasn’t constant and it arose out of specific situations, like the bad landing.

Cmd.Bremmon

Stop trying to make both 60s Roddenberry and 90s Roddenberry happy. You end up with the jack of all trades and the master of none. They are incompatible. They HATE each other.
I can see it with Discovery. We want TOS. War with the Klingons. Starships that are sailing ships, they take it and they can give it. Action. Adventure. But wait, we also want TNG looking ships that are smooth and can use magic mushrooms to jump across the universe. Our bridge is so big like a hotel. You put them together and you get a subpar product. PICK ONE.
One Roddenbery was a action/adventure show first, with relatable characters and situations first, today’s humanity will get together and succeed despite hardships, is this what a destroyer Captain would do because it not get rid of it, it’s a gun we call a phaser, pro-US in Omega Glory, mining and colonization on other worlds, anti-Kohm and pro-Vietnam in a Private Little War, I love rockets kind of guy with a dose of sexuality please.
The 90s Roddenbery hates that guy. He was just a TV producer, he was a visionary. Today’s man needs to embrace the Roddenbery vision of utopia. The US is the ultimate bad guy, the Ferengi. New humans don’t have conflict or faults and are so awesome that even the Q learns from us and not vis versa. That TWOK movie is militaristic with too much conflict. Our starships work so well and all aliens are sooo in love with us we don’t need no Chief Engineer and little kids can live on the Starships. Instead we need a Councillor and a holodeck that we can address the inner needs of our subconscious you see. And nope, no #metoo here, got that??? Forget that 60s Roddenbery, he was a militaristic sexist $#@$hole, and damn those movies too, they don’t have my new vision in them (and here is script to erase what they represent).
One I think was a genius that made some great TV with relatable characters in a conflict filled environment that showed today’s humanity was going to make it despite all our faults. The other I think was out of touch/boring who only made TV because TVH made a fanbase and there were only six stations on the dial.

Merchant of Vulcan

“…to seek out new life and new civilizations…”

Not so much with Kirk and Company, unless one includes the various parallel Earths visited during Season two (and those were in response to missing ships from decades past). The vast majority of season one saw the Enterprise visit colonies on a virtual graveyard of dying planets with dead civilizations. The second year saw its’ fair share of monster tales and year three was packed with ghost stories and supernatural themes. Space was generally a vast unknown and hostile place, which was also incidentally very well conveyed by TWOK. These backdrops made the optimism of the Crew much more tangible.

Tiger2

Exactly!

That is literally the biggest irony of both TOS and TNG! Despite that moniker, they both spent very little time actually seeking out new life and civilizations. The bigger irony is Voyager and Enterprise did that WAY more than TNG and definitely TOS ever did because they weren’t stuck with Federation bureaucracy and diplomacy every other episode. In TOS case, it was a lot of bottle shows where crazy stuff just happened on the ship, probably to save money. Most shows spend most of their time dealing with strange space paradoxes, dealing with a villain or trying to keep the ship from blowing up.

I would love someone to make a count of just how many episodes in TOS just dealt with Kirk going to a NEW planet and meeting new aliens? I’m guessing it would be around a dozen episodes if that. Majority of the places they did visit were Federation colonies as you said or planets other star ships already been to. There was very little actual exploration on the show.

I like TOS, but I don’t get this strange romanticism some people have with it outside of liking the characters (which were only three main ones and everyone else underdeveloped if not practically ignored). Majority of the episodes are average to awful when you get away from the two dozen or so everyone celebrates. And what most consider of the best episodes rarely dealt with exploration oddly enough.

Merchant of Vulcan

And yet the much maligned third season offers up such enduring concepts as IDIC, the design of the Klingon Cruiser still recognized today even by nonfans, and an Axanar trailer featuring Garth if Izar at over 4 million views on youtube! The show had such an ingrained sense of fun that enables it to stand up to repeated viewings even after five decades. Also there are subtle elements of horror (dead planets, monsters, ghosts) that resonate throughout the show. It makes you wonder if this is what has drawn the interest of Tarantino.

Tiger2

No one is saying otherwise. I only said the show still had tons of stinkers in general, but I agree the ones that were good were really good. That’s why we are all fans of it here. But I roll my eyes when people treat it like it’s some kind of paragon. It was a show that was ahead of its time in many ways and why we are all here still talking about it, but it was a still a show with tons of flaws, just like all the others.

Merchant of Vulcan

And strangely enough there seems to be a massive appetite for a Pike show, genuinely not too sure why that is.

Tiger2

Its not strange, people want to see adventures with Pike and Spock on the original Enterprise. I can see the appeal factor, especially how popular Peck and Mount became. I’m really looking forward to it it too even if it wouldn’t be my first choice.

Dennis C

All franchises evolve. Some for the better, some for the worse and the past 10 years of Star Trek have been a mixed bag. Thanks to Michael Chabon, “Picard” put the franchise on firmer footing and added a level of excitement and energy that has been lacking with “Discovery”. “Discovery” is returning to a changed landscape and I suspect that if it was announced that season 3 was its last there would be a fair amount of disappointment but not necessarily an outcry.

Tiger2

I’m glad you feel Picard is at least a better show over Discovery Dennis C. Me too of course but like you I’m really hoping next season of Discovery new setting will make that show shine. And yes if it was cancelled in season 3 I too think a lot of people would be disappointed.

I don’t want any of these shows to be cancelled, I just want them to be better! That’s what all fans should be pushing for IMO.

Denny C

Tiger, a great response as always! Yeah, sometimes a show needs someone to light a fire under their butts and Picard may have been that spark for Discovery for a season 4. Increased subscriptions to CBS AA, rave reviews from fans and critics and lots of positive press are all a bit difficult to ignore if you’re working on the other show. That said, it’s somewhat surprising that CBS didn’t immediately announce a season 4 of Discovery before season 3 wrapped production.

“Discovery” can now chart its own path with its jump into the future but the entire series as structured rendered itself apocryphal and is the odd man out. You can skip Discovery and it will have 0 impact on any of the series or movies that came before or after it. The irony of Discovery is that its biggest contribution to Star Trek may have been setting up a potential Pike series and because Discovery and its crew are never to be mentioned again a Pike series would never reference it.

Tiger2

Obviously I agree with you. I am really looking forward to Discovery next season as you know (even more so now that we are Trek-less again ;)) and I think putting Discovery in its own path instead of just being compared to TOS all the time will do that show some good. It should’ve been a post-Nemesis show on day one. It doesn’t mean it will be better but at least NOW it can just be judged as its own thing where as before it was too close to TOS to do that and I think what bothered producers the most. The show was always going to live in the shadow of TOS. If its a good show that really honors TOS, then that would’ve been fine. But since it didn’t….

If we do get a Pike show, I imagine that show being much more faithful as we have already seen on Discovery itself.

But Discovery just felt too out of place so it was a smart move. And as you also said if the next season is still not seen as very good even on its own, its now easy to ignore it since its so far in the future. Same concept for the Kelvin movies. Neither of these affect the main prime era and that is obviously the 23rd and 24th centuries. It is funny how DIS went from having a direct impact on past canon to now no impact at all. I imagined if TNG failed then they could’ve done the same thing and just still pretend TOS was the only thing that mattered if that show was prematurely cancelled and we didn’t get DS9/VOY later.

FOr me (keeping my optimism) I’m hoping Discovery does for the 32nd century what TNG and others did for the 24th and make it its own and feel JUST as important even if it doesn’t affect the past shows. I’m even hoping if we REALLY have to have a Section 31 show with Space Hitler they keep her in the 32nd century as well and start to build on it. But if it all still sucks then it will be easy to ignore in the future.

ML31

” It should’ve been a post-Nemesis show on day one. ”

Well, only because it LOOKED like it belonged in that era. I personally didn’t have a problem with it being in the time frame it was. But if you are going to do that then it better LOOK like it belongs there. If it doesn’t, then the show’s writing and characters better be so very good that the rest of it doesn’t matter as much. And to be honest, setting the show 900 years later really doesn’t solve the problems they created. Those problems are still there. They are a 25th century ship but are from the 23rd. The writing and plotting and the characterization will likely still be a HUGE problem.

ML31

Actually, Disocvery’s biggest contribution to Trek is the fact that it underperformed so much that TBTB opted to reach out to Patrick Stewart in an attempt to keep the franchise afloat.

dmduncan

Good for K that he got to make his vision of Star Trek and that he’s happy doing it.

dmduncan

Where’s Bob? Bob Orci Bob Orci Bob Orci, I conjure you to appear! De-quarantine yourself from the floating lounge chair in the pool and tell us how you’re doing!

Soo Lin

Roddenberry wasn’t happy about anything by all accounts. Pill popping, alcohol, extra-marital affairs.

A flawed genius?

AllenWrench

As opposed to all the flawless geniuses in history…

Harry Ballz

“genius”?

How much genius does it take to rip off the entire premise of Star Trek from Forbidden Planet?

Legate Damar

Roddenberry probably wouldn’t really have liked any of the Trek that came out after he died. But that’s okay. TNG got much better when he became less involved with it. The franchise wouldn’t be any good if all of the writers and show runners bent over backwards to make sure that the show fit into “Gene’s vision.”

Tiger2

Agreed. For me, Star Trek got MUCH better when he left it for good and was able to do things with it he clearly would not have approved of.

Star Trek Fan

The main reason it got better is because showrunner Michael Piller and Executive Producer Rick Berman talked to Gene and stayed as close as possible to Gene’s vision of Star Trek instead of doing a 180

Tiger2

And yet many argue that’s exactly what they did with DS9 and say Roddenberry WOULDN’T have approved of it. ;)

And for the record, maybe he would’ve loved it, but we don’t know and we do know it did go against some of his rules with TNG. I don’t personally care if Roddenberry would like it or not, as much as I love Star Trek I don’t treat it like a religion. It’s values should always be a guide, but it shouldn’t be a law either and allow people to interpret it in other ways. We know not everyone loved DS9 when it premiered and although its very loved today there are still people who see it as anti-Trek, right?

I’m not going to argue with you over Discovery and Picard because its clear you don’t see those the same, that’s fine, but others do. It’s a big fanbase and fans aren’t a monolith. I felt Discovery probably was a bit too cold in its first season but second season felt a lot more like Star Trek to me. But its fine you disagree.

ML31

ALL Trek got better the less he was involved in it. Well, up until Discovery, that is. Even TOS reportedly was mainly the result of Gene Coon.

IMHO Roddenberry was overrated. GREATLY overrated.

Boze

“I’m now at the point where I’m eating, breathing, dreaming Star Trek.”

And excreting Star Trek, too – that’s the one we get to see.

Hey, I know he probably means well. I know he works to best of his capabilities. But, he either doesn’t understand what was the *point* of previous fifty years of Star Trek, or he deliberately decided to ignore it.

The one reason for “no conflict” is that most Star Trek stories aren’t really about characters. The crew isn’t there to be heroes or antiheroes or villains – they’re there to be an independent, impartial outside force. In “A taste of Armageddon”, when Kirk forces Eminians and Vendikans to fight their war, we weren’t supposed to identify with Kirk… we were supposed to identify with Eminians and Vendikans, while Kirk plays the role of Klaatu.

That’s why troublemakers in Star Trek are usually aliens: it’s because aliens in Star Trek are us. The aliens are humans. And Starfleet is there to explore the human condition (portrayed by aliens in order to push its troubling aspects past censors). Starfleet is there to provide an outside point of view on our everyday follies.

With R-rated Star Trek, we could’ve had meaningful stories that deal with sexual exploitation, slavery, drugs, organ harvesting and other Black Mirror-like topics that just wouldn’t fly in PG. Instead, we get Admiral Sheer F. Hubris in a lazy remake of Mass Effect. Good job, Kurtz, good job. :P

StarTrick

Not to mention there’s still that lawsuit going on for ripping off that Tardigrate-Videogame. Or is it finally settled? Haven’t heard anything from that for a while.

alphantrion

Very good point Boze, yes Trek had very good characters, but it was never “mainly” about them, at least in TOS. It started to became more about the characters during the movies but TOS usually spread its message through the aliens. Apparently this approach is considered too “simplistic” now and doesn’t fly in modern television.

Lukas

Yeah the similarities between that game and STD are undeniable to an objective eye. Only question is if the guy’s going to have enough money to fight it.

ML31

Well Boze… You’re not wrong. Most of the time it was who our crew encountered who brought in the conflict. But I still think the Kirk Spock McCoy triad worked amazingly well. But the concept was best exemplified by TNG. Where the characters were mostly all so very weak that the concepts they encountered were by far the most interesting ones as opposed to when we learn more about them, their pasts or their families.

People keep referring to Mass Effect. But I have to admit… I have no idea that that is. Is it a show? A game?

Kurtzman has a false premise here, the need for an editorial review of the franchise to ensure its continuity or longevity:

«But my hope would be that he would recognize now, from his grand perspective in the sky, how much that opened the door for Star Trek’s endurance, and how much it’s iterated and changed and yet has remained, I believe, very true to his vision. »

From what we can evaluate so far, since JJ’s timeline, the Star Trek franchise is losing fans instead of winning, since it lost its identity, its differential that made it classic.

StarTrick

I see, so in his view Star Trek is about watching it with the family.
So grateful for the eyeball-scenes then.

But then again, I don’t neccessarily mind seeing R-rated Star Trek. But the plot needs to be good. It should make at least some sense, please?!! Is this really too much to ask?

kmart

Maybe the s31 show can grab all the scary gory stuff for itself and function as a trek horror series in the SAW vein (he said, having never actually seen a SAW movie.) Got the title: TERRORFORMING.

DaytonTrekFan72

Roddenberry would have strangled that man and his pal JJ for what they have done to his vision.

Kieran MacDuff

So he sits down with his family and lets them watch naked Klingon’s and hear needless F Bomb’s? Clearly he wants our families to become as desensitised as his has.

I

Luke Montgomery

F-bombs are not “needless.” They are part of the way people speak and it’s realistic. Pretty simple. Not having F-bombs was the problem. Also, you lost the culture war. Get over it. Complaints about kids and F-bombs are trite, pedantic and boring. People swear. Big deal. Maybe be upset about something people really are desensitized to like racism, climate change or systemic poverty? Getting upset about a word is absurd and the mark of low intellectual capacity and a fragile worldview dependent on artifice.

Star Trek Fan

Earth in Star Trek’s universe is a utopia and has moved away from cursing. Period.

DIGINON

Star Trek used cursing long before Discovery and Picard came along. They just didn’t use the f-word because that wasn’t allowed on network TV. It wasn’t because Earth has moved away from cursing because clearly it hasn’t.

Star Trek Fan

Star Trek IV says otherwise

DIGINON

So you conveniently ignore all the other instances of cursing for a joke made in The Voyage Home? Okay, whatever.

ML31

Yep. I concur. The main reason there were no F-Bombs in Trek was because it was over the air. In the features they wanted to keep it PG. Later even PG-13. Although you are allowed one in a PG-13 feature. But I don’t think they really wanted to go there. Obviously that is not a concern on the streaming side. For the record if they use it or not doesn’t bother me one way or the other.

LumberingLizardMan

“In a funny way, isn’t that what Star Trek has always been about? People sitting together as a family and loving it?”

How does that fit with eyeball-extraction gore, beheadings and ill-judged rape scenes? I can’t tell if Kurtzman just spouts what he thinks fans want to hear or if the franchise is truly that directionless.

TonyD

“My wife and son actually deliberately like to stay out of any knowledge of what I’m doing until it airs. So, when it airs, we all sit down and watch together, and I see it fresh through their eyes, which is really fun, because it’s the culmination of all the work, and now we get to sit together as a family and enjoy it. And, in a funny way, isn’t that what Star Trek has always been about? People sitting together as a family and loving it?”

I don’t know how old his son is, but watching naked Klingons, inter-species rape scenes, acts of cold blooded murder and eyeballs being plucked and dropped into dishes isn’t my idea of good family entertainment.

His Roddenberry platitudes likewise ring hollow as his shows have very little in common with anything during the Roddenberry and Berman eras, aesthetically or tonally. The writing certainly has never even approached the level of the best that prior shows offered.

At the end of the day his shows are too concerned with shock value and sensationalism at the cost of thoughtful writing that is actually cohesive and makes sense and character development that proceeds logically and realistically.

Jeff

I get the feeling HBO shows are their role model with a mandate that they avoid a TV-MA rating.

Jlex

His son is 12 or 13 yrs old

Luke Montgomery

You are upset about nudity? Are you not nude several times a day and under your clothes all the time? You are disturbed by a naked… alien? Really? My 1980s-waste-of-time-Sunday-school teacher called and she wants her outdated and arbitrary silliness back. Are you a “never nude” like Tobias on Arrested Development who showers in his cut-off jeans? Should we all pick a random body part, let’s say, elbows, to cover up and get bent out of shape when they are shown? Should Uhura trade in her mini-skirt for a burka? People have nipples. Looks like Klingons do too. Big deal. :)

TonyD

Please spare me the righteous indignation, I’m not upset about anything. I’m pointing out that it is hypocritical of Kurtzman to say these new shows of his are appropriate family fare. But if you want little kids to see eyeballs plucked, hear “F” bombs thrown indiscriminately, witness decapitations and so on, have at it.

Luke Montgomery

I do want little kids to hear F-bombs. They are harmless. It’s a word. This is as absurd as people being upset that “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” was said in Gone With the Wind. People were outraged that they had swearing in a film. The word was “damn.” Pretty silly, huh? Same with the F-word. (And I’m repulsed by the fragile minds that make it so I have to refer to it as the “F-word” because their eyes will melt if they see a word they use themselves spelled out.)

northstar

Discovery is just not well written, full of inconsistencies and failed logic. Unfortunately, Picard, after a good start, was very much the same – made no sense at all. What a waste of opportunity on both shows. So no, I don´t think Roddenberry would appreciate how he handles Trek.

Baxter

Three word reply to Mr. Kurtzman:

“He would not.”

FrostUK

“And, in a funny way, isn’t that what Star Trek has always been about? People sitting together as a family and loving it?”

Bit awkward, considering the amount of violence and swearing in these shows.

Sully

Agreed. How I enjoy digesting F-words and learning about rape with my 8 year old daughter. Priceless memories to treasure forever. Having seen the leaked Star Trek (2009) script draft though, what did I expect? A VILE man for what he’s done to Star Trek. Star Trek is just another payday to this charlatan.

Luke Montgomery

Swearing hurts exactly zero people. It does nothing harmful. The only thing it harms is a silly, outdated and culturally subjective arbitrary set of nonsense rules (and the small minds wanting to preserve these rules for no logical reason). Swearing does not harm children or anyone. It’s how people express astonishment, anger, joy, or rage. All those things are fair game for drama. Maybe you simply shouldn’t watch the show. It’s not broadcast TV walking on eggshells and painting a fake picture of faux virtue to sell soap. It’s not the 60s, 80s, or 90s. People have moved beyond that fakeness. :)

FrostUK

Interesting comments. Swearing is a part of language and language – to function effectively – requires an understanding of what is being said. What ideas are being exchanged.

As you’ve noted above swearing is used in many different ways and many different scenarios (more than you’ve listed, actually) and it is important for people to understand the connotations and ramifications of the words they’re using. Children simply won’t have that understanding, hence why it is typically discouraged.

It isn’t just discouraged around children, either. Typically, people are expected to behave in a civil manner in society. Swearing, boiled down, is the use of offensive words. Does swearing have any real benefit in office environments, care environments, customer facing environments? Would there be any real benefit to us using swear words on this comment section, or any forum in general? Not particularly, unless there was some relevant context (i.e. quoting something) Indeed, it is actually prohibited on a lot of forums, chats, comment sections etc.

If someone used an offensive word in a workplace environment such as the ones above they’d actually be harming themselves, their own chances at being taken seriously, their own chance at being trusted to represent the company they work for, their own chance to deal with difficult situations appropriately.

Using words or phrases without an understanding of what they mean or infer can obviously and easily lead to misunderstandings, confrontations, upset, frustration and potentially many more negative outcomes.

My opinion of the show is largely mute here therefore its pointless you telling me whether I should watch it or not. I’m merely pointing out the comments by the executive producer are, at best, awkward. In terms of language and violence, this isn’t a family show. It was never intended as one. It was never marketed as one. It isn’t one.

I find it interesting you use the phrase “faux virtue” and “fakeness” to describe programs from previous decades, because fake is the very word that springs to mind when I recall most of the instances of swearing in Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard. It seems to be born out of heightened melodrama and seems totally out of place. I again go back to these workplace environments. People don’t talk like this.

There are cases of “faux virtue” in the history of television. This ain’t one of them.

ML31

I swear with the best of them. But there is a time and a place. I will be aware of my surroundings and edit myself accordingly. I will not drop F-Bombs at work. Nor did I at the playground when my kid was young enough to be there. That said, I did not curb my language at home around my kid. Yes, he did use the word at his elementary school I heard. I did not punish him for it and instead used it as a learning opportunity for him. To sum up… I think both have valid points. The words are harmless and it is a bit absurd that some still have an issue with them. But there is no reason to drop them everywhere. There is still a thing called tact. As long at Trek doesn’t drop them like the Soppranos then I don’t have too much of a problem with it.

Star Trek Fan

Even if all the nonsense you said was remotely true, humanity has moved on from swearing in Star Trek

Luke Montgomery

Nope. Savvik says “damn” in WOK. Data says “Shit” in Generations. And many people use the F-word in Star Trek now. So they haven’t “moved on” because it’s in Picard and Disco. Why would they move on anyways? It’s harmless.

Total-trekkie2

If Star Trek isn’t recognizable as Star Trek, would Gene still be proud that… something exists?

Denny C

There have been a number of moments in Discovery and Picard over the past couple of years which have been less than family friendly involving violence, language and sex. It’s not the show they’re producing anymore which is fine but it’s unlikely to appear on lists of shows to watch with your family.

Yes Denny C, I found that an odd point for Kurtzman to stress.

I’m very positive towards Kurtzman’s strategy of a menu of shows that encompasses a kids-targeted show. It make a great deal of sense.

However, I feel strongly that there needs to be at least one mass market type live action series.

I was hoping that a Pike’s Enterprise show could do that, but I don’t think that Avika Goldsman is the right showrunner/developer for that broad audience.

Luke Montgomery

Sorry to say this, but no one wants your “family friendly” version of Star Trek. That’s why its not being made. There’s zero that is “family hostile” about swearing and sex. Sex made your family. Why get so bent out of shape by it? It’s a simple biological function. Relax. Also, I’m quite happy to have a more realistic take on the Star Trek I’ve loved since I was a kid and I’m thrilled that it’s not being edited, written and produced by Sunday school teachers and regulated by TV censors worried about ruffling trite and illogical social customs like a prohibition on people swearing. People swear. Big deal. Why waste your kid’s time with pretending that words we all use are bad? Why expend the energy? It’s arbitrary and silly. Makes about as much sense as being offended by nipples or women leaving the house without a burka.

AllenWrench

No one wants it? Please don’t speak for the entire fandom. There is a variety of tastes in the audience, and thankfully now there’s enough room for a variety of Star Trek content to be produced, from “family friendly” to R-rated material. Nothing wrong with expressing a desire to see a particular kind of Trek. Because now they have the space to do it. IDIC.

Luke Montgomery

OK. I should have said that they won’t be getting it. It’s 2020. Not many people care about the F-bomb… hence it being used in the show. It’s like the silly outrage when “I don’t give a damn” was said in Gone with the Wind. Just as dumb then as it is now to get upset about a word.

Cygnus-X1

Gene Roddenberry all but walked away from Star Trek when NBC moved TOS to the Friday night “dead zone” time slot of 10 p.m.

“Endurance” for the sake of endurance does not seem to be what GR was after. The only people who really benefit from endurance for its own sake are the people who now own the Star Trek intellectual property — CBS.

Quality not quantity. That’s what people who’ve made their careers by churning out mediocrity by the truckload don’t understand and will probably never understand. I just re-watched TOS in its entirety for the umpteenth time, and where it works, it still holds up. The writing is the reason why. The philosophical approach to TOS is the reason why. Among other things, TOS is about what people really feel — the human condition — as opposed to what the reigning political dogma dictates that they should feel. I’m reminded of the DSC writer who was fired for recounting a real-life incident of bigotry that he witnessed. Apparently there’s an audience for stilted writing in the present, but it won’t stand the test of time if it relates little of what it means to be human. I haven’t watched Picard yet, so I don’t know how much it suffers from the aforesaid. And, curiously, neither have I seen any comments in the Picard episode posts relating to the aforesaid. I’ve been waiting for some thoughtful people to comment on Picard’s writing — its fundamental values and sensibilities — and I’m still waiting. All I’ve seen so far revolves around plot points.

kmart

Got through PICARD in about 10 days (it does get a little easier to watch as it goes on) but I have no takeaway on values and sensibilities. While there is some highminded INTENT I have no doubt, but it made about as much of a lasting impression on me as an episode of THE A-TEAM (and less desire to rewatch.) When they have the occasional good scene, it is pretty much highlighted as ‘pay attention this is a good scene’ rather than integrated into the narrative. A couple good actors, a lot of bad ones, and no idea how they thought this could pad out to 10 eps.

I do think the production values are just amazingly poor — not just ill-considered and inappropriate, so this isn’t so subjective a displeasure as I have with DSC visuals — but just plain absent. Their ship is like a barn with heads-up displays in the way at all times.

Nev Shnev

“ isn’t that what Star Trek has always been about? People sitting together as a family and loving it?”…

…but I can’t watch ST:Picard with my family with the continuous F-bombing and swearing. So, no Alex, watching Trek with the family is no longer a thing.

Luke Montgomery

Your kids know what F-bombs are. And, surprise, they don’t hurt them in any way. So why are you upset about a word? #FauxVirtueSignalingBecauseIWasToldToDoThisByMyParentsAndNowImWastingTimeDoingTheSame

Star Trek Fan

Just because you think exposing kids to an immature show full of swearing is ok, doesn’t mean others agree

Luke Montgomery

Who cares if they agree? Swearing is part of life and part of Star Trek. Don’t watch it. Take a time machine back to the 1950s or something. Or go back a little further and get upset like many people did about the use of the word “damn” in Gone with the Wind. Just absurd. Glad the fragile Sunday school set has lost this debate and the way pope really speak is in Star Trek. I was annoyed that Trek had to be so fake because someone didn’t use a condom and wanted something “family friendly” because they were hell-bent on passing on an absurd taboo to their kids.

Cool story, bro. Make better shows, please.

albatrosity

Gene would be pissed, buddy. He’d be upset you and your team took what was once a franchise built on bold, hopeful, deep ideas, and turned it into generic sci-fi schlock with groan-inducing writing, nonsensical logic, and dark, often scary imagery not friendly to younger viewers. Star Trek endures in spite of your efforts, not because of them.

Danpaine

Well put, albatrosity.

VZX

The Kurtzman and JJ Trek make me miss the Berman era. During the Berman era I missed the Bennet era. During the Bennet era I missed the Roddenberry era.

I still love Star Trek, I just miss better written stories.

Cmd.Bremmon

As a starship becomes one of a 1000 in the sector and as interstellar travel becomes routine, the stories are sure to get less and less exciting. It’s space “the final frontier” not, “space, the been there, done that, planet # 43249 in galaxy number 2”.
Spacedock did an excellent series on “How to write space battles” that sums up why TOS will always have more exciting space battles as time goes by. When the host is talking think TOS vs. TNG. This guy I think ‘gets it’.
I’d urge all Trek writers to have to watch this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3jzNHwJ0Nc

“HULL INTEGRITY DOWN TO 38%!” Are you telling me 62% of the ship is gone right now??? LOL

Cmd.Bremmon

Well, it’s because it’s “Space the final fronter” not “Space, the traveled been there and done that, let’s retire and have some pizza when not playing the holodeck”. As Starships are routine in the thousands and we are planet #10000 in Galaxy 2 it’s obviously going to be less exciting from a Trek perspective. I mean we might all upload into AI or become the organians or Q but doesn’t make for good story telling given we can’t relate (Thor does “the gods” better than Trek ever will).
A good video to watch (I can’t post I guess) is Spacedock for their video “How to Write a Space Battle”. Kurtzman needs to watch this (it’s why having the Ent last 7 seconds in combat was lame). Less ships is better. Watch three movies The Hunt for Red October, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and The Wrath of Khan. Every Trek writer should have to watch. Stop letting the CGI guys just do whatever, write the story and make them CGI what you wrote. Did you lose 50% hull integrity, well then 50% of the ship better look gone.
Also I agree that shields were dumb, they made sense in the era of “we don’t want to wreck our $1MM model we need over and over again” but are lame in the CGI era.
Note – I think the Harve Bennett era if you include the DC comics, was actually the best era of Trek and I love TOS. It out-TOS TOS in my opinion which I think shows that you can “go forward” without throwing away the action, adventure and danger of the show.

Tiger2

LOL good point VZX, that’s sort of how it works. I too miss the Berman era more than anything now but before TNG started I was very much into the TOS films and was convinced this was ‘Star Trek’ and basically all that we would get. I wasn’t ‘skeptical’ of TNG the way other people were and I was just excited for a new Star Trek show but I also wasn’t sure if Star Trek could be more than Kirk, Spock and Bones either or to be more clear Shatner, Nimoy and Kelly. Fortunately our fears were quelled and we have a very rich and deep universe today even if its not all beloved.

But yes, every generation is always skeptical of the next one, at least at the beginning. It’s been that way since the 80s and probably will not ever change. In probably another 20 years, new fans today will be pining over Kurtzman Trek and how these new people have no idea what they are doing and how dare the new sequel show, Star Trek: Burnham, steps all over what made Discovery so amazing in it’s 9 season run. But SMG still has the crazy hairdo at least even if it is a bit grayer. ;)

And I’m sorry to say this but I felt after TMP and early TNG if Roddenberry stayed in charge, Star Trek would’ve died by the 80s and at least stayed that way until someone tried it again after he was gone. I’m also convinced the only reason why the fanbase didn’t turn on Roddenbery the way the SW fanbase did with Lucas because other people were there to continue on his legacy and in many ways improved it with the TOS movie sequels with Bennet and a much improved TNG once Berman/Pillar took charge.

Star Trek Fan

You have that backwards. People will be relieved when Kurtzman Trek is over. No one is “sceptical” of STD because it’s different but because it’s crap.

Also, very disingenuous to reduce Gene Roddenberry to some sort out of touch hinderance to Star Trek, when he played such a vital role in creating TNG

Tiger2

So you can tell me what people will think of these shows in the next 20 years? And you are basing Discovery on two seasons so far. How was TNG perceived its first two seasons? DS9? Enterprise? This gets brought up again and again. It’s amazing how short sighted some Trek fans are and I been pretty critical of these shows too. As I have said here in my OP, MAYBE the show will stay bad, OK, but its silly to suggest it can’t improve when A. practically every Star Trek show has and B. they DO listen to the criticism and try to make proper changes. It would be different if Kurtzman just shrug off the critics but he doesn’t do that. So they are trying. Maybe you will be right and it will never be a great show. But its sad you treat it as a foregone conclusion.

As far as Roddenberry, I have PRAISED him for creating TNG many, many times over the years. I have given him tons of credit for having the foresight to think of Star Trek beyond TOS and we now have a very rich universe because of it instead of watching the fifth iteration of TOS which would’ve bored me to tears at this point (but I would’ve watched just the same ;)). I have said Roddenberry proved that Star Trek wasn’t a product but a brand, not just for creating a new cast but going a century ahead which could’ve been a huge mistake but proved just the opposite. SOME people still don’t like the idea but believe me I’m the total opposite. So I want to make that very clear I not only give Roddenberry all the credit for coming up with TNG, I also think that was the single most greatest decision he made in the franchise itself because that went on to create other shows and different elements even if he wasn’t involved with them.

BUT (and you knew that was coming lol) his execution and silly rules about ‘perfect humans’ and ‘no conflict’ almost derailed the show just the same. And I do think people even over exaggerate some of these things because we still saw plenty of fallible humans in early TNG. And he made it very clear that not every human was perfect or even the Federation as we saw with Tasha Yar’s planet but yes the TNG characters were suppose to be. And I’m sure you at least heard of Chaos on the Bridge if you haven’t seen it but it really proved that while Roddenberry still had tons of creativity and innovate ideas, the guy was also too dogmatic, narrow minded and set in his ways. TNG first two seasons suffered a lot for many reasons but the biggest was just all the staff changes in that time because no one could WORK with the guy.

Yes, Roddenberry did a lot of great things for Star Trek, but it was clear by the time TMP and TNG came around that he was causing just as many issues in the franchise and his ideas were alienating a lot of people. I mean what I said, if he stayed on with the movies and TNG, I think Star Trek would’ve died out by the 80s. We may not have even gotten to TNG if the movies sucked under him.

ML31

I guess I’m more rare than I thought. I loved TOS and was genuinely excited when I heard about TNG. I knew Trek could EASILY go on without Kirk and Spock. So I had no issues whatsoever with a new cast. I DID have an issue with setting the show 70 years later. I understood why they did it but I really didn’t want that. I wanted it to be in the TOS movie era we were in. When the show ended up being more mediocre than good I was still good with it only because it was NEW episodes as I’ve seen the TOS episodes many many many times already. And I really wanted something new.

Lukas

I miss Berman more and more every day.

He was the Dave Filoni to Roddenberry’s George Lucas.

Michael Pillar is another huge loss too, the day he died was one of the saddest days in Star Trek history. Those guys actually got it, sure not every single episode was amazing, but there were far more good ones than bad.

So far the only Discovery episode I can re-watch is New Eden.

Still haven’t had the heart to watch Picard, though from what I’ve heard from spoilers it doesn’t sound good.

Faze Ninja

Lukas you should watch Picard because Picard is light years ahead of Discovery, a much better overall experience. Don’t listen to the spoilers and make your own conclusions.

I love the Star Wars analogy you used there. You compared them to Dave Filoni and George Lucas.

Alex Kurtzman is doing a nice job being in charge of the franchise. Good luck to him.

alphantrion

Agreed very much about Michael Piller. I feel like he doesn’t get enough credit behind guys like Berman and Braga, but I would go so far as to say that it was Piller who saved Star Trek after the third season of TNG. I think he needs to be appreciated more, he is the guy who brought people like Ron Moore and Ira Steven Behr to the franchise in the first place.

Tiger2

Agreed! Pillar did a lot for the franchise obviously. And when he was around I considered him the ‘face’ of Star Trek as much as Berman was at the time. In seem to be in so many interviews and always talked about what episodes worked and didn’t. There are so many quotes from him in Memory Alpha.

I still wish he got to do his version of Insurrection. I don’t know if you read his book about making that film but its really insightful and went into a lot of detail of how scripts can get watered down by having too many cooks in the kitchen. I think the same issue both Picard and Discovery are having. ;)

alphantrion

Thanks for that heads up about Pillars book, I will certainly check it out and yeah the script for Insurrection didn’t seem really like a full on Michael Piller script so it was obvious many things were changed during the development of the film and not all in good ways. Currently I am watching another Piller created show, one that John De Lancie and Richard Dean Anderson starred, called Legend and I am enjoying it very much. If you haven’t seen that one, you definitely need to check it out. Macgyver and Q together in a western setting, written by a Trek producer. Too bad the show only had a single season of 12 episodes.

Tiger2

Oh yes, I seen Legend when it aired and I LOVED it! Not perfect but a really fun show. And it was so smart to put those actors together. It did suck it didn’t last long. I think Piller, like a lot of people involved with Star Trek, wanted to do other things and have a name and success outside of that franchise but its rarely done unfortunately although some have gone to make great and successful shows like Moore’s BSG.

And definitely find that book. You can find it for free online. I read it just a few years ago but it was so insightful how challenging the process can be because like all writers you start out very positive and have great ideas only to see the reality of the system (and budgets ;)) kill it little by little. In fact I always wished Moore and Braga would’ve done something similar for Generations because that movie sounded like it had the same issues trying to please everybody instead of trusting them to come up with an original idea on their own terms.

ML31

I have heard a great deal of good about that book. I used to read a lot more than I do now. That is one I might have to try and make the time for these days.

kmart

I’ve only seen 3 eps of MANDALORIAN, and loved each of them, but based on those alone, that comment is the biggest insult imaginable to Filoni. Filoni isn’t all about getting the trains to run on time, that was Rick McCallum (and of course, Berman.)

Wehmut

Star Treks vision of a better world, a better future, better people is not only transfered by the stories inside Star Trek. Its also about how Star Trek is produced and done.

Star Trek doesnt need torture to tell its stories.
Star Trek doesnt need brutal violence to tell its stories.
Star Trek doesnt need to catch everyone in a dark tense mood to keep them watching.

Star Trek is hope.
Star Trek is light.
Star Trek is family, community, humanity.

If there are no writers able to tell stories on that basis, dont write stories.
If there is not enough audience to watch those stories, dont make new stories.

Commander K

Like Rick Berman before him, history will look back fondly on him resuscitating star trek for the 21st century.
As for now, he will have his fair share of haters, as that what star trek fans do, not look at the bigger picture.

Star Trek Fan

That is conflating two very different things. Alex Kurtzman is incapable of creating good stories, while Rick Berman shepherded too many to count

Tiger2

I never had an issue with Rick Berman. It didn’t mean I liked everything he did but I can say that about every writer, director, actor, etc I follow. I would probably still be happy if he was running Star Trek today if I’m being honest.

That said though I believe change is good too and Star Trek was probably ready for it by that time. The funny thing is I don’t really disagree about all the problems fans have with him and the new shows, especially DIS but I have hope he’s going to prove a lot of us wrong. So I’m hoping you’re right about Kurtzman too.

kmart

If history looks back at Berman with anything but scorn for his middle-of-the-road/play-it-safedness and how he pretty much alienated some of the show’s best early talent, both in writing and in design, then history has got the wrong pair of eyeglasses on.

Outside of getting out of Behr’s way (SOME of the time), I wouldn’t credit Berman with anything good. Hundreds of badly scored episodes, THAT I will credit him with.

Yeah, he and Kurtzman can be bunkmates, so long as neither tries to be creative again.

Vulcan Soul

“My wife and son actually deliberately like to stay out of any knowledge of what I’m doing until it airs. So, when it airs, we all sit down and watch together, and I see it fresh through their eyes, which is really fun, because it’s the culmination of all the work, and now we get to sit together as a family and enjoy it. And, in a funny way, isn’t that what Star Trek has always been about? People sitting together as a family and loving it?”

Who else here was having a little chuckle reading this media-friendly anecdote, imagining the Colonel showing his proud work to his son and wife with “fresh eyes”. Freshly ripped out eyes, that is, aye, Colonel? ;)

FASAfan

Kurtzman:

STAR TREK PIKE NOW!!!!!

Tam'Onari

Star Trek use to ask philosophical questions about the past, present, and future. At the end of each movie and episode, the audience was left considering the question, “What if…” Star Trek originally carried a moderate perspective, which challenged the audience to consider multiple possibilities. “Infinite correlations, infinite possibilities” was the main premise of the franchise. New Star Trek is written from a linear perspective, which focuses on a very specific mindset. If you think differently than the new writers, you are publicly shammed by the cast, studio, and a small, yet loud, group of fans. I am a massive fan of Roddenberry’s form of storytelling. I am not a fan of the new direction.

I have no problem with people who disagree.

Joel Simches

I am thoroughly enjoying this new era of Star Trek!! Of course GR would be thrilled that someone was still producing a Star Trek show. The haters get sillier every time a new Trek gets produced.

Tyler

Endurance, yes. Horrendous writing, no.

ilkers

alex if you are really worried about gene roddenberry’s reactions, I think you’d be in for a treat, gene would have smacked you and the abrams lot in the face for the parody of star trek movie wreckage you helped create. alternate timeline = utter rubbish. this is the sad first time I am glad there are no more star trek movies. I hope you get kicked out of the tv shows too, soon. abrams and you are the clowns of re-makes, who de-value every franchise they touch.

Richard Wicks

I don’t think Gene Roddenberry would be proud of a mushroom network of the universe as a science fiction concept. Maybe if he were JRR Tolkien.

What a group of morons to write this vomit, and what a group of idiots to pay for somebody to write this dog manure. It’s so insultingly stupid.