The Shuttle Pod Crew Discusses The Star Trek Universe At Comic-Con@Home 2020

Shuttle Pod 83 – Comic-Con@Home 2020

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This year’s San Diego Comic-Con was quite a bit different, with pre-recorded virtual panels. Join Brian, Jared Kayla, and Matt as they break down everything from the CBS Star Trek Universe event.

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Star Trek: Prodigy is weird! Lower Decks was really fun.

It “was” fun? Wait, does it mean it’s already over?

Man, thank god. ;)

I’m still wondering why conversations on production shutdowns aren’t differentiating between what’s happening with Covid in the United States vs Canada. It’s public information.

This difference is so significant that the timeline for seeing a second season of Picard is very different from the other live-action series that will be made in Toronto-Mississauga where CBS has opened its own studio.

More, CBS is getting Ontario provincial and likely federal Canadian tax credits in Canada for Discovery and SNW.

This means CBS Studios will need to get the work going on Trek and other shows once the Greater Toronto area is open for production.

It’s already happening outside Toronto for other American studios like Hallmark. A film was recently able to complete production in British Columbia.

The Premier of Ontario has indicated that he hopes to be able to make an announcement on stage 3 reopening for the Greater Toronto Area this Wednesday.

Rumour sheets for the guilds continue to show Discovery season 4 preproduction in the queue for restart once Toronto hits stage 3. Many Netflix, Amazon and Entertainment One series are on that list too, so we can expect that they will be making content.

If final post for Trek is too slow to be done remotely, perhaps it should be relocated for the upcoming seasons.

While CBS has kept the post-production in California, both Toronto and Vancouver have both facilities and expertise to accomplish for what can’t be done remotely, provided its contracted with Canadian guilds to start. That is, CBS doesn’t have to do future seasons of Discovery or SNW the same way and be stuck with the same constraints.

I understand that relocating would be hard on the industry in the United States, but I doubt that CBS will avoid making content where it can.

Good points. I think the next big hurdle isn’t so much the production facilities, but the US actors and producers. I don’t think there’s a protocol for that yet? It seems like they’d have to quarantine for 2 weeks before they do anything.

Yes, the quarantine doesn’t seem negotiable unless the business has a strict model for testing and even then they would need to be bubbled (like the sports teams).

But other content producers are doing it. Guillermo del Toro has done interviews saying that he’s been detailing all the protocols to restart filming on Nightmare Alley.

So, I can’t see CBS holding back on their core product.

One of the observations from this ShuttlePod discussion that is sticking with me is that SH Trek is struggling with the delivering on serial drama.

The other is that they can’t get enough story in short seasons.

I’ve been mulling these over this evening. I think that the biggest problem that Discovery and Picard have had is that they’ve just had too many very cool ideas, and have wanted to explore them and then end up with loose threads and incoherence.

Perhaps having an episodic show or two will let them get through a lot of the creative exploration and let the serials do their thing.

10,000% this.

I agree as well. Especially Picard felt like they were throwing 20 different ideas into it without properly exploring even one!!

You guys do a really good falling-asleep podcast because you’re chillaxed and pleasant. A better option than falling asleep to Mission Log because that Ken Ray guy can get annoying (and so far, not a fan of the new guy). Inglourious Treksperts is obviously quality but sometimes Altman and friends can get a bit Borscht Belt as far as falling asleep. So keep up the nice work. And good knowledge too, like the guy Brian Drew knows that the TOS casting director was married to Ensign Whatever, etc.

10 episodes only for SNW? – meh. That’s a big mistake, it should be double that for an episodic series IMO. What a shame.

All the shows are basically only 10 episodes long minus Discovery. And probably because they have so many shows lol. I would still like Picard to be at least 13 episodes although first season I couldn’t tell if it wasn’t enough episodes or TOO MANY episodes?

But we know LDS is only ten a season and I read somewhere same for Section 31 if it ever premieres.

Ugh! The Kurtzman era is driving me up the wall!

To be fair I don’t think you can blame Kurtzman for that. That’s probably what CBS is dictating (and most streaming shows are pretty limited in general), especially if they are paying for it. And with so many shows they have to limit the episodes. Usually its the networks that decides how many episodes they want although every year although I know some producers have got them to make more or less depending on the circumstances.

And if you think about it, they have seven shows in production right now and that doesn’t include Short Treks. My only guess is they want a certain rotation of probably at least 4 shows going a year out of those seven once they all start airing. So they have to spread them all out but then enough time to have at least 1-2 two months breaks like they originally said they wanted to do so fans don’t feel like they are watching the shows every single week (I would be good with that personally though ;)).

But the old days of traditional TV is dying in general. Even more network shows are going around 10-13 episodes a year these days. Streaming you can only have 8 episodes like Stranger Days and The Mandalorian gets and that’s considered a season. So it can be worse than 10…it could be 8. ;)

Oops, meant Stranger Things.

Kurtzman Trek needs to first break a story and have it outlined before they can figure out how to make the best use of their episodes. They can’t still be coming up with a story all the way through the end of shooting (or worse, reaching the last episode and having to gaslight audiences with the illusion that some kind of story has taken place).

These hurdles exists regardless of whether you’re giving them too many or too few episodes. However if it HAD to a verdict between whether they need more or less, I’m inclined to say less. Based on the number of wasted moves in their stories so far (most notably STP; STD has gotten too messy to tell).

I agree with that of course but that’s probably not always realistic.

I watched a Ron Moore interview a few weeks ago where he talked about DS9 and TNG. The interviewer asked him how much did they plan out for the season on DS9 since it became more serialized and the Dominion war was so prominent in it. He actually said they usually didn’t plan out too far ahead any season because there were always so many moving parts things were constantly changing. It didn’t sound like they were writing it episode by episode but it sounded like they didn’t really know where the show was going story wise because they were only a few episodes ahead and there was no grand vision. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it, especially a show that produced so many episodes and yet felt pretty tightly plotted most of the time and all the characters, including the side ones, got amazing arcs.

Breaking Bad was also a show that because very known for this. There was never any grand plan and they were constantly changing the story every season because nothing was written very far ahead. But it really worked out for them too.

And I suspect that is for most TV shows. I think for us, it just seem to make sense to map out the entire story and then write out the episodes, but that’s probably not that realistic as we think. I know there are creators like Babylon 5 who wrote out the entire story before he shot one episode (which I never seen). But those are probably very rare.

TV production honestly just sounds brutal in so many ways, with so many moving parts. I’m shocked most shows look as great as they do even if the stories themselves still aren’t great. And yes we know there were tons of problems on Discovery first two seasons so there were probably so many changes, a big part just trying better ways to please fans.

Hopefully next season is better though. I do think a bit part of the problem is that they just aren’t very good of plotting out a season long story, at least based on both seasons of DIS and PIC. That could just be with all the stuff the show had to endure but I hope this season proves me wrong. I like Discovery but I’m still far from loving it.

10 episodes per season seems to be quite common for streaming shows.

The way I remember it, the producers only said that 10 stories have been broken for Strange New Worlds, not that this is necessarily the full first season. But both Picard and Lower Decks seem to have settled on that number. Plus, I remember Anson Mount voicing some reservations about how long it took to shoot season 2 of Discovery so it would make sense to have fewer episodes.

PIcard was ten episodes with a plot for four, maybe five. Let’s just wait and see what they’ve got planned before making the call. Hoping SNW leans into more episodic storytelling (have they confirmed that?). This season-long arc thing ain’t working out with these writers. Feels like halfway through every season so far they chicken out of where they started from and try to change course with disastrous results.

They have specifically said it will be episodic, but made conflicting statements as to how much. Which is kind of typical PR, so there’s little point in getting into what was conflicting.

The point they keep nailing home at either rate is they are LISTENING TO THE FANS. Which one should probably take liberties in translating to mean that their Trek will most likely be inoffensive and SAFE, with few if any real surprises. (To be completely fair, I lack the energy or the recollection right now to look back and determine whether STP really surprised us at any point.)

Either way, to say that a creative team is having trouble doing one thing does not really make a compelling let alone reassuring case for them to have better luck with trying something else.

They only listen to fans when they say something positive anyway. When this criteria isn’t met, they’ll just disable comments on their YT-stuff real soon, don’t show likes/dislikes and keep copyright-striking other channels for voicing their opinion.

I suppose that’s not too surprising. I don’t even know what they post on Youtube besides what I see from here. But both Meyer and Bennett believed you should never listen too closely to your fans. And I think Joss Whedon has also gone on record implying that fans tend to not know what they want.

You don’t want to go back to 20-plus episodes a season. Unless you don’t mind half of them being lackluster.

Well if this does mean we’re getting 10 episodes which are actually good rather than zero, than the answer for me would be “Yes, absolutely”.

Unfortunately no guarantees, given the problems these folks appear to have been having.

That sounds great to me. Because when Star Trek gets lackluster, its budget stretched, its writing staff exhausted, sometimes it gets REALLY weird.

Yeah I like really weird Star Trek. Why I like Voyager so much lol.

Same here. Guilty as charged. And that goes for the weirder episodes of TNG and DS9. I just watched Move Along Home the other evening. Gotta say, I didn’t hate it.

Yeah and why I really liked Brannon Braga. Those type of stories were in his element. Oddly enough he didn’t do many of them on Enterprise, a show he helped developed. But its shocking how many you seen he wrote on TNG and VOY. And yes DS9 had some great ones too, not as many as those shows (and it was a different kind of show) but some good ones for sure. And yeah I never had a huge issue with Move Along Home either…but we’ll keep that between us. ;)

Hey, there must be something to bad or weird Star Trek. All these decades later, we are still discussing them. ;)

Hey, great show as usual. I agree with Kayla on the short 10 episode seasons. I feel like that’s part of the dangers of going to a serial format. Star Trek doesn’t have to be Breaking Bad or Walking Dead to be good.
If they really want to use that format the writers and producers need to seriously sit down and watch DS9. That is how you do serial story telling with Star Trek. When I rewatch DS9 my appreciation for it grows each time.
Also, it’s kind of sad to hear about the treatment fans have been getting at the various conventions. It seems that there is a lack of appreciation for how much the fans interest and passion for the franchise has driven its success going all the way back to the 70’s.

I’ve been reflecting a bit about the ShuttlePod Crew’s comments on SDCC overall.

It seems like SDCC ended up with the worst of all worlds.

Because they had official panels sponsored by the content companies, the panels weren’t live. But they weren’t slickly done either. They lost the energy of an in-person event, but also they lost the energy of new content.

The media folks have already seen episodes of Lower Decks so not much for them that’s new to counterbalance the ‘phoned-it-in’ panels.

I’ve been really enjoying the in-house con panels. The panels on the 7th Rule were great, and the moderators were engaged and not totally fawning.

Yes, the big stars of the SH Trek shows aren’t coming out for the most part to these other virtual cons (excepting Doug Jones and Wilson Cruz), but they have spontaneity and energy.

I feel as though we’re actually getting to know the actors and BTS folk. I hear more new answers and fewer repeats of pre-scripted lines from Q&A sheets. They really give me more of the feel of the old regional CreationCons Of the 90s. Something had been lost with the big cons, cruises and emphasis on regional comic-cons.

For all te characters they could bring back, why Chakotay?! The Doctor, Janeway, Naomi, Tuvok would make sense as they were important to Seven throughout 4 seasons. (With Chuckles, there was this tacked-on romance in the very end that very few people found convincing.) And all of them were more interesting than Chakotay. Yes, even Naomi.

One thing that really keeps me up for the last two nights and that I just HAVE to ask you guys:

From what movie is the intro music of this episode? I thought I know all movie soundtracks but this one is new to me.

Otherwise great episode. I shared your sentiment on the panels. The lower deck one was the only really fun one, the others were a little of a letdown for me.

Hi Burke –

The track is “A Tall Ship” from the Star Trek V soundtrack.