All Access Geeks Out With Inglorious Trekspert Mark Altman On His ‘1982’ Doc And ‘Fifty-Year Mission’

All Access Star Trek podcast episode 46 - TrekMovie - Mark A. Altman

[Mark A. Altman interview starts at 31:24]

Tony and Laurie start with the news, including a streaming business update on Paramount+, Alex Kurtzman offering his philosophy on the franchise,  John de Lancie talking more Picard, Jason Isaacs still yearning for Prime Lorca, more analysis and theorizing for the Picard teaser trailer, an update on the Voyager doc, and more. Then, they welcome guest Mark A. Altman to chat about his new documentary project 1982: Greatest Geek Year Ever!, his podcast Inglorious Tresperts, the two-volume 50-Year Mission, and more of his always frank views on Star Trek’s  past and future.

The podcasters wrap up with a look at Jonathan Frakes reprising an iconic (non-Star Trek) role for a video game, and Robert Picardo recreating Voyager moments on YouTube.

 

Links to news topics discussed in the pod:

Report: Comcast Considering Merger With ViacomCBS To Create Mega-Streamer

Alex Kurtzman On Why The World Needs More Star Trek… And Possibly A Musical Episode

Put a Little Love in Your Heart” from the Supergirl/The Flash crossover (Laurie’s gold standard)

Jason Isaacs Reminds Us Prime Lorca Is Still Out There, Just Waiting For A Great Star Trek Story To Be Written

John de Lancie Says Shooting ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 2 With Jonathan Frakes And Brent Spiner Is “A Party”

Trailer Analysis: Second ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 2 Teaser Gives Us A Glimpse Of “The Road Not Taken”

Voyager Documentary ‘To The Journey’ Begins In-Studio Production

Joanne Linville, Who Played a Romulan Commander in ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 93

Additional mentions:

1982: Greatest Geek Year Ever! on Kickstarter

Inglorious Treksperts podcast

The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek

Pandora on the CW

Khan’s baby from deleted scene in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Trekbits: 

Tony: Jonathan Frakes Goes Beyond Belief To Explore Unknown Mysteries… For A Video Game

Laurie: Robert Picardo’s YouTube channel

Bonus: First image of LeVar Burton guest-hosting Jeopardy!  

Let us know what you think of the episode in the comments, and please post your suggestions for topics we should cover in the future as well as guests you’d like us to have on.


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RIP to Miss Linville, too bad she never reprised her role on DS9 like they did for John Collicos.

You mentioned how Star Trek needs a Kevin Feige type to oversee all Trek production. Well, we did have one in Rick Berman in the 90s. He was in charge of TNG after Roddenberry passed, then DS9, Yoyager, and Enterprise as well as the four TNG movies. Trek back then was coherent and all felt in-universe. Like how the MCU is today under Feige. Say what you will about the Berman Era, but at least we got a lot of Trek that gelled nicely together.

Too bad it won’t happen again.

It probably will happen again, but not until the movies are finally connected with the television series as they were prior to the Abrams era. As long as Abrams has dominion over the movies it seems unlikely there will be any coherence between the Trek television group and the Trek movie group.

Well I mean it is basically like that now with Kurtzman, he just has no control of the movies (which is ironic since his entire Trek career started with the movies) but we know that had to do with the corporate division after Enterprise ended. But now that it’s all connected again, who knows?

But I remember when the first Abrams movie came around and people acted like JJ Abrams was going to be the new Rick Berman because he was directing a movie. That’s a guy that can’t stick to any of his own shows for a few years, it was no way he was going to be some grand proprietor of the franchise but people actually treated him that way oddly. I never understood why and of course that turned out to be far from reality, thankfully.

As for Kurtzman, I don’t think he really thought he would be this involved in Star Trek. It’s just some guys speculation on the internet but I kind of think the original idea was just to develop or produce the shows but let most of the creative aspects just go to the show runners. That’s kind of what he and Abrams do on their other shows. But I think after the Fuller debacle with Discovery and then losing the other show runners the very next season he stepped up and got more involved. And now that they are producing so many shows at once he has basically turned into Berman and keeping them all consistent with each other. He’s much more hands on now.

I know this isn’t a popular opinion (well nothing is when it comes to Nutrek these days lol) but I think Orci out of all of them was the most passionate about the franchise. I don’t hate Kurtzman at all, I support what he’s doing actually. He’s the first guy to finally give us a far future Star Trek show and trying to have the other shows each feel differently from the other, its mostly the execution that’s the issue. But I think Orci was the most passionate about Star Trek. I would’ve loved to see what he would’ve done if he was in Kurtzman’s place right now. But it seems like he burned a lot of bridges in the last few years and certainly his connection to Star Trek.

Again I know he’s not the most popular guy around here these days but that seems par for the course for anyone who works on Star Trek too long lol. He’s probably glad he’s as far away from it as possible these days.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tiger2

Kurtzman himself has said in interviews that he used to have a more hand-off approach in the beginning, only really stepping in after they fired Berg and Harberts as show runners. I think he is gradually pulling back and handing over more and more control of Discovery to Michelle Paradise.

Between Orci and Kurtzman, Orci may have been the bigger Star Trek fan of the two. However, I’m not sure if that’s always a plus. As we’ve seen time and time again different fans like Trek for different reasons. People can be very passionate about Trek and at the same time completely ignore aspects that other fans consider essential to Trek. So coming at it with a more analytical. pragmatic approach might actually lead to a better product. I mean, Nick Meyer certainly wasn’t a Trek fan to begin with, but many seem to consider Wrath of Khan the best of the movies.

I don’t disagree with anything you said really, but Kurtzman seems to zone in as much as possible what fans want as well and maybe TOO much if you listen to some. He’s the guy that gave us a Picard and a Pike show (both good ideas IMO) but also wanted a Khan (ugh) and Section 31 show, which I think seemed like he was doing it because he though most fans would eat up all the deep cuts of Star Trek but as we know, not exactly winning people over as thought and probably why both are delayed if not outright cancelled. And of course he was one of the people who was pushing for Khan in STID, it sounded like Orci was more on the fence about it.

So I get what you’re saying, I’m just not sure how ‘pragmatic’ Kurtzman is being since he seems to really just be doing everything to get hardcore fans on board and why we have everything from Q to Janeway all showing up in the franchise again soon. And of course a lot of this could be mandated by CBS as well and bring in as much iconic characters and time periods as possible and why we now have 3 shows in the 24th century.

Now, I think we would get a lot of the same stuff with Orci but could maybe do a better job of bringing these elements together. Now I don’t mind what Kurtzman is doing AS a fan in general but yes a lot of it still comes off like generic sci fi stuff with all the end of the galaxy story lines, convoluted and overstuffed ‘twists’ and some villain being the center of every season. Thats the problem people like me have with him. Star Trek is a crazy franchise with so many zany stories but a lot of times less IS more.

I just feel maybe Orci would lean less to that type of story telling. So I’m not just taking about throwing in a bunch of fan service, clearly they are doing that now lol. But just how to get back to more traditional story telling that fans like and WANT to get out of PIC and DIS but seems to be more mixed. But sure, he may not at all. ;)

BUT I will say at least Discovery season 3 had more classic Trek like stories like trying to save a planet, doing a courtroom drama, etc. And also why I loved LDS because it does feel a lot more like that and its clear like Orci, McMahan was a HUGE Trek fan way before he got the job. I think Orci would bring a quality closer to what LDS does, just more conventional because deep down LDS actually DOES tell conventional stories, just with a broad comedic brush. Ten episodes and only one of them directly dealt with a ‘villain’ all season. Thats a good example of the differences in the story telling.

Maybe what I’m REALLY saying is McMahan might be a great overseer if he didn’t turn it all into a comedy. ;)

Last edited 1 month ago by Tiger2

Star Trek Into Darkness also had Damon Lindelof as a writer, another self-proclaimed big Trek fan. I don’t remember who among them was pushing against or in favor of including Khan.
It’s really hard with these blockbusters written by committee to know who contributed what to them.
The truth of the matter is that we have no idea what Orci-Trek would look like since Paramount canned his version of what later became Star Trek Beyond and Orci has never released his script/story idea. So all fans have are Orci’s claims that his movie allegedly was too Star Treky for Paramount’s taste. Which could be true but could just as well be complete B.S.
Scanning over his IMDB page it seems that all his writing credits are together with Kurtzman and also quite often with J.J. Abrams. “Matador” seems to be an exception but I haven’t seen it. So it seems impossible to predict what he would do in his own.

IIRC it was Damon Lindeloff who really wanted to do it first, according to Orci. But it sounded like they were all on board with the idea except Orci, at least at the beginning. Then it sounded like he was one of the last to come around. At least based on what’s been said in interviews. But yeah you’re right it is hard to know who did what in these movies, which is why I never gave Orci so much grief over it lol. But unfortunately he became the ‘face’ of those movies since he was here and talking about them.

And I’m just talking about how knowledgeable he is. He watched all the shows prior to working on it himself, read the novels and so forth. When they were all making those movies, he seem to be the only one who was deep into Star Trek lore. You had others like Lindeloff who was a TNG fan but most sounded more like casual fans overall.

And again all that is fine. As been pointed out, most people who make Trek didn’t all start out as mega fans. From Nick Meyer to Rick Berman to JJ Abrams, etc. Many of the writers on the shows weren’t fans until after they got the job. I’m only saying is I would be much more interested to see what Orci would’ve done. It’s odd because out of him and Kurtzman it seem like he would’ve been the one to come up with a show idea first. But like I said it seems like he had issues with both Paramount and he and Kurtzman cut ties. Kurtzman seem like he sort of just fell into the job due to his relationship with CBS, but he has stepped up a lot.

But sure Orci’s Star Trek could be considered as bad and divisive as Kurtzman’s version by a lot of fans out there. I just feel it would be a little more traditional in its approach and oddly probably why he lost the job writing and directing the last Trek movie because it sounded like it was going closer to that.

Feige makes significant creative input, and while he has curbed a few people too much (Edgar Wright for example), he has largely been a beneficial influence. Berman was a creativity killer who, to use my oldest line about TNG, could make the trains run on time. I didn’t find the Berman era to be coherent at all, just homogeneous to a fault, except of course DS9, which was largely excellent and which he seemed to be able to less damage to owing to Behr. Just the fact that he went with Braga instead of Moore on the prequel — !!!! Yee gads! — tells you something about his creative judgement.

Well, I had never heard of Kahn’s baby before either. It probably (though maybe not inevitably) was a crazy idea since to be meaningful it would have needed more development than an unidentified tyke crawling around, which would have distracted from the main themes of Kirk vs Kahn, past vs present, aging, etc. Still, it’s interesting to learn of rejected plot lines. Thanks!

Glad I’m not the only one. Didn’t want to lose what I have of Trek cred!

Thanks for another great “All-Access”. I really enjoyed the Mark Altman interview; great job Tony and Laurie. Paramount would be wise to give him a call when they are thinking about reviving the movie franchise. He was also spot on with his comment that Trekmovie is a first stop, one stop shop for Trek news; it certainly is with me and you have dome a fantastic job with this website since its inception just prior to Trek 2009.

Having Mark return for deep dives with the Shuttle Pod crew is a great idea. How about dives into TOS and Enterprise on their forthcoming anniversaries?

Glad you enjoyed it! I wish he’d told us what he’d do with a Star Trek movie, although he was wise not to. Ha!

Hi,

I enjoyed the podcast. I agree with Tony that a “my list” is important to any streaming service. The app does need to improve but I’m also really starting to like the content, especially the movies and the Smithsonian channel ( the history teacher in me loves the documentaries).

Mark Altman was a great guest. I am looking forward to his documentary. I need to see some of those 1982 films he cited. I need to read 50 year mission. I am looking for some great behind the scenes trek books.

I think you are doing a great job as podcasters. It’s the only place I trust for the latest trek news. I love your speculation and thoughts on future trek. I don’t have a lot of trek friends, so it’s nice to hear you guys speculate.

Live Long and Prosper!

Thanks for the nice comments! Means a lot. Until TrekMovie, I didn’t have a lot of Trek friends either, so I get it. (My husband is grateful I now have other people to talk about Star Trek with, although he’s not completely off the hook.)