Audio Commentaries for Star Trek DVDs?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Charles_Y, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. Charles_Y

    Charles_Y Stunt Coordinator

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    Does anyone have any information as to why Paramount has not provided ANY audio commentaries by cast OR crew from ANY of the Star Trek TV shows on dvd to date?

    Virtually every other major SF and fantasy show (to name a few genres) has at least one or two commentaries per set. I find this sad and a real wasted opportunity. The extras on the ST sets are often decent but of course could be better. However, this blatant omission is quite irritating.

    Thankfully, the ST films are not slighted in this respect. It would have been great for example to have Mike Okuda or Rick Sternbach add even a text pop-up on some key episodes.

    Anyone have any data on this one?
    [​IMG]
     
  2. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    I expect it's because

    a) Commentaries cost Paramount more money, and fans are just as likely to buy them without; and
    b) Paramount can add commentaries at a later date, and sell the sets to us again.

    Pity they can't follow the excellent model set by Xena season 3 - 3 eps per disc (= better quality encoding), audio and video commentary on 8 episodes, interview featurettes for every episode, bloopers and deleted scenes. Oh yes, and all that for half the price of a Trek season.
     
  3. TomJC

    TomJC Extra

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    Hey, I'd pay real money for Robert Beltran commentary on Voyager episodes! [​IMG]
     
  4. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    Why? They had absolutely nothing to do with TOS and its production. They have no more insight than I.

    Money, time, and disinterest among the stars would be my guess. Back then the TV job was just that... a job. Do you remember what the intracacies of a job you did 40 years ago?
     
  5. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    Gary Seven,

    He was referring to TNG and DS9 season sets, not TOS, since as we know, there are NO extras on those, and he referred to the extras being good, but could be better. I say that because Mike Okuda and Rick Sternbach were VERY involved in TNG and DS9.

    As far as Mike Okuda having no more insight into TOS than you, I wonder then why they got him to do Text Commentary for all TOS movies. Odd.
     
  6. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    I think this is some sort of inside reference that went over my head - care to explain? (I know little about Voyager - I just finished watching S1 and that's all I know!)
     
  7. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    Mike... my bad. When I see Star Trek, I immediately think of TOS, not the others. While Mike and Rick may have been around for the TOS movies, my statement was in regards to the series itself, which is a far cry from what that *cough* hack *cough* Bennet did to the TOS universe.

    Colin.... LOL!!!
     
  8. Brandon Gantt

    Brandon Gantt Second Unit

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    Anybody can provide text commentary as long as production material/paperwork survives from that particuar time. Just look at the Doctor Who DVDs. Those have very informative text commentaries and none of the people writing them actually worked on the series.
     
  9. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Robert Beltran was vocal in his disgust for much of what was going on with Voyager--particularly the writing of his character. This was mainly later on, I imagine. Either way, I don't think Paramount's going to let him express his true thoughts on any of the extras.
     
  10. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Yeah I figure so they can release it with commentaries again in 5 years and we'd have to buy them all again

    Seriously I don't know why commentaries are not part of the aramount equation but I'm sure it's because the majority of the trek Stars i.e for Classic Trek and the Next Gen would want big bucks to do these.
     
  11. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    Here. Here. Me too. And a Mulgrew on the Jeri Ryan dominated episodes would be interesting.I always thought they were rumors that they didnt get along or Mulgrew was just jealous of her bloated screen time but at a Convention, she said something personal about each actor's personality that she worked with and how much she missed them and of Jerri said only that she was a professional.

    I remember reading Beltrans rants online. He hated how shallow the series was and who can blame him.


    Commentaries would have been great and for the price you pay a bit more worth it but this is Paramount. Cut the cost and cheat the fans. Kinda like the packaging for Voyager. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap.
     
  12. LisaDoris

    LisaDoris Stunt Coordinator

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    What I wouldn't have given for an Avery Brooks commentary on "Far Beyond the Stars." But this is Paramount so I didn't hold by breath.
     
  13. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    Another undeserved dig at Paramount, here...

    Let me point out that Paramount has included commentaries on TV product before:

    CSI Season 2 has commentaries on 3 episodes.
    CSI Season 3 will have commentaries on 6 episodes.
    Frasier Season 1 has a commentary on the pilot episode
    Frasier Season 2 has a commentary on "Matchmaker."
    South Park Season 3 has commentaries (though brief, by artists choice)

    It is obvious that Paramount has no problems delivering TV on DVD with commentaries. It may well be that the creative teams involved with Star Trek have had no interest in doing so.

    3 upcoming March film releases from Paramount will include a commentary:

    School of Rock
    The Ten Commandments
    Beyond Borders

    -Scott
     
  14. Darren Haycock

    Darren Haycock Second Unit

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    Ya know, I really wouldn't mind that. Out of my favorite series (TNG and DS9) I still only have TNG Season 4. Maybe if new versions came out I could finally buy the old box sets that nobody wants anymore. Commentaries? Good, but not crucial, especially when a poor college student wants box sets that cost over $100 a pop.
     
  15. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    I agree with Scott, there have been unfair comments made about Paramount and the company's lack of want to spend money on DVD product.

    I have a friend who liked Voyager when it was first airing. He said to me that he's not at all interested in behind the scenes stuff because for he and his wife, they'd rather not have the magic spoiled. That goes for movies as well. There's a certain magic going on in movies I suspect for many people and it's an imaginary place they like to go, but have no interest in knowing about the process of creating that world. And some would rather use the opportunity to intellectually process what the director had in mind for a particular film. I can imagine that many folks love the last scene of Casablanca and don't want that hazy image spoiled by reality.

    Plus I doubt that many people are interested in audio commentaries. It's a left over element from the glory days of Criterion Laserdiscs. I love audio commmentaries and I enjoy them a lot when I see my favorite movies. That's me.

    But for a TV show, I am less interested. I'm a serious Star Trek fan, have all the films and TV series out so far, but I've not missed audio commentaries. Avery Brooks does address Far Beyond the Stars in the documentaries and the short Section 31 files cover all the little nuances of character and several of the doc address particular episodes too.

    I can't see myself listening to audio commentary for 'Shades of Grey', or 'Royale'. I'm sure it would go:, "well, we ran out of budget", or we thought it would have been good, but it didn't work out". I'm sure the people at Paramount carefully discussed this and checked with actors and creative people, came to the conclusion that the documentaries covers it. Watching the docs covers the stand out episodes pretty well and if it's not enough, read the companion books, they provide good information and the DS9 one is the best.

    That's just my opinion.
     
  16. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    I disagree. If it was just some "left over" then why have they proliferated so wildly? It's rare for a high-profile new movie not to include a commentary, and many older ones have them too - both trends have escalated terrifically over the last few years. They're much more common than they were three or four years ago - that doesn't sound like a "left over" from the LD days to me...
     
  17. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Colin-

    An unfortunate choice of words on my part.

    What I mean is that in the bigger picture, audio commentaries have, for good or bad, become a mainstream element that is included in many home video products. (As evidenced by spoofing on The Simpsons) But the audio commentary was once the domain for the limited laserdisc market where the film buff could really appreciated that material.

    My theory is this; some popular event DVD's that came out a few years ago had included audio commentaries ported over from the laserdiscs. The studios likely percieved a demand for this material by the larger buying public, some may have asked for more. So they started to put more out until it has now seemingly being done for any release and so for possibly the detriment of the industry, it has become industry standard stuff. It's not special anymore, some may call it fluff.

    So what was once material meant for those who appreciated it, film buffs, cinema scholars, and Criterion Laserdisc customers, the material is now considered by the consumer an essential part of the package. So when it is not included, the average consumer could perceive this as a cost savings measure by a studio. That is the bad side from my point of view. This material may not be appreciated or even listened to by Joe Six Pack.

    I'm sure there are those who are thinking, "Whatever, I just want it".[​IMG]

    Nelson
     
  18. LisaDoris

    LisaDoris Stunt Coordinator

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    My dig at Paramount has to do with their treatment of the Star Trek franchise, not their overall product. I personally think Paramount knows commentaries are popular with fans or else they wouldn't go through the trouble of having them on the film's SE. I'm sure Paramount has noticed that other sci-fi/fantasy franchise shows have included commentaries on their episodes and as Scott Kimball pointed out, other Paramount products include them as well.

    While it is possible that the creative teams might not have been interested in providing commentaries, I find it difficult to believe that between three different programs, about thirty different principle and recurring actors, and way too many directors to count that nobody could do a commentary track.
     
  19. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    If there is so much interest in an audio commentary for the 4 series (I'll include Voyager) that are out on DVD, then I submit that there is one guy who would be appropriate.

    Like on the Bond films, there has for the most part, been one guy who acts like an expert who speaks about the films on their audio commentaries. These include all aspects, the particular scenes or situations or behind the scene particular. He is John Cork, a 007 expert.

    Paramount has one guy who can do this job. He is a Star Trek expert, worked with Roddenberry himself as an assistant, a huge fan who got a huge break and last I knew, works for Paramount concerning Star Trek. His name is Richard Arnold. He writes the questions and answers column for the Star Trek Communicator fan magazine and I've seen him at Trek conventions bringing information from the set of TNG back in the day.

    I think he can act as the conduit for the audio commentaries, speaking for the majority of the time and include audio clips of comments from actors, directors and others as needed. This would work best as a consistant voice for all the series from TOS to Voyager. That could be very cool. I don't think it's reasonable to do commentaries for each and every episode, but a few would make sense, if they were to do it.

    But my opinion is that the producers of the Star Trek DVD's may have been of the same feeling as Steven Spielberg. The documentaries are the source of the information on the making of the 3 Indy films, they cover it. Also, when TOS was first done for DVD, the market was so new then, and such extras were not the norm then, they can't be faulted for not thinking about adding the commentaries. So a redone TOS DVD with audio commetaries by Richard Arnold is possible for the upcoming season sets, maybe he is doing it now for all we know. But it would sure upset those of us who already bought them!:b

    There are lots of fans I bet who would not go and rebuy TNG and DS9 for commentaries, would you?[​IMG]
     
  20. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    No, but I think Paramount's initial strategy would be to re-release key episodes (e.g. Best of Both Worlds, the pilots) as standalone special editions. Done correctly, some of those could be very tempting purchases. Only then I'd expect Paramount to rebundle them into SE season boxsets.
     

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