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Scott Atwell Star Trek Discussion thread (Series and Films)

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Ockeghem, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    I know that's kinda rhetorical, and kinda not, but ST is about different kinds of people working together toward a universe where the first option isn't to fight. The first option is to understand and find a way to resolve issues. A universe that is still imperfect, but we constantly try to make it better. It's about morality, treating everyone fairly and not saying "our way, or no way."
     
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    Carabimero

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    I think you're right on the money, Jason. I wanted to emphasize cultural relativism more. I was almost always told to lean toward the intellectual solution, and Patrick Stewart always wanted to get off the bridge and fight. :)
     
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  3. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Second Unit

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    I think the beauty of Star Trek is when they try to rationalize both approaches. A prime example is when Kirk says:

    " We're human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands. But we can stop it. We can admit that we're killers, but we're not going to kill today.That's all it takes. Knowing that we're not going to kill, TODAY!" - A Taste Of Armageddon

    To admit that you have faults, but are aware enough of them to confront them is key to many of classic Trek stories. The point is made that mankind has overcome a majority of it's pettiness to reach out into the galaxy to explore and learn more about itself through contact with cultures far different than our own. The potential for conflict is always present in first contact situations. How to apply the right amount of force without over responding is the intellectual problem. Having to make that decision can be good drama.
     
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    Carabimero

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    I really like what you wrote about good drama, Darin. Well said.

    Deep into the run of TNG I asked a show runner what ST was about. He looked at me with a straight face, totally serious, and said, "Continuing adult education." I got what he was talking about, that in the future all basic needs were fulfilled and now it was about bettering ourselves, but I thought the definition too narrow. You can see continuing adult education reflected in a lot of TNG episodes.

    Whatever the definition of ST I got from various ST creators over the years, there has always been in that definition the seed of improving ourselves in some way.
     
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  5. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I agree.

    The thing I possibly like about Star Trek more than anything else is that aspiration, the idea that humanity of the 20th century (or, now, 21st century) does not represent how humanity will always be until the end of time.

    After growing up first with more conventional TV shows and movies that repeat a lot of the same silly plots, where artificial conflict is stoked to fill time, it was a revelation to see a show that aspired to more. (By artificial conflict, I mean the kind of thing where you have two characters who are friends or colleagues who get along, and then one of them gets information about something and keeps it a secret from the other, and they start to argue or fight because each person has incomplete information. The entire conflict in the episode or film could have been avoided if the two characters merely had a thirty second conversation with each other. And then, at the end of the episode, they do, and problem solved.) I liked that Star Trek generally tries to avoid that kind of petty conflict. I like the idea that Star Trek presumes that members of Starfleet are generally competent at their jobs and seek to perform them to the best of their abilities. So many TV shows waste so much time with filler characters and plotlines with these kinds of conflicts, and it's so incredibly frustrating me as a viewer. I'm relieved that Star Trek, more often than not, leaves them behind.
     
  6. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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  7. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Second Unit

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    What sort of change do you think needs to be made?
     
  8. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Higher quality versions now for every episode. I really do admire Star Trek Continues, and wish they had an unlimited well of money to make episodes more frequently, and hire some big name writers.

    I find it ironic that the actor that portrays captain. Kirk, has a slight resemblance to Jack Lord(Steve McGarret of Hawaii Five O) who was the first choice to play Kirk in the original series.
     
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  9. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Second Unit

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    Star Trek Continues did a very admirable job in re-creating the look, feel and tone of TOS. I don't think big name writers were necessary, as what was presented was very good. The episode you provided a link for, "Come Not Between The Dragons", was one of the better efforts they produced. The money wasn't an issue with production coming in slowly. It was an all volunteer staff who had other jobs to attend to. Imagine producing a movie in your spare time!

    I feel they accomplished what they, and another fan production New Voyages, set out to do. Bridge the gap between TOS and TMP. I personally felt the epilogue in the final episode was rushed and totally unnecessary. I HATE connect the dot stories. I don't need to hear McCoy say on screen that he is going to retire, or that Spock is going to Vulcan and see Kirk in an Admiral's uniform. We all made the connection in the movie when we saw it. And it's not very organic or believable that all these decisions happened at the same time. End of rant. (For Now)
     
  10. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I tried to watch Star Trek Continues, as a friend of mine was very passionate about it and I generally trust and respect his opinion. I found it exceedingly difficult to make it through the first episode, and I never continued with it.

    I think the problem with Star Trek Continues, for me at least, was that it felt so slavish to the original style. I never had a problem with the Enterprise looking different in the movies from the show, or even in the Kelvin Universe, because I always took it to be that the Enterprise was portrayed as best as possible in whatever period the show/film being made was done. So, the Enterprise looks limited in 1966 not because the ship itself is limited, but because that's the closest people could come on a TV budget in 1966 to portraying a futuristic space ship.

    So I don't love the slavish attention to that now that those limitations are no longer present.
     
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  11. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    I watched the episode of Star Trek Continues linked and, for the most part, enjoyed it. I wasn't too bothered by the slavish adherence to the original sets as I love those sets. But they could have updated the look while keeping the esthetic and floor plans.

    What bothered me more than the sets was an attempt by the actors to mimic the original roles. They mostly failed with only a couple coming off decently enough to not be distracting. Of course, that could be a fault of the script as it needs work. If they're going to mimic the original, they need to work on dialog and delivery. It's off. I had other issues with the script that had nothing to do with characterizations and also felt that many of the actors exhibit skills that are just a step above community theater level.

    I was amazed at how authentic the sets look. The music and sound effects are spot on. Visual effects are excellent. If they had better scripts and the actors didn't attempt to mimic those of the original series think it could be very good. As it is, it's more of a curiosity as I frequently felt like I was watching a group of Trek lovers doing a somewhat impromptu Cosplay.

    In spite of all that, I do appreciate the level of craftsmanship and love for Trek on display. What they've done, for what appears to be a mostly amateur production, is simply amazing.
     
  12. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I couldn't shake that feeling when watching it either.

    I admire that these people loved Star Trek enough to spend a small fortune of their own money to recreate the sets, and who knows how much time to actually do it all. But I can't help but wonder what it would have been like if people with that level of passion and creativity had instead put their efforts into creating something new and unique for which they actually owned the copyrights, and could actually try to produce something new for the 21st century, rather than rehashing the greatest hits of the 20th century.

    I suppose that's a question for all content creators, whether studio productions or tiny YouTube productions, for this era.
     
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  13. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Second Unit

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    Excellent post. But isn't that by and large the state of television and movies in the 21st Century? How many shows exist today that are a remake or re-imagining of a 20th century show? Or 20th century comic? I've been pushing more more creativity in television that goes beyond what came before. I gave up on Discovery because of the been there, seen that feeling with the material. New characters in old situations doesn't cut it for me. Old characters in new situations? I find that more interesting somehow.

    Star Trek Continues took the path of trying to simulate what a 4th season of Star Trek TOS could have taken. That's why the choice was made to present the video in 4:3 and attempt to mimic the acting styles of the originals. The production is supposed to feel like a show from 1970. The FX and music are also part of that style. It's a love/hate thing as a viewer. You're either on board for the ride, or totally repulsed by the presentation. As Walt Disney would say, I have to engage my suspension of disbelief.

    I find no real fault in the writing at all. Again, the speech patterns tend to stick to the style of writing at that time. I think the stories are mostly something that Star Trek would have probably done as well. There are some scenes, and scene placements that would feel more at home on TNG however. As nice as it is to see the rest of the crew have more screen time, we all know that was a thing of the past by the last year of TOS. And opening an episode in an off duty activity is purely TNG style. TOS always went straight to the action.

    If you are a fan of old British television, I recommend seeking out the audio productions of Big Finish. They produce audio plays of Doctor Who (with surviving cast members) , Blake's 7, The Avengers, Dark Shadows, The Prisoner, Survivors and many more. The motto for the Who line is , "Old Doctors, new stories". https://www.bigfinish.com/
     
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  14. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    One of the things I didn't like the about the episode I saw was that it was a sequel to a TOS episode which frankly I wasn't that impressed by the first time around. It just seemed entirely unnecessary, like it had no compelling reason to exist, which made it feel even more like fan fiction rather than a story that had life of its own. It's been suggested to me that I might enjoy other episodes better that are more standalone, and less slavishly devoted to TOS stories, but I didn't enjoy what I saw enough to want to continue.

    Is that strictly true? I think they had a few that began that way. One of the interesting things I read in recent years were some memos from the network that were constantly pushing the producers to begin episodes on the planets, and seemed to chastise them for starting an episode on the ship. Which seems like a silly note for a show where our characters live in a space ship, but there you have it.
     
  15. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Second Unit

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    That's always bothered me about these productions too. That's why I suggested "Come Not Between The Dragons". It mostly represents the style I enjoy the most. The novels based on TOS became even more evident of this "lets have so and so back" trend and I gave up reading them for the same reason. Funny thing. I read somewhere that Kurtzman and Orci were fans of many of these types of novels and used some elements in their Kelvin Timeline films. The first giant Star Trek novel in the 80's Enterprise in particular. It tells how Kirk's father was on the Enterprise when he was a boy. Yuck!

    You are probably referring to the first episode that returns Apollo to the Enterprise. It is also the episode I had in mind with starting in an off duty activity, the holodeck. Starting on the planet is fine, Kirk playing on the holodeck? That's pure TNG.

    Having stories built around a returning guest star is an attempt to give the show some validity. Same with quoting Rod Roddenberry's blessing on the website. I'm sure the veteran actors used in Star Trek Continues were all met and approached on the convention circuit.
     
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  16. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Guys, just carrying on with TOS second season 50 years later. :). I watched The Deadly Years and in light of the controversy over on the Discovery Thread, I watched The Trouble with Tribbles as well.

    Not much new to say about the Deadly Years. I watched in the original effects of course. I thought it was funny how they made Jan interested in Kirk as a young man and an older man too since she was married to an older man. Also, how can Starfleet have a Commodore of such incompetence except to again highlight the bureaucrats within the organization.

    Watching The Trouble with Tribbles in hindsight created in me such a mix of feelings. Its such a strong contrast with each character as written and acted with comedy in mind. These are normally serious characters as we know and it’s interrsting to read how Roddenberry took issue with this after so many episodes veered this way. I think the only serious character was the Admiral who told Kirk he had to take care of the shipment of quadrotriticale. Another example of bureacracy in Starfleet? :) This one is the classic that paved the way. It also struck me that the Klingons were so human in every way, appearance and behavior. I could see the budget was probably maxed and they couldn’t afford to really do every Klingon extra in the way Kor was, darker skin and eye brow arches. These Klingons and perhaps it was the way Campbell played Koloth were not as menacing or intimidating as Kor. Korox was close as the bully. Of course DS9 had a little fun with the human looking Klingons in their 30th Anniversary tribute episode. But after seeing the TNG and DS9 Klingons and now the new Discovery era Klingons, the TOS Klingons in Tribbles were really surprisingly a pale version, literally. It was such a surprise to see that in this viewing of Tribbles. I guess Gerrold and Coon wanted to have fun at their expense.

    Michael Ansara and cast later brings the Klingons back to full measure in Day of the Dove as Kang.
     
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  17. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    We have continued introducing our boys to Star Trek. Recently we watched TNG's Yesterday's Enterprise, which they enjoyed but were perhaps not able to follow (all the changes caused by the time displacement of 1701-C), and just this weekend showed them TOS' The Doomsday Machine, which they loved. We're talking complete edge-of-your-seat reactions.

    Anyone have any further suggestions (from any of the series) that a pair of 9-year-olds might love? Obviously, they react best to those episodes with plenty of action. (But as episodes like TNG's Family and The Drumhead are some of my favorites, we'll get to those too.)
     
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  18. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    The TOS episode Balance Of Terror was the first episode of the show my dad ever showed me. Always a great choice. I think Corbomite Manuever is fantastic and love showing that one to people new to Trek.
     
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  19. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    I was about 9 when my parents really started letting me go gonzo on Trek. Day of the Dove is a good one from TOS; Best of Both Worlds, Redemption, The Arsenal of Freedom, Q Who, Hide and Q (bad ep, for the record) from TNG; The Jem'Hadar (and then everything following it) in DS9; Caretaker and Scorpion in VOY; most of S3 of ENT.
     
  20. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    I was remembering what it was like at 6, 7, 8 and 9 years old when I first watched Star Trek. I remember certain scenes and The Doomsday Machine and The Immunity Syndrone we’re so strong visually, it stuck. But I was grasping the ideas, themes and allegory until I got older.

    I just watched Bread and Circuses and I, Mudd this last weekend on my continuing second season viewing. Sam, Your question for what to show next to your sons might be those two episodes. One with action and adventure and the other with some comedy. Though I didn’t see the humor in I, Mudd as a kid. I definitely didn’t get the Vietnam allegory when I watched A Private Little War as a kid, but that will be an episode I see next. It does have the Mugatu. And the satire of Bread and Circuses was definitely lost to me. But as you said, lots of action.

    The line from the end of Bread and Circuses seems apt here, to watch it happen all over again, to see young kids discover Star Trek. :)
     

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