Vulcan Stev's Database

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Star Trek didn’t need a Reboot.

treklogo1If you haven’t guessed by now, I am a Trekker.  I have been a fan of Star Trek since Star Trek: The Motion Picture hit theaters in 1979.  I have faithfully watched every hour of the original series in re-runs.  I eagerly waited in line at the theater for each new movie.  I went from casual fan to full-blown, costume-owning, Trekkie when The Next Generation premiered.  I can honestly say that with the exception of the special edition version of the original series and the new J.J. Abrams flick, I have seen EVERY hour of EVERY Star Trek at least twice.

PIT #1 has grown up watching “Tar Tek” with her Daddy.  She is now a graduating senior and considers herself a third generation Trekker.  We cringed along with the rest of Trekdom when it was announced that Brannon Braga was being given the reigns of Enterprise.  We shuddered when season three of that series spent the entire season plodding through the expanse.  We cursed Paramount for their stupidity in releasing Nemesis the same week as Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (oh yeah there’s a good idea).  We pined as we watched our beloved franchise dwindle because of recent poor creative and marketing decisions.

What do we like most about Star Trek?  We like the fact that after 40 years the franchise is internally consistent (if you ignore Brannon Braga).  We like the fact that the series requires thought, it’s is science fiction for people willing to think (an trait that is becoming increasingly scarce or so it seems).

That said, Paramount decided that due to the “failure” of Enterprise and the poor box office showing of Nemesis that the public was tired of Star Trek and the series was in need of a reboot.   I believe this notion to be in error as the last few years of Star Trek do NOT invalidate the previous 30.  Fans didn’t abandon Star Trek, Paramount abandoned its fans.

Why was Enterprise a “failure”?  The premiere episode drew in spectacular ratings.  I had to stay up until midnight to watch it as we STILL don’t have UPN (now CW) affiliate in the area.  Veiwership fell off considerably during the first season and continued to drop over the run of the series until UPN decided to cancel the show after season three.  Paramount made a deal with their own network to keep Enterprise on the air for one more year to have enough episodes for syndication.  Why did legions of Trekkers abandon the series?  Was it the cast? no Scott Bakula was marvelous in the role of Captain Archer.  The rest of the cast was equally talented.  Enterprise failed because Brannon Braga ignored continuity and gave us the Temporal Cold War and an entire season of battling the Xindii.  Fans wanted to see the first foray of humans into space.  We wanted to see how the bond between Earth and Vulcan formed.  We got almost none of that.  It is my personal belief that if Berman had fired Braga after season one and done season four as season two, Enterprise would still be on the air.

Why did Nemesis have a poor box office?  Was it the fact that Data died? no.  ‘The Wrath of Kahn killed off Spock and is still the favorite Trek movie on many lists.  Was it a bad story? again no.  I honestly prefer Nemesis over Generations and Insurrection.  Nemesis opened the same week as Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.  I wish I had a buck for everyone who wanted to see both movies and opted for LotR, thinking they’d get the chance to see Nemesis the following week.  Most of those folks never got the chance to see Nemesis.  Our local theater pulled Nemesis after that first week, ironically to make room for a second showing of LotR..

Neither of these “failures” warranted a complete reboot of the franchise.  It’s like deciding to dynamite your house because the second bathroom is broke and the painters screwed up the paint job on the spare bedroom.  The franchise needed to do something without Braga and needed to have someone with savvier marketing skills onboard.

What we apparently got was Abrams dynamiting the house and rebuilding from the leftover pieces.  At this writing I have not yet seen the new Trek movie.  I will be seeing it, but I have had trouble with calling it Star Trek.  Not because I’m some groganard fanboy who can’t accept change but because I still don’t believe the franchise needed to be re-envisioned.  Last night on Twitter I vented.  I’ve come to terms with how I’m going to go see this movie.

Is it Star Trek?  Yes, Paramount has decreed it so.  Is it my Star Trek?  Unknown, I’ll figure that out after I watch it.  I do know that in my mind, Abrams’ version is the Trek equivalent of DC Comics Earth 2.  That’s how I’ll be watching the movie.  Star Trek has already established “cannon” alternate universes.  Classic Trek, TNG, DS9, VOY, and even ENT all take place in Universe 1.   Abrams’ Trek is Universe 2.  There now I’ve gotten that off my chest.

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May 9, 2009 - Posted by | Movie Reviews, Science Fiction, Star Trek | , , , , , , , , , ,

12 Comments »

  1. I’d bet anything that once you’ve seen it you’ll think it’s one of the best ST movies.

    All the trekkies cried about this movie but in just a day it’s nearly all gone away. I was kinda shocked to actually see somebody still crying, but obviously you still haven’t seen it so it’s no surprise.

    “It’s not MY Star Trek” blah blah blah… ST was never yours in the first place.

    Comment by Shan | May 9, 2009

  2. And there you have nailed why it isn’t, technically, a ‘reboot.’

    Comment by Hank Harwell | May 9, 2009

  3. I have heard good things about this re-boot though. Wil Wheaton got to see a preview of it earlier in the week and he said it was well done. I probably won’t be seeing it until it is available for home viewing, though. The family is waiting to see Up (the next Pixar movie).

    Comment by Larry Bullock | May 9, 2009

  4. @Shan – This post isn’t so much crying as it is articulating WHY I have misgivings about this movie. We’re going to see it Mother’s Day. “My Star Trek” in that any fan of anything possesses an emotional investment in the object of their devotion.

    @Hank – I’ve always stated that I’m reserving judgement on the movie until after I’ve seen it. Folks just didn’t seem to understand why I wasn’t awaiting premier day with baited breath. Hence the post to explain my viewpoint.

    @Larry – Please note that I’m not questioning Abrams’ abilities as a director. I preferred MI:III over MI:2. Alias has always been one of my favorite shows. I just question the NEED for re-envisioning of the entire franchise.

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | May 9, 2009

  5. Hi Stev,

    I just saw the Star Trek movie and am also a long time fan. I have to say that no one watched Enterprise because it was horrible and did lack the elements you talked about. Somehow Archer always ended up being somebodies bitch. I really think you’ll like this movie. When you go to see it go with an open mind and put all this negativity out of your mind. The actors did an awesome job of portraying younger versions of the classic heroes. The action was great and the story was exactly what I expect from a Star Trek movie. In my tweet of last night from @kellytriskell I tried to propose that with such a big universe there is room for all versions of Star Trek.

    Comment by Chali Rilyn'lyl | May 9, 2009

  6. Not being the Uber-ST Geek, I cannot comment on all of the ‘changes’ in the script. I do know a few, yet the ones I was aware of didn’t bother me.

    They even address the issue of at least one of the things that was different at one point. I was crazy with the very end, but it wasn’t enough to turn me off.

    Oh and (mild spoiler) at least they didn’t blow up the Enterprise in this one.

    Comment by Hank Harwell | May 10, 2009

  7. @Chali – I could write a WHOLE series of articles on why Braga was the WORST possible choice to helm a new Trek series. I heartily reccomend season 4 of Enterprise. Thank for the thumbs up on the movie.

    @Hank – Not destroying the Enterprise in the movie? THERE’s an original idea 8-P We’re going to see the flick this afternoon. Hoping to have the reveiw up later today.

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | May 10, 2009

  8. Now, if only J.J. Abrams would do a “reboot” of Wolverine, X-Men Origins…

    Comment by Nomad | May 10, 2009

  9. […] I, and any hard-core fan, can and should embrace this as part of the Star Trek universe.  My rant on why Star Trek didn’t NEED a reboot is still valid.  Though, it’s what we got.  […]

    Pingback by Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Star Trek « Vulcan Stev’s Database | May 10, 2009

  10. You know what warranted a reboot? A die hard scifi fan thought the whole thing was boring and saw new movies and went “god, not again. Isn’t it time to kill it yet?”

    When you’re target audience loses interest, you’ve done something very wrong and need to fix it.

    Comment by viricordova | May 11, 2009

  11. @Nomad – Haven’t seen Wolverine yet so can’t comment.

    @Viri – Did Trek need a retooling? Yes. A complete reboot? Again no. However it’s what we got. At least TPTB didn’t invalidate the entire 40-year run like Casino Royale did with Bond

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | May 11, 2009

  12. Vulcan Stev, I am too young to have watch the Original Series while I was growing up, but I have watched every episode. The local ABC affiliate in NW Arkansas would play each TNG episode at 4pm and the Original at 11pm. I also enjoyed Voyager, and Enterprise (except the 3rd season), and DS9 felt like Day’s of Our Lives, in space. With this all said, I’ve also watch the six movies based on the Original series, and the four based on TNG. Yes, the fan base had literally dwindled, but not because of bad timing, acting, writing, ect. ect. It was the fact that most of the fan base from the Original series was dead or incapacitated in a nursing home. Most younger “would be” trekkies (or trekker’s if you prefer the original nick-name) simply do not have any desire to see a movie with order and seasoning that we have come to expect from Star Trek. Nor do they want to be bogged down with dialogs.

    I wanted a sequel to Star Trek Nemesis, but it wasn’t going to happen, for reasons portrayed in this movie.

    I’m not writing this to vent about your dislike about the movie, but rather about the fact that you misquoted the reasoning for the dwindling fan base. It’s a lot more subtle then either of us wish to admit, and to my knowledge, my father is the only original Trekkie I personally know. I to didn’t want a reboot, but like you said, it’s what we got. With that last sentence, I do agree with younger viewers, we needed one, before the show is forgotten, and we have to start explicitly explain what we are referring to.

    Comment by Willy-Bill | January 24, 2010


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