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A friend and I were looking over the design of the Enterprise for the JJ Abrams Star Trek films and that got me to thinking about all the problems in the films (portable transporters that can send you across galaxies, firing weapons in warp, ect) and how it has affected the fanbase as well as the future of any films within the Star Trek franchise. Not long after I saw a review of the new Star Trek animated series Prodigy and they essentially said it was Star Trek: Star Wars and opined about the nature of what makes Trek Trek. We also had the recent thread about what James Bond is, or should be so it seemed appropriate to maybe look at the current state of Trek, at least in regards to film.

So what is the future of Star Trek in film, if any, or what should it be?



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Eh. I'm for letting it rest.

Less Star Trek, more Seaquest (stupid time-jumps aside). As in, more stories about actually solving the problems of the near future than stories about a magically erected utopia 'out there' (and then burning it down and pissing on the ashes because the writers are sad about contemporary politics).

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/11/03 02:14:24


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I’d like it to be an optimistic series, where humanity (and other beings) have mostly solved their basic problems and mostly get along. I’d like the crew to be professional and likeable, and keep interpersonal drama to …if not a minimum, at least a level that won’t remind me of my coworkers and the crap I am trying to escape by watching Star Trek. I’d like the focus to be on exploration, intern and external as in the best of TNG and DS9. I want at least TNG-era levels of consistency.

   
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The thing I've kind of settled on that really separates old Star Trek from new Star Trek is the sense of optimism has been cut from the franchise.

Star Trek is a optimistic vision of a humanity that has achieved some sense of utopia in its own time. They still have problems and there are still trials and flaws in the hearts of the characters and the world around them, but their prevailing attitude is that these struggles can be overcome. The classic era of Star Trek (TOS to lets say Voyager) did various plays on this premise and the places such people might go the situations they might encounter, but there was always this optimistic tone to the shows. Even during the darkest moments like the Dominion War and first contact with the Borg, that the future could be a better place with better people at least trying to solve their problems in better ways.

This really came home for me when I tried watching Picard and couldn't. It's not that dark Star Trek can't be done, but Picard wasn't dark Star Trek. It was just this edgy and gritty action banaza and I'm going to set aside any other criticisms I have of it (and Discovery's) writing too focus just on the thing that I think they're lacking.

They're not optimistic about the future. In newer Star Trek shows, the future is just as bleak, frightening, and chaotic as the present. The Federation is not an enlightened utopia striving to be better even when it stumbles, it's just as fethed up as anywhere else and paradise is a lie.

And that's not Star Trek.

The big exception is Lower Decks, which I've caved in a watched and I very much like. It's not an A+ series. It relies too much on in-jokes and references IMO, but it does have that optimism and enthusiasm for the possibilities of the future Discovery and Picard are too busy being edgy and 'serious' to bother with. I particularly enjoy the characters of Tendi and Boimler, who feel like they're living the life that every Star Trek fan would like to live, exploring the stars, developing themselves, and embracing the awe of what they're doing and where they are with the utmost enthusiasm. That's Star Trek to me.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/11/03 02:35:53


   
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I don’t want to judge Prodigy too quickly off just the first episode. We’ve barely seen anything of the Federation yet. You don’t see a single actual Human during the first episode even. They use the fact it’s animated to go more creative with the alien species and such. That and the CG style really lends it to that Star Trek: Star Wars Edition comparison because it really does look like a Rebels kind of deal. I think it’s gonna end up more optimistic than other recents with its aim towards younger audiences.

 
   
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 Ahtman wrote:
So what is the future of Star Trek in film, if any, or what should it be?
Going off of Star Trek Discovery, the future of Star Trek is Michael Burnham solving all of Trek's problems forever (with special cameo appearances by the rest of the crew, who occasionally show up to tell her how awesome she is).

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I’m ok with Picard, as it’s post-Dominion War. That of course was an event which changed the Alpha Quadrant. The Federation got involved in an actual full-on war, producing ships explicitly for that purpose. It also has the dubious pleasure of picking up where JJ left off, with the destruction of Romulus.

Those events are reflected in a somewhat more cynical Starfleet high command. That I quite like, as it echos Sisko’s quote of “it’s easy to be a Saint in Paradise”.

I quite enjoyed the first season, but get that it’s a bit shaky. I’m intrigued to see where the second season goes. We might see Picard further as a man out of his time. That’s kind of appropriate if you ask me. Picard’s Starfleet was somewhat different to Kirk’s Starfleet. Less swashbuckling, more diplomacy and compromises. Had either been born into the other’s time, neither might’ve reached Captain or Admiral.

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Picard was also slowed because Picard as a character has to rediscover himself. He tries the whole "powerful speech" and gets shut down.

Because now he's an old man who left Starfleet 10 years ago. He's lost allies he had; he never played the political game enough to build lots of them behind him. Basically he went from Admiral to nothing and can't just get back to Admiral again in a flash.


I enjoyed it and I do think its a good take after the events of DS9 and the destruction of Romulus. It's a not so much removing the Star Trek as it is taking a look at the underside. The world where Gharrak lives; where gun runners and drugs and dark things happen. Things that we saw in regular Trek, but which were often resolved within a single episode. It's playing that approach out for longer.







I do agree a lot of the more modern Treks have lost a sense of exploration and of optimism. I think they've gone for a very (what I'd consider american) approach to sci-fi of "guns and lasers and fighting and cool stuff". Ironically I think the most Trek Trek we've had in the last few years is Below Decks - and that's after I felt the first season was a bit preachy with some of its episode puns and also machine-gunned jokes at you somewhat too heavily - second season is more settled.

I think the other thing is that in most of the old Treks they didn't have a huge special effects budget and stuff cost money - so they made up for that with more diplomacy and talking and mature thinking things through. Even the action sequences often had to account for the fact that in a battle they might only make a handful of shots on both sides. When you've got 3 shots with your main gun you've got to be careful and smart in how you use it.


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TOS and TNG were also fairly straight forward morality Plays Of The Week, where the pros and cons are weighed up on the scales of interfering as little as possible. The new shows, well….Disco, don’t really have that feel.

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There is very little sci fi that is written by people who are interested in or believe in the transfornative power of science for good. Every sci fi show is written by people who are afraid of science and feel pessimistic about what it will bring. I want one show where scientists and engineers solve problems and there is an optimism about the future, and goodwill and ethical values are the norm rather than the exception. If I want to watch a sci fi dystopia I have a million examples to choose from, mostly written by people with a very poor science education.

   
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 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
TOS and TNG were also fairly straight forward morality Plays Of The Week, where the pros and cons are weighed up on the scales of interfering as little as possible. The new shows, well….Disco, don’t really have that feel.


Pretty sure Hollywood believes that there isn't much new ground to cover there after how many episodes of ST series based on that template (which probably describes TNG more than TOS). And I tend to agree. Especially in the context of a future where there are no real societal problems anymore and everyone on the ship gets along in a happy, productive manner all the time. Conflict is what drives narratives, and that's why newer ST shows and movies are adding more of it.

I get that there's a good chunk of Trek fans who find comfort and affirmation in seeing the same character archetypes, same setting, same plots, same formula, etc. over and over again. But that doesn't get NEW eyeballs, which is what you need to pay for big-budget feature films.


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 gorgon wrote:
 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
TOS and TNG were also fairly straight forward morality Plays Of The Week, where the pros and cons are weighed up on the scales of interfering as little as possible. The new shows, well….Disco, don’t really have that feel.


Pretty sure Hollywood believes that there isn't much new ground to cover there after how many episodes of ST series based on that template (which probably describes TNG more than TOS). And I tend to agree. Especially in the context of a future where there are no real societal problems anymore and everyone on the ship gets along in a happy, productive manner all the time. Conflict is what drives narratives, and that's why newer ST shows and movies are adding more of it.


Actually, Hollywood is SO risk averse that they'd much rather remake once again a movie people liked (reboot, sequel, whatever) than doing anything even remotely risky it's not even funny.

Also, I don't think any of the new Trek is actually from Hollywood, right? What with them being series and everything.

Personally, the Trek I've enjoyed the most in years has been Lower Decks, it's very clearly made out of love. And the Orville, which is Trek in everything but name.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/11/03 13:10:47


 
   
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Probably in lots of directions.....

We have

Star Trek: Burnham where nothing and no-one matters except the central character who everyone loves....ughh its awful
Star Trek Picard - not bad and some good stuff - even with a terrible last episode - could get some exploration and other older elements of the shows as well as the darker elements of DS9 - but I think Lord of Hats is right when it does need to have some hope- not just dark for the sake of being dark. Hopefully when Q is in it - it has some more humour.

Then again the Expanse does sci-fi much better these days....

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I’m not particularly keen on the latest iteration of star trek, but then I think the best Star Trek film since Wrath of Khan is Galaxy Quest and the best Star Trek series since DS9 is The Orville.

I think the JJ Abrams star trek film series really missed a trick. Instead I’d a soft reboot/alternate timeline, they should have gone the whole hog and done a complete reimagining. Likewise with the current TV shows.

What I’d like is to have the adventures of Kirk, Spock and Bones in the 23rd century but without any of the baggage of the last 60 years of continuity.

Given that star trek ties itself in knots trying to justify things like the eugenics wars of the 1990s which didn’t happen IRL or the explanations for the change to how Klingons look between TOS and TNG, a clean slate but using the same premise and updated versions of the setting and character, preserving the idea of an optimistic future would be something I’d be interested in seeing.
   
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While I unfortunatly haven't seen Picard or Lower Decks yet, I also enjoyed Star Trek a lot when it was a bit more optimistic. In part because it made the more ambivalent or dark episodes more memorable for me at least (in pale moonlight from DS9 for example or the one in Voyager with the Equinox)

One thing I would find interesting as setting (it's just an idea and of course you can feel free to find it dumb): After several series on ships and one on a station, I would find it interesting to have a series (maybe just a mini series) set on a planet. On the one hand one could say after exploring ships and a frontline station a planet in the backlines, so right within Federation territory would be something drastically different, but I doubt that would give enough food for stories, so instead I would take a shot at the planets that suddenly got put into the neutral zone after the peace treaty with the Cardassians or Romulans. Basically you have a Federation settled world that from one day to the next isn't really Federation any more, but also not Romulan/Cardassian but... something in between? Suddenly it becomes interesting for other settlers/people looking for a refuge. You could bring in Ferengis (in their DS9 iteration, not the early TNG crap) playing a significant role, etc. also a nice opportunity to have a cast with less human dominance if one so desires. You could have another power (say Klingons) suddenly starting settlements on the neighboring planet (or another continent on the same planet) opening up place for conflict or cooperation. One could picture diplomacy and secret service stuff happening around the question "do we want to support the federation/Cardassians/Romulans? Or do we want to stay neutral?" And you could still give all that an optimistic touch, just instead of "lets explore the galaxy and solve its problems" a "lets make this place our home." vibe.

But as I said: it's just an idea based on gut feeling. No idea if such a series would work

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To me, proper Star Trek is the kind of stuff your gf can also watch without becoming bored. Picard and Discovery are trying too hard to be Star Wars. Orville has the right idea. Lower decks was meh, smells too much like dialed down Rick & Morty

IMHO Star Trek is about adventure/mystery and not about EPEEK WAR IN SPACE. Proper Trek is also slightly cheesy and campy, it gives it a more soft/humane feeling.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2021/11/03 20:58:18


 
   
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Apologies to the mods if this crosses the No Politics line, but I feel it needs to be said and will be as OT as I can.

The other aspect of classic Trek is holding up a mirror to our current society. And not always subtlety. And the mirror was of course of an advanced, peaceful society, reflecting not only on how far they’d come, but also how they got there to some degree.

That’s….not really something I get from Disco. Picard is showing glimmerings of that, but again to keep this as OT as possible I won’t give my opinion further as to what those glimmerings are.

Without that? Is it really Trek, or just otherwise fairly enjoyable SciFi?

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Versteckt in den Schatten deines Geistes.

Picard will be taking on Nazis next season, so that's completely relevant.

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Nope. You can’t bait me that easily.

It at least needs a photo of a lovely pint of bitter!

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The only way I can stomach Picard is through the Rich Evans filter…and he apparently quit.

   
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 H.B.M.C. wrote:
Picard will be taking on Nazis next season, so that's completely relevant.



I thought it was prohibition era gangsters.

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 Overread wrote:


I do agree a lot of the more modern Treks have lost a sense of exploration and of optimism. I think they've gone for a very (what I'd consider american) approach to sci-fi of "guns and lasers and fighting and cool stuff".



This is just IMHO, but I think that the most modern Trek series (aside from Lower Decks) is much more toned down with the hope. Like, I personally see it in many of the episodes and characters, but it's not so nauseatingly in your face hopeful as some of the past treks. Don't get me wrong, I think that the hopeful elements of Trek are one of the biggest keys to the whole thing working, but at times I felt myself being pulled from my suspension of disbelief in old series' because of how deep fried hopeful they were. And that certainly has a way of getting certain crowds in, and, I'm sure in part that is why I didn't enjoy DS9 the first go round: I wasn't old enough to have experienced the harshness of life, so I didn't "get" some of the hopelessness showcased in some of the darker episodes.


One thing I am kind of looking forward to is the new series with Anson Mount as Pike on his own, as IIRC, some of the show runners for that have said there will be a return to the "wagon train to the stars" format.
   
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 Ensis Ferrae wrote:
One thing I am kind of looking forward to is the new series with Anson Mount as Pike on his own, as IIRC, some of the show runners for that have said there will be a return to the "wagon train to the stars" format.


Strange New Worlds and they have said it should be back to basics and will be more individual stories with less focus on an over aching seasonal story. Considering it is the same people involved behind the scenes as some of the others listed here I am not holding my breath. On the other hand Pike was one of the better things in STD so there is a chance.

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Just watched the first eps of Prodigy.

It... looks pretty? Doesn't really feel much like Trek at all, though.
   
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I would be happy to watch a whole series of the Ryker snippets from Lower Decks

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 Albertorius wrote:
Just watched the first eps of Prodigy.

It... looks pretty? Doesn't really feel much like Trek at all, though.


A super technologically advanced ship (even by Star Trek standards), no one has Heard of star fleet or the federation, and nary a human in sight. Definitely a much different premise than is standard, but they do seem to be more optimistic in general.

 
   
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The guys clearly know about their star trek lore.
But it takes place 5 years after voyager, takes place in the delta quadrant and has caitians and tellerites.
Janeway does act like Janeway though.

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You mean incredibly inconsistently from episode to episode?

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 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
You mean incredibly inconsistently from episode to episode?


Hard to say so far. She only briefly cameoed at the end of the first, so we don’t really get to know her till this one.

 
   
 
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