Friday, 27 June 2014

No Trek to Netflix - Is it Time to Get Real?

Even now the internet never ceases to amaze me with it's ability to blow things into ridiculously big proportions.

While I've taken the decision to stop the end of month round-ups on news because they're pointless (and you're going to be reading for that stuff anyway), I do love a good misquoted rumour but they are taking the spotlight away from more worthy stories.

Sadly the mouth from which it wasn't uttered and was allegedly wrongly understood was Star Trek afficionado +Larry Nemecek. Quite rightly, Larry quickly dropped a post on Trekland to refute the claim and very well played there, sir. Recently on the Starfleet Escape Podcast I pretty much said the same thing - a Star Trek show is unlikely to end up on Netflix. Sorry to those of you who might be following the superb Enterprise fifth season campaign but I just don't see it being a feasible idea unless it's backed by a network and right now I seem to get the feeling CBS, Paramount et al are backing another movie-making horse right now. To ensure the maximum audience, to get the biggest revenue this will have to be a network-based series; in fact the costs of producing such a show now would virtually ensure that is the only way to proceed. 


For another thing, how many column inches were given over to talking about one line on a studio press release confirming Star Trek 3 for 2016? I think we'd gathered it was going to be on the 50th anniversary but seriously, it was dragged out a lot more than it needed to be. That said, I have noted one or two stories in the last couple of days declaring that Robert Orci has said he will be taking the franchise back to the feel of The Original Series more than the 2009 and Into Darkness managed. 

This sounds like good news but is he just setting himself up for a massive fall when it turns out to be much in the same line as JJ's two blockbuster movies and his statement is more about easing fans concerns before a single roll of film has been shot? The frenzy around Into Darkness was nuclear and a superb marketing campaign that failed to deliver as a lot of fans would have hoped. In fact after all the hype there was probably no way on Earth or Quo'noS that it could have. 

Declaring this so early on as well as reinforcing the ending of Into Darkness with the announcement that we will be in deep space on the five year mission could be a masterstroke of course, perhaps that Orci is trying to distance himself from the Abrams vision of the alternative timeline and restore at least some sort of "normality" to the Star Trek franchise. Defining that will be the challenge and let's hope it involves something deeper than a few explosions and some nifty CGI. Also let's just accept that the Abrams universe does exist. It happened, it's alternative and at least it got a few more rears on seats - and thanks for finally getting round to releasing a decent blu-ray.

I digress. What annoys me about these rumours is that they ended up detracting from some of the much more newsworthy items about Star Trek that were around at the time. For one, Star Trek Continues' brilliant third episode was released but found itself in the shadows a bit over the overblown Netflix story as did the news that Phase II have begun shooting Mind-Sifter after a lengthy delay then there's Nestle who are supposedly looking to build a working replicator! These are some great articles, superb media creations that lost the limelight because of a "might be". Usually when we get some good fan-produced material the internet lights up and my news alerts shine brightly with reviews and opinion on the latest episode - this month it was severely underwhelming.


I suppose what I'm trying to say here is that we have to be on the button with Star Trek at the moment. There really isn't a lot out there and it seems we're clawing at every word just to find something to talk about. There is a lot to talk about but clammering at throwaway lines just won't sustain the franchise and we need to be looking at the fan productions, the official novels, Destination Star Trek and the tangible things that are out there right now for us in Trekdom. I might add that these rumours could have been thrown in for exactly the reason to detract from the offerings of Mignogna and the Continues cast and crew.

We keep drifting back to a land of eternal hope and if I read one more line about that Captain Worf or Captain Sulu series I swear I'll begin sharpening my bat'leth - let's stop living the fantasy (ironic line) and check in to the JJ Reality. Any new show will be in his universe but if Orci keeps to his word then we might see a show that will make us think for a bit more than the closing credits.

We've also had those great The Next Generation season six blu-rays this month including Chain of Command in movie form and while all the upgrades are stunning, we still appear happy to dwell on material from the mid-1990's and churning over old news instead of grabbing the wealth of new Star Trek episodes, movies and materials being produced across the worlds by passionate fans.

Yes, they are great episodes and the only Prime Star Trek we can get is that - now firmly restricted to the years 1966 to 2005 so we have to make do with whatever we can get in that form. However, those fan films are in a sense sticking to the old (mainly due to cost) but they are importantly expanding the stories, using affordable new technologies to do amazing things and being original. If we keep looking over our shoulder we'll miss some great stuff that's coming soon - Axanar, Horizon, Futures, EquinoxAmbush and a whole host of others that offer great promise as potential webseries such as the Tim Russ/Walter Koenig led Renegades. In that respect, who out there hasn't heard of Farragut and or the tragedy that Starship Exeter took a while to get the final act of its second and final episode finally online. I'm gutted we won't get to see any more of that show and we need to keep them alive if we do care as much about the Prime Universe as we do. 

The imagination used for these shows is boggling and instead we choose to pick out literally one liners in the news. Are we hanging on to hope or keeping up the level of anticipation to see some new, big budget Star Trek? Let's remember that while movies are sporadic and incredible sights, the show was designed for TV and that's it's true home.

With all these stories flying around and being debunked in hours it reminds me that back in the 1990's we had to rely on magazines and TV entertainment spots to get some news on what we could expect - if at all. Those rumours could take weeks to solve and there was no chance to discuss because, well, the internet didn't exist in anything like the form it does today.

Seems like an eternity ago but it did happen and I remember getting very excited over the upcoming Voyager series and the possibility of Riker turning up in Deep Space Nine's third season and no-one apart from my dad and a couple of friends to discuss it with. Now those stories would be across the internet in seconds and have been refuted by teatime however now we seem to drag even the smallest one line rumour out.

But these were always stories worth hearing and there was always a decent amount of evidence behind them before they went to print. Now one throwaway line becomes the next big thing. Let's wait until we get some more substance on these Star Trek 3 stories and see what Orci has in store for fans before we get too worked up. For now look to YouTube and the fan communities - there's enough there to keep us all interested for a long time coming.

So are we looking at the wrong parts of the Star Trek universe? Are we ranting about the parts we hate but might as well accept rather than giving more time to the good work of the fan community? Let us know your thoughts....

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