Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Star Trek XI: The Reboot

Dear Readers,

If there's one thing that Star Trek* fans hate, it's continuity errors. You know, like if in episode X someone says that Deep Space Nine was built in 2346 and in episode Y someone else says it was built in 2351. You see, we like Trek, and therefore we pay attention. Now, I'm the kind of fan that likes to look at the larger ethical and social issues discussed instead of tracking a timeline of the production of space stations, but even I can't help but be annoyed when Data uses contractions even though it's clearly stated that he is incapable of doing so (and this inability is a major factor in various episodes). Glaring contradictions in history, dates, character traits, and the like make us fans feel like we care more about Star Trek than the writers and producers do, or that the writers and producers don't realize the attention we pay to the shows in the first place, and we hate that. Furthermore, they know that we hate that. So I'm just a little confused when Paramount announces that the next Star Trek movie is going to be a reboot of the franchise.
For those of you who are unaware, a reboot occurs when The Powers That Be clear the slate and start all over again, taking the bare bones of the franchise and doing whatever they want with it. This means that the writers have an incredible amount of freedom and will have the chance to make Star Trek into what they believe will be more accessible (read: marketable) to a new potential fan base. Basically, they want to attract people who haven't already watched the 700-plus episodes and ten movies that comprise the franchise, believing the old fan base has had their fill of Trek and can no longer do anything but buy DVDs and action figures.
First of all, I find it hard to believe that it is necessary to trash 40 years of well-loved stories and characters in order to make way for something that may or may not work. Star Trek as it was originally conceived has managed to withstand the test of time, and I really fail to see why it is suddenly so inaccessible. One of the advantages that Star Trek has always had in the first place was its innate timelessness. Because it is set in the future and deals with universal themes, it has the unique ability to transcend the time in which it was originally produced. Now, I realize that some episodes are dated because of their special effects, but the majority might as well have been made yesterday. I don't see how material that timeless could be considered inacessable. TPTB may think that it is impossible to continue to build upon the franchise, as all of the ideas have been so so completely exhausted that it is impossible to come up with more. Two words: fan fiction.

Second, the idea that you have to watch every single episode in order to be a fan is complete bunk. A new Star Trek fan can be made in the time it takes to watch a single episode. I've considered myself a hardcore fan all of my life, and even I didn't get around to seeing all of TOS (The Original Series) until recently. Sure, there are fans who criticize the newbies, but most of them don't realize that some of us weren't alive until well after 1969. Ignore them. All that is needed, in my opinion, is a good movie that can stand on its own two feet, draw the attention of the masses (if Matt Damon is needed, so be it), and create an interest in the franchise that would eventually lead to the other incarnations. The current writers seem to think that this is impossible without wiping the slate clean. I think that we need new writers.

Third, I think that one look at the Trek fans today would be incontestable proof that we are not only still interested in the Star Trek that has already been made, but also that we are hungry for more Star Trek to come. Take a look around. We're so hungry we're making our own episodes out of our own time and money, for Pete's sake! Nothing says "hungry for more" like average people who wear Spock ears and build CGI starships at near-professional quality.

So that's the rundown. I realize it's unfair for me to judge a film that is still in pre-production, but it's just not looking good so far. I'll be satisfied when we get to see what happened to Voyager.
Best wishes, regards, and pet peeves,

-Cecily Jane

P.S. And in the category of Reboots, the Thanks-for-Sharing Award goes to . . .

Ronald Moore for his comments on why he left Star Trek to reboot Battlestar Galactica:

"[T]hey just love torture and rape and killing babies . . . I have been allowed to do the show I want to do."

*I'm using Star Trek here to refer to all of the shows under that name, just to be clear. This means Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Adventures, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, and the ten Star Trek films.

1 comment:

Content said...

People should read this.