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June 15 2007

Is Star Trek Really Dead? Alan Stanley Blair wonders if the money being used to try and rescue the Star Trek franchise would be better off in the hands of Joss Whedon.

"Because let's face it, in just 15 episodes, "Firefly" had 10 times the entertainment value of all five Star Trek series combined."

Agreed.

Well, each to their own of course but personally I think that's a bit much. More than all of Star Trek combined ? Thinking not (much as I adore 'Firefly'). To some extent they're apples and oranges anyway, Star Trek was always old-style sci-fi, about ideas, 'Firefly' was about people (under the umbrella of one 'big idea', freedom) - which I think partly explains why 'Firefly' appealed to so many folk that probably wouldn't consider themselves sci-fi fans.

I also reckon MI3, though directed well enough, was a pretty lack-lustre, blockbuster by numbers affair, not a patch on the surprisingly tight, espionage based first film (waaay better than the second one though) so I disagree with the author on a few things (though he has a point about the Kirk-at-school premise, to quote the 'franchise' itself "Commanding a starship is you're first, best destiny. Anything else is a waste of matériel" - guy's meant to be up there, tearing across the universe like his ass was alight and his head catchin' ;).

That said, would I rather the money for Star Trek XI went to Joss for more Serenifly stuff ? Betcha.
Well the last many seasons of Star Trek were pretty crap, run by burnout ruins of producres (Berman I'm looking at you) who had long since lost what ever clue they might have about making what you might call "real" Star Trek. Of course if that Alias guy reboots Star Trek in the movies it'll be an action movie with lots if incomprehensible things and unanswered questions *g*
Star Trek is a cultural phenomenon. To dismiss the contribution of the most socially influential arts of the last century is absolute tosh. I'm a browncoat, but why the need for other BC's to spit on Trek? Where's the article criticising the money spent on Transformers? Spider-Man 3? Evan Almighty? What about the endless Bond franchise?

Oh I get it. Firefly and Star Trek are both about ships in space. Let's compare and draw lines in the sand.

Star Trek is a sleeping commercial giant. It's worst performing movie opened with $18m. $8 million more than Serenity. The franchise is 40 years old and maybe the most profitable franchise outside of a galaxy far, far away. That's why the lolly is being ponied up.

Let's see where Firefly is in 35 years before we are so snippy about Star Trek.

[ edited by Andy Dufresne on 2007-06-15 14:53 ]

[ edited by Andy Dufresne on 2007-06-15 18:54 ]
Firefly obviously owes a lot to Star Trek and a lot of classic sci-fi from the past. And I like Star Trek, and it has its moments, but...

FIREFLY COMPLETELY OWNS STAR TREK!!!!!!!
I don't know, I'm kind of getting sick of these sorts of fan wars. I remember back when both Buffy and Farsacpe were on the air, I used to read a lot of message boards where fans would fight tooth and nail over why the other sucked. I happened to love both of them. My boyfriend is an enourmous Trekkie, but loves Firefly. Yet, my younger brother has turned against the teachings of his youth and no longer loves sci-fi, but he loves Firefly. Hell, throughout high school, I lived with my mother, who is strangely considered an anomoly in the sci-fi fandom since she is both a huge Trekkie and a major Star Wars fan. Also, I just recently watched Clerks II with my friends - who knew there was such animosity between the Star Wars fans and the Lord of the Rings fans? I happen to love both, I just don't love the changes Lucas made to his originals, nor do I love those sorry excuses for prequels he made. :)

I just don't understand why we can't all be more tolerant of each others' fandoms and accept that it's a matter of personal taste.
Totally agree TaraMaclay. I've never got the "either/or" or the "I don't like it so it's deficient in some way" mentality that's common in dedicated fandoms.

FIREFLY COMPLETELY OWNS STAR TREK!!!!!!!

Reckon we need 'em both. If I put the best episode of 'Firefly' ('Out of Gas' IMO) against the best episode of Trek (much, much harder just because there're so many more - "Far Beyond the Stars" ? "Tapestry" ? "The Measure of a Man" ? "Inner Light" ? "City on the Edge of Forever" ? ...) I might well be more entertained, possibly moved, by 'Firefly' but I guarantee i'll be more inspired to think by the Trek one. Joss' shows are more about emotions than Trek (which often sees them as something to be battled and overcome, as our baser parts rather than what make us who we are). 'Firefly' was like a bunch of poems, full of meaning, emotion and potent images. Trek is more like a really entertaining dissertation read by that Uncle that used to come home with tales of his time in the Merchant Navy ;). Both perspectives are valid and worthwhile (to me anyway).

it'll be an action movie with lots if incomprehensible things and unanswered questions

Half way through the film Kirk wakes up to discover it's two years after graduation and he's been assigned to a ship with his long-lost sister as XO ;).

(I actually liked large chunks of 'Alias' but there's no denying it bounced all over the place, often in a "Whoa" way but a few times more "WTF ?" ;)
I remember back when both Buffy and Farsacpe were on the air, I used to read a lot of message boards where fans would fight tooth and nail over why the other sucked.


Buffy and Farscape? Two shows that have almost nothing to do with each other (besides both having really kick-ass characters). What's the point of arguing?

It's things like this that kept me from joining a fandom earlier in life. I'm glad I found the Jossverse first, otherwise I would have soured on the whole fan thing, I think. Then again, I don't actually visit other fandoms, so maybe things are better now.
I never heard of any Buffy/Farscape wars either, to be honest. Buffy/Charmed, yes. Farscape/Stargate, yes. Buffy/Farscape, not so much. The only real comparison is that they were both incredible shows that took the basics of a genre and recreated them in ways that absolutely rocked. Buffy and Farscape will always be in the top three of my favourite series, now joined by the mighty Lost.

As for the Firefly against Trek thing, it's a no-brainer for me because I've never really liked Trek. Regardless of genre, I've always liked shows that change and adapt. Series with season long arcs where events in one episode will drive the next. That's why procedurals don't entertain me and also why I never really loved Trek. With the exception of the surprisingly good DS9, Trek has always been far too handy with the mighty episode reset button. You could have a character practically dead in one episode and the next would be as if nothing ever happened, no mention whatsoever. Voyager was especially guilty of that. Seven years on a ship with a small crew and did you see so much as a promotion for Harry? Not a chance.

Good shows need to be able to grow and change, which is why series like Buffy, Angel, Farscape, BSG and Lost are so excellent. Trek seemed stagnant to me long before most other people started saying it had lost it's fire. Enterprise was just the icing on the (very stale) cake.
...wonders if the money being used to try and rescue the Star Trek franchise would be better off in the hands of Joss Whedon

Well, duh.
Sigh. I love Firefly more than pretty much any other TV show, but I'm still a die-hard Star Trek fan as well. Nowhere does it say that you can't love both. Joss purposely created Firefly to be an anti-Star Trek, in terms of what humanity will be like in the future, but I think both perspectives are important to have around. Star Trek's message of hope, its ability to tackle difficult cultural issues, if you don't understand the positive impact that this has had on our world, you probably haven't watched enough Star Trek to make any sort of judgement on it.

The world needs Star Trek to continue and be good, in my opinion. I want Joss to do more stuff too, but take it out of someone else's hands.

Oh and to The Pagan, I didn't like Voyager either, but when you're stuck on a ship with no turnover, how do you promote anyone? Not everyone can be Lieutenants. Do you propose that someone gets demoted back to Ensign just to promote Harry?
Okkay, the Harry example was just, well, an example but to answer your comment I'd have to say that in the cases of 99% of the ship's crew I'd agree with you. However, Harry Kim was a seen as a senior bridge officer involved in pretty much every major event that happened over the course of the series. I'd say that in his case he had more than deserved a promotion at some point. Anything above Ensign, at least.

I'm not sure why you think anyone would need to be demoted to make that happen though. There were always examples of officers serving together on the bridge who were of the same rank. Short of making Harry a Captain I really don't see the problem there.
I'd rather have another series than a one-off movie, that's for sure, and instead of it being about Kirk, Shatner could reprise his role, only now retired to Starfleet professor. Let's face it, the lives of Starfleet cadets and the challenges they face even making it through Starfleet, let alone getting accepted, has to be as challenging as getting into Harvard or Oxford multiplied a million times by the square root of Pi or something (ETA - what else is left for them to explore? I'm open to ideas). And job opportunities for our favorite Whedonverse actors. I'm just saying.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2007-06-15 20:04 ]
Mmmm, pi.

I don't think there's any denying that Star Trek was typical 'franchise TV' in that it was highly episodic and often featured syndication friendly returns to the status quo. My point is, that's fine with me because character development isn't what it was there for, idea development is what it did so very well, week after week, over hundreds of hours.

S'why I enjoy both types of show. You might really like garlic chicken pizza, doesn't mean you can't also like caviar and an exclusive diet of either one is gonna get old fast. You can love Shakespeare and still get pleasure from a straightforward 'potboiler' so long as you accept them each on their own merits.
I'm kind of odd - I love Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly! LOVE THEM. The first two I've been into as long as I can remember. I never thought I'd find any thing genre wise I could love more than Star Wars, and Star Trek - then I saw Firefly... As much as I'm looking forward to seeing JJ take on Star Trek (It's about time they put new blood into the captains chair) I would much rather see the money go towards more Serenity or something in the FireFly universe. The guy writing the article nailed it - in just 15 episodes, Firefly had 10 times the entertainment value of all five Star Trek series combined! and it only took 15 episodes for it find a place amongst other things that I have loved for a life time.

[ edited by Simon on 2007-06-15 23:27 ]
Heck, Farscape even referenced Buffy once; I don't get the hate.

In this case, though, I don't think it's a fan war. Star Trek is just very, very tired. It feels as if it has been wrung for every cent of cash and flogged through predictable permutations. It needs to rest, for a decade or fifteen years, and then be placed in the hands of a capable writer. Maybe Whedon, maybe Straczynski. Someone with a long-term vision, someone who understands continuity, and someone to whom Trek means more than CGI and space battles. Someone who will have a staff of consultants consisting of a biologist, an astronomer, and a physicist. Someone who won't use the word "franchise."
Oh yes, right, sure, be all sensible and everything, Ocular! Very good advice though. :>)
Someone who won't use the word "franchise."

Hey, i'm sitting right here ! ;)

A lot of folk keep talking about letting it sit for a while but to me it's got nothing to do with time, it's to do with fresh perspective and new ideas (which i'll admit it badly needs). That could happen tomorrow or in 20 years (or never).

And you know, i've said it before, but I really don't think Joss is a good match with Star Trek. For it to be interesting to him it'd have to change beyond recognition. As Okkay says, Trek is all about hope and a bright, basically utopian future and I don't think that's how Joss sees things (or at least not what he's interested in from a dramatic point of view). It's also about the 'big ideas' and again, I don't think that's really what interests Joss either (to me he's about using the 'big ideas' as a backdrop to show the significance of seemingly small things).

I can appreciate people that maybe don't enjoy Trek wanting to change it into something more like what they do enjoy but I don't think that's particularly fair to those of us that like it more or less as it is (JMS could do it justice with maybe a 'polish pass' by Joss on the, ahem, dialogue ;).
I'd just prefer Joss be back on TV and if it takes Star Trek money to do it, fine by me. :-)
Occular, Farscape actually referenced Buffy twice: once during the Look at the Princess trilogy when Crichton's complaining about all the people who will be dead when he has completed his stint as a statue, and once later on when he's asking Scorpious what it'll take to kill him... Yeah, I remember waaaaay too much! :)
What Saje said right through the thread, except for the MI3 stuff 'cause I didn't see it.

It is nice when someone else does all the work so you can just sit back and smile and nod.

Mmmmmmm pi. (lol)

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