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Star Trek

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by The Good, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. So they don't have to overwork themselves making the tech and sets/costumes look like "the past", and can make connections to movie-established characters like Christopher Pike and Spock's mother Amanda if desired.
  2. Okay, got it - thank you. But is there any "cult" or fandom around the re-booted ST characters like there was / is around the old? I'm out of touch, but it doesn't seem to me like there is. Hence, they might be pushing the wrong model.
  3. There's a much smaller fandom around the "new" characters if the amount of online fan fiction is any accurate gague. There are certainly fans creating such material, but it's dwarfed by the amount of online stuff about the original-timeline characters.

    And that's to say nothing of another good indicator of popuiarity -- the use of characters on online memes. You'll find thousands of "meme" images of Kirk, Spock, Picard, and other prime-timeline characters scattered all over the internet, and while the new versions of the characters are also represented, the originals are clearly dominant. A simple Google search brings up hundreds of Kirk memes -- and they are almost always, as far as I've seen, Shatner-Kirk memes, not Pine-Kirk memes. Some of them are funny, some of them are obscene, and some of them are just stupid, but they are, overwhelmingly, about the original Kirk.


    Likewise, while there seem to be more Quinto-Spock memes than Pine-Kirk, Nimoy-Spock still dominates.


    And interestingly, Picard outdoes any of the TOS characters in the meme department -- a character who hasn't been referenced at all in any of the new-timeline movies.


    And I'll even throw in a Sisko meme, because I love Sisko, who will no doubt never exist in the new timeline.


    Now, it's not cranky sixty-year-olds who are making these things -- it's kids who grew up watching Trek in the '90s, and who are just getting to the age when they're swinging around some money and influence. CBS is completely missing the boat by failing to understand that the Trek audience is about a lot more than "branding." And the audience for "classic Trek" is a lot younger than they think.
    Edward, Zombie_61 and Trenchfriend like this.
  4. I'll bet part of it is what I alluded to earlier - the ego of the younger leaders of the businesses who want to be seen as "driving" the profits with the re-boot and not just mining the "old" ST characters which they can't really take much credit for. I have seen successful business lines and areas shut down / shunted aside for just this reason.
  5. EngProf

    EngProf One of the Regulars

    One thing that I think hasn't been mentioned concerning who would be the "star" in the original Spock/Kirk shows is that they are both on a "Starfleet" space ship.
    As a military ship, Kirk would be a line officer (at the top of the line as Captain) and Spock would be a staff officer (Science Officer).
    Line officers make decisions and give commands - staff officers provide information and assistance.

    Unless the writers did a total disregard of that protocol, it would not be possible for Spock to be in command, and tell Kirk what to do. Having set the situation that Kirk/Shatner is in command, it would not be logical for Spock/Nimoy to be the star of the show.
    (Occasionally Spock and Scotty do take command but only when Kirk is "out of play".)
    Zombie_61 likes this.
  6. EngProf

    EngProf One of the Regulars

    How did Spock get hold of my kitty-cat?? I didn't know she had a TV career before joining me.
    Maybe that's my kitty's evil twin, but it's hard to tell whether a black cat is wearing a goatee.
    Zombie_61 and Trenchfriend like this.
  7. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    I was never a Trekie but I remember being pretty frustrated the day when I realized I'd seen every original ST episode in reruns. It must have been in the early '70s because we didn't have a TV when the show was first aired.

    Some thoughts about the business angle --

    I used to know a guy who was on the Paramount lot back around 1990s. One day saw a bunch of film canisters sitting near some dumpsters and, not knowing what was in them his backed up his car, popped the trunk and loaded them up. Six original ST episodes in perfect condition. He made a fortune renting them back to the studio for events. No one ever asked where they came from.

    Given the era this sounds much more accurate than 20% of the "profits." I wouldn't think that any studio could afford to give away one fifth of their gross ... someone would be shot. Net profits, very poorly defined, still unlikely but maybe, but net's a moving target. Residuals, as a writer, these days can double or triple your money but back then, with only syndication to feed them it wasn't so great. Better with a longer running show, ST was only the bare minimum for syndication, where they could really "strip" it for local channels.

    TV did not make you all that much money in those days, I'm thinking about what I saw happen in our household as well as other families I knew as a kid. Even big stars on long running shows lived significantly more modestly than many think. It's probably still true to an extent because the entertainment news likes to present people as if they are living a fantasy life. I suspect that many who came out of that era very wealthy had invested well. Everybody had to save in a way no one seems to do today, there were only three networks and TV people didn't cross over into features easily. If you hit a lean couple of years things got very tight. It has always seemed to some that show business pays a lot (and, these days, I think some of it has gotten out of hand) but my formula for what people deserve to be paid is based on risk. The more you invest in an idea before any pay is involved (writer or producer) or the more likely being out of work is (actor or, more seriously, athlete) the more you should get paid. A a hoped for investment that puts you out of work because something about it became unpopular, is a real tragedy. I used to know a producer who refused to even speak Director Peter Weir's name because of his perception that his 2010 film "The Way Back" was such a failure. Weir is one of my favorite directors, but that's Hollywood.

    I agree with you and FF see below ...

    The idea that the film business is all about the money is horribly horribly wrong. No one is spending their own money, often even the studio, and the dollar doesn't matter except when it's an indication of a big win or a big loss. As FF suggests, internal politics is the name of the game. The ST writers in the Berman era raised up a lot of talent. They even took in outsiders and fans (something nearly unheard of) with an intern program that they had where they would train promising young writers to write for the show and then allow then to offer a spec script based on what they'd learned. I was all ready to plead my case to get into this system when I got a magazine job. Probably their biggest discovery was Ron Moore, who's right about my age.
    Fading Fast likes this.
  8. The way it was set up in TOS was that Spock was both Science Officer and "First Officer," which was Starfleet-speak for executive officer. He had held the combined position of Science Officer and Second Officer (or "First Lieutenant," as Roddenberry originally described it,) under Captain Pike, and when Pike and his "Number One" both left the Enterprise and Kirk took over, Spock was promoted to First Officer.

    They never made clear who was actually Second Officer under Kirk, but presumably Scotty held that job, even though an engineer isn't necessary the sort of officer you'd expect to see taking command. More reasonably Sulu, a bridge officer and a member of the "command division," based on his shirt color, should have gotten that job, even though Scotty technically outranked him.

    Be that as it may, Kirk was never much for regulations. And then there's the whole long-standing debate over whether the captain of a ship should be traipsing off on landing parties into unknown territories -- usually taking his First Officer, and often his Second Officer with him. An adversary aware of this habit could have easily picked off most of the senior staff at one stroke. But show-biz star reality trumps military protocol every time -- you don't pay William Shatner a star salary and then not let him get into the thick of the action.
    Edward likes this.
  9. The way Solow and Justman lay it out, the net profits -- as if -- were to be split four ways. NBC, Desilu, and Roddenberry's Norway Corporation were each to get 26 2/3 percent of the net, with Shatner getting an even 20. Each party in this arrangement had its own agenda for getting into such a weird deal -- NBC, which fronted the cash for production, was very interested in the show as a tool for helping to push RCA Victor color television sets, Desilu desperately wanted a foothold for getting more of its shows on NBC, and Roddenberry was simply desperate to get the show on the air. And Shatner, of course, was a working actor looking at the security possible from a successful series and was willing to accept less up front in hopes of more down the line. His base salary for the first season was $5000 an episode, which wasn't quite in the league of the $40,000 a show Dean Martin was getting for his variety hour, but it was a lot more than the rest of the Trek cast. Nimoy got $1200 a week for season one, with no percentage and no special residual deal, and the rest of the cast got well under that.

    Nimoy got into a very bitter salary dispute with Roddenberry going into the second season, and it was not at all clear that it was going to be resolved, to the point where plans were being made to drop Nimoy from the cast and replace him with Mark Lenard, who had played a Romulan in the first season and who would go on to play Spock's father Sarek. Nimoy wanted $9000 an episode, a percentage of the net, and a cut of merchandising, none of which Roddenberry was willing to give him. He ended up settling for $2500, a consulting role on Spock's characterization in scripts, and "a small percentage."

    You can see why tensions between Shatner and Nimoy got heavy, and why Nimoy came to dislike Roddenberry rather intensely for quite some time. The last straw for Nimoy was when Roddenberry got into an endorsement deal with a brand of beer and let the company use a picture of Spock in a particularly tasteless billboard ad. Nimoy was not at all pleased with this, and it made him very very wary of the Great Bird in years to come.

  10. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family


    I'm sure they are reporting correctly but, just to put it in perspective, in a "net" deal what is taken out before the split is just as important (if not more) as the percentage itself. I'm guessing that Desilu and others had streams of revenue that branched off before the network's "net." So practically "net" means you are never going to make any money unless the picture is a huge and undeniable hit right away. All previous and ongoing expenses of any sort are subtracted including amounts the studio pays itself merely for existing. The valuable positions are "gross" or "adjusted gross" (a short and verifiable list of subtractions) but few people ever get those. "Net" is more of a consolation prize that agents negotiate to get their client shut up and take the deal so that they can get their 10%. That said, once someone gets it they'll never take less and it can cause fits of accounting if the project makes a bloody fortune, so it's not given lightly.

    You might think that pictures shot on the lot could save money but actually it is (and probably was) more expensive. Everything the studio offers you has a mark up over what it would cost you on the street, they "make" money (realize that sometimes they are just paying it back to themselves) on every square foot of sound stage, strip of lighting gel and gram of make up. Then they depreciate their facilities. The creative development arm takes an overhead cut to fund the stuff that fails, facilities takes makes a profit as I just described and distribution takes a fee for doing what it has to do anyway to make their money. The dollars are all moving around so fast that there'svery little to be caught in the "net!"

    Failure to pay percentages is the main reason for the huge up front fees that most above the line players get. There was a date, somewhere in the late fifties or early sixties, before which studios actually paid their profit percentages. Even today some still pay those amounts religiously, I remember a check for fifty dollars or so that came every three to four years, paid to my Dad for a film he had written in the early fifties. After that, even on projects that made a good deal of money ... nothing. The fact that they will pay those big fees is an indication of how much they are hiding. I hate to say it but it's recently become true of the publishing industry too.
  11. Even when I was a kid that didn't make sense to me. "He's the Captain; doesn't he have people who can do this for him?" But then, it also made no sense that they put an exposed bridge in the center of the big round part of the ship like a bullseye on a target. :rolleyes:
  12. HanauMan

    HanauMan A-List Customer

    You can't have a hero like Kirk if all he does is delegate tasks and just remains on the bridge. May not be true life as we know it (!) but it works so well in fiction. The heroes, and you, the audience, are in the thick of the action alongside the characters. Anyhow, this is reflected in the real life army. Sometimes command decisions need to be made based on evidence or situations best gathered immediately on the spot rather then relayed back to base before being acted upon. You only need to note how many generals, on all sides, died on the front lines in WWII, for example (quite a large number). Taking all the officers down to a planet never bothered me, it was for entertainment and adventure after all.

    The bridge thing never bothered me much either as I am aware that modern naval practice is similar. A modern warship (by which I mean any from dreadnaughts to modern ships) have a similar layout on top and exposed to gun fire etc. And as has been shown on Star Trek on occasions, there is also a separate command center deeper down in the Enterprise, much as is the case in real naval ships, should the need for added protection be required or if the main bridge is damaged or destroyed. Only thing the Enterprise bridge didn't have, which real naval ships do, was having seat belts on the chairs!
  13. To say nothing of the bridge chairs, with the exception of the Captain's Chair, not even being attached to the floor. "It's more dramatic that way!"

    They tried to deal with the "Captain shouldn't be leading the Away Team" thing in TNG, when it was supposed to be Riker's job to lead the landing parties. But Picard kept finding excuses to be in the thick of things, and by the time of DS9 you had Sisko, the Emissary of the Prophets, the commander of the Most Important Federation Base In The Sector, and a firm believer in direct action in the Kirk tradition, going off on undercover missions in disguise to bring in wanted criminals.
    Edward likes this.
  14. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    We finally got "the captain stays on the ship unless the situation REALLY requires it" on TNG. Picard was a definite character, he remained the lead despite not going on ground missions very often. His job was to make decisions, often unpopular ones. For instance, in a first season TNG, the ship intercepts a vessel which is essentially bringing drugs (a palliative for a recent plague, but it's clearly analogous to our drug trade) from Planet A to Planet B. Picard has a hard decision to make: he gives Planet B the drugs, but refuses to repair their ship, the only way they have to bring the drugs in. That was when I realized this new show would be taking a different dramatic path from TOS.

    And when Picard did go on a mission, it was always startling, because it didn't happen all the time.
  15. That is freakin' awesome. Good for your friend - a little luck is a good thing in life. Also, how angry must the studio have been to have had to rent back their own product - I'm surprised they didn't sue.
  16. PeterGunnLives

    PeterGunnLives One of the Regulars

    Well, that was based on the conning tower on naval vessels.
  17. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    I'm sure they never knew. They'd have gone nuts.
    Fading Fast likes this.
  18. I've never really researched the design of the ship, so I'm sure you're right. Still, the main view screen was exactly that--a view screen, not a window. So they could have buried it anywhere within the ship that would offer the primary crew more protection during an attack than the shields that always seemed to be one hit away from being completely useless. But then it wouldn't look as cool, so...
    scottyrocks likes this.
  19. You've clearly forgotten Wesley Crusher. ;)

    And then some. Even people who struggle to recall the name 'Star Trek' remember "the guy with the pointy ears", same as people who don't know of Tim Curry and have never seen Rocky Horror know there's somebody in a maid's dress in it. It's amazing what sticks in the popular culture mindset - and, sometimes, what doesn't.

    For me, the real double-act was Spock v McCoy, Head versus Heart - like an angel and devil sat on either of Kirk's shoulders. Nothing matched them as a double act until Quark-Odo in DS9.

    Data was a great choice - different enough from Spock not to be a retread, but also bringing that balance to it as well. I'd love to have seen a pilot, though, for the original plan of TNG, which, as I recall, was meant to spin off from Wrath of Khan and feature son of Kirk. Obviously that must have been canned early on, long before the film came out....

    The enterprise always had a secondary bridge, down in the main body below the disk. In extreme situations, the disk could be separated and piloted to ground safety with non-combatants, while the other bit went into battle. Only ever shown on screen with the NCC-1701-D, if memory serves, but it was canon with the NCC-1701.
    Zombie_61 likes this.
  20. Many times, as you note, these tete-a-tetes were incredibly interesting philosophical arguments dropped into the larger story. However, occasionally, IMHO, McCoy sounding like a child not able to see life's realities - as hard as they might be. But most of the time, you could see them pulling each other a little closer to the center.

    I saw an echo of all this in the TV show "House" where Dr. House played a angry, emotion-filled man on the surface, but often arguing the unemotional - most logical and calculated - choice for his patients (even if he was screaming it while doing so). His team, the head of the hospital or the patient's family often played the McCoy role arguing the emotional side of the equation / arguing the "human" side - and, as in ST, House, like Spock, was more often right - but not always. Watching when House, like Spock, got nudged toward the center were some of the best parts of that show.
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