Star Trek Into Madness
Star Trek used to be a show about equality, fairness, science, and bringing folks from around the galaxy together even if they’re enemies. Then came the announcement of a new Star Trek series produced by Alex Kurtzman (of the 2009 reboot Star Trek/Into Darkness) will premiere on television and then will be ripped from public viewing and put onto CBS All Access. Available only in America. Sure, CBS will eventually distribute internationally, but with the current state of bullshit in international copyright, there will there will certainly be fees above the already bloated price of cable.
This new model of region locking TV shows and movies to stream is would be laughed at by the characters in the 23rd and 24th century that Star Trek is famous for. Region locking DVDs made a sort of sense with prices being so different around the globe, but region locking a streaming service is absurd. After all, cable is still producing quality full season TV shows as CBS well knows with success of shows like The Flash. I’d imagine season 1 of that show will be under a few Christmas trees on DVD/Blu-ray this season. Online viewing a TV station should be a way to see shows you missed, not the only way to see a show.
Why the hell does every channel need its own streaming site now? And why in the fucking hell are they region locking them?! Are services like Hulu so vain that they don’t even want international money? Doesn’t seem very capitalist to me. I bet Hulu would double its monthly income from fans of The Simpsons alone if they just let the rest of the world use their service. Over the last few years we have seen region-locking screwing up all the major streaming services. If you like Star Trek: The Next Generation Canadian Netflix has you covered, but if you want the rest of the Star Trek series, you’re not American enough to watch, you bastard you gotta buy physical copies. How dare you try to use region unblockers or piracy to try and watch a show about inclusiveness, that’s illegal (I totally endorse it). Is that really the sentiment that Gene Rodenberry had about his show? Of course not. If I may make a wild accusation; all of this online web-charge bullshit is a symptom of the Writers Guild of America. Remember when they shut down TV and movies because they wanted Internet money? Well here we are. Movie and TV studios are desperately trying to make Internet money because… well they have to now. For more information on the WGA strike watch South Park S12/E04 Canada on Strike. It’s pretty much all there. Laugh all you want but one of the things they won (apparently at our expense because corporations don’t absorb loss they pass it on to consumers) was a percentage of digital distribution. Hence every American cable channel’s website out there looking to make a buck off you (if you’re American enough for your money to be accepted).
So capitalist bullshit aside, we’re still getting Star Trek back! But are we getting Star Trek or are we getting some bastardized B-Universe version of it like the current shit in theaters they are calling Star Trek? I was on board for the first one: it was silly at times but it was still a new exciting story, and pretty well done. Then Into Darkness … happened and wow, an exciting disaster? Even if they surprise the hell out of me and make this real Star Trek in the real Star Trek universe without magic blood, or any of the nonsense of Into Darkness. Even if they ignore the current films will we be getting a thoughtful show or more Star Wars with warp drive and phasers?
I have never known an online series that gets more than a dozen or so episodes a year, so it’s doubtful we’ll get a “full season” series. With a limited episode run there won’t be enough time to delve into the great mysteries of the human condition that made Star Trek Star Trek. Star Trek needs to be a full season or there won’t be time for episodes like “Inner Light,” “Family,” “A Fistfull of Data’s” (or any of the “stuck on the holodeck” episodes), “House of Quark,” “Observer Effect,” “Data’s Day,” I could go on all day. Short seasons of a show like Star Trek is a horrible idea, and I hope it doesn’t happen. Will a studio bother producing episodes like these with a 13 or so episode run? Doubtful. 13 episodes usually gives a show one problem and one bad guy to take care of with little time for “ship in the bottle” or insightful episodes that don’t have to do with the season’s arc.
Star Wars is great and I’m beside myself waiting to use my ticket on Dec. 17th, but Star Wars didn’t inspire a generation of astronauts or a technological revolution (look at cellphones). Star Trek did and still is, tricorders are being built and developed in universities. And it wouldn’t have if Star Trek had been written by Into Darkness writers Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Damon Lindleof who apparently think that the warp drive powers the thrusters and that a ship could fall to Earth from the moon in a minute or two and that Star Trek should be Star Wars. Star Trek writers have always used science as a starting point for their science fiction, obviously science isn’t gospel as it’s TV and writers need to room to work. But the idea of taking science and then taking a few steps past it is what made the previous series such an enduring cultural icon. Characters are the other pillar and after watching Kirk being surprised that Spock would write a report about almost dying in a volcano while breaking the prime directive (for no reason) in Into Darkness it is abundantly clear that Kurtzman and fellow writers Orci and Lindelof know nothing about the original series’ characters.
Let’s be clear, Kirk “Prime” broke the prime directive plenty of times, but he never tried to hide his rule breaking from the admiralty and he certainly knew that Spock, who is incapable of lying, would be filing his reports as well. He was damned proud of his work on the Enterprise, even when he was rule breaking as Captain and he always had a good reason that he would back up in a court-martial if necessary. Into Darkness showed us that the writers either didn’t know or didn’t care about the finer points of the characters they were bastardizing. Yes Trek has always been made fun of and nitpicked by its own fans when they screw up, but the fans come back because the show is smart enough it can handle the nitpicking. Fans Nitpick with love, books have been written on the subject by fans having fun.
So Star Trek will not be in the living room bringing families together and sparking their imaginations for what the future may hold. Call me “Grandpa” but Star Trek belongs on the TV where the whole family can enjoy it all year. When was the last time the family sat around the computer and watched a show? Alas, the Ferengi have the rights to it and their rules of acquisition will ensure that it will be dumb because smart makes dumb people angry, and it will be action based because science make dumb people bored. As we all learned from Into Darkness making Star Trek dumber than shit sells. Making money is all about courting the dumb people as the Ferengi well know; it’s much harder to swindle the smart. I truly hope to eat all these words and be wowed when Star Trek returns to TV or the Internet or whatever. End Rant.
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