Do's And Don'ts For The New SeriesBy Karen Comer
Posted at February 2, 2000 - 6:00 AM GMT
To TPTB: As a Star Trek fan from the mid seventies onward I think I can count myself as qualified to pass on some accumulated wisdom what to do and what not to do with the new series.
1. DO Serialize it. This will force lazy writers to pay attention to character and plot continuity. It is also the driving force behind successful Series like LA Law and Hill Street Blues.
2. DON'T Rely on a writing staff. As the last few seasons of DS9 testify, writers get burned out. Terrible things happen when they get tired. They get slap happy and start doing crazy things. Continue to solicit the best script ideas from outside sources.
3. DO Give us some regular alien characters who don't sell out to Federation values. Let them retain their own cultures and beliefs. Cardassians and Romulans are my personal favorites.
4. DON'T give us anymore chemistryless couples like Odo and Kira. (see previous Trek Romances article) She acted like a dominatrix and he like a whiny teenager. Romantic trips to the holodeck do not chemistry make. It was obvious the actors were struggling to pull this off. This was not an adult or realistic relationship. It was mommy and sonnyboy. Odo actually stomped his feet once and had a temper tantrum like a two year old because he couldn't have what he wanted. No more "romance of the week" either.
5. DO Find a fantastic costume designer a la' William Ware Theiss. Put them to work designing great style and fashion that will be trendy and apt to be copied. Why restrict your marketing to 9 inch playmates? 6. DON'T give us another character who longs to be a human or a solid, or is ashamed of themselves in some way. This was fresh and new with Spock but a has- been by the time we get to Odo and B'ellanna
7. DO give us some memorable music. No more retro sixities stuff. Hire young, modern, talented composers. Use synthesisers and computers instead of an orchestra. 8. DON'T give us anymore of those hideous Vulcan and Romulan wigs. They are so obvious, stiff and ugly. You got smart and listened to us and gave the Rommies a costume makeover. No more aircraft carrier shoulder pads. Now, revamp the wigs and makeup. Why do Vulcan women all of a sudden shear themselves like sheep when T'Pau and T'Pring had elaborate and beautiful hairstyles? The brow ridges on the Romulans are just as bad. How could the same makeup people who gave us the elegant Cardassians do such a thing to the Romulans? The brow ridges make them look expressionless. Ditch them and create something better.
9. DO Hire experienced, classically trained character actors for most of the regulars and not just for the ridgeheads. Character actors with no fame behind them are cheaper, more versatile, and better trained. An actor without EXTENSIVE (I'm talking dozens of roles if not more) classical stage experience cannot project the larger than life, heroic, archetypal characters Star Trek needs. I want to see more actors like Salome Jens, Andy Robinson, Marc Alaimo, and Rene A. I don't care about looks and neither should you. If you must have a Hunk and a Babe on the cast then do so, but please ask members of the opposite sex before casting them. Just because a guy is young and handsome doesn't mean he's sexy to women. Many male actors are gay, and that's fine, but they have trouble projecting masculinity on-screen.
10. DO Make your sets and lighting conform to the atmosphere you wish to create. DS9 was supposed to be gritty and edgy but we had soft warm colors on everyone. As for colors, if you a want dark and mean atmosphere use cold colors of lights -dirty white and blue, not warm like yellow, green and red as ds9 did which was anti-climatic. X Files always has grayish light which makes things spooky and foreboding.
11. DON'T ever ever again put a regular character in a catsuit. No one believed Kira in a catsuit, which was so different from other Bajoran uniforms. Seven of Nine is now known as "Borg Barbie" for her ridiculous costume. The fans are laughing at you. Poor Nan did not have the figure for it anyway. Her legs are too short. Then you put her in silly clodhopper high heels to make up the deficit. I cheered when they finally put her in a proper uniform. She looked much better
12. DO remember that on a woman over thirty, less is more: makeup I mean. I swear sometimes poor Troi looked like it had been put on with a trowel. I don't know how many rows of false eyelashes they put on her but I was suprised she could keep her eyes open. Ditch the glossy lipcolors and the elaborate wigs. Nana Visitor's eyelashes grew to such proportions they were all I could see at the end. The poor woman looked like a clownish freak. Her pale skin, bright red hair, and pouty red lipcolor did no justice to her either. It clashed with the orange uniform and made her look like a teenager experimenting with different "looks" Women in prominent roles like this will have little time to fuss over hair and makeup anyway.
13. DON'T rely on the holodeck. Ditch it like the writer's crutch it is. If exploration isn't exciting enough why are we doing another series?
14. DO stop playing favorites with the actors. Come on! You know what I mean. We can calculate screen-time too. Be professional and deal with the characters and the plot, not your personal favorites. 15. DON'T put us into another war. Vow, like the Japanese, to renounce war as a plot device.
16. DO find whoever was responsible for the RED CONTACT LENSES. I want him/her. I want him bad. I want him/her flogged with a wet typewriter ribbon. This was the most execrable, cartoonish, childish, spiteful thing I have ever seen on Star Trek. For sheer gag reflex this one beats even "Spock's Brain."
17. DON'T listen to fanmail. Most fan campaigns along the lines of "We the undersigned want X to happen", along with 10,000 signatures , are just five fans and a Xerox machine. Don't trust internet polls they are cheat fests. Don't trust much of anything on the internet.
Except me, of course.
Karen Comer is a regular contributor to the Trek Nation.