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The Trek Nation - Star Trek Lives!

Star Trek Lives!

By Christian Höhne Sparborth
Posted at July 4, 1999 - 5:00 AM GMT

'Flight Academy'

Recently, the Mr. Showbiz site posted a few Series V rumours, which appeared to be nothing more than the old 'Starfleet Academy' rumours re-appearing. Take a look at what one of our readers had to say about this:

From: Drew
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Starfleet Academy series opinion

Personally I think, if this idea does work (which is a long shot), who's gonna watch it? It will just become another 90210 or Buffy but in space. I mean, most of today Teenage shows (I am a teenager by the way), just sucks. I hope that this is *just* a rumor. Making something like a SF Academy series, sounds so stupid! :::gets on knees and starts praying that it *is* only a rumor:::: :-)

Personally I also believe the Starfleet Academy series rumour is nothing more than that - a rumour. Paramount probably also realizes that this would completely alienate all the fans and destroy the franchise - or at least, I hope so :-)

Voyager's Cancellation?

A few days ago, we posted a report at TrekToday which indicated that Voyager could well be in danger of being cancelled. Take a look at what our readers thought about this:

From: Richard Rafter
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Voyager Cancellation

What Lord Spock is saying comes as no real surprise. My cousin has worked on several projects at the studio. He hold in a phone conversation that the suits had not signed off on anything past Christmas and informed the writers to close loose threads. Since the creative team is nowhere near ready to present a new series I'm looking at this as a strictly economic decision. Due largely of course to UPN's failing market share. Truthfully, Voyager was never my favorite incarnation of Trek. TOS and DS9 have always been my personal favs. I'm still sorry to see it go, and that seems inevitable at this juncture. I'm very disappointed in how Ron Moore was treated. The story behind him walking is getting more horrific everyday. Sherry Lansing and the rest of the suits need to take a LONG hard look at Berman & Braga and the franchises present state and come up with something productive fast.

Hopefully the creative team will have a new series ready next year. If Voyager is indeed cancelled during or after the sixth season, we'd only have to wait a short while for the new series to appear. It certainly is alarming to hear this story 'confirmed' by someone else, though.

From: Hilary
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Voyager's Possible Cancellation

I am most upset about the "rumour"(?) of Voyagers possible cancellation. Can they really cut the series off in mid series or will they allow the current season (6) to run its course and enable them to get home in a big finale ?

Voyager is the best trek series of them all. It's different and FUN! Voyager should be allowed to get home before trying for a new direction in another series. Give them credit. At least they've tried to be different in this series - throwing the crew and ship into unknown space. Please, can we organise a protest on the Web?

If the series is indeed cancelled, I think Paramount would allow a big series-ending finale. That at least would bring in higher ratings, as the 'Dark Frontier' movie also proved. An online protest would certainly be possible - we protested 30 years ago when the Original Series was in danger of being cancelled, so why wouldn't it be possible now?

From: Gill Hoyle
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Re: Voyager season six series finale

I've just read the piece about TPTB telling the writers to tie-up loose ends over season six, and be ready to quickly write a series finale. I really, really hope this isn't true! There's enough excellent material left in Voyager to go to an eighth season, if only the UPN suits would keep there sticky fingers out of things and let the writers do their job ie: write real, honest-to-God, fallible characters and steady, on-going character development from episode to episode.

I have a bad feeling about this though - mainly because Jeri Ryan hasn't signed for a Seventh season yet. This is only a wild stab in the dark (and a personal fear), but maybe the suits have decided that Voyager is a no-go and can be sacrificed, but that they want Ryan's uh..... assets for the next series.

We all heard the totally unrestrained slobbering from the execs and the writers when Seven came on-board, and many of us have shuddered at the blatent T & A overkill as the execs sacrificed the other characters to ensure their new attraction was centre-stage/centre-shot at all times - even if it meant the other characters had to go into stasis.

How about this as a prediction. Jeri Ryan is supposedly still in negotiations - what's taking so long? Either she wants into a seventh season or she doesn't. Could it be that UPN want to hang on to their bosomy 'casual viewer' attractor at all costs - maybe even to the extent of offering her the starring role in the next Trek series? They could still be hashing out a deal - and that's why the delay. I also understand that Jeri does other UPN backed programs - "America's Pets" or something like that, for them too? Forget the, "Seven of Nine Show" - we could yet see, "The Seven of Nine Station".

Think about it - the actress/character was brought in to appeal to UPN's holy male demogog and attract new viewers. Yes, it worked for a while, but then the novelty wore off for that elusive 'casual viewer', and the real Trek fans got sick of the orchestrated overkill - realising that they'd lost more than just a season of growth on their favourite characters.

Is it too late to save those other characters and bring back Trek's core audience? I don't think so. As I said, if the execs just let the writers write to the characters strengths and weaknesses instead of to the balance sheet, there's great hope. They've got excellent character outlines and a wonderful premise - all they have to do is realise it. Push the envelope, take risks - be unpredictable, use the wonderful potential of the character dynamics Jeri Taylor set in motion before she left.

The 'Seven of Nine Station'? *Shudder* Hopefully Seven of Nine will indeed be used a little less next year - certainly we know the nano-probes trick by now...

From: Reilly
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Re: Voyager Cancellation

It would most certainly not be in Trek's favour if Voyager were to be cancelled. The death knell of a series as high profile as this one is something the franchise would never recover from.

More to the point, I think that Trek fans are capable of maintaining or destroying a series through their attitude and words. Voyager has been dogged for too long by pessimistically destructive voices who have continually compared it to the already established DS9. This is not fair: neither is comparing it to a supposedly "great" series which has not even been made yet.

I would call upon all fans to discuss Voyager in a much more constructive way. If they want to see the franchise continue they must start showing TPTB that Trek still has an audience. Otherwise, I am extremely worried about the franchise's future.

Working together we can affect the ratings and secure what we all want: Trek's continuation.

Please lend us your support.

You're right that Voyager isn't generally talked about in a very positive way - but I believe this is precisely why cancellation would be good for the franchise. In the two years that would, at most, remain for Voyager, the show would never be able to substantially improve its image with the fans. Of course, it isn't certain yet that the new series will be 'great,' but neither is it certain that it will be bad, while Voyager does have that image.

From: Elanlo
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Voyager-cancelled

"I'm not sure if Voyager can still be saved ratings-wise, and perhaps it would be better if the show would just get replaced by a great new (Star Trek) series"

What kind of utter nonsense is this! If they cut off Voyager in mid season and just drop it, what does that say about the franchise? I for one would not watch any other new Star Trek series after such a stunt from Paramount. If they do that to their loyal fans there is no reason that I should even want to bother watching any new series. No matter how "great" it is as you say.

Come on people, if you love the fanchise so much, then watch Voyager. Help to increase the ratings. Those of you that loved DS9 move over to Voyager. So you don't like it, well turn on the tv set and do something else while it's running. That will at least help to save the franchise, right! And by the way you should maybe give Voyager a second chance, you might, heaven forbid, actually like it. And you would also help us, the Voyager fans-who actually think that this is a great series, so that we could actually be given the proper end and fulfillment of Voyager. I have seen all series and I love Voyager and think it's among the best. Everybody is entitled to their own favorites. I just wish us Voyager fans was that too. So to summerize, a definite NO to cutting Voyager. That would mean I would leave Star Trek, if not forever, for a very very very long time.

I do actually like Voyager. However, the general public does not, as is clearly visible when you look at the ever declining ratings over the past six years. It would probably be best to let Voyager go in a dignified way, instead of prolonging the existence to the point where no one watched anymore.

From: Doran Skalak
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Voy cancelled

I have a thought about this rumor. Voyagers poor ratings are no secret but it was just confirmed that Paramount was shortening the show by two minutes to sell more ads.

Voyager is UPN's highest ad revenue generator and UPN desperately needs money. I seriously doubt they would pull the plug unless ad revenues started falling also.

I don't remember the show's name on UPN but it is around #118 on the general neilsen ratings. BUT it's the #1 rated black show for all the networks. (sorry, pain medication and a broken hand are fogging my memory). If they're not cancelling that show then why cancel Voyager?

The old saying about not killing the goose laying the golden eggs is Voyager's saving grace. What I do believe Paramount is doing is trying to come up with a new show that will take Voyager's place. To do that Paramount has a history of not wanting more than a year to pass between the last show of the old and the first of the new. It's a synergy kind of thing, a passing of the baton. DS9 was rushed into production because TNG was moving into movies. Voyager was created because it didn't seem viewers liked being cooped up in a space station.

This new show (whatever it is) will definitely carry over some old voyager characters, probably Tuvok, Paris, and Seven. A show about starfleet academy would mesh quite nicely with those characters helping to teach cadets about the new galaxy order. A show like that could be a very nice platform for launching a whole new generation (no pun) of characters and adventures and also move back to ST roots and core viewers.

Just wanted to write and give my opinion on the subject.

Unfortunately the reason for the extra two minutes of ads is precisely that the show was not such a high revenue generator - UPN had to compensate for the lack of viewers. As I said before, I would really like to see the new series appear right after Voyager is cancelled, and hopefully we'll only have to wait one year for the new series.

Subspace Buzz

In this part of the mailbag you'll find all the mails that didn't really fit under a separate header:

From: Vicky
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Spiner Spoiler

I just want to let you know that your headline "Spiner is Conan O'Brien" was a spoiler and should have been indicated as such. A title such as "Spiner South Park Spoiler" would have warned me to skip that section. By simply opening the Trektoday page, I was subjected to information I did not want to know.

Imagine that :-)

The reason I didn't want to know this info is that I enjoy Mr. Spiner's work outside Trek very much and was looking forward to discovering what character he voiced in the movie. During the movie, not in my Trektoday news!

Thanks for your consideration in the future,

Vicky, you're of course right. Unfortunately, when posting the news, I didn't realize that anyone would see this as spoiler information, but certainly Brent Spiner fans would. I'll try to be more careful in the future :-).

From: UK Picard Fan
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Your great website

Just a quick email to tell you how great your site is and to show some SUPPORT for your decision to add banner advertising to it.

I'm sure you'll get a lot of emails from people complaining about the terrible intrusion of the banners(!?!?), but I want you to know that - as someone who visits your site daily - your service is very valuable to me and, if that means you have to sell ad space to stay in business, then that's just fine by me!

Too many Trek info sites have either closed completely, or been forced to significantly scale back because the owner can't pay his/her bills. Well, I for one wholeheartedly support your decision. I look forward to getting the latest information from your site and, to be honest, if you found that you needed to charge for access, you could count me in!

Keep up the good work and of course, live long and prosper!

Very fortunately, I haven't received any mails yet complaining about the banners, something about which I'm very happy. Hopefully in this way I'll actually be able to have some money left at the end of the month ;-).

'The Franchise's Future'

About a week ago, we published the first installment of our series of articles looking at the franchise's future. The first article was written by Jeff 'Koganuts' Koga, and drew in a surprising amount of mail. Below Jeff himself will answer all the mails we received.

---

When Christian asked me to write about the state of the Star Trek franchise, I didn't expect it to be as controversial as it apparently was, but I spoke from my heart and didn't try and sugarcoat it for anyone.

Star Trek's future is certainly a hot topic nowadays, doesn't it?

Anyways, Christian asked me to reply to a few of the e-mails that were sent to the mailbag, so off we go.

First, let's start off on a light note:

From: Cyb3Rphr34k
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: (No Subject)

JEFF K SUCKZ & = A F00L!

Well, yeah, I know that already -- so what's your point? :)

From: Tobias Harkleroad
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Future of Trek

I personally see star trek's future in both series and cinema as extremely promising, unlike the pessimistic view that I have seen many fans expressing lately. Star Trek's next series has the ability to be new and fresh because unlike DS9 and Voyager the next series will not come on the heels of another series. Both Voyager and DS9 premeried in the shadow of The Next Generation .... a new series will come after Voyager has returned. DS9 has set a precedent in that a Trek series doesn't have be a mold of the Original Series, so the Star Trek producers at Paramount have the chance to start something new and fresh in two years.

As to the movies, yes there will probably only be one more TNG movie all the rumors point to. Following the last TNG movie I firmly believe that Paramount shouldn't try to put Voyager OR DS9 into movie form. Just like with the next TV series Paramount has the chance to do something COMPLETELY new and fresh by starting a new film series that is not necessarily attached to a TV series.

Just as Paramount is allowing the Star Trek universe to expand with Trek novel series New Frontier filled with new characters so too can Paramount expand the ST universe with completely new series that are set in the Trek universe rather than attempting to simply fit a mold or be a spin-off

Those are my thoughts anyway!

I do agree that creating a new Trek series by itself, without having it get lost in the shadow of another series (a la Deep Space Nine with its "middle child" syndrome, first with The Next Generation, and then with Voyager), is a step in the right direction. However, simply having this new series stand alone, and setting it fifteen years after Voyager won't automatically guarantee greatness. In fact, I don't think it will. I think this new series also requires a behind the scenes change of the guard -- people other than Rick Berman and Brannon Braga.

After reading some additional information on both TrekWeb and Ain't It Cool Coaxial News about Ronald D. Moore's (still officially unconfirmed) departure, I'm convinced, more than ever,that the Star Trek franchise has lost a key player. While this rumored information -- involving egos, backstabbing, and secret meetings -- is shocking, for me it wasn't all that surprising. The entertainment industry is a cutthroat business, and that unfortunately applies to the Trek franchise as well. Thus far, I've gotten the impression that Moore is a very gifted writer who loves Star Trek. He genuinely cares about the franchise and makes an attempt at continuity in his scripts. I haven't gotten that same impression about Braga at all. In fact, I think that he, and not Ricky Martin, is the anti-Christ. :)

At any rate, while there is a chance that this new series will be the best Star Trek series yet, given what little I have read thus far about its development, I can't say I'm terribly excited about it. Of course, it is very early in the development stages, and when this new series premieres, it will no doubt do well because it's Star Trek. But with Moore's apparent departure, I can't say it will be as good as it could be.

From: Richard Rafter
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Is Star Trek Dead?

I enjoy Jeff Koga's writing I'm not here to flame him or put him down, I simply don't agree with him.

The franchise has fallen on hard times but I wouldn't order the tombstone just yet! Given, Voyager has been a huge disappointment. And if Lansing and Berman allow Braga to call the tune they're making a huge mistake.

That said there are ways to get out of a slump. Firstly, utilize your best talent in the next feature; the return of Spock could really generate box office not to mention publicity. Failing a Stewart/Nimoy match up go for a Stewart/Brooks match up. Bottom line there are several ways out if TPTB decide to get creative again.

NO MORE BRAGA! The man in clueless as to what Trek fans want and never cared to learn! Avoid the last minute rush and put Moore in charge NOW! It is not to late to turn Voyager into something.

It is not my intention to rant indefinitely. Suffice to say the franchise can and will be saved. Remember; Braga answers to Berman, Berman answers to Lansing, and most importantly Lansing answers to the STOCKHOLDERS.

Yes, Voyager has been disappointing to say the least. And I can't say that, apart from Ronald D. Moore's "Survival Instinct," I'm very excited about Year Six.

I don't forsee William Shatner or Leonard Nimoy reprising their respective roles for the silver screen anymore. While the idea is intriguing from a fanboy perspective, I have a feeling the Paramount brass would feel that the actors are "too old" and wouldn't be worth the high salary they'd no doubt demand for their roles. However, I do feel that a Patrick Stewart/Avery Brooks team-up would be promising. It would be nice to have the next film not just involve The Next Generation cast... maybe something akin to Star Trek: Generations where TNG cast would hand the baton to another cast. Personally, I'd love to see the DS9 cast take that baton, but it would never happen.

I do agree that Brannon Braga has to leave Voyager, especially in light of his alleged behavior surrounding Moore's apparent departure. But according to Steve Krutzler on TrekWeb, Rick Berman is protective of Braga, so Braga's position on Voyager is unfortunately set in stone.

From: Daniel Nicholls
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Response to Trek is dead article.

The spirit of Trek has only died in Jeff Koga. Voyager may not live up to its predecessors. The next movie may be the last from the Next Generation team. Deep Space Nine has had a glorious ending. Trek is more alive now than it has ever been. Articles like that one belong at Save Star Trek, not here where I come to find my news about Trek, and the spirit of Trek lives here in the work of this page, too. But not in that article. I respect Jeff's opinions, but I also feel sorry that the spirit of Trek has died within him.

Actually, with Voyager not living up its predecessors, DS9 ending, and the upcoming The Next Generation movie being possibly the last one for its cast, I would instead say that it looks more like the Star Trek franchise is dying instead of flourishing.

As for the spirit of Star Trek dying within me, I will admit that it is true, but it's because I compare other series with Trek and find that it hasn't been as good. I watch a lot of TV on a regular basis, and here's an abbreviated list of what I watch, in alphabetical order.

As you will see, it's an eclectic list that runs the gamut from comedy to drama, and all points in between:

Weeknights:

Late Night:

In addition, Monday nights, I watch WCW and WWF pro wrestling. I know, it's my latest guilty pleasure, but hey, it's a great way to relax and vegetate in front of the TV after a hard day of work at the office. :)

At any rate, when I compare the quality of the writing on many of the aforementioned shows, Star Trek tends to fall in the middle or towards the bottom, depending on a given week. So I can't help but be pessimistic in that regard.

As for my rant belonging in Save Star Trek instead of TrekToday, while it was mentioned in TrekToday, it resided at the Trek Nation. Just an FYI.

[And I believe that the Trek Nation should certainly also be a place for criticisms about Star Trek - the site isn't just intended to praise Star Trek at every possible moment - Christian]

From: Jay
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: FranchiseST

Dear Jeff:
First off this is a very long letter, sorry.

I agree, I am a Trekfan, as I like to call myself, because Trekkie or Trekker conjures up the obsessed fans. Granted I will buy a uniform someday, ST:DS9 (ST:FC style). I however do not know every ep of every series or have begun to read every book. So I hope I have not offended ye.

I started on TOS in the 80s when it was ran nightly on the local syndicated stations. My favs. have been all the TOS crew,even Kirk to an extent. Also what made me watch it was because it was about space travel and a certain ship named ENTERPRISE.

When TNG came on I did not watch it after seeing Encounter at Farpoint, but in about the 3rd season I returned to check it out and started watching it regularly. I have seen all the ST movies, but the TOS crew was the best movie crew because I mainly identified with them.

However when ST:FC came out I thought it was the best one since 'ST: The Voyage Home' and I still believe it to this day. Insurrection did not do a thing for me, no excitement, nonspontaneous humor unlike ST:IV and ST:FC.

Then all the while between flicks DS9 came out and I caught the first ep and turned it off till about season 5. I regret that decision, but I am majorly overjoyed that the local FOX station carries DS9 7 days a week and I can catch up. DS9 was the torch carrier since TNG, because Voy was ok in the 4th season only because I like the Borg villain and having one onboard seemed pretty cool. I caught the first ep of Voy and stopped there too.

But Voy's best season I have seen was season 4, season 5 was a disappointment to me. The writing (on Voy) compared to DS9 is like comparing a Ferrari and a Mustang. I was elated to learn Ron Moore was coming to VOY but nearly thought about skipping season 6 and the rest of Voy when I learned he left.

I will watch VOY, because it carried the trek name, but I hope TPTP produce a Star Trek Academy type show, which I believe a vast major of Star Trek fans want. Paramount should remember that ST is around today because of its fans, jerking them around and creating bad product will drive fans away.

I like The X-Files too, but it became too complicated late last season and the movie was wierd. Buffy is ok, but I thank the Lord for TNG reruns (daily) on the local WB station.

I am sorry this is a way long letter. please respond if you have time.

Don't worry -- I wasn't offended by anything you wrote. While I am also a Star Trek fan, I don't consider myself to be "Trekkie" or "Trekker" material. While I do go to conventions on a semi-regular basis, I have never worn a uniform, nor do I plan to.

I don't think a Star Trek Academy type of series will work. At least with those existing Trek fans. Its premise alone means that the cast will for the most part be in a fixed location a la DS9. I also get the impression that since we're dealing with a school environment, and since the Paramount brass want to attract a younger fan-base to Star Trek, that they're going to have a "Star Trek 90210," "Melrose Trek," or "Dawson's Trek" type of series... with lots of Wesley Crushers or grown-up Naomi Wildmans. Eep. I wasn't a big fan of the DS9 episode "Valiant," which featured a crew of cadets operating a Defiant class starship, and I certainly don't want to see something like that on a regular basis.

Actually, I think a great many fans would love to see Star Trek in the 29th century. Voyager's recent "Relativity" episode provided a great glimpse of life on a 29th century starship and jumping 500 years into the future, at least to me, sounds like a more promising premise than an academy-based series.

From: Jeff Mauney
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Death of the Franchise:

In reference to Jeff Koga's article on the demise of the ST franchise:

None of this really surprises me. I had heard rumors about the "Flight Academy" thing on some forums and NG's. With drooling new-age politically correct tripe like "Voyager" being expected to carry the torch, I would say the franchise is over as far I'm concerned. I was disappointed (to put it mildly), with all the quasi-mythological/magic BS in the DS9 finale.

Maybe I'm just being a curmudgeon, but I seriously believe that since Roddenberry's death, Majel Barret and Paramount have turned the entire franchise on its ear. While Gene certainly wasn't opposed to making money, I do not believe it was the driving factor behind his vision. Gene sought to teach gently and prod people into using their intellect instead of their hormones to examine social problems. He never crammed his political and social ideas down viewers' throats like a governess feeding a tantrum-prone three year-old; Barret et al have a very bad habit of doing exactly that. As a friend of mine recently stated, it seems there is no dearth of people in Hollywood willing to make a mint while simultaneously ramming their socialist and elitist philosophies down the collective public throat. It is not enough to simply entertain-- now there must be a "validation" behind everything. This attitude has effectively destroyed our public schools, and is now in full frontal assault on our culture in the form of a spontaneous media saturation blitz..

Have you ever noticed how, in the series premiere of "Voyager," all the middle aged white males were killed off? (They left the computer hologram of one intact, so that they could symbolically "pull the plug" whenever they liked). The only white male left on the show is the bumbling foil for most of the plots, and usually plays the poor, dumb straight man to the far wiser women and minorities. I do not like to be preached to, I do not like deliberate and biased propaganda, and I most certainly do not like the trend that Star Trek is taking.

Now we hear the rumors of Patrick Stewart being run out on a rail because he is too expensive. Stewart may indeed be expensive and a bit egocentric; that's because he's a classically trained Shakespearean veteran who fairly oozes talent and charisma. Kate Mulgrew... *snort*

Wow.

While I don't necessarily agree with all of your points, we do seem to agree that Roddenberry's vision of the future has been changed significantly from The Original Series' days. I know Majel Roddenberry has complained about the Dominion War angle on Deep Space Nine, but I thought it was a great premise to tell some interesting stories.

As for Patrick Stewart vs. Kate Mulgrew, I would also agree that Stewart wins hands down. He definitely has the talent and charisma, not to mention the English accent for a French character. :)

From: Kirkshat
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Is Trek Dead

As I mentioned in my original rant, The Original Series will always hold a special place in my heart, because it was the first Trek series I was exposed to and also because it was Gene Roddenberry's original vision of the future. While I have enjoyed The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine (and at times, Voyager), there will be no substitute.

Sequels, yes, but absolutely no substitute.

De -- wherever you are, you will certainly be missed.

Well, believe it or not, but it's 4:36 AM PST here on July 4th (Happy 223rd Birthday America!), and I've decided to finally call it a night. [laugh]

Thanks to everyone who wrote to the mailbag -- now I know how Ronald D. Moore felt when he was writing back to his fans in his America Online folder. :)

Jeff "Koganuts" Koga

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Christian Höhne Sparborth is webmaster of the Trek Nation.