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The Trek Nation - Big Boss Mails

Big Boss Mails

By Christian Höhne Sparborth
Posted at August 11, 1999 - 5:00 AM GMT

Welcome to a new edition of the Trek Nation mailbag! The 'hiatus' definitely seems to be over again for most of you, judging by the amount of mail we've been getting. Read on for your thoughts about quite literally everything that happened in the world of Trek over the past week!

Wrestler's On Voyager

According to the official web site of the WWF, wrestler 'Big Boss Man' will soon be making an appearance on 'Star Trek: Voyager.' Not surprisingly, we received lots of mail about this:

From: Russell Tubbs
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Big Boss Man

The Big Boss Man is a very talented proformer, who has a long caraer in wrestling as many different characters. Yes he is quite a large, and for his acting abilitys I cant say. As may'be a 'warrior type alien' I feel he would be quite good, but as another type I cant say. Most likely I think he'll apear as himself - may'be in an episode whee Tom Paris creates a wrestling program - In which I'm certain it will be very funny.

Personally I would prefer an appearance as an alien over an appearance as himself - in my opinion, the last thing Voyager needs is an episode where actual WWF-style wrestling takes place. It might be good for the ratings, but it certainly wouldn't help the series' credibility.

From: Jeremy Stolfi
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: responding to wrestlers on voyager

I have to say im not a big fan of wrestling but im a huge fan of voyager and in my view this is a joke startrek has begun a turn for the worse lately and if upn keeps this up they will lose the fans that they have

Unfortunately introducing wrestlers on Voyager might actually be a good thing for UPN, if it causes millions of WWF fans to tune in to Voyager as well. I agree with you that it certainly wouldn't be good for Trek, though.

From: Simon Nicholson
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: WRESTLERS ON VOYAGER?

You have got to be kidding.

In a shameless marketing ploy for one of UPN's higher rating shows, Braga has a "solid concept" for a man named "BIG BOSS MAN" to guest star on Star Trek: Voyager? In just what role, exactly? I could have swallowed him being a Hirogen or a Malon (heck, he even looks like the Angel of Decay in "Juggernaut"), but what now? A big mean grunting alien who gets in touch with his feelings and cries on Janeway's shoulder at the end of the episode (probably entitled "Strong Man")?. Please. I want to be sick. It's a silly excuse for the promo guy to say "Wednesday on Voyager: The Big Man of Wrestling guest stars in a role that will SHOCK! you!".

Don't get me wrong. I am Voyager's biggest fan. I can swallow schlock if it's good schlock; "Dark Frontier" was a ratings-raising exercise and had a story that was complete and utter nonsense, but the nonsense was so taughtly written, excellently acted and professionally directed that it's probably the most enjoyable episode of Voyager I've seen. Susanna Thompson was great as the Borg Queen, giving us a different side to Alice Krige's Queen in "First Contact".

Hey - that's it! Big Boss Man is going to be the Borg King!

Yeah, I see it now! And after the episode is over, the Borg King will take Seven of Nine with him to appear on UPN's 'WWF Smackdown!' show for even more cross-promotion!

The concepts you people come up with really manage to give me nightmares :-).

From: Kheris
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Wrestlers on Voyager

I am going to take the high road on this one and assume that the article writer was smoking something other than tobacco as we know it. If such an assertion were true, then trust and believe Voyager would lose this fan. It would be nothing more than crass commercialism and until I actually see the episode synopses I refuse to believe TPTB would stoop so low.

I certainly hope that TPTB will be convinced by the huge amount of protest to drop the 'Big Boss Man' from their guest cast list, but, unfortunately, I'm not that hopeful.

From: Jimbo Mackenzie
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Pro Wrestlers on Voyager

Christian,
I feel the same way. GOD IN HEAVEN HELP US! Fisrt, they decide that they need to use more Seven of Nine and now this. It saddens me to TREK reduced to using ratings gimmicks. Oh well, I guess it really doesn't matter at this point, I'm not expecting UPN and Voyager to be on the air for much longer.How is that for optimistic?

At this point, I'm putting all my trust in the new series, whatever it is. If Voyager is indeed going to use wrestlers just to get a few extra ratings points, I will loose a lot of respect for the series.

From: Jay Davies-Pyke
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: WWF On Voyager

I am a huge loyal fan of Voyager but this news about wrestlers appearing on Voy comes to me as very bad news, I have always thought that Voyager has excellent actors and superb stories but with stupid wrestlers on there (well i guess u could say that they too are actors :-)) it WILL lower the tone of the ep if not the hole series, what sort of eps can we expect to see, Seven-Of-Nine Vs The Big Boss Man.

More Seven of Nine Next Season?

As if news of WWF wrestlers appearing on Voyager wasn't yet bad enough, the British SFX Magazine also published a report stating we'd be seeing even more of Seven next year. Fortunately, this appears to be a little bit less certain than the WWF report, but that didn't stop many readers from writing in about this as well:

From: Ray Harvey
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Even More Seven?

If Paramount really wants to kill the series off early, this would be the way to do it. If they want to spend some money on an area that needs to be addressed. Then spend it on new writers and a decent production staff!!!

What's wrong with the production staff? In my opinion, that's actually one of the departments which has been doing a great job - Voyager is one of the best-looking shows on television.

From: Tina Hall
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: The Seven of Nine show

I stopped watching every episode because it was no longer was Star Trek. Only "7" could cure the problems. It was boring. I loved watching B'Elanna and Janeway come to a conclusion together. Or when Everyone had an input on the conclusion.

I was very excited that Ron Moore was signing on to write now some interesting character scripts. Then he leaves. I was very upset, but the when I heard that Braga was happy with this last season and this coming season was going to be the same, I understood why he left. I could not work with anyone as stupid and without a clue as Braga. I wish Braga would watch some of his shows with fans of Star Trek not his buddies that only want to drool over what Jeri Ryan is wearing.

I would like to thank Braga in forewarning me NOT to watch this season.

He'll be happy to have done that, no doubt :-).

From: Fire3Sky
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Seven

In regards to Seven of Nine, I will be thrilled if she gets more screen time next season. She and the Doctor are currently the strongest characters on the show. While I was upset in the fourth season when the other characters were marginalized to make room for Seven, recent attempts to revitalize the other characters have not worked well, IMO. The damage to the other characters is done, and TPTB might as well stay with what works, namely Seven of Nine.

But don't you think that, if Seven is featured even more next season, we'll return to the situation we had in the 4th season? Personally I wouldn't object to Seven appearing about as much as last season (she's without any doubt one of Voyager's best characters), but I don't think we need to see her even more than last season.

From: Jay Davies-Pyke
To: christian@trektoday.com
Subject: Even More Seven in Six

I have NO problem with more Seven in the next seasion, she is the reasion i started to take REAL notice of Voyager and now im a loyal fan.

I guess this would give all the trekkies something else to complain about, have they not got the message yet, I think Paramount dont care about trekkies, they want a new Star Trek audiance and image, not the Nerd image which trekkies generate, sorry to any trekkies but that is what i think.

Paramoutn know MORE than any Trekkie could know (even if they do have friends on the in side) do you realy think if they thought that using 7 more would damage the show they would still go ahead and do it, I dont think so, trekkies may be getting sick of her (or are they?) but I for one am not and i'm NO trekkie, I guess you could call me a Voyager (someone who ONLY likes Voyager and dose not give a damn about Star Trek).

That is what I think.

Paramount could easily do something that will damage the show, if they just look at the short-term benefits. If there is one thing which Paramount should be careful of protecting it is the loyal Star Trek fans - they were the ones who actually enabled Voyager to be on the air, after all. Considering they're developing a new series as we speak, now is precisely the time for them to care about Trekkers.

Subspace Buzz

Our regularly scheduled collection of mails on a variety of subjects.

From: Anna Berger-Kettner
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Something must be done

After reading the two articles about "Flight Academy", my thoughts are like this. It is true that the series could be something fresh and exiting, but I fear that we are runing the risk of getting a flick with problems of getting of the ground.

What Iīve found as the greatness with Trek is among many things the will to explore/break new grounds and to have a basic idea about how things should be, so people by them selfes and together can grow and be something more than just going with the flow (in this I put the various things from the "Prime Directive" to the will to discuss before firing your phasers).

With those and more of the basic "Trek-concepts" I belive there are a lot more interesting ideas to be explored.

Valentine Winter brought up the idea about dealing with wake of the dominion war and a planet based series. But is the best way of dealing with that Starfleet Academy? The test of the core-ideas of the federation is probably done at the borders, in contact with races trying to take advantage of a power-vacum left by Cardasia and weakened UFP, Klingons and Romulans or the Orion syndicate trying to grab more power/influence and not at an admirals desk, the federation council or among students in the relative safety at the academy. I saw one idea a couple month ago on the net about a UFP, reduced in power, trying to supress the syndicate, now almost equal in strength. That would have required another ending of DS9, I guess. But some of that might be usefull as a part of the new series fabric.

But the series I would like to see is: "The First Frontier" (a dork-title, but to get the "feel" for it). A series dealing with the first steps of forming the UFP. That could be storytelling in the way Star Trek is good at. To give you a great story that also tells you a lot of our own time. How the different species that would make up the federation overcame all that separated them to build something together. What in that process made the UFP strong enough to survive? How did that new federation deal with adversaries? Who to protect, risk your own race to defend people from another, people that, for instance, most humans have never met?

That would be a series possible to let us understand Vulcans more and why they wanted anything to do with people that are violent, ruled by their emotions (by Vulcan standards), illogical and on most parts backwards and underdevelloped. What did they see in the humans that made them pursue that first contact? And by doing so, can we, in the west, learn something about our own wievs about people we render as violent, driven by emotions (usualy located in the middle-east) and thoroughly backwards?

Or, if that series would be moved forward or streched through the years - how about to get to see why the UFP and the Klingons became "Best-buddies" from the start?

There can be a lot of the mysterious past of Star Trek worth of making a fifth series about, and a great series. And if none of those two ideas, I will, as said the Hello World article, give Mr Berman and Paramount the benefit of the doubt. And maby Flight Academy is a romulan cloackingdevice to have us, the fans, guessing.

I couldn't agree with you more - I'd also love to see a prequel series, even if that would mean all of Star Wars fandom falling over Trek with wild accusations of the producers ripping off Lucas' ideas :-). The subject is already somewhat being covered in Michael Jan Friedman's 'Starfleet: Year One' serial, which will be appearing at the end of the regular Trek novels, btw - are you also reading that?

As I've said before, I myself would still love to see a Trek anthology series, but I realise that will probably never happen.

From: Henrik Sparvath
To: christian@trektoday.com
Subject: news

I have read the reply about the site posting the final to Deep Space Nine. I don't see the harm in that. I buy the tapes whenever they come out from CIC in London. However that is normally one year after they have aired in the US. That means that I, and a lot of my friends, have to be very carefully when we read TREKTODAY, Trek BBS or our favorite newsgroups. We can so easily run into an unmarked spoiler and ruin the entire episode So why not see the episode from a computer file first, join the debate and then later enjoy the episode again when it's out on VHS. That's what we do and I think that we're not alone. So Paramount's Star Trek doesn't suffer.

Yours truly

Henrik S in Denmark (A poor country regarding Star Trek)

You're one of the exceptions, then. Just like the music industry is being plagued by the wide availability of MP3s, and the games industry is threatened by the 'warez' versions, the movie industry could get into serious trouble because of online episodes.

Christian in the Netherlands (probably even poorer ;-)

From: Drew
To: christian@trektoday.com
Subject: Avery Brooks - He's a really good actor, but he should've done boxing.

Man, Avery just can't help but beat people up? Is he taking the end of DS9 to seriously? :-) Or is he having a bad day when these turn up? :-) But seriously, man no wonder his fight scenes are so realistic!)

For me, the amazing thing about this is that Avery Brooks is one of the last persons I would suspect of punching his co-stars - he never really seemed like the violent type to me. Still, this is already the second time in just a few months...

'The Franchise's Future'

As every week, the 'Franchise's Future' series of articles continue to draw in lots of mails. Below you'll find the responses to last week's installment, which was written by self-proclaimed Cynic David E. Sluss.

From: Steven Petersen
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Star Trek's Future

I personally think Star Trek's future would be much more better if the Utopian conditions would be dropped. I am sick and tired of the Star Trek characters and the entire Federation always getting their way.

I think that this is part of the overall stagnation that is being exhibited by the franchise DS9 at least tried to break down some of the goodie-goodie nature of the Federation, by way of some of Sisko's less than ethical actions, Section 31, etc., but always seemed like it was being held back. Voyager, of course, generally wallows in the Utopian nature of the Federation; regularly, we see situations in which those who fail to adhere to Federation principles are shown to fail and/or be jerks, something we'll undoubtedly see again in the conclusion to "Equinox" this fall, while Janeway, despite tactics and methods that are often questionable, always manages to win with "Federation virtue." I agree this is part of Star Trek's problem, though it certainly isn't the whole problem.

From: Mary Lou Metzger
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Yep, snooze time

David's right. The Trek series is tired. This is coming from a real fan. The books have been just awful lately. I, who read every series, in order, have not picked up a Trek book in almost a year. Sad, indeed.

I can't (and didn't) comment on the books since I don't read them. It wouldn't surprise me though if they displayed the same lack of energy that the series do.

From: Jim McCain
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: The Franchise's Future

I must strongly disagree with Mr. Sluss's rantings. DS9 was very creative. Voyager could however stand some new blood and better character development. Voyager suffers from not being in nearly as many markets as The Next Gen was. First Contact had a much better boxoffice than Generations, Insurrection, or The Undiscovered Country. In fact it made a respectable 91.8 million in the U. S. alone. I see no reason why Jonathan Frakes cant carry a Next Gen movie. Stewart was certainly unspectacular in the latest movie.

A few points:
1. DS9 had moments, and it did try to push the envelope; unfortunately it failed more often than it succeeded, particularly in the last couple of seasons. A lot of ultra-loyal DS9 fans felt let down, not just "ranters" like me.

2. Insurrection's box office figures seem rather mediocre to me. How much was spent to make _and_ promote the film? My impression, based on various sources, is that, notwithstanding Paramount accountants' ability to make any movie look like it's in the red, the film barely broke even. And keeping in mind inflation generally, and the rise in ticket prices particularly, it's clear that the number of behinds in theatre seats attached to people watching Star Trek movies has been in general terms declining. I can also say that, where I live, anyway, Insurrection was in theatres fewer weeks than The Undiscovered Country and Generations.

3. I disagree about Frakes' "star power." I guess we'll see.

From: Anna Berger-Kettner
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Trek future

After reading D.Slussīs article, I canīt but agree with him on a lot of his remarks. I belive the inbreeding problem might be the biggest, closely followed by that of oversaturation (being a trek-fan that is hard to say, non the less I belive itīs true).

Generaly my favorite Trek-show of the last three is DS9, since they tried to do something different. I liked the idea of a developing story. At the same time itīs hard not to see the signs of writers tired and not being able to realise their ideas. DS9 ( for an example) are full of good ideas and routes never taken, and the ones taken not explored to their full potential. When you have the idea of a closing arc for the series, why not expand it more than done, in order to make the events unfolding more likely. In stead we have to watch episodes like "Times orphan" Y6. and "Chrysalis" Y7. to be rushed through the ending.

And wait until the end to introduce the Breen? Who were we, the wievers, to know that the Breens were such a menace. Obviously the Romulans did, "Never turn your back on a breen" ("By infernos light", DS9.Y5.), but they never tell humans about such things. Why werenīt the Tholians an option? They at least have more of mystery around them than the Breen. That as two examples of circumcising a real good si-fi show of being the greatest, but also as a testament of inbreeded and tired writers.

I do agree that the franchise should be given a rest for some years, say five after Voyager. Time to get new and fresh ideas, find new and talentet writers, to go with some of the old and not overused. Many of the old writers we know and they have done great things. But you can only be so creative as a human and they to would probably benefit from change in their life to remain creative.

About Star Treks "vision". Depending on what you mean with the word "vision" you can be bold or a fearfull. Some of the ingredients of the Star Trek-fabric is a must to the series, like the prime Directive, the will to explore, the will to conquer your fear of the unknown, the will to understand and not lightly pas judgement on othere cultures, co-operation is inherently good, to risk your self to help people in distress, even people of a potential enemy. Ideas like that are the things that make up Star Trek and probably what makes it atractive. I belive one of the sucsesses behind The Next Generation was the ability to take those elements into our age and make them relevant.

Then we have some of the "vision" that can be best left behind. Example: We donīt need a starfleet man or woman to fall in love with the first best alien never met before at the rate itīs hapening. You can only have Kirk kis Uhura so many times, more than that itīs becoming silly.

That basic ideas are good and solid, ideas worth of saving and developing and not the problem with Star Trek. The tired ideas and oversaturation is. I Like my new episodes, but I would like them a lot better if I were to be a litle hungry now and then, get suprised more often, than at present and not able to know the plot twist before the opening logos more than twice a year.

I think Star Trek can have a great future, because of the strength the ideas of the future presented by Star Trek have. But I also belive that future hangs in the balance with the new series. So this is for the higher-ups, suits and honchos: Think before making the new series, just donīt push it out to make money. Then you will find yourself losing in the long term. Besides, we, the wievers, will be more happy with a new series with some more thoughts put into it. And in the end - itīs we who decide the your sucsess.

A very thoughtful response, one that I generally agree with. Many of your comments about Voyager and recent DS9 echo my own comments at Cynics Corner Interactive.

Regarding Star Trek's vision, while I've proposed some radical, albeit unlikely, changes, I don't think it can, or even should, be dispensed with entirely. I do think that different stories and different storytelling methods can co-exist with Star Trek's so- called ideals, but I also think that, sometimes, at least, a story that flies in the face of those ideals can be a good thing.

From: Daniel Nicholls
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Response to Critic's article

One has to wonder why this person who seems to loathe Star Trek so much would devote so much of thier time to it. Suggestion: If you don't like the show, stop watching it, and also maybe stop bitching about it.

**YAWN*** Allow me to quote from Cynics Corner Interactive's FAQ:

"3. Why do you watch and review when it's obvious that you hate it?

Answer: Generally speaking, I don't hate any of the shows I review. There are individual episodes that I hate, but I watch the shows because I get some level of enjoyment from them, and I review them as a public service to the internet community. The fact that every review is negative in tone just means that I have chosen to accentuate the negative. That's why we call it the Cynics Corner."

I'd hasten to add, though, that my column in this case was negative in tone because I really do have a negative view of the Franchise's Future.

I might add: "One has to wonder why this person who seems to loathe my column so much would take the time to reply with such banality. Suggestion: If you don't my comments, don't read them, and also maybe stop bitching about them."

Hope This Helps.

A Take On Trek

In response to Fred Shedian's column about the Literary Frontier, we received mail from one of the most qualified people to respond:

From: Susan Schwartz
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: (no subject)

It's -canon-, not -cannon-.

One's a set of agreed-upon literary guidelines. The other is artillery.

And believe me, with VULCAN'S HEART, I've heard so much about what is and is not canonical that if I didn't know how to spell this before, I sure do now!

But thanks for the kind words on the novels in general.

I have seen it spelled both ways. If I am in error, which I may be, I am only human...or in the Ferengi sense a humon. I am glad you enjoyed the article and hope you will keep reading.

Our Future Goal

Lastly, we've got one more response to Tamara Thomas' Our Future Goal article, which we published several weeks ago:

From: Kate Charlesworth
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: "Our Future Goals"

I was very interested to read Tamara Thomas' comments about humanity's possible Trek future. Today however, I had to wonder about our chances after reading the following views and information from ENS News (see "Polluting the Final Frontier" below and visit the website shown for a detailed description of the mission to Europa in 2003).

Are these are the kinds of ethical issues Trek fans should be getting passionate about to pave the way for a shot at Tamara Thomas' Trek future? The planners and designers of these missions should try to imagine their own reaction should a plutonium powered alien probe suddenly appear in and disastrously pollute our precious biosphere.

Cheers, Kate

POLLUTING THE FINAL FRONTIER

By Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D. Space exploration missions have expanded our awareness of the vast universe around us. But they have long polluted the Earth's sensitive upper atmosphere and a new mission, scheduled for launch in 2003, may harm the very life it is hoping to find on Jupiter's moon Europa.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 1999

For full text and graphics visit:
http://enslycoscom/ens/jul99/1999L-07-26ghtml

I was unable to access the site that Kate referred to, but I agree totally with her comments. Traditionally, exploration has wreaked untold damage on newly discovered countries. The intrusion of our technology and values upon the final frontier with out proper research is not the way to go about space exploration. We should take into account lessons learned from history when formulating plans to explore space. Prehaps an emphasis upon finding an environmentally friendly and efficient energy source should be our first step, instead of sending known pollutants into others space. This is an issue to get passionate about, afterall how are we going to be friends with our celestial neighbours if we throw trash in their backyard? An e-mail campaign to the author of the site that Kate mentioned may be a start in addressing this issue.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Christian Höhne Sparborth is webmaster of the Trek Nation.