Trekkies Gone Wild…

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In a second part of his rant about “Star Trek,” Eric Renderking Fisk reviews the final episode of the franchise and the impending doom of the UPN network…

Well, according to the people who live life vicariously through a science fiction television show, it’s the end of the world. There’s nothing left to live for since there won’t be any new episodes next September or October from the Star Trek franchise…

Seriously… go check out some of the Science Fiction forums out there and see what they have to say. There is literally one high school aged viewer who says that his life isn’t worth living any more because Star Trek was the only thing in this horrible world that kept him from killing himself. If you’re going to kill yourself over the cancelation of a stupid television show; you’re in serious need of counseling. Same is true for anyone who’s ever spent too time obsessing over something coming out of the entertainment industry and not nearly enough time in the real world.

Not to just poke fun at Trekkies… If you spend more then three minutes writing about which actress should play the daughter of a fictional character in a sequel that might not ever get made… you need to recheck your priorities and maybe get a life.

If you can’t sleep at night because you’re worried about who’s going to replace Pierce Bosnian as “James Bond,” you need to put your super-secret agent decoder ring and other Cracker-Jack spy gear in a box in the basement.

Those are just three examples of how people need to stop fussing about those things unless it’s your actual job and you’re getting paid by an studio to do so.

I’m talking about “Jonestown” style of obsession for some of these folks, a concept I would explain to some of these Kool-Aid drinkers but the Punch Line is too long.

Not to be out done, there’s the professional bashers of the last two Star Trek series… both “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: Enterprise” were two perfect examples of going to the well too many times or not having enough fresh idea’s too keep the franchise going. Just as there are plenty of lunatics who like to write about how “Star Trek” is the vision of the future they want to believe in, there are the same amount of lunatics who say the last two versions of Trek have been a pox upon the legacy of Gene Roddenberry (The show’s original and the “Next Generation’s” creator… Executive Creative Consultant on most of the movies…) There are these people who spend just as much time obsessing about why the shows lacked quality (“Sucked” in slang vernacular) as those who obsess about every detail of the show because that’s all they have to live for…

Whatever is the cause of these two forms of obsession - Paramount Studio forgot that “Star Trek” was supposed to be “Wagon Train To the Stars” or “Horatio Hornblower in Space…” not “Stardates Of Our Lives…”. Star Trek has become less and less about “Boldly Going” and more about who loves who and a cosmic soap opera with NASA-inspired costumes and sets.

Actually, the bit about the NASA-inspired costumes is an exaggeration… those uniforms don’t look enough like what people should be wearing while traveling the cosmos. But I covered that in my last rant.

So it’s over. As of last night there are no more new episodes of Star Trek. For the first time since October of 1987 it’s been laid to rest and we can only hope that it’s locked away until the time’s right for them to do it again the right way.

“This is how it ends, with a thunderous clap of Applause…”

So how did it end? Star Trek ended with the best season of “Enterprise” that I can remember, and far better then any season of “Star Trek: Voyager”.

This season actually captured the sense of wonder, mystery and danger of what I think Space Travel is going to be like in the next 200 years. With the exception of the Soap Opera bits between two characters that really love each other but can’t stand to be around one another, it actually turned into a great show… a show about a ship with a mission. Not some make-believe metaphor about the state of the world or terrorism, but somehow they actually made a show about exploration and solving the problems they encountered. There were actual shows that told the “Future History” about the “Birth of the Federation” and how several alien species worked together and united for a common cause.

There were times when I said to my self: “Hey… this is what the show really should have been about!”

They waited too long to actually do the show they set out to do, didn’t begin to really hustle until it was announced that the show wasn’t going to have a 5th season.

The final episode last night, “These Are The Voyages…” was supposed to be a “Valentine” to Star Trek and the fans. But it was instead it was more like a “Dear John” letter…

The story was pretty simple enough… it’s been 6 years since the previous episode and the Starship Enterprise is about to be put into a museum. The Captain of the ship is preparing to give a speech during the signing of a charter that will lead to a “Federation of Planets.” Along the way the crew has to help an old friend rescue his kid-napped daughter. Meanwhile, William Riker of ANOTHER ship named “Enterprise” a hundred years or so into that future is recreating the scenes in a holograph program so he can get some insights to help him deal with a problem he’s currently involved with.

Get it? Confused yet? It really doesn’t matter… it just a gimmick to get fans of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (Which is set some where in the 24th Century) to watch the final episode of “Star Trek: Enterprise” (which is set somewhere in the 22nd Century.)

Using a few characters from a more popular show to help say good-bye to a less popular show doesn’t help, it actually puts a huge spot-light and a magnifying glass on what was wrong with the less popular show. While watching the final episode of ENTERPRISE, I’m reminded of why I loved the “Next Generation” and why the current Star Trek series didn’t live up. Sure, it was a good show but could have been better if the cast and writers were actually allowed to do something fresh and new.

“ENTERPRISE” was supposed to be set 100 or more years before the rest of the shows that came before it, it was supposed to be about blazing new trials and discovering new territory that would become common place for the characters of the shows we’ve already seen. Instead the show felt as if it were getting the leftovers, a sense of “Been there – done that” before anyone actually ever did. There was a sense of awkwardness… this is supposed to be fresh and new, why does it already feel used, old and worn out?

Every episode starts with the theme song “Faith of the Heart” and you see the evolution of Travel… first sailing ships, the Wright Brothers, woman pilot Amelia Earhart, The Super-sonic Chuck Yeager, first American Astronaut Alan B. Shepard… and so on. “Star Trek: Enterprise” was supposed to be about the spirit of those early explorers, the “Earhart’s,” the “Yeager’s” and the “Shepard’s” of that generation. Where were they? They weren’t there.

What’s all the fuss about this series finally being over? The show started out with 12 million viewers and ended last season with only 2 million.

How do you make Space boring? How can you take a concept that can’t go wrong… and then go wrong? Shouldn’t fans be celebrating that the franchise is ending on a bittersweet note and will be taking a break to be rejuvenated?

My advice to Paramount is to leave Star Trek in the past, re-use some of the same sets and Special Effects teams and start from fresh with a series that’s actually about exploring space with the “Earhart’s,” the “Yeager’s” and the “Shepard’s” of that generation…

Unfortunately, that might never happen because they don’t want you to be inspired to do your own thing, they want to suck you in and coerce you to watch. Since Star Trek is no longer working in bringing viewers in, they have to resort to other things; like using the Paris Hilton technique of using sex and controversy for shameless self promotion.

Death Of A Civilization

During one of the promotions of her new reality TV series that’s to air next week - Britney looks into the camera and smuggle: "Can you handle my reality?"

Jenny McCarthy is getting another sitcom, which looks like a Playboy knock-off of "Sex In The City" on

Other shows on UPN involve a character trying to discover who rapped her in the season opener, a black lawyer and his wild sexual relationships, and a model talent search.

See a pattern here? UPN is circling the drain while going to more extreme measures to get you to watch. UPN isn't the problem; they're a symptom of a greater dilemma. Network television has to work harder to compete and they don't care how embarrassed they get or how immature they look. No longer are we living in a world with only 12 channels that's dominated by three major networks… four if you count PBS. You have countless other things to watch, Home and Garden channels, Cooking channels, there are actually 2 History Channels, a Military Channel, Science channels… the Weather Channel actually has an incredible shows about “Storm Chasers” and real life stories about people who survive natural disasters.

If you’re not watching television, there are countless video games or movies on DVD to amuse you.

We also have countless reality TV shows, knock-offs and retooled versions of “Survivor,” cheap shows that cost almost nothing to make but people love to watch… nothing is more entertaining then watching other people suffer and struggle in an attempt to win money, fame and maybe a job.

Networks and cable is trying harder and harder to get you to watch what’s on. It takes too long to get an large audience for shows these days… show’s like “Desperate Housewives” are successful because they’re sensational and have as much smut the FCC will allow. To get people to watch network shows, you have to keep pushing the envelope and lure viewers by grabbing them by the throat with provocative ads.

Being smart and intelligent isn’t enough, Special Effects isn’t either. Granted, Some shows would actually do better in the long run if they used ideas that are controversial now, things such as “Plot” and “Dialog,” but that’s besides the point. People spend way too much time wasting their lives while waiting for something really good to happen on Television.

In the original pilot of “Star Trek,” Captain Christopher Pike was captured by a race of beings who needed his memories and dreams to stay alive. Centuries ago the “Talosians” found a way to tap into the thoughts and dreams of others and became addicted to this “narcotic”… their civilization and society decayed since everyone was living vicariously though this form of entertainment. Ironically, after almost 40 years since this pilot was filmed, our own society is on a steady decline as more and more people devote their lives to movies or what’s on television. Not just Trekkies, but many of us spend too much time worried about what’s going to happen in Hollywood. If we’re not obsessed enough about what’s on the screen, we’re preoccupied with the lives of the actors who play these characters.

Politics and history has become entertainment, and our real life relationships fall apart because too much time is spent in front of the idiot box while we’re watching make-believe people have the types of relationships that cause us to have unrealistic expectations from the aforementioned ones we’re already neglecting.

Our only hope is that Television becomes an extinct medium because it’s too passive and doesn’t have any interaction or viewer participation.

Entertainment is actually enhanced by real life. You can relate more to someone who’s hanging off the side of a cliff if you were doing the same thing last weekend when you were doing some rock-climbing on your own. Comedies are funnier when you realize that the humor is amusing because it’s true after spending time interacting with real people in your life. Romantic movies have special meaning when you have someone special in your own life.

Some of us will never know this… because the industry is hard at work finding ways to put more content on the existing channels while utilizing new technology to put more channels on to suck up more of your time. 


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