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Vee

Star Trek returns with streaming series

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I've seen enough Hannibal.

 

My problem with Fuller above all else is ego and the fans who worship him as a god. There's no faster way for a show or project to go to pot than this type of over-focus on the people who make it. It's one of the reasons Whedon's shows all crashed after the first few seasons. And the same seems to happen with Fuller - oh look, he has an action figure, isn't that adorable, etc. etc. 

 

Star Trek has been run by hacks of varying degrees since the later seasons of TNG (DS9 excluded), so I'm happy to have someone with a fresh vision take over, but I already know a lot of people will love it based on him and then as with Hannibal, violently turn against it when they realize he's not their ideal producer/showrunner/wacky uncle come to life.

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I promised I'd get back to this argument above and now I shall. Re: Hannibal - the thing is, you talk about some of these things as though they're obviously part of the equation when it comes to Bryan Fuller, but what you have to realize is that I have no idea what a lot of this is about. An action figure? Wacky uncle? I don't know what any of that is. And I have no sense that the guy has a towering ego that sucks all the light out of a room. I also don't recall anyone turning on the show, really. Some people got bored in the first half of Season 3, but that was about it. There was no major backlash.

 

When I say I don't know what any of that stuff is, I mean it. And I was a very avid fan of that show - I just have no idea what that is and I doubt I'm the only one. Because it's not relevant to me or to the show IMO. I realize these things irk you - whether it's a fanbase, or the critics, or social media, or an outsize personality on a creator or whatever - but all those are ancillary at best to the actual product. All I care about is the show. I'm not interested in the fangirls, I'm not interested in what they did today and what it might mean for a larger picture. When it came to that show they were pretty high-strung and annoyed me sometimes, but I don't remember them doing anything terrible to anyone or campaigning to get anyone off the show or anything like that. And I also think there's a big difference between judging something for what it is vs. trying to judge it based on everything around it. I think that creates a skewed perpective on any show. I also don't think it's a sin if the creators engage with their audiences - it doesn't always mean they're going to run their shows based on shippers or throw someone nice to the lions. I don't think Hannibal was run that way, though it certainly had a close relationship with its audience while struggling to survive three years on NBC. I understand that that's something we especially deal with on daytime soaps and their crazy fans but I don't think it applies to everything in pop culture. Some of primetime, yes; not all of it. And there's always going to be an unbalanced segment of the audience who turns on any show, or tries to do X or Y or throw a fit or whatever - but that doesn't mean we don't watch shows. I think it's reactionary to treat the whole landscape the same way as that subculture (or any fannish subculture really, not just soaps), and I think it's unfair to a lot of really great content.

 

Also, it is unavoidably a creator's age these days in television - we can either go with it and judge the product as it comes, or resent the rise of personalities entirely. All I see with Bryan Fuller as a creator is a very gregarious guy excited to create, not an egomaniac. And it really wasn't that different in the old days either - we had the Bloodworth-Thomasons, the James L. Brookses, the Steven Bochcos, the Susan Harrises. The only thing that has changed is the mediums.

 

On a related note, I think there are a lot of shows that take heat where it's undeserving, or don't get enough attention vs. other critical darlings. (It's worth mentioning Hannibal was ignored by NBC, preempted and quietly cancelled, not feted in the square.) And I agree with you that a lot of the times that's unfair, and there are plenty of popular shows I get sick of hearing about to the point where it'll take me years to give them a shot just to wait for the noise to die down (Mad Men). But I don't think Mad Men must be overhyped [!@#$%^&*] because everyone is all over it - I'll give it the shot eventually. I also don't think the way to balance those kind of scales is to dismiss other shows that are acclaimed or are popular out of hand, or based on stuff that's exterior. I should know because I still do it a lot myself. I'm trying very hard not to offend you because I think you know you're one of the very few people around here I respect, but I think you're wrong about this. And whether or not you like Hannibal specifically, I worry that someone who loves the best of television through the ages as much as you do, and has such a rich memory and wealth of history with it, isn't always giving stuff a fair shot simply because it is 'hot 'right now. But I don't think that's a dirty word. And I'm not going to dismiss a creator or a product based on a fanbase or a wave of hype around them. I think scripted programming (on any outlet, be it TV or streaming) is in some of its best years lately - the quality and freedom is unlike anything we've had before. I think it would be a waste to shun so much of it just because we're all tired of the overblown Internet thinkpieces about how, say, True Detective is better than any filmed mystery since the '90s or whatever. There will always be overblown thinkpieces - it doesn't mean television isn't in a golden age. (Though I think we can all agree that Fuller House falls into absolutely zero of these categories.) I just wish the traditional soaps had the same opportunities. And that's the last time I'm gonna go over this, I promise. But as always, YMMV.

 

As for Trek - after Hannibal Bryan Fuller was my first best choice for the job. I thought some of his past shows were too twee and obnoxious, I thought they were wildly overrated, but Hannibal shocked me and turned me completely around. I think he's incredibly imaginative, I think Hannibal was the closest thing to art that our network television had seen since the days of Twin Peaks (excepting maybe some of Homicide, or American Crime now) and I think he knows the roots of Trek's best years and is totally proud of those geeky years in syndication, not ashamed like so many other hot talents would be. I think he's the most forward-thinking and creative choice they could've come up with to take this franchise back into television, where it belongs IMO. And I couldn't be happier about it. If you think his fans have made him a monster, I don't see it. And I don't think it's fair to judge what he brings to Trek based on that perception. I just hope eventually you will reconsider.

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I promised I'd get back to this argument above and now I shall. Re: Hannibal - the thing is, you talk about some of these things as though they're obviously part of the equation when it comes to Bryan Fuller, but what you have to realize is that I have no idea what a lot of this is about. An action figure? Wacky uncle? I don't know what any of that is. And I have no sense that the guy has a towering ego that sucks all the light out of a room. I also don't recall anyone turning on the show, really. Some people got bored in the first half of Season 3, but that was about it. There was no major backlash.

 

There was a lot of backlash during season 2, to the point where the woman who played Beverly even had to write an article addressing the criticism.

 

The action figure was something made to look like him (one of those Funko things) sold at cons.

 

There's nothing wrong with that, if a producer/showrunner wants to enjoy himself that way (I'm sure it was for charity anyway), but it goes along with the idea of hero worship, and isn't he adorable and fun and goofy and so on. Beyond quality, that's what first got Hannibal a following on a lot of social media, along with "Hannigram." People went on about how much they loved Fuller and he was so wonderful to fans (pandering, basically) and on Twitter, and oh they're all wearing the flower crowns fans made for them, and "Murder Husbands" and so forth. 

 

That meant the people he and the show courted got personally attached to him and it meant when the show faltered in their eyes, they got even more upset because they forgot their roles as viewers, they forgot the wall that separates viewers from people who run the show. He didn't help matters with some of his responses to fans over his warmed-over stories that said fans had previously believed were beneath the show (like the "lesbian sleeps with a man to get a baby" episode). 

 

I've seen this stuff before with Joss Whedon, where not all that great years for BtVS (really, anything from season 3 on, but especially season 6) were made a dozen times more awkward because of fans who somehow got the idea that he was some sort of god. It just led to a mess. It blew up again with the last Avengers movie in a way it likely wouldn't have if he hadn't marketed himself as much as he had always marketed his shows and films. 

 

That's the main reason I don't care for his work, as it's the main reason I am wary of Whedon's work (and other "look at me" personalities like David Kelley, Aaron Sorkin, Ryan Murphy, etc.). I'm not a fan of cults of personality. It just burns out and ossifies. Although at least Fuller doesn't seem to have the issues with actors that Whedon does.

 

If it helps Star Trek, fine, I hope it works. It hasn't had anyone with talent working on it in decades and deserves the fresh start. But since I was mentioned in the thread, I thought I should say why I don't care for him. 

Edited by DRW50

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I mean, I know what you're talking about with Beverly Katz? But that was a one-week tempest in a teapot at best - she was supposed to die in the first season. The whole thing blew away overnight because it was not as big a deal as a handful of people on Tumblr made it out to be. And regardless of that mini-controversy most fans and critics considered Season 2 to be the show's best - ask around, they'll tell you. It's just not that serious. The very existence of a controversy doesn't make it hopelessly damaged.

 

I understand the problem with cults of personality. But I don't think it applies here because whatever fans feel on their end, I think Fuller's relationship to them is healthy. I don't think he writes the show based on them. If fans forget the wall that's their problem - the problem is if the showrunner does. I don't think Bryan Fuller ever has. He jst makes what he wants to make, and if it works for the fans as well he's happy. I've seen pandering, I hate pandering. I don't think that show ever did. And I hope you will watch Star Trek.

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Angela Bassett indicates she will likely be too busy. Maybe they can grab Rosario Dawson and change up the roles - it's been years since Fuller originally suggested the two of them.

 

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Star Trek 2017 is apparently set to film in Toronto in the fall. It's rumored to be set in the decades between Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Star Trek: The Next Generation, after the Klingon peace talks. (It's worth mentioning that VI was new co-producer Nicholas Meyer's last Trek project, and the best of the films IMO.) Unsure if this is true, though.

 

Here's a new Trek oral history from the Smithsonian, with some nice nods to Lucille Ball:

 

 

Marc Cushman (author, “These Are the Voyages”)

 Desilu came into existence because Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz owned “I Love Lucy.” It was the first time someone owned the rerun rights to a show. Seems like a no-brainer today, but back then no one had done it. Eventually CBS bought the rerun rights back from Lucy and Desi for a million dollars, a lot of money back then. Lucy and Desi take that money and buy RKO and turn it into Desilu Studios. The company grows, but then the marriage falls apart and Lucy ends up running the studio and by this point, they don’t have many shows. Lucy says, “We need to get more shows on the air,” and “Star Trek” was the one she took on, because she thought it was different.

 

Herbert F. Solow (executive in charge of production, “Star Trek”) I had so many people at the studio, so many old-timers trying to talk me out of it. “You’re going to bankrupt us, you can’t do this. NBC doesn’t want us anyway, who cares about guys flying around in outer space?” The optical guy said it was impossible to do.

 

Marc Cushman Desi wasn’t there anymore. So Lucy is asking herself, “What would Desi do?” because she really loved and respected him. “Desi would get more shows on the air that we own, not just that we’re producing for other companies.” That was her reasoning to do “Star Trek”—and she felt that this show could, if it caught on, rerun for years like “I Love Lucy.” And guess what? Those two shows—“I Love Lucy” and “Star Trek”—are two shows that have been rerunning ever since they originally aired.

 

[...]

 

Lucy’s instincts were right about “Star Trek,” that it would become one of the biggest shows in syndication ever. The problem was that her pockets weren’t deep enough. They were losing $15,000 an episode, which would be like $500,000 per episode today. You know, if she could have hung on just six months longer, it would have worked out, because by the end of the second season, once they had enough episodes, “Star Trek” was playing in, I believe, 60 different countries around the world. And all of that money is flowing in. She had no choice but to sell. She actually took off and went to Miami. She ran away because it was so heartbreaking to sign the contract. They had to track her down to get her to do it. There’s a picture of her cutting the ribbon after they’ve torn down the wall between Paramount and Desilu, and she’s standing next to the CEO of Gulf and Western, which owns both studios now, and she’s trying to fake this smile for the camera, and you know it’s just killing her.

 

Edited by Vee

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That Star Trek history thing was interesting, if brief.   I found the most interesting thing that BJo Trimble, who is a noted name considered the mother of all Star Trek fandom, liked "Turnabout Intruder"--an episode fun for all the wrong reasons and generally considered a low point for the series perhaps only beaten by "Spock's Brain".    "Turnabout Intruder" is a hoot and a half, well worth repeated viewing, but quality drama it is not.   The third season had some clunkers like "The Empath" starring the mute woman who was played by some P&G soap star, and "Elaan Of Troyus", but I love "The Tholian Web", and the episode where everyone gets old.   "The Enterprise Incident" is a classic.

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Collider talks to Bryan Fuller.

Very excited about this. Love the idea of them doing season arcs and going for more inclusion. I wonder, have they revealed whether the show will air all at once or weekly?

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NETFLIX will broadcast each episode of the new series 24 hours after its US release, but this excludes US & Canada, where CBS All Access will remain the only option. 

 

It sounds as if episodes will be out weekly, so I'll wait until the season's finished, subscribe to CBSAC and bang them all out quickly before unsubscribing lol

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I'm pretty annoyed with CBS All Access. But Trek + Fuller are the only things I'd consider subscribing to them for.

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