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Carnifex

All about the conflict? (Long)

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This may have been said before but it was just something that struck me as I was reading some other articles.

 

Star Trek has definitely become less popular with the fans over the years (actually let me restate that.. fans have become more disillusioned with ST over the years..)...it's possibly that despite all of the series and movies that there may actually be a definitive reason as to why.

 

THE FRANCHISE HAS BECOME ALL ABOUT WAR AND CONFLICT.

 

This is diametrically opposite to the reasons why we were drawn to it in the first place... let's have a run down.

 

TOS... Without this show there would be nothing....conflict certainly was a regular part of the show, but seemed to be done in such  a way as to highlight the discovery of new things and the awakening of ideas and ideals that was ultimately optimistic for the viewers (and society as a whole.. first interracial kiss.. anyone?)

 

TNG.. The rebirth, and definitely a kick off for the relighting of the ST candle... again conflict was a part of the shows appeal but the war stories were certainly outnumbered by the amount of actual discovery of new world and new situations.. and still carried forth the belief that man could evolve into something better. Even the Borg introduction was a discovery storyline and never devolved into mindless fighting. 'Darmok' stands out as a shining light for me and as far as I'm concerned, highlights discovery, understanding and the evolution of our species...Introduction of the Borg and future staple for the excuse of a square go.

 

(Please excuse exact time-frames, but I'm just really giving an overview...)

 

During this phase of Trek we had 5 movies..

 

1.. a discovery story and this proved there was a market for it on the big screen... ok they screwed up the uniforms (lol) Big ideas trying to find their footing. This will always have a fond place in my heart..POPULAR.

 

2.. conflict (but with a discovery angle.. the Genesis Project and what it could accomplish).. harkened back to TOS with the reintroduction of a popular figure KHANNNNN!!!... a change of costume and a more recognisable Trek universe.. POPULAR (but not necessarily for the conflict, but for the similarities to what we knew)

 

3.. Klingons, more conflict (but acceptable 'cos it was Klingons) and more discovery of the 'mystical' vulcans.. POPULAR-ish (possibly because it wasn't stand alone and the continuation may have affected general audience figures).. personally I loved it.

 

4.. WHAT CAN I SAY.. possibly THE most memorable of the whole franchise had everything we had come to expect from the ST universe.. AND MORE.. fun and frolics galore, time travel, some of the funniest moments ever, great interaction (remember it involved plotlines for everyone-ish, poor Uhura got marginalised).. AND NO CONFLICT AT ALL (unless you count the probe, and that wasn't really conflict, just everyone getting twatted by this thing, who as it turned out wasn't malevolent at all)... POPULAR AS HELL.

 

5.. STUNK... lame plot, stupidity abound.. and a half brother for Spock, which pissed people off (and the fact that a full Vulcan dared to laugh!!).. SANK (understandably.. it was terrible, I mean come on.. GOD?!?!? WTF?? but it was the plots fault.)

 

Then we got more series..

 

DS9.. personally I REALLY (mostly) enjoyed this show, nice characters, still about the discovery... but then we began to see the cracks towards the end of the run.. we saw a complete 180 turn in the direction of the federation.. it turned out NOT to be as evolved as we all thought and the militaristic motivations proved some pretty underhanded things (Section 31 (had originally written Bureau 13, but that was B5,lol).. very unexpected and very un-federation like )...Marked a change in the Trek universe that was to be continued as a staple of all further trek... WAR.. It was a mixed bag and polarised (split) the fan base fan..but we hadn't become used to the fact yet that there was so much war in the Federation, so it was all still kind of new and the storylines hadn't yet become interchangeable (kill baddie, celebrate, end with smile.). CERTAINLY NOT AS POPULAR AS PREVIOUS.

 

VOY.. war, war, war..a bit of discovery..and war.. also it marked an upturn in technobable, which although a draw for some, it seemed over used or too convenient.. and a female captain, who for the most part was generally considered unlikable.. FAIRLY POPULAR (because it was still 'new voyages' and not on a space station), BUT MARKED A HUGE DECREASE IN FAN LOYALTY.

 

More movies..

 

6..More Klingons (personally I was kind of tired by the same old, same old by now).. HOWEVER the whole thing had darker overtones than previous, it was fundamentally a whodunit, but emphasising character traits in humans that we had come to believe were, at the VERY least, dying out.. and not holding power in the very heart of Federation power, at times there were Klingon elements that seemed more evolved than human beings and that was rather startling, more conflict, but this time with added manipulation by 'Federation forces' AND A VULCAN..WTF happened?. An (ill fitting) end to a cast of icons (sob)....NOT POPULAR AT ALL (I think mostly because people were sad to see he end of an era) I enjoyed it.. but it was very UnTrek like.

 

7.. Destruction and conflict for a reason (?) (the nexus idea seemed a good idea but was executed with as much death and destruction as the writers could hammer in).. hand over to a new crew and the shoehorning in of Shatner to round things off... POPULAR (for reasons that escape me, possibly 'coz it's got new crewz, lolz'... no Spock :()

 

8.. Borg, conflict, time travel, (solely) new crew and a WAR SHIP (face it that's what 'E' was)...ok, it had big ideas, but it was wholly for the benefit of a plot that was based solely on the destruction of everything and if it didn't have TT it would just have evolved into a massive battle.. the new uniforms also emphasised the increased militaristic motivations of what Trek had now become... VERY POPULAR (but with a different type of fan).. but fans were getting used to the 'death and destruction' direction and it was showing in the murmurs from the fan base.

 

9.. turned everything on it's head and finally portrayed the Federation as scheming, backstabbing, scumbags.. no difference really to the point we have reached at the moment.. the Trek crew seemed like an island of morality in a sea corruption.. they definitely didn't seem like 'the Federation norm'.. PRETTY MUCH DERIDED BY EVERYONE WHO WAS ACTUALLY A FAN OF TREK.

 

10.. OMG!..MOAR WAR..but with (the very underused) Romulans (who as it turns out are really nice.. 'it's all the fault of those bad people who used to be our slaves').. by now the typical 'we're gonna kill yooz' storyline, with added lameness and darkness... and a very un-clone like clone of Picard (two baldies for the price of one, you can't beat it... said the writer.).. PEOPLE JUST LAUGHED.

 

And then we got ENTERPRISE...

 

The whole show was simply an exercise in war, canon humping and nudey bits.. and the producers wonder why it wasn't popular, giving reasons of 'Star Trek (as a concept) has become less popular'.. instead of it being entirely down to the plots and direction the Federation took ALL OF A SUDDEN.

 

So (in my opinion, lol), you can see a pretty well formed pattern, the more the show strayed from what made it popular...discovery and optimism, with a spattering of action (conflict).. to war, more war, darkness and some big ideas (if the writers could be bothered).. the less popular it seemed to become....

 

ST became all about who'd got the biggest weaponry and less about the sheer awe and possibility of an inhabited universe, and it suffered for it.

 

... and the only thing I'll say about XI, is that someone took an ST script, wee-ed all over it and decided to shoot that as a homage to anyone who'd  never seen Trek before.

 

:(

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I'll most likely get hammered for this but...

 

I thought the whale one was absolutely rubbish/crap-o'la.

 

(Except the part about transparent aluminum, and Scotty saying "hello computer" to the mouse.)

 

Otherwise this was my least favorite film. So far.

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ST4 was a much needed comedy epic for the aging cast who were growing a little tired of playing those particular characters. IMO.

 

I thought the giant probe was annoying more than scary but the time travel trip and the fun they had in modern times was hilarious. Spock swimming with the whales. Spock nerve-pinching the punk with the radio. The doc running into the cloaked starship and falling down. Outraged Bones giving a pill to the lady who's kidney disease was cured almost instantly. Total disregard for temporal tampering. :P

 

Also, in general, if I remember correctly, the even numbered pictures have always tended to do much better than the odd numbered ones in box-office returns and popularity. I liked six. The Vulcan Federation traitor was thought-provoking. Did her data and past history really prove logically, at least to her, that Klingons could never function as loyal members of the Federation or was she brain-washed in some way? Better idea would have been to let her be a Romulan spy but they didn't use that idea.  :thinking:

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There are two reasons DS9, Voyager and Enterprise pretty much gave up on exploration - although, all three of them really had FAR more conducive circumstances to it than TOS or TNG.

 

First of all, it's pretty hard to do something that's impressive and original - especially without being pretentious. Stargate started out with them finding strange cultures and such but soon dropped that in favour of gun fights and "what's going to blow us up this week?".

 

Secondly, it's just a lot easier to write conflict. Look at Voyager and it's "aliens of the week" approach. Plus people like the whiz bang approach of space battles far more than ponderous - and in the case of The Motion Picture, torturous - panning shots and looks of awe, etc. etc.

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ST4 was a much needed comedy epic for the aging cast who were growing a little tired of playing those particular characters. IMO.

 

I thought the giant probe was annoying more than scary but the time travel trip and the fun they had in modern times was hilarious. Spock swimming with the whales. Spock nerve-pinching the punk with the radio. The doc running into the cloaked starship and falling down. Outraged Bones giving a pill to the lady who's kidney disease was cured almost instantly. Total disregard for temporal tampering. :P

 

I do agree that there were some funny bits in the film and your opinion may be correct that they needed the relief/release from the same old role.

My problem with it was that the whales were an advanced alien race and their songs were intergalactic communications? :-\

 

Maybe at the end they should've translated what the whales were saying,

"So long, and thanks for all the fish". ;D

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Nothing was mentioned about the whales being aliens. The probe was just sent to communicate with them as seemed to happen regularly before humans knew about it.

 

 

SLIDERS also went from plain exploration to various conflicts. Exploring new realities to fighting the Kromaggs.

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Carnifex wrote a very interesting analysis of the rise and fall of the star trek franchise. It is unfortunate that there was so much war and conflict in the later series and movies because star trek wasn't really about the war and conflict. I felt it was all about the exploration of space and strange new worlds.

 

Enterprise got really stale towards the end, not very fun to watch. The show could have used a more original title. After seeing six Enterprises it was odd to see a whole series being called Enterprise. It made me wonder whether enterprise was Berman's favorite word.

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Enterprise got really stale towards the end' date=' not very fun to watch.[/quote']

 

Did you prefer seasons 1 and 2? I think the idea behind Enterprise was that we went right back to the beginning. It could have been called something else, but in the end, I don't think it changed much.

 

I'm sorry, but I am one of the guys who actually liked the conflict and war. Especially when it was broadened out by a story arc, such as with DS9's seasons 4 - 7.

 

Enterprise really couldn't "explore" all that much to be honest. Season 3 and 4 were when the show really started to take off. I realise not everyone shares this opinion, though.

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I liked season 4 up to 'Bound' late in the season. The last episode with Riker and Troi was really boring too. I liked the battle scenes in star trek but there came a point in the series (ie ENT) that war and conflict was all we saw. After seeing the same plotlines over and over again it became harder to watch star trek. This is unfortunate. I only hope the new movie diverges from the bland and boring aspects that so plagued VOY and ENT. I also hope the new movie will be better than Insurrection and Nemesis as these films were not as good as say, STII-IV.

 

Exploration stories are what get people into star trek and this is needed to make future star trek productions successful. If a space station can have more exploration than a starship in ENT then the writers for ENT went wrong somewhere. Although some would say that DS9 did not explore space I would say that it did. It explored space in a different way by showing us more about the different races in the star trek universe and expanding the complexity and richness of the series. ENT tried to do this but was not very successful in the end, contributing to the decision to end the series prematurely.

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Enterprise was just a bad idea to start with... season 1 and 2 were unspeakably dull, season 3 really only got good in the last movement and season 4 was a mixed bag...

 

It's clear Enterprise WANTED to be about exploration... but really, it just ran into the problems I elaborated upon.

 

To be honest, I think DS9 really dropped the ball on the exploration front... We barely saw the Gamma Quadrant after season 3. Not that we saw a whole lot of it before then. I'd put that down to a lack of forward planning. There was plenty of opportunity for a build up of tension... but really, there were only 1-2 mentions of the Dominion before the season 2 finale.

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If you look at season 1 to 3 of DS9 while they where going into the gamma quadrant and also receiving visitors from there these three season where not DS9's finest, it wasnt until they concentrated on the klingon threat and then the domion threat that DS9 found its idenity within star trek.

 

You could say the writing was on the wall that far back for shows like enterprise and that expoloration had been done to death by the time voyager ended.

 

People just got bored of it.....

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Season one was pretty dire... repeated episodes of the station being taken over, people coming under alien influence... Star Trek really never got the idea of hitting the ground running.

 

Enterprise made a lot of school boy errors. Transporters were number one and so on, I've said it all before.

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DS9 was a different kind of exploration. It wasn't so much about exploring the universe per say, but the exploration of races like the Bajorans and how the different star trek races live their normal lives. TNG showed the cream of the crop of starfleet every episode (which Q derided as the galaxy's rejects) without showing what life would have been like for normal people. Sisko was not in command of the federation flagship but a small, rundown station and while Picard commanded the best and the brightest, Sisko commanded an amalgam of different races all trying to find their footing in the galaxy. While Picard was one of Starfleet's best leaders, Sisko was a normal starfleet commander dealing with the loss of his wife. How Sisko and crew overcame life's obstacles and triumphing over them was a great appeal for me of the show.

 

ENT on the other hand had trouble establishing a clear setting and direction. The characters were not developed to the level that TNG or DS9 characters saw over the course of a few seasons. TOS, with just 3 seasons, did more character development than ENT did in 4 seasons.

 

Exploration for me was a big issue with ENT. Every episode they ran into some people, and often fought them as if that part of space was as tiny as Earth. Earth must have been in the most crowded region of space to find that much conflict and interaction between races.

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Star Trek has always been about conflict.  Conflict is not just violence or war, it's also the collision of opposing ideas, philosophies and moralities.  It's too bad the writers and producers forgot.

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My thoughts exactly MrDad, I recent reviewed all of tng and am now in the process of reviewing all of ds9, it's very striking how much the ideologies of the shows differ. There are solutions used in ds9 that would never have been tolerated in tng. The way tng presented starfleet, most of the ds9 crew would probably not have been starfleet members any longer by the end of the show. tng set a very high ideological standards, where ds9 really didn't set a standard different from our own at all, with the sole exception that they had an abundance of resources. It's kind of like an evolutionary step backwards, in terms of 'high moral standards'.

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Oh, I agree - but I think the point was about ARMED conflict.

 

Ideologically, you ALWAYS had Spock and McCoy clashing and of course, the varying cultures. TNG was one huge morality play, Picard wrestling with the whole Prime Directive - constantly. Janeway's mind changed from minute to minute...

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The war stories in Star Trek have never really been made so that satisfy action fans.

Star Trek VI was created as a futuristic "The Wall Comes Down" story. There is a base reality here: people can handle only so much change. When the Federation calls for peace with, of all people, the Klingons, just as the American government inviting peace with the new Russian government, there was mistrust and bad blood. Change isn't easy, and I think the film did the topic justice. A fitting send off.

Star Trek Generations was more a story about life than death. Captain Kirk reflecting within the nexus about things he'd wished he  had done differently in his past. Captain Picard regretting never settling down, and here we see how tormented a man so dedicated can be.

Star Trek FIrst Contact was intended to play on Picard's assimilation by the Borg. The conflict was within himself, as so many things can easily be in life.

Insurrection was about protecting the innocent and setting down the tired "I was just following orders" BS, conveying that its often that the right thing to do is stand up to the corrupt.

Nemesis was war; I'll give you that.

 

DS9 was politics. From day one. Cardassians at peace with the Federation etc etc etc. War, people, people, conflict. Nature.

Voyager was technobabble. Not enough war to say it was all war.

 

That's my thoughts.

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TNG in my view was abit to sqeeky clean i.e following the prime directive to the letter which sometimes did hinder what they could do with the show.

 

DS9 also had this but sisko kinda bent it to its limits and on odd occasions broke it if it suited the federation which did seem more realistic(i.e In The Pale Moonlight with the help of garek which I thought was a superb episode).

 

 

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Picard saw a world of moral absolutes, Sisko was about shades of grey. They acted accordingly.

 

Janeway just batshot crazy.

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In one way, I hate DS9 for ruining Star Trek. In a way TNG was about good vs. evil, DS9 changed that into, we're all evil, some just a bit more than others. At least there was still fun to be had...

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lmao in no way did DS9 ruin star trek lol the truth is TNG was to squeaky clean and did not really reflect what the human race is really like, DS9 probably was a more accurate reflection of what we are like to a certain degree.

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Science FICTION, it is not meant to reflect exactly how things are now. Star Trek is about hope to me. So making it seem like humans still have so much to learn after 400 years is dissapointing. I'd rather hear about how wonderfully good we might become after 400 years, then hear about things going horribly wrong. If I want to view thing going horribly wrong, I may as well watch the evening news...

 

*rolleyes*

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Yeah I agree with with what we like us to be like in 400 years, but the stark reality is this aint gonna happen, humans are to confrontational in nature and greedy.

 

Humans will never be like the humans showin in star trek, if anything humans are more like klingons and the Ferrengi, we always get into wars with each other, we forsake things like the well being of others, the enviroment in the name of aquiring wealth.

 

Gene had a very good vision when he created star trek and as much as we would love to see us evolving in this manner its gonna take much longer than 400 years to acheive (if it is ever acheived at all).

 

To be honest humans will probably be much more like the humans in battlestar galactica than Star Trek.

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To be honest humans will probably be much more like the humans in battlestar galactica than Star Trek.

 

So true. :thinking:

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