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Sci-Fi Science

Babylon 5 Creator Pitches Trek 868

pdawerks writes "According to Sci-Fi Wire, Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski told fans on a B5 Usenet group that he and Dark Skies creator Bryce Zabel have put together an idea for a new Star Trek series, which he said would revive the ailing franchise. 'I got together [with Zabel] and wrote a treatment earlier this year that specified how to save [Star Trek] and develop a series that would restore the series in a big way,' Straczynski wrote. 'I actually think it could be a hell of a show. Whether that ever goes anywhere with Paramount, who knows?'"
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Babylon 5 Creator Pitches Trek

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  • by MoxCamel ( 20484 ) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:00PM (#9486386) a rest. For about 10 years. I don't say that unkindly...I like Star Trek, but familiarity breeds contempt. Only time can make it fresh at this point. Well that and interesting characters, decent writing, and fewer solutions that involve reversing the polarity of something and shooting it out the deflector. But I digress.
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:17PM (#9486588) Homepage Journal a rest. For about 10 years. I don't say that unkindly...I like Star Trek, but familiarity breeds contempt. Only time can make it fresh at this point.

      BEEP! Wrong!

      Think back to when ST:TNG came out. It was slick to look at, but the stories were very tame and seemed to dwell heavily on gizmos and soap opera moments. Time did the show no favors. After the first season I gave up on following it regularly, and checking in from time to time found it getting scarcely better (about 20 minutes of material stretched into 1 hour show most of the time.)

      It needs to get back to its roots. Let the characters have flaws, let them make mistakes. Put irony and humor into it in difficult situations. Make the leaders make difficult choices. Make it interesting again with good stories, not practically perfect people and a lot of references to Shakespeare.

      Heck, Klingons were a cold-war type adversary -- make up some nasty race like Al Qaeda and have the characters discuss how the federation got into a mess with them and try to find a way out of it.

      • by ed.han ( 444783 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:29PM (#9486726) Journal
        um, i think they tried it on ENT: they're called, coincidentally enough, the suliban: a bunch of not understood hostiles who attack in unpredictable ways, and whose literal physical flexibillity makes them tough adversaries.

      • umm.... you are one of the hardcore crazy fans who say anything with out Jim Kirk is crap.
      • by red floyd ( 220712 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:31PM (#9486740)
        Let the characters have flaws, let them make mistakes. Put irony and humor into it in difficult situations. Make the leaders make difficult choices. Make it interesting again with good stories, not practically perfect people and a lot of references to Shakespeare.

        Deep Space 9. Look at some of their best moments, in particular "In the Pale Moonlight".
        • by Randolpho ( 628485 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:08PM (#9487231) Homepage Journal
          It is not without irony that the best ST series (DS9) was based upon JMS' pitch for Babylon 5 to the Trek folks.

          Personally, I think JMS should take that Trek idea and run with it in a new Universe, the way they did with Babylon 5. Bab-5 is by far one of the best Sci-Fi series ever produced, and it came from a rejected Star Trek idea pitch.
          • by Ninja Programmer ( 145252 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:13PM (#9489743) Homepage
            Personally, I think JMS should take that Trek idea and run with it in a new Universe, the way they did with Babylon 5. Bab-5 is by far one of the best Sci-Fi series ever produced, and it came from a rejected Star Trek idea pitch.

            Yes, and Babylon 5 stands as the best Sci Fi TV show ever created. But its ratings at its peak never reached even the lowest ratings of the worst of the Star Trek series.

            The *name* Star Trek has a built-in automatic audience that will be recognized by the networks. Star Trek's biggest weakness since TNG has been the poor writing. The natural solution is to use the ST name, and JMS' superior writing to try to fix the show. JMS has figured it out, now its just a question of whether or not Braga and Perlman can figure it out.
      • This is exactly what Enterprise had been doing. People bash it a lot, but I kind of like it. Season 3 last was really nice, especially towards the ending, but the cliffhanger was really lame.
      • by dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:44PM (#9486881) Homepage Journal
        What you discuss is called "Deep Space 9." Flawed characters, tons of mistakes, terrorist organizations, even a villain who kept reinventing himself.

        Shit, they even did a whole PATRIOT Act thing (years before it was topical), with squads of Star Fleet commandos combing the earth in search of shape changing aliens who could be anybody. Sisko broke down into a quivering mass at one point -- his father, stubborn as he was, refused to have his blood tested and the captain was forced to admit he was in way over his head.

        That was from season 4. It didn't get REALLY good until the beginning of Season 6, when half the station was working for the enemy and trying to subvert it without detection while the other half was leading the war against them. You haven't seen an episode of star trek until you've seen a thousand Romulan, Kilgon and Star Fleet warships, many of them Constitution class, reduced to smoldering rubble by a combined Cardassian and Jemhadar fleet. That's the kind of gripping, "holy shit Star Fleet isn't perfect" TV that can watch again and again.
        • by dtolman ( 688781 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:57PM (#9487831) Homepage
          What you discuss is called "Deep Space 9." Flawed characters, tons of mistakes, terrorist organizations, even a villain who kept reinventing himself.

          Exactly! Star Trek doesn't need another reinvention. It needs the friggin writing team from DS9 to come back!

        • by ChuckleBug ( 5201 ) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:37PM (#9488991) Journal
          Damn stright. I have never understood the DS9-bashing I read around here. I think it was the best series of them all, the first couple of seasons notwithstanding. It had a long story arc that was carried through to a nice conclusion in addition to the other virtues you mention.

          Bring back that writing team, PLEASE.
          • by forkazoo ( 138186 ) <> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:23AM (#9491917) Homepage
            it always amases me how polarising DS9 is. People love it or hate it. Nobody enjoys it. Well, except me, I guess. I dig DS9, but I don't consider it perfect. The writing was, frankly, a bit awkward. They would have random episodes that had nothing to do with the story ark. The next week it would be a character development episode loosely tied to the arc. The next week it would be a story-advancement episode. You could very clearly identify which type of episode one was. Characters never, ever grew during arc episodes.

            That said, it was a good idea. It was an effort to have interesting, flawed characters, and a story arc that grew over time. Setting it on a station gave them the ability to have a lot of recurring characters like Gul Dukat who 'lived in the neighborhood' or were just passing through. One thing that Enterprise has been lacking is supporting characters. Apparently in the current season, they have some recurring Xindi guys, and future dude, which is good, I guess. But, Enterprise just fucked everything all up.

            DS9 is like IE. Sure, having a web browser is a good idea, but the implimentation was flawed. Babylon 5 was like mozilla. Less emphasis on presentation and broad appeal, more on the guts.
      • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:13PM (#9487284) Homepage
        IMHO, ST:TNG had one of the best enemies I've seen in a sci-fi series; the Borg- simply because they were more plausibly 'alien' (in a genuine sense) than any other baddies I've seen in a mainstream sci-fi TV series- as opposed to 'different facets of humanity' aliens in other series (yeah, even B5, which I mostly loved at the time).

        So, what did they do with this potentially brilliant enemy?

        They *humanized* them.

        Hugh Borg was bad. But that cretinous film with the Borg Queen in it was worse.

        Man, they really fucked that one up.
        • by aiabx ( 36440 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @04:48PM (#9488507)
          What I really thought was cool about the Borg was that you couldn't reason with them. I'd just seen too many episodes where the aliens could be dealt with by a bit of Captain's eloquence and a glimpse of how special humanity was. How refreshing to find aliens who just didn't care what we had to say for ourselves.
      • by ave19 ( 149657 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:47PM (#9487730)
        To me, you are describing Stargate-SG1. That show is a comedy/drama/scifi with a crew you just gotta love.

        Rick Anderson is fantastic in that show. Amanda Tapping is damn cute. Sometimes they smooch!

        B5 needed better comedic timing, SG1 has it. Anderson brings that, but the writers are actually good, too. See "The Other Guys." Hilarious!

        It was the first series in a long time that I actually looked forward to seeing.

        (there goes my karma!)
      • by Atzanteol ( 99067 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:59PM (#9487855) Homepage
        BEEP! Wrong!

        I'm just guessing here, but do you *look* like the comic book guy from the Simpsons too?
    • by sterno ( 16320 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:18PM (#9486602) Homepage
      I think you might be right, but if anybody could salvage Star Trek, it's Straczynski. Babylon 5 is truly one of the best though out sci-fi programs to have aired on television. His focus on a defined and limited story arc really gave the show a sense of purpose from week to week that I think is totally lacking in most of the Star Trek spinoffs.

      The biggest problem, I believe, with Star Trek is that they've tended to let the show ride on random events rather than running plots. The times when they have gone to more of a story arc they have made the shows far more worthwhile.

      Enterprise has done this to some extent over the last season, tracking down the Xindi and it really helped give the show some energy. Deep Space nine had the same sort of thing happen when they had the shape shifter backed armada coming to wipe out their part of the galaxy. ST:TNG has the Borg and a few other running threads.

      But overall, with Star Trek, these runing plots have always felt kinda tacked on. Something to drive a season finale, etc. I think starting a new series with a defined story arc over a fixed period like they did with Babylon 5 would really do well.

      For example, perhaps do a series that's entirely focussed on the events that take place during the creation of a peace accord with the Klingons. Pick some key moment in federation history and depict it's course over a period of time. Project star trek out into the future and have some run in with a new species perhaps? What about a major civil war with the federation? There's a lot that can be done with this that could really make for an interesting show.

      But anyhow, if they want to go that direction and really freshen the show, I think they can. If they try to crank out yet another bland spinoff, it's going to fail. So if they don't want to try something truly new with it, they need to mothball it for like 20 years. Then they can go back and do the same tired old concept again.
    • by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:38PM (#9486806) Journal
      is that Gene Roddenberry's idea is revered too highly. His idea was that man is an evolving species that eventually reaches a state of perfection, where all war and poverty on Earth have been eliminated, where humans never even argue with other humans.

      I remember cringing at some of the earlier TNG episodes that ended with Riker making some inane remark and Picard saying "Agreed!" * YAWN *

      I find it very hard to believe that this state of utopia will ever be reached, because every improvement in society brings its own drawbacks. For example, the richest country in the world today has still not managed to find happiness, look at the sheer size of the shrink and self-help industry. The nation with the highest car-ownership in the world has brought with it an epidemic of obesity and enormous environmental problems. Bottom line, for every problem you solve in society, another is created. This is something that's missing from the humans in the Trek universe.

      Lastly, from a drama point of view, people happily getting along makes for unbelievably boring TV. Remember the Itchy & Scratchy episodes where they became best friends? All the kids in Springfield started switching off their TVs and went out to play. We demand TV that keeps us indoors!!!

    • by Deathlizard ( 115856 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:40PM (#9486827) Homepage Journal
      I'm not sure it needs a rest as much as it needs a new vision. Pretty much, Star Trek as of late has three Primary Scripts that it uses.

      1) "Aww! It's a cute little space alien!! Wook at the cute wittle space alien! Let me pet it and stroke it and help it and dont screw up the Primary Directive and...."
      2) "Oh no! It's a Rift!! Quick! get the "How to use the Deflector to fix a rip in the space-time continuium" manual and fix it before it destroys the universe! It's under the "What to do when the Holodeck Goes self aware and traps the crew" manual!"
      3) "Oops! We Traveled Through Time!! Lets get out of here before we screw up histo...Wait a Second, WE ALREADY SCREWED IT UP! OH NO! WE GOT TO FIX IT!!

      Anything new that doesn't revole around these three things would be refreshing.

      Personally I would like to see a war break out between the Federation and something else. It doesn't matter who the "Something Else" is, as long as it Lasts for the majority of the series. They could have focused on the war that the Enterprise C was involved in and run with it, or either Focus on a war in the Future timeline, or something, but at the very least drop the Peaceful stuff for awile and show some interesting battles, technology and space warfare tactics.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:00PM (#9486387) Homepage Journal
    What is so tiring about Star Trek? Well, when I've watched it it's extremely dull in that the stories don't challenge me to think. The original series challenged a lot of commonly held social values, sometimes having a hard time getting past network Standards & Practices censors. If they make the episodes topical to today's world issues they should certainly stir more interest as people either think to themselves 'Yeah, that's right, that is unfair!' or 'No, that's better the way it is, we shouldn't change!' There are hot issues out there and if they take them on and use the set and actors as the method and galaxy as the vehicle, they should have no problem getting people fired up about the series. Viewers become more passionate about a show when there's something they have at stake being bandied about.

    "Captain, it's a planet where they allow men to marry men and women to marry women!"
    "Well, that's something Earth had to recognise as a fundamental human right..."
    "But, Captain, they're doing it in polygamus unions!"
    "WHAT!?!? Helm to starboard! Weapons officer, load all topedo tubes! Raze their capitol!!"

    • by zombiestomper ( 228123 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:14PM (#9486541) Homepage Journal
      On the topic of timliness of Trek, I'm reminded of a two-parter DS9 that seemed almost prophetic.

      It's after the Dominion has started to make in-roads to the alpha quadrant that Cisco and Odo go back to earth to head up security.

      During the course of events, it becomes clear that a high-ranking Starfleet official is using the paranoia surronding the possibility of 'changling' terrorist attacks to repeal rights and declare martial law on earth.

      Seeing it on SpikeTV a month or so ago, it really struck a nerve with the current state of affairs and the 'Patriot' Act.
      • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:22PM (#9486637) Homepage Journal
        During the course of events, it becomes clear that a high-ranking Starfleet official is using the paranoia surronding the possibility of 'changling' terrorist attacks to repeal rights and declare martial law on earth.

        Similar to one of the Orig. Star Trek movies, the one where effectively a cabal of military and diplomats try to keep the Klingon - Federation rivalry going.

        Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

      • During the course of events, it becomes clear that a high-ranking Starfleet official is using the paranoia surronding the possibility of 'changling' terrorist attacks to repeal rights and declare martial law on earth.

        This is basically what the Axis did in WWII. It's also cropped up in fictional works like 1984, Aeon Flux, Equilibrium, etc.

        But you're probably right in that Star Trek has a wider audience than any of those things right now.
        • by CrowScape ( 659629 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:20PM (#9487367)
          This is also basically what the US did in WWI and WWII.
        • by pilkul ( 667659 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:28PM (#9487466)
          This is basically what the Axis did in WWII. It's also cropped up in fictional works like 1984, Aeon Flux, Equilibrium, etc.

          Um, no. Hilter took power in Germany by leveraging nationalist and racist fervor, and working popular anger about unfair WW1 reparations treaties. The Japanese empire was a result of popular imperialist ideals dating from the 19th century, and a desire to prove themselves as a major world power. In the Soviet Union (which 1984 was meant to represent), the totalitarian state was a direct outgrowth of the popular communist revolution. In none of these cases was fear of terrorism at all a factor. (I haven't heard those science fiction books you mention, though.)

          The importance of terrorism in world politics is actually a rather new thing dating from the 90s. In the past, terrorists had neither WMD nor suicide bombing techniques, so they were much less dangerous. The Star Trek writers probably were more inspired by current events than history.

          Side note: what is it with people conflating fascism, stalinism and (the comparatively *extremely* tame) current US rights restrictions as if they were all the same? These are all completely different, both qualitatively and quantitatively! It makes me grind my teeth together whenever somebody uses 1984 as an analogy for a contemporary phenomenon. 1984 is about communism, and communism is dead. It's just not very relevant anymore.

          • Terrorism and WWII (Score:4, Informative)

            by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @06:31PM (#9489441) Homepage
            This is basically what the Axis did in WWII. It's also cropped up in fictional works like 1984, Aeon Flux, Equilibrium, etc.

            Um, no. Hilter took power in Germany by leveraging nationalist and racist fervor, and working popular anger about unfair WW1 reparations treaties.

            Um, yes. The burning of the Reichstag [] was a critical point in the rise of the Third Reich. A shocking, sudden terrorist action was used as a pretext for abolishing civil liberties provided by the Constitution of the Weimar Republic. All in the name of "defense of the Fatherland", you understand.

            It is simply unacceptable that in a post-9/11, post-PATRIOT world that citizens of the U.S. would be unaware of how fear of terrorism can and has been used to strip people of their rights.
          • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @06:48PM (#9489581)
            The importance of terrorism in world politics is actually a rather new thing dating from the 90s
            BZZZT - wrong.

            Q: Which act by an Albanian Arnarchist group started WWI?

            Q: What were the origins of the Mafia?

            Q: What happened at the Munich Olympics?

            Q: What happened in Iran which led to the downfall of Carter, and how many billion did Reagan pay for a ransom?

            Just being not being aware of examples before the 1990's doesn't mean it didn't happen.

            1984 is about communism, and communism is dead
            1984 is about a totalitarian state, and there are still a few of those on earth. Aspects of it also give us an idea of what can happen if things are taken to extremes in other parts of the world which have mostly benevolent regimes.
          • by slashdot_commentator ( 444053 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @12:15AM (#9491873) Journal

            Um, no. Hilter took power in Germany by leveraging nationalist and racist fervor, and working popular anger about unfair WW1 reparations treaties

            (Pilkul, you ignorant slut...) Hitler came to political prominence as you describe. He did not take power until he orchestrated the burning of the Reichstag, and blaming the attack on the communists. Basically, a group of undesirables, destroying a symbol of the German "democratic" government, in order to foment civil war amongst its citizens. Its the classic method (at the time) the communists rose to power. It was that fear that certainly galvanized unity behind Hitler by its German citizenry. Just because they didn't call it terrorism back then, didn't mean it wasn't, nor any of those played out concepts which was known since Pericles.

            1984 is about communism, and communism is dead. It's just not very relevant anymore.

            Bullsh*t. 1984 was about totalitarianism. Yes Orwell was solidly anti-communist, and yes 1984 was an inference to communist governments. But note that there were social classes in 1984's society (proles, outer circle, inner circle), and the need to maintain control over the populace by constantly fomenting war, and using nationalism and fear to keep them in line. Its not surprising you think 1984 is not relevant anymore, you can't even use what little historical knowlege you possess to apply it to modern conditions.

      • JMS did this already (Score:5, Interesting)

        by n0wak ( 631202 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:14PM (#9487286) Homepage Journal
        This was a strong theme running through Babylon 5 Seasons Two and Three, which culminated in the secession of Babylon 5 from Earth.

        Seriously, all the good aspects that people rave about in DS9, B5 did first. DS9 was just a Paramount copy of B5, quite frankly -- almost to the point of lawsuit.
      • Only on slashdot does a Trekker call the captain of DS9 "Cisco" instead of "Sisko". :)
    • How about "The Outcast" (TNG 217), which features a unisexual race where angrogyny is manditory. Until one falls in love with Riker. 'She' makes a passionate speech about how what matters is not one's gender or lack thereof, but the emotion in ones heart.

      Or "The Host" (TNG 97), where Dr. Crusher falls in love with a visiting ambassador. When he dies, it is revealed he is a Trill, part of a symbiotic species. The humanoid is merely the host for a worm-like creature that stores the memories and emotions of all previous hosts. The next host of her lover turns out to be a woman. A woman who still loves Beverly . . .

      Or "Hide and Q" (TNG 111), where Riker is given the godlike power of the Q Continuum, and most realise for himself that "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absoloutly."

      I could go on, but I don't think it's really necessary, as these are just the ones of the top of my head about a series that hasn't been first run in a decade.
    • by jd142 ( 129673 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:27PM (#9486693) Homepage
      If they make the episodes topical to today's world issues they should certainly stir more interest

      What's worse, is that they did make it topical, but never actually explored the moral implications that arose from the situation. This last season's arc was about what was essentially a terrorist act that destroyed half of Florida.

      So you can see where they were trying to be topical. They just didn't do a good job of exploring the moral implications of Archer's actions, such as torture, theft, and possibly even murder, but I can't remember. All in the pursuit of the terrorists. The ethical debate on the use of torture is even more important now, and that debate was simply missing.

      I wanted to see some actual ramifications, some thoughts, possibly even some regret that it had come to this. The Federation as presented in TOS, TNG,DS9, and even Voyager would be appalled at those actions. A lot of people disliked Voyager, but at least the discussion of the morals and ethics of the Federation in that situation. That was horribly missing in Enterprise.

      I'll admit that they did at least show that some of the Xindi were compassionate individuals who were trying to protect their people.
      • by wwest4 ( 183559 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:21PM (#9487370)
        > This last season's arc was about what was essentially a terrorist act that
        > destroyed half of Florida.

        The Xindi are open aggressors, not terrorists. Their attack is a preemptive strike agains a species they believe will destroy theirs. In any case, Archer still has the same dilemma.

        > The ethical debate on the use of torture is even more important now, and that
        > debate was simply missing.

        The idea of having to cross the line when the stakes are high, including the use of torture, is central to the whole 3rd season. I think you just missed it:

        302 - Anomaly - is torture acceptable when the stakes are high? Send moral care of Alan Dershowitz :)

        307 - The Shipment - plan to bomb a weapons factory. kidnap, interrogate, mull over killing unwitting arms supplier.

        315 - Harbinger - denying the sick pain meds so interrogation is possible

        317 - Hatchery - is saving an insectoid hatchery giving aid to the enemy?

        318 - Azati Prime - Archer destroys a defenseless manned listening post in order to avoid detection

        319 - Damage - Enterprise commits piracy for the cause

        320 - The Forgotten - How far do you go, how many people do you order to their deaths in the name of a cause? When is it no longer worth it?

        321 - E^2 - Explores cognitive dissonance - abandoning your own ethics to complete a mission - forgetting your roots (the metaphor in this episode is obvious)

    • by badboy_tw2002 ( 524611 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:29PM (#9486723)
      I don't know. Maybe its just me, but everytime I see one of those "message" episodes, they're always so thinly disguised and so loaded with bias it kind of turns my stomach to think that some producer is rubbing his hands together saying to himself, "Man, this is really going to make them THINK!".

      Its pretty much like every single episode of the West Wing, except there at least they don't have to put alien spots on the non-traditional polygamous union of free spirits they want us to be ok with. :)
    • by perlchild ( 582235 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:33PM (#9486754)
      You're raising an interesting issue about how many of the things about B5 that are interesting is the contrast between B5 society, which is far from utopic, and the current "we fixed all of humanity;'s problems" view of the universe in Star Trek(at least from TNG onwards). Roddenberry's idealism inspired him to try to make a sci-fi utopia abd kinda blinded him to the fact that good stories aren't written about happy people who never have problems between themselves. B5 is quite the opposite, being dark and gloomy even during parties, yet it's enjoyable on a different level. We live problems, small and great ones every day, and can identify with such characters better than with Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the Federation Flagship.

      Not that he was a bad character, I always thought the Picard-Q fight was the brightest point in the series, Picard's humanity being a perfect foil to Q's view of humans as worthless. It's just that there's a whole bunch of humans, and only one Captain(Admiral Selectee) Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise. Contrast that with the characters on B5, and we're talking doctors, policemen, Ambassadors and Politicians too, but the doctors and soldiers and policemen and "Joe Random Aliens" usually lead the show, with the bigwigs just trying to balance the politics out so war doesn't break out.

      Some of the early movies had great material to start with(the Klingons joining the federation could have been a great movie), yet turned out to be not as good as they could be, mostly to leave more room for special effects and fight scenes. The problem is that the Star Fleet/Federation of Planets gimmick means that fight scenes shouldn't be that common, except for the villain of the week, and few things kill a story as fast as a villain of the week. Q was a great villain, he kept coming back, we could defeat him, but never kill him and he went away only when he wanted to. He kept making humans be as human as they could be, only to prove him wrong, and that usually makes for a great story. Few B5 characters needed help in being more human, except maybe for the Vorlons(and with such help, they were downright interesting), and that's probably a design decision on their part(a good one in fact).
  • Heres a treatment (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:00PM (#9486398)
    Put it in stasis for 20 years. It will be a lot fresher to a new generation when it come out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:01PM (#9486400)
    As the series centers around Wesley's travels around the galaxy as a higher being.

    -- Not Wil Wheaton
    • Ya know... (Score:3, Interesting)

      you have an idea that I've been thinking of for a while.

      That episode of ST:TNG was one of the most spiritual. Here's Wesley, trying to be like his Dad. He finally figures out that he's not his dad and his destiny is somewhere/something else. I'm kind of disappointed that he had to be turned into a demigod of sort, but the underlying(grammar?) theme is all the same - he has to become his own man.

      Think about it, Star Trek is all about being in Star Fleet. What if you don't want to be in Star Fleet in the St

  • by D-Cypell ( 446534 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:01PM (#9486403)
    If the writers are reading this I have an idea for the pilot.

    Captain Archer of enterprise saves the life of a crew mate and SUDDENLY disappears in a flash of blue. He awakes to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that are not his own...

    I know what you guys are thinking...

    "OH.... BOY"
  • by Hiro Antagonist ( 310179 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:01PM (#9486408) Journal
    ...have Rick Berman shot, drawn, quartered, and then really hurt. That man has done nothing but ride the noble stallion, passed on by Roddenberry, that was once Star Trek to death, and after the horse died, Berman has been beating the fucker with a stick for a few years.
    • In my opinion, Roddenberry was somewhat holding back what TNG could be -- it may have been a coincedence that TNG started to get good after Gene passed, but I'm not too sure.

      That said, Berman and Bragga are the 'anti-roddenberries'.

      Want to revive Trek? Get red of B&B. Do a well-done mini-series on Star Fleet academy -- hell, Scotty could be teaching an engineering class and finally REALLY retire. Run a series spinnoff from characters introduced there -- if it's popular.

    • by Badam ( 222642 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:22PM (#9486642) Homepage
      Well, there's a limit to how much I'm going to build up the myth of Roddenberry. After all, his insistence that there were no sane villians or informed disagreements -- Roddenberry insisted all conflict was caused by insanity or ignorance -- meant that Next Generation was pretty dull in the first two seasons.

      This belief of his is also why Star Trek is chock full of evil madmen, but has few interesting large scale conflicts.

      It was only as Roddenberry gave up control of the series that the show became more dramatic. Roddenberry was deeply uncomfortable with the idea of the Borg, and presumably he would have hated the way Deep Space Nine went once the Dominion War began.

      I've always thought it would be great if there were a Federation Civil War. After all, the Federation appears to have an incredibly weak central government (that Prime Directive has actually been invoked to describe why the central government can't interfere with a member planet) and the Federation is spread over a large area, with only slow travel between the edges (apparently, it would take years to cross the Federation).

      But because of Roddenberry's guiding principles, that'll probably never happen. "Enlightened people of the future will never fight each other."

      • I've always thought it would be great if there were a Federation Civil War.
        But because of Roddenberry's guiding principles, that'll probably never happen. "Enlightened people of the future will never fight each other."

        Andromeda was originally intended to be a 'Star Trek: Fall of the Federation' series. Wasn't a bad series, until Kevin Sorbo turned it into Hercules In Space, firing that writer from DS9.

        But an actual series dealing with the fall, rather than the results, would be good. Easy enough to do, too; two member factions get in a fight, the Federation Council tries to intervene, doesn't work, Starfleet is sent in to 'keep the peace,' there's an incident, the Vulcans walk in protest, people draw up sides, and the Federation turns, over the space of a few years, into, say, about six to ten separate groups.

        The Federation: Earth, Andoria, and a few other 'core' members, they attempt to cling to the original tenents.

        Vulcan, and others; view the Federation as a good idea ruined by bad species; they revert back to isolationism; not all Vulcans agree, though.

        Antagonist A and Antagonist B, and assorted hangers-on; obviously, they're at war. One side invites in the Klingons to help out, the other side invites in the Romulans, and it all goes to pot.

        Several other 'balkanized' areas which revert to sectoral or species lines, rejecting the Federation as being ultimately ineffective. Think League of Nations at this point. Others reject the Federation for trying at all to intercede, or blame the 'incident' on official Policy, rather than Shit Happens.

        The next thing you know, some of these groups are attacking the core worlds, because they want Starfleet technology and knowledge that was withdrawn when they broke away from the Federation, there are old grudges flaring up, the Klingons and Romulans are nibbling at the edges, gleefully taking advantage of the Chaos, Starfleet are trying to maintain their principles and dignity while their ideals are collapsing around them, and so on.

  • Oh Happy Day! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:01PM (#9486409) Homepage Journal
    What irritated me the most about Berman ruining the Star Trek universe was that it had so much great potential. And he just pissed it away. This could be something very, very cool. I really think that these guys, for lacking of a better description, get it.
  • B5 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CmdrMooCow ( 213594 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:02PM (#9486418) Journal
    If he has enough ideas to make another trek show, he might as well spend the time to create another series in the B5 universe - it will be better received.
  • by Conspiracy_Of_Doves ( 236787 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:03PM (#9486438)
    ...from Berman, Straczynski can.
  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:05PM (#9486444) Homepage Journal

    To ensure the survival of the Star Trek franchise, please stop referring to it as 'ailing'. Instead, use the word 'beleaguered'. Seems to have worked wonders for Apple.
  • by AmVidia HQ ( 572086 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:05PM (#9486447) Homepage
    I've watched every single ep of B5 (plus the mini movies), as well as Voyager (one of the ST series with consistently good eps). I must say the continuity and depth of the B5 storyline, as well as the most excellent script writing (entire dialog of "In the Beginning", a mini movie, are written and published as a novel).

    I can't wait to see Straczynski take up a new ST series. He's one who can revive the ST franchise.
  • by geordi177 ( 732884 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:05PM (#9486453)
    Star Trek TNG was the best series by far. What made it great was the chemistry of the crew. Enterprise has lost ratings, in my opinion, due to the crew simply not having good's just not as believable a show because the interactions of the crew seem contrived at times. The captain, especially, puts too much effort into his acting. Patrick Stewart captured the fans because of his ability to convince the audience he wasn't faking it (like any good actor incidentally) Any new series would really have to focus on crew chemistry to gain a fan base
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:06PM (#9486457)
    that this is going to ride the wave and give us:
    Str Trek:CSI
    I really need to sell my TV.
  • Deja Vu? (Score:3, Informative)

    by LittleGuy ( 267282 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:06PM (#9486464)
  • by alphan ( 774661 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:07PM (#9486471) Homepage
    Correct me if I am wrong, but here is what I remember :

    Bab5 guy first went to Star Trek guys with the idea of Babylon 5. But they didn't accept the "space station" suggestion at that time, so Bab5 was born independently.

    Later Star Trek guys came up with DS9. (no comments here)

    Now, I wonder what will be different.

  • by g0bshiTe ( 596213 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:09PM (#9486497)
    One more FEKKIN Star Trek spinoff! How bout doing something useful! Like getting Farscape back!
  • JMS doing trek (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs ( 35943 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:10PM (#9486505) Homepage Journal
    JMS once talked about his doing a trek series. It was back in the hieght of B5 and someone asked him what he would do if Paramount handed him a Trek series. He said something along the lines of (can't find it on Google Groups right now): I'd start by getting away from the federation. Kill off a few people so the fans know that this is not going to be the same-old and then start to tell some interesting stories.

    It was funny because he said that before Voyager and Andromeda (which was originally a Trek series about the fall of the Federation as Rodenbury had pitched it) came out, and the good points of BOTH of those series were exactly that: getting away from the Federation and establishing their own stories. Woefully Voyager just entrenched itself in its own static mythos and Andromeda as plagued by execs that couldn't stand how dark it was.

    Personally I don't see JMS being able to play ball with Paramount. I think he'd last 3-6 months tops before he blew up at them and walked. He's just not enough of a political animial (his detractors would say he's too much of one) to be able to put up with it.
    • JMS's tolerance... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:15PM (#9486556) Homepage
      Personally I don't see JMS being able to play ball with Paramount. I think he'd last 3-6 months tops before he blew up at them and walked.

      Babylon 5 was extraordinary for two reasons:

      (1) An astronomically talented writer
      (2) Said writer having complete creative control over the show

      That is why Babylon 5 was able to be what it was: an utterly fantastic story stretched over five seasons. JMS himself has said that he had the general structure and philosophy of the story laid down from day one.

      I don't see item #2 having a hell's chance of survival at Paramount, do you?
    • Re:JMS doing trek (Score:5, Informative)

      by ajs ( 35943 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:29PM (#9486717) Homepage Journal
      Having read the posting, I would not hold my breath for this. I did find some of the other comments interesting:

      * He was asked to EP Enterprise, but turned it down
      * He is accepting an EP role on *something*
      * He's going to be in the UK for a while
      * It's not Dr. Who

      Those last 3 are all of a set. My theory is that JMS doesn't get this excited about anything from the UK more than Prisoner and Blake's 7... if it's not something new, it just has to be one of those.

      Personally, I just want more Supreme Power, Rising Stars and Amazing Spider Man out of him. Those have been amazingly good (though Spider Man slipped into a sort of slow patch for a bit in the middle). I don't need the big screen or tee-vee, in fact I think JMS does better in comics.
  • by motown ( 178312 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:11PM (#9486514)
    Come on Malda, this is "News for Nerds"! Trek is large enough to deserve a separate category icon (even dispite of "Star Trek: Enterprise").

    I suggest either a picture of the Original TOS Enterprise (NCC-1701 without any suffix) flying towards the user or a Starfleet Emblem.

    You know it makes sense!
  • by doublem ( 118724 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:12PM (#9486524) Homepage Journal

    Does that mean he'll solve that pesky "The universe resets at the end of every episode" bug?

    And will be get the "Non-trivial character development" patch?


    My lord, this would be cool. A Trek Series with a plot.

    We haven't seen that in ages.
  • Here's an idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jabber01 ( 225154 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:12PM (#9486528)
    Why not leave Trek in it's dilapidated, polarity-inverted Universe, and instead create another series in the Babylon 5 one?
  • Premise (Score:4, Funny)

    by cynic10508 ( 785816 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:13PM (#9486529) Journal
    It's a totally fresh concept. They're merging Star Trek and Babylon 5. It's Star Trek only with a space station instead of a... oh, nevermind...
  • by PierceLabs ( 549351 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:13PM (#9486532)
    Unlike others who think that Star Trek needs to go on 'vacation' I don't agree. There is little value to bringing Trek back 10 years from now if its going to be the same as it is today. Berman and Braga are a plague on the Trek franchise that needs to be removed. It is clear that they are too burned out on this franchise do anything useful. For goodness sakes, they have reduced the process of the founding of the Federation into a romp through time. Yeah, creating this massive Federation 'empire' is just too damn boring. I mean all the species, conflicts and technologies that would have to be created would just be too bland to watch.

    The problem is with the writing, not the franchise. Its just not interesting anymore - and this latest travesty (Enterprise) is just adding insult to injury. Blue alien nazis? Someone get these clowns outta here :)
    • by The Lynxpro ( 657990 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:53PM (#9487020)
      "The problem is with the writing, not the franchise. Its just not interesting anymore - and this latest travesty (Enterprise) is just adding insult to injury. Blue alien nazis? Someone get these clowns outta here :)"

      What's wrong with that? Many people have written that Hitler claimed that he himself was receiving orders from "The Old Ones." And then we have the social anomaly with the Third Reich. Many people speculate that such totalitarian societies should not produce such brilliant scientific breakthroughs (in terms of weaponry for them) as the Nazis did. Look at their helmets from that era and then look at what the US military uses today. Look at the B2 and look back to the Nazi flying wing designs. The Panzer tanks, the V1 and V2 rockets, jet fighters, saucer designed aircraft, and the atom bomb they would've had if their own scientific team didn't sabotage the results. Then you have Hitler's (and many other Nazis) obsession with the occult. So that leads to much speculation for a writer with imagination, with or without a tin foil hat.

  • by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:14PM (#9486542) Journal
    Babylon 5 Creator Pitches Trek

    Somebody needed to pitch it.

    It's been really stinking up the place for a while.

    (I actually watched the last half of the "Search for Spock" movie last night. Man, that dog did not improve with age -- not to mention that Bones and Scotty looked pretty aged when it first came out.)
  • by nuggz ( 69912 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:14PM (#9486548) Homepage
    Star trek is/was just a Sci-Fi Soap.
    Most episodes were a simple science fiction idea, combined with lots of character interaction and development.
    Good characters made people identify and stick around.
    An interesting idea, or bit of action would get people to pay attention and potentially buy in.

    DS9 payed too much attention to the characters and lacked the variety of different ideas.
    Voyager I thought did a pretty good job moving back to ideas and characters.

    Enterprise I don't know, kinda stopped watching TV, this whole "grown up" life thing gets in the way a lot.
  • by foxtrot ( 14140 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:14PM (#9486550)
    According to the article, Manny Coto is being handed the reins of Enterprise as the executive producer/"show runner". This is a good thing.

    Rick Berman can't do it. He's proven it. Trek started heading downhill once Michael Piller quit running the show. Bringing in some new blood can only help.

    I'd like to see a JMS-run Trek. If the powers that be stand back and let him run the show, or, heck, anybody with a track record better than Berman's, things will get better.

    That said, there's something about Enterprise. I still watch it, and I'm still not sure why...

  • by greymond ( 539980 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:15PM (#9486558) Homepage Journal
    And I think a great (paraphrased) line from it was

    "...Nostalgia belongs in a museum...and you have to decide if you're running a museum, or you're running a Casino..."

    Star Trek with Captain Kirk was new original and fun. Star Trek with Captain Picard was a great remake of the original. Star Trek Deep Space Nine seemed like the UPN-Space-Ghetto show and not so much of a Star Trek...Star Trek Voyager had an interesting premise, but the characters seemed to fall apart with me giving barely a rats ass if anything bad would have happened to them. Star Trek Enterprise is again a remake, but done in an original way much like Generations, but prequils don't hold my interest nearly enough as (good) sequels.

    I think we've done enough with Star Trek and i'd rather see the creativeness go somewhere else. I liked a lot of the ideas behind shows like Babylon5, Farscape and (very very little) of Lexx. But the calibur of acting and dialogue wasn't always there. Stargate seems to be the only sci-fi show of this era that really impresses and I think has the ability to continue for a while, but we'll see, they have a new spin off coming along and it could totally suck without Macgyver.
  • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:20PM (#9486620)
    When the Enterprise is facing yet another crisis and someone suggests rerouting the coffee machine output through a highly focused baryeon ray and then reverse polarizing it through the deflector dish, instead of the usual "Yes that might just work" whats really needed is for more of the other crew members to adopt completely bemused expessions and ask "What the Fuck are you babbling about????", "Is this another one of your loon ideas that involves writing a subroutine in less than 3 seconds with your left hand?", or "through the what dish?, will that affect Sky Sports reception?". Why does no one ever says "what?" on Star Trek, no matter how preposterous the proposed solution, enquiring minds want to know.
  • by kitzilla ( 266382 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:27PM (#9486683) Homepage Journal
    ... with the Star Trek franchise, it's probably the format.

    How many stories are there, really, that will fit into a one-hour TV slot? The universe may or may not be finite, but plot possibilities certainly are.

    Which is why new shows seem like such dreadful, bloodless retreads of old ones. We've seen all the characters and pretty much every idea you could ever squeeze onto the deck of a starship.

    There's nothing really *wrong* with ST. It's just played-out.

    If ST could learn one thing from Babylon 5, it would be plot and character development. In the original series, the fact that Kirk and the others were flying through space was somewhat incidental. We might have enjoyed it just as much if the same actors had been set in a western.

    Perhaps ST could move toward the sort of long-term plot arcs we saw in Babylon 5, and have come to expect from series like the Sopranos. Freed from the format of episodic drama -- and the crushing weight of our expectations -- Star Trek might be free to again explore the Undiscovered Country.

    That would be kinda nice.

  • Just the fans (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone ( 681598 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:28PM (#9486695)
    As wonderful as it might be to have a new Star Trek series, there is one axiom about this process: It is absolutely impossible for a creative person to efficiently obtain approval for a new project from a large company.


    Disney turned down Lord of the Rings

    Sony turned down Everquest

    Electronic Arts tried to cancel the Sims three times

    MGM turned down Gone with the Wind

    Now, if they don't mind spending $10,000 a day from the moment they make the first phone call, great. Otherwise, find a way to do it without conference rooms, or it's going to be nothing but anguish.
  • by Mr. Neutron ( 3115 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:28PM (#9486706) Homepage Journal
    Hey, why don't we all come up with a bunch of story ideas for the new series, and post them here so that JMZ can read them!
  • by kid zeus ( 563146 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:28PM (#9486709)
    Have it be about a shipful of smugglers and people on the run from the authorities, focus on the characterizations and the stories rather than the dumb-ass tech that's supposed to be so whiz-bang, and set it in a system with an old West feel to it.

    Just don't let Fox have the rights to air it.

  • BORG Species 000 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrnick ( 108356 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:29PM (#9486718) Homepage
    I think a great movie, if not series, would be all about the Borg. How the first nanobytes took control of the first specieis (species 001) and how the collective was created. No Federeation, no Vulcans, etc.. just BORG.

    Nick Powers
  • Benny (Score:5, Funny)

    by Inexile2002 ( 540368 ) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:32PM (#9486746) Homepage Journal
    My brother and I have a theory about a guy named Benny that works for the current crop of Star Trek writers. Benny is a security guard or maybe a janitor or something, but once a day, at exactly 4:15PM he runs into the room where the writers are working and shouts:
    I've got it! Time travel!
    The writers sit up suddenly energized and with a burst of creative enthusiasm finish the episode they're working on. I think they need to fire Benny.
  • Prequels (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bafraid2b1 ( 649740 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:34PM (#9486766)
    Looking at the big picture, the bad thing about prequels is the fact that they need to fit into a universe which we know so much about already. Anything that slightly diverges from what we all know becomes blasphemy. If Enterprise came after TOS instead of TNG we might be viewing it differently.

    Taking the fact that it came after 3 concurrent sequels into account, a new prequel would have been better if it didn't actively follow the formation of the Federation. How awesome would a series about the rise of the Klingons or the Romulans be? There's so much there that's never been explained and it would be DIFFERENT. The whole feel of a Klingon or Romulan show would peak new interest because we'd see the Federation from a different light. That would be fresh, that would be new.
  • Garfield (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:42PM (#9486848) Journal
    There was a recent article I read about the creator of Garfield (think the link is on pvponline) and how he carefully manages the property so as not to over saturate the market. Garfied he says is carefully designed not to become so popular that it becomes "cool" to hate. You know like how everyone hates Shatners way of speaking (he rarely does it for real in the st episodes).

    ST has become fashionable to hate. It used to be just a geek thing but now even geeks are trying to be hip by saying they don't like it.

    If you look at the recent ST series I think the fault is that they tried to be too popular. Instead of aiming at their main audience they tried to broaden it and managed to loose both their old audience and not aquire a new one.

    ST:TNG was too softly and soapy (it even had the evil twin sister kinda stuff), Deep Space 9 became a true soap, going away from the 1 hour episodes into an neverending story with returning cast members. Dynasty in space. Voyager never stopped whining. Enterprise is so bad I didn't even watch past ep3. And I am very forgiving to ST.

    Any new series needs to go back to the roots. 1 hour episodes of a small crew exploring the universe. No whining, no soul searching. Just doing things. Focus on the old fans, they kept the franchise going for decades, we are ready to be milked more. Just don't insult us anymore.

    Oh and shoot the person that came up with the holochamber idea. These guys are out exploring space and the best they can do for excitement is do fantasy games indoors? Losers.

  • by NulDevice ( 186369 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:32PM (#9487520) Homepage
    I don't think JMS and trek would be a good combination. One of the things that's hrting trek now is that Berman/Braga and their cabal of writers are locked in and running the whole show. Part of the reason TNG and DS(, and even TOS suceeded is that they had a multitude of writers with different styles.

    Meanwhile, JMS wrote nearly all of b5. And that was in fact one of the things that I felt worked to its detriment. The wrtier's flaws quickly become the show's flaws, and that's one of the things killing trek right now. ...and depsite the holy reverence that many scifi fans place on b5, it was not without its flaws. The overall story arc was very ambitious and well thought-out, but many parts of the story - the dialogue was heavy-handed, foreshadowing (no pun intended) was overused as a plot device and frankly dind't always need a riddle-talking alien to be accomplished, etc. b5 was good TV, and certainly surpasses Voyager and most of TNG in quality, but I can't really see JMS helming a show whose canon, universe, and fanbase he can't entirely control. Nor can I see his particular philosophy working especially well with the established continuity. If JMS were going to "Save" trek he'd have to let go of some of teh creative control to allow people to fill in where he's weak, and his track record on such things isn't the best.

  • B5 was awseome. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by man_ls ( 248470 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:55PM (#9487809)
    B5 was an amazing series. And strangely prophetic, too, some of the episodes in seasons 2 and 3, about xenophobia, personal freedoms vs government security, free speech, etc.

    I encourage everyone to buy the DVD boxed sets to support this man, so he keeps coming up with great scifi stories.
  • Question (Score:4, Funny)

    by nwbvt ( 768631 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @04:45PM (#9488459)
    What is this story doing in the science section? I hate to be the one to break it to you guys, but Star Trek isn't real.
  • by InfinityWpi ( 175421 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:16PM (#9488817)
    "Space... the final frontier. When the nearest outpost of civilization could be weeks away, starship captains must act as judge, and jury. But when a captain stands accused, the greatest ally he can have is the Starfleet Legal Corps, and the crew of the USS Justice."

    Star Trek: Law & Order. Coming this fall.
  • Why B5 is cool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by martinflack ( 107386 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:27PM (#9488914)

    Babylon 5 is an absolutely amazing piece of science fiction but only when you realize that the 5 seasons are really one 80-hour long movie.

    When I saw it aired on TV, I thought it was contrived because I didn't understand all the constant references to prophecies, councils, past wars, Valen, etc. I thought that they were doing what Star Trek writers do - reference cool sounding things just to enhance the illusion of the future, but those things are not existant in the actual plot. B5 is completely different; almost all their references are to cool stories in other episodes (both forward and backward) including some mind-blowing plot twists (some that make you giggle when you watch earlier season episodes because you know some *huge* secrets revealed later). It's important to realize that the B5 plot was fully written before filming, something that Star Trek never benefited from.

    My roommate got the DVDs for all the seasons and we started watching them one by one. I'm a few episodes from finishing the last season. B5 is a trememdous story, not just out of science fiction, but of any type of story I've ever watched or read. It's one of those real works of art you only see once every few years. Of course I take issue with some scientific points, like their premise of the "first ones" (first race in the galaxy) living for indefinite lifetimes and such, but they are just quibbles.

    It's also worth noting that besides the brilliant story weaving, B5 also fantastically avoided the concept of "good guys" and "bad guys". I'm impressed to no end how they side-stepped that oh-so-common trapping and actually made several alien races really come to life with politics, emotions, and goals of their own. Very cool.

    The third great thing about B5 is that the problems are solved with character solutions. The tech is there to enhance the experience, but unlike Star Trek where they can reconfigure the primary deflector to do the dishes and take out the dog, in B5 they actually work out the problems using more traditional methods, and the interesting tech is for there for the viewer's enjoyment as backdrop, not primary focus.

    If you're a Star Trek fan but have never watched B5, do yourself a favor and start with Season 1 []. Watch them in order, and P.S. there is an extra prequel movie, but don't watch it until after you get into Season 5 because it gives a few things from the middle away.

    It makes me curious as to how they'd give Star Trek the B5 treatment, but I'd have to guess that the first step would be to write out a cohesive plot that can cover the first few years of the show before they start filming.

  • by Mulletproof ( 513805 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @06:36PM (#9489481) Homepage Journal
    "he and Dark Skies creator Bryce Zabel have put together an idea for a new Star Trek series, which he said would revive the ailing franchise.

    As much as I like Michael Straczynski, having great ideas for a Trek series isn't hard when you have such a rich universe to build upon. Heck, Enterprise was a great idea, which only goes to prove that your great idea is only the tip of the iceburg. It's all about execution, something Enterprise crashed and burned in. And quite frankly, while b5 was good, Jeremiah and Odyssey 5 were steaming piles last I checked [IMO, of course]. That's not a bulletproof track record and I'm not convinced he could pull it off any better, honestly.

    But after space-nazies, I'd be willing to give anything a try.
  • Roots... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Thunderstruck ( 210399 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @08:27PM (#9490220)
    I loved the original series. I hated pretty much everything else. I like to see suave guys woo sexy girls without all of our post modern sensitivity baggage. I like to see fistfights. I like to see new things every episode, not the same 4 or 5 antagonists cycled through over and over again. Give me a new planet with some new "what if life was like this?" concept and show me how the crew of the USS whateverprise responds to the contact. ST needs to more exploration & conquest and less contemplation of its own belly-button.

  • by dmccunney ( 715234 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:38PM (#9491628)
    I'm of the "Star Trek needs a good long rest" persuasion, myself, but if anyone can revitalize and ailing franchise, it's probably Joe. He has the talent, the background, and the credentials.

    It's ironic, though. When Joe first came up with Babylon 5, he pitched it to Paramount. Paramount turned thumbs down on it. Joe pitched elsewhere. What does Paramount come up with next? Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a show about a space station located on the borders of several competing interstellar powers. Coincidence?

    Joe reportdly hit the roof, but was careful *not* to blame Rick Berman and the other folks directly involved in ST production. Paramount wished to protect the Trek franchise at all costs, and wasn't about to compete with itself by backing a non-Trek SF show. Whether it decided to sucker punch a possible competitor by bringing out the same idea first remains unknowable.

    The problem is that Paramount got a successful franchise largely by accident. Star Trek: TOS was originally cancelled part way through, and brought back through fan pressure. It seems likely that Paramount never really understood *why* it was popular, so successive Star Trek: Whatever's have trod the same old ground, in apparent fear that any actual new ideas would kill the goose that laid the golden eggs.

    Personally, I was around when the original series was being aired. It was the best SF on TV at the time, but hasn't aged terribly well.

    ST:TNG had some good moments, especially when it worked through the backlog of unproduced scripts bought for the original series and started buying new material. There was at least some attempt to deal with adult themes, even if there were embarassing clunkers.

    DS9 had moments as well, especially when they introduced the war with the Dominion. Trek always had a schizophrenic attitude toward Star Fleet. Pointing out that the Enterprise was a capital ship, and if there *was* a war, Star Fleet would fight it produced hand-waving and denial from a lot of folks.

    Voyager was simply excreble. I think I managed to watch one episode before giving up in disgust.

    I had hopes for Enterprise. A show set early in the chronolgy of the series, detailing the early days of the Federation had promise. Promise that, unsurprisingly, has not been fulfilled. I've avoided it, too.

    I have a problem with television that makes an implicit assumption that I'm dumb, and that any show with a few SF tropes and some FX will get me to watch. Dramatic story lines, meaningful characters, interesting plots, good writing? Who needs them? It's got the Trek name on it. It will sell...

    Well, not to me, buddy.

    Joe might actually be able to create a Trek series worth watching again. I'd love to see it. I'd lay long odds against Paramount saying yes.

Forty two.