TV Talk Talk about Shows on TV

jms on Trek

Old 02-15-05, 05:31 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
das Monkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 35,881
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
jms on Trek

I just saw this come across rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated and figure it's worth sharing. I have all kinds of mixed feelings on this topic, so I'll just pass it along without comment for now.

das

I'm trying this via google to see if I can access the groups, since
I've been offline since AOL stopped carrying newsgroups.

I don't normally do this...in fact, I don't think I've ever done this
in any group before, because I've always kind of waited to make sure it
was worth doing, and that it would make a difference.

I'm sending this to both the B5 folks reading this and any Trek fans
looking on.

Bryce Zabel (recently the head of the Television Academy and
creator/executive producer of Dark Skies) and I share one thing in
common. We are both long-time Trek fans, from the earliest days, who
felt that the later iterations were not up to the standards set by the
original series. (I'm exempting TNG because that one worked nicely,
and was in many ways the truest to the original series because Gene was
still around to shepherd its creation and execution.)

Over time, Trek was treated like a porsche that's kept in the garage
all the time, for fear of scratching the finish. The stories were, for
the most part, safe, more about technology than what William Faulkner
described as "the human heart in conflict with itself." Yes, there
were always exceptions, but in general that trend became more and more
apparent with the passage of years. Which was why so often I came down
on the later stories, which I did openly, because I didn't feel they
lined up with what Trek was created to be. I don't apologize for it,
because that was what I felt as a fan of Trek. That's why I had Majel
appear on B5, to send a message: that I believe in what Gene created.

Because left to its own devices, allowed to go as far as it could,
telling the same kind of challenging stories Trek was always known for,
it could blow the doors off science fiction television. Think of it
for a moment, a series with a forty year solid name, guaranteed
markets...can you think of a better time when you take chances and can
tell daring, imaginative, challenging stories? Why play it safe?

When Enterprise went down, those involved shrugged and wrote it off to
"franchise fatigue," their phrase, not mine.

I don't believe that for a second. Neither does Bryce. There's a
tremendous hunger for Trek out there. It just has to be Trek done
*right*.

Last year, Bryce and I sat down and, on our own, out of a sheer love of
Trek as it was and should be, wrote a series bible/treatment for a
return to the roots of Trek. To re-boot the Trek universe.
Understand: writer/producers in TV just don't do that sort of thing on
their own, everybody always insists on doing it for vast sums of money.
We did it entirely on our own, setting aside other, paying deadlines
out of our passion for the series. We set out a full five-year arc.

But when it came time to bring it to Paramount, despite my track record
and Bryce's enormous and skillful record as a writer/producer, the
effort stalled out because of "political considerations," which was
explained to us as not wishing to offend the powers that be.

So on behalf of myself and Bryce, I'm taking the unusual step of going
right to the source...right to you guys, fueled in part by a number of
recent articles and polls, including one at www.scifi.com/scifiwire in
which nearly 18,000 fans voted their preference for a new Trek series,
and 48% of that figure called for a jms take on Trek. (The other
choices polled at about 18% or thereabouts.)

See, if somebody doesn't like a story, doesn't want to buy it, that's
all well and good, that's terrific, that's the way it's supposed to be.
But when "political considerations" are the basis...that just doesn't
parse.

So here's the deal, folks. If you want to see a new Trek series that's
true to Gene's original creation, helmed by myself and Bryce, with
challenging stories, contemporary themes, solid extrapolation, and the
infusion of some of our best and brightest SF prose writers, then you
need to let the folks at Paramount know that. If the 48% of the 18,000
folks who voted at scifi.com sent those sentiments to
Paramount...there'd be a new series in the works tomorrow.

I don't need the work, I have plenty of stuff on my plate through 2007
in TV, film and comics, so that's not an issue. But I'd set it all
aside for one shot at doing Trek right, and I know Bryce feels the
same.

If you want this to happen...it's up to the Trek and B5 fans to make it
so.

The rest I leave to the quiet turning of your considered conscience.

J. Michael Straczynski
Old 02-15-05, 06:43 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Virginia Beach, VA USA
Posts: 3,583
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I thought B5 was great. But for some reason, I'm sick of JMS. There's something pretentious about him. I can't put my finger on it, but there's something about the way he does stuff that irks me. Maybe its a knee jerk reaction from all the B5 fans saying he's the greatest ever and can do no wrong (kinda like the Buffy fans are with Joss Whedon and the Alias fans are getting to be about JJ Abrams.)

I don't want to see what JMS would to with Trek. I'm over story arcs that take 3 years to get moving. He did the same thing with Jeremiah which was all filler but had a tiny bit of 'the big story' in each episode. It gets tiring. Why does he need to do Science Fiction anyway? Let him try doing a drama about race car drivers or submarine crews or anything else. How about that comic book thing he had going? Go do that.

B5 was great. But it was years ago. The biggest problem with Trek was B&B and as soon as they left, it got a lot better very quickly.

And that whole 'eep' thing is another matter altogether.

D
Old 02-15-05, 07:15 AM
  #3  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Chew's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: South of Titletown
Posts: 18,628
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'd love to see his take on it, but all the TV projects he's done post-B5 haven't worked out too well. "Non-safe" Trek sounds interesting and I hope we see it one day.
Old 02-15-05, 07:32 AM
  #4  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Josh-da-man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: The Bible Belt
Posts: 31,697
Received 24 Likes on 16 Posts
Originally Posted by Derrich
I thought B5 was great. But for some reason, I'm sick of JMS. There's something pretentious about him. I can't put my finger on it, but there's something about the way he does stuff that irks me. Maybe its a knee jerk reaction from all the B5 fans saying he's the greatest ever and can do no wrong (kinda like the Buffy fans are with Joss Whedon and the Alias fans are getting to be about JJ Abrams.)
Now, understand that I say this as a Babylon 5 fan, but JMS can lay it on pretty thick at times.

He's one of those "good" writers, he's competant, he hands the work in on time, but he's also kind of bland and mediocre. And, oftentimes, these kinds of writers will be the first to tell you what good writing is and have a generally over-inflated sense of their own abilities. There are writers like this in every medium... novels, comic books.

Babylon 5 succeeded in having a big, ambitous storyline, but often, it was missing things in the details like the character moments of poorly handled attempts at humor.

So I'm a bit leery of having a JMS-helmed Star Trek.

While I agree with many of JMS's opinions on Star Trek, I'd also add that DS9 was among the best the series had to offer among the latter day Trek.

See, my opinion on the matter is that Trek (and society in general) has outgrown Gene's "vision." If anything, most of the latter-day Treks have spent too much time trying to recreate Gene's vision and failing... TNG, Voyager, Enterprise... DS9 was the only one to really pay its respects to the original vision and move beyond it.
Old 02-15-05, 09:46 AM
  #5  
Enormous Genitals
 
Bandoman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: a small cottage on a cul de sac in the lower pits of hell.
Posts: 33,253
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I'd love to see JMS' take on the Trek universe.
Old 02-15-05, 12:29 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Shannon Nutt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 17,015
Likes: 0
Received 13 Likes on 11 Posts
JMS is a hell of a good writer...something that TREK desperately needs (Paramount still thinks its about aliens, special effects and babes in tight uniforms). I've enjoyed both his work on B5 and his current work on the Spidey comic.
Old 02-15-05, 12:48 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 25,062
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Even if JMS fails, it would be spectacular. I want to see his take on Trek.
Old 02-15-05, 12:54 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: San Leandro/San Francisco
Posts: 7,422
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As a newer fan of B5, I have to say I have faith in JMS to create something in Trek that they powers that be havent been able to do in the last 10 years or so but, I still think Trek needs a rest. I say Oust B&B and have him start working on a series in another 2 years. In the meantime I would rather see him created something all new. I want the Memory of Shadows too!
Old 02-15-05, 01:19 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Somewhere between Heaven and Hell
Posts: 30,670
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
Geez, kinda over himself isn't he?
Old 02-15-05, 01:54 PM
  #10  
Political Exile
 
spainlinx0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: NJ
Posts: 15,066
Received 4 Likes on 2 Posts
I feel JMS should outline overall storyarcs, and write any major character speeches, but when it comes to normal dialogue he should have a co-writer. Maybe it's the direction, or maybe it was the dialogue, but I felt that the only thing I hold against B5 is some of the lighter moments, and some of the acting. I know it's scifi so people are willing to accept some stiffness, but I don't think that should be the case. Team up Whedon and JMS, and I bet we could have a great series with a planned out arc, and great character interaction.
Old 02-15-05, 01:56 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Fremont, CA USA
Posts: 1,290
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just as quickly as he gets people's hopes he, he has to dash them:

"Actually...belay everything I just said.

In the 24 hours between the time I composed the prior note, and sent it, and it made its way through the moderation software, two things happened:

1) I heard from a trusted source that Paramount is giving the Trek TV world a rest for maybe one to two years, depending on circumstances, no matter who would come along to run it. So it's not right to have folks putting in time doing something that ultimately would be pointless, I don't think that's a proper use of anybody's time.

2) At the same time as the above, an offer came in to run a new TV series for fall of '06, and since there's no way anything Trek can happen in the interim, I've said yes (now we have to negotiate the deal, but that should be fairly straightforward).

So on two counts, the whole thing is kind of moot.

We can reconvene a year or two down the road to see where this takes us, but in the interim...my apologies for waking everybody up in the middle of the night.

As you were.

Thanks and with great chagrinedness --

jms""
Too bad.
Old 02-15-05, 02:02 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Chew's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: South of Titletown
Posts: 18,628
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm surprised Paramount actually has a "Trek rest" timetable already. Enterprise is still months away from finishing and they know they're only waiting 1-2 years to do the next thing?
Old 02-15-05, 02:06 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: A secret rebel stronghold in the Republic of San Marcos
Posts: 2,370
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
...the only thing I hold against B5 is some of the lighter moments, and some of the acting.
You're not alone. I really, really wanted to see what all the B5 buzz was about, but the wooden acting took me right out of the show. Say what you will about Trek, but at least up to DS9 it was well cast and well directed.
Old 02-15-05, 02:24 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
das Monkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 35,881
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Fielding Mellish

You're not alone. I really, really wanted to see what all the B5 buzz was about, but the wooden acting took me right out of the show. Say what you will about Trek, but at least up to DS9 it was well cast and well directed.
Say what you will about B5, but nothing Trek has accomplished compares to G'Kar and Londo and, to some extent, Delenn.

das
Old 02-15-05, 02:24 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
das Monkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 35,881
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I noticed a typo:
1) I heard from a trusted source that Paramount is giving the Trek TV world a rest for maybe one to two years, depending on circumstances, no matter who would come along to ruin it.
das
Old 02-15-05, 02:38 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Fremont, CA USA
Posts: 1,290
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Chew
I'm surprised Paramount actually has a "Trek rest" timetable already. Enterprise is still months away from finishing and they know they're only waiting 1-2 years to do the next thing?
I have a feeling they're just saying that to get people off their backs. The development process for the Trek series have all been more than just 2 years.
Old 02-15-05, 02:57 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Shannon Nutt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 17,015
Likes: 0
Received 13 Likes on 11 Posts
My guess is Berman or his "cronies" contacted JMS and told him to back the f#@$ off. Everyone knows that Paramount has a game plan for either a feature film or some sort of TV movie or mini-series in the fall or winter of 2006...it is, after all, Star Trek's 40th anniversary that year.
Old 02-15-05, 03:23 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: San Leandro/San Francisco
Posts: 7,422
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by das Monkey
Say what you will about B5, but nothing Trek has accomplished compares to G'Kar and Londo and, to some extent, Delenn.

das
You forgot Sheridan. Sure it was a bit serious but so is the new B.G and that's great.
Old 02-15-05, 04:36 PM
  #19  
Political Exile
 
spainlinx0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: NJ
Posts: 15,066
Received 4 Likes on 2 Posts
I hope nobody is interpreting what I'm saying as the acting on B5 was all bad. That's what makes it so damn weird. You have some of the best performances from the people das mentioned, and then you get a lot of cheesy performances from other people. And I know maybe people don't like hearing it, but Ivanova was almost painful to watch sometimes. Of course that all gets counterbalanced when I replay a G'kar scene 400 times in a row just because I like the way he delivers a certain line.
I don't know how many times I have replayed the "No Hiding Place" scene in the tunnels.
Old 02-15-05, 04:53 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
das Monkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 35,881
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
spainlinx0

I don't know how many times I have replayed the "No Hiding Place" scene in the tunnels.
Thanks Now I'll have that stuck in my head all day.



das
Old 02-15-05, 05:53 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Posts: 6,704
Likes: 0
Received 12 Likes on 10 Posts
Never watched a single episode of Babylon 5, so I don't have an opinion on jms refgarding his talent, but I can tell from his posting that he is a pompous ass.
Old 02-15-05, 08:00 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 1,246
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And to think JMS use to write for She-Ra, Princess of Power
Old 02-15-05, 09:02 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
tasha99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: the North
Posts: 5,900
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
I thought most of the bad acting--and bad writing--on B5 was the minor parts. The nameless mechanics seemed unrealistically simple minded etc. I would have liked to see JMS's take on Trek though, since the only one I liked was DS9 (which was very similar to B5).
Old 02-15-05, 11:30 PM
  #24  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The land of chocolate
Posts: 6,617
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My thoughts:

- JMS is full of himself, but I sometimes think he'd even be the first to admit that.

- Star Trek SHOULD be able to take risks. Even if they crash and burn, they have a far better chance at success than they otherwise would have. Battlestar Galactica (2003) is what Voyager could have been. Voyager had such a fantastic premise and could have gone where Star Trek had never gone before. But it spoilt it by trying to be the homogenous and ended pissing the whole idea down the sink.

- I would like to see JMS do Trek, even if it isn't as good as he would believe it would be (the over-inflated ego thing). It would be better than any of the other Trek out there and show what could be done with the series if they took a few risks.

- And finally, I'd really like to see JMS try his hand at something other than SciFi. While I like the genre, I think that it's best when you have a SciFi series or universe where there is something else going on (such as a world in political upheaval and revolution). Bring the best bits from other genres to SciFi and you have a winner.
Old 02-15-05, 11:39 PM
  #25  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
pilot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 6,197
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
while I can't say I'm a big fan of jms (never saw B5, did see all of Season 1 of Jeremiah and enjoyed that very much) and even though I'm sad Enterprise is ending, I'd like to see him have a shot at something Trek related..

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.