Ken Ray & John Champion


Your Star Trek Pals

John and Ken – your Star Trek Pals – have a 10-minute conversation about the upcoming Star Trek series on CBS All Access. And it only takes 31-minutes! We know nothing, and we are glad to talk about it.

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  • CmdrR

    “We know nothing, and we are glad to talk about it.”

    The short definition of:

    a) A Trekkie

    2) Anyone on the internet

    iii) That guy in the plane seat next to me all the way to Beijing

    d) all of the above

  • mc900

    Looking at Ken- He could have totally been Wesley Crusher.

  • mc900

    Let’s just say you can count me in the group that truly disliked Abrahms trek. So I am catious at least that someone producing this new series is connected to that lens flare festival. Given the financial success of those movies- it’s tough to think that style won’t be emulaed- even if this is set ahead of Kirk and Spock.
    As for the financial model- if Star Trek is good and they want to use as bait for that and more commercial free content. I am all for it, especially considering CBS current streaming service is The worst available.
    Finally as for fans of episodic tv- you have Enterprise to thank for that.
    Another reason that series is underated.

    • Muthsarah

      It’s gonna be that long-talked about Starfleet Academy show, I’m betting. College hijinks. Dating roulette. Everyone gets an episode for an origin story. Instead of having one character who doesn’t really fit in, none of them do. So much relationship angst. When that Andorian is looking at me, is he really SEEING me? And running. Lots and lots of running.

      It would be right in the JJ Trek wheelhouse, it would sell well to the young’uns, it would require fewer sets, and you could justify hiring young, cheap actors who you easily sign to seven-year contracts.

      Ohandmaybesomemoralscontroverseys parallelsstufftothinkaboutorwhatever.

      Not that I’m trying to be a pessimist. I’m actually just trying to be numb. Mission Log’s a weekly balm for what ails me, and this hasn’t been a great week for…well…for NOT being disappointed by recent releases of latest entries in long-running franchises whose best days are way in the past.

      • wry observer of folly

        Oh dear God, not a Star Trek 90210 pleeeaaaasseee!

  • Cygnus-X1

    @John Champion

    John, you are right in pointing out that the exec producer of the show is typically not the one who makes the day-to-day creative/writing decisions about the show, and further that it’s really the head-writer/showrunner whom Kurtzman hires that will most directly affect the value of the creative content of the show. But, there’s an old proverb: The fish rots from the head down. Kurtzman, informed by his artistic values and sensibilities, will be hiring the showrunner.

    You made the analogy of Rick Berman and Brannon Braga hiring Manny Coto as showrunner for ENT Season 4 (with Coto starting to produce in Season 3). Rick Berman came up in the Trek culture of Gene Roddenberry’s TNG and had Michael Piller as his co-exec in charge of creative. Later, Brannon Braga, too, was initiated into Trek via TNG. The point being that Berman and Braga worked day-to-day with people who knew what Trek was meant to be from its inception, TOS, and recognized the artistic values and sensibilities that made good, Trek-like Trek.

    What sort of culture is Alex Kurtzman coming into this new show from? He’s coming from two movies that, whether you liked them or not, were fundamentally un-Trek-like. When you guys get to sussing out the morals, meanings and messages in ST09 and STID, you’re going to see that there’s a paucity of them, if any, and that what you do find is ankle-deep in its development. Without getting sidetracked into an argument about the merits of the BR Trek movies, I think that many people who enjoy them would admit that they are very different from TOS and TNG on a fundamental level.

    What else is Alex Kurtzman bringing into his supervisory role on this new show? He’s bringing a history of TV production that is no more Trek-like than the BR movies. Are Fringe and Scorpion and Sleepy Hollow at all similar to TOS, TNG or even DS9 in their form, purpose and scope? Or, are they more suspense/action/thrillers than thoughtful examinations of philosophical and social issues, often revolving around and informed by science and science ethics?

    In short, given Alex Kurtzman’s body of work, what evidence is there that he even WANTS to do a show in the spirit and values of the best of TOS/TNG/DS9, let alone that he would be able to recognize in a potential showrunner the appropriate and necessary attributes to make such a show? And again, I’m not talking about the superficial attributes of TOS and TNG—not the FX or the lighting or even necessarily the pacing. I’m talking about the core mission of TOS/TNG, which DS9 also had a variation of, especially in its later seasons, notwithstanding that it was more character-oriented rather than objective-theme-oriented like TOS/TNG—(e.g. “What does it mean to be a live? What is the meaning of courage and bravery? Is it moral to risk the lives of many in order to save the life of an individual?)—that mission being, again, the examination of philosophical and social issues, often revolving around and informed by science and science ethics..

    Is there ANY reason to suspect that Alex Kurtzman would know how, or even want, to make the above-described type of show? Or, presuming that he does want to make this kind of a show, is there any reason to suspect that Kurtzman will recognize the skills necessary to do so in his showrunner candidates?

  • Sounds like you guys have a new T-shirt slogan: Star Trek Pals.

    I kind of want to respond to the person who questioned whether Alex Kurtzman is capable of producing the sort of Star Trek show fans presumably would like to see, but I’m going to be a coward and not reply directly to them because I want to try to avoid starting a fight. Maybe this is a flip answer, but what was there in Gene Roddenberry’s early work that suggested he was capable of producing something like Star Trek? I wouldn’t necessarily be inclined to think that the guy who wrote for westerns and cop shows would then go on to transition to sci-fi. What about Harve Bennett? Sure, he produced sci-fi before Star Trek, but I wouldn’t say that the Six Million Dollar Man is in the same league. Rick Berman produced DS9 and Voyager at the same time, but I’d argue that DS9 is vastly superior in quality and that is due to the people who worked on that show, not the executive producer.

    Like John said, I’m over fan outrage. We know pretty much zilch about this new show at this point and it seems ridiculous for fans to start forecasting gloom and doom this early in the game. Yeah, I’ve also got my issues with the JJ movies, though I have to admit that, to my surprise, I mostly loved Into Darkness- I thought that at its core, that movie had more of a Star Trek message than some gave it credit for (maybe they were too distracted by the explosions and missed it). Anyway as has been pointed out, Star Trek on TV is a different animal from Star Trek on the big screen; with a series, there are more opportunities to tell the sort of stories Trek is best known for.

    I very much have a wait and see attitude. As a kid, the mere news of a new Trek series was enough to excite me, but now that I’m older, I can’t get too worked up one way or the other until we have more info. Regardless, this turned out to be an interesting discussion; I think some very good points were made.

    • To throw another name out there who had no ST producing experience: Nicholas Meyer.
      In any case, I do get it that people can/will be worked up over the smallest nugget of information. I’d like to wait until we actually have some news before we let that completely wreck our enjoyment.
      In the meantime – yep, I guess we have some new shirts to make!

  • Marcase

    Pals! What a great podcast; I really enjoy the Mission Logs (especially now that you are doing “my” TNG) and this Supp. Log was really enjoyable and felt indeed like hanging out with the five other guys on the planet that like to geek out on Trek.
    Very enjoyable, more of this pls !

    Greetings from Holland,

  • Thank you both for being a voice of calm reason amidst this tempest in a teapot. You know, I was 11 years old when TOS debuted. Young enough that my parents used staying up late to watch it as a bribe to get me to behave. So imagine my angst when TNG debuted! It’s similar to this 2017 Trek angst. And TNG turned out to be pretty cool. But it took me a LONG time to get used to it before I could see it on its own merits.

    I feel the same way about the JJ movies, but I’ve decided I like those too. Yes, both of them even. I just have to stop thinking of them as my old view of Star Trek. This is a new Star Trek. And it’s pretty good in its own right. That said, at 61 years old, I like my OLD Star Trek. So for that, I have Star Trek Continues, Star Trek New Voyages and I’m totally stoked about Axanar. There’s plenty of “old Trek” to keep those fires burning. So bring on the new! I’ll give it at least a couple of years before I decide for or against.

    And, hey, I can watch Big Bang Theory on the CBS streaming network too. That already has more references in it to old Trek than JJ’s movies … well, doesn’t it?

  • Mihai Furtună

    So what you guys are basically saying is, shut up and take my money. Well, yea, find, for you in America, but what about the rest of us all over the world? Because, I don’t know if you knew this or not, but there are parts of the world – like the one I live in right now, commonly known as “the pit of the world” but more officially known as Romania – where, if you go to any of those service providers, like Netflix, and say, shut up and take my money, they say, your money is no good.

    • That’s not exactly what we’re saying, Mihai. What we did say was that $6 seems like very little (in the greater scheme of things) when compared to the money we already spend on entertainment – whatever form that entertainment may take. As for international audiences, CBS has already announced that the new show will be available in a variety of forms all over the world. We know that CBS All Access will be the place to find it in first run in the US, but there are likely to be multiple outlets to find the show outside the US. We still have more than a year for all of those details to be released.

      • Mihai Furtună

        I probably will be there, because, you know, I wouldn’t be on this site if I wasn’t a trekker. But I will still reserve my judgement until then and see if they can actually do a good one.
        Another thing that interests me, and I’m probably not alone in this, is whether the fans can actually have a say in it. At least if we get to pay for it, can we come out to CBS and say, this was not good or you need to change that or we don’t like the way it’s going, and they actually listen to the fans for a change, instead of ignoring. You know, in case it turns out the new show might need some tweaking.
        But I do hope it will be good, and that it will be worthy of the Star Trek name.

        • But isn’t that what fans of Star Trek (and any entertainment) do all the time anyway? They write letters, they send emails, they ask questions at conventions, they critique on online forums? At least for Star Trek this is a tradition (in the written sense) since the original series. Productions, whether it be Star Trek or something else, are under no obligation to incorporate fan ideas, but sometimes they do (all within the *very* tricky rights the surround intellectual property). I’d say Star Trek has had more fan-to-production interaction than any other big franchise.

  • Dave Klem

    I am new to the podcast. Thanks for making them; I enjoy them vey much. Didn’t broadcast entities used to have to purchase content from production companies? Why can’t this be the way? Production Company X makes the episodes and sells them to Amazon, Netflix, Hulu. I am sure they will all buy streaming rights. They want the viewers. I would pay the CBS $6 if they lower my cable internet bill by $6. If CBS wants to pull out of Verizon’s package, then Verizon needs to give me back the CBS portion each month. I like the old way better. They have so many outlets to sell a show nowadays, beyond the 4 majors, produce a show and sell it to everyone.

    • HI Dave – thanks for joining us! Glad you are enjoying the show.
      I think you kind of answer your own question. What you describe as “the old way” is indeed old. Granted, there are numerous types of deals that get distribution for shows: some shows are developed “in house,” others are purchased, others have their lives extended by multiple licensing rights, etc. In this case, CBS is, essentially, commissioning a show from Kurtzman’s production company. CBS then gets to decide what the distribution model will be and, so far, they have announced All Access as the primary place to get it. That could change, of course, but Star Trek has been used as a flagship for new distribution models before: the (failed) Paramount network for the (proposed) Phase II show, first-run syndication for TNG, the “new” UPN network for Voyager.
      In this case, CBS is positioning new Star Trek based on the reality of modern entertainment distribution, and streaming is a huge part of that. Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, etc. (cable broadcasters too) buy shows, but they also develop and invest in original programming specifically to drive viewers to their particular platform. It’s a big marketplace, and we get to decide which of those platforms has the content we want to watch.

      • Dave Klem

        I will not be able to afford an NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC monthly bill in addition to a bill to be able to connect to these outlets. I would not be surprised to lose Star Trek on Netflix soon. We lost Law & Order, Quincy, and just about anything Jack Webb produced on Netflix recently. I am just going to have to wait for the Netflix/Amazon version if there ever will be one. Thanks for the reply!