Fans spearhead campaign to take back Star Trek

Anonymous Coward writes, PRESS RELEASE

Feb. 18, 2003

Fans spearhead campaign to take back Star Trek

Star Trek fans disappointed with the newest series and lackluster feature films have launched a campaign to oust Rick Berman as head of the Paramount franchise.

“Trek Fans United: Give Back Star Trek!” is the brainchild of Trish Bennett of Ohio and Layla Brown of South Carolina, who launched the internet campaign in response to spiraling ratings for the UPN series, “Enterprise,” and what they see as the imminent death of Star Trek. The campaign encourages dissatisfied viewers to make their opinions known with a detailed letter-writing campaign, publicity and an online petition.

“Star Trek has been a prosperous franchise for Paramount for well over 30 years,” said Bennett. “But now we’re seeing even die-hard fans turning away in droves. You can look anywhere on the Internet and find fans calling for Rick Berman to step down. We decided it was time to gather all that energy in one place and hopefully make it happen.”

Since its inception in 1966, Star Trek has spawned five television series and 10 feature films. The most recent theatrical release, “Nemesis”, failed to impress audiences and earned less than $50 million at the box-office, leaving the future of the feature films in question.

And “Enterprise”, which debuted September, 2001, with Neilsen ratings of nearly 13 million viewers, has progressively lost its eager audience. The series pulled in a mere 3.9 million viewers for the recent episode, “Dawn.”

“It’s disappointing, because people actually want to enjoy ‘Enterprise’,” said Bennett. “They just can’t because it’s not Star Trek as we know it. Berman has tried to make it more commercially successful, which is absurd when you consider there’s already a built-in audience of millions around the world. But in doing so, he has managed to alienate those millions. The ratings prove it.”

Fans cite recycled plots, gratuitous sexual content and lack of continuity as a few of the reasons for their declining interest in the formerly successful franchise.

“Star Trek has always been good science fiction with fresh, innovative stories and amazing characters,” said Bennett. “We want that back. Paramount expects us to tune in and to open our wallets for movie tickets and merchandise, and we’ve always been willing to do that. But we’re not mindless sheep who will blindly accept anything with the Star Trek name attached to it. Give us something worth our time and money, and we’ll be there.”

The campaign web site can be found at http://trekfansunited.bravepages.com.

25 replies on “Fans spearhead campaign to take back Star Trek”

  1. Kaki says:

    Well…
    I disliked the wussy Klingons and all the recent sappy Vulcans as much as anyone. However I found myself really liking “Future Tense”. So I’m wondering who did it.

  2. y42 says:

    Halleluhia
    Finally! Something more worthwhile than my “Rick Berman must DIE!” mantra!

    (I’ve been chanting that since about 1991, when I first read an interview where he explained his plans for Star Trek…we have seen them become reality, and we all know how THAT turned up!)

    • TechnoGirl says:

      Re: Halleluhia
      <BLOCKQUOTE TYPE="cite">
      Finally! Something more worthwhile than my "Rick Berman must DIE!" mantra!
      </BLOCKQUOTE>

      Amen my friend!
      I’m getting over to that web page ASAP and stick it to those morons Bermen & Braga

  3. AveryRegier says:

    Sick of these things
    Actually, I’m rather sick of these campaigns. Yeah, it would be nice to see what Star Trek could become under someone J. Michael Straczynski (sp?). However, Berman is safe in his job, and Braga is safe until Berman tires of him.

    I really would like to see Enterprise progressing towards the Federation and the Romulan War. I’d really like to know that the writers actually have a plan for the next five years (which they always say they don’t).

    I can’t think of one letter writing campaign that has worked since the 70’s. Anyone know of any?

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Sick of these things

      I can’t think of one letter writing campaign that has worked since the 70’s. Anyone know of any?

      There was the campaign to get Roswell uncancelled, but that could have had less to do with the letters and more to do with the thousands and thousands of bottles of tobasco sauce that kept arriving at the WB offices. Similar campaigns were successful for Sliders and Due South.

      • y42 says:

        Re: Sick of these things

        I can’t think of one letter writing campaign that has worked since the 70’s. Anyone know of any?

        There was the campaign to get Roswell uncancelled, but that could have had less to do with the letters and more to do with the thousands and thousands of bottles of tobasco sauce that kept arriving at the WB offices. Similar campaigns were successful for Sliders and Due South.

        Roswell was uncancelled?
        Are they still making new eps? (My sister watches it, I keep telling its been cancelled…I’m wondering how far my foot is is up my mouth ;- )

        • fiziko says:

          Re: Sick of these things

          Roswell was uncancelled?
          Are they still making new eps? (My sister watches it, I keep telling its been cancelled…I’m wondering how far my foot is is up my mouth ;- )

          Roswell was uncancelled twice. It was cancelled after each of its three seasons, and it looks like the third cancellation is going to stick. There haven’t been new episodes in close to a year.

          • IronHelix says:

            Re: Sick of these things

            Roswell was uncancelled?
            Are they still making new eps? (My sister watches it, I keep telling its been cancelled…I’m wondering how far my foot is is up my mouth ;- )

            Roswell was uncancelled twice. It was cancelled after each of its three seasons, and it looks like the third cancellation is going to stick. There haven’t been new episodes in close to a year.

            which is too bad, roswell was awesome. Would be awesome if SciFi picked it up (they’re running all the reruns now) but I’m not holding my breath…

  4. rickyjames says:

    Too Little, Too Late…
    Gimme Firefly.

    • Trekkie says:

      Re: Too Little, Too Late…

      Gimme Firefly.

      Amen! That and Farscape.

      • y42 says:

        Re: Too Little, Too Late…

        Gimme Firefly.

        Amen! That and Farscape.

        I’m in Firefly withdrawl. : (

        • rickyjames says:

          Re: Too Little, Too Late…

          I’m in Firefly withdrawl. : (

          You and me both. I am embarassed to admit how much the whole Firefly fiasco bothers me. I was REALLY down in the dumps for a few days when I heard Fillion had signed with NBC and Fox had finally torn down the sets. I was on a biz trip in CT and broke down in the hotel and watched the Archer-plays-diplomat-between-the-Vulcans-and-Andorians ep and it was just so FLAT. I would have watched just the opening scene from Serenety over and over up until Mal says “Yeah, we win” for a solid hour and enjoyed it SO much more….

          The worst thing of all is that Fox is sitting on three unaired eps. Aurgh.

          • y42 says:

            Re: Too Little, Too Late…

            I was REALLY down in the dumps for a few days when I heard Fillion had signed with NBC and Fox had finally torn down the sets.

            Well, I must admit that there was one good thing that came out of the cancellation for me…

            When I was reading about the terminal cancellation (when even sci-fi passed, the fools), I got a telemarketer on the phone, and being upset and quite annoyed, I totally blew up and yelled at him over the phone. Hasn’t been another telemarketing call here since! If it hadn’t been for my unusual attachment to firefly, I would still be gettin telemarketing calls every 2 days.
            Thank you Firefly.

  5. scharkalvin says:

    Maybe Startrek SHOULD get a year or two off….
    When the creators of Dr Who had script problems they let the show go off the air for a while, and THEN brought it back. The idea worked for Dr. Who, it came back fresh and was well accepted. The BBC can get away with something like this, I’m not sure it would work on American TV, but it might save the show.

  6. UncleJam says:

    Here’s the problem:
    Since its inception in 1966, Star Trek has spawned five television series and 10 feature films.

    Five shows and 10 films? The “since 1966” figure is a little misleading, though. From 1966 to, what?, 1978 or so there was one series. So that means we’ve had four series and 10 films since 1978. Talk about overkill.

    Just let Trek go away for a while, bring in some new blood, and after five or six years start up a new show. I guarantee it will be a success. In the meantime, all the Trekkies will have their conventions, Vegas attractions, books, etc. to keep their attention. Look how the 15+ year gap in Star Wars films helped its popularity.

    Of course, the key there will be to actually get some people with fresh ideas and a willingness to take chances in charge. Don’t do like Lucas and play it safe. Ira Steven Behr would be a good guy to have in charge, I think. He really did a good job on DS9 in the later years.

    The problems with Enterprise aren’t inherent in the concept. It’s the execution, which means that it joins ST:V on my list of shows that royally blew their awesome potential on lousy execution.

    • RoyBatty says:

      Re: Here’s the problem:

      Since its inception in 1966, Star Trek has spawned five television series and 10 feature films.

      The problems with Enterprise aren’t inherent in the concept. It’s the execution, which means that it joins ST:V on my list of shows that royally blew their awesome potential on lousy execution.

      Try SIX series – you’re forgetting the animated series of the early seventies. I’m lucky enough to have it on laserdisc. It suffered from similarf continuity problems, too, but I can forgive it as it was for Saturday Mornings.

      It’s time to have Berman and Braga step aside, and let someone else take the reigns. They’re getting to be as bad as Lorne Micheals of SNL fame (anyone remember “It’s Pat”, “Ladies Man” or that gawdawful “Night at the Roxbury” movie? All his doing – marginally amusing sketches (the first time they ran), but not even humorous as movies! Berman and his cronies are cranking out worse stuff. Nemesis was tolerable, but NOT exciting, and not worth recommending to anyone who wasn’t a total ST fan. At the very least, Enterprise needs a new theme song, and they have to stop focusing on Trip stories. The show’s got great potential, but I’m just not rushing home to see it, like I did with original Star Trek (yes, I’m that old), and TNG on TV.

      Does anyone remember Bjo Trimble, who was behind some Trek fan campaigns way back when? We need someone like her. Again. Either that, or maybe we can let the franchise take a couple of years off.

      • GrimSean says:

        Re: Here’s the problem:

        Try SIX series – you’re forgetting the animated series of the early seventies. I’m lucky enough to have it on laserdisc. It suffered from similarf continuity problems, too, but I can forgive it as it was for Saturday Mornings.

        You know, I used to hate the animated series as a kid. I saw an episode of it one or two years ago, however, and I just started laughing. Oddly enough, the episode I saw was written by Larry Niven, and had Spock going up against the Kzinti in a very badly reworked version of The Soft Weapon, which is one of my favourite Niven stories, and thus the reason I remember.

        Enough of this aside. I hope this campaign does something to open the eyes of the people at Paramount. I’m actually quite suprised that there hasn’t been more of a dissenting voice from within the Star Trek people who work for them. Judging from the extras on the DVD sets of TNG, some (if not all) of the people who work on Star Trek for them are Hard Core (especially that lady who keeps all the old prop records – I forget her name, but I was struck by her encyclopedic knowledge of the cannon).

  7. Timeshredder says:

    Enterprise
    The original series was, of course, saved by a letter-writing campaign (though, given the quality of most of its third season, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea).

    But Enterprise…? Bad writing, minimal respect for continuity, and very little actual SF. Add to that the fact that “Trek” (even Next Gen, of which I was a big fan) suffers from being rooted in 60s-TV concepts of space-travel and aliens, and you have a show that might not be worth saving.

    I’d watch a good new “Trek,” but maybe someone out there should do a Trek-like SF as revolutionary for 2003 as TOS was for 1965.

    Hint: it won’t be Berman & Braga.

    • rickyjames says:

      Re: Enterprise

      I’d watch a good new “Trek,” but maybe someone out there should do a Trek-like SF as revolutionary for 2003 as TOS was for 1965.

      Dude, they did. It was called Firefly.

      • Timeshredder says:

        Re: Enterprise

        Dude, they did. It was called Firefly.

        Hey to say this since I’ll probably get flamed, but I only saw two eps of Firefly, and wasn’t overly impressed. Perhaps I missed the best stuff. That aside, however, it was conceptually different from Trek. That’s fine. Originality is great. But Trek really had a brilliant underlying concept for an SF show, one deserving of an upgrade.

        And THAT said, even with the baggage, Enterprise should be a good deal better than it’s been. But I think problems with the franchise go deeper, and they’re only mostly B&B’s fault.

        • rickyjames says:

          Re: Enterprise

          Hey to say this since I’ll probably get flamed, but I only saw two eps of Firefly, and wasn’t overly impressed. Perhaps I missed the best stuff. That aside, however, it was conceptually different from Trek.

          I will never flame a potential Browncoat. It’s not your fault you don’t love Firefly, it’s Fox’s for airing the eps out of sequence and the pilot last. Even Technogirl didn’t like it at first and stuck around long enough to get hooked. FF has a VERY powerful mythological thread in it that feeds a lot of current needs in the American psyche but you don’t just go from 0 to 60 MPH instantly with something so deep and it was just getting warmed up in the arc when it was cancelled. The western angle of FF seems like stupid schtick if you’re just thrown in. If people had been EASED in the way Joss intended to see the whole thing as a heroic Civil War / Old West allegory it would have a HUGE fanbase today. Trust me. Check out a copy of the Ariel episode which has a come-outta-nowhere jawdropping ending. Check out a copy of the Out of Gas episode, which Fox SHOULD have run as first ep if they weren’t gonna show the true pilot. Check out a copy of the Objects In Space episode, which got the ONLY PERFECT SCORE Bureau42 TV show review ever given. For God’s sake check out a copy of the Serenity two-hour true pilot episode, which Fox was INSANE not to have run as first ep. These eps are overflowing with the “brilliant underlying concept” you mention that Trek originally had. What did Roddenberry first call it? “A Wagon Train To The Stars”. Hmmm…a space opera with a western theme. Connecting any dots here? Firefly is exactly what Roddenberry originally intended Trek to be!

      • y42 says:

        Re: Enterprise

        I’d watch a good new “Trek,” but maybe someone out there should do a Trek-like SF as revolutionary for 2003 as TOS was for 1965.

        Dude, they did. It was called Firefly.

        Amen on the “revolutionary” part.
        And its more up-front on the whole “trigger happy space cowboy” angle ;- )

        • Timeshredder says:

          Re: Enterprise

          Amen on the “revolutionary” part.
          And its more up-front on the whole “trigger happy space cowboy” angle ;- )

          I’ll take your advice on the viewing order when I watch the inevitable reruns (this is someone who didn’t see a single ep of Buffy until season three, and then saw what were arguably the best seasons after the fact).

          About “Wagon Train to the Stars”: I’m not certain that wasn’t just the way for Roddenberry to sell Trek to sceptical executives (Wagon Train was an actual series). What I’ve always liked about the best eps has been the use of an “explorers” premise to bring interesting characters into SF situations. The more various Treks became Space Westerns, the less interested I was. We’ve had lots of Space Westerns & Space Operas. I’d like to see more SF in an engaging series context.

          Still, who knows? I may end up liking the show, and then I’d have to annoy a whole bunch more people by folding a version of FF into the Unified Field Crossover History of the Universe….

          • rickyjames says:

            Re: Enterprise
            To be intellectually honest, Roddenberry did indeed have another model for Trek besides American westerns and that was the British Navy Horatio Hornblower series. In fact, Trek has always had more of a “navy” (ships and starfleet) feel to it more than any other genre. These are the two different and really conflicting angles that Roddenberry tried to use in creating Trek. The Navy mold is that we are going around long-term in these machines we love that are our homes (which makes Enterprise, not Kirk, the real star of the show) in a military and political environment where we see many interesting things as we continuously explore along the way. This leads to storylines of battles and empires and aliens and exploration, both in the 1700s and in the 2300s.

            The Old West / Wagon Train mode is totally different. Here, the Conastoga wagon / starship is totally disposable and exists only long enough to get from A to B with no emotional attachment. There are no empires to negotiate with in a political sense; instead, there is Manifest Destiny and everything you find – Indians, buffalo, aliens both intelligent and not – exists to be consumed. There is this urge to expand and settle and Build A Nation, one personal pioneer story at a time. It’s really a Borg mentality which is How The West Was Won. And it’s a feeling that’s still in America today – what we’re about to do in Iraq is the Manifest Destiny and Borg threads in America rising to the forefront yet again. Bush has practically done everything but literally say “resistance to keep your oil is futile”.

            And that’s why I think Firefly fit your definition of a “revolutionary format change” for 2003. Firefly wasn’t about exploration and accommodation and IDIC and naval tradition – that’s Trek, and that’s not where America’s head is at today (in many ways to our detriment). Firefly was about expanding to set up your own little corner of the world the way you want and there are no wonders or negotiations along the way – only conflict and effort like the Civil War and Old West, and THATS why I think FF has hit a nerve and developed such a rabid fan base. Everybody in America feels subconsciously compromised and marginalized to death and we don’t want the Kirk/Picard mode of seeking a federation/alliance/accommodation anymore. We want a Mal Reynolds go to where nobody else is and set up your own little oasis. And that’s what Dubya is tapping into to legitimize the upcoming war. They’re only fantasy TV shows, but they create fanbases because they speak to some inner desire, and Trek and Firefly are aimed with frighteningly perfect precision two at different parts of the American heart and psyche – the American superego (Trek) and the American id (Firefly).

            My two cents worth.

            • Timeshredder says:

              Re: Enterprise
              I’m impressed with the analysis, though I can’t comment too intelligently on FF, having seen so little of it. We are definitely living in an era marked by re-tribalization, whereas the 60s were still swimming in that post-war sense of global community.

              I’ll have to check The Worlds of Star Trek, but, now that you mention it, I’m pretty sure “Captain Hornblower in Space” was the original concept. It certainly fits what we see in the first two series. And to return to the original topic of the thread, either “Hornblower” or “Wagon Train” is an improvement over Enterprise, which variously seems to be “Spelunkers of the Stars” and “Underwear in Outer Space.” (I could handle either on occasion, if they were tied to intelligent scripting).

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