The new showrunner: Bryan Fuller

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  • #1872

    He got his start on DS9 and Voyager, but has since run such series as Hannibal, created Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies, wrote for Heroes, and will also be showrunner on the upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods”. And now, somewhat surprisingly, a Berman-era Trek veteran is in charge of the new show. [LINK]

    “Bringing ‘Star Trek’ back to television means returning it to its roots, and for years those roots flourished under Bryan’s devoted care,” said executive producer Alex Kurtzman. “His encyclopedic knowledge of ‘Trek’ canon is surpassed only by his love for Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic future, a vision that continues to guide us as we explore strange new worlds.”

    The creative plan is for the series to introduce new characters and civilizations, existing outside of the mythology charted by previous series and the current movie franchises.

    “Star Trek” will be produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout banner. Kurtzman, Fuller and Heather Kadin will serve as executive producers.

    Even the merest mention of Roddenberry’s parameters makes me happy. I’m hoping more than ever that this will either be in the “prime” universe, or in a universe completely removed from either TOS/TNG/DS9/Voyager/Enterprise or the JJverse.

    #8737
    Steve W
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    He has mentioned years ago that he’d like to explore the idea of the altered timeline’s version of The Next Generation. But now it sounds like he’s planning on doing something along the lines of the original series, maybe even in that show’s visual style.

    As a way to get the new production staff up to speed on a new Trek series, it’d be nice if Paramount took over Anaxar and made a professional production out of it. It could be a mini-series.

    There’s a lot of people who predict CBS’s subscription-based streaming channel might be dead and buried by the time the new Trek series is ready to air. It seems there’s only 100,000 people using it now. I don’t think a new Trek show will be enough to double that number, most people nowadays will just torrent the episodes, or watch them after they’re inevitably posted up on YouTube. I hope they have a fallback plan in place that will earn them money. At least they should put the episodes on iTunes to buy, that way I can keep up with it.

    One good thing about having a new Trek series in production now… 3D printing makes prop building incredibly easy. Which is a good thing, considering they’ve sold off most of the props from the previous series.

    #8738
    ubikuberalles
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    What props? It’s all green screen tech now, right? The actor holds a green cardboard box and it’s a tricorder after post-production! Magic! 😉

    #8739
    Steve W
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    Remember when CG was supposed to be the big thing that would make science-fiction affordable to make? No more plastic models on fishing line and analog special effects done by highly paid F/X specialists, you can do it cheaper with computers! And now it seems like miniature model building might be cheaper than hiring five hundred digital artists across six different special effect studios to make an average summer tentpole film that can barely make back its $250 million budget.

    #8740

    Surely sanity will set in and they’ll offer it on iTunes, Amazon, etc., perhaps with a delay of a week or two.

    CBS is already offering the past Star Trek series through CBS All Access, so I’m unsure if those series are being pulled from the likes of Netflix, Hulu, etc., or not. It’d be smarter to hedge their bets, but everyone wants to be their own Netflix these days.

    #8741
    ubikuberalles
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    @earl wrote:

    …but everyone wants to be their own Netflix these days.

    And they won’t learn their lesson until they lose a chunk of money in the process like Yahoo did when they wrote off $42 Million on the shows Other Space, Sin City Saints and Community. The shows were great but the distribution method they used just plain sucked. Watching shows on YouTube, NetFlix, Amazon and Hulu is like falling off a log: easy peasy. Watching a show on Yahoo? Not so much. I mean I got to the site and watched the show fairly quickly but it required much more effort than it did with Amazon, NetFlix and the others.

    CBS is in the same boat: they may have awesome shows to watch but, if they don’t make it super easy to find and watch the shows, they will fail. Most viewers are lazy: make it even a little difficult to watch the show and they will bail. No doubt rabid fans will do what it takes to watch the shows but they don’t normally comprise the majority of the potential viewers CBS wants.

    #8742
    ubikuberalles
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    @Steve W wrote:

    Remember when CG was supposed to be the big thing that would make science-fiction affordable to make?

    That price tag escalated fairly quickly didn’t it? I suspect a couple reasons: unions, middle men, escalating actor costs, skimming by the mob, more discerning audience, and more rendering time and CPU power.

    Remember what a breakthrough “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” was? The director, Kevin Conran, said he could have done the movie with only $3 Million without name actors – $20 maybe with name actors. The price escalated to $70 million and Kevin was totally baffled by the escalated amount. Welcome to Hollywood Kevin. No doubt the studio added charges from other failed projects and assumed that Sky Captain would be a major box office hit and easily cover those extra costs. It didn’t. Also, all the things Kevin did to cut costs might not have been Kosher to the unions and other big players in the studios.

    I think a more discerning audience is a major part of the extra cost. Sky Captain looked really cool at the time but we expect more and the special effects of that movie look cheap by comparison to what is being done now. The studios know the audience can quickly spot poor CGI and that means they have to spend more money on equipment and more money on rendering time. Probably a higher price tag for artists who can deliver the more demanding FX too.

    I welcome the practical effects because it not only keeps the price of the movie down but makes the audience guess which is real and which is special effects.

    #8743
    Steve W
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    Everything in television and movie production costs a fortune. And everyone wants to leech. I read about a movie filming in a small town that had to hold up production because the next-door neighbor to the house they were filming at kept honking an air horn to disrupt the shoot. He demanded $10,000 otherwise he wouldn’t stop. Everybody thinks movies are an endless pit of money they can exploit, so catering costs shoot up on a movie set, transportation rentals, blah blah blah. I remember having my mind blown hearing that the upcoming movie The Abyss cost $40 million to make, and then Terminator 2‘s $80 million budget seemed astronomical. Nowadays those costs are in the low range. And you can see why… when a summer blockbuster’s end credits run for 12 minutes and have 700 or more names in it. The majority of which are in the effects studio credits. Must be really satisfying for those guys, seeing their names up on the big screen and then they read posts from thousands of wankers on the internet saying how cheap the CG looked.

    #8744
    ZLoth
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    The Abyss was released in 1989, so $40 million then is $80 million now. However, the actual budget was $69.5 million per IMDB, making it $140 million now.

    Terminator 2 was released in 1998, so $80 million then is $145 million now. However, the actual budget was $102 million per IMDB, making it $185 million now.

    Taking a look at the 2015 box office gross charts, only 29 films grossed more than $100 million. 21 grossed more than $150 million, and 9 grossed more than $200 million. Just to crack the top 100, you had to gross $21 million.

    The problem I have is that the focus is on the special effects and makeup effects, and they forget about characterization and telling a good story. I think they got it in their heads that the target audience is under 35 year olds. Look at how much it costs to take a family to the movies nowadays verses waiting for the movie release only a few short months later. In my opinion, effects should enhance telling a story, and let you get shots which cannot be obtained by conventional means.

    And, to make matters worse? Anyone remember the movie Life of Pi? That movie is notorious for the visual effects studio “Rhythm & Hues” winning an academy award for visual effects…. two weeks after they declared bankruptcy.


    “We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene Kranz

    #8745

    Holy crap. Holy crap. It’s Nicholas Meyer, working on Star Trek again! This is like bringing Larry Kasdan back to work on Star Wars. [LINK]

    Big news for Star Trek fans: The CBS reboot has secured franchise veteran Nicholas Meyer.

    “Nicholas Meyer chased Kirk and Khan ‘round the Mutara Nebula and ‘round Genesis’ flames, he saved the whales with the Enterprise and its crew, and waged war and peace between Klingons and the Federation,” said showrunner Bryan Fuller in a statement. “We are thrilled to announce that one of Star Trek’s greatest storytellers will be boldly returning as Nicholas Meyer beams aboard the new Trek writing staff.”

    Meyer, 70, co-wrote screenplays for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). He also directed Star Trek II, a film which helped to revitalize the franchise following the critical failure that was Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), hindered as it was by several script revisions and a rush into production and theatrical release. While Leonard Nimoy directed Meyer’s co-written screenplay for Star Trek IV, Meyer was back behind the camera for Star Trek VI.

    This just jumped to the top of my “didn’t see it coming” list. Who knew they’d hire such a Khan artist? Wow. Wow.

    Please set it in the original movie era…please set it in the original movie era…please set it in the original movie era…please set it in the original movie era…

    #8736

    And another executive producer, with a very familiar name. [LINK]

    CBS’s upcoming Star Trek series has added two more members to its intergalactic crew, with Rod Roddenberry, son of Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and Trevor Roth, COO of Roddenberry Entertainment, named as executive producers on the new project Thursday.

    “Gene Roddenberry, the Great Bird of the Galaxy, left a finely feathered nest for all who love ‘Star Trek’ to enjoy,” showrunner Fuller said in a statement. “It is only fitting that Rod Roddenberry and Roddenberry Entertainment join our new Trek adventure to ensure that his father’s legacy of hope for the future and infinite diversity in infinite combinations runs through our tales as Gene Roddenberry intended.”

    In addition to producing the 2011 documentary Trek Nation, Roddenberry served as a consulting producer on the fan-produced Star Trek: New Voyages series released online between 2003 and 2011.

    If I’m not mistaken, Rod still has connections to Star Trek Continues as well. This is as close as we’re going to get to a “central authority” keeping everything on track, possibly on both sides of the equation (assuming Axanar doesn’t piss in the pool for all the fan productions).

    Also, Rod is the executive producer of the Mission Log Podcast that both k8track and myself have raved about, so I’m fully expecting John and Ken to have insider info real soon. 😆

    This may sound like a bit of nepotism at work, but I take this as a good sign: in recent years, Rod has expended no small amount of effort to re-assess his dad’s legacy, and figuring out what made Trek tick. Earth: Final Conflict and Andromeda had Gene’s name in the title, but did not stick with Gene’s vision for either format, nor his outlook, because Majel was elbowed out of the way early on and no one was left to stick up for what, exactly, people expect from a show that has “Roddenberry” as part of its title. Which is, quite honestly, why both shows went off the rails and plummeted into the canyon of suck as early as they did.

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