CBSs WAR on the BEST OF STAR TREK : OF GODS AND MEN, STAR TREK CONTINUES and PRELUDE TO AXANAR

For whatever reason I decided to surf the furthest reaches of cyberspace after work today, and I uncovered a news item that the  CBS/AXANAR lawsuit had been settled.

I remember a year ago stumbling across news that CBS was suing a fan-film that had raised over $1 Million Dollars in crowd funding (to launch a Star Trek feature film to be titled AXANAR. This on the heels of that same company having produced and released an award winning 20-minute short called PRELUDE TO AXANAR. A short that had met with acclaim in a time when CBS handling of the 5 decade old property of STAR TREK can only be called beleaguered at best.)

So it is with some interest that I watched two videos on the outcome of the settlement.

The longer (too long) 1st video from TREKYARDS #33 is of note for the chance to hear thoughts on the outcome from Alec Peter’s (the architect behind the Anaxar Film). I made it 15 minutes into the video, the interrupting host (not both of them, just one of them) and lack of structure, making it a bit of a chore to sit through. But in that first 15 minutes I got to hear Peter’s insights into the outcome of the settlement. The biggest take away being we won’t be seeing an OF GODS AND MEN style feature film from the Axanar group. Instead they would be forced to do no more than 2 shorts, no longer than 15 minutes each.

So worth listening to for that bit and more.

 

The 2nd video, STAR TREK AXANAR LAWSUIT ‘SETTLED’ by David Stewart is the more interesting video, and at 11 minutes is very informative.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QScO0DTtwPQ

 

I followed this up by finally watching the short film STAR TREK PRELUDE TO AXANAR that got the whole ball rolling over a year ago, and finally having watched this 20+ minute short, I have to say… it is brilliant.

 

 

STAR TREK on TV has been pretty poorly managed for the last 2 decades since the demise of DEEP SPACE NINE.

VOYAGER and ENTERPRISE being the franchise at its lowest ebb.

Thankfully JJ Abrams on the movie front was able to turn fortunes around with two largely fantastic films. Unfortunately the Justin Lin helmed and Simon Pegg written third film I found to be a trainwreck, mostly because of a plot that was nonsensical and needed a few more rewrites and a mediocre protagonist (again because of a nonsensical plot).

STAR TREK PRELUDE TO AXANAR in 20 minutes was more innovative, interesting, and moving than the entirety of STAR TREK BEYOND. CBS seems to be making questionable decisions when it comes to itS Star trek properties, such as making their new show only available on their ‘no-one-cares’ streaming channel for their US audience.

It shows a gross lack of confidence in their newest Trek show, as well as a gross disrespect for your core audience, the US Market, that you want to make them pay for your experiment of a show.

As AXANAR has proven people will pay for quality, what they will not pay for is the history of piss poor ‘you just don’t get it’ crap that CBS/Paramount has for the last 2 decades dressed up in ill fitting clothes and tried to sell as STAR TREK.

 

Alec Peters AND VIC MIGNOGNA ABD SKY CONWAY get STAR TREK in a way that those currently in charge of the property do not.

TAKE MIGNOGNA’S STAR TREK CONTINUES. THAT IS ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT, MIGNOGNA CHANNELING SHATNER’S JAMES T. KIRK WITH EERIE AND DEAD ON MANNERISMS, ON TOP OF THAT THE SHOWS ARE SIMPLY MASTERFULLY WRITTEN, TACKLING THE TYPE OF CUTTING EDGE MORAL QUANDARIES THAT MADE THE ORIGINAL SHOW SO GOOD.  IF I’M AT CBS/PARAMOUNT I CALL UP THIS MIGNOGNA GUY AND SAY HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE WEBISODES FOR OUR SITE OR CHANNEL, OR I FIND A WAY TO MONETIZE HIS SERIES. HE’S DONE THE HARD WORK OF MAKING IF, GIVE HIM A CREDIT, AND PUT THE WHOLE SERIES ON DVD AND MONETIZE IT.

 

BUT NO, LIKE SPOILED CHILDREN THEY WOULD RATHER RIP THEIR TOYS APART THEN LEARN FROM ANOTHER, HOW TO PLAY  THE GAME RIGHT.

 

This is why copyright should have remained at 50 years, rather than this endless push by corporations to ensure nothing goes into public domain anymore.

Our nascent law-makers were smart enough to realize that if a concept has survived for 50 years, that’s enough time for a/the original owner to make a bunch of dough off of it and b/for it to be part of the cultural conversation, indelibly etched upon it to the point where it must belong to all men. Enough time for the dream of it to infect and flourish and become part of a greater dream.

In a right world the ideas of Roddenberry, of Star Trek, like the works of Poe or Shelley; would be open to all dreamers to dream it. And for the few committed visionaries like Sky Conway, Vic Mignogna (The best Captain Kirk since William Shatner), and Alec Peters… to make it.

And that’s not to say the big studios can’t make their version, the market supports endless Ravens and endless Hamlets. Society is better for us having something of the brilliant quality of STAR TREK OF GODS AND MEN and STAR TREK CONTINUES. In a sane world the studios would hire the geniuses behind such successful and beloved bootstrap efforts, not demonize and cripple them.

Not silence them in the hopes that no one knows how inferior your official ‘Star Trek’ is in comparison.

People notice crap, even in the absence of fan films.

 

Did AXANAR take it too far by raising professional amounts of money for a fan film? As much as I would put STAR TREK in public domain today if it was in my power, unfortunately currently it isn’t, and that has to be taken into consideration before playing in someone else’s sandbox. They went big and the cost of them going big is CBS overreaching and trying to ban any future possibility of quality, professional fan films.

There is something ugly and sad and frightened in that mentality, a mentality that does not bode well for anything CBS does in the future. Scared money doesn’t make money (to use an old idiom) and with this ‘settlement’ CBS shows their fear of quality, of innovation, and of having to produce anything superior to these… fan films.

They are hobbling passionate, creative Star Trek fan film makers, so as not to be out-shined in comparison to these fan films.

That is simply pathetic CBS/Paramount. You should be using these fan films as your idea space and gladiator school. You should be hiring these geniuses who, with no expectation of pay, are creating works better than you, for a fraction of your cost.

Shame on you CBS.

 

And congrats to the Peters, Conways, Mignognas on showing their ability to create a wonderful, intriguing world in the Star Trek universe, however science fiction does not end, even with the expansive dream of Rodenberry. Now its time to create your own concept, scifi could use… something new.

Best of luck to all the filmmakers who were inspired by Star Trek that was, leave the old to CBS, since they are too stupid to realize you are the new.

Be this generation’s Roddenberry and…. create something new.

To the point that CBS in its folly realizes… ‘oh sh*t, it was to our benefit to have them expending their ideas and fervor and genius on our IP and giving free PR to our universe. It was to our benefit to keep them preaching for the church of Roddenberry.   By being vapid, venal, short sighted aholes we’ve given them the push they need to grow beyond our IP and create something popular. No! We cut our own throats by coming up with these stupid short film guidelines! ‘

CBS needs to do away with their fan film guidelines for everyone’s benefit, including their own.

We hope to make them blush at it.

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Favorite TV Episodes : BABYLON 5 ‘The Rock Cried Out’ Season 3 Ep 20 !

BABYLON 5 Season 3 Episode 20 AND THE ROCK CRIED OUT NO HIDING PLACE – Michael Straczynski had the ambitious idea, in a 20th century age of episodic television, to create something new…. the first novel for television.

In an age where tv shows were done-in-one programs where the status quo didn’t change in any appreciable way , Straczynski in the 1990s launched BABYLON 5 , a staggering series with character development, and sweeping changes, and resonant highs and lows heretofore unseen in dramatic prime time television.

A show with a beginning, a middle and an end. It was the inspiration for DEEP SPACE NINE , and the spiritual  precursor to shows from HOMICIDE to BREAKING BAD. Today the ‘novel for tv’ model is the standard, and the quality of television is exponentially better than it has ever been.

BABYLON 5 is the reason why, and in a series of brilliant highs, the episode AND THE ROCK CRIED OUT stands as a highwater mark not just foe the show, but television as a whole.

 

And decades later remains one of the finest hours of television of all time!

Grade: A-.

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Why I continue to Buy DVD and BLURAY and CDs in the age of Itunes and Netflix?

 

Why I continue to Buy DVD and BLURAY and CDs in the age of Itunes and Netflix?

The first reason is I like to.

Streaming for all the bs of buying things digitally is a very ephemeral system. I love streaming, I love Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu etc. I love the Roku revolution, and the convenience of sites like Spotify.

I’m not an old fogie,(meaning I am old, but not so old as I cannot embrace the useful new) I like Ebooks and I like Digital Comic Books and as I said I love Spotify and Netflix and Hulu.

However, not for one second do I trust things that require a gatekeeper to access.

LOST IN THE STATIC #282 – Just did an excellent podcast on this subject, and it spurred this post. I urge you to go listen. I don’t agree with everything they say, as I’m far more digital friendly then they are. The one guy gets a bit strident (As I’ve gotten older the more a person yells or emphasises a point the less seriously I can take them), turn it down dude, but that aside they make good points.

 

There are 3 things going on here with my preference for still wanting physical media:

1/ For things I love I want it the highest quality available, with that quality not dependent on the variable speed of my connection, or the number of people hitting the streaming service, or even the weather. For things I love, I want to be able to view it with a quality that is not going to fluctuate depending on the streaming service or my ISPs desire to throttle service to get more people serviced at the lowest cost and effort possible. Or dependent on political manueverings, ala what Congress is doing to the FCC today.

2/ For things I love, I want the special features. I love Michael Mann and Tony Scott films, and I love their commentaries and special features. But especially that Director’s Commentary, rewatching a loved film with a Director and/or cast beside you to discuss their experiences and memories, is genius. The Rob Reiner commentary for PRINCESS BRIDE (yes I laughed initially the first time my Wife tried to get me to watch it. Boy was I wrong, one of the great films, with one of the best swordfights of all time) it is genius, to watch the movie, then watch it again with Reiner’s reminisces. I rewatch that film, and then rewatch with commentary at least once a year.

“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

3. I want the version of the film as I first saw it. And not having that film change, behind the scenes, where you lose a miute or gain a minute, or lose a scene, due to copyright issues, or the ending changes due to the studio wanting to sell a new version. There is a permanence to a DVD you own, that in no way is the same as an ‘owned’ digital copy that is at the mercy of rights owners, cease and desist letters, or companies going out of business.

So quality and control and a level of permanence, are the reasons that I always want my favorite CDs,my favotie movies, my favorite books and comic books, in formats that I do not have to go through a gatekeeper to access. Now for general watching, or watching/ltstening to something the first time, streaming is great, as long as you realize it is… transitory at best.

Okay, more on this later. Go buy a DVD or CD or book you love.