What Could Have Been: Star Trek: Phase II

A proposed Enterprise redesign for an undeveloped movie, by Ralph McQuarrie of Star Wars fame.

A proposed Enterprise redesign for another undeveloped movie, by Ralph McQuarrie of Star Wars fame.

We’re going to try something new this month. Instead of a season for a show that was canceled, it’s going to be a look at the plans for a series that never actually materialized at all. Hopefully it’s just as popular, as I’ve got a few more of these we can examine in the future, and let’s face it–there are a lot of canceled shows, but not all of them had enough planning and forethought put into them that they could fill out a full article. And what better place to start out than in the franchise that featured in the first “What Could Have Been?” That’s right, we’re looking at a Star Trek series that never got produced: a continuation of the original series, with new characters and an upgraded ship called Star Trek: Phase II.

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The Dark Side of Franchises

Transformers idiocyI’ve talked a lot here about franchises, the advantages that they offer to fans and the reasons they are so appealing to the studios. But the reality of the franchise phenomenon has a lot of downsides, too, and as the size of moviegoing audiences shrinks and the number of live TV viewers dwindles, these downsides have only become more prevalent. Today, let’s delve into the dark side of franchises, and explore why giant franchises aren’t always a good thing.

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The Shared Universe and Film Tie-ins

The BusAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was heralded upon its arrival as something revolutionary. A television series, set in the same universe as films, affected by the fallout of each one as they were released while allowing viewers to keep an eye on this world in the interim. It’s something not too different from how Defiance‘s MMORPG connection was described. And, much like with Defiance, it’s something that actually has been seen before, although few people tend to think of it in the same way. This time, however, it’s a much better known property: Star Trek. You see, when The Next Generation started in the 1980s, the feature films with the TOS crew were still being produced. Let’s take a look at some of the significant differences between the approaches of these two series and how the concept of a shared universe has evolved.

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What Could Have Been: Enterprise Season 5

NX-02, Columbia, might've been an indicator of what a refitted Season 5 Enterprise would look like.

Could the NX-02, Columbia, have appeared again in Enterprise season 5?

With all this talk of cancellation, I thought it might be interesting to go back to some of those shows that were struck down in their prime, to see just what we all missed out on. One of the most well-documented cases is that of Star Trek: Enterprise season 5, which the former producers have been quite open about discussing. While some people hold out hope that Enterprise might be revived on Netflix, the reality is that as long as the movies are going, there’s no chance, and even if it was to somehow return, they’d likely have to come up with some new ideas (preferably ones that avoid the problems with prequels). Given this, let’s take a look at the fifth season we might have seen, in some alternate universe where networks in 2005 understood the concept of DVRs. Continue reading

The Franchise Phenomenon: Reboots and Remakes and Sequels, Oh My!

Raise the Gates

With the recent news that Stargate will be rebooting into a new trilogy of films, I thought it might be the right time to take a step back and look at the abundance of reboots and remakes we’re seeing of late. It’s been a problem with the film industry for some time, but the expensive nature of the sci-fi blockbuster means that as a fandom, we’re far more likely to have to deal with this problem than your average cinephile. Stargate just happens to be the perfect lens through which to examine the issue. Continue reading