Weddings, Zorro, Star Trek and the Irish

April 24, 2006

RockyThis is one of those self-indulgent entries I write before I bury my head into a final stretch of late-night work. You know me.

First of all, Brian is going to marry Debz. I don’t know what that weird blue ripply thing is at the top of his site, but it doesn’t seem to matter — she said yes. He proposed knee-deep in the Atlantic, off Jekyll Island here in Georgia. Being me, and not having been to Jekyll Island, I engage this factoid only by hitting it with another factoid, like asteroids in the useless black of trivia: Jekyll Island is where they shot a bunch of the Deep South stuff in Glory. You’re glad to know that.

Next up, Alison has triumphantly landed herself a job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In New York. I’ve never been, but I hear that’s where Law & Order is.

Marty, meanwhile, is in Ireland right now, which is a glorious boon for him. I’ve been to Scotland, England and Wales, which are like Ireland, but with dignity. And snakes. Or something. I’m pretty sure they shot The Secret of Roan Inish in Ireland, but I fell asleep during that movie, as I did flying back to the States, maybe somewhere over Ireland. (These comments at the expense of the Irish go out to Justin, by the way.) Anyway, Marty, if you want to bring me back an old-fashioned longbow, that’d be great.

In other news, Paramount is desperate to report that they know J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost) does good work and that Mission: Impossible wasn’t the only adventure series they had on the air in the 1960s. So they’re having J.J. tackle a Star Trek movie. (Bryan Singer, I imagine, they expect to be too expensive after his Superman movie.) Now, I’m a big Star Trek fan — big enough that I have to hide the extent of it from my co-workers, many of whom play D&D every week, remember — but I’ll tell you why this is a Bad Idea:

Paramount’s announcing that J.J. Abrams will be directing Kirk and Spock Go to Starfleet Academy, a feature concept so good that executives ditched it in favor of Shatner’s Star Trek V: The One Where They Talk to God. (This was just after they’d finished the de facto Trek trilogy with Star Trek IV: The One With the Whales and were trying to figure out what to do with the franchise next.) Despite being a bad idea when people still vaguely cared about Kirk and Spock, they’re actually pushing ahead with it now.

I have to imagine that this thought went through some executive’s head:

EXECUTIVE: Hey, maybe if this one tanks we can blame it on Casino Royale.

If the banner ads I see everywhere are any indication, the current appeal of the original Star Trek series is as genre kitsch. (I say despite other, perfectly reasonable reasons to like to that show coming to mind.) What’re they going to do? Address the ’60s stylings of the show with a wink and and some hair gel, a la Deep Space Nine‘s (admittedly terrific) “Trials and Tribble-ations?” ‘Cause they did that already, but I doubt it’s a smart way to revitalize the franchise. Are they going to re-imagine the whole thing, leaving open the possibility of recasting Spock as, in my brother’s kind of words, “a babe?” This let’s them dodge any visual questions (e.g. “Where the hell’s the miniskirts?!”) but flushes a billion hours of existing Trek, for better or worse.

If they don’t re-boot the property with this movie, how many movies do they think they can get out of “Kirk and Spock: The College Years?” Is it going to be a Trek franchise in the tradition of the Harry Potter movies? ‘Cause while that’s sort of intriguing, it’s also insanely silly and probably better done with whole new characters — or a whole new property.

To be fair, giving J.J. Abrams control of Star Trek isn’t a terrible idea. I mean, it seems as painfully formulaic as every other Trek decision made in the 21st century (“Hey, let’s get that kid to do our other franchise! Do we have any old scripts around? Do we have to pay Harve Bennet if we use this one?”), but at least it’s the kind of majorly new thing they should be doing with the franchise. Going back to Kirk and Spock doesn’t even seem like such a terrible idea if we’re talking about re-imagining the property — that’s bold, that’s good — but this “Academy Years” idea reeks a little bit.

I’d love to be proven wrong, but this precarious premise is being handled by the fellas who brought us The Legend of Zorro, which I just saw this weekend. (Lost fans, look for Henry Gale as a strangely intense and villainous Pinkerton.) That movie is also admirably bold in a few ways, but I just can’t call it successful.

If Paramount was really smart, they’d put a new Mission: Impossible series on the air, first. Take advantage of Alias‘s departure and put it on right after The Unit, as a dessert show. Let J.J. and Co. build that, then decide what to do about Star Trek.

One potentially magnificent thing about an Abrams-directed Star Trek reboot, though: Letting Michael Giacchino (Mission: Impossible 3, The Incredibles, Medal of Honor) record his version of Alexander Courage’s original Trek theme.

[Note: If you haven’t heard, Kanye West’s remixed theme for M:I:III is pretty weak. Its bass mix is good, but everything else just doesn’t stir. I wait, unafraid, for Giacchino’s score, though.]

Noise: She Wants Revenge, “Tear You Apart”



  1. If’n you’re innerested, a group of fans is busily trying to recreate the fourth and fifth seasons of the original series, and they’re calling it Star Trek: New Voyages.

    A lot of people involved with Star Trek are helping them out… the next episode features Walter Koenig as an (aged) Chekov, in a script written by DC Fontana. David Gerrold (Trouble with Tribbles) is writing an episode. Ronald B. Moore, who was responsible for effects on all the spinoff series, is on board. Marc Scott Zicree, who wrote TNG’s “First Contact” (the ep, not the movie) and DS9’s “Far Beyond the Stars” is in on it.

    And their composer, Patrick Philips, personally visited Alexander Courage and got his blessing (as well as all his original sheets and notes).

    What’s not to like?

  2. So I guess you got married, too. I think Tootie, Marty and I are the only ones I have heard of that have yet to get married.

  3. They wanted to film an episode of Law and Order: SVU at the bookstore I am now quitting, but it was decided that having the store be the workplace of a serial rapist was not perhaps a good image for a struggling bookstore…

  4. Ian, I’ve yet to check out the New Voyages, though I’ve read quite a bit about them. I’m not enough of a TOS fan to get around to them, yet. To me, the original cast is best in Wrath of Khan, and everything else is everything else.

    Chuckles, where you been? Yeah, I got married, through and through. You still in touch with Tootie/2T? What’s she up to? For that matter, where are you?

    Alison, I’d think that, by now, most businesses in New York have been the workplace of some L&O offender.

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