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Author Topic: A History Lesson  (Read 544 times)
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Nerd-o-rama

Urban Legend
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« on: 09-07-2004 21:06 »
« Last Edit on: 09-14-2004 00:00 »

Hello, all, and welcome to my very first thread started on this board.  Earlier today, I came across an interesting article ( http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Social/star_trek/SH7.htm )  I found the following to be particularly interesting.

 
Quote
Star Trek never had a large audience, as measured by television ratings. After its second season, the network decided to cancel the show. But a letter-writing campaign by fans, unprecedented in the business of television, caused network executives to reverse their decision and renew Star Trek for a third season. Unfortunately, during its third season the network put the show on at a time when few people watch television, and Star Trek was finally canceled after its third season.

But after its cancellation, Star Trek took on a life of its own. In the early 1970s, a group of fans decided to hold a convention where the original actors would speak. Expecting only a few hundred fans to attend, they were surprised when thousands showed up. Star Trek proved highly popular in television repeats, shown endlessly on local television stations around the country. Star Trek conventions, or "cons" soon became popular and fans coined the term "Trekkies" to describe themselves. These fans produced their own magazines (dubbed "fanzines" ) featuring fictional stories and other grassroots productions such as artwork, songs and plays. Fans even took advantage of fledgling technology such as videotape machines and video recorders to produce their own versions of Star Trek stories. An entire folk subculture grew up around the show. Star Trek apparently became more popular and reached a much broader audience after its cancellation than it had when it was originally shown on NBC.

It's funny how history repeats...almost.  I wanted to share this article with all you PEELers out there, to show one more connection between these two great shows, and to prove to the pessimistic Old Guard (you know who you are) that stranger shit than a continued Futurama franchise has happened.  And also that Paramount is slightly less evil than Fox.

I'm not saying that Futurama will ever be as much of a pop-culture influence as Star Trek.  I just thought you all deserved some food for thought.

"Finally, I get to save the Earth with deadly lasers instead of deadly slide shows."

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Nasty Pasty

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #1 on: 09-07-2004 22:26 »
« Last Edit on: 09-07-2004 22:26 »

I like to imagine that Futurama is as popular as good ol StarTrek...

Then i get hit in the head with a ruler for daydreaming.

Anywho, I see many similarities between these 2 great Sci-Fi series'. Both ended at 72 episodes, were cancelled pre-maturely, have relatively large underground fanbases, have enjoyed tremendous sucess during re-runs, and are loved by nerds around the world.

PS: By the Way, welcome to PEEL nerd-o-rama! Judging that this is your FIRST thread, you'll get along fine here. Enjoy your stay and please take a look at these rules (just to keep the peace with other PEELers):

Nerd-o-rama

Urban Legend
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« Reply #2 on: 09-07-2004 22:47 »

Finally, an official welcome with graphics and everything from a five-star guy.  I knew I should have made my own thread first...
germanfryfan

The Listmaker
Urban Legend
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« Reply #3 on: 09-07-2004 22:54 »

[ironic]You didn't get this picture with your first post?[/ironic]
Some five and more stars members find them annoying  hmpf

Hehe, really funny to see how many similarities there are between Futurama's and Star-Trek's history. Weird coincidences.  big grin

@Nasty: change the second URL from "thefryhole.alltoons.co.uk/peelfaq.php" to "thefryhole.co.uk/peelfaq.php". Aslate got his own Webspace now after alltoons cancelled his membership.
Fryrish1

Bending Unit
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« Reply #4 on: 09-07-2004 23:25 »

I never really noticed that and you make some good points however i hate star trek and i love futurama so there are my differences
David A

Urban Legend
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« Reply #5 on: 09-07-2004 23:42 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Nasty Pasty:
Both ended at 72 episodes...

Looks like you need a history lesson.

Counting the pilot episode, there were 80 episodes of the original Star Trek.

Plus that blooper reel where the door doesn't close all the way.
Ttomalss
Delivery Boy
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« Reply #6 on: 09-08-2004 14:57 »

...and about two dozen or so of the animated series, but that doesn't count.
Prof. Wernstrum

Starship Captain
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« Reply #7 on: 09-08-2004 17:21 »

...and a number of episodes of the spin-offs that is rapidly tending towards infinity.
Zogonif

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #8 on: 09-09-2004 02:54 »

Spot the star trek fans
Zion Ravescene

Crustacean
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« Reply #9 on: 09-09-2004 16:52 »
« Last Edit on: 09-09-2004 16:52 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by David A:
 Looks like you need a history lesson.

Counting the pilot episode, there were 80 episodes of the original Star Trek.

Plus that blooper reel where the door doesn't close all the way.

Last time I checked there were 79  of the original episodes, and that did include the two pilots "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before".  What's the 80th, and where can I get it from?

EDIT: Never mind.... got it.


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"YES! It's an extender!"
Prof. Wernstrum

Starship Captain
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« Reply #10 on: 09-09-2004 18:40 »

The problem is that sometimes people don't include The Cage since it wasn't aired at the time and stars an almost entirely different cast. Also, The two-part episode The Menangerie can be counted as one or two episodes giving a total of 78-80 depending on what you include.
David A

Urban Legend
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« Reply #11 on: 09-10-2004 00:22 »

Right, but no matter how you count them, there were more than 72 episodes.
newhook_1

Urban Legend
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« Reply #12 on: 09-11-2004 17:45 »

Here's an idea!
Nerd-o-rama

Urban Legend
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« Reply #13 on: 09-11-2004 17:51 »
« Last Edit on: 09-11-2004 17:51 »

Stan's a genius.  Or was it Kyle?

I started a rambling off-topic Trekkie thread!  I'm so happy!

Say...maybe we could go back in time and...I dunno, kill Rupert Murdoch and Gail Berman?  I'll get the stakes...
Nasty Pasty

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #14 on: 09-11-2004 23:33 »

this thread is getting way to pointless and spammy. I mean ever has been talking about an error i made in the 2nd post of this thread concerning StarTrek, not Futurama.

So either we get back on topic or the Mods can have at this thread.
Nerd-o-rama

Urban Legend
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« Reply #15 on: 09-12-2004 00:48 »

Thank you, comrade Pasty.  I'd like to suggest two things for you guys to discuss that would be "on-topic":

1) That Futurama's comeback is not an impossibility, as similar returns have happened in the past (already threads for this, I know, but they're less encouragement and more crackpot schemes.)
2) Just the similarities between the shows in general, for any pessimists who don't feel like flaming me.

I don't know about your previous threads, but I plan for this one to do as little dying as possible.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #16 on: 09-12-2004 00:55 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Nerd-o-rama:
Stan's a genius.  Or was it Kyle?

'Twas Stan. Kyle's voice is more high-pitched and a little faster.

David A

Urban Legend
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« Reply #17 on: 09-12-2004 05:10 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Nerd-o-rama:
1) That Futurama's comeback is not an impossibility, as similar returns have happened in the past (already threads for this, I know, but they're less encouragement and more crackpot schemes.)

Star Trek didn't return in its original form, though.  I suppose it's possible that we might someday see Futurama: The Animated Series or Futurama: The Next Generation; but don't hold your breath, it'll make you blue.
Tongue Luck

Starship Captain
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« Reply #18 on: 09-12-2004 05:56 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by David A:
Futurama: The Animated Series
I don't think I'd be able to watch something like that. It'd be too weird.
David A

Urban Legend
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« Reply #19 on: 09-12-2004 06:37 »

Yeah, I know.  Even if they got all of the actors from the show to do the voices, it just wouldn't feel the same.
Nasty Pasty

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #20 on: 09-12-2004 11:37 »
« Last Edit on: 09-12-2004 11:37 »

I could just imagine Futurama spinoffs like they did with TNG DS9 and VGR on StarTrek....

Ba! Whatever, stick with the formula that works.
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SURF BOWSER, SURF!
Nerd-o-rama

Urban Legend
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« Reply #21 on: 09-12-2004 12:39 »

Well, two things with potential spinoffs: Between the time Star Trek was canceled and the premiere of Next Generation, both technology and writing/acting standards had increased dramatically.  Also, I believe the original cast weren't on speaking terms.  Assuming that none of the voice actors or good writers die or decide they hate everyone else on the show, I think they'll just pick up where they left off (though they might add a subtitle as a gag.)

Then again, there's always the movies...
PCC Fred

Space Pope
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« Reply #22 on: 09-14-2004 21:41 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Nasty Pasty:
Anywho, I see many similarities between these 2 great Sci-Fi series'. Both ended at 72 episodes

If you didn't, I'm sorry, but did you get that figure off South Park?  I remember an episode where two sci-fi nerds are arguing over whether the original Star Trek had 72 or 73 episodes.  Probably Trey Parker and Matt Stone were trying to goad Trekkies into sending them furious letters so they could have a good laugh reading them.

And the reason why the Star Trek producers decided to cast new actors in 1986 is that the original cast were by then too old (James Doohan was already in his late sixties), and also the new show couldn't afford their salaries on a TV budget.

And lest we forget, there are actually quite a few shows that have returned after being axed.  Next year Doctor Who will return after a 16 year absence (bar the crappy 1996 American TV movie).  And Family Guy will soon be back as well.

A number of shows have also been remade as movies.  Although they've done reasonably well at the box office, for the most part they've been vastly inferior to the shows that spawned them.  Example - the Flintstones movie.

But Doctor Who may best serve as an example of why such remakes are often ill-advised.  It was originally cancelled in 1985 to much anger from it's fans.  A year later it was recommissioned, but for the next four years the majority of the scripts were terrible, it haemorrhaged viewers, and in 1989 it was again cancelled, apparently for good.

Then fan power kicked in.  For over five years angry DW fans demanded the resurrection of the show, backed up by good merchandise sales.  Eventually the go-ahead was given for the American TV movie.  It aired in 1996, but instead of celebrating the moment, the fans who'd been clamouring for it's return bitched about how awful the movie was.  In many ways they're right, the movie is abysmal, an attempt to turn DW into another flashy effects action-adventure show.  But it did demonstrate that an axed show being resurrected isn't neccessarily a good thing.

Last year the BBC suddenly announced that a new series of DW had been commissioned, partly due to fan pressure, and partly because by November they'd released every existing DW episode on video.  The new series is currently being filmed, and will air next year.

Now there's a guy called John Gorman who lives in Stoke-on-Trent.  His main occupation seems to have been writing angry letters berating the BBC for cancelling DW, and demanding it's return.  For years and years I've seen his letters popping up on teletext letters pages.  A couple of months ago, I saw a new letter of his, complaining that he "didn't like the direction this new series was going in".

Frankly that kind of attitude is what I think will sink the new series.  No matter how good the new series is, there'll be fans like Mr. Gorman who'll compare it unfavourably to the original series.

Here's what I see happening.  There'll be a huge media hype in the week or so leading up to the first episode, which will get a decent audience as a lot of the mainstream viewers will tune in to see what all the fuss is about.  Within two weeks, the majority of the mainstream will have deserted the show after writing it off as "for sci-fi geeks only".  Meanwhile the hardcore fans will be at each other's throats over whether of not the new show is any good, and more importantly, how it compares to the original.  The viewing figures will soon sink, and within a year or two it'll be cancelled again.  Think I'm being pessemistic?  Look what happened to the remake of Randall and Hopkirk.

Had Futurama been recommissioned in the weeks or months following the initial hiatus, I'd have been confident that the show could return intact and faithful to it's former self.  However as months become years the possiblity of Futurama returning in it's original form becomes less and less likely.  It might happen, but I doubt it.

This is why I think we should let Futurama rest.  I'd love to see the show return, truly I would.  But I don't want to see a shoddy remake that takes the shine off what's gone before.
Nerd-o-rama

Urban Legend
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« Reply #23 on: 09-14-2004 21:58 »
« Last Edit on: 09-14-2004 21:58 »

Hey, as long as the original actors, the creators, and most of the writing staff return (which is highly likely if a return occurs wihtin the next few years) I think the show could easily hold onto that same feeling and style we've grown to love.  In fact, with West and DiMaggio on the team, they could practically do a two-man show, voice-wise.
Just kidding...as if anyone could replicate Katey Sagal's singing voice.

I mean, I think we can all agree that at least one or two Trek spinoffs have been quality shows, right?  And thats with entirely different writers and casts.

"Finally, I get to save the Earth with deadly lasers instead of deadly slide shows."

GP: 100 Nixorbucks
XP: 500
Next level: 1000
PCC Fred

Space Pope
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« Reply #24 on: 09-14-2004 22:11 »

One of the reasons why the Trek spinoffs (or TNG and DS9) have been so successful is that they managed to create their own identity while still being Star Trek.  The fact it was different charcters helped as well.  When the return of Star Trek was announced in 1986, the producers briefly wondered whether they should cast new actors as Kirk, Spock etc.  Thankfully they dropped that idea, otherwise Star Trek's rebirth would've come to a juddering halt circa 1988.

Like I said, I'd be in favour of a Futurama return if had the original team, both cast and crew.  But can you imagine the worst case scenario where the show lays dormant for years before someone like Jonathan Frakes comes along and decides to produce his "take" on Futurama?
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