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Author Topic: Star Control Television Series  (Read 21183 times)
Cronos
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #45 on: September 17, 2004, 04:56:58 pm »

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And Cronos: that thing you wrote down was nice.. Even though it was the Sc2 story.. Tongue


True, but making it fit into 7 seasons and further subdividing it into 24 episodes per season is going to be a mammoth task. Not to mention making it relatively PG-13 and suitable for kids. The Ilwrath, for example, can be made to look like depraved fools but we cant hint about genocide since kids arent really ready for that kind of stuff.

Season six would be about the Syreen Vengence, fixing the Ultron and freeing the Chmmr and the eventual destruction of the Sa-Matra.

It seems that I lost that creative streak. I guess there will be a way to stretch it to seven seasons what with interpersonal relationships between the crew, engineering problems and new planets to explore. Not to mention some egg heads for the nerdy side of things Smiley
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Art
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #46 on: September 17, 2004, 08:13:05 pm »

The Ur-Quan are not nearly as cosmic an enemy as the Vorlons adn Shadows. They're more... "human", I guess is the right way to put it. And they should be portrayed as such in any dramatic retelling of the SC2 story.

Personally I don't think the whole of the SC2 game story is that great as a story; I mean, the plot isn't as tight or connected or detailed as you'd want it to be for a pure storytelling medium. But it's a *great* framework to hang a story on, and what I would like to see is scriptwriters having fun with the idea, creating new interactions that weren't seen in the game. More details about ZEX's relationship with the other VUX. Fwiffo's reactions to Tanaka (maybe even make part of the initial conversation take place between the two of them while dogfighting rather than with the Captain). Details of life on a Kzer-Za Dreadnought. And so on. The plot would definitely be *reminiscent* of B5, but unlike B5, as someone else said, a series like this would feel free to laugh at itself and indulge itself a lot more -- it could even coyly acknowledge similarities to B5 in some throwaway gags ("This is just like one of those space adventures my grandpa watched when he was a kid").

Tanaka should play a larger role in the story, I think. He serves the important purpose of actually being a relic of the First War; unlike Hayes, who's had time to adjust to Earth's defeat, Tanaka has been spending years hoping for the Alliance's victory and is only having to come to terms with defeat now. Could be a great source of conversations and character development.
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #47 on: September 17, 2004, 10:05:50 pm »

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As for the rest, yes, the details were different, but you have to admit that the "main" story/backstory elements were so similar it's almost eerie.

The "main" story/backstory elements were so similar it's television writing as usual:  virtual plagerism.  P&F have to walk a fine line regarding their public comments of B5, we fan-boys don't.

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We cant hint about genocide since kids arent really ready for that kind of stuff.

Really?  Tell that to the elementary school kids all over the U.S. who learn about the Holocaust.  Also, remember that many alien villians in SCI-Fi cartoons commit genocide (the Invid in Robotech Gen3 as an example).  I would think that the only scene cut from SC2 for TV would be Talana's.  While it might be mild by some people's tastes, it'd have parents' groups up in arms about the filth in childrens' television.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2004, 10:13:19 pm by Culture20 » Logged
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #48 on: September 18, 2004, 02:07:48 am »

Star Control, the Television show, for kids?  No way - I could see it as nut-busting funny, Adult Swim humor - late at night, live action with generous amounts of CGI animation - now that would be something to watch.
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #49 on: September 18, 2004, 04:23:16 am »

I would never suggest it be an actual children's show; I want there to be references to sexuality, to bloody, massive war, to genocidal madness, and so on.

I would also never suggest it to be like the kind of crap that makes up the majority of late-night Adult Swim. I want an SC2 series that would be funny, but not be dissipated postmodern self-hating humor that Cartoon Network seems to be stuck in the rut of. No crappy show that makes fun of how crappy it is, and makes fun of the fact that it's a cartoon, and makes fun of itself making fun of itself until people turn it off and fall asleep on the couch in the dorm lounge.

Unfortunately the market for genuinely cute, funny, yet ultimately serious ripping yarns of adventure seems to have largely dried up. It still exists fitfully in some of the stuff marketed to children or preteens, moreso in Japan than in the US. I do picture SC2 as having a tone similar to those of the grand old adventures like original Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica -- indeed, the old Battlestar Galactica series is a good model for how I picture the feel of a series based on SC2. That mix of humor, drama and action is hard to find; I think the only recent TV franchise that caught it well was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

As far as "plagiarism", ignoring the fact that we have all the chance of a flying fuck in hell of actually seeing any SC2 series ever, you can't "plagiarize" a concept. Idiots often start up idiotic lawsuits as *though* you could, and occasionally win because of stupid judges, but you couldn't have genre fiction at all if you didn't allow people to "steal" ideas. You get a genre by getting people setting things in very similar settings that are convenient to tell a certain kind of story. (Ever notice how many movies there are about people turning into zombies and destroying civilization, except for a lone outpost of resisters who have to fight off the zombie hordes to save themselves? Or about a guy who meets a girl, drives her away through some mistake, and then earns her back? Or about a prince whose evil uncle murders his father to steal the crown, and he has to avenge his father's death? And so on.)

And the similarities between SC2 and B5 *are* very broad in nature -- do you know how many shows B5 would have to sue if "There's a space station, and ancient battling alien forces, and lots of alien species" was an idea that belonged to them? There would be a *commercial* problem -- we'd worry about no one watching the show because people said it was a "Babylon 5 ripoff" -- but there would certainly not be a legal problem.
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #50 on: September 18, 2004, 04:31:02 am »

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At the risk of falling into the trap of "Worf vs. Chewbacca", "Godzilla vs. Ultraman", "Terminator vs. ED-209", etc., what do you mean by this?  And qualitatively, is there a difference?  Both are the "top dog" in their respective fictions.

As for the rest, yes, the details were different, but you have to admit that the "main" story/backstory elements were so similar it's almost eerie.  Although I have to admit this could be seen as an asset, since history likely judges Babylon 5 as a success.


No, not really. B5 was a success among geeky fanboys; in terms of actually making money among regular people, it was a roaring failure. SC2 as a TV series could likely succeed by avoiding the things that drove people away from B5, that B5 fanboys rave about so much. No byzantine alien politics, no gloomy dark depression, and significantly lighter on the moral uncertainty. Make it cute, make it funny, give us heroes we can root for, without losing the meat of the story.

As far as how similar the plots are: the Ur-Quan are *like* Vorlons and Shadows, but they *aren't* Vorlons and Shadows. They're not spirits overseeing the development of whole civilizations from the background. The Kohr-Ah don't love chaos for chaos' sake; they kill alien races to protect themselves, plain and simple. The Kzer-Za don't seed civilizations and nursemaid them as gods; they announce themselves quite simply as what they are, giant caterpillar-things, and create a political empire for their protection.

As far as power levels, I'd say Vorlons/Shadows are more powerful than Kzer-Za/Kohr-Ah. But I think "unequal" meant "not alike", not "weaker than".

And the history of the Starbase is totally different from the history of Babylon 5, and the show isn't *about* the Starbase the way it's about Babylon 5, and... argh. Look, the similarities are only "eerie" if you're the sort of person who looks for connections between *everything* and if B5 is one of the only sci-fi franchises you're familiar with. It's certainly similar to B5, but they're really, really far apart in tone, focus and in the basic nature of the story.
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #51 on: September 18, 2004, 04:42:23 am »

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The "main" story/backstory elements were so similar it's television writing as usual:  virtual plagerism.  P&F have to walk a fine line regarding their public comments of B5, we fan-boys don't.

Careful now.  Smiley  All available evidence in the public record shows that JMS and PR3 were contemporaries, they both wrote similar stories at around the same time.  And given that it took JMS several years to sell his pilot, it's entirely probable that JMS wrote his space opera first.

As for comparing Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5, that's another matter.  Wink
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #52 on: September 18, 2004, 05:23:21 am »

Ever met a Mycon, face to face? - they are quite powerfull.
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #53 on: September 18, 2004, 06:28:31 am »

/me throws another log on the fire.

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<Manta> Fwiffo: Has anyone ever brought up parallels between Babylon 5 and Star Control?
<Fwiffo> Babylon 5 causes a certain amount of stomping around the office screaming.
<Fwiffo> Babylon 5 steals from us.  We steal from known space.
<Fwiffo> And Larry in known space steals from others.


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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #54 on: September 18, 2004, 07:05:36 pm »

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Ever met a Mycon, face to face? - they are quite powerfull.


Meeting one face-to-face is hard. They live in temperatures that melt lead and all.
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #55 on: September 19, 2004, 06:53:16 am »

Wasn't SC2 out before B5?

Vorlons and Shadows are stronger than Ur-Quan?  I suppose.  But tech-wise compared to the rest of the SC universe, Ur-Quan are about equal to the Vorlons/Shadow.

A SC-based movie would definately be awesome.  Could see it knock Enterprise off the charts completely.  lol.
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #56 on: September 19, 2004, 08:49:02 am »

It's true, Star Control II made it to the store shelves about a year or so before Babylon 5's pilot episode aired, but according to all sources, JMS had been shopping his screenplay around to networks and syndication companies for at least five years before Warner Bros. agreed to produce it (and he has always claimed to have had the story worked out from the beginning), so in all likelihood there is no relationship between the two.

Your mention of that "Enterprise" show, however, makes we want to digress into a rant about the awful quality of television sci-fi today.  Allow me to deconstruct a scene from the episode of "Enterprise" I sawwhile channel-flipping last night:

The captain of the ship is on an away mission (an implausibility I'll forgive due to ST tradition) to disable some manner of plot contrivance that will destroy the universe or something.  The Bad GuysTM are coming after them, but the Good GuysTM have setup a sniper.  So far, so good, seeing Star Trek characters thinking tactically for a change picques my interest.  But then, one of the Bad Guys sneaks up behind the sniper as he's killing the Bad Guys and, rather than simply shooting him in order to stop him (something any soldier or police officer would likely do in order to save lives in imminent danger), puts a gun to his head, and attempts to take him prisoner.  This, of course, leads to the inevitable moronic hand-to-hand combat scene, and soon thereafter I changed the channel and reassured myself that Star Trek fans are in fact much, much dumber than they like to think they are if they can watch that kind of tripe.

But later, it occurred to me exactly what I think is so cool about Star Control: such things as "fistfights on the bridge" are absolutely unthinkable, because humans are downright wimpy in the SC universe.  An Ur-Quan vs. human fistfight would go something like: Ur-Quan approaches human, rips human in two at the torso, and the fight ends.  Smiley  The emphasis in Star Control is THINKING your way out of problems, and if fighting is necessary, you let your amazingly advanced hardware do it for you, because otherwise you're screwed.  That kind of thing has been done before, but in my opinion it's all too rare on television.
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #57 on: September 19, 2004, 09:27:07 am »

Oh yes. No gratuitous fistfights in the SC2 show. It helps that I while I picture Hayes as fairly beefy, I also picture him as past his prime, and I definitely picture Zelnick as a kind of weedy nerd (he's a computer geek, after all). Make us feel like we're in a video-game-ish kind of world where the Cool Ship does most of the cool things and people react to it -- the best action shows, I think, are the ones that give you only a few cool action set-pieces to look at and then focus on the reactions and character development of the people that these pyrotechnic events affect. The old shows actually did this fairly well when they tried; if you look at Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of the few modern action/excitement shows that has my respect, it, too, gave more airtime to character development stuff than stunts, and made the stunts seem all the cooler in comparison (because you didn't get bored with them repeating all the time).

I don't think humans are necessarily super-wussy in the SC2 universe; they're probably weaker than the Ilwrath and Ur-Quan, though then again I have my doubts about whether the Ilwrath and Ur-Quan could survive in a human-normal gravity. The important thing is that the issue doesn't really come up; alien races are sensible enough to live inside their ships with their nice environments and not expose themselves to the problems of mixing environments unless they had to. The comm screen is the central image of SC2 for me, and should be a unifying image for any drama built around it; we glimpse terrifyingly diverse alien environments through our little window, but always interact with them through that window's filter.

Now, more stuff about how we'd actually make a show: I think the show should definitely start with a "how we got here" story, maybe presented as a big separate multi-parter special; the whole history of SC1 can be presented in a quick montage flashback akin to the intro of SC2, and then we have a two-parter following the adventures of Captain Burton as she discovers Unzervalt and leads its colonization. Part 1 should be about finding the Unzervalt shipyard -- the whole story of fleeing the Ilwrath is a teaser that ends with finding Unzervalt, then the meat of Part 1 begins with the story of the Unzervalt colony fleet, then Part 1 ends with the Tobermoon blazing off into space. Part II starts in medias res many years later, with the completion of the Vindicator, the introduction of Zelnick as a character, the Vindicator's launch and the sudden, shocking death of Burton, who thus far has been our main character. The switch to Zelnick as captain should be awkward and uncomfortable for us as it is for him, and it's on a shaky note that the regular series begins with the discovery of the Starbase.

As far as the main human characters, the Vindicator's bridge crew; my instinct is to make them Unzervalt babies from Zelnick's generation, with maybe a few elders who were Burton's colleagues in the mix (but only a few). Also mix them up a bit in terms of race and gender. Let a male be the diplomacy officer rather than a female, for goodness' sake, and let a female be the military/tactical advisor. Have love interests and such among the crew, maybe, but don't play it up; don't make it be *about* that, make them very aware that they're playing for high stakes and have little time for soap-opera crap. And make the Captain standoffish and separate; give him no love interest until Talana, make him the weird nerd who spent most of his life talking to the computer instead of other people, whom no one really gets close to, whom everyone respects but doesn't really quite trust. That gives him a reason to try to overuse sarcasm and humor in his conversations with others, and to form as strong bonds with the random aliens he meets as he does.
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #58 on: September 19, 2004, 01:32:56 pm »

0xDEC0DE, most Star Trek fans despise Enterprise.  They try to reach out to non-ST fans.  Hence why they left out "Star Trek" from the title.

Art, your ideas are basically parallel on what I'd picture for a StarCon series.  Sure, there might be some person to person combat (like if you piss off an Orz ship and they try to take over your ship or if some other alien race tries to board, which makes sense to do.  And if any planetary natives attack as you figure SOME worlds would have primitive cultures) but for the most part, it should be minimal.

I think that, if aired, a SC series could very well bring in a large viewer base.  Provided it was done well, of course.
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Re: Star Control Television Series
« Reply #59 on: September 20, 2004, 12:13:06 am »

Something like an Orz boarding party or the VUX Beast -- a physical danger which actually comes *on the ship* -- would be an "ohshitohshitohshit" kind of event; something disturbing and freaky and panicky because it's something that almost never happens, where the environment of the ship itself has been violated. To Star Trek: TNG's credit, they did do a good job of keeping the Enterprise's corridors "safe" enough for enough of a majority of episodes that having some hostile threat come on the ship was grounds for alarm (rather than an "oh no, not again").

Similarly I wouldn't want the main bridge crew going off on away team missions all the time a la Star Trek. That's unrealistic and is too hamfisted a way to call attention to the core characters. Let there be a bunch of recurring characters who go on away team missions, and have episodes featuring them alternating with those focusing on the bridge crew, and show the interactions between them.
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