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Star Trek: Pick A Plot

chrisd posted about 12 years ago | from the we're-still-gonna-line-up-for-em dept.

Movies 650

Vinnie_333 writes "This article on the New York Times sounds out on the often repetitive plots of the 10 Star Trek films to date (this include ST: Nemesis, coming soon). It refers to the film franchise as '10 films with 5 plots' and lays them all out in front of you. This does have a ring of truth. As a fan of Sci Fi (but not particularly Star Truck), I have to admit that there are only so many unique plots out there, and most of them have been well used by HG Well's time. Star Trek is, after all, a genre franchise and the story lines are held back by certain restrictions of the genre." I personally would pay Berman/Braga et al $20 if they never have a holodeck or time-travel-based plot ever again.

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FIRST FISH! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247288)


RE: FIRST NON-FISH (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247299)

first non-fish post

Re:FIRST FISH! (-1, Offtopic)

xmda (43558) | about 12 years ago | (#4247300)

No, you're a squid!

Who need a plot... (5, Funny)

JWBsDad (528480) | about 12 years ago | (#4247302)

when you have such great acting?

Why does God ........ (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | about 12 years ago | (#4247459)

need a starship?

This is OLD (2, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | about 12 years ago | (#4247304)

As a fan of Sci Fi (but not particularly Star Truck),

How old are you? Munging up the names of something you don't like is something I did when I was 12. Come on, you guess can be a little mature, can't you?

FYI - I'm not standing up for Star Trek. I don't like it much either.

Re:This is OLD (2)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | about 12 years ago | (#4247369)

Give em a break, DorkKnox.

Re:This is OLD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247394)

Shut up FartKnock! hahahahaha

Re:This is OLD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247395)

How old are you? Criticizing a bad puns is something I did when I was 15. Come on, you can try to have some social grace, can't you?

FYI - I'm not standing up for bad puns, I don't like them either.

Re:This is OLD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247438)

FYI - I'm not standing up for bad puns, I don't like them either.

Do you stand up for padded buns? Ha ha...

P.S. Don't let them get you down, FartBox!

Re:This is OLD (1)

fr2asbury (462941) | about 12 years ago | (#4247434)

Where's this complaint when we see:
M$, Microshaft, Micro$oft, Winblows or, Windoze?

I don't care for Microsoft either, but you see these all the time and I don't see you putting the writer down for childishness.


Kind of like all the people here using Micro$soft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247439)

hehehe. The world is full of chimps and I don't believe in evolution.

$20 (3, Insightful)

Capt. DrunkenBum (123453) | about 12 years ago | (#4247306)

I personally would pay Berman/Braga et al $20 if they would just sit down and watch "Wrath of Kahn." Trek as it should be, and seldom is.

Re:$20 (2)

Laplace (143876) | about 12 years ago | (#4247366)

The Wrath of Kahn DVD fucked up by not including the original ST Kahn episode, imo (which is the only one that counts).


Everyone knows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247389)

... what POKE 65495,0 [] does!

Re:$20 (1)

bahamat (187909) | about 12 years ago | (#4247433)

I've got a copy of TWOK. I'll let you watch it for $20

Re:$20 (1, Interesting)

AyeRoxor! (471669) | about 12 years ago | (#4247469)

I would pay Berman/Braga et al $20 if they have teenage daughters who would give me a lapdance.

Holodecks and time travel (2, Funny)

shadowxtc (561058) | about 12 years ago | (#4247310)

I'll throw in $20 as well. Let's see if we can buy Hollywood like they buy Washington.

Re:Holodecks and time travel (2)

Jacer (574383) | about 12 years ago | (#4247443)

I too will pitch in! Maybe hollywood will find it more profitable if they LISTEN to their fanbase, rather than alienate them, and punish them

Parallells to comics (1)

fluor2 (242824) | about 12 years ago | (#4247311)

I find these stories very similar to comics, where stories seem to be very similar. I suspect the authors are creating so many similar stories with a purpose: the differences are hard to see, and we end up watching the same show all over again, coz we were unsure if we had seen it before.

Good point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247479)

For example, when the android Data was raising as his son sacrifices himself at the end of the newest film, it's reminiscient of the sacrifice Spock made at the end of IV to save the crew. On the surface, they may seem to deal with what is fundamentally the same issue, but it's interesting to consider the difference in reaction that the audience might have to the sacrifice of an android (which, despite looking like Data, lacks certain elements of humanity) to the reaction they must have had with Spock's death. Spock's resurrection in V was poignant (same with Superman's); I don't know if they could achieve the same with the resurrection of an android.

Fundamentally, I guess I'm trying to say that they can revive plot lines to a certain extent while coming up with different conclusions that are fresh and interesting.

Hell (1)

Tebriel (192168) | about 12 years ago | (#4247313)

I'd just settle for a decent TV show.

Star Trek is Dead (-1, Redundant)

Dugsmyname (451987) | about 12 years ago | (#4247314)

Next Generation should hang their hats... They are old, boring, and should get out of the way of other great sci-fi films... No story will bring back this dead fish

Truth about plots . . . (5, Interesting)

Dausha (546002) | about 12 years ago | (#4247317)

Well, if you really want to admit it, there are only about three plots. You have Man against Nature, Man against Man and Man against Himself.

I would suppost that Man against computer (or Superman against computer) could be any of the above.

Re:Truth about plots . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247340)

Don't forget computer against computer (aka, Data against Lore).

Re:Truth about plots . . . (4, Informative)

THB (61664) | about 12 years ago | (#4247375)

Those are actually types of conflict, not plots. There is a difference.

Re:Truth about plots . . . (2)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | about 12 years ago | (#4247384)

That's right - it's possible to have a plot without conflict (although it's usually boring :)

Re:Truth about plots . . . (2)

KelsoLundeen (454249) | about 12 years ago | (#4247482)

Yeah, the classic example is this:

A) The King dies, then the queen dies.

B) The King dies *because* the queen dies.

(A) is a story, (B) is a plot.

Of course, there's no conflict in (B), but you can certainly add most any type of conflict and still preserve the plot.

Re:Truth about plots . . . (1)

arcadesdude (398698) | about 12 years ago | (#4247381)

Would man against fate/god fit into any of those or is that one you left out?

Re:Truth about plots . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247432)

> fate/god

natural & supernatural forces

Re:Truth about plots . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247449)

Fate/God = Nature

Re:Truth about plots . . . (0)

Ichijo (607641) | about 12 years ago | (#4247382)

You can organize anything you want (including plots) into any number of categories, and then choose a level (top level, 2nd level, etc.) to compare them against.

It's all about finding order in chaos. It's as old as time itself. The trick is finding new variations that haven't been used before.

After all, there are only two types of people in this world: those who tend to categorize things and those who don't.

Re:Truth about plots . . . (5, Funny)

mikeee (137160) | about 12 years ago | (#4247393)

No, no, no:

"In film you will find four basic story lines. Man versus man, man versus nature, nature versus nature, and dog versus vampire."
- Steven Spielberg

Re:Truth about plots . . . (1)

welloy (603138) | about 12 years ago | (#4247481)


It was Arthur C Clarke that said in a forward to one of his books (Cradle, or some other book with Gentry Lee, i think) that there are only three original ideas in SciFi, and one was his.

Ship fights (2, Insightful)

RedWolves2 (84305) | about 12 years ago | (#4247319)

They need to go back to good old ship fights. Star Trek Insurrection is the example I am talking about multiple ships in combat and close quarters combat towards the end of the movie.

Re:Ship fights (2)

Cyno01 (573917) | about 12 years ago | (#4247478)

I like star trek, but the battles leave something to be desired, they're relatively slow and repetative, ship swoops, fires phasers, other ships helm explodes, repeat, except in the dominion war :D they had federation fighters!!!!

Technobabble... (5, Interesting)

Bonker (243350) | about 12 years ago | (#4247320)

I read an article about TNG production a little while back. Rather than coming up with a exotic particle/lifeform/radition of the week to save the day, TNG scriptwriters would often just write in a placeholder to be replaced with a tech-adviser's technobabble at a later date.

Scripts would look as so:

GEORDI: Let's [technobabble] the main thrusters so that we can [technobabble] the Borg.


Re:Technobabble... (1)

Arjen (52387) | about 12 years ago | (#4247411)

I think the article you're referring to was in Wired 4.01 [] .

There's always B5... (5, Insightful)

DeafDumbBlind (264205) | about 12 years ago | (#4247322)

Not trying to flame. I used to be a big fan of the original as well as TNG.
However, the plotlines in B5 were far superior to anything on StarTrek, IMHO of course.
Also, no Wesley Crusher type characters :-)

Re:There's always B5... (1)

KenDaMan (603523) | about 12 years ago | (#4247351)

Even die hard Trekkies liked Wesley about as much as Star Wars fans liked Jar Jar.

Just Huggy Bear The Giant Fly (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 12 years ago | (#4247415)

We always used to laugh about this one

How on earth did a six foot fly come to be living in a twelve foot cube in the down below?

That's a story line I'd like to see.

I also want to know how on earth he gets all the information.

Perhaps he's got some sort of dominion over normal sized flies which he commands to hang out on the walls of the ship and report interesting stuff back.

Star Trek stories are mostly shite. They've got that huge ship with all those people and almost all the action takes place in one of 8 rooms.

Rykers beard & hair combination looks like it's plastic too.

Here's hoping someone wipes out the Ferengi any time soon

I like the predictable plots (5, Funny)

Target Drone (546651) | about 12 years ago | (#4247323)

If it wasn't for the predictable plots you couldn't play The Star Trek the Drinking Game [] .

Re:I like the predictable plots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247427)

Oh hell... everyone would be flat on their backs within 15 minutes. Puking soon after.

All I'm saying is I want the episode where (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247324)

fucking Wesley Crusher is flung out of the airlock as suddenly the Enterprise is awash in the riot of laughter. . .

One can dream.

You Got To Fight For Your Right To (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247332)

Impeach George W. Bush, current babler-in-chief

The White House []

Thanks and have a marijuana inspired evening.

Holodeck (2, Insightful)

Quixotic137 (26461) | about 12 years ago | (#4247333)

I personally would pay Berman/Braga et al $20 if they never have a holodeck or time-travel-based plot ever again.

Agreed, though the holodeck episodes in TNG with Moriarty were a pretty good take on AI and the rights of artificial life forms.

Re:Holodeck (2, Insightful)

MaxVlast (103795) | about 12 years ago | (#4247476)

No they weren't, they were boring as heck.

Holodeck plots (3, Interesting)

1010011010 (53039) | about 12 years ago | (#4247334)

I think some of the ST:TNG shows with the holodeck and time-travel plots were fun (e.g., when Mark Twain was a character on the show). I like them for the same reason I like the "Q" episodes. YMMV, I suppose.

Re:Holodeck plots (1)

GigsVT (208848) | about 12 years ago | (#4247397)

Where would the writers of the Matrix gotten a plot otherwise?

Time travel plots exposed! (4, Interesting)

GrouchoMarx (153170) | about 12 years ago | (#4247453)

Rule #1 about Star Trek time travel plots: If the crew goes back in time, it's good. If the crew is visited by someone from the future, it's bad.

Seriously, think about it. "Voyage Home", good. "Time's Arrow" (TNG, Mark Twain), ok. "Past Tense" (DS9, American ghetos in the 21st centry), good. "Tomorrow is Yesterday" (TOS, airforce thinks Enterprise is UFO), ok.

Compare those to the Voyager finale, crap. The episode where Worf's son comes back from the future to kill himself, dumb. Anything in Voyager involving the Starfleet Time Cops from the future, ugh.

The weird one is the Voyager episode where the crew is attacked by someone from the 29th century and is thrown back to 1996. It has a little of each, but in the end they kill Bill Gates, so that episode officially rocks. :-)

Think about it, it really is true. Of course, that does not bode well for "Enterprise", as their big plot arc is all about being visited by the Voyager Time Cops over and over again. *groan*

Damn NYT articles... (0, Offtopic)

PunchMonkey (261983) | about 12 years ago | (#4247339)

+5 karma to the first guy who posts a link to one of those anonymous nytimes generator sites

Plot, splot (5, Insightful)

mmoncur (229199) | about 12 years ago | (#4247341)

The writers of Star Trek aren't held back by anything other than their own incompetence. There are a million potential plots out there. For that matter, well-written characters and dialog can make a trite plot into a fine film.

Granted, many plots were used by Wells or Bradbury or Burroughs long ago, but if you simplify things down to that level everything starts to look the same. If you wrote a 1-paragraph summary of all of the romantic comedy films ever made, for example, it would look like this:

"Two characters who at first seem to have insurmountable differences meet and, through a series of comic moments, fall in love. A complication threatens to dash their hopes, but at the last moment everything works out."

That doesn't mean all of these films are without value. Just most of them.

Works for Cop movies too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247424)

Two characters who at first seem to have insurmountable differences meet and, through a series of comic moments, fall in love. A complication threatens to dash their hopes, but at the last moment everything works out."

You've pretty much described Lethal Weapon, Alien Nation, Tango & Cash, etc.

Re:Plot, splot (2)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | about 12 years ago | (#4247451)

Indeed, the measure of a plot is its lack of formula or stereotype.

Look at Home Improvement. Same goddamn show every week. The sequence of events was almost always the same.

1) Someone has a problem.
2) Tim gives shitty advice.
3) Tim goes to his neighbor.
4) Tim get's the gist (jist? sp?) of that advice, but misrepeats it for a cheap laugh
5) Problem solved
6) Tim blows something up

Star Trek generally follows a formula but it's not nearly as bad as home improvement.

Saying that ST lacks originality because all of the good ideas have been taken is a cop-out - yes, the bar has been raised, and it's hard to be completely original every week, but ST is just plain formulaic.

Gibson, for example, never ceases to surprise me.

Re:Plot, splot (1)

noewun (591275) | about 12 years ago | (#4247468)

The writers of Star Trek were held back by Roddenbrry himself, who declared that, by the time of TNG, humans had evolved beyond such things as anger, hatred, jealousy, etc. With on fell swoop, he removed the possibility of any dramatic tension and, therefore, any good plots.

The original series was also really good because, like all great science fiction (such as Bradbury's early stories), it isn't about the future. The original series was talking about some interesting social and political issues at a time when such things were being addressed on a national level. Even having a black woman on the deck and an "alien" XO was a big, big deal, and this gave a dimension to the stories which took them beyond 'let's kill us some aliens'. The newer series have all been about following the mold which, obviously, sucks.

And? (5, Informative)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 12 years ago | (#4247344)

Don't all the Bond movies essentially have about three or four plots? What about Police Academy? Indeed, is there any series of movies that *doesn't* have the same few plots repeated again and again?

Re:And? (2)

sckeener (137243) | about 12 years ago | (#4247444)

Indeed, is there any series of movies that *doesn't* have the same few plots repeated again and again?

I think you're right about series being predictable. I can't imagine PBS' Moll Flanders having a sequel. What other taboo could she break? What would it be called?

'Ho strikes back!'
'Return of the Ho!'

No more Time-Drivel or Holo-Dork Episodes! (0, Redundant)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | about 12 years ago | (#4247345)

I personally would pay Berman/Braga et al $20 if they never have a holodeck or time-travel-based plot ever again.


I'd pay more than $20 (1)

SataiCam (466754) | about 12 years ago | (#4247357)

...if Paramount never let Berman/Braga write ANY plot again.

In case NYTs ever gets /.ed (0, Redundant)

JDAustin (468180) | about 12 years ago | (#4247358)

When "Star Trek: Nemesis" opens this December, audiences will learn that the United Federation of Planets is about to make peace with its adversary, the Romulan Empire. The initiative may founder, though, because of an enemy who is surprisingly close to the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Once again, the history of the future repeats itself. Go back in the series from the 24th century to the 23rd, substitute Klingons for Romulans and James T. Kirk for Jean-Luc Picard, and you will discern the outlines of "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country." This duplication is not simply a matter of one generation following another onto the bridge of the Enterprise. As true fans can tell you, "Nemesis" will seem new and yet vaguely familiar: the 10th film in a series that has five plots.

Five, in fact, may be a generous accounting. Here is an exhaustive summary of what can happen in a "Star Trek" movie:

A megalomaniac tries to seize the power of life itself ("S.T. II: The Wrath of Khan"; "S.T. V: The Final Frontier"; "S.T. VII: Generations"; "S.T. IX: Insurrection").

A senior officer of the Enterprise comes back from the dead ("S.T. III: The Search for Spock"; "S.T. VII: Generations"), or a fate worse than death ("S.T. VIII: First Contact").

The crew of the Enterprise goes back to an earlier century on Earth, to make sure that history happens as it should ("S.T. IV: The Voyage Home"; "S.T. VIII: First Contact").

A spacecraft threatens to destroy Earth, and we're to blame, either because our technology is more advanced than our ethics ("S.T.: The Motion Picture") or because we've trashed other species ("S.T. IV: The Voyage Home").

True fans can tell you something else as well: Poverty of narrative invention has nothing to do with predicting the success or failure of any "Star Trek" film. "The Wrath of Khan" has more incident than the others put together and is by common consent the best of the lot. But "The Voyage Home" also ranks high, despite a story that can be fully retold in the listing in TV Guide. Like the original television series, which put expansive ideals into rudimentary settings, "The Voyage Home" charmed audiences by blending self-aware goofiness with outer-space liberalism.

Will the new picture strike the same balance? Trekkie superstition holds that the good episodes have even numbers, and "Nemesis" is No. 10. So there may be hope -- assuming, of course, that nothing new ever happens in the "Star Trek" series.

Re:In case NYTs ever gets /.ed (2, Informative)

bahamat (187909) | about 12 years ago | (#4247461)

quit yer karma whoring, they never have in the past. Modrators! Pay no attention to the karma whore with a reprint!

Hmm, not gonna bother register for the NYT (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | about 12 years ago | (#4247363)

.. not for this drivel, at least.

5 plots? I can sum up 99% of 'em with this:

I stopped being a fan a couple years into TNG.

It just became apparent that anything the 'franchise' does is just drying to squeeze a little more milk out of the cash cow. It's hardly good science fiction anymore.

1) Big problem (alien, wormhole, time-loop, computer malfunction) presents itself.

2) Bunch of yammering and melodrama and crappy dialogue, of the hollywood breed, which they no doubt think is interesting.

3) 5 minutes into the end of the show Geordi (or whoever) goes 'I got it!' and yammers out some nonsense techno-babble which solves the problem.

They could at least throw in a bunch of cool special effects, something.

IMO the franchise has been coasting on nostalgia for years, god only knows how long it will last, though.

Thats not to say that there's much better on TV. I plan on watching Smackdown! tonight, it's as intellectual as anything else on the toob.

Re:Hmm, not gonna bother register for the NYT (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 12 years ago | (#4247400)

About half of the TNG episodes are drivel as you describe (I just watched the 'Riker clipshow' and became increasingly disgusted as it became apparent nothing was actually going to happen - also a bit sorry for Riker because his adventures are much duller than Picard's) but there are enough good ones to keep watching. With DS9 or Voyager however the proportion of good episodes is less than half, which is why I stopped watching them a couple of years back. (And Enterprise seems to suck too.)

Re:Hmm, not gonna bother register for the NYT (2)

isorox (205688) | about 12 years ago | (#4247404)

IMO the franchise has been coasting on nostalgia for years, god only knows how long it will last, though.

I stopped downloading enterprise episodes a few months ago. Still watch stargate sg1, and have all the dvd's, but trek does seem to be slowing down even for a big fan (not nerdy gimp) like myself.

Re:Hmm, not gonna bother register for the NYT (2)

mblase (200735) | about 12 years ago | (#4247442)

It just became apparent that anything the 'franchise' does is just drying [sic] to squeeze a little more milk out of the cash cow. It's hardly good science fiction anymore.

"Space opera," not "science fiction." The latter is something Star Trek never was, nor ever seriously intended on being.

Re:Hmm, not gonna bother register for the NYT (1)

MrDog (307202) | about 12 years ago | (#4247452)

Ok, I'll buy this. I am a big fan of TNG, and my breakdown is as follows: out of 179 shows, there were probably 30 or so that I would call great television and that I can watch repeatedly. There are another 40-50 that I think are awful, and the rest each have some redeeming quality. I think it is universally agreed upon that the majority of the real stinkers were in the first 2 seasons. The show really seemed to hit its stride around the middle of the 3rd season, and ran out of gas into the 7th. The plot above was all too common early on, but TNN is now showing the series in its prime (8pm show is in the 3rd season, 11pm show is in the 4th).

who needs a plot? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247376)

Just put Marina Sirtis in tight clothing and you have an instant bankable franchise!

thing outside the borg cube (1)

nsqtr (525403) | about 12 years ago | (#4247378)

There are numerous plots if humans try to think outside the borg cube (aka, the "mental/conceptual box"). Man against *** is boring. Writers always seem to treat alien cultures in some way that humans always understand (ultimately). What about a plot with alien characters who truly are alien such that you walk away from the TV or movie theater wondering what actually happened, purely because you couldn't be sure you properly interpreted alien actions.

Re:thing outside the borg cube (1)

fr2asbury (462941) | about 12 years ago | (#4247483)

What about a plot with alien characters who truly are alien such that you walk away from the TV or movie theater wondering what actually happened, purely because you couldn't be sure you properly interpreted alien actions.

This is all too often the reaction that Americans give Monty Python.

I'm kidding. . . . sorta.



Category Time? (2)

T-Kir (597145) | about 12 years ago | (#4247380)

Hmm, and if /. has any more articles on Star Trek, it might be a good idea to have a little 'Star Trek' logo and category instead of 'Movies'....

Just my 2 cents... or 2 strips of Gold Pressed Latinum I suppose.

Re:Category Time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247426)

That's two slips. A strip is bigger than a slip, which is smaller than bars and bricks.

It's the writer's and reviewers faults.. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 12 years ago | (#4247383)

ST:whatever can have origional storylines.. I have seen many many MANY Sci-Fi movies that had great plotlines but were crippled by the fact that they were B-movies.

Space based Genre has a TON of room to move and segway into billions of plotlines...

Hell look at LEXX... I dont think that rehashed anything and can fit in the ST universe...

Lexx? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247447)

Aliens + Soft Core porn = Lexx
nuff said.

These are loyalty-based anyway... (1)

danielrm26 (567852) | about 12 years ago | (#4247390)

The people going to see these high-numbered sequels are loyal to the cast and to the very 'essence' of Star Trek The Next Generation.

I am not really a trekkie, but I love STTNG and I will be seeing the movie on DVD if not in the theater. For people who are even more devoted than me it won't matter what the movie is like when it comes to quality because they are going to see it regardless.

A series of phasers fights and scenes where Piccard says things like "Engage" and "Come" would make them a happy bunch.

fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247391)

Well, it is a well-known fact among screenwriters (and probably other writers as well) that all stories have already been told. Now it's just about _how_ you tell the story.

Plots, OTOH, can be easily quite original and I find it rather surprising that there are only 5 plots for ST movies (I've seen only one). Reasons for that are impossible to come up with without knowing what's going on behind the scenes.

History lesson (1)

charon_on_acheron (519983) | about 12 years ago | (#4247396)

The article states:
"The crew of the Enterprise goes back to an earlier century on Earth, to make sure that history happens as it should ("S.T. IV: The Voyage Home"; "S.T. VIII: First Contact")."

I must have seen the alternate version of number 4, because I swear they went back in time to capture two whales and bring them to their present time. Nothing about ending whaling, preventing whales from becoming extinct, bringing all the whales to the future. By the end of the movie, there are exactly two whales in the oceans of Earth, and little hope for their re-populating. While it was simply an eco-feel-good movie, it wasn't a fix-history movie.

Funny line about using 'LSD' in college though. ;^)

Agree: Time Travel, Holodeck, and Q plots suck (3, Insightful)

markwelch (553433) | about 12 years ago | (#4247399)

One of the reasons Voyager was so interesting, at least when it launched, was that it didn't do what so many Sci-Fi films have done before: it didn't rescue the heroes. But then they had episodes where things went really bad for the crew, and they got fixed by time travel, and of course the final episode was simply absurd on about a zillion levels.

Some of the holodeck subplots were interesting - the notion of 'addiction' by Lieutenant Barclay in ST:TNG. Extending the technology by introducing the Doctor in Voyager seemed okay, but then extending to other "photonic life" in several different ways became strange: apparently there was some photonic life that didn't appear to require actual computers or holo-emitters (the absurd episode in which Janeway must become a B-movie queen), and then later we again see photonic beings who do require computers/holo-emitters.

Of course, the real issue is that so many sci-fi plot points are impossible under the laws of physics as they are generally known (whether we're talking about the 1960's or 2002): faster-than-light travel, time travel, transporters, warp fields, subspace communication. Breaking the rules is what enables the plots to get interesting, and of course we all hope/believe/fantasize that what we imagine might one day be possible, since any sufficiently advanced technology is magic (Clarke).

What I find most troubling are gaping inconsistencies, often made worse by implausible explanations. In one episode, the scanners can identify a single individual among billions on a planet with super-advanced technology, and then in the next they can't scan to find out what's inside a wad of Kleenex (exaggeration).

One of the absurd, and often annoying, plot devices that is also sometimes one of the more amusing, is the notion that this crew of a few hundred (really just a dozen or so people who seem to actually do everything) can invent new technologies in a few hours, with half the ship's systems disabled, while huge teams of dedicated scientists with vast resources could not accomplish such work (apparently the only major technology invented by humans but NOT invented on Enterprise or Voyager, was the non-damaging warp technology that was introduced on Voyager).

No question about it: the last episode of "Enterprise" last year took away just about everything that showed promise in the series: the notion that they were less advanced, less able, less knowledgeable than the later crews.

Well, I like it... (1)

Sprunkys (237361) | about 12 years ago | (#4247406)

...I think it's good entertainment.
My first (and for quite some time, only) Star Trek experience has been the TNG and VOY episodes. And I like them a lot. There's repitition, but I think it's good entertainment; I like watching it. However, I don't like TOS, nor do I like the Kirk-movies. I'm not one for old-day sci-fi (except StarWars, but hey). I did like Insurrection though. Again, good entertainment; some action, pretty special effects, acting wasn't too bad at all, some heroism (but not corny) and a lot of sci-fi. Yeah, that's good entertainment to me. Now if you don't like it, don't go and see Nemesis. I for one will be among the first to get tickets (hoping they won't wait with releasing it here in the Netherlands for a month or 6).

Good entertainment, that's what it is too me. I can go and get some popcorn and a soda and enjoy 90+ minutes of good entertainment. Throw in a little heriosm, some good catchy lines (Data: "Lock and load", it just all depends on _who_ says it) and some nice shots and I've got good entertainment.

Why not fans to help? (4, Insightful)

conan_albrecht (446296) | about 12 years ago | (#4247408)

Why O Why do they not ask fans for help. Perhaps they have, but I do not remember it. Many ST fans know *everything* about the ST universe. They are usually geeks with quite informed and educated ideas about sci fi. Why not have a web page where fans can submit intelligent plots for new shows and films?

I would bet the quality would be better and the originality would increase. Of course, I would think that Rick Berman and his writers would go through and professionalize the plots from the hollywood sense. But at least the ideas and general plot would come from those who live and die by the ST world: the fans!

Perhaps I am placing too much confidence in those I've seen going to ST conventions and clubs. But then again, perhaps not. I'd personally pit them any day against a hollywood writer in coming up with original, science-based ideas.

One thing you're all overlooking ... (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | about 12 years ago | (#4247409)



(Protomatter: no ethical scientist would use it, but it solves so many problems)

Just a trick... (1)

themaddone (180841) | about 12 years ago | (#4247410)

Sometimes, I think these Star Trek stories are just a ploy to get Wil to come and post.

Nah, /. users are above shameless celeb watching, right?

5 plots? (2, Insightful)

bahamat (187909) | about 12 years ago | (#4247413)

Ok, maybe so, but the categorization sucks. You can't lump Kahn in with Sybock (a gay vulcan), and Ru'Afo (a piece of drift wood).

But what does it matter? It took voyager 7 seasons to come up with only 3 plots. In my estimation we're ahead of the game here.

The "Q" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247414)

I'm surprised there hasn't been an ST movie revolving around the Q. What's not to like - their omniscient and omnipotent, and to some degree omnipresent. Why can't they feature a pitched battle against the Traveler and Wesley Crusher, who apparently can manipulate subspace.

Think of the mayhem!! Think of the comedy!! ...oh, right, never mind....

a common phenomenon, i'd say (1)

Goofy Gavin (561311) | about 12 years ago | (#4247419)

speaking of movies.... how many rocky movies are there? like 17? 17 movies, 1 script :)

Supposed to be a movie review? (2, Insightful)

KenDaMan (603523) | about 12 years ago | (#4247421)

I felt like the article lacked foundation. Sounds like the guy heard about a 30 second trailer that his cousin uncle saw and decided to flamebait every Star Trek fan.

He uses extremely vague suppositions to catogorize the Star Trek series and doesn't even include every movie in his 5 plot categories.

He might as well lump them all into the good versus evil category.

I would have to say that even with redundant plots, each movie was entertaining in its own rights.

Answer is in the article (2)

Rupert (28001) | about 12 years ago | (#4247423)

This is the 10th film. 10 is even, so the film is going to be good.

Given that the TNG cast are all about ready for the knackers yard, can we presume that film 11 will be Voyager, and thus suck royally on at least two counts?

Actually there were lots of things I liked about Voyager, but they're not the things that would make a good movie. Apart from 7 of 9. And it won't be that kind of movie, I'm sure.

The Self-Made Critic [] has a more detailed scoring scheme [] for Star Trek movies in his review of Insurrection. We'll see how accurate it is after Nemesis.

Kind of off base (4, Insightful)

Microsift (223381) | about 12 years ago | (#4247425)

"The crew of the Enterprise goes back to an earlier century on Earth, to make sure that history happens as it should ("S.T. IV: The Voyage Home"; "S.T. VIII: First Contact")."

This is an interesting interpretation of the Episode IV story-line. The crew did not go back in time to prevent someone from changing history as they did in VIII. Rather the crew went back in time to change history. The Borg didn't go back and kill the Whales, the humans did it all by themselves!

Anyway, I'm not sure this guy watched either movie, and some of the Star Trek movies do suck, but the plots don't over lap that much...

Traditionally... (1)

Wiseazz (267052) | about 12 years ago | (#4247429)

Star Trek traditionally has predictable plots. That's part of the fun and culture of the series. I suppose the movies could be a little more original with their plot lines, but leave the series alone :)

Besides, I like knowing in advance that any "extra" in a landing party is doomed to a painful, yet entertaining death. Too bad they didn't take care of Wes when he was a borderline extra.

I'm not what most would consider a trekkie, but I do enjoy the shows. I never really got into Voyager, though...

get real (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247435)

anyone that has taken a graduate level course in literature or has taken a hardcore writing course, there are only 6 plots in literature. Everything simply recasts the plots in a new and different environment. The measure of a good story, movie or show is how well it captures/creates an alternate reality. End of story.

It's not all about plot... (5, Insightful)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | about 12 years ago | (#4247436)

... it's about character. A good deal of both DS9 and TNG (arguably both really good shows, whether you like Trek or not) was about character interaction. I'll give you an example:

There's an ep of DS9 where Will Riker's duplicate (transporter accident in an ep of TNG) stole the Defiant and went off to give the Cardassians hell.

One could very easily dismiss that ep as "Oh geez, dude steals a ship, fires the guns a few times, and gives up when he's outnumbered. What an original plot. *sarcasm*"

However, that wasn't the interesting part of the episode. The interesting part was WHY Riker's duplicate did this. He was stranded alone on a planet for 8 years. When he was recovered, he couldn't live up to success that the Riker that made it off the planet enjoyed.

When you watch this ep, you're lead to believe that the Riker duplicate was going for the 'greater good' trying to uncover some Cardassian plot. What was really going on was he was hoping to quickly turn himself into a hero, even if it meant death for him.

There were other interesting details of the episode, but I just wanted to make that little point: Plot isn't everything. Here's a case where scifi gave birth to a situation not likely to happen in reality, and gave the audience an interesting glimpse into a fictional world.

Frankly, I think Enterprise would be a lot more popular if people understood this concept. The 'plot' of the episodes isn't the strong point, the development of the characters is. That's what it's all about.

There is a reason (1)

xlation (228159) | about 12 years ago | (#4247445)

Lets face it, if Sci-Fi was full of original plots the Evil Overlord List [] would not be nearly as funny.

It was intelligent... (1)

Braintrust (449843) | about 12 years ago | (#4247446)

... the first series, and very well acted, by a very capable cast. The writing was of a quality (for the most part) not seen these days outside of a West Wing, or an ER. Most of all it was bright, mentioning then-cutting-edge science as causually as could be. Think of how revolutionary it must have been, to hear talk of warp drives, anti-matter reactors, and plausible beam weapons. Universal Translators. Racial equality. Gender equality. Tribbles.

It was a show that dared you to think, that made you look at things a different way. What exists today, that watered-down product churned out like so many slasher-film franchises... sigh.

Best episode ever? Harlan Ellison...

Here is a good plot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247454)

Star Smeck []

Its so fucking funny, youd be a idiot to miss it.
Part 1 []
Part 2 []
Part 3 []

Anyone Rememebr The Last Few Season of Voyager? (2)

Cyno01 (573917) | about 12 years ago | (#4247455)

holodeck, borg, holodeck, borg, aliens doing something to the crew and only seven and the doctor know whats going on, holodeck, something happens and only seven and the doctor know whats going on, holodeck....

Possible Star Trek plot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247457)

1. ?????
2. Profit

It's not supposed to have a plot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4247460)

Step into the mind set of the media. You're making a movie based on a series with a large fan base. Do you spend money on a decent writer? Or simply make a movie which will appeal to an audience who care only to see their favorite characters which they've missed since their series ended?

Conclusion, top execs make more $$$ and get to take their family on a two month vacation to a tropical island so they can cook in the sun and drink booz.

Trek plots vs anything else? (1)

muck1969 (237358) | about 12 years ago | (#4247462)

I'm willing to bet you can summarize any long-running show in 5 plots or less:

McGyver: Hero in distress must fashion something miraculous out of seemingly disparate common items.

Soap Operas: Someone screws someone else either financially, emotionally, or physically.

Quantuum Leap: Hero must struggle with either emotional, logical, moral, or political belief to complete mission. Oh yeah, if target body is male then must get woman to in love again.

Some time travel episodes are quite good! (2)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | about 12 years ago | (#4247470)

No, not the travel back to earth in the past kind. Those really suck. But I really like the paradox and causality loop kind of things. Reaction being observed before the action and throwing everyone for a loop (pardon the pun). That last episode of STTNG, I really liked. I also liked some of the Voyager ones (and Janeway saying that she swore she'd never wanted to be in one). That 'Year of Hell' was a good one, too. Time Travel can be fun, as long as it isn't going back and revisiting a known past.

Character Development (3, Insightful)

RailGunner (554645) | about 12 years ago | (#4247472)

I think that one of the reasons the Star Trek franchise has been successful is the character development. Characters in the Star Trek series have tended to have much better depth then characters on many other shows. Fans of the Trek series learn character's backgrounds, and gain insight as to WHY a character would react a certain way. The series also does not ignore culture, but makes it a part of that character (Spock and Worf, for example).

Many of my favorite Star Trek episodes are the ones that take place almost entirely on the bridge - almost Shakesperean in the lack of different sets. The story is character driven, not event driven. The story becomes more about how the characters react to the situation, and how they interact with one another, and less about "Hey the Romulans just shot as us".

An earlier poster is right, plot is defined as a struggle - whether it's man vs. man, man vs. nature, or man vs. himself. While unfortunately the Next Generation did use a lot of technobabble to save the day during the plot's climax, it's mostly forgivable - For the sake of the storyline we're supposed to accept the fact that Geordi LaForge and Data are *extremely smart*... Same goes for Spock on the Original Series. Other stories where the climax was resolved a different way, like through a violent confrontation it was usually Riker and Worf (or Kirk) who kicked ass and took names. When it was a tactical battle, it was Picard (or Kirk) who used his superior strategy to save the day. When it was a medical crisis, you could count on Pulaski or Crusher to handle it. (Or Bones..) There are a finite number of ways to resolve a conflict, and Star Trek seems to use all of them - even running away and asking Q to get them the hell away from the Borg.

Other television shows, in my humble opinion, would be wise to take some cues from Star Trek and become more character driven and less event driven.

The Hero With A Thousand Faces (2, Informative)

re-Verse (121709) | about 12 years ago | (#4247480)

There are only a few stories to be told. One of the largest - the main story - goes something like this.

1. Hero is confronted with unbeatable challenge / unsurmountable odds.

2. Hero experiences personal growth/enlightenment

3. Hero overcomes challenge / odds.

The matrix? Star Wars? Lord of the Rings? There is nothing wrong with the recycling of ideas in film or books or anything. Its part of human nature.. there are only so many ideas.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces is a book that explores this very idea. Its worth checking out.
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