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Star Trek's Kurtzman blames Trump for Discovery's failure

Star Trek Exec Thinks He Knows Why Discovery Didn't Connect With Some Fans

Alex Kurtzman, "Discovery" co-showrunner and head of "Trek" at Paramount+, spoke frankly about the show's initially so-so reception and explained why he thought it might not have worked for "Trek" fans at first.

"I think people felt it was too dark," Kurtzman explained, echoing a sentiment that's popped up in plenty of reactions to the series over the years. While the vast majority of critics have given the show positive reviews over the years (its Rotten Tomatoes critical score stands at 84% positive, though we can't say the same for the audience score), early negative takes focused largely on the show's surprisingly bleak take on the typically hopeful sci-fi franchise. "'Star Trek: Discovery' Slowly Goes Where Dark TV Has Gone Before," read the title of James Poniewozik's New York Times review of season 1. In the article, he made a joke that would be repeated by plenty of others in the show's early seasons: this "Trek" is dark, and not just because of the shadowy, prestige TV cinematography.

We really listen to our fans in the writers' room — everybody will have read a different article or review over the weekend, and we talk about what feels relevant and what feels less relevant," he told the Times. From that point on, it's a matter of figuring out what's worth paying attention to moving forward. "We engage in a healthy democratic debate about why and begin to apply that; it seeps into the decisions we make," Kurtzman admits.

According to Kurtzman, the first season's heaviness was all part of the plan. "Season 1 of 'Discovery' was always intended to be a journey from darkness into light, and ultimately reinforce Roddenberry's vision," he explained. "I think people were just stunned by something that felt darker than any 'Trek' had before." Still, the filmmaker insists that "doing a dark 'Star Trek' really wasn't our goal." Instead, he says, the show did what pretty much every "Trek" show has done since 1966: reflected reality. In this case, unfortunately, reality was bleak as hell. "The show is a mirror that holds itself up to the times, and we were in 2017," Kurtzman explained.

"We saw the nation fracture hugely right after the election, and it's only gotten worse since then." Season 1 of the series, he says, was "interpreting that through science fiction." Each time it seemed as though the world of the show couldn't feel any more morally mixed-up, it surprised us with more darkness – something fans enduring the early days of the Trump presidency could no doubt relate to.


When he says it didn't connect with "some" fans the series score on Rotten Tomatoes is 34%. Apparently "some " is now defined as two thirds. This was Paramount's idea of listening to the fans?

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by Anonymousreply 51June 10, 2024 2:52 PM

I take Kurtzman's statements with a grain of salt. Primarily he is a sales man for Star Trek. I hope his internal analysis comes to a different result than the one he publishes.

by Anonymousreply 1June 9, 2024 5:15 PM

The initial meltdown over the black lead was ridiculous and fuelled largely by Russian troll farms. Same as later with The Wheel of Time, The Witcher, and The Rings of Power series.

However, it didn't help that the show started on such a dark footing, with Mirror Lorca in charge. It was quite clever, but too much of a shock for Trekkies expecting more of the same milquetoast Trek of yore. The Klingon redesign was another thing that caused a freakout from the manbabies who grew up on the TNG Klingons.

Having said that, as someone who was a big fan of this show in the first two seasons, the reason why it eventually lost so much of its audience is not because of Trump, but because the writers refused to listen to even valid feedback and continued to treat it as The Michael Burnham Show.

by Anonymousreply 2June 9, 2024 5:15 PM

The fact is, people are getting sick of 'woke' progressives and their constant pessimism.

They' re also iconoclasts who enjoy shitting on cherished traditions, movies, shows, etc.

They bring so much gloom & doom into everything they touch.

But what most people crave right now is optimism/escapism, which the Left is not providing for them.

by Anonymousreply 3June 9, 2024 5:21 PM

The redesign of the Klingons was stupid and made no sense. The big jump to the future? Dumb stories like The Burn? They also wasted airtime on unlikable (and badly acted) Adira. I think SMG is a great actress, but she was handed a confounding character who eventually ate the show. Spock's adopted sister that we never had heard of before? Why? I think it's fine to adapt and grow the concept of Trek, but you have to keep it grounded in elements that the fans have come to expect. At the end of the day, the show was just not that great.

by Anonymousreply 4June 9, 2024 5:24 PM

[quote]But what most people crave right now is optimism/escapism, which the Left is not providing for them.

Desperate for attention, r3?

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by Anonymousreply 5June 9, 2024 5:30 PM

Oh look another Trump thread.

by Anonymousreply 6June 9, 2024 5:49 PM

R3 The fact is more people are getting sick of other people constantly bitching about 'woke' progressives in every DL thread.

by Anonymousreply 7June 9, 2024 5:53 PM

I hate alternate timelines and the mirror universe, and this show thrived on them.

It also was a show that didn't make a lot of sense. It was supposed to be a prequel to TOS (or at least the reboot movies), yet it showed Starfleet having technologies that greatly outstripped those from TOS & the reboot movies.

Some ST series are just not that good. This one was one of the dreary ones.

by Anonymousreply 8June 9, 2024 6:05 PM

While I agree, that certain (stupid) people hated the idea of the show because the "captain" (although she wasn't at the start) was going to be a black woman and it focused on her relationship with Michelle's Yeoh's character before it even aired. Then later hated it when they found out she was Spock's "sister" although it makes perfect sense why he'd never talk about it -- for me, it was just too dark at the start.

The Next Generation is the "modern" gold standard for the series. Also, even though, being set in the past, with characters we know limits, "Strange New Worlds," it still comes across as a much lighter show. Heck, it's even physically brighter like the TNG series after they retooled.

The heaviest ST show, in my opinion, was Deep Space 9 but even that allowed you to start and finish most episodes without sweeping you up in a multi-arc plot that you couldn't miss one episode of.

by Anonymousreply 9June 9, 2024 6:16 PM

I think Voyager holds up as the best. Especially the special effects. They look better than any of the franchise that is on now.

by Anonymousreply 10June 9, 2024 6:25 PM

Voyager had the worst characters.

by Anonymousreply 11June 9, 2024 6:28 PM

I loved all the main characters on Voyager. Even Nelix grew on me. Seven is iconic. The only who grated on my nerves was Harry. The one ding I would give Voyager was way too much time travel. Even though the time travel episodes were some of there best.

by Anonymousreply 12June 9, 2024 6:30 PM

It was poorly written.

by Anonymousreply 13June 9, 2024 6:38 PM

Trump made Voyager do too many time travel episodes.

by Anonymousreply 14June 9, 2024 6:39 PM

Hilarious, r14! A career in comedy awaits you.

by Anonymousreply 15June 9, 2024 6:43 PM

Voyager was so boring. The only interesting thing about it was that they finally made a woman captain the star and fell right into the trope of women can't drive.

by Anonymousreply 16June 9, 2024 6:52 PM

I got tired of Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). They had the character if every scene and no problem could be solved without her.

by Anonymousreply 17June 9, 2024 6:56 PM

As with anything, it's a lot of things. Some thought it was too woke. Some thought it was too dark. Some thought it was poorly written. They all have a point in this case. I thought it was boring and not any fun at all.

by Anonymousreply 18June 9, 2024 7:08 PM

When Voyager was good it was great, when it wasn't good it was utter shit. The good Voyager episodes, however, are some of the best of Star Trek.

by Anonymousreply 19June 9, 2024 7:10 PM

Yeah like that stellar voyager episode where the doctor wrote a burn book and they took a deep look at 24th century copyright law.

by Anonymousreply 20June 9, 2024 7:18 PM

I did enjoy that episode where Tupac an neelex get merged into Tuvix but Janeway hates him so much that she murders him herself.

by Anonymousreply 21June 9, 2024 7:20 PM

It was a bit all over the place but I preferred Discovery to Strange New Worlds and I’m not even sure why. I liked that it took some risks and wasn’t content to rely entirely on existing characters and lore (after the second season anyway). I don’t mind being the outlier. The Trump connection in the headline is rather clickbaity.

by Anonymousreply 22June 9, 2024 7:33 PM

[quote] The fact is, people are getting sick of 'woke' progressives and their constant pessimism.

This would be rather your feeling or personal perception rather than fact, right? Don't think that this 'fact' could be backed up by data.

Just to run with that argument - I always thought that Discovery had the right moral compass but didn't have the means to weave it into compelling story telling. I don't mind them telling me a story about moral, ethics and even lots of feelings. But you need to do it in an engaging way. Other shows can do it. Why was Discovery not able to do it? Sure I'm open to using 'them' as a pronoun for a new character. But do you have to do it with tons of exposition and in form of a lecture? That story was probably the worst writing of all five seasons. It was terribly heavy handed.

by Anonymousreply 23June 9, 2024 7:52 PM

[quote]This would be rather your feeling or personal perception rather than fact, right?

That's just, like, his opinion, man!

by Anonymousreply 24June 9, 2024 8:34 PM

Poorly written, poorly cast, poorly acted. It should’ve been canceled after one season.

by Anonymousreply 25June 9, 2024 8:39 PM

I want a series on the Borg.

by Anonymousreply 26June 9, 2024 9:49 PM

Discovery had a lot of problems. Being too dark was one of them -- Star Trek is about an optimistic future we might want to have and realizing our greatest potential as humans. Discovery never tried to show this.

It also had some terrible writing, and the focus entirely on Michael was often misguided. Also, the writers never knew how to handle making mental health a major theme of the series; it made all the characters seem unprofessional and incompetent. Star Trek of the '90s was competence porn; Discovery was nowhere near that.

by Anonymousreply 27June 9, 2024 10:56 PM

[quote]Desperate for attention, [R3]?

"Make America Great Again" is a hopeful message.

"Death to America" (seen at many 'progressive' rallies) is not.

To the average American, radical 'woke' progressives have become the face of the Democratic Party.

They are definitely the loudest and have gained a lot of influence within the party in recent years.

by Anonymousreply 28June 10, 2024 1:26 AM

Calling Discovery a “failure”, is a big stretch. It wasn’t the best Trek show, but there certainly have been worse.

by Anonymousreply 29June 10, 2024 1:48 AM

Trump ruined The Golden Palace too.

by Anonymousreply 30June 10, 2024 1:58 AM

Just admit you've obliterated the last possible drop of interest out of the franchise by treating the brand like the ocean and you were the Japanese trawlers scraping all like out of everything to the ocean bottom.

by Anonymousreply 31June 10, 2024 2:16 AM

"Too dark," indeed.

by Anonymousreply 32June 10, 2024 2:16 AM

Do you really believe the bullshit you type, R28? And how in the hell do you know or think you speak for the 'average American?' Unless your name is Gallup, your opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.

by Anonymousreply 33June 10, 2024 2:20 AM

We all know that Trump destroys anything he can.

by Anonymousreply 34June 10, 2024 2:21 AM

[quote] The initial meltdown over the black lead was ridiculous and fuelled largely by Russian troll farms. Same as later with The Wheel of Time, The Witcher, and The Rings of Power series.

Do you really believe this?

Are you autistic or something?

by Anonymousreply 35June 10, 2024 2:23 AM

OH NO! The Russian trolls are coming for the replicators!

by Anonymousreply 36June 10, 2024 2:34 AM

Actually no I take that back, an autistic person would understand why Star Trek Discovery or The Witcher or The Rings of Power failed.

Things become popular for a reason. Many times people in Hollywood do not care to understand an intellectual property’s appeal, only that the IP exists, made money in the past, and is ripe for “modernization.” The stories are frequently updated with diverse characters to hide the lack of inspiration for the new adaptation. People would not mind The Rings of Power or The Witcher if the characters acted like how they had been depicted in previous adaptations. It has nothing to do with race. Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice was a white man’s film starring two white men and people HATED it because the characters did not act like how they had been depicted in the past with the qualities that made them timeless and appealing. However, it was determined that they needed to be “modern” so Superman had to be self-loathing and Batman had to be a homicidal maniac.

There is an argument for trying new things - after all Batman Begins was something new with Batman - but you have to like the material you’re given, not hold it in contempt. Making a Star Trek series too dark because you’re unhappy about Trump proves you hold the actual Star Trek in contempt.

I didn’t watch the show. Was the captain a lesbian?

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by Anonymousreply 37June 10, 2024 2:39 AM

Believing that any online discourse one agrees with is the result of Russian troll farms can stem from a variety of psychological factors, including but not limited to:

1. **Paranoia:** This involves an irrational and persistent feeling of being persecuted or conspired against. People with paranoid thoughts often see patterns of manipulation and deception where there may be none.

2. **Cognitive Biases:** Confirmation bias (favoring information that confirms pre-existing beliefs) and attribution bias (misattributing the causes of events to external factors) can lead to such beliefs. Individuals may interpret information in a way that reinforces their worldview.

3. **Personality Disorders:** - **Paranoid Personality Disorder:** Individuals with this disorder are often distrustful and suspicious of others, interpreting their motives as malevolent. They might be more prone to believe in conspiracy theories. - **Schizotypal Personality Disorder:** This disorder is characterized by odd beliefs or magical thinking, unusual perceptual experiences, and paranoid ideation, which might make individuals more susceptible to such beliefs. - **Narcissistic Personality Disorder:** People with narcissistic traits might believe that their opinions are superior and that any opposition or differing perspective is a deliberate attack or manipulation, possibly leading to beliefs in orchestrated misinformation campaigns.

4. **Anxiety Disorders:** High levels of anxiety can also lead individuals to seek explanations for their unease, sometimes resulting in the belief that unseen forces are manipulating events.

5. **Social and Environmental Factors:** A person's environment, including exposure to echo chambers on social media and the influence of like-minded groups, can reinforce these beliefs. Misinformation and propaganda can also play significant roles in shaping one's perceptions and beliefs about the motives behind online discourse.

6. **Lack of Media Literacy:** Not understanding how information is produced and distributed online can lead to misinterpretation of the sources and motives behind content, fostering beliefs in widespread manipulation.

While these traits and disorders can contribute to such beliefs, it is essential to approach the topic with sensitivity and recognize that multiple factors, including environmental influences and individual cognitive styles, play a role in shaping a person's worldview.

by Anonymousreply 38June 10, 2024 2:49 AM

I just finished watching deep space nine and let Voyager come on which I hardly do either. And of course tonight's episode is completely stupid it seems that Kim is horny for a holiday character and wants to walk to help him eliminate emotions because it's affecting his ability to drive the ship. Also seriously the ship that's last is driven both by an Asian and a woman.

by Anonymousreply 39June 10, 2024 3:04 AM

It wasn’t a well-written, well-cast, nor particularly original show. Nothing to do with Trump.

by Anonymousreply 40June 10, 2024 6:30 AM

Honestly the show was poorly written, more sci-fantasy than sci-fiction and did little to develop its characters.

by Anonymousreply 41June 10, 2024 7:40 AM

It gave us Tilly.

'Nuff said.

by Anonymousreply 42June 10, 2024 9:42 AM

Worst. Trek. Ever.

by Anonymousreply 43June 10, 2024 10:31 AM

There are problems -- serious problems -- with story arcs instead of episodic seasons. If an arc doesn't click with audiences, they will abandon the series. Look at the success of Strange New Worlds. An arc is there, but kept in the background. By keeping it mostly episodic, the production can have episodes that are fun to watch or develop characters without forcing viewers to follow along a dull thread.

by Anonymousreply 44June 10, 2024 11:41 AM

R44 that was the problem with the Witcher. The fairly simple episodic nature of the first season was exchanged for a sweeping narrative about politics. It tried to turn Buffy into Game of Thrones.

by Anonymousreply 45June 10, 2024 11:47 AM

All the greats, Buffy, X-Files, DS9, were able to have season+ arcs but still keep them enough in the background that they could have fun, one-off episodes. It takes balance.

by Anonymousreply 46June 10, 2024 12:49 PM

I think you are onto something, R44.

by Anonymousreply 47June 10, 2024 12:51 PM

Episodic television is called "soap opera."

It takes top writers and a fine director to manage this, especially when it's not built into a show as with "24."

"Soft episodic" can work, but the plots tend to become grandiose, as R44 and R45 noted. Fantasy-type shows are particularly susceptible, because of the open-ended possibilities that seem to beckon. To be fair, they're also fighting the one-off fatigue that can settle in when the show structure doesn't have sufficient plot diversity to keep people interested. Things can start looking like "Kolchak," repeating the same notion every week.

"X Files" failed because it went on too long and Carter lazily just left his big notions flop around. The one-offs, better written and infused with humor or real horror were like oases when they arrived. "Supernatural" managed better, although it also should have been ended years before it did, because of humor and a very good supporting cast.

"Grimm" is a good example of a show that couldn't find a long story arc that worked. With the stand-alone shows (and rough effects) going dry, two female characters and a noxious male overtook the show's good points (the Grimm and his friend's partnership) and exemplified the soap comment I started with.

In "Grimm's" case, Pussy = Death.

by Anonymousreply 48June 10, 2024 1:18 PM

[quote] The initial meltdown over the black lead was ridiculous and fuelled largely by Russian troll farms. Same as later with The Wheel of Time, The Witcher, and The Rings of Power series.

Whatever helps you sleep at night.

by Anonymousreply 49June 10, 2024 1:49 PM

[quote] Episodic television is called "soap opera."


by Anonymousreply 50June 10, 2024 1:50 PM

The initial meltdown over the black lead was ridiculous and fuelled largely by Russian troll farms

The Time ; 2017

The Place: Russian Federation Nuclear-Proof Command and Control Command Post at Chekhov-3

The Speaker: President of Russia Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

The Audience: The Senior Staff of the Federal Security Service (FSB)

Subject: Star Trek Discovery

Summary: Instructions that all personnel and other assets of Directorates PR; S ; X; KR; OT; R: and I be retasked from all prior objectives. All resources are to be directed at breaking the spirit of the United States by tricking the fans into believing they don't actually like woke Star Trek.

Смерть Уильяму Шетнеру

by Anonymousreply 51June 10, 2024 2:52 PM
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