Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Last Generation?

So I went to Christie's yesterday to see the items that were being auctioned for the Star Trek sale. Dozens of moddles, thousands of props and costumes. The great thign about an auction like that is that the costumes are just out there on racks. You can sort through them, examine thme closely, take them off the wrack and see if they might fit. They had everything: uniforms from every series and movie, plus special costumes like the britich naval uniforms worn on the holodeck by the TNG crew, and their Robin Hood costumes, and Q's judges robes (probably the nicest thing on the floor, estimated bid price $300-$500. If I was rich I'd bid on them and wear them to 12th night, and then to graduation. ). Of course, for me, the big deal was two of Captain Kirk's uniform jackets from The Wrath of Kahn. I've always been a Kirk fan myself. They also had Kahn's vest. Wrath of Kahn is my favorite "guilty pleasure movie," so I totally geekd out over these. They also had all the cool alien costumes. My favorites were not the Klingon uniforms but those wild Ferengi tail coats. They had a bunch. The other things I wanted were Picard's sextant and, of course, the replica first series captain's chair, the one used in flashbacks in TNG (the original original, which should be in the smithsonian, was sold for $250,000 a few years ago).

George Tekai was there shooting some video on the auction. I got to meet him for the second time. He continues to be one of the nicest men on the planet. All the fans used to love him I recall, becasue he loved them back. The minute he spoke his voice just filled the room and everybody went "hey!"

Star Trek is the most popular TV show ever and, with the possible exception of Star Wars is the greatest marketing franchise ever. Christie's and Paramount are going to make a bundle off this sale. But as I walked through looking at those 40 year old pollyester tuinics (which, compared to the later costumes, were horribly constructed), it occured to me that this may well be it. On Star Trek, everything got recycled. They used stuff over and over again. If they are getting rid of all the old props and costumes, it seems likely that they are getting rid of the franchise as well. Yes, they could make all new stuff if they decide to do something else, and I hope they do. And there are still some good ideas floating around out there. I liked the two series they passed on--the "Space Marines" idea and the one about students at Star Feleet Academy ("Star Fleet 90210?" "Dawson's Fleet?"). I thought they should do a sitcom with Tekai and Nichelle Nichols as a pair of old, married, retired Star Fleet officers living in San Francisco. After all, tragedy and melodrama always break down into farce in the end. But none of that is likely to happen now that Paramount is selling off its stock. Now I suspect the only stuff that will be produced is are the fan films (some of which are pretty entertaining). Star Trek may finally be over.

Or not. Maybe selling all this stuff off is a marketing prelude to launching a new Star Trek venture. Or maybe it's an attempt to pur creativity. If you don't have all this old stuff you can't keep writing flashback--or flashforward--storylines.

But I doubt it. The books will go on, and the conventions, and the fan films, but as a TV series I think Star Trek is dead.


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