In the 90’s Saturday morning cartoons were heading for the sunset, as they world started watching Nickelodeon started big and The Cartoon Network, took many viewers away from the regular Saturday Morning Cartoons….The 90’s were the last years of the regular Saturday Morning cartoons….The world was changing, and the cartoons and the networks were changing along side……
As the first live action Star Trek series since Enterprise was cancelled more than a decade ago, the pressure is on for Discovery to get pretty much everything right — and the writers are taking that challenge very, very seriously.
We’ve already heard that Discovery would toss out Gene Roddenberry’s golden rule of not having direct conflict among the crew, but don’t think that means the new Trek series will be throwing out much anything else from the beloved sci-fi franchise. In an interview with CNET, producer Alex Kurtzman said they plan to revisit themes and ideas from The Original Series (Discovery is technically a prequel to the franchise-starter), while also filling a writers’ room with hardcore fans.
Taking that a step further, Kurtzman said they literally have a few Trekfact-checkers in the writers’ room to ensure that any story or episode ideas don’t step on the toes of established facts and stories within the universe. Check out an excerpt from his comments below:
“If you are a fan of Trek you are going to see a lot of things which hearken back to the original series and elements of the original series…I’m not just talking plot, but the spirit of what that show was. We are going to be revisiting a couple of things on Star Trek: Discovery that I think people are going to find familiar. Without spoiling anything we are adhering to a timeline and sticking to the rules, but also I think finding some new areas and avenues that have only been alluded to, but never fully explored.
You’ve got a roomful of people with very different and very devoted relationships to Star Trek in that writers room. And that carries on a pretty proud tradition of Trek being written by fans. You have to respect canon as it’s being written. You can’t say, ‘That never happened.’ No, no no, you can’t do that, they would kill you. Star Trek fans would kill you. No, you have to respect canon. You have to understand the timelines and what the different timelines were and what the different universes were and how they all worked together. You have to keep very meticulous track of who, what, where, when and why. And we have people in the writer’s room whose sole job is to say, ‘Nope, can’t do that!’”
It’s obviously not uncommon for a new installment in a major franchise to double-check the facts along the way, but for Trek fans, it’s an encouraging thought to know the Discovery team is taking what’s come before so seriously. If they can strike a balance of doing something fresh while also respecting the franchise’s roots, Discovery truly could be something special.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres September 24 on CBS, and the series will run as an exclusive on the network’s CBS All Access streaming service.
the summer of 1978, Bruce Vilanch had a bad feeling about the Star Wars television special he’d been hired to write. A veteran of the comedy wars who has since written material for 16 Oscar telecasts and starred as the extra-large Edna Turnblad in the Broadway musical adaptation of John Waters’s Hairspray, Vilanch had just finished working on Bette Midler’s 1977 TV special, Ol’ Red Hair Is Back, for producers Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion when they threw him what sounded like a plum assignment: a spot on the writing team that would help George Lucas adapt more of the Star Wars saga for television.
A year had passed since the theatrical release of Lucas’s gee-whiz space epic, and in that time Star Wars had become the highest-grossing movie in history as well as a cultural phenomenon with its very own lexicon and mythology. With a sequel still two years away from theaters, Lucas had been sold on the idea that a Star Wars holiday television special—to be broadcast on CBS the weekend before Thanksgiving, when Nielsen audiences were plentiful—would sustain interest in the franchise, move more toys off the shelves, and maybe even pick up some new fans who hadn’t seen the movie.
Though Lucas would not be involved in the actual shooting of the special—Smith and Hemion would oversee that—he knew the tales he wanted to tell and planned to work with the show’s team of seasoned TV writers to develop his ideas into a viable script. For those who had been summoned, the prospect of collaborating with the father of the Force initially sounded like a sure bet. “We were really excited, because, ‘My God, this is an annuity—Star Wars!’” says Lenny Ripps, another writer who worked on the special. “How could it lose?”
But when Vilanch heard Lucas’s storyline at a development meeting at Smith and Hemion’s L.A. offices, he quickly realized that a “big challenge” lay ahead. Lucas was intent on building The Star Wars Holiday Special, as it would be called, around Wookiees—specifically, the family of Chewbacca, Han Solo’s shaggy sidekick, as they outwitted Imperial forces to come together on Life Day, the Wookiee equivalent of Christmas. Suddenly, Vilanch says, the special was in danger of looking like “one long episode of Lassie.”
“I said: ‘You’ve chosen to build a story around these characters who don’t speak. The only sound they make is like fat people having an orgasm,’” the 250-plus-pound Vilanch recalls. “In fact, I told Lucas he could just leave a tape recorder in my bedroom and I’d be happy to do all the looping and Foley work for him.”
Lucas met these comments with a “glacial” look. “This was his vision, and he could not be moved,” Vilanch says. “And of course Star Wars was so gigantic that he had been validated a hundred times over. So he had what a director needs to have, which is this insane belief in their personal vision, and he was somehow going to make it work.”
In 1978, however, there were a lot of other people and projects competing for Lucas’s time—most of them brought on by the sudden, unfathomable success of Star Wars, and all of them seemingly more important than a TV special. With his attention elsewhere during most of its production, The Star Wars Holiday Special metastasized into a monster. Two directors and much turmoil later, the finished special didn’t so much resemble its namesake as it did another science-fiction film: The Thing with Two Heads. Onto the body of Lucas’s sentimental and irony-free Wookiee plotline, the producers and writers grafted a campy 70s variety show that makes suspension of disbelief impossible. In between minutes-long stretches of guttural, untranslated Wookiee dialogue that could almost pass for avant-garde cinema, *Maude’*s Bea Arthur sings and dances with the aliens from the movie’s cantina scene; The Honeymooners’ Art Carney consoles Chewbacca’s family with such comedy chestnuts as “Why all the long, hairy faces?”; Harvey Korman mugs shamelessly as a multi-limbed intergalactic Julia Child cooking “Bantha Surprise”; the Jefferson Starship pops up to play a number about U.F.O.’s; and original Star Wars cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill walk around looking cosmically miserable.
Even today, former Jefferson Starship lead guitarist and songwriter Craig Chaquico can’t quite get over the result: “It was such a strange iteration of the original big-screen-movie concept and your regular variety-show, Carol Burnett vibe,” he says. “I was like tripping on it myself, man.”
When The Star Wars Holiday Special aired, from 8 to 10 p.m. on November 17, 1978, the Friday before Thanksgiving, George Lucas’s name was nowhere on it. According to Nielsen Media Research, it was seen by close to 13 million television households, but it finished second to ABC’s Love Boat from 8 to 9 p.m., and, in the next hour, to Part 2 of Pearl, a mini-series about the misdeeds of another Empire—Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor—which starred a bed-hopping Angie Dickinson.
This was a lackluster TV debut for a franchise that, just a year earlier, had rocked the entertainment world. But that was not to be the worst of it. Although Lucas has subsequently had the special disappeared from American television—it has never again been officially aired or released in any video format—Star Wars geeks have not let the world forget that, even more than Jar Jar Binks, this is the one true embarrassment attached to the mostly superlative Star Wars universe. As one professed fan of the films posted on his Web site, “This is the great secret of Star Wars, the 3-eyed cousin who lives in the barn attic, humping sheep and eating spiders. This is the thing that doesn’t get mentioned at American Film Institute dinners.”
It is no small irony that technology—the very tool that Lucas wielded to achieve independence from Hollywood—is the thing that keeps the filmmaker from scraping The Star Wars Holiday Special off his heel. There were no chat rooms or Web sites in 1978, but there were VCRs—the VHS format had been introduced two years earlier—and, today, grainy bootleg DVD copies of the special are readily available at comics conventions and on the Web, ensuring that the generation who came of age during Episodes I, II, and III will not be deprived of the moment when not even the Schwartz was with George Lucas.
There is an oft-recycled quote of Lucas’s saying that if he had the time and a hammer, he would personally “smash” every bootlegged copy of the special; otherwise he has yet to come clean on the matter. He declined to be interviewed for this article, although in a chance meeting that I had with him prior to that decision, the filmmaker, known for obsessive control of his projects, called the special a “travesty” and said he regretted not exercising a tighter grip over its production. As Gary Kurtz, one of the Lucas organization’s producers at the time, says today, the experience with the holiday special “certainly added to the idea that the only way to make sure it turns out the way you wanted is to be in control.”
For someone so careful as Lucas, the special was an incomprehensible miscalculation. It was one of the first times that his golden gut for mass entertainment and his protective instincts toward his Star Wars universe had gone awol.
Langdon Bosarge the star of Langdon Nation is trying to get the attention of the producers of Star Trek, to cast him in their next Star Trek show Discovery . I think Langdon would be a perfect fit on the Enterprise . Here is Langdon’s audition video for the Star Trek Movie……Beam Me Up Langdon……Good luck from Superfanworld.com
On October 29th 2015, I got fortunate enough to get tickets to the hottest show on Broadway The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The show was funny as always, but it was great to see them do the show LIVE. Seth “Family Guy” Macfarlane was a guest along with scientist Neil degrasse Tyson. If you have not checked out The Late Show yet, check it out weeknights on CBS. Here are a few clips from last night’s show :