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.
During E3 2017, Atari posted an interesting 21-second teaser called AtariBox. In short visual stabs, it shows what appears to be a redesigned Atari 2600 console. Atari CEO Fred Chesnais confirmed that the AtariBox was indeed real, and that the company was back in the hardware business.
Naturally, that generated a lot of buzz. But before you get too excited at Atari’s possible return to the console wars, you should consider where the company is now, where it plans to go, and what Fred Chesnais has publicly stated since he rescued the company from bankruptcy protection in 2013. What you’ll find is that a full-fledged console likely isn’t on the Atari menu.
Atari, the software company
Today, Atari makes its money as a game publisher. It serves up games for Android and iOS such as RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch, Atari Vault, Centipede: Origins, and many more. The company also provides an “online arcade” where fans can play Flash-based versions of Centipede, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Pong, Yars’ Revenge, and more, within a web browser.
Atari also serves up older console and PC games such as Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime, Blood, and the RollerCoaster Tycoon series. Atari is even rebooting its popular franchises, publishing reimagined versions of Asteroids, Yars’ Revenge, and Haunted House.
Classic games optimized by Atari for a game-optimized smartwatch doesn’t seem far-fetched at all.
Atari does make money from games, and it even generates cash with lucrative licensing of its brand to Hollywood. Yet that doesn’t mean Atari is able to make the huge investment required to compete with Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. Sony and Microsoft often lose money with each console sold, and make up for that loss through software sales. Based on Atari’s current software portfolio, it doesn’t appear to have the cash to do that.
Chesnais said, in 2015, that the company has no plans to build a new console. Instead, Chesnais indicated his interest in producing an Atari-branded smartwatch capable of playing games. That’s totally feasible, as smartwatches on the market today can play clones of Asteroids, Galaxia, Brick Breaker, and Pong. Classic games optimized by Atari for a game-optimized smartwatch doesn’t seem far-fetched at all.
What would a new Atari look like?
What, then, is the AtariBox? In 2014, Chesnais said that Atari was contemplating a replica of the Atari 2600. The comment seemingly points to a device like what Nintendo produced during the 2016 holiday season — the NES Classic Edition console. It’s a miniature version of Nintendo’s very first home console packed with 30 games, HDMI connectivity, and the ability to save progress.
The NES Classic Edition had classic games you can’t purchase to play on other hardware, however. That’s not the case for Atari, which has frequently made its classics available on various platforms, so if the company is indeed taking that route, it will need something to get gamers excited. One possibility is an AtariBox that plays not just Atari 2600 games, but also made for the 5200, 7800, and Jaguar consoles — and maybe even the Atari Lynx handheld system, too.
Chesnais’ said in an interview that AtariBox will rely on PC technology, which is what started the excitement. That’s a very vague description, and could be a play on words to generate buzz. Both Microsoft and Sony ditched proprietary processors in their latest consoles, and went with AMD-based processor and graphics technology used in PCs for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.
To some degree, Nintendo’s Switch console is based on PC technology, too. Unlike the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the Switch is based on a variant of a mobile all-in-one “Tegra” chip designed by PC graphics card provider Nvidia. It contains processor cores based on the ARM mobile CPU architecture, which mainly powers smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. But Nvidia’s chip also includes graphics cores based on Nvidia’s “Maxwell” design for PC-based graphics cards. In a sense, then, it could be called “PC technology.”
If Atari chose to rely on Nvidia’s Tegra mobile chip, then the AtariBox could be a themed, Atari-branded variant of the Shield TV set-top-box. But right now, Atari’s Android-based portfolio on Google Play is limited to six games including Atari Greatest Hits, Centipede Origins, and RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic. A lot of work might be involved on porting the games to Android-compatible versions. And an Android TV-based console feels unlikely given how the highly-anticipated Ouya’s success panned out.
Another unlikely route for Atari is a branded PC. The video teased by Atari hints at 2600-like surfaces that could be applied to a console-shaped PC like Dell’s Alienware Alpha, which has a starting price of $550. The AtariBox could even be a themed, branded miniature PC from Zotac or Gigabyte. After all, the company does license out its brand. We don’t think that’d be a great idea, however. Even Valve Software’s own highly-popular Steam brand had difficulty selling PC gaming machines under the company’s Steam Machine initiative. Atari wouldn’t stand a chance.
If the AtariBox isn’t an Xbox One competitor, an Android-based set-top-box, or a branded desktop PC, what is it? Our best guess is a device capable of PC-based software emulation.
PC technology, retro fun
Right now, all signs seemingly point to an Atari 2600 revamp with digital output, internal storage, and pre-installed Atari 2600 games. But if the AtariBox isn’t a straight-up copycat of Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition and SNES Classic Edition consoles, we could be looking at a device capable of playing the company’s PC games along with its limited Android library through emulation. The software would presumably be sold and maintained through a built-in Atari Play marketplace.
Right now, all signs seemingly point to an Atari 2600 revamp with digital output.
But that PC-based design would also mean the device would need to rely on a version of the free, open-source Linux operating system to keep the overall console cost down. However, based on what’s available through Steam right now, only a dozen Atari-published titles are compatible with the Linux platform.
What about input? If the AtariBox is indeed a remake of the 2600 model, expect identical joysticks connecting through a USB port instead of the previous 9-pin input. Of course, Atari could opt to throw in standard gamepads instead, but that would break the retro feel. Having full USB ports would mean gamers could purchase third-party controllers that can be used both on the AtariBox and PCs.
Despite all the recent buzz, Chesnais said Atari was still working on the design, so we may not see what Atari is up to for quite a while… if at all. Until then, we can only speculate that the AtariBox is a small Atari 2600 clone with updated components. Frankly, the fact so many of potential AtariBox ideas lead to a dead end, makes us think the concept isn’t as promising as it seems – until we learn more details, at least.
Is this what we are going to see the last scene of the relaunched Twin Peaks which is airing on Showtime. Oz closely resembles the fine town of Twin Peaks. Could this be all in Coopers mind????? Time will tell what David Lynch has in store for us in the world of Twin Peaks.
Comic-Con: ‘Twin Peaks’ Making Confab Debut In Hall
HEXCLUSIVE: Better stock up on a couple cups of joe and some pie if you’re in San Diego later this month because Twin Peaks is bringing its unique weirdness to Comic-Con for the first time.
Comic-Con: ‘Doctor Who’ Brings Peter Capaldi Back To Hall H One Last Time; ‘Dirk Gently’ To Make Debut
After the long-expected The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones announcements plus Doctor Who back in Hall H, it looked like all the big TV panels were public knowledge. However, turns out David Lynch and Showtime had a surprise for everyone, I’ve learned. With a number of cast members likely in attendance, the premium cabler’s revival of the iconic series created by Lynch and Mark Frost will be appearing in Hall H on July 21 in the afternoon, it seems. Being that the GoT panel is set for 1:30 PM and AMC’s Preacher making its Hall H premiere at 4 PM, Twin Peaks is expected to take the stage around 2:45 PM.
Showtime did not respond to a request for comment. Nor is it clear if Lynch will be onstage in Hall H.
Having debuted on May 21 with a two-episode opener, the technically third season of Twin Peaks has seen the return of Kyle MacLachlan as FBI Agent Dale Cooper and now his evil doppelganger, as well as cast members such as Michael Horse, Mädchen Amick, James Marshall and the Sheryl Lee-portrayed Laura Palmer herself among others from the original early 1990s series.
Also back in the new Twin Peaks, which I called “sometimes intentionally tedious, and amazing at the same time” in my video review, is director and co-writer of the 18-episode limited series Lynch as the FBI’s Gordon Cole and The X-Files’ David Duchovny as fellow FBI brass Denise Bryson. They and other past cast members are joined by a bevy of new additions to the franchise such as Naomi Watts and Laura Dern, who worked with Lynch on the features Mulholland Drive and Wild at Heart, respectively.
Predicting if Lynch will be at SDCC or any moves the director intends to make is often a mug’s game, but the 2001 Palme d’Or winner was in attendance for the Twin Peaks screening at the Cannes Film Festival just a few days after the revival’s cable debut so … guess you’ll have to be one of thousands in attendance at Hall H to find out for sure.
Deadline will be at SDCC this year as well as in Hall H and more as co-Editor-in-Chief Mike Fleming Jr, Anthony D’Alessandro and I lead our coverage from July 20-23.
Rick And Morty’ Season 3 News And Updates: 2016 Airdate Impossible; New Season To Premiere Early 2017 Instead?
The end of 2016 is getting closer and there still hasn’t been any announcement on the release date of “Rick and Morty” season three. The fans have been waiting in agony just waiting for it to be announced more than waiting for it to be released.
And Morty” Season 4?
In a previous interview with the creators of the series, Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon only said that the season three of “Rick and Morty” will be released only earlier than expected, but who’s to say what the fans have been expecting all this time?
There have been reports of an earlier statement announced was that during the end of season two of “Rick and Morty,” it has been told that the next season will premiere in a year and half. Since that was announced October 2015, theories are that season three will come on or before March 2017. Since the creators have teased it will be sooner than expected, many of the fans were hoping for a late 2016 release.
However, by the looks of it, releasing “Rick and Morty” season three before the year ends may just be impossible and the creators may not just be ready just yet. It has been confirmed that the upcoming season will be better and darker in more ways than one, and the planning of that may take longer than what people may have hoped for.
Morty To Save Rick From Federal Prison With Help Of New Character, Summer
Then also, there are those speculations of having new characters to be added to the series including Rick’s other granddaughter, Summer. Since the second season of “Rick and Morty” featured Rick stuck in jail and sentenced to a lifetime imprisonment on Federal prison, Morty will have to save him and he may need the help of Summer to succeed.
In addition to the dark and twisted kind of humor on “Rick and Morty,” there have been reports that the upcoming season four of the series may be laid on a more serious note especially with the allegations of Beth and Jerry Smith’s divorce be tackled in the coming season.