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Oliver Denker
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Posted: 18 October 2018 at 11:23am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

"From CBS’s point of view, Discovery is a hit and served its purpose."

When did that happen?
It wasn't a financial disaster for CBS, but it would have been, had Netflix not picked up most of the production costs.

This will be different with season 2.
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 18 October 2018 at 1:12pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

"When did that happen?"  

Assuming you mean "When did CBS decide that Discovery is a hit and served its purpose from its point of view?" I would say...when it aired. 

Was it a hit?

Yes. The pilot broadcast beat every show on its night other than football. The paywalled streaming series routinely topped the US demand expressions charts, which include peer-to-peer and streaming content data, fan & critic rating data, and social media data--even beating Walking Dead (you can learn more by googling "Parrot Media" with "demand expressions." Also, the series got a critics 86% from Rotten Tomatoes. 

Did it serve its purpose? 

Yes. It drove signups (record signups according to CBS) and buzz for CBS All Access which quite frankly was its main purpose. But it also generated huge buzz and refreshed the series (for most people--trashed it for others: for what it's worth, it got only a 56% from viewers on Rotten Tomatoes.

"It wasn't a financial disaster for CBS"  You are implying that it wasn't financially great either but that is not true.  They paid zero to produce it and it was promoted with tons of free earned media which also benefitted All Access.

"but it would have been, had Netflix not picked up most of the production costs."  Huh? This makes it sound like the series was in trouble and OMG thank goodness Netflix stepped in. If I am not mistaken, Netflix paid for the production costs up front in exchange for international rights. CBS got a series for their new network for free. They could have sold the series outright to Netflix for a ton, but that would not have given them the tentpole for CBS All Access.

This will be different with season 2." How so? Finally, it got renewed. And Netflix came back for more. Netflix knows 1000x more about viewers of Discovery than CBS does.  Don't know what the financing terms were for second season but you can be sure that Netflix knows what the show is worth better than CBS does, even if CBS is the only party that knows how much it drove All Access subscriptions.  So Netflix will in theory not pay any more than what it is worth to Netflix. If that were less than what they paid last season, then, in theory, CBS would only go forward with a second season if what Netflix paid plus what All Access reaps is better than whatever CBS had to put in to maintain production values (less any savings now that they know the ropes a bit better).  Since all of this can be reasonably predicted in advance before a dime is spent and the series is renewed, I don't see how this season might be a financial disaster for CBS.

If your point was about this show not being a "hit" for Trekkies and Trekkers and anyone other than CBS--well my original statement was just "From CBS’s point of view, Discovery is a hit and served its purpose."


Edited by Victor Perez on 18 October 2018 at 1:15pm
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 18 October 2018 at 7:17pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

We'll see how Season 2 performs without the Netflix crutch.   

I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised in both audience numbers and content/fidelity to the source material.  Season 1 felt more like they were free-playing in a big sandbox and while some of their experimentation worked other bits of it fell pretty flat.

They appear to have retooled some aspects of the show for Season 2.  They've practically brought Anson Mount into the full cast as Pike, which is the huge anchor they needed all along to sell this show to classic STAR TREK fans.   They've relented on their Klingon redesign which they were initially pretty unapologetic about.   They've introduced the classic uniforms, or at least a recognizable version of them.  

They are also about-facing a bit on how this is all supposed to dovetail into TOS -- it's now "This was the plan all along, you'll see".  It smells sorta George Lucas-y to me.

It seems they were more than happy to alienate core STAR TREK fans when funding wasn't an issue and they didn't have to sing for their supper for Season 1.  I get the feeling that CBS told them they may need those STAR TREK fans back to keep the show going long term.   I'm aware some rights issues were hashed out behind the scenes, such as the likeness of the Klingons and whether specific characters could appear (eg. Spock). 

It's almost too bad DISCOVERY didn't premiere a year or two later than it did as we might have had a more cohesive show that satisfied both new and old fans.  Then again, it's entirely possible the insulated success that DISCOVERY has enjoyed in it's first season may have been the catalyst for both CBS and Viacom to finally work this stuff out for the good of the franchise.

I bet you at some point in the coming years we'll get a tell-all book detailing how the Fuller version of DISCOVERY would have played out.  I'm actually more interested in that than watching the current production try to twist this around into something resembling TOS...


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 18 October 2018 at 7:23pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 19 October 2018 at 1:51am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

If the rumors are true, the Fuller version needed this placement in the timeline to make it's story of inter-dimensional aliens appearing in our reality in multiple, simultaneous disguises work, ala' Mark Lenard's Sarek also being the Romulan and Klingon Commanders. (Literally, JB's overheard fan theory come to life.) *

If that is truly what Fuller had up his sleeve, I think we're all just as well off without it. No tell-all is going to be able to convince me that mess would have been worth the price of admission, especially after watching Fuller fellate himself for three seasons on Hannibal.

Absent that conceptual morass, there was no reason for Discovery to exist where it does, and now they're simply mining "The Cage" and "Menagerie" for material. That vein isn't likely to run very deep, especially if they emphasize the aggressively curious, deeply emotional, bellowing Spock of the pilot, as they've hinted they intend to do. 

Further, they cannot resolve that characterization within their selected time frame since elements of it carried over into Kirk's time, as with his shouting out loud in "The Corbomite Manuever" seconds before telling Bailey that there is no need for the junior officer to raise his voice.

* Mind you, this could have lead to some onscreen work for Marc Alaimo, Jeffrey Combs, and Susie Plakson as the Mark Lenard-character's compatriots in interdimensional infiltration...


Edited by Brian Hague on 19 October 2018 at 1:53am
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 20 October 2018 at 6:55pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Huh? This makes it sound like the series was in trouble...

Thirteen episodes in the can and over the course of one season they replaced their original showrunner and dumped their head writing staff TWICE.   It doesn't get any more troubled than that.  If this was anything else but STAR TREK being made with someone else's money it wouldn't have survived.
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Christopher Frost
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Posted: 20 October 2018 at 8:46pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

You have to look at why those people were replaced to decide if the show is actually in trouble or not. Fuller was let go because he was trying to be the showrunner on both Discovery and American Gods and CBS felt he wasn't paying enough attention to Discovery. His replacements were let go early on the production of season 2 due to a combination of budgetary overun concerns and an allegation of behind the scenes abuse. 

It's also worth noting that even "successful" Trek series like TNG had troubled beginnings. Look at the staff turnover during it's two first seasons. Behind the scenes changes don't necessarily translate into a troubled production, sometimes it's about finding their groove.
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 21 October 2018 at 1:34am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

"Huh? This makes it sound like the series was in trouble..."

We were talking about financial trouble, so you are sort of creating your own context here.


Edited by Victor Perez on 21 October 2018 at 1:41am
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 21 October 2018 at 1:37am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

"We'll see how Season 2 performs without the Netflix crutch."

Er... how is it that Netflix was a "crutch" for Season 1... and what is the relationship between Netflix and CBS for Season 2?
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 21 October 2018 at 1:51am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

"You have to look at why those people were replaced "

Exactly. And by the way, the main objections to Discovery (OMG PERSON OF COLOR ALERT! PERSON OF GENDER ALERT! WHAAAAAAAA... STOP STICKING YOUR AGENDA IN MY FACE!!!!) seem to have disappeared or at least have calmed down.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 21 October 2018 at 10:16am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Er... how is it that Netflix was a "crutch" for Season 1... and what is the relationship between Netflix and CBS for Season 2?

Netflix assuming nearly all of the production and marketing costs for the show but not using that financial stake to assert creative pressure on the show itself was almost unheard of in the TV industry.   It was a free pass for CBS to do whatever they wanted with no financial penalty and that allowed them to take more chances with DISCOVERY than they normally would have with a franchise show.   They threw a lot of new and very un-STAR TREK-like stuff at the wall to see what would stick and didn't.  It was in a way like the STAR TREK version of fantasy football.

Season 2 is jointly funded by CBS and Netflix so there's more financial accountability on CBS' part.  Not entirely surprising the show seems to be moving into more familiar and safer territory in both content, characters and story.  

Was this the plan all along, to make Season 1 of DISCOVERY so completely off-model as to be an almost different show and then slowly bring it in line with the status quo and general visual look of TOS in it's first season?

Maybe.

(or at least that's what the new showrunners will swear up and down was always the case)

I tend to think the financial realities of making effects-heavy big franchise TV will dictate just how recognizably STAR TREK this show looks and feels for Season 2 and beyond.   If anything, it'll be worth a look to see how they do bring it in line with TOS -- so maybe that's the hook they needed to get 'old STAR TREK' fans back on board.   

It's got this one for the time being.


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 21 October 2018 at 10:21am
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 21 October 2018 at 1:36pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

 “It was in a way like the STAR TREK version of fantasy football.”

Interesting way to put it!!!

Without knowing how this season’s budget compares to last (potentially unknowable) or if the number of episodes differs (knowable) it’s hard to make a call on how the financial stakes have changed.  Regardless of CBS’s contribution and overall size of the budget, if Netflix put in less that would.be significant. If they put in the same, then they are quite happy with the fantasy football.  
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 21 October 2018 at 3:02pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

13 episodes for Season 2, the same number as ordered for Season 1 

(not counting the extended length pilot which technically made Season 1 15 episodes)
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 21 October 2018 at 6:53pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Thanks. Sorry to be so lazy.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 22 October 2018 at 4:23pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

So, this is the same character in season 1 and season 2.  I'll say they're going more mainstream alright....


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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 23 October 2018 at 7:03am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

It's amazing what hair and the right costume can do.

Shame someone decided to give the redesign four nostrils and what essentially were claws.   Perhaps Worf had to trim his nails daily so he didn't stab his fingers through the console interface membrane?

Yeah, yeah... they are probably going to say that not everyone who calls themselves Klingon looks like the TNG-era Klingons; multiple conquered worlds and environments for the Empire and interbreeding.  Yet, for a sect that supposedly prided themselves on their pureness of Klingon heritage (which I assume extends to both ideological and genetic purity) they certainly do not look like the majority of Klingons seen a century later.   Maybe they are a minority group or the crackpot fringe?    


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Victor Perez
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Posted: 28 October 2018 at 9:19pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

We also are blown away by our costume designer, Gersha Phillips, so giving her an opportunity to make her own version of what that was was also really important.”

These statements are Intellegence-insulting. Why does “make your own version of the uniform” follow from “we love our designer”?

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John Byrne
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Posted: 01 November 2018 at 12:07pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

So, the classic uniforms will be shown in a different trailer?
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 01 November 2018 at 12:45pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

When they use the term "classic" (say in terms of the phasers and now some of the uniforms on the show) they really just mean "sharing iconic design elements of" items that appeared in TOS. So in the trailer I saw, I assumed that was the yellow tunic Pike wore and since then there have been some images also of Number One.  I don't mind that they look different, for a while I thought that meant we were really looking at yet  another universe. But tweaks for tweaks sake, just because they can, or just to indulge in new designs are a little odd when mixed with some of their strange explanations for same...all the while selling that these are the same characters and universe. Whatever--just trying to enjoy. :)
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John Byrne
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Posted: 01 November 2018 at 1:02pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

One should never have to TRY to enjoy.
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 01 November 2018 at 1:23pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

 Rob Ocelot wrote:
Thirteen episodes in the can and over the course of one season they replaced their original showrunner and dumped their head writing staff TWICE.   It doesn't get any more troubled than that.  If this was anything else but STAR TREK being made with someone else's money it wouldn't have survived.

Sure it would have.  Numerous examples exist showing a change of showrunners midseason that nonetheless got a second season pickup.  Most recently, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR had three different showrunners and turnover in its writing staff in just the first season.  It got picked up for a second due in no small part to its success internationally.  Season 2 again saw change by bringing in new writers and the fourth showrunner.  It was cancelled by ABC at the end of that season, but was recently picked up for a third by Netflix along with the series' fifth different showrunner.  

The moral of the story?  A troubled production with high turnover can be picked up if it means money on the backend.  Both DISCOVERY and SURVIVOR bring in a bunch of cash internationally, so as long as they continue to do that then they'll keep getting renewed.  

Link to Variety article on DESIGNATED SURVIVOR. 
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 01 November 2018 at 2:12pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply


 John Byrne wrote:
One should never have to TRY to enjoy.

Wait, my bad... Discovery IS totally enjoyable. I just meant that in my old age I am trying not to get too hung up on where and how it fits into the Trek universe, whether the phasers and Constitution class starships have been redesigned for no good reason, and the changeovers in the creative team. Occasionally I slip up and get distracted by the noise. 

I just want good stories and good characters (and that means good writers, actors and directors) and so far Discovery has delivered. If I have poor taste or am easily amused, lucky me! 

As for "real" classic Trek, I have had the ridiculous good fortune and pleasure to consume and enjoy around half a decade's worth of ST: New Visions (all created by the same guy I first encountered in issues of Space: 1999 that I picked up as a kid in Camden Town. That just shouldn't be possible. How IS that possible? Amazing.)
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 6:33pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

So, the classic uniforms will be shown in a different trailer?

I had to chuckle a little at this quote in the article about the 'classic' uniforms:

“To get to see Captain Pike, played by Anson, who looks so much like Jeffrey Hunter, in the outfit, in the yellow shirt outfit, was so extraordinary,” Kurtzman said. “Just to be around it was so inspirational. And actually, it was more amazing to see it in relief against the Discovery uniforms. 

I doubt they appreciate the irony that DISCO PIke is wearing a uniform that Hunter-as-Pike never wore...  It's so damn-frigging inspirational it makes up for the terrible Season 1 uniforms, doesn't it?
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 6:41pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

One should never have to TRY to enjoy....

...castor oil
...milkshakes made with kale
...gangrene
...ice cream and gravy
...an average TV show pretending to be STAR TREK

This is a fun game for November!
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 6:44pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

...castor oil <barf>
...milkshakes made with kale <barf>
...gangrene <barf>
...ice cream and gravy <barf>
...an average TV show pretending to be STAR TREK <not sure what show you are talking about>
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 6:46pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Matt, thanks for the heads up on DESIGNATED SURVIVOR.  I wasn't aware of it.



OT:   Milestone post #1000!
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