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Berman and Braga Talk About The Troubled State of Science Fiction Genre

PROMENADE





Posted: 14:20:52 on April 13 2003
By: GustavoLeao
Dept: General Genre/SciFi
The latest issue of Cinescape magazine, just out in the U.S., features an exclusive interview with ENTERPRISE producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, in which they discuss the troubled state of sci-fi genre in the big and small screens.

"I've heard some people say they're more into fantasy now, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings," Braga says "I think when The Matrix sequels come out, they're gonna be the biggest movies of all time, and sci-fi will be back again."

"I think, to some degree, there's a lot of fantasy now, whether it be Spider-Man or Lord of the Rings, or even films like Solaris," says Berman "There are a lot of films that are dealing with the supernatural, dealing with fantasy, and it could be that we are in a period where that's taking on a little bit more importance than more traditional science fiction."

About NEMESIS' poor box office, he adds "It hasn't performed as well as we thought, but word seems to be it's doing well in Great Britain. We're keeping our fingers crossed."

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pounded by J-Lo
By falcongtho3 ( ) at 13:17:09 on April 14 2003
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The really sad thing is that 'Nemesis' didn't get beaten to a pulp by 'Harry', or '007', or anything like that. It was Jennifer Lopez in 'Maid in Manhattan' that stayed on top of Nemesis consistantly. Watching TOS today, it holds its own on so many levels, TNG looks dated already, barring SFX ,which are going improve regardless. The somethings that needs to be looked at are a)writing and b)putting science in science fiction! It's time to start looking for a sucessor to the throne.

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Bronze Age Star Trek
By lightstar ( lightstar) at 05:20:47 on April 14 2003
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When TOS premiered, wasn't scifi a very risky genre?
TOS succeeded-if circuitously-because it was quality
science fiction with a visionary and positive view of
both humanity and the future. ENTERPRISE would be successful if it too embodied those qualities.

When I first heard about the concept of ENTERPRISE,
I thought it was Bronze Age Star Trek. In terms of
Starfleet technology and space travel, ENTERPRISE is
rather primitive-ie. maximum speed warp 5, no shields, etc. I felt like B&B were drawing a diagram
of the leap between the Earth of First Contact and
TOS. Since, we already know that the creation of
Starfleet and the Federation were successful, I thought it was unnecessary and not a very entertaining project/concept. However, I tuned in
because it is Star Trek and because I could see some
good possibilites if it were done right.

Now, we've seen almost two seasons of ENTERPRISE and
the reviews have not been good until recently. It all
comes down to Execution. If B&B would hire quality
writers-like those from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel- and give those writers the freedom to make the
changes that are necessary, the current ENTERPRISE
series could make a major turnaround and become a top-rated science fiction show.

---

"The Force will be with you...Always."
Obi-Wan Kenobi

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itz tru. the only one that made coin was Minority Report
By Bucky ( ) at 02:11:09 on April 14 2003
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It did relatively well but not as much as you'd expect a Spielberg and Cruise pic to pull in (I would be thinking 200+ mil). And since that was based on some A-listing star power (and I think Spielberg is big enough to fall under that category now) Though you could also argue that MR *has been* the only true sci-fi flick in awhile. (I'm talking dealing with a social issue in a science fiction context, not eye candy ala The Matrix or space fantasy ala Star Wars or not-really-sci-fi-till-the-end-anyway-and-then-just-barely in Signs)
I think, surprisingly, B & B aren't blaming other people for thier mistakes for once (the studio/the fans, etc.) They're right on the money this sci-fi is not a hot property right now.

---

An elephant never forgets . . .TO KILL!

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Rick, you are a retard
By egervari ( ) at 18:53:42 on April 13 2003
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I'm sorry Rick, but stop blaming Sci-Fi for enterprise's problems, just like you blamed Star Trek X's show date and all the other excuses you have had this year. Seeing as you are the producer of the show, you are supposed to be its most valued resource. Well rick, when the most valued resource is out blaming out circumstances for its failures and is not actually working on the show to make it better, guess what? - It's not going to get better. Stop blaming other external circumstances for your own strategic failings as a producer and as a leader.

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To narrow it down a bit more...
By Rat Boy ( ) at 17:27:20 on April 13 2003
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...they're not that far off when they say "sci-fi" is going out of fashion. However, what is really going out of style is "Spaceship Sci-Fi," the Treks and B5s of the genre (I count Star Wars as fantasy, not sci-fi). The Matrix is more "down to Earth" and doesn't have space creatures (yet), therefore it is more palitable and believable for the general audience than a Star Trek film.

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I don't see the difference
By dinzy ( ) at 17:08:47 on April 13 2003
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I don't see much difference between fantasy and Scifi. Basically SciFi is just fantasy set in a future/space setting. Harry Potter is so sucessful because it is a kids movie. LotR was sucessful because it is fun to watch regardless of it's setting. When you watch the movie you care what happens to the characters because it is a great story and you are wowed by great visuals.

Star Trek has gone form great scifi/fantasy to mediocre and that is why the franchise is hurting. Voyager and ENT have been boring and repetitive for the most part. I could care less if any of the major characters died because the writing just hasn't made them important to me. They really need to make ENT focus on getting from the premeire to TOS by telling all the meaningfull stories, rather than barfing out rehashes of other trek shows. Basically make the show good for the ones that watch it rather than try to pull in more auduences with mindless plots nad breasts. If they make the show good it will keep the franchise gowing rather than shedding fans on a weekly basis. Also TOS picked up many of its fans through reruns because it was good. VOY and ENT have very little chance of doing the same in the future.

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Sci Fi Today
By timmer33 ( ) at 15:08:37 on April 13 2003
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"Back in the Day" sci-fi used to be a method of commenting on social issues using a different setting, either by time or place. Take the original Planet of the Apes or Rollerball for example. Both were *awesome* films, but they both also said so much about society. Now look at today: both of those films have been remade for today's audiences. They were both simply action films that were "dumbed down" to a pg-13 rating so the studios could get more teens in the theatres to make their budget back. They didn't say anything about society. Indeed, even the ending of the new Planet of the Apes was tacked on just to stun audiences ... but it didn't actually say anything at all. It was just for shock value. It was stupid. But the original Planet of the Apes, I feel, has the single best Hollywood ending of all time. Period. There is no other movie, of any genre, that has an ending so stunning. Some have come close, but not to the level that Apes achieved.

But what has happened to sci-fi today has also happened to Trek. And Berman and Braga are part of the problem. TOS was full of social commentary, disguised in a futuristic setting. What is ENT or VOY? It is action, stunt casting and special effects. Nothing of substance is there. No matter how hard B&B try, they will never make a good series, because the fault doesn't lie with their talents, it's because they just don't undersand what good sci-fi is. Few do, nowadays. I suspect many of those few are reading this right now ... they are the ones that are critics of ENT and VOY and B&B. People like one_2_three just don't get it ... because they are too young to know what science fiction is, was, and should be again. One_2_three just wants an action story with f/x -- he doesn't care about character or socially-relevant stories.

Thinking about The Matrix ... I'm not even sure if that qualifies as good sci-fi. Sure it's futuristic, relies on science, and it's a good story. But a social commentary??? I'm not sure. I haven't thought too much about it.

What do you guys think? Is The Matrix good sci-fi?

And what do you think of my analysis of B&B?

Timmer33

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

It's interesting to read Brannon's MATRIX comments. Personally I wonder how much sci-fi they're going to contain compared to all the "eye candy" fight scenes. I saw the trailer last night and it looks kind of cool but honestly the sci-fi/alien plot is the most interesting thing to me, not all the wham-bam-how-many-guns-can-we-shoot-at-once-with-slow-motion fight scene stuff. I think I'll check out the MATRIX RELOADED but I have my doubts as to whether it's going to be all that great. I saw the first one a few times but honestly in the end it seemed like very little sci-fi or thought-provoking drama and most of it was just fight scenes with now-cheesy effects. I haven't even seen the original since it was in theaters years ago and I don't think I'd ever really want to see it.

---

-Steve Krutzler
==V/-/== Rocks

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Why do they always blame other things
By SeanValen ( ) at 14:47:36 on April 13 2003
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Berman and Bragga used to have class people around them, either Ron Moore, or Michael Piller, or Steven Bier from DS9, can't remember exact spelling, but it's weird how the trek environments have thrown the good people out, when Steven from DS9 went to voyager, the fact that he left because of creative differences, says it all.

Ego mixed with the threat of someone taking over their jobs, makes them talk about sci fi and other people doing good jobs, Matrix is good enough for people to watch, its simple as that, if they just made Enterprise better, then those people who watch Enterprise because of a loyality of trek, will be celebrating, I just hope the damage the first two seasons did, is repairable, but they got a big task, a new title sequence and new direction for enterprise, make it a whole new show, wipe out the memories of the first two seasons, thats if season 3 is groundbreaking, we'll see.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

While it is true that to SOME extent, there has been a shift to fantasty, sci-fi is far from dead. Recently, we've had Star Wars, The Matrix trilogy, Minority Report, all of which are (or will be) very successful movies. It is also true that Trek is not doing well, and it's not because of some shift away from sci-fi. It's because the Trek producers are tired.

---

-James

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