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Star Wars & Star Trek Need To Die So Other Sci-Fi Can Live

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by btrain16, Mar 29, 2021.

  1. btrain16
    Saurus

    btrain16 Active Member

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    This is inspired by a few recent threads we've had in the forum:

    1. A thread asking for recommendations of everyone's favourite Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels
    2. A few assorted Star Wars / Star Trek threads

    That got me thinking:

    Star Wars and Star Trek, in their current forms, are nothing more than studio cash cows. There's no real creativity happening in either of those spaces, and the best that the fanbases can hope for is a fan-service laden homage to something that peaked decades ago.

    I love both Star Wars and Star Trek, but at this point, I think that they have given all that they have to offer.

    I am certain that there are newer, better sci-fi worlds out there to be built, constrained only by funding and exposure. But for those to flourish, we need to prune back the stagnant old growth that is choking out the seedlings.

    I find myself craving those creative, oddball, one-offs that don't seem to get made anymore. Like, did anyone ever see a Rutger Hauer film called "The Blood of Heroes?" It wasn't high-cinema, by any means, but it was entertaining, and had a really fun premise. Same with "Edge of Tomorrow" which was highly underrated, and suffered from its association with Tom Cruise. Or Avatar, which was only possible because James Cameron had garnered enough credibility and personal financial muscle to pull it off. Stuff like that only rarely gets made anymore, because studios want the "safety" of an established franchise, with a fanbase that can't help but give money to anything with their favourite logo on it.

    I think that the best thing that both fanbases can do is move on from the mega-franchises and let them die, for only then can the rest of Sci-Fi truly live.
     
  2. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    I think this is partially correct. They can still use the universes of Star Trek and Star Wars, but they need original stories. Like the Mandalorian.

    Otherwise, I'm with you on new subjects for sci-fi.
     
  3. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Utterly, and Absolutely Wrong. Rubbish. This notion pronounced Dead On Arrival.
     
  4. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    The thing that needs to be trimmed back and pruned is “Reality Television ” in all its hideous mutations.

    Then there will be more ‘Space’ for science fiction.
     
  5. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I partially agree with you.

    I believe there is a solution to allow for new sci-fi and save the Star Trek and Star Wars franchise, but it's not feasible unless Scalenex is made Supreme Ruler of the United States or Congress stops bowing to lobbyists.

    I covered this before, but here is a repeat of the video link. The short version is we need to undo the Mickey Mouse laws, if that were the case, Star Trek would be in the public domain very shortly and Star Wars would be in the public domain in about 10 to 20 years.



    Hypothetically, I think if these franchises were in the hands of everyone then only the cream would rise to the top.

    I think George Lucas knew his work would be public domain shortly, he would have been more careful setting precedents in his legacy.


    Without the public domain as an option, I guess Star Wars and Star Trek need to die for room for new sci-fi stories.

    Pendrake is wise, but I do not agree with him 100%. The thing is, not a lot of people like reality TV. But reality TV is really cheap to make.

    So hypothetically, you can $100,000 to have a reality show watched by say 3 million people or you can spend $500,000 to have a low budget sci-fi show watched by 6 million people, the television producer will pick the reality every time.

    Reality shows will only go away when they stop being profitable.

    I had a hope that animation, both high quality Western animation and Japanese anime would be a refuge for sci-fi and super hero shows. I figured that it was cheaper and easier to have exploding space ships and other aspects of sci-fi in an animated medium than in live action.

    Then I did a little bit of Internet research. It is cheaper and easier, but not by much. At least if you want good animaton, not like the Cal Arts style that is popping up everywhere. It works for some shows, I like Rick and Morty, but if you are going to with Cal Arts animation you can only do a comedy, and it has to be a very well-written comedy.

    I hear Star Trek Lower Decks is not a bad show. It's a not a great show, but it's moderately entertaining. I am a somewhat of a Trekkie, but I'm not paying for a streaming service to watch a moderately entertaining show with mediocre animation.


    I hear people speak well of the Orville, a spiritually successor to Star Trek. I think it's a decent show, but I don't think it's great. Maybe if there were like four or five shows or movie franchises like the Orville, I'd stop hoping to save Star Wars and Star Trek.


    Jupiter Descending and Mortal Engines were two sci-fi movies with very new and unique storylines and they both were terrible. Both flopped critically and commercially. These were very expensive failures.

    The Universal Studios attempt to launch the Dark Franchise with classic monster movies was also an expensive failure.

    The Harry Potter franchise is beginning to falter. It's not quite as dead as Star Wars and Star Trek, but it's fate is sealed. Let's look at it's competition.

    Artemis Fowl movie, sucked royally.

    Percy Jackson movie franchise, died with a whimper.


    Zombie apocalypses are kind of sci-fi.

    The Walking Dead was a good series, commercially and critically successfully but it kind of petered out.

    The Last of Us was a great take on the otherwise tired zombie genre, and it could have been a great franchise, but woke politics and an attempt to be edgy and shocking killed it.


    I liked the Hunger Games, but turning the last book into two movies was a HUGE mistake and left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn't watch Mockingjay Part Two because Part One had so much filler and dross that I was furious. To be say something cliche, the books were better.


    It's very rare that I see something new and fresh that is really good. I really liked Joker 2019, but it wasn't really a new franchise, it was a new take on an old franchise.

    I don't know if these are good, but they made a lot of money and splash. Get Out, A Quiet Place, and The Purge. The Purge was beaten to death with too many sequels. I don't think Get Out leaves much room for sequels. A Quiet Place had a prequel but I'm not smelling a franchise here. Anyway these are all technically part of the horror genre which is a different sort of animal from sci-fi.

    If anything, the horror genre has always had lots of moderately successful franchises (Friday the 13th, Wishmaster, Saw, Wrong Turn, Species, Leprachaun, Gremlins, Child's Play, etc ) rather than one or two megafranchises that eclipse all others.

    Some horror movies franchises are more sexy, some are more gory, some are more psychological, and some are more campy or humorous, but if you are a casual horror fan, you can do minimal research to find movies that have the exact mix sex, violence, humor, pop psychology, and mysticism to float your boat.

    Myself, I really binge horror movies in the month of October and I avoid the genre the other 11 months of the year.

    Event Horizon is a horror movie and a sci-fi movie. It's a great movie in my opinion, but it is a stand alone. It would be foolish to make a franchise out of it.


    My best case scenario for the science fiction is only slightly more feasible than public domain laws being made reasonable again.

    Animation and CGI needs to become so advanced that a studio can make visuals on par with Jupiter Descending or Mortal Engines (the writing sucked, but the visuals were good).


    Firefly's cancellation after one seaons was of course a great travesty and in my opinion, will always be Fox's greatest crime. But Fox executives really love cancelling shows that are not the Simpsons.

    But now Fox is a Disney subsidiary which makes me less optimistic about Fox's ability to create new entertaining IP.

    I don't think Firefly was cancelled because Star Wars and Star Trek crowded them out though it did debut the same year as Star Wars Episode II and a year after the last season Star Trek Voyager.

    I don't think Star Wars or Star Trek really crowded out Battlestar Galactica or Babylon 5 either.
     
  6. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Slann

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Eleventh Spawning

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    I wouldn't say letting them die would be a good idea, because if they die then there is always a chance they will be forgotten, and as long as new content is kept to a minimum it won't affect other series (Battlestar Galactica 2004 didn't clash with the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy or The Clone Wars for example) but certainly reducing the amount of new stuff we get is a good idea. We don't want either of the franchises rammed down our throat. I'm certainly concerned that Disney are producing too many series too quickly for our liking, just as they were doing with the films earlier on.

    I agree here, we just can't retread the same boring stories in these franchises, mainly because we already have those stories made once for those that enjoy them - why have a soulless repeat when we can have the original?

    That's the reason why I still think the Force Awakens damned the Sequel Trilogy from the start, because it retraced the same story and clung to the Original Trilogy to please the purists, rather than doing something new.

    By contrast Rogue One and The Mandalorian have certainly produced some new stories and they are great (well at least Rogue One is, I've still yet to see The Mandalorian). I'm hoping the Cassian Andor and Obi-Wan series will also provide some new stories, particularly Andor because we know so little about Cassian's past.

    I haven't seen the Mortal Engines film yet, but I'm planning to soon - I've read the first book and it was great, now I want to discern the differences between it and the film, so you can expect my views on it at some point in the future. I can't say whether Jupiter Descending is based on a book or not.

    Films based on books have an added pressure in that they have to remain faithful to the source material as well as being a good film in its own right, which you'd think would be easy but, if The War of the Worlds is any example, people are pretty darn incompetent at succeeding at one or the other. I wonder what the legend and father of wargaming that was H.G. Wells would have to say at the idea of his masterwork being mutilated by three subpar films and two subpar TV series over 100 years after it was published?

    The original 1953 film is probably the best overall as a film, with creepy music and a lot of suspense, but it's attempts to Americanise it and the Martians being given free rein to fly around in invincible Tau Empire grav-craft rather than striding across the Earth in tripods severely damages it. Also Ann Robinson (not the terrifying presenter of the Weakest Link) screaming is an off-putter.

    Two 2005 films were the next to adapt it - one, starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg on drugs, is an abominable train-crash that sucks as a generic sci-fi film almost as much as it sucks as an adaptation of The War of the Worlds (not least because it found someone that actually surpassed Ann Robinson in the annoying-screaming department in the form of Dakota Fanning). The other was a much more accurate British version that unfortunately was made by a very small film studio that couldn't get any decent special effects or actors.

    Finally there were two series made in 2019 - one, made by the BBC, had huge potential when they got the period right but fell flat thanks to wokeness, only three one-hour episodes and being sidelined to the shadows in favour of the bullshit that is His Dark Materials. The other, a British/French co-production made by StudioCanal, Fox and Urban Myth (who did have success with Merlin) I haven't even bothered watching because it's set in the present day again.

    So with regards to Mortal Engines, perhaps it simply flopped because it dropped aspects of the book that were key to the plot working?
     
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  7. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    this recalls me a GREAT short story by Spider Robinson, which won a Hugo award... Melancholy Elephants.

    Basically, the story examines the interaction of copyright and longevity, and the possible effects of the extension of copyright to perpetuity.
     
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  8. btrain16
    Saurus

    btrain16 Active Member

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    Appreciate everyone's responses and feedback to what is admittedly, a bit of a hot take ;)

    I love the idea of getting the franchises into the public domain. If that could happen, I'm sure that there would be some great stuff written and produced. Probably a lot of chaff too, but that's the point - great Sci-Fi should be taking risks and pushing boundaries, and that is naturally going to come with a relatively low success rate.

    To Scalenex's earlier point - SciFi is a big bet for a studio to place. A much bigger, and riskier bet than, say, reality television, which is objectively terrible, but so cheap to produce, that the value proposition remains positive.

    The thing is though, as Scalenex also pointed out, getting the franchises into the public domain is not gonna happen.

    So, we need to find a way to get more (LOTS more) Sci-Fi / Fantasy properties published and produced. The more the genre teems with new ideas (regardless of the quality of execution), the more cross-pollenization and evolution can take place, leading eventually to fresh, new, and awesome worlds.

    Disney and CBS aren't capable of that - The Mandalorian, while fun to watch, breaks no new ground. It's fan service, and we love it for that, but it's really just Lone Wolf and Cub in a Star Wars setting.

    The most original SciFi of the past 15-20 years, have generally not succeeded. By this I'm referring to things like:
    - Sense8
    - Altered Carbon
    - Edge of Tomorrow
    - The Expanse
    - <I'm sure I'm missing others>

    Of these, only The Expanse has managed to hang on and develop into a mature show with a chance to build out its world, but it was very touch and go, and required a mobilized and active fanbase.

    Having Star Wars and Star Trek persist in our pop-culture consciousness ties up a lot of the SciFi fan resources. I mean, just look at how many blog posts and magazine column inches get devoted to them compared to other deserving properties. There is a finite amount of attention available to us, and I think that, in the big picture, we'd be better served by directing that attention outward - Away from what got us here, and towards what we can have next.
     
  9. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Some tropes we see over and over again are cliched, some are classics.

    I could watch Lone Wolf and Cub stories over and over again.


    All the talk of War of the Worlds reminded me of an obscure movie that I really liked. War of the Worlds: Goliath.

    It's a steam punk pulp action adaptation of War of the Worlds made by a Malaysian animation studio. Teddy Roosevelt is one of the character and he fights aliens with steam punk ray guns.

    The original War of the Worlds is now in the public domain.

    It's a fresh take on sci-fi that is certainly taking risk.

    It's a smaller production company dipping their toe in the water of sci-fi rather than a large congolomerate.

    It's anime, not live action, giving the people more freedom to have more special effects with less money.

    Is War of the Worlds: Goliath the greatest movie I ever saw? No. Am I going to watch it again? Probably not. Did I enjoy watching it with my friend? Yes. Were we able to talk about it on and off for weeks afterwards? Yes.
     
  10. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Slann

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Eleventh Spawning

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    Classics are just glorified cliches to be honest. Loved by some but still unnecessarily repeated.

    Well if it’s a fresh take on sci-fi, why didn’t they simply name it as something completely different instead of referring to War of the Worlds when it, like most of the other ‘adaptations’ of it, also has very little resemblance to the original material? Independence Day did just that. It’s pretty much a reskin of War of the Worlds but it avoids actually referring to it in the title, which avoids it being regarded as an adaptation of it and saves it from a lot of criticism that would have said it’s nothing like the original work.
     
  11. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    well, i could argue that many classics are not "glorified cliches", but they resemble more archetypes.
    The hero's journey is present in our culture since the beginning of the written literature; i would say that we, as humans, need a certain kind of stories.
     
  12. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    At work, I thought about Blade the Series released by the sci-fi channels. Obviously they couldn't afford Wesley Snipes, but they got a good lead for the television series.

    It is one of the Sci-Fi channels most watched original shows ever. It was respected by critics and fans alike. Good acting, good writing, good cinematics, good pacing. It even had good representation of minority groups without being preachy about it.

    Problem is, it still lost money.

    I believe a Booster Gold series was shot down because it was projected to lose money while still being excellent.

    What did Sci-Fi channel do? They dived into reality TV....:(

    I will note, I do like FaceOff. That's my favorite reality show, but Blade the Series had me eagerly tuning in for each episode premiere then swinging back to watch the rerun later the same day. That almost never happens with contemporary TV.
     
  13. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    0aa.jpg
     
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  14. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Slann

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Eleventh Spawning

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    Need? It’s more like humans want such stories, rather than actually need them. We don’t need anymore repeats of the hero’s journey because we have loads since, as you say, the early days of written mythology (Jason and the Argonauts, Perseus and Medusa, Theseus and the Minotaur), though for some reason some people never seem to tire of hearing those stories so always like to hear them again with the characters simply reskinned with varying levels of difference and altered settings. Hence, glorified cliches. Why have remakes when you can have the original and usually best?
     
  15. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    There is a Hollywood Tradition, but only a few directors are lucky enough to benefit from it.

    If a director makes a movie with someone else's story and following the directions of a team of meddling producers and does moderately well, he is typically given permission of his own choosing with minimal producer meddling.

    The best example I can think of is Christopher Nolan who helmed the wildly successful The Dark Knight and then was given the freedom to write and direct Inception as he saw fit.

    After Inception made a bunch of money, Christopher Nolan now has the most valuable thing in Hollywood. A blank check. I'm pretty sure if he wants to do anything, a producer will let him.


    After directing Rise of Skywalker, Rian Johnson was allowed to make Knives Out. Did he deserve this reward. No. But putting that aside, I hear good things about Knives Out. When Rian Johnson has complete creative freedom and does not have to color within the lines of someone's else IP, he can make good stories.

    But I digress. Apparently I heard some entertainment news. Knives Out 2 is greenlit. No problem here. While part of me wants Rian Johnson to never direct again, I don't really have a problem with him working on his own stuff. Netflix is producing it and it is going straight to the platform. Again, no real problem here. I'm not a huge fan of Netflix, but they need original material for their streaming service. Netflix is purportedly budgeting $400 million. Knives Out 2 will probably attract a lot of viewers but I cannot picture them driving $400 million worth of new subscribers. For simple math, lets up their monthly fee to $10. To pay for Knives Out 2, they need to generate 40 million subscribers who stick around for 10 months. I don't see that happening.

    For a while, Netflix was the only streaming service on the block and they were making money, but Netflix has been running a loss for a quite a while. I believe HBO Max is eating losses now and is likely to do so for some time. Disney+ has yet to make a profit. I'm sure CBS All Access has yet to make a profit. I cannot name one streaming service that is running a profit.

    In order for a streaming service to keep going while running negative profits, they need investors to contribute money, banking on the fact that the streaming service will make a profit in the future.

    How long can this keep going?

    I expect the little streaming services to fold and sell their IP to HBO Max, Netflix, and Disney+. But very few if any thing of the little fish are folding. Disney owns a large percentage of Hulu. I expect Disney+ and Hulu to merge at some point.

    I am not optimistic that in a hypothetical world where all streaming falls under one of these

    Disney+ has Disney behind it. HBO Max has AT&T behind it. Netflix just has the first mover advantage for being the first streaming service. If one of these three streaming services fold, my money is on Netflix dying.

    If the streaming service narrows down to 2-4 major streaming services, I don't think that is an environment where new IP will flourish. :(
     
  16. Infinity Turtle
    Temple Guard

    Infinity Turtle Well-Known Member

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    The 2-movie-split was a mistake, but a hard choice given the amount of content from the single book itself. That being said, after the success of 3 hour Endgame and 4 hour Snyder Cut, I think there would have been enough hype and good feeling surrounding the Hunger Games franchise, particularly after the first two strong instalments, to support a slightly longer film (and then an extended cut if they saw fit). The only downside of the Hunger Games is it became part of a trend of dystopian sci-fi y/a stories (some of which are great, don’t get me wrong) but they overran the market and now people don’t want to explore that facet of sci-fi anymore.

    It’s unfortunate you only saw Mockingjay Part 1, as its easily the worst movie of the series, and the final movie is relatively faithful and I found it a satisfactory and good-enough ending.

    Somehow I let some friends persuade me to watch The Purge. It was just a waste if my time, really. It wasn’t actively terrible, but it added absolutely nothing to my life except that part of my brain that’s wondering if all Americans would genuinely be willing to murder their neighbours at the drop of a hat and start an annual teenagers-killing-eachother-event...

    Though the last episode (or first episode technically...) aired less than a year after I was born, I have been in love with this series since I first saw it. I’m not a strong believer in very long running series, because generally they deteriorate into rubbish (but I do enjoy being pleasantly surprised by subversions to this expectation), but Firefly definitely deserved at least one more season - preferably two - to explain some questions we never got answers too and explore a new and fun sci-fi setting.

    But I’m sure he would have been a fan of the musical.

    Here’re my main thoughts on this whole discussion though:

    (I know basically nothing about Star Trek by the way)

    There is so much Star Wars stuff out there. Like so much. My brother is a big fan of a lot of the games, reads most of the books (the older ones, not so much all the clone wars and rebels spin offs), and OH MY GOODNESS 2003 CLONE WARS IS A MASTER PIECE *chefs kiss* fabulous. There are bound to be misses, but there are also hits. I don’t have issues with the existence of Star Wars, but I do think that it can be damaging to sci-fi exploration:

    COMPARISONS
    When my dad first introduced me to firefly, he said Mal Reynolds is what Han Solo would be like if Star Wars wasn’t a fairytale. (Doesn’t matter if this is accurate or not) but this shows how everything sci-fi gets drawn back to and compared to Star Wars. I can’t think of another example off th top of my head right now, but you get the idea. I believe that a constant comparison to one of the largest and most famous franchises of all time can be discouraging and damaging to past present and emerging film makers, films, and sci-fi ideas.

    I myself compare fantasy films to Lord if the Rings and Narnia quite a bit, so I guess I’m a hypocrite, but generally I compare characters (and archetypes within them) and world building laws more than the world’s themselves. When people compare sci-fi it tends to be a bit more nit picky and specific (eg. There are a bunch of swords that just look like swords in fantasy, but in sci-fi there are iconic guns belonging to characters, a styles of laser from one universe, a sound effect from another).

    THINGS THAT ARE GOOD

    Pitch Black
    This movie is one of my favourites of all time. It’s clever, there are little things you can for a second and then it’s off again. A budget of 23 million (a year after Phantom Menace with a budget of 115 million), and of course we’ve come a long way in visual effects in the last 20 years, but I think it holds up well. There were unique things about it: shooting it using film, a more diverse than usual diverse cast (due to being passengers on a general transport), the whole solar eclipse every 20 or so years is really good and make s this an effective and memorable stand alone sci-fi (slightly horror) movie.

    And then they made a sequel - completely different, but still relatively good. This sequel presents a new world with new laws, Judi dench and KARL URBAN YAY and it creates another unique sci-fi world (that sort of reminds me of Firefly in the way that present day earth religion is still relevant in a sci fi universe). The prison world with the burning sun, the ‘keep what you kill’ and necromonger stuff is cool

    Then there was a third movie. It’s ehhhhhhhh I guess. They should have kept building the world instead of going back to the exact plot of the first film (except with rain and Dave Bautista) for nostalgia.

    PACIFIC RIM
    I like this movie a lot. I refuse to believe in the existence of a sequel. I know it’s nit a new genre, but this movie feels like a new and fun stand alone action sci-fi

    DREDD
    I know it’s a reboot, but could easily be a stand alone sci-fi action flick from that era

    PRIMEVAL
    This is one if my favourite TV shows of all time - yes partly because I grew up with it and nostalgia, but I think it presents a new idea, a fun cast, an intriguing plot (that gets a bit convoluted in the final two seasons, but 1-3 are excellent). Basically portals called anomalies start opening up and prehistoric creatures start combing through and this group of British lads have to deal with it.
    If you’re into unique sci-fi creature design, minor spoiler but:
    this is the design of the ‘future predator’ and it is phenomenal. One of the greatest sci-fi creature designs ever in my opinion.
    upload_2021-4-2_14-9-18.jpeg
    I can’t find a video without somewhat major spoilers, but I would really recommend checking this show out. The movement and noises of the further predator are so creepy and effective.



    Another issue with the sci-fi film climate is budget has a massive effect on who can make movies, what the movies are about and if the movies are new or if they’re a reboot/sequel.
     
  17. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    That was a fantastic movie.

    There was talk about using this style of Dredd for a spinoff series on Netflix or Hulu, but this show was in developmental limbo (if it might be on Netflix or Hulu, neither conglomerate is committed).

    The CCP virus put the last nail in the coffin for a Judge Dredd series made by the same people.
     
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  18. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    We do not have a consensus on whether Star Wars or Star Trek can be saved as viable franchises.

    But it does seem like we have a general consensus that if either or both of these franchises sink, it will not necessarily cause new good franchises to rise from the ashes.
     
  19. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Correct.
     
  20. Scolenex
    Razordon

    Scolenex Well-Known Member

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    If there is one thing pandas understand, is the recuperative power of a good sleep.

    [​IMG]

    I think the best way to save the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises is to take several years off. Wait for the hurt feelings to subside (both from the Fandom Menace and the Woke Mafia) and let a completely new batch of writers, directors, and actors breathe life back into the franchises.

    The more the franchise's handlers mess up now, the longer the franchise nap needs to be.

    I figure if Star Trek needs to sleep 5-10 years now. Star Wars needs to wrap up season 3 of the Mandalorian with a satisfying finale and any animated shows still running need to do likewise, then they take a 4-8 year sleep.
     

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