Friday, December 15, 2006

CBS Considering New Animated Trek Series For The Web

Long article digested here:
Rossi then took the advice he got from LeVar Burton on how ‘Star Trek should always be about moving forward and what is next in the human adventure.’ So the team came up with the notion of taking a big leap forward and setting a show 150 years after the time of Picard and Star Trek Nemesis (ugh - one of the worst), but in a very different and somewhat dark Trek universe.

The setting is the year 2528 and the Federation is a different place after suffering through a devastating war with the Romulans 60 years earlier. The war was sparked off after a surprise attack of dozens of ‘Omega particle’ detonations throughout the Federation creating vast areas which become impassible to warp travel and essentially cut off almost half the Federation from the rest. During the war the Klingon homeworld was occupied by the Romulans, all of Andoria was destroyed and the Vulcans, who were negotiating reunification with the Romulans, pulled out of the Federation. The setting may seem bleak and not very Trek-like, but that is where the show’s hero Captain Alexander Chase comes in. Relegated to border patrol, Chase is determined to bring the Federation (and a ship called Enterprise) back to the glory days of seeking out new life and new civilizations.

This new animated series would take place again on a ship called Enterprise, but the old girl has seen better days. Captain Chase’s Enterprise will be a ‘Bismarck Class’ heavy cruiser from the Romulan war and a bit out of date. Her mission will be merely patrolling the border, but Chase chose the Enterprise for a reason. As a student of the Federation’s glory days, he wants to have the Enterprise reclaim her legacy. Although they are not ready to share artwork, Rossi says the ship will be very different than familiar saucer/hull/nacelle designs while still being recognizable as a ‘Star Trek’ ship. Her crew will be a collection of humans and aliens including a chief engineer named ‘Mr. Zero’ who wears an environmental suit to survive. Life on the ship will mirror that of the Federation itself. "The Captain is more forward thinking and wants to go out and do some exploring but half the crew will be against that and want to just protect the border," says Rossi. Leading the ’stay the course’ faction will be Chase’s first officer, Commander Barric Holden who wants a command of his own and be a bit resentful of the his new captain. Rounding out the ‘big 3? will be Lt. Kaylen Donal, a tough-as-nails security chief whose team of red shirts are all linked with Borg technology implants called ‘Biomechanical Utility Grafts or ‘BUGs’. The Zero Room team want to see this security squad kick some butt and not just be cannon fodder. Rossi draws the distinction with previous security personnel "they aren’t the hapless pajama wearing guys who get vaporized every time…these are going to be very thoughtful clever bad-ass soldiers."

One thing that should be made clear is that it is entirely unclear if, when or how this animated series will be seen. If the project gets the go ahead it will most likely be seen on, however the show would be made in a way so it can be also shown on broadcast TV as well as DVD. This is somewhat similar to the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series which was shown on as well as the Cartoon Network and then put out on DVD. One of the big hurdles seems to be the convoluted nature of the Trek license sharing deal between the former Viacom partners CBS and Paramount. Apparently when your name is not J.J. Abrams it is a bit difficult to work a new Trek project through the system. Currently the project is in a holding pattern and may remain so until the release of Star Trek XI in 2008. If CBS and Paramount want Star Trek to compete with other franchises like Star Wars, Superman, and Batman, then it makes sense for it to have an animated component.

Only time will tell if this project will see the light of day or end up like ‘Star Trek Phase II’ and other ‘Treks that could have been’.
I don't know, I like some of the new animation - Teen Titans, Batman Beyond, etc. and I could support a darker, more action Trek as long as it was idealistic and optimistic. This could work.

There is another Star Trek animated project being tested - redoing the original animated Star Trek series with new CGI graphics but mostly the originally soundtrack.

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