Freaking out about Sci-fi & Moives

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The Great CBS and Paramount Star Trek Deception

Before reading this article watch the Midnight Edge Report on how the Star Trek rights currently work. The Report gives you an in-depth view of it history and where it currently stands. It is just under an hour long but worth the watch. (I have added it just below.)

Finished the report? Good, your up to speed.

For this article, I will refer to each timeline like this.
Cannon Timeline, Everything made between 1965 (The Original unaired Pilot) to 2005 (Enterprise)
Kelvin Timeline, Star Trek 09, Star Trek: Into Darkness and Star Trek: Beyond.
Prime Timeline, Star Trek: Discovery, Short Trek and the Future Picard Series.

So how has CBS and Paramount devised us, well let start with the first JJ movie. It stated that Spock came back from the Prime timeline which created the Kelvin timeline. At the time of making the film. I suspect that they meant for Spock to come form the Cannon Timeline, as no TV series where in production due to the agreement with the licencing.

Now fast forward a few years and CBS wants a flagship show for their streaming service. As Star Trek is their most profitable franchise in their portfolio, it is chosen. However due to the deal agreed with Paramount and in turn Bad Robot they would need to buy the rights in order to make a new TV series. Bad Robot gave it to them under the same conditions that CBS gave it to Paramount / Bad Robot.
In another words it had to be 25% different from the Cannon Timeline and Kelvin Timeline. Due to this the man tasked with creating Star Trek: Discovery (Bryan Fuller) had a major disagreement with Les Moonves at the time the head of CBS and was fired and Alex Kurtzman was brought in to finish off the work. (It should be noted the majority of Fuller work for Discovery was dropped and only the basic story outline for the pilot was used. as well as some other things.)
As this being another Prequel, Fans where a little daubes about it, but Kurtzman came out and stated not to worry and everything would line up with the Prime Timeline leading fan to believe that Prime was Cannon. With the first season Discovery the fans found the show to have a closure look in style to the Kelvin Timeline than with Cannon. But Kurtzman kept stating that everything would line up with the Prime Timeline and this has continued.

Fans have not been happy with Discovery as stories and the style of the show have not yet lined up with the Cannon Timeline. To top that off there has been alot of SJW politic thrown into as well. While politics was done in Cannon timeline, it was always done in a subtle way and not hitting the views over the head with it constantly. The writing on the show has been move soap opera than Science fiction and what science there has been has been wrong (An example of this is Sonar in Space. Sound do not work in space as there is nothing for them to travel though so Sonar can not work. However radio waves do travel though space and don’t work the same way as sound. It is likely the writers don’t know the difference between the two). The characters on the show have also been unlikable. This has lead to viewer and fans stop watching the show, and has lead to Kurtzman and co to start to worrying. But I will come back to this.

Now you want to know what the big deception is. It has come form multiple leaks from with in CBS and Paramount, that when Kurtzman say everything will line up with the Prime Timeline he does not mean the Cannon Timeline but something new that will use parts of the Cannon Timeline. This is because of the licencing being given to Paramount / Bad Robot and licence it back to CBS. This mean that if Discovery or any future Star Trek show wanting to use something form the Cannon Timeline without being 25% different would have to get permission from Bad Robot and CBS and pay for the licence to use it. In another word Discovery producers need to pay Bad Robot who in turns need to pay CBS to use something from Cannon that has not been 25% changed.
So Kurtzman, CBS and Bad Robot have been deceiving Fans when they have said everything will line up with the Prime Timeline as they have been implying it was the Cannon Timeline when it fact it not. This means that the Prime Spock seen Star Trek 09 is in fact from this Discovery Timeline and not the Cannon Timeline. (The one good thing about this is that the Romulan Star Empire is still there in the Cannon Timeline.)
This also mean that the upcoming Picard Series will be set in the Prime Timeline and not the Cannon Timeline, this is why we keep hearing that Picard will be very different to the one we know. That because he has to be 25% different, it also the reason why we will never see any of the cast of TNG or other Cannon Timeline Trek shows/ Movies appearing in it.

Why have the Star Trek Fan base been deceived. The simple fact come down to Money. The people behind Discovery (Secret Hideout a Subsidiary of Bad Robot) and Bad Robot are unable to make any money from mechanize from the Cannon Timeline as CBS own the rights to this. However they can from mechanize from the Prime and Kelvin Timeline. In order to get fans to buy mechanise from these two Timeline and not Cannon, they are trying to erase the cannon timeline with Prime without the fans knowing about it and have them accept the Prime Timeline as Cannon.

Needless to say with the news of this revile fans have not been happy with it. It possible that fans would have accepted it better if they where told form the start and not deceived but that was not the case.
What will happen now? Well that is still up in the air. But one thing is for sure the Board of Director of CBS that have come in since Les Moonves was fired are not happy with the situation either. They have not yet green lighted season 3 of Discovery and with the fan reaction to Discovery and Kurtzman it is looking high likely that it will be cancelled. They also have not yet given the Picard Series a Budget which is due to start filming in April. (As the show has no budget, no script have been written, no set built and no cast casted.) which means the Picard Series is on hold. The CBS Board of Directors are considering what to do next.

What can happen next for Star Trek?

With Bad Robot, Kelvin Timeline now dead and no other movie going into production soon. Their licence for the films will expire sometime in early 2019. How this will work with them licencing Discovery back to CBS is currently unknown. But Shari Redstone who own the majority of shares in CBS and Paramount want to re-merge the companies, and this is looking highly likely to happen at some point this year. She is also extremely unhappy with the way Kurtzman and Moonves has treated Trek, as Star Trek has been very good to here family and they have ruined it name. When the re-merger of the two companies happen the Trek licencing rights will be back under one house. However this does not mean that the troubles with it will be over. As I have stated it is unknown what exactly the deal Moonves has done with Bad Robot and if he has given them a state in Star Trek. If this is the case it could be awhile until the problem has been resolved and Cannon Timeline Star Trek can start to be made again.

Is there anything the fan can do?

With the way the licence is at the moment, the short answer is no and something that will have to be fix between CBS and Paramount and possibly Bad Robot and Kurtzman.
But the Fandom can come together and let them know that what they are doing is not acceptable. In the old days I would have said a letter writing campaign would have worked, but unfortunately those days are long gone. But that not to say it can’t be done. The easiest way to do it, is not to buy mechanize from Discovery or the Kelvin Timelines (though there is not much out there for it.) As this income would dry up and no one watching their shows / Movies Secret Hideout and Bad Robot would have to admit defeat as they would hold something that is worthless to them. If it is true that they have a stake in this alt Trek as it is worthless to them they would give it up.

What do you think can be done to get Cannon Timeline and decent Star Trek back?

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Could we ever see a High Definition Version Star Trek: Deep Space Nine?

At one point it looked like we would never see a HD version of DS9. With the cost of converting Standard Definition to High Definition and the fact that a lot if not all of Deep Space Nine Visual Special Effects where shot on tape and not film and have been lost. (with the VFX being shot on tape, this is not able to be converted to HD as the quality of tape is far lower than film.) Also toward the end of DS9 run, they moved towards using more CGI in these VFX, the digital files for these VFX have presumed to have been lost.
However that could change. Ira Steven Behr the former Executive Producer of Deep Space Nine is make a documentary about the show, and how it has gone from the black sheep of the Star Trek family to one of the most beloved.
The documentary titled “What We Leave Behind.” will feature footage from the show. As the show is currently in standard definition it would not look good with everything else filmed in HD. So Ira Steven Behr been able to convert five minutes of footage into HD, and this looks stunning. The footage is also in widescreen instead of the standard 4:3 which was broadcast at the time.

Don’t fear the footage that has been converted has not been stanched to fit today TV standard of 16:9. At the start of season 3 of Deep Space Nine, the cinematographer’s working on the show started to shoot the show in widescreen but still framing everything for 4:3 aspect ratio. The idea was to future prof the show. (While 16:9 Aspect ratio was not yet available for home TV’s it was coming and the cinematographer’s knew it.) unfortunately this means that if a HD version of DS9 is realised the first two seasons would be in the 4:3 aspect ratio like the TNG remastered realise.

Current Logo for the What We Left Behind Documentry

Now I know what you are asking how can this documentary give us a HD version of DS9? In short it can’t, but it proves that it can be done. As I have stated before the VFX shoots can’t be converted but CBS still has the original film of the actor of the acting in a scene that had VFX added in post production. This also incudes the early shoots with a physical models.
As for the full on CGI VFX, a lot of the artist that worked on these shoot kept hold of the files, although not all of them was kept. For the files that was it would only need a little work to touching up the scene for HD and re-render them out. As the files that have been lost this would have to be recreated from scratch and far more incentive to do. But it can be done.

What are the chances of getting a HD Version of Deep Space Nine?
At the time of writing this post is not likely to happen anytime soon due to cost of conversion and redoing the lost VFX, But I would not write it off just yet. Even though “What We Left Behind” is still in production, there seem to be a lot of antiapation for it.
Fan have been asking for a HD version for years and the documentary could push CBS into doing it, but it also depends on how the Remastered version of The Original Series and The Next Generations have done in sales. Here hoping that we final will get a HD version.

For those intreated in Documentary you can visit the website here.
(as of posting this post Ira Steven Behr is looking for help to raised funds to get another ten minute’s of footage converted for the Documentary information on how to do this on the website along with a video showing a still of a shoot that has been converted and comparing it to the SD version.)


Star Trek Discovery, Episode 1 & 2 review

When I first heard that Star Trek was coming back to the small screen, I was excited. But as more information came out I started to get worried, epically after that first teaser trailer was realised.
Here is my review for the first two episodes of Star Trek Discovery, I will keep the review spoiler free and I’ll let you know if that fear was justified, after words I write about the issue I have with the show and why they are here.

Within the first few minutes of Discovery starting you can see that Bad Robot (That right JJ Abarms Production Company) has pulled out all the stops and given this show a feel of a big production movie. But then I would expect little less when they are spending 8 million dollars per episode.
The story has a decent flow to it though it does get bogged down a little by explaining everything, but this to be expected from a pilot episode as they are setting up the characters and the world around them.

A first for Star Trek, this show lead is not the Captain but the First Officer Michael Burnham played by Sonequa Martin-Green. She is Human but was raised on Vulcan by Spock’s Parents. Which we learn about though flash backs. I expect that we will see more of this as the series goes on.

CBS has billed this show as being set in the Prime Universe and ten years before James Kirk historic first five year mission which was seen in The Original Series (TOS). This means that it would lead into TOS, and then the first six films, Star Trek The Next Generation etc. and not the latest films set in JJ Abrams Kelvin Universe.
Being set ten years before TOS it also means that the show taking place at the same time as the original pilot for Star Trek (The Cage) which was aired after the original run of TOS.

Discovery pilot set up the war with the Klingons which will become a cold war by TOS era.
There are some issue with the Klingon which I get to at the end of the review and look at as lifelong fan of Star Trek. It is stated that the Klingon Empire is in disarray due to the 24 great houses being at war with each other and only come together as the Great Council for matter that affect the whole Empire. T’Kuvma played by Chris Obi, is trying to bring the 12 houses together under the teaching of Khaless. (A great Klingon Warrior who brought the Klingon houses together with honour and the code of the warrior to form the Klingon Empire. He more of a religious icon.)
The USS Shenzhou, is sent to a binary star to investigate why Federation Communication relay has gone off line. While investigating the relay the Shenzhou comes across an object that turns out to T’Kuvma Mothership. T’Kuvma pays no attention the Starfleet ship and send a signal out for all the Great Houses of the Klingon Empire to come.
On Learning that the object the Shenzhou is investigating is a Klingon Ship, Captain Georgiou played by Michelle Yeoh calls for back up. The head of the Klingon Houses arrive and T’Kuvma is able to unify all but one House. Other Starfleet ships arrive and battle starts with both sides taking heavy lose, though Starfleet take a bit more of kicking that the Klingons.

While the two episodes that make up the pilot are entertaining it felt like a prelude to the start of an episode, we don’t even get to see the “Hero” ship the USS Discovery in either episodes except during the opening title for the show and this more like a blue print drawing.
The acting is decent but given the talent working on these two episodes it could have been better.
But then again this could have been down to the writing. The aliens look good but not great with the exception of the Klingons. Doug Jones who plays the science officer Lt. Saru is good, as he is known for working under heavy prosthetics. However when he talks you can’t see is mouth open to much due to the level of the prosthetics applied to his face.
When the Klingon talk it all in Klingon, which I have no issue with, however I found that the subtitle where either up to long or where quickly changed before you could read them and in some cases you could not even read them as they merged in with what was going on the screen.

Star Trek Discovery does have potential but it still comes across as running straight into action.
It also seemed to missing some of the philosophy that you got from classic Trek.
So was I right to be worried about this show yes and no, but it only the first two episodes and there is room for it to head in the right direction. I guess I will only really pass judgement until have seen the whole season. It not bad, but it still not quite Star Trek either.

Okay onto the Nic-Picking.

First I am going to start off with the way this show was aired. While I live in the UK I am getting Star Trek Discovery from Netflix. However over the pond in the US, they got the first episode show on CBS, if you wanted to watch the second and the following episodes you have to sign up to CBS All Access for $6 per month with adds or $10 for no adds. To me and no doubt many others in the States this makes no scene as people are going to be unwilling to pay $6 a month just for one show, when they are already paying for Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, plus cable. I would not be surprise if CBS have shot themselves in the foot with domestic viewing figure and it will be interesting to see what the number are for the second episode. I would also be not be surprised if this becomes one of the highest pirated TV show in the States.
For those of us outside the States and watching on Netflix we also got the pilot episode broken into two. The was no real need for this as the story picked up from the ending of the first, and could have been show like the pilots of The Next Gen, Deep Space 9 and Voyager. (Enterprise pilot was only 45 mins long.) This took me out of the story for a moment and had to wait for the previously on… Even though Netflix normally skips which it did but not all of it.

The next issue I have with the show is the time setting. “10 years before Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise” as promoted, yes it is 10 year before Kirk historic five year mission, but Spock and the Enterprise are running around the quadrant under the command of Captain Christopher Pike as I stated in my review. Gene Rodenberry was about looking to the future and not the past, so this should have been set after Star Trek Nemesis, but I can let that go.
This leads into the look of the show, the Starfleet ships and interior have not followed the look set in the Cage or TOS, but gone for something that has come straight out of one of JJ Kelvin Universe movies. Though the ship scale looked to be correct this time around.
Now before you start say you can’t have a TV show from today have the same cardboard wall look of the sixty, and I would agree with you. But there are fans out there are making Model of the TOS Enterprise and making them look current without losing the feel of Matt Jeffery original design. Madkofish design is a prime example.

This also goes for the uniforms used in the show, why are they so different from the ones see in the Cage? This is one area that JJ got right with his films; he brought back the classic uniform but at the same time made them look modern.
But they did manage to make the phaser and communicator look modern but at the same time keep the TOS style.

The next grip I have with the show is the Starfleet Delta, at this time that emblem is only used on the USS Enterprise. Starfleet only used it as their own after Kirk first or second five-year mission, this is 15 to 20 years after the event shown here. At this time, each ship had their own emblem warn on the uniform with the department logo with in it. Medical, science, command with etc.
Think of it this way. Into day navy a crew member on a ship will wear the ship name and sometime emblem on the day to day uniform. It only when they put on a hat or dress uniform would they have the navel emblem on it. Their uniform would still say which country they are from with a flag normal on the shoulder. However, they never did this in TOS which is fine. But when you have a group of people on staff that are supposed to make sure that continuity stay straight this is a big failing.

Now here is the biggest issue I have with the Show. THE KLINGONS.
Where to start with the Klingon’s? let start with the right of Star Trek.
Since Vicom Paramount spilt into two spate companies, The TV wing (CBS) and the Movie wing (Paramount Pictures) the right for Star Trek was split between the two. CBS got the TV rights and all the product right that goes with that, mean all the clothing to do with the TV shows mugs, models, calendars, DVD’s/Blu-rays, books, comic etc.
Paramount only got the right to the movies and their products. When the JJ first JJ Abrams Star Trek movie was being made and they decided to do an alternate timeline/ reboot, Paramount had to go to CBS to get the rights to use the Characters of Kirk, Spock, Bones and the rests, they also need to get the right for the look of the ships and all Aliens that have first been seen on the TV shows.
This is why the Enterprise looks so different and have the Apple Store bridge. This is why also why the Klingons had a different look in the deleted scene from Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness.
Paramount had to pay CBS to use these things. To keep the cost of the right down new Aliens where created that had never been seen on any of the TV show as Paramount did not have to pay for the rights. Then Paramount gave these right to Bad Robot as they produce the films.

Now CBS has decided to make a new star Trek TV show and have gone to Bad Robot to make this show. Because of the way the rights work between CBS and Paramount, if CBS gives the full rights to Bad Robot they can then use them in any next Star Trek film they make for Paramount, which means CBS lose on this income. So what Bad Robot has had to do is use what limited rights they have got from CBS and Paramount without stepping on the toes of either one so said party dose not lose out on the paid rights. I hope that make scene to you. This is where the new Klingon look comes in as it not the look used on the TV shows or Movies.

Okay so due to rights a new look for the Klingons was needs, I have no problem with this. Where my problem comes in is with continuity, in a Story Arc in Star Trek Enterprise Dr. Arik Soong realised a virus on the Klingon population which turned them into looking more human. It explained the why they looked different in TOS (In reality the TOS make-up was not that great.) it also touched on the classic DS9 episode Trail’s and Tribulations. With Worf mentioning that Klingon don’t like to talk about what happened to them. So, this show is set 10 years before TOS and about 100 years after what Soong did to the Klingons. The Klingons should be looking more Human than the Klingon seen later in the first six movies and after TNG etc.
What they should have done was come up with a look that was halfway between the Klingons had seen in TNG and human, they could have even had some people looking closer to the Klingon look we know and love and some closer to looking like the ones seen in TOS. This way it would have been a new look for the Klingons and keeping within the rights that Paramount and CBS have.

As for the main Klingon ship seen in the show, I have no problems with it as it is hinted that it is over hundreds of years old. Which means that it predates anything we have seen from the Klingons.
however the other Klingon ships follow the designs and it does not work. Again due the rights they can’t use what has been seen before but could up with a new ships designs that still would have fitted with the era.


Ready Player One Trailer

Been awhile since I posted a trailer for a film.
Anyway here is the trailer for Ready Player One.
I have been look forward to this ever since the film was announced, love the freaking book.
If you have not ready it and grow up in the 80’s what are you waiting for go and read it before the film come out!!


7 years on Wordpess

How about that, today is the 7th Anniversary of starting this blog here on wordpress.
While it started as a place to post WIP of 3D art I was making in blender to movie reviews and posting once a week.
It has changed little in that time, though I have not written of a review of a film for some time. Which is something I plan to get back to.
The art has changed from do 3d models to working in 2D, and I don’t post once a week like I use to.

This blog is still a place for me to post my art.

So here is to the next seven years.


THE ORVILLE Trailer

If you call yourself a sci-fi fan you have seen Galaxy Quest, if not bow your head in shame.
The Orville follows Galaxy Quest in being a parody of Star Trek.
This is a live action series from Seth MacFarlane.


Sneak Peak

In my last post I mentioned that I have lost my Mojo on doing 2d painting and wanted to get back into 3d.
I had starting build something but it was getting a bit out of hand as I am having to relearn how to use blender.
So I have put that on the back burner and started work on something a bit more simpler. This is so I can get back into it and have a better work flow.

Anyway here is a sneak peak on what I am working on.