(This doesn’t have nearly the bite it did when I first wrote it almost 20 years ago. It was a little harder to get material “out there” in 1995 than it is now and while every editor that read it liked it, they were all too leery of Paramount’s legal department top publish it, notwithstanding the court’s support for fair use via parody/satire.)
Paramount Studios announced that it has taken the unprecedented step of re-filming its most recent Star Trek feature film in a form more marketable to a particular target audience.
Renamed Star Trek: Generation X, the film was repackaged in response to lagging sales in licensed Star Trek properties among consumers in the 19-28 year-old age bracket. Recently, our reporters visited the set and spoke with Executive Producer Rick Vermin.
(Cut to movie set)
Mr. Vermin, there has been some talk in the industry that Paramount is over-saturating the market and that eventually the appeal of Star trek will die from overexposure. Do you have any comment on that?
Yes. I’ve heard those comments, but I don’t give them much credence.
– You have to understand that Star Trek is the flagship of the Paramount line and we will do nothing to jeopardize that position.
– You also have to understand that Star Trek’s message of hope and nobility of the human spirit will sustain it (and us) for many more years and much more expansion.
– Most importantly, you have to understand the basic contempt with which we at Paramount hold the fans…geez, you’ll buy anything with a TREK logo on it!
That’s a little harsh isn’t it?
You bought off on Voyager didn’t you?
Good point. Getting on to the movie itself: Has there been any sort of re-design in the “look” of the show in order to appeal more to your younger audience?
Well, first we tailored all the uniforms so that the pants would sag, but the dragging trouser legs short-circuited a transporter pad and caused a fire which nearly destroyed the transporter room set. Then there was the backwards hat thing…As you know, Starfleet crew-members have no hats to wear backwards, so we decided that they could wear their communicator pins on the back of their shirts….That caused problems as well as it seems that Marina Sirtis’ communicator pin severed her bra strap when she sat back in her chair …and the resulting explosion caused a riot with the stage crew.
Generations was supposed to be the swan-song for the original Trek cast. Was there any hesitation on the part of William Shatner or any of the others towards coming back one more time?
No, as a mater of fact there wasn’t any problem with Shatner or the others but we did have a problem with Bill’s stunt double.
(Cut to waist-level shot of STUNT-DOUBLE and DIRECTOR)
(Irritated) OK, I didn’t give you grief over the girdle…
(Reaches inside jacket and snaps elastic with loud POP)
…..but I’m drawing the line at the stupid toupee!
(Pulls out a flamboyant Frederick’s of Hollywood-type wig)
(Cut back to interview)
You’ve said that this project will have a definite slant toward the twenty-something audience. What sort of casting changes have you made to that end?
Well, mainly we decided that in addition to Kirk, we’d have another character move through time. After much deliberation we added a sequence in which Kurt Cobain—you know…the guy in Nirvana that killed himself—is also snapped up into the Nexus.
And how did that work out?
The sequence worked story line well, but the kid we got to play Cobain is somewhat of a method actor and got into the part a little too much-
(We hear a phaser “zap” off-stage, followed by a loud “thud”)
Fortunately the prop-master had the presence of mind to set all the phasers on stun before filming began.
Mr. Vermin, we’re almost out of time. Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
No…just that we’re really excited about this project. Oh, I’d like to add that we’ve had an interesting technological spin-off, you know, a “life-imitating art” sort of deal similar to the way that NASA and the space program gave us Velcro and freeze-dried ice-cream. We have an honest-to-goodness technological spin-off from the series.
Yes…we have managed to create an actual functioning tricorder. It’s not quite as versatile as the fictional ones, but it does fulfill a very important purpose. At the range of 100 meters, it detects every last dime in a Trekkie’s (er) Trekker’s pocket and sends a subsonic subliminal command to spend. We imagine it will cause quite a commotion with retailers.
Yes, I imagine it will.
(turns to face camera)
Whether or not this project is a success remains to be seen, as it is loaded with possibilities of Trek “overkill”. While this reporter fervently hopes Star Trek will survive such massive over-exposure, one is left to wonder why Paramount is willing to take such a risk with what has become an American institution.
(Cut to VERMIN walking down hall behind INTERVIEWER #1, a Babylon 5 logo printed on the back of his shirt)