Dear people of the post-apocalypse: As you may remember from the days before the great vague catastrophe that destroyed the world, the motto of the post office was “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” As the first new postman, let me amend that to “sunny days work better for me.”
Top image by farstar09.
Why hasn't there been a Star Wars/ Star Trek crossover? Its not like either franchise hasn't done seemingly weird crossovers (star wars with Phineas and Ferb or Indiana Jones, and Star Trek with X-men). So why haven't these two franchise now both being brought back into theaters and becoming even more popular than they were say 10 years ago, still not have a proper crossover. Solo and Kirk shooting the breeze (and aliens), Vader fighting Picard, Windu appearing to fill the purple light-saber quota, some using the force to Vulcan nerve pinch a dude. It seems like it could work if they didn't stress about continuity and just rolled with it.
Well, to be fair, the Star Wars/Phineas and Ferb crossover hasn’t even happened yet, and was only announced after Disney bought Lucasfilm. I doubt it would have happened if Lucas were still in charge, because he’s never really approved anything like this before — I assume that Indiana Jones crossover you mentioned is a (hilariously bad) Star Wars Tales comic, which doesn’t count. Admittedly, Lucas has approved plenty of crossover merchandise — Star Wars Muppets, Star Wars Disney, Star Wars Transformers — but that doesn’t really count either. Meanwhile, Paramount has been a little more forgiving — as you mention, Star Trek and the X-Men, the recent Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover, and Star Trek/Legion of Super Heroes — all of which, you may have noted, are comics, which are infinitely smaller stakes than a movie.
So neither franchise is super-inclined to major movie crossovers in the first place, and there are several reasons why. The first is that it’s really fucking hard to do. The bigger the franchises the bigger the stakes, and the bigger the franchises the bigger the companies behind them, and the bigger the companies behind them the more people they need to get approval from and thus the more chance that the project will get blocked somewhere along the process. Same with the stakes: the more money a crossover stands to make, the more company executives need to be involved, raising the chances of things getting held up — but more importantly, the more money is potentially involved, the more likely the two sides can’t get along.
Say Lucasfilm and Paramount sat down to discuss a Wars/Trek movie. How do they split the profits? Well, Star Wars is the bigger franchise, so Lucasfilm wants 60% of the gross. But there hasn’t been a Wars film in a while, Trek argues, so at the moment Wars would be using Trek’s popularity, not the other way around, so they think Trek deserves 60%. And then both scream sides profanity at each other until everybody leaves the room — they certainly don’t compromise because each side thinks they’re 100% correct. Even they did miraculously agree somehow, a Star Wars/Star Trek movie would probably gross a billion dollars… but individual Wars and Trek movies would gross close to that, and then Lucasfilm/Paramount wouldn’t have to share at all. There’s no point in going through all the hassle.
Last but not least, I think both George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry both knew their respective Star babies really had no business crossing over. Wars is scifi fantasy, Trek is harder scifi — the two are so thematically different that trying to merge the two would just cause trouble for both franchises. How does the Star Trek crew deal with a universe where Coruscant exists? Do we want to see Luke Skywalker on Earth? (God no.) Does the Force exist over here and the Trek universe just can’t use it, or what? How crappy would Star Wars be if they could just beam anywhere they wanted to?
Now that Roddenberry is gone and Lucas has stepped down and giant conglomerates run the two franchises, it’s slightly more possible to get a crossover — but we’ll get a book or a comic or maybe an animated special before we ever get close to a crossover movie — and let me be clear, I don’t think the book/comic/cartoon scenario is particularly likely. Maybe one day, after Trek is in a lull again and Disney has pumped out so many Star Wars movies that no one gets excited for them any more — maybe then they’d talk a crossover to get people excited again, but specifically to make money. But for the foreseeable future, it ain’t happenin’, and that’s probably for the best.
Vader vs. Spock art by Rhymesyndicate.
Dead or Sequalized You’re Coming with Me
Hello there Postman!
Should the new Robocop remake be successful enough to get a sequel, would they go about remaking the badly received Robocop 2 and 3 films? I mean, what's the precedent here? Direct reboots/remakes of older films have never had this dilemma before, I don't think. Dredd 3D was a bomb, Colin Farrell's Total Recall, Conan 3D, Platinum Dunes' Nightmare on Elm Street, etc. etc. etc. I may not have the best memory when it comes to movies, (and if you think you do, you should listen to some eps of the Doug Loves Movies podcast and see how well you do at home during the Leonard Maltin game) but I honestly can't think of a reboot like this being super successful, and then seeing if they follow through and remake the sequels as well.
Sure, with stuff like Batman and Superman, they make a new origin film every once in awhile, but they always stand alone and establish a new version of the universe. They always draw on different, contemporary works to define things and drive the story (sequels) in a new direction. And then there's stuff like Clash of the Titans, where the original never had a sequel so the remake had free license to go crazy. But straight up remakes? They never do that "2.5x the budget" to justify a sequel. And hey, Robocop probably won't either, but what would they do in this situation?
Since the new Robocop isn’t out yet, it’s tough to say how close to the original it will be. I’m sure the new movie — with its focus on drones as opposed to corporate culture, media and the unsteady relationship of violence to the law — will be different enough that they couldn’t make a straight-up remake of Robocop 2 and have it make any sense even if they wanted to.
Also there’s the problem that no one gives a shit about Robocop 2 or 3. These remakes are inevitably made because people know the name of the movie and have some affection for the original, and studios hope that’s enough to draw people in (and it usually is, even though the results are often crap). In this case, people have no cultural awareness of the sequels. So really, the sky’s the limit, much like Wrath of the Titans — they can do whatever they want, and if that includes drawing some elements from Robocop 2 or 3, they can.
But if I were a betting man I’d bet the Robocop remake falls exactly into the Total Recall remake pattern, in which is makes some money but it adds absolutely nothing to the original other than modern special effects and loses a lot of its weird, quirky charm and thus is inevitably inferior to the original and no one cares about it after the opening weekend. So I think we’ll be spared sequels.
Super Friendly Fire
Embarrassed DC Fan:
Dear Mr. Postman,
With your knowledge of crappy TV animation, could you help settle a small dispute? My sister contends the Superfriends TV series with Zan, Jayna, and Gleek is the worst of the Superfriends series since she cringes whenever she watches their antics nowadays. I contend "Challenge of the Superfriends" is the worst. The big challenge seemed to be whether the heroes could scrape together half a brain to defeat the Legion of Doom's plans. What is your judgment?
Zan, Jayna and Gleek > Marvin, Wendy and Wonder Dog. It is known, Khaleesi.
As for whether the original Super Friends with Marvin and Wendy series is somehow inherently better than all the later Super Friends series with Zan and Jayna, enh… your mileage may vary, but I think they’re all about the same. But Zan and Jayna has actual superpowers and the later series featured the Legion of Doom, so I’d prefer to watch those every time.
Television Without Pity
I was dusting my DVD shelves looking at all the TV shows on DVD I have and realized none of these have been on TV in a long time and have to ask why? There are over 700 channels on my cable dial and some of them do show old shows; Dragnet, Gilligan's Island, and Gunsmoke. But aside from Star Trek TOS and the Twilight Zone, there are not any "Classic" Sci-fi shows on any channel. Or even recent shows; Battlestar Galactica, Stargate, Heroes, Firefly or the X-Files would be nice to see. I mean there are many people who never saw them when they were first run. Go watch the Nostalgia Critic' V-logs as he watches Avatar, the Last Airbender for the first time. I imagine that almost everyday someone watches Firefly or Star Trek for the first time and falls in love with it.
You can't have a discussion on great TV without mentioning Babylon 5, Farscape, The Outer Limits, etc. And with movies based on them, why aren't GI Joe and Transformers on TV? We have Doctor Who's 50th anniversary coming up, but virtually none of that 50 years is being broadcast. I noticed the "Back to school" section was full of stuff with Justice League Unlimited and Clone Wars on it, so if it can sell merchandise, why isn't it still on somewhere?
And yes, you can buy the DVD or download the show, but wouldn't you have even more DVD sales if the show was on TV and people were stumbling upon it for the first time in addition for the license fees and commercial fees?
There’s a bunch of different factors going on here, but let me try and break it down for you. First, cartoon-wise, it’s not quite as dire as your think. At the moment, Hasbro’s Hub channel airs Batman: TAS and Superman: TAS, and they very recently aired the original G.I. Joe and Transformers cartoons (which, if you’re a 30-something and watching TV drunk at 3am, is pretty much the best thing ever). Boomerang shows a ton of old cartoons, including everything from The Smurfs to Teen Titans. I don’t know why Justice League hasn’t made it back yet — there may be a rights thing as WB keeps thinking its going to make a Justice League movie — but I’m sure it’ll show up somewhere.
The reason bigger networks don’t air old cartoons is because they look like shit and kids hate them. Sorry, but it's true. You have to look for channels that are desperate for content and either focused specifically on rerunning old cartoons (Boomerang) or knows that drunk 30-somethings are their 3am target audience (the Hub).
As for live-action shows, well… there’s a ton of reasons. Many of the older ones were filmed in a format that can’t be updated to today’s wide-screen HD TVs, and unless they’re guaranteed to make a certain amount of money, with the exception of major shows like Star Trek, it's not even close to cost-effective. As you said, there’s also the fact that many of these shows are available on streaming services like Netflix Instant, and most people would prefer the ease of watching them at their leisure as opposed to waiting until 2am on a Thursday night — the amount of people who would "stumble upon them" in the wee hours is miniscule.
Then there’s the fact that scifi shows rarely have the audience of mainstream shows like Gilligan’s Island or even Gunsmoke, so if a channel is going to air old syndicated shows, they’re going to pick the most mainstream ones they can to maximize ratings. Of course, if there were some kind of channel devoted to science fiction, much like Boomerang is dedicated to classic cartoons — some kind of "scifi channel", if you will — that would help considerably, but there doesn’t seem to be one about.
I’m kidding; honestly, Syfy is getting better with scifi shows, but they’re concentrating on new series instead of old series, and I can’t blame them. People watch old series online and on DVD, not on TV anymore. They have to keep airing new shows, because otherwise no one would watch them at all.
The Song Dynasty
I've been watching Star Trek: Enterprise lately for some reason, and I think I now realize why people generally dump on it so much. It isn't exactly a horrible show, although it does have some pretty bad special effects. The problem, as I see it, is the theme song. I can't imagine what joker heard that and said, "that! That's what we need for the new Star Trek show!" So my question for you is this: can you think of a worse theme song for a show? (And please don't include Firefly. We can all agree to just pretend that part of the show doesn't exist.)
I’m a big fan of hating the Smallville theme song; I really can’t get through it without imagining dogs howling during the “SAAAAAAAAAVVVEEEE MEEEEEEEEE” part. However, there is one opening theme that I find loathsome beyond all others, and I know a lot of people agree with me:
You don’t have to be a fan of the One Piece anime to understand what a flaming piece of shit this opening is, but if you want to lay awake at night, cursing those who made it into eternal damnation for nearly destroying a great anime franchise in America, causing it grievous harm that it still has not fully recovered from, it sure helps!
Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the email@example.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!