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Why do so many people think sex caused Trek's decline?

  • Avatar of copygeek

    copygeek

    [1]Jan 30, 2008
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    Over the years I've heard many people complain about how Trek lost it's appeal once they started "relying" on the sex appeal of Jeri Ryanand Jolene Blalock. Now, we could argue all day about whether that assumption is even fair, but I'm more confused about how that even became an argument.

    Speaking only for myself, a fan of sci fi since childhood (I'm now 33), I thought part of the draw of sci fi was to imagine a time when we all could have the chance to have sex with a robot (7 of 9) or an alien (T'Pol). Of course, the stories have to excite our imagination and make us question the state of our own reality, but the story always seems to boil down to finding the "perfect" mate, whether by genetic manipulation, advanced robotics, travelling to another planet, or going back in time.

    And another point... I thought Trek's target audience was supposed to be Men 18-34. Aren't 18-34 year old men SUPPOSED to want to look at hot chicks? Let's not forget that half the episodes of TOS had Kirk hooking up with some new hot babe in skimpy clothing. Granted, the clothes weren't as skimpy by TODAY'S standards, but they were as edgy as possible for the late 60s.

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  • Avatar of lobomensch

    lobomensch

    [2]Feb 1, 2008
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    I enjoy sex and "hot chicks," having had my share, but that wasn't the reason I watched Trek. Sci-fi in general, including Trek, generally focuses on the human condition and a sense of curiosity about mankind's future. My love for sci-fi came at an early age, with Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" being the first novel I read (shortly after I learned to read, VERY yong cub then) and the possibilities as well as the philosophical implications it set forth to me impacted my life far for the better. Show to me where in that novel your "perfect mate" allegory fits in -- if anything there is a chapter in there about a man that finds the exact opposite, one of the more humorous chapters in it.
    It's hard for any real sci-fan fan (old-school, like me, Asimov, Heinlen being other favorites) to see where soft-core porn attempts at gaining hormonal male viewers can be even put in the same context as Sci-fi. And how many eps. did Kirk have sex with/hit on "skimpy clothing" women any way? Total it out, it's less than 25 percent of the entire series. Fact of the matter is now, the sex appeal is ramped up so much to appeal to the lowest common denominator in conjunction with dumbed-down plots (gotta keep the corporate fascists happy) and it's driving people away in droves, not just from Trek either. There's a difference between being erotic and being just garbage, and legitimate sci-fi doesn't need to dwell on sex to tell a story.
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  • Avatar of lennydonkey

    lennydonkey

    [3]Feb 26, 2008
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    copygeek wrote:

    but the story always seems to boil down to finding the "perfect" mate, whether by genetic manipulation, advanced robotics, travelling to another planet, or going back in time.

    And another point... I thought Trek's target audience was supposed to be Men 18-34. Aren't 18-34 year old men SUPPOSED to want to look at hot chicks?

    Sorry but totally disagree. Good sci-fi can be about finding a perfect mate, but great sci-fi tends to look at issues in our own world through the lens of future/aliens/robotics etc. so that we see our world in a different light.

    And if all you want to do is attract 18-34 year old guys you just replace the ship with a beach, make the uniforms swimsuits and call it Baywatch. But for fans of well written stories that's not enough. Focusing on the same couple people the same way does get repetitive.

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  • Avatar of tb485

    tb485

    [4]Mar 8, 2008
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    Saying that sex killed Star Trek is silly. Dressing T'Pol and Seven of Nine in tight outfits to lure male viewer probably didn't bring on the demise. And the idea of sexy, skimpy outfits found its origin in TOS with the very mini, miniskirts. Just watch and see for yourself how Nichelle Nichols, and the Yeoman of the day, dressed not to mention the alien females the Enterprise encountered.

    No, it was the weak story lines that eventually did the series' in. Understandably, they ran out of good ideas. Enterprise was a good idea in theory, but coming up with situations that did not involve races and technology which postdates the series was difficult.

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  • Avatar of copygeek

    copygeek

    [5]Mar 9, 2008
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    lobomensch wrote:
    Fact of the matter is now, the sex appeal is ramped up so much to appeal to the lowest common denominator in conjunction with dumbed-down plots (gotta keep the corporate fascists happy) and it's driving people away in droves, not just from Trek either. There's a difference between being erotic and being just garbage, and legitimate sci-fi doesn't need to dwell on sex to tell a story.

    I would agree with your logic COMPLETELY if it weren't for the fact that when intelligent, non-lowest common denominator science fiction shows like Firefly, Jericho, and Journeyman (among plenty of others) are placed on the air NO ONE seems to watch them! Sure, they get very devout followings, but their fanbase is never enough to justify continuing them in the eyes of the networks that air them.

    So, it would seem that if you DO appeal to the lowest common denominator then ardent sci fi fans get annoyed and turn away from the show. Then, if you DON'T appeal to the lowest common denominator and actually appeal to people's intelligence people STILL don't bother to watch.

    I just think it's a shame that we have American Idol in perpetuity while good quality sci fi shows have to scrape and claw for an audience that seems increasingly fickle.

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  • Avatar of AmpChevy88

    AmpChevy88

    [6]Apr 5, 2008
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    I think the demise of Star Trek lies in the hands of another problem, UPN. When Star Trek Deep Space Nine, which was a very well written show, first came on it went head to head with Next Gen. When Next Gen ended, DS9 was the sole show on for half a season. Then Voyager showed up. Voyager was on the UPN. At the same time DS9 was already a low level show in terms of the network execs who were putting Next Gen. on at the good hours and DS9 wherever it would fit. Voyager was then put on UPN, which not a lot of people had. Paramount was trying to make some money, by having their own network, and what better than having Star Trek on it. However, with a lack of audience, there was not a whole lot to draw people in. Especially since the writing was subpar compared to that of DS9. After the epic series finale where, low and behold Voyager makes it home, Enterprise comes on. The writere of Enterprise wandered aimlessly for two seasons before getting Manny Coto. By that time the appeal of the series had been lost. With another very prominent sci-fi show gaining momentum, BSG, the series was doomed. Then we got an ending that was so bad, that even the actors and actresses hated it. Many, even some of the producers, have said that they prefer the previous episode the series finale. The sexification idea in my opinon is only because they were gimmicks trying to lure in the WWE fans that were also on UPN. I feel that if there is a success in the new movie, that a well written series can come along telling the story of what happens after the Dominion War, such as what happens to the Founders, what is done with the Breen, how do the Cardassians rebuild, what becomes of Bajor joining the Federation, also what happens to the crew of Voyager, how does the Technology from Voyager go through the fleet. But alas we have some books that try to answer these questions, and nothing more. If B and B were not in charge of the series we might actually have a good franchise. I shudder to think what will happen with Star Wars once George Lucas has passed away because there is no telling how down hill that franchise could go.

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  • Avatar of CoolUserName

    CoolUserName

    [7]Apr 7, 2008
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    I'm pretty sure that sex appeal was a big reason Trek took off in the first place, so I don't think sex caused its decline. I think fans were just resistant to some of the projects, and when some of the projects were in fact mediocre, many fans bailed at warp speed. Enterprise had to be perfect and interesting, but it wasn't, so it got picked apart for all sorts of reasons, including sex.

    I enjoyed season 4 and parts of the first two seasons, but the season-long arc was an obvious mistake and really killed it.

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  • Avatar of copygeek

    copygeek

    [8]Apr 16, 2008
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    CoolUserName wrote:
    I enjoyed season 4 and parts of the first two seasons, but the season-long arc was an obvious mistake and really killed it.

    Well, that's a whole OTHER discussion since it seems that everyone either loved Season 3 (like me) or hated it (apparently like you). I've never heard someone who was indifferent to Season 3.

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  • Avatar of Adora_Mill

    Adora_Mill

    [9]Apr 16, 2008
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    I don't think it was sex the main reason. There are many other reasons for regecting NX-01. To be tru, I don't understand any of them (like ratings). In my country it was a blast. They don't show us many good sci-fi, I mean GOOD, like ST, SW or SG.
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  • Avatar of guyroy1971

    guyroy1971

    [10]Apr 22, 2008
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    I do not think it was sex per se, but the childishness of it that turned people off. Look to Battlestar Galactica in how to do mature sex scenes and sex situations in sci fi. Compared to Battlestar, the sex in the most recent Star Treks are even more jarring. It is true they were aiming for 18 to 34 year olds, but the scenes in Enerprise and voyager were more for 13 year olds.

    The Star Trek idea of sex was putting good looking women in hot outfits. They almost never had a believable relationship (save for TNG) Seven of nine was completely untouchable, and they set up a relationship between her and the doctor and it went nowhere. Her relationship with Chakotay at the end of the run came out of nowhere and was inconsistent with both characters. In four years there was no hint of sexual attraction between them.

    On Enterprise, the T'Pol relationship with Trip never got off the ground. They should of either hooked them up or not started it in the first place. It was like the writers could not make up their minds on whether they should be a couple or not. Maybe the Star Trek writers are just very bad in writing romantic subplots. It would seem more likely that a vulcan would be attracted to a captain or someone high status than just someone she is attracted to, but i digress.

    So in my own opinion it was not sex per se that people hate about the recent treks, but the childness of it and they lack of dult relationships made people think it was a show for thirteen year olds. The thing the writer's forgot that the "core audience" of ST were male adults, who liked the relaytionships and cerebral quality of the show, not women in skimpy clothing and special effects.

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    Cannonvicktor

    [11]Jun 12, 2008
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    I agree. The low-life level of sex in the series's was just down the drain. The only good part was in Enterprise where Trip is rubbing T'Pol's back. She takes off her top, and if you pause and look closely enough, you can actually get a nice glimsp. But, that ain't the issue. I mean, the movie "Naked Desires" was better at sex then the star trek stuff! There ain't no point to even adding sex to star trek! It's SUPPOSED to be about battles between alien races, diplomacies, encounters, and even medical stuff! Not some stupid habit that guys only watch the shows for.

    But then again, adding sex scenes will draw more people to the shows, creating mroe views, and more anxiousness to watch new episodes. The creators probably thought that if they add sex scenes in certain episodes, then more and more people will want to watch the show! That will create more audience suspense, which will probably allow more cash to be raked in, allowing the makers to have enough money to make more episodes, or even new shows!\

    That is my entire theory on the whole situation.

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  • Avatar of Adora_Mill

    Adora_Mill

    [12]Jun 14, 2008
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    Well, there's not THAT much sex in NX-01. What are you talking about? Recall B-5. Isn't that show was supposed to be about the station itself and not about people & their relationships? Why you wanna do the life so plain?
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  • Avatar of lobomensch

    lobomensch

    [13]Jul 10, 2008
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    I don't recall seeing Sheridan lubing up Delenn in his quarters or Lando getting polished by his bald girlfriend though. B5 could talk about sex but did the mature thing and didn't give us softcore/Zalman King snoozefest skin scenes.
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    Adora_Mill

    [14]Jul 12, 2008
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    Did they show you anything more than just a nacked spine of a vulcan woman? When making love to anyone you'd like the whole world watching and discussing, or giving peices of advise? Where have you seen sex there? It's just because of one scene Momies are against the whole show. And as Mother I agree. But as fan I don't.
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    FrozenHeart_

    [15]Jul 19, 2008
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    Maybe some people are a bit ashamed that they watched Star Trek with one hand in their pants

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    wingsabre

    [16]Sep 21, 2008
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    I don't think it killed trek as much as some would say, but it wasn't done well. For example Diana Troy looked sexier in a uniform than in her "cat suit" Kira had the wrong hair for the greater part of the series untill they figured it out. Seven of 9 and T'Pol, had too tight of an outfit. Do that once in a while, and make fans want to see the tight outfit. Look at how they handled Kristy Ally in the second movie. They didn't need to create a tight uniform, and did the hair well.

    It also was not good that Seven of 9, and T'Pol's look became a chore rather than a natural thing. It was just there, like an object rather than something appreciated. BSG handled sex much better by showing a progression.
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    baskok

    [17]Dec 4, 2010
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    Tos had kirk hooking up with a lots kind of women. It must have been very racy in the late 60 ties. To today standards the costumes weren't that skimpy but still a bit too sexy for its time. I think in VOY they entered seven of nine to boost ratings. And they did it again in the beginning of ENT With t pol thinking babe, tight costume, high ratings. But the story lines we're gone after 5 seasons that's what killed it!

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  • Avatar of JakeRussell1

    JakeRussell1

    [18]Mar 3, 2011
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    Trek wasn't about sex. Trek was about a future where humanity had gotten rid of all the parts that currently suck. War, poverty, despair... all gone (on Earth, at least). Obviously, it was a TV show and ratings matter if you want to stay on the air, so sex appeal was a bit of an issue (remember that Kirk was considered a sex symbol back then - god knows why but women liked him).


    But Trek managed to stay true to the concept that humans were capable of being better than we currently are, and the hope that we will choose to rise above our petty stuff eventually. That, more than any one thing, is responsible for the overwhelming success of the Star Trek phenomenon. Plus, of course, it was fun sci-fi that managed to meet the nerd standards of the fans (except ENT which failed simply by deciding to rewrite canon... Lesson guys: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.)


    TL;DR version:


    Sex didn't kill Trek.

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  • Avatar of archangelwho

    archangelwho

    [19]Jul 16, 2011
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    You are the 1st to bring this up as far as I know. I go toother sci-fi and Star Trek sites and noone, I may have missed it, I know of has ever put fore sex as a caused.


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  • Avatar of Yaspaa

    Yaspaa

    [20]Aug 6, 2011
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    All the Treks have had birds in tight costumes, so sex certainly didn't kill it off. There were too many things that weren't great about Enterprise, which I think killed, at least the TV variant off. Still, a mediocre Trek is still better than most things.
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