ATQ42: How should I revitalise an old show such as Star Trek?

How should I go about revitalising an old series (for instance Star Trek) that I want to write about?

Tim
Screenwriter

Bad news on this today I’m afraid.

I’ve tried to find the upside in doing something like this, but I can’t find much.

The bottom line is that I wouldn’t recommend you doing this, apart from your own enjoyment and to practise your craft.

I don’t know of a UK TV production company or broadcaster that would touch a project like this, as the rights are not free.

I don’t know of an agent or script reader that would be impressed by a project like this, no matter how well you pulled it off.

People are looking for new writers with strong original voices, but you can’t really get a grip on a writer’s voice when they are writing in a world they didn’t invent, for characters they didn’t create.

In fact, I would even suggest that submitting such a project to a standard TV production company or an agent could actually do you damage, as it would probably make them mark you down as (rightly or wrongly) a writer who doesn’t have original ideas, and who hasn’t got much idea how the business works.

Big Finish Productions

Having said that, it’s not all bad news – there is the occasional production company that specialises in this kind of thing.

Most notably a production company and publisher called Big Finish.

They produce CDs, downloads and books.

As it says on their website:

“We are perhaps best known for our Doctor Who ranges of plays (with its various spin-offs) but we also produce a wide range of audio drama featuring the characters from Sherlock Holmes, Blake’s 7, Dark Shadows, 2000 AD (Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog), Terrahawks, The Avengers, The Prisoner, Survivors, The Omega Factor and more.”

They are at: https://www.bigfinish.com/

Should you send your stuff to Big Finish?

This is what Big Finish do:

But even there, sending them your material cold is a bad idea.

It says, very loudly and clearly, on their website:

“Big Finish is not currently accepting any unsolicited scripts or storylines for any of our ranges. Please do not send these to us, as they will be deleted without being read.

From time to time we may invite submissions as part of a story competition, which will be announced in our news section, via social media on Facebook and Twitter, and in the Big Finish Podcast.”

But writing these things is fun

I entirely understand the desire to write an episode of a show you have loved.

I personally spent about four years back in the 1990s writing (more correctly TRYING to write) Doctor Who novels for the Virgin New Adventures of Doctor Who series under Peter Darvill-Evans – while Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss, Gareth Roberts, Matt Jones, Simon Winstone, Gary Russell, Justin Richards, Andy Lane – and a certain Russell T – did considerably better!

Obviously all these people made it into the industry, and obviously Russell T Davies was aware of the New Adventures when he was setting up his own rebooted Doctor Who, but I really don’t recommend this as a strategy!

There a lot of fun to be had in writing tributes, or re-imaginings, of a much-loved show, and can be good practice, so long as you move on after a while.

In terms of getting you through any of the bigger doors in the industry it’s pretty much a non-starter.

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