HOLLYWOOD, CA - Paramount Pictures yesterday made an unexpected response to the increasing fan criticisms of the Star Trek franchise, announcing that beginning with Season 4 of Enterprise, the position of Trek executive producer will be determined by election.
"It's important to us at Paramount that we give the people what they want," explained Paramount spokesman Josť Niger. "As a result, we've spent months examining the fans' opinions on Star Trek. We lurked at message boards, sent spies to conventions... we even went so far as to open our mail."
"What we discovered," continued Mr. Niger, "was that the majority of fans are discontent in one way or another. Their reasons varied widely and were often contradictory. For example, some fans we spoke to thought Enterprise was too serialized last year, while others thought it wasn't serialized enough, and requested more episodes with serial killers. Another wedge issue was sex. 99.9% of the viewers we spoke to thought there was too much of it on the show already, but the other 0.1% wanted next season to be one non-stop orgy, and they're Paramount executives."
"With such a diversity of input, we did the logical thing -- we acted on the concerns of the loudest and most obnoxious fans we could find. And those fans were united in making one statement: 'Rick Berman and Brannon Braga are bleeping bleepheads, you bleeper. Now go get me a bleeping Brewski.' "
Current executive producer Rick Berman expressed disappointment with Paramount for their lack of "faith of the heart" in him and Mr. Braga, but was confident that he would overcome this difficulty. "No one is better qualified to run this franchise than I am. I've been running Trek since Gene Roddenberry was killed by those mysterious assassins from the future in a failed attempt to assassinate JFK. Brannon has experience too, though not, I hasten to add, as much as I do. I'm confident that the electors will recognize our superior experience and... hey, who are the electors, anyway?"
Paramount has yet to announce who is eligible to vote, or who else will be running for the executive producer position, leading many to speculate on possible candidates. Rumoured heavily to be in the running are J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5 and some other show; Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and some other show; and Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files and two some other shows. None were available for comment at press time (especially Mr. Carter, who has not been seen since March 2002), but they will undoubtedly come forward when it is known whether they are eligible to run (except Mr. Carter, who is likely dead and thus ineligible).
For comments on the upcoming election, This Just In went straight to the source: Pericles, the ancient Athenian statesman often considered the founder of democracy. Recently cloned by Boston firm Clones 'R' Us, Mr. Pericles had strong, powerful words on the subject, as befits a man of his station: "πoυ ειμι; τις εστε; τις βασιλευς υμων εστιν; εαν oυ λεγητε, υμας παντας απoκτενω!"
This reporter thanked Mr. Pericles and his creators, and then sought more useful commentary.
"It's about time," observed rabid reviewer Richard Whettestone. "Now maybe Berman and Braga will finally be replaced with people who know what they're doing. Or with people who have no idea what they're doing. Or with lepers. Anyone would be better than the Evil Bs. Now to go read some books and then crank-call the authors."
"But... but I was going to be an executive producer this year! It was in the bag!" complained brief Enterprise executive producer Manny Coto. "Man, I'm gonna have to send back all those 'Congratulations on Your Promotion' cards! And the extra pip!"
"Anyone else thinking of that one Sluggy strip about elections?" asked Trek BBS moderator Lindley. "No? Just me? Your loss."
Five-Minute Stargate webmaster Nan "Akili" "The Ensign" "T. M. R. Nn'khiy" "Winterbourne," currently cohabiting with geological formation Sa'ar Chasm, has a speaker credit so long we have no room for her comment.
"A Trek election? They should call it an eTrektion," suggested 5MV forumgoer Opium. "It's bound to be a long, hard eTrektion -- I can't wait to see who wins! And they could talk about it as a 'Coming eTrektion' too... you know, like Coming Attractions? What? What's so funny?"
Five-Minute Voyager webmaster and general loudmouth Zeke observed, "The bashers are really between a rock and a hard place on this one. If B&B lose, the bashers will have to find a new target for their non-stop, frothing, absurdly-exaggerated hatred. But if they win, they're back where they started, forced to watch Trek (because of those masked men holding guns to their heads) and be disgusted at how imperfect it is. Even worse, either way they can no longer complain about how Paramount never listens to them."
"I'm perplexed with Paramount's timing, though," continued Mr. Zeke. "They wait until we've had the best season of Trek since DS9 went off the air, and only then do they think about replacing the guys in charge. Typical network logic. Given how sci-fi shows are treated these days, though, it's a miracle Enterprise was renewed at all. Good sci-fi always gets lousy ratings -- we Trek fans are just lucky the show is on a network so bad those ratings are par for the course."
"By the way, Lindley, I was thinking of that strip too."
In the weeks to come, This Just In will be your best source for the latest developments and twists in the Trek election saga. So put down that other paper. Yes, I see you. Is that an Onion? Put it down. We're your best source and that's final.