Saturday, December 14, 2002
Bring Me the Head of Rick Berman

From: Sumner Redstone, Chair, Viacom
To: Rick Berman, Star Trek
Subject: Star Trek: Nemisis


I know you've worked long and hard to keep the Star Trek franchise alive. Since taking over from Roddenberry, you've overseen ST:TNG, Deep Space 9, Voyager, Enterprise, as well as numerous Star Trek movies.

Let's face facts, Rick. IT'S OVER. DRAINED. PLAYED OUT. Whatever creative forces you had way back when that somehow managed to capture the Star Trek spirit have completely and totally oozed out from you. The result is boring, formulaic, wimpy attempts at entertainment and storytelling that aren't achieving what viewers -- both longstanding Star Trek fans and just random moviegoers -- want.

Take Star Trek:Nemesis. PLEASE. Any near-rational individual looking at the trailers would think, this is a high-energy movie with exciting scenes including dune buggies, an inter-space-ship jump, a collision between starships, and some major battle action. What does that individual get when she or he plucks down their hard-earned money at the theater. BORING talk talk talk between Jean-Luc Picard and his pouty-lipped supposed clone. Yak yak yak. Yap yap yap. Is this dramatic dialogue we're talking about here? No, it's bad philosophy coupled with pep talks.

I mean, Rick... How can you make the collision of two spaceships BORING. How can the aftermath of the collision of two space ships play out in such a pathetic no-action way. "Tractor beam"? Nah. "Board the Remulan ship"? Nope. Instead, the Remulans simply back away. And then sit there.

If you hadn't heard, two spaceships sitting in space is BORING. Did you honestly lie to yourself that there was some kind of dramatic energy that had been pent up over the course of the story to that point? If you did, I hate to tell you what's hopefully obvious to you now. THERE WASN'T.

This Star Trek franchise is too important to allow you to continue its slow destruction. The only sensible thing for the Paramount to do now is to put it -- all of it, and that includes Enterprise -- on ice for ten or so years until someone comes along who can bring something fresh to that universe. There's no reason to believe that anyone who's been associated with the show in any of its renditions has an ounce of creativity left.

I'm doing the only sensible thing left, Rick. I'm pulling the plug.

It's been a good run, and you've got a lot to be proud of. But the time has come for you and for Paramount to move on to other things.

Best wishes,