Kottke on long-running shows creating a new form of media
New challenges for creators as stories become complex and long lasting and fans invest
When the original Star Trek – known to devout fans as The Original Series – went off the air in 1969, acolytes kept the flame alive. They extended the stories with their own fiction. They created technical manuals. Eventually, the series became a movie, and then another, and then another TV series, and a few more after that. Each new iteration produced more canonical information. Spock’s death, Kirk’s son, Picard’s adventures as a cadet … eventually, the writers’ room on a Trek show became a minefield. “Someone would tell you that a Voyager episode last year mentioned a bit of backstory with the Romulans, and now you can’t do this over here.”
But the many strata of Star Trek books, games, comics, and cartoons haven’t been well tended. Some events in the movies and even later TV shows contradict preexisting lore. (A backward change like that is called a retcon, short for “retroactive continuity.”)
This is more than a vision. It’s something Better Place and its partners are already building. Agassi drew from his entrepreneurial experience and insights from world leaders to formulate a business plan that applies mobile phone industry economics and renewable energy to transportation.
Better Place’s model means consumers subscribe to transportation as a service, much like they do today with mobile phones. Auto companies make the electric cars that plug in to the Better Place electric recharge network of charging stations and battery swap stations. Energy companies provide the network’s power through growing renewable energy projects. And Better Place provides the batteries to make owning an electric car affordable and convenient.
And with oil out of the picture, transportation is transformed into a sustainable service we can all subscribe to.
>A few months ago, I stopped by Agassi’s Palo Alto headquarters to sit in on a three-day strategy meeting. The entire staff is trying to write a mission statement with help from a moderator. He flips through slides on a screen: “Our mission is to transform personal mobility.” “Our mission is to break the world’s oil addiction (before it breaks us).”
Shai Agassi has only one car, no charging stations, and not a single customer-yet everyone who meets him already believes he can see the future.