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Star Trek: The Animated Series

Could I truly call myself a Star Trek fan without watching this series from the 70s? I felt I was missing out on some classic Trek, so what better time than quarantine to watch all 22 episodes!

There are a few changes in this series vs TOS, although chronologically it would only be a year later. Due to cost-cutting, Walter Koening was not invited back, with Nichelle Nichols and George Takei barely making the cut due to Leonard Nimoy advocating for them. Nurse Chapel (Majel Barrett- Gene Roddenberry’s IRL wife, who would later play Troi’s mother in TNG) gets a larger role, and two unlikely crewmembers are added- a feline woman and a strange three armed long-necked alien.

At first not considered canon, the series is now considered the fourth season that TOS never got, and information found in it is considered part of the Star Trek chronology, with references to characters and situations in future Trek series. Warning- some spoilers! But really, are you reading this post truly worried about learning plot points? 😉

 

Season One

Beyond the Farthest Star

As the first episode of the series, thus establishing the caliber of this series, it wasn’t good. The Enterprise is being pulled into the orbit of a dead star. An evil non-corporeal alien entity tries to trap the ship there, but the crew is able to engage a slingshot maneuver and escape. The animation took some getting used to, as the characters are simply, if not crudely, drawn caricatures of the crew from the 60s show. The space shots were fun, with some psychedelic coloring.

Yesteryear

Spock enters the Guardian of Forever to correct a time discrepancy in his childhood. He masquerades as a distant cousin and helps his young self correct the problem that will right the timeline. This was a surprisingly poignant episode that showed young Spock’s homelife and the bullying he endured by his peers for being half-human. This storyline was replicated in the 2009 Kelvin Star Trek movie that had a scene of Spock’s childhood that obviously was inspired by this episode. This proved to be one of the better stories.

One of Our Planets Is Missing

A massive space cloud is destroying planets and is on course to destroy a planet that has a Federation colony on it. Aiming the ship into the cloud, they discover that this cloud is actually a living entity so Spock mind-melds with it to show this creature that it is destroying life. The creature then decides to find lunch in another part of the uninhabited galaxy and the Enterprise has saved the planet from destruction.

The Lorelei Signal

Uhura and Chapel kick some ass! The ship is nearing a Burmuda Triangle of space where several ships have disappeared in a 27-year cycle. On a planet nearby they discover a race of beautiful women aliens who lure men to their planet to suck their life force from them. As the males are immobilized Uhura and Chapel are able to save the day, plus find a hospitable planet for the women to move to where they can lead regular lives and meet men without having to kill them. I was glad that the women crew members were able to get a significant storyline and didn’t have to depend on the men to save the day.

More Tribbles, More Troubles

Klingons HATE tribbles so when they are at risk of being overrun with them. Kirk reluctantly works with Cyrano Jones, an intergalactic trader. Jones knows how to neuter them, yet the Tribbles still grow to ungainly sizes and are still a threat. When the Klingons (who still don’t look anything like Worf from TNG and what we have come to expect them to look like) threaten the Enterprise with a weapon, Kirk is able to negotiate a treaty by giving the Klingons a Glommer, a creature that feeds on Tribbles.  Here the Tribbles are pink, which is yet another animation mistake.

Similar to a scene in TOS, but this time the Tribbles are the wrong color.

The Survivor

When the Enterprise finds a small private ship they think they have found Winston, a human philanthropist missing for five years, and reunites him with his fiance who happens to work on the ship. But he is actually a Vendorian, an alien species that can shapeshift, and the real Winston is dead. But because he absorbed the feelings of Winston, he begins to fall in love with Winston’s former fiance and he rebels against his Romulan captors. This was actually a touching episode and made you think about loving someone for who they are not what they look like.

The Infinite Vulcan

Written by Walter Koening (Chekov) who unjustly was not in this series due to budget constraints, this was a rather convoluted episode. While on an away mission, Sulu is poisoned by a plant, but the plant-like creatures residing there save him. The crew discovers the planet was damaged by a plague brought in by a human scientist escaping the Eugenics War (which was a war led by Khan in Earth’s past). A clone of this scientist kidnaps Spock and makes a giant clone of him, but the crew convinces him that the war he escaped is no longer a threat.  The two clones remain on the planet to restore the plant civilization, leaving the regular crew to head back to the Enterprise. So, a giant Spock is left behind???

The Magicks of Megas-tu

The Enterprise encounters an alien species that for a time lived on Earth, and set off the Salem Witch Trials when their alien skills were perceived as dark magic. The alien Lucian puts them through a trial similar to what happened in Salem, but their evolved humanity shows him that he needs to forgive them. His form is revealed to look like a cloven devil, so the connection is made that our mythology is based on prior alien contact. This episode had a noble idea but the follow-through was messy and is an example as to why this series is often laughed at.

Once Upon a Planet

Crew members are looking forward to some shore leave at a planet known for being similar to an amusement park. But the caretaker has died, leaving things to go awry for the crew who beam down. For a time Uhura is kidnapped, as the sentient computer resents its duty and rebels. But Kirk teaches it to be a good boy and to enjoy obeying. This episode rubbed me the wrong way- as this computer and the robots are tricked into being subservient again.

Mudd’s Passion

Harry Mudd is back with a new con- a love potion! Mudd is an iconic character that only appeared twice in TOS, and once in this animated series. Here he preys on Nurse Chapel who has a crush on Spock and soon he falls in love with her once the portion actually works. But the potion has a kickback turning love to hate, and once again Mudd is sent to the brig. I enjoyed that Discovery had him in two episodes plus a Short Trek, and I am hoping the Pike series will use this character who is now portrayed by Rainn Wilson.

Gotta love Mudd’s comb-over!

The Terratin Incident

This was an amusing episode where a mishap causes the crew to start shrinking. They desperately try to fix the situation before they become too small to use the controls. This is an example in which the animation was an effective way to have this type of story that would have been impossible to film in live-action at the time.

The Time Trap

The narrative of entering yet another space Burmuda Triangle was utilized again, with the Enterprise and a Klingon ship both being drawn into a pocket of the universe in which other ships have become trapped in over the eons. Descendents of these crews have formed an alliance and have formed the Elysian Council. Although these aliens say there is no escape, we all know Kirk will figure a way out!

The Ambergris Element

While on a water planet, Kirk and Spock are in an accident that makes them become water breathers and they discover a lost city under the sea, very similar to our fabled Atlantis. There is an amusing scene where Kirk and Spock are in a water tank on board the Enterprise where Kirk expresses he can’t captain while in a fish tank. The duo work with this planet’s swimming aliens and are able to fix themselves and save the civilization from ruin. Barrett voiced all the extra females in the episode and it was distracting to have them all sound so similar.

The Slaver Weapon

This episode concentrated completely on an away mission with Spock, Uhura and Sulu- so it became my favorite, as those three happen to be my favorites from the TOS crew. While transporting a relic from an ancient alien race, they encounter the war-like Kzinti, who look like felines wearing some groovy pink uniforms. These aliens became canon in the new Picard series when Riker mentioned that the Federation  is “having some trouble with the Kzinti.” When I watched Picard the quote meant nothing to me, so I find it amusing that a few short weeks later I discovered the meaning of this Easter egg comment.

The Eye of the Beholder

Telepathic aliens put Kirk, Spock and Bones in a zoo when they go to a new planet to rescue crew members from another Federation ship. But the crew members work together to send messages to the aliens and convince them to release them. Scotty plays an important role when a baby alien is beamed onto the Enterprise and he communicated with it before reuniting the baby with the parents.

The Jihad

Spock and Kirk are called upon to join a motley group of other aliens to retrieve a stolen religious artifact. Oh man- this series creates the most ridiculous aliens! They obviously felt they could design animated aliens that could not be shown on a live-action series due to the cost of special effects. Even nowadays with better special effects, these aliens have not been replicated into series, because they were so damn absurd. Plus there was an additional laugh of an alien woman who blatantly puts the moves on Kirk.

Why is Kirk’s shirt orange? Just another example of sloppy animation.

Season Two

The Pirates of Orion

Spock contracts a deadly disease and the Enterprise arranges to rendezvous with another ship to get him a cure. Some space pirates intercept the ship and Kirk has to negotiate with the deceptive Orians to get the medicine that Spock needs. Guess what- he wins.

Bem

This was a surprisingly streamlined episode, that despite its laughable colony-creature (its body parts can separate and move on their own) actually had a good message. Always a Uhura fan, I liked how she had a moment taking the helm of the ship and demanding crew members follow her orders as procedure dictated they do.

This episode also included Kirk saying “There are times, Mr. Spock when I think I should have been a librarian.” Spock observes “The job of librarian would be no less challenging, captain, but it would undoubtedly be a lot less dangerous.” As a librarian myself, I enjoyed the idea that my job is as challenging as a spaceship’s Captain!

The Practical Joker

The computer gets a virus and becomes a practical joker. Not a fan of slapstick humor- this episode was really lackluster for me. That Barrett voiced the computer is a precursor that she would voice most onboard computer interfaces throughout several of the future Star Trek shows. The highlight of the episode was seeing Kirk wear a shirt that says Kirk is a Jerk that I have seen on memes but not understood the context until now. And yes, sometimes he is.

Perhaps a joke about William Shatner who is known for his testy relationships with co-workers?

Albatross

Dr. McCoy is accused of causing a plague on an alien planet 19 years ago and is put in jail. Determined to prove his innocence, Kirk finds an alien whom he helped during that era, but then the entire ship falls ill. When I think the aliens on this series can’t get any stranger, TAS proves me wrong!

How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth

This episode was problematic and included the trope of gods-were-really-aliens again.  Within the first minute, I clued in that a crew member at the helm that we never met before, Ensign Walking Bear, was going to be important, yet a one and done character. He recognizes an attacking ship as looking like Kukulkan, a Mayan deity since he is Comanche and studied other Native American cultures. This alien beams Kirk, Walking Bear and others to his ship where it is revealed that this alien visited Earth in the past and influenced the Mayan and Egyptian civilizations, but feels rejected as they did not meet his expectations of gratitude. Kirk convinces this alien that humans have grown since he last visited and to let them go and continue evolving. I think this line of thinking reinforces some misguided people who believe that some non-white civilizations couldn’t have developed as advanced as cultures as they had at one time and thus must have had outside influence. The title of this episode refers to Shakespeare’s quote from King Lear “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is / To have a thankless child” which is a good quote but quite derogatory here.

The Counter-Clock Incident

This last episode was also cringe-worthy and reinforced that the show needed to end. Traveling on the Enterprise is Commodore Robert April who was the first Enterprise captain and his wife Dr. April as they prepare for mandatory retirement at age 75. They encounter a supernova that pulls them into an opposite universe and they began to de-age. Spock and the April’s maintain the ship since they are older and aren’t turned into babies like the rest of the crew, although they too grow younger. The problems I had with this episode were the ageism and sexism- Dr. April is referred to as Mrs. April repeatedly and they are not utilized to help until the end when the need for their assistance was quite obvious from the beginning.

My youngest son asked what was worse- this series or the Star War’s Holiday Special. I had to pause and think because they are both unique and horrible in their own ways. But these last two episodes pushed me to pick this series. I must keep in mind that this series was a product of its time- the early 70s was still mired in old-fashioned stereotypes. But the crude animation torpedoed this series, as their numerous continuity mistakes were obvious, and their stock footage (there should be a drinking game for how many times the same footage was used of Spock looking into a viewfinder on the bridge) was distracting. Some of the storylines were more nuanced than others but that begs the question- was this series geared for children or adults? But overall, I am so glad I watched The Animated Series. It was an interesting look into Star Trek’s uneven history and there were nuggets of good storytelling found in it. I now await Discovery’s third season and was thrilled with the recent announcement that Captain Pike, Number One and a young Spock would be getting their own series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. In the meantime- Live Long and Prosper!

-Nancy

Short Treks- Season Two

Star Trek Discovery tried an innovative approach in keeping it’s audience’s attention and building interest- it put out four shorts (each approximately 10-15 minutes long), between Discovery’s season one and two. This second time around there were six episodes, two of which were animated, and timed to coincide with the premiere of Star Trek Picard.

Warning- Spoilers!

Q&A

The first episode took the popularity of season two’s young Spock, Number One and Captain Pike and gave them their own prequel to us meeting them on the U.S.S. Discovery. Spock is beaming aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise for the first time as an ensign and meets Number One who he gets trapped in a turbolift with. Their prim and proper conversation takes a turn for the personal, with a fun but odd singing rendition of I Am The Very Model Of a Modern Major General by both of them. They later pretend to meet for the first time in front of Captain Pike. I did have two problems with this episode- they should not have been wearing those uniforms yet, but most importantly, I like them so much that I want them back on Star Trek Discovery in season three (or even better- a spinoff of their own)!

The Trouble With Edward

This episode was hysterical! I was laughing so hard that my oldest son sat down with me to finish watching the episode after I gave him a quick overview of the iconic TOS episode The Trouble with Tribbles. While my three children are all Star Wars fans, I’ve never gotten them interested in Star Trek (to my everlasting shame) so having him watch this short trek with me was a victory indeed!

New Captain Lynne Lucero is assigned to the starship U.S.S. Cabot (and is escorted there by Captain Pike) where she meets scientist Edward Larkin who is conducting some morally questionable experiments on alien Tribbles, for he wishes to use them as a food source on a starving planet. Ordered to stop, he does not, and the Tribbles start to breed out of control, eventually overtaking the entire ship. While Starfleet officers are usually professional, Edward’s ego got the best of him (as did the Captain’s frankly), and the sequence of events afterward is comical. Captain Lucero’s explanation to an admiral board of review is accurate and a perfect ending to this episode. (BTW, this is the first time chronologically we see a Trill alien in Starfleet)

Ask Not

The third Short Trek with dreamy Captain Pike! When Starbase 28 is attacked, Cadet Thira Sidhu is tasked with guarding a mutinous prisoner who no surprise is Captain Pike. Pike attempts to convince Sidhu into releasing him, but she refuses despite her husband being on board the starship in danger. Pike then reveals that this is a simulated test, and because of her fortitude she is welcomed aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise as an engineer. We even get a brief look at Spock and Number One when she beams abroad. While I very much enjoyed this mini-episode, the likelihood of a captain taking the time to screen applicants for his ship like this is extremely unlikely. But I’ll let is pass, as this might have been our last opportunity to see Pike, Spock and Number One together.

Ephraim and Dot

I was unsure about the animated shorts, but this first was adorable! Set in TOS timeline, a mother Tardigrade wants a safe place to lay her eggs, when The Enterprise disrupts her, so she follows the starship to see if it would be a viable location. She is witness to some iconic episodes- Space Seed (Khan!), The Trouble With Tribbles, The Naked Time (shirtless Sulu with a sword), Who Mourns For Adonis? (giant green hand in space), The Doomsday Machine (the big planet killer), The Tholian Web (orange energy cube), and The Savage Curtain (hey, whats President Lincoln doing in space?!), along with some other shoutouts to TOS happenings.  A droid, Dot, tries to stop her but later realizes her intent and there is a heartwarming ending. The animation was colorful, amusing and will appeal to all ages.

The Girl Who Made the Stars

As much as I loved the previous animated short, I did not like the second one at all. In this episode, we are shown Michael from the Star Trek Discovery crew, as a young child who is afraid of the dark. Her father wishes to reassure so he tells a tale of a young girl from Africa who brings stars to her tribe, as a gift from an alien she met. This story rubbed me the wrong way because a problem I have been having with the Discovery series is that Michael is just so earnest, and she and she alone is the savior of her ship and mankind. This cloying fairy tale-esque episode reinforced that issue which makes me wonder if Star Trek Discovery will fall to the wayside for me soon.

Children of Mars

This mostly wordless episode ties in with the Picard series as a prequel to Picard’s timeline, set in 2385, when Mars was attacked by deviant synthoids. The story begins with two girls who attend boarding school on Earth, speaking with their parents who are workers on Mars before they leave for school. The girls get into a skirmish at school and escalate it until they are truly fighting in the hallways.  As they are awaiting punishment from the Vulcan principal, the news is announced and the girls each realize they have lost a parent, and link hands in solidarity. We briefly see Picard on a screen when he was still an Admiral and this all fits into the mystery of Picard’s storyline. This episode was effective on many levels- it showed youth in school as we don’t see many children or family units in the Star Trek world, the catastrophe will sadly remind viewers of iconic tragedies such as 9/11 or the Challenger explosion and ties in neatly with the timeline and reasons for Picard leaving Starfleet.

All in all, I found five of the six episodes strong. These shorts allow some additional ideas to be developed that there is no time to explore in regular episodes. Fan favorites such as Pike, Spock and Number One got more character development, and threads that connect to the newest series were introduced. It a smart move by CBS to produce these mini-episodes to keep interest strong in the franchise and keep subscribers from dropping the paid platform. However, for me, I waited until Picard premiered to re-up my subscription and just caught up with these shorts at that time. So, soon enough you can expect a Star Trek Picard post from me. In the meantime- live long and prosper!

-Nancy

Star Trek Discovery: Season Two

I have a secret…although I profess my love for Star Trek, I have had a hard time following this new series, and have only very recently finished the second season although the finale came out months ago. In theory, I DO like this series, as I’ve shared in the posts I wrote about the beginning of Season One and then when I finished it. But each season I’ve had some time constraints that popped up mid-season and I had to put my watching on hold, and then I struggled with finishing the final episodes.

The first season was atypical to what most Star Trek series have been like, and I came to think of it as more Star Trek-inspired than truly a Trek show. With a mid-season break, the creators seemed to do a bit of course correction and tried to hew the last few episodes of season one towards established canon. Captain Pike, the predecessor of the Enterprise’s Captain Kirk, was introduced and it seemed as if season two might try to actually be more Treky. They even cast a new Spock to be introduced as a pivotal character as the foster brother to Michael Burnham, the lead of this series. I truly enjoyed the four Short Treks that started off the season as teasers for the regular episodes to come. But alas, season two went off the rails with an extremely convoluted storyline.

*Spoiler alert* At the end of season one, Discovery meets up with Enterprise that had been on a faraway mission and sat out the recent war with the Klingons. With Captain Lorca no longer with the ship, Captain Pike is sent over to captain the USS Discovery as the USS Enterprise is docked for repairs. This sets us up to meet a young Spock who is in the midst of a mental breakdown and not anything like what we expect from TOS. Spock and Michael are brother and sister as Spock’s parents took in an orphaned Michael as a child and their connection is forced and ridiculous. There is a huge absurd storyline about a Red Angel visiting at pivotal battles to help and it ends up with the two of them needing to save ALL HUMANITY with a time-traveling space suit. In the midst of all this,  a character is brought back from the dead and my favorite character Tilly has to fight the most annoying alien ever. Three of the Short Treks tie into the narrative at the conclusion, and in the end, the crew splits up, with some of them having to go to the future with the USS Discovery.

It doesn’t bode well that many of my favorite characters were left behind in their present-day, while Michael and many of the younger crew members were sent to the future. I assume that’s not to say we will never see them again, cause come on its Star Trek; but I will miss Captain Pike, young Spock, Number One, love-struck Ash, Klingon Chancellor L’Rell and mirror-universe Georgiou. Michael was really grating on my nerves, with way too much focus on her and her earnestness, so more of her next season is not appealing. This turned out to be a pretty negative review of Discovery, but I’m not ready to give it up yet. The recently announced new Short Treks look promising and I will be all in for the new Picard series next year!

Live long and prosper, my friends!

-Nancy

Star Trek Continues: To Boldly Go

Star Trek Continues has come to an end. This webseries was a true labor of love from all involved, especially Vic Mignogna, who created and starred in this wonderful tribute series. If this blog was on paper, you would notice blotch marks- from my tears, now that it is over!!

Image result for star trek continues
Vic Mignogna who payed homage to Captain Kirk, but never fell into a cheesy William Shatner impersonation.

Episodes 10 and 11 were a two parter, which really was essential to give them enough time to adequately wrap up the series. As the episode begins, Captain Kirk is reflective as the five year mission is coming to an end, and he mourns the crew members that have died under his command. He hopes for a smooth end to the journey, but is directed to enter Romulan space by Star Fleet Command. He, Spock and a red shirt beam down to a planet to investigate a scientific outpost.  They beam aboard the lone scientist still there, not knowing her secret abilities, plus the Vulcan that attacked them there. Spock then takes this opportunity to secretly send a message to a Romulan commander that he had a connection to from The Enterprise Incident. The commander is played by Amy Rydell, the daughter of TOS original actress Joanne Linville, and it is amazing how Rydell looks likes her mother.

The scientist Lana proves to be hiding her motives, and her connection to the Vulcan is revealed. Turns out that that the scientists are now ESPers, who have developed the ability to read minds and have powerful new telekinetic powers. Drunk on her newfound power, Lana plans to rendezvous with the others ESPers on the USS Congo, a ship that they took over near the galactic barrier. The Enterprise crew take action to thwart the renegades who plan on conquering mere humans with their more evolved powers. Some crew members make the ultimate sacrifice, and their losses are heartfelt, as they were integral characters on the show.

The Enterprise crew ultimately limp into space dock, victorious, but at a high cost. I was glad for the lengthy finale, which tied up plot lines and gave it a poignant conclusion. I loved the touches of continuity that they established to build a bridge from this supposed end of the five year mission and the first movie. There was a reference that the doctor had a daughter that he hadn’t seen in years, there was a joke about how the uniforms would be changing soon and about the pilot program of having a counselor on board which is a connection to TNG crew.

I do have a significant complaint though- if you have read any of my previous posts about this series (Episodes 1-6, Episodes 7-8, Episode 9) you know that I really liked the actress Kim Springer who beautifully portrayed Lt. Nyota Uhura. I complained that she (plus Sulu, Chekov & Scotty) was not given enough character development due to the series giving more screen time to the big three and actress Michele Specht who played Counselor Elise McKennah. Unfortunately, that happened again. I truly feel bad harping on that, because Specht is a fine actress, but as a true fan of TOS, I wanted the core seven to be featured, not a newcomer.  While Uhura had two significant moments of helping in the last mission, it wasn’t enough.  Obviously, I love this webseries, but this issue was a constant thorn in my side.

This isn’t even from this episode, but Kim Springer/Uhura is in it!

This was a fantastic webseries that truly felt like canon to TOS. The replication of the sets and uniforms were outstanding, and the guest stars that often had a Star Trek or other sci-fi connection helped elevate the episodes. When ever I find a new Trekkie fan I always share this series with them, as it was a perfect continuation of the original television show and felt incredibly authentic. I am sad the series is over, but can enjoy watching reruns of it, as I have enjoyed watching and then rewatching other Trek episodes. I certainly hope to see these fine actors and actresses involved in other projects.

Until then…live long and prosper, my friends!

-Nancy

The Autobiography of James T Kirk

I am a big fan of the Star Trek universe, so when I saw this book come highly recommended by a Goodreads friend, with whom I have many similar reading tastes, I snapped it up.  A description from Amazon says it is the “first officially produced in-universe biography of the legendary and iconic Star Trek character, Captain Kirk“. Written as if it were the memoirs of Captain Kirk, I was prepared to love it.

Sometimes we read a book at just the right time in our lives, so the book speaks to us, as if it were written for you alone. Other times due to timing, a book is read at the absolute wrong time, so you end up hating the book. Unfortunately, this book falls into the later category for me.  Let’s find out why!

The book starts out promisingly, with Kirk recounting his childhood in Iowa with his parents and older brother Sam, to the book’s “editor” David A Goodman. It proceeds through his first time off planet with his mother, then through his early years of Starfleet Academy. We meet many of the people who will play a part in his later missions, for several of them tie in with school and his first two ship assignments. Thus, the narrative takes official Star Trek canon and builds around it.

Once we hit the Enterprise years, the book came to a screeching halt. Kirk’s recollections lurched from one episode to another, recapping what we know happened in the tv show and later in the movies. Spock and McCoy were barely mentioned, and their friendship did not ring true, even with their foreword and afterwards bookends.  Then the other important quartet of Uhura, Scotty, Sulu and Chekhov were also all but ignored in this supposed memoir. There was so sense of unity or teamwork among the Enterprise staff, much less the family he left behind. Even the Khan stories lacked power.

Now let’s talk about the ladies. Kirk is known as a swashbuckling ladies man, but in this story he is a petulant man child. He is callous to his first love at the academy and is a complete ass and a deadbeat dad to Carol and their son David. There is no mention of his marriage to Miramanee, whom I felt was one of his true loves, and doesn’t mention the kiss with Uhura. The largest story goes his romance with Edith during a mission he went to the Earth’s past. He moons over her death, and then slights other women. Even with Carol and David come back into his life years later he doesn’t muster much excitement or love for them. When David dies, he isn’t heartbroken and dismisses Carol, never to see her again.

I believe there are three glaring reasons why I didn’t like the book. One- my eldest just started college, and I miss him terribly. I was angry at Starfleet for making family life basically impossible. Family relationships were torn asunder by the long absences, and the choices people made if they wanted to accept a promotion. Second- I recently had a negative experience when someone else’s bad decision affected me. So Kirk’s many decisions through out his career, where others were collateral damage to his ego, infuriated me. Thirdly- the filling in around canon didn’t seem authentic to me. While it was approved (so I assume the new info is canon too now), it all seemed fake and wooden. I recently read Superman: American Alien which did the same thing, but that story filled in the gaps of Clark Kent’s growing up years in a very believable way.

So while I hated this version of Kirk, I am going to do what many fans do when faced with problematic story lines or conflicting data- I’m going to pretend it doesn’t exist. If I can forget about Spock’s brother or how Klingon’s first looked when we met them in TOS, I can forget about Goodman’s Kirk. Instead I shall remember the blustery but fun William Shatner version that started this whole Trek phenomenon.  Live long and prosper, my friends.

-Nancy

Star Trek Continues: Episodes 7 & 8

Star Trek Continues is an outstanding webseries that continues directly from the original Star Trek series, picking up where TOS left off, since it had a stated five year mission and only about three years was shown.  I gave a long introduction to the characters and actors with a quick recap of the first six episodes on a previous post, so please check it out if you are unfamiliar with this series, or just like to read my older posts!

This fan-created non canon series will be concluding this year, with a total production of eleven episodes. They had hoped to keep on producing episodes (at least thirteen) but a huge court debacle occurred between CBS and another fan-fiction movie, Axanar. CBS felt Axanar was infringing on their Star Trek franchise, and their court case affected other fan series/movies in the Star Trek fan universe. For more information on this long and complicated history check out these blogs: Fan Film Factor and Trek Fan Productions. Both sites are very well written and give much more detail on the ongoing situation than I can, and give a fairly balanced view on the mess.

Episode 7- Embracing the Winds

When TOS originally  ran in the 1960’s gender bias was definitely an issue, and this episode addresses that thorny matter. Diana Garrett is appealing to Starfleet that she has been passed over for a promotion to captain a ship. She is brought before a committee to present her case but her angry, don’t question me persona isn’t doing her any favors. To further muddy the issue, allegiances and the patriarchal society of the neighboring aliens Tellarites plays a part in Starfleet’s decision. At first I was upset that Garrett was passed over, but the plot became more nuanced, and you could see she wasn’t the right fit for the position. Her parting statement was a shout out to the TNG episode, Yesterday’s Enterprise, and her supposed granddaughter Rachel Garret, who would captain the Enterprise-C. I did a little bit of nerd math after the episode, and if this episode takes place approximately in the year 2270, and Rachel Garret’s last stand takes place in 2344, it is definitely possible for the two to be family- which I love.

Episode 8- Still Treads The Shadow

A sequel to TOS episode The Tholian Web, the Enterprise crew find the USS Defiant in a new region of space near a worm hole. Expecting the ship to be empty, as the knew the previous crew had killed one another, they are surprised to sense a heartbeat. Beaming on board, they are shocked to find an aged Kirk laying in stasis. How can this be- when their captain is standing next to them?! Once old Kirk is awoken, they discover a temporal rift occurred last time they were on board, leaving one Kirk on board the Defiant, while the other one went back to the Enterprise, not knowing about the duplication. 200 years have passed since this rift, and the computer on the Defiant has become sentient to keep old Kirk company. A visiting old flame of the captain, engineer Rekha Sharma, helps young and old Kirk make programming changes to correct the jealous computer and get the Enterprise to safety as the worm hole  is destabilizing.

These last two episodes have been excellent and thought provoking, with complex moral issues and good production values. I dearly hope that last three episodes will be shown to the public, and that the Axanar situation doesn’t affect how CBS looks upon this webseries. While it might be too late for changes in the remaining episodes, one last wish I have for the series would be for them to give more character development to Uhura, Sulu, Scotty and Chekov; they seem to be repeating an issue I had with TOS- they give a lions share of the attention to Kirk, Spock and Bones.

May we enjoy the concluding years of this five year mission! Live long and proper.

-Nancy

*Episode Nine review

 

My Perfect Star Trek Crew

I was inspired to do this post after reading the post that Hailing Frequencies Open had on what made their own Super Crew.

I love the rebooted Kelvin timeline movie series, but I decided to stick to the tv series for this list. That there is no representation from the Enterprise series, is no mistake. God, that crew sucked. I am very much looking forward to the start of the Discovery series, and wonder if any of their crew will alter this list.

 

Captain:  Admiral Kathryn Janeway

The perfect captain- Janeway was in ultimate control, yet was relatable. Faced with extraordinary pressures, she united two warring factions and built a unified crew out of former enemies. She survived a year of hell, coming out stronger than ever. I wish Star Trek showcased more female captains- while I like the captain they picked for Discovery, they missed an opportunity to add another female to the line up of leads for the franchise.

 

First Officer: Commander William T. Riker

He’s my Number One, especially once he grew his beard. Walk on over and sit in this chair please. Let me see the Riker maneuver.

 

 Chief Medical Officer: Dr. Beverly Crusher

Dr. Crusher is grace under pressure. Man was I pissed when the powers that be had her off the ship for season two. Her coming back elevated the series. Smart and capable, she could handle any medical emergency that occurred.

 

 

Chief Engineer: Lieutenant Commander Georgi La Forge 

This was a gimmie, for I love LeVar Burton. He is the celebrity I most want to meet- from his portrayal of Kunte Kinte in Roots, to his love of literacy in Reading Rainbow, and then his Star Trek TNG role. But you don’t need to take my word for it!

 

Ship’s Counselor: Commander Deanna Troi

She is the queen of empathy- and Riker’s gal. It made sense that ships in stressful combat zones would need a mental health expert. I was glad Star Trek addressed that issue. I’d be friends with her in real life.

 

 

Operations Officer: Ensign Harry Kim

This guy helped Voyager out of so many jams, and was still an ensign! This infuriated me. It’s called a field promotion people! I am promoting him up a few ranks immediately.

 

Science Officer: Commander Spock

Leonard Nimoy more than any other actor in the franchise personifies Star Trek. His Vulcan personality was the perfect foil to Captain Kirk, and made the combining of different nationality and alien species on a ship complete. Love the quote “I have been and always shall be your friend”.

 

Chief of Security: Lieutenant Commander Worf

Worf is the best. He needs no explanation as to his presence on this list.

 

 

Tactical Officer: Lieutenant Natasha Yar

The actress Denise Crosby must still be kicking herself than she left the Star Trek series. I liked her character in the first season of TNG, and loved her redemption in Yesterday’s Enterprise, so now I am giving her a chance to live on…

 

Conn Officer: Commander Nyota Uhura

No one compares to Uhura. Beautiful, smart, ambitious, an equal to the men- she is the original Star Trek role model. All strong female Star Trek characters owe a debt to her.

 

 

Rookie/Kid: Wesley Crusher

While I am a fan of the actor Wil Wheaton, his Wesley portrayal was not a favorite of mine, but I like keeping families together, so he remains on the ship with his mother. Given time, he will mature. And let’s just forget about that Traveler crap.  Had I chosen Captain Benjamin Sisco for another position, his son Jake would have gotten this spot.

 

 

 

Wild Card:  Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax

She is another character I am bringing back from the dead. She will be reunited with Worf, and they will have a happy ending!

 

Ship: U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D

The ship from my favorite of all the series- The Next Generation. It had a bar with Guinan in it, plus a cool holodeck.

So this supposed quick and easy post took much longer than I anticipated, as I read Memory Alpha articles on many of these characters, which then branched to other characters and episodes. Time suck alert! Still this was a fun way to imagine a perfect crew.  So many worthy actors and actresses have kept this series as strong as it is. Live Long and Prosper, my friends.

-Nancy

Star Trek Beyond

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This movie was released to coincide with the Star Trek franchise’s 50th anniversary, and I felt that it was a just a place holder and not a block buster. While I definitely enjoyed it, especially the ending, I’m not sure I will remember the villains or the plot years from now which had become a problem with the TNG movies.

The Good:

A funny opening scene with Kirk trying to flex his diplomatic skills, and basically failing.

The interactions between Kirk, Spock & Bones and the different parings of characters on the planet Altamid.

Sulu’s husband and daughter are shown, which is supposed to be a shout out to George Takei and an acknowledgement there should be more LGBTQ representation in the Trek universe.

Star Base Yorktown was beautifully rendered. I always like seeing crowd scenes in Trek movies and how they represent humans and aliens from all over the universe. Love the costumes!

I liked the stranded Jaylah. She had spunk.

The soundtrack of Beastie Boys and Public Enemy! I liked the line that it was “old fashioned” music.

Great special effects showing the battling ships with the massive  swarm of small ships attacking Enterprise.

I liked the picture that Spock looks at of the crew of TOS when going through old Spock’s belongings. Nice tribute to the cast that started this phenomenon! ♥

The Meh:

The villain Krall (even though I just saw this movie this weekend I had to Google the villain’s name). I liked the explanation of who he was originally and his thought process, but that plot didn’t hold up completely. The way he acquired energy from others to extend his life was murky, and how it altered his appearance, I can only guess at.

There was a whole “suspension of disbelief” that a whole star ship would risk all the ship’s crew to do a rescue mission in a nebula that would make them out of touch with the Federation. Realistically, they should have sent a smaller ship and crew.

The Bad:

Knowing this would be the last time we’d see Anton’s portrayal of Chekov. I heard they will not recast him in the next movie, so I wonder what the explanation will be for his absence from future Star Trek films. At least Anton/Chekov’s last portrayal showed him being an integral part of the action and saving the crew.

Uhura’s lack of storyline and that the romance between her and Spock was reduced. They had no chemistry in this outing, despite having great sparks in the first movie. I totally was shipping them, now not so much. I still have hope…

They could have done so much more with Sulu’s supposed same sex marriage. The relationship is merely implied, the poor guy portraying his “husband” had no lines and there should have been a kiss between the two to confirm the relationship.

The motorcycle?? Come on.

While I really liked Jaylah, her backstory took away from potential character development of characters such as Uhura, Chevok, Sulu and Scotty.

 

But all in all, a very solid Star Trek movie that will guarantee the movie’s future production in the years to come and beyond!

Live long and prosper.

-Nancy

TrekCastBar

 

Star Trek Continues: Episodes 1-6

Star Trek Continues is a brilliant webseries that continues directly from the original Star Trek series, picking up where TOS left off, since it had a stated five year mission and only about three years was shown. The series has eerily recreated the look of the original set, along with the costuming and props. This webseries got off the ground in 2013 after fundraising through Kickstarter, which they also nicknamed Kirkstarter. Due to funding there are usually only two episodes a year, with six completed, and a seventh due out in early September.

The series has earned several well deserved awards over the years, including winning categories in The Geekie Awards, the Telly Awards, the Webby Awards along with awards from film festivals. The actors also attend Star Trek conventions and are active in social media to build the series up.

Captain James T Kirk is played by Vic Mignogna who also is the creator, writer and sometimes director of the series. He acts like William Shatner acting like Kirk. He get’s Shatner’s mannerisms just right, but has also shows some of himself in the Kirk portrayal so it comes off better than a mere impersonation.  He does a great job as the captain.

Commander Spock is played by Todd Haberkorn. His portrayal took awhile for me to warm up to, but now I’m a fan.

Doctor “Bones” McCoy was first played by Larry Nemecek in the first two episodes, and now is played by Chuck Huber. Nemecek did a nice job, but Huber’s portrayal is spot on.

Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott is played by Chris Doohan, the son of TOS James Doohan. It is a nice touch on continuity, and he fill’s his father’s shoes well, including the Scottish brogue.

Helmsman Hikara Sulu is played by  Grant Imahara, also known for his role on Discovery’s Mythbusters. He gives Sulu a sly attitude- oh myyy….

Communications Officer Nyota Uhura is played by the beautiful Kim Stringer. She is my favorite of the actors, and gives an elegance to the role, but also can be kick ass when needed.

Navigator Pavel Chekov is played by Wyatt Lenhart. He endearingly shows the young ensign who wants to stand out.

Counselor Elise McKennah is played by Michelle Specht and is modeled after TNG’s Deanna Troi. This is a brand new character, and in my opinion is given too much screen time to the deterrent of the “original seven”.

All pictures from Star Trek Continues website

The six episodes thus far have been campy awesomeness, just like the series it was based on. I saw that with love, because while well done and professional, they are obviously mimicking the 60’s TV show.

Pilgrim of Eternity– Unofficial sequel to  the original TOS episode Who Mourns for Adonais? The original actor, Michael Forest,  who played Apollo in the original episode is now an old man due to an energy drain and needs to learn how to deal with humanity again.

Lolani– Deals with the Orian slave trade and sexual objectification. Kirk has to weigh the moral issues between different culture’s traditions and the Prime Directive. Lou Ferrigno, from The Incredible Hulk series, plays a slave trader.

Fairest of Them All–  Direct continuation of the original Star Trek episode Mirror Mirror. Crew members go bad!

The White Iris– Due to a head injury Kirk begins to hallucinate and see his past dead lovers such as Edith Keeler and his Native American wife Miramanee. His guilt, and habit of closing off painful memories, floods over him and he has to deal with these experiences before he can heal. My favorite of the episodes.

Divided We Stand– Owing to a situation with new aliens and a temporal rift, Kirk and Bones are sucked back into the American Civil War. Of course they influence history for the better before being rescued.

Come Not Between The Dragons– An alien that looks like a pile of rocks infiltrates the ship and a crew member bonds with it before discovering the parent alien wants their child back. The alien looks deliberately bad, as they are recreating 60’s special effects. This was my least favorite of the episodes, for I feel they are using recurring actors too much, when one of the main characters (such as Uhura) could have received more development instead.

While not perfect, I highly recommended this series. When ever I find out someone I meet is a Star Trek fan, I immediately tell them about this webseries. Spread the word people- the five year mission is still underway!!

-Nancy

stc

 

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