Graphic Novelty²


Star Trek

Free Comic Book Day 2023

I bring Free Comic Book Day to my library every year, and thus I get a sneak peek at the titles and get to pick as many as I want. The selection for this FCBD was great, as this year I choose seven titles! We had a steady stream of library patrons picking up titles on Saturday, during the three-hour window that I offered them.

I was pleased to have DC back in the Free Comic Book Day lineup again, thus seeing the famous Trinity on the cover made me grab the title up. It was a bit of bait & switch as the story was about Damian, Batman’s devious son, but it was a solid introduction to the new Knight Terrors title, in which almost every DC hero will face dream terrors this summer. Great surreal art during the dream sequences.

Star Trek is my favorite franchise, so, of course, I picked up this title Day of Blood: Prelude. The first story begins with an unfamiliar character, Captain Meyerson, speaking to a cloaked Klingon. This Klingon treacherously kills the captain and is revealed to be Alexander, Worf’s estranged son. What is the Red Path he speaks of? The second story is set on the Lower Decks ship, with three of the ensigns visiting the holodeck. There is the usual bickering between Boimer and Mariner, with some funny digs towards the other shows.

Animal Castle will be on my Best Reads of 2023 this year, so I was excited to see a preview of Volume Two. We get a look into President Silvo’s early life, and despite him being subjugated as a young ox and enduring the death of his mother, we know he still turns into an evil tyrant himself. Will the Mama Cat find the courage to lead a revolt?

Marvel Voices pulls together snippets of stories about Ironheart, Snowguard, Ms. Marvel, Loki and Hulking & Wiccan. Ironheart’s story was the longest and most intriguing, while I was confused about Snowgueard (did the baby die?), with the other stories much too short. I think younger audiences will enjoy these stories and this will encourage them to seek out the longer stories.

As a librarian, I just had to choose The Cursed Library due to the title. Archie Horror stories amuse me, as it is a weird juxtaposition of cutsie art and scary stories, that really aren’t scary in the least. The premise of the story is that Jinx introduces each story (all the while dodging her sister Danni who is ruining her vibe) like the classic Crypt Keeper. The stories about the Archie characters are silly but will keep a young audience entranced.

Uncanny Avengers has the Avenger and X-Men teams intermingled.  In the first story, someone has infiltrated the mutant island stronghold and steals the uniform of Captain Krakoa. This storyline was confusing, as it is obviously picking up story threads I have not read in previous comics. Another story has Captain America and Rogue working together to save the day. There is a reference to Deadpool at the end, and a mutant hunter is after a young girl. And lastly, a short introduction to a Doctor Strange and Wyn story.

I always pick up the Spider-Man Venom title that has a story about each. In Spider-Man’s tale, he is fighting a large gorilla with tools that seem to come from Iron Man and includes his usual snappy dialogue. Kraven and Doc Ock have teamed up, and the gorilla was just a tease of what more they have in store for Spidey. The second story was set in the 1940s and had two scientist brothers who created a robot-looking flexible creature named Flexo. Somehow it will get combined with Venom in the future, but that was only teased at, not sure how the two stories will come together in the future.

All in all, I was very happy with my choices and might follow up with future storylines based on these introductions.

Star Trek Picard: Season Three

Forget about seasons one and two, season three of Star Trek: Picard is where it’s at!

The Picard series finally embraced what fans wanted, a reunion of the entire cast of The Next Generation crew, and the first episode that established a mystery with Dr. Beverly Crusher immediately put the entire previous two seasons to shame. Finally, Crusher was given a meaty role as it was revealed she was captaining a small medical vessel in a Doctor Without Borders in space scenario and was requesting help from Picard as her ship was in danger. But wait…who was that rakish young man traveling with her? *Although I will assume anyone reading this post is a Star Trek fan and has watched the entire season, I will warn that there are spoilers ahead*

Picard enlists Riker’s help, and they hope to travel to save Beverly on the USS Titan, Riker’s former ship and where Seven of Nine is now second in command. But Captain Liam Shaw, the Titan’s irascible captain is having none of Picard and Riker’s shenanigans. Shaw turned out to be a surprise fan favorite (I love him almost as much as Pike now), as this self-described “dipshit from Chicago” ended up being an ally to the TNG crew in future episodes. During this time Raffi, who is one of the few holdovers from S1 & S2, searches for a stolen portal device that she fears will be used in a terrorist attack. Her unknown Starfleet handler, turns out to be Worf who is now a pacifist, as we start to see more of TNG crew start to assemble.

Early speculation proved to be correct, in that Jack Crusher was the child of Beverly and Picard. She had kept the pregnancy a secret from everyone and it explained why the crew had not heard from her in 20+ years. Knowing that the romance was doomed and that her son could be in danger if enemies of Picard found out he had a child, she hid Jack, as she was also hurting that she had lost her eldest son Wesley to being a Traveler (gah- don’t get me started on that). This plot contrivance was hard for me to swallow at first, as I had imagined the entire crew remaining friends after leaving the USS Enterprise-D (and it went against my remembrance of the strong friendship she had with Deanna Troi), but the scene in which the two had a heartfelt confrontation about their son was outstanding. Jack had a strong bond with his mother and has long known that Picard was his father, but the later developing relationship between father and son was real and nuanced.

The perfect Star Trek crew!

In the midst of these family revelations, chaos swirls around the galaxy. A formidable bounty hunter Vadic wants to capture Jack, as a bounty has been placed on his head by an unknown enemy. Titan’s crew, which includes Geordi LaForge’s youngest daughter Sidney, tries to elude Vadic, but is putting the entire ship in danger worth it for one individual? When Shaw is hurt he gives the ship’s command up to Riker, who quarrels with Picard about what to do. Of course, they save the ship and crew and contact Starfleet to warn them that the upcoming Frontier Day is in danger, but evil Changelings have infiltrated the highest ranks of Starfleet. We get a surprise cameo as former Enterprise crew member Ro Loren, who had defected to the rebel Marquis years ago, shows up to help Picard gather the intel he needs. Worf and Raffi beam to the Titan as their mission is now braiding into Picard’s. Picard needs additional help, who contacts LaForge now a Commondor who runs Starfleet Museum and he joins the Titan crew along with his eldest daughter Alandra (Levar Burton’s IRL daughter) reuniting them with Sidney.

Some of the crew infiltrate Daystrom Station, where lo and behold they find the android Data! It’s not the exact version, who was killed in the movie Star Trek: Nemesis, but his memories plus the evil android Lore are put in an older body (it was a ridiculous explanation to shoehorn an older Brent Spiner in- but just accept it). And after Data fights off Lore, he gains a human consciousness, so again, just go with it. Troi, Riker’s wife, finally appears as she is kidnapped by Vadic, but Worf to the rescue with some fun dialogue that pokes fun at the relationship the two had years ago. Although late to the game, Troi is pivotal when she works with Jack in figuring out his strange visions and why a bounty is on him.

Sidney and Jack are the newest Trek couple to ship for! #LaCrush

When Vadic is defeated, I wondered why the villain was being killed off relatively early, but that is because the big baddie was revealed late in the season, and of course, it is the Borg (again!). The Borg are so overused, and I thought S2 had finally put an end to them, but whatevs, let’s move on. Turns out that Jack, having some of Picard’s Borg DNA, is being used as a beacon by the Borg Queen (who we thought was dead, but no). Indeed the subterfuge by the Changelings and the Borg go deep, and all the Starfleet ships that had gathered for Founders Day were compromised and younger crew members across the universe were infected by the Borg. Only older crew members were unaffected and lucky for everyone, all the TNG crew is old! And bonus, Geordi has been restoring the USS Enterprise -D, so they all hop on their old ship to save the day. Captain Shaw is killed onboard the Titan, but frankly, I’m not worried about that being permanent. Picard outsmarts the Borg Queen, saves Jack, and the crew is able to break the connection the Borg had with the younger crew members.

Jump ahead a year, and Jack who was fast-tracked through Starfleet (which had happened to Seven too the previous year) is being assigned his first posting, His proud parents are along, as we find out Beverly was promoted to Admiral, and we soon learn that the USS Titan has been rechristened the USS Enterprise-G. The new captain is revealed as Seven of Nine, with her former lover Raffi as her Number One (so unrealistic, but ok), and Sidney is abroad too. So we now have the next generation of The Next Generation, further cemented by Q visiting Jack and promising him further adventures. This all sets us up fans for Star Trek: Legacy, a show that fans have been clamoring for, that hopefully would be run by producer Terry Matalas, who beautifully handled this season. There was reverence for the franchise and fun Easter eggs for fans, and my husband commented that Star Trek has been superior to Star Wars in that they have control over canon and legacy, with a logical progression (with a few missteps along the way). While not confirmed, I think there is a solid chance it could happen as Strange New Worlds came to be when Trekkies loved Captain Pike on Discovery and wanted a show based on him, Una and a young Spock. The way characters were woven in and out was realistic, with further cameos by Tuvok from Voyager and a voice cameo by Walter Koenig, from TOS crew who voiced Anton Chekov (a poignant shout out to Anton Yelchin who portrayed Chekov in the Kelvin-timeline movies who died IRL) the son of his original Pavel Chekov.

So I have a plea to the higher-ups- please, please, please green light a Legacy show that could incorporate crews from TNG, Voyager and Deep Space 9. In the meantime, Live Long and Prosper!

Fan service in the very best way- the episode ended the way it had in the last TNG episode!

Doctor Who Edition: The Great Fandom Swap

With Michael of My Comic Relief

Michael from My Comic Relief and I have been good friends for years now, as we both started blogging within a few months of each other and discovered each other’s blogs early on. I even had the pleasure of meeting him during a family vacation, as my family and I arranged to meet up for lunch with him and Kalie, who writes Just Dread-Full. For awhile we have good-naturedly pushed the other to start watching our favorite fandoms- which for Michael is Doctor Who and for me Star Trek, specifically The Next Generation. What is amazing about both our series is that they both began in the 1960s, had a few speedbumps to overcome, but then were re-tooled for the better in recent years. So we both choose eight episodes to best represent our favorite fandom and had the other watch them, after giving each other some introductory comments.

This swap has been months in the making, as I mailed my Star Trek episode guide to him back in July and I slowly started to work my way through the episodes he assigned me. This slow going actually proved to be beneficial to me, as I was able to tie this post into Doctor Who Day aka Tardis Day, and I got to experience the most recent season coming to a close. To read Michael’s thoughts on the Star Trek: TNG episodes I assigned him, click here!

Michael:  Doctor Who is the longest-running sci-fi show in history so jumping in can be…overwhelming.  I debated choosing one Doctor or giving you a sampling of several Doctors.  Then I decided to chose “thematic” types of episodes Doctor Who regularly uses.  It was HARD not giving you any of Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor and I still don’t know if leaving the Daleks and the Cybermen out was the right move.  But I made my choices so allons-y!

The Woman Who Fell To Earth (S11E1)

Photo credit- BBC’s Doctor Who

Michael: This was Jodie Whittaker’s first appearance as the Doctor as well as Chris Chibnall’s first episode as showrunner. To my mind this regeneration episode explains the process and how all the Doctors are the same yet have their own unique personalities better than any other. Moments before the episode begins, the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) regenerates into the Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker). The regeneration energy damages the TARDIS and sends the Doctor plummeting towards Sheffield, England where she will meet her new companions – Yaz (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Graham (Bradley Walsh). As a result, we see the Doctor sort who she is without her TARDIS or her sonic screwdriver as it was in the TARDIS. Oh, when she crashes and pops back up, it isn’t because the Doctor is invulnerable but rather, within the first fifteen hours of a regeneration cycle, there’s enough residual cellular energy to repair damage such as that fall or regrowing a lost limb.

Nancy: I was excited to see this as my first assigned episode since I had already watched it before with my brother-in-law Chris, who is a big Doctor Who fan himself. He and I had watched the previous episode, which was the last for the Twelfth Doctor when my family was visiting for the holidays, and months later watched this introduction to the Thirteenth Doctor. While I have been aware of Doctor Who for decades, and remember watching a few with one of my Grandmas as a child, these modern-era episodes are brand new to me. I had asked Chris a lot of questions at the time, so having this as my first episode was a stroke of luck as I had some prior knowledge built in this time around.

So the thing is when you get a new Doctor, you almost always get new companions. That can be a lot to take in, but the people that the Thirteenth Doctor befriends are an appealing lot. So imagine my dismay, when one of the companions dies in this first episode! Since this was my second watch, I obviously knew Grace would die, but it still stung. I liked Jodie’s take on the Doctor and felt that she was perfect for the role.

The Rings of Akhaten (S7E7)

Photo credit- BBC’s Doctor Who

Michael: This is my favorite “first trip” episode! Here Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) takes her first trip in the TARDIS after meeting the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) and agreeing to travel with him. The Doctor does some poking around in Clara’s past because she’s a mystery to him; he encountered a version of her already in the 1800s and in the distant future buuuuut that’s not really important to this story :). Still, it explains why he’s confused by her and probing her past before he takes her on her first trip. Bonus! The young actress who plays Merry Gejelh is Emilia Jones who was just nominated for an Oscar for Coda!

Nancy: While I gave Michael a chronological journey through Star Trek: TNG, he did not do the same for me. He had his sound reasoning for his episode choices, but I admit I had a bit of whiplash as I watched these episodes, as they bounced around and I ended up watching episodes with four different Doctors. This time around, I was introduced to Matt Smith, who I previously watched in The Crown, so to me it seemed as if a young Prince Phillip with bad hair was gallivanting about space. And while Michael mentioned the child actress Emilia Jones later was in Coda, I recognized her from the three-season Locke & Key series I recently wrapped up on Netflix.

This series is not known for its special effects, and they seem to just lean into it, with the many different aliens looking quite cheap. I made a joke to Michael afterward that the show made the aliens from Star Trek: TOS in the 60s look high-tech. I noticed that this second episode also killed off an appealing character- Clara’s mum. But her leaf ended up being the most important leaf in history! When I mentioned this second death to Michael, he then shared that the series showrunners at the time were criticized for pulling their female companions away from their families, but that’s a digression for another time…

The Unicorn and the Wasp (S4E5)

Photo credit- BBC’s Doctor Who

Michael: This episode features the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) as he travels with Donna Noble (Catherine Tate). They are a pretty heavy fan favorite Doctor/companion duo amongst Doctor Who fans. This is a great example of just a “fun” episode – as well as a historical episode – as the Doctor and Donna find themselves in England in 1926…where they work to solve a murder mystery with Agatha Christie! Doctor Who loves dropping famous people in their historical episodes and this is a personal favorite.

Nancy: The phrase I used to describe this episode to Michael was that it was ridiculous fun! I had heard that IRL Agatha Christie disappeared for a time and offered no explanation as to where she had been, so this was as solid an explanation as any. One of the actresses in this episode was Felicity Jones, who I recognized as Jyn Erso from Star Wars: Rogue One. I also know Catherine Tate as a comedian, so sometimes it was disconcerting to see actors and actresses I associate with other roles in these Doctor Who episodes.

The Zygon Invasion Part 1 (S9E7) & Part 2 (S9E8)

Photo credit- BBC’s Doctor Who

Michael: Doctor Who loves two-parters so here’s an example of that as well as a story which shows a companion traveling with two different regenerations of the Doctor (which happens sometimes but not all the time). This episode is set in the present day and it follows the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara as they try to prevent war from breaking out between the human race and the Zygons, a race of alien shapeshifters who have been living as refugees on Earth for a few years. It also features UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce), the military group the Doctor worked with steadily in the ‘70s and has popped up semi-regularly ever since. It is their job to investigate the odd and unexplained and protect the Earth from alien threats. You also see Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) who serves as UNIT commander like her father, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), did in the 70s.

Nancy: These were my least favorite of the episodes, mostly because I didn’t connect with the grumpy Twelfth Doctor. And the evil Zygons looked like an octopus and lobster had an ugly love child together. I think the franchise needs to buck up more for the special effects. I also had to text Micahel several times to understand why there were multiple Doctors featured at the beginning of the episode, and why most are numbered but then there is a War Doctor. This can be a hard franchise to get into, as there are a lot of backstories to try to figure out. Luckily, Michael kept the episodes in the modern era, as there are hundreds to choose from since the franchise began in 1963. This two-parter had a good message, but I thought the ending was self-indulgent. It reminded me of Star Trek: Discovery which I feel tries too hard and is too preachy.

Blink (S3E10)

Photo credit- BBC’s Doctor Who

Michael: Always counted among the best episodes of Doctor Who in online polls and fan countdowns and critically acclaimed as one of the show’s best dramatic episodes, it introduces the Weeping Angels – creatures who have become as iconic as the Daleks and Cyberman (dating back to 1963 and ’65 respectively). Creatively, this episode sees the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) trapped in the 1960s while Sally Sparrow (Cary Mulligan (two years before she’d get her Oscar nomination for An Education (yes, pretty much every famous British person has been on this show)) serves as the main protagonist trying to solve the mystery unfolding around her.

Nancy: The Weeping Angels were awesomely creepy! The beginning actually threw me off, as it seemed to be a murder mystery vs a Doctor Who episode, In fact, the Tenth Doctor wasn’t in the episode much at all. I’m glad Micahel included this episode, for I have perceived the entire franchise to be on the campy side, but this was an excellent atmospheric stand-alone episode that introduced new deadly aliens. I’d love to shop at the Sparrow & Nightingale Bookstore!

Can You Hear Me? (S12E7)

Photo credit- BBC’s Doctor Who

Michael: As Kalie put it when she started watching the show, one of the best things about Doctor Who is (as corny as it may sound) it makes you proud to be human. Garnering high critical acclaim and positive fan responses as well for its depiction of mental illness and the importance of mental health care, this is one of those episodes. The Thirteenth Doctor leaves Yaz, Ryan, and Graham in Sheffield in 2020 for some “shore leave” as she travels to Aleppo, Syria in 1380. A mystery stretching from Aleppo to the present will pull them all to a space station orbiting a distant planet in the far future.

Nancy: This episode was meh for me. I expected more because Michael hyped it, but since I was just dipping in and out of the Doctor and companion’s lives, this didn’t resonate for me as it would for long-time fans who are invested in the characters. I thought the mental health angle was solid, and I did appreciate getting to know more about the companions, but the time jumping took me out of the narrative flow.

Vincent and the Doctor (S5E10)

Photo credit- BBC’s Doctor Who

Michael: This episode just makes you feel good. It has everything that makes Doctor Who great – history, space creatures, excitement, humor, and all kinds of heart. It is often held up, critically and by fans, as an example of how compassion-centric a sci-fi show Doctor Who is. So this is our feel-good note to end on. The Eleventh Doctor takes Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) to Auvers-sur-Oise, France, in 1890 to meet Vincent Van Gogh and it’s all so beautiful!

Nancy: Unrealistically, I wanted a happy ending for Van Gogh that included ginger babies with Amy (Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy)! I agree with Michael it was a beautiful episode, but the term I would also use is bittersweet- although they showed Van Gogh that his works would be considered masterpieces in the future, his demons still got the better of him, and he still had the sad ending. On a side note, I saw a very cool Van Gogh Immersive Exhibit in Chicago last year, so this episode was a neat connection for me as I had recently seen much of his work.

Michael:  I had twelve episodes that “almost” made the final cut!  Choosing which I’d assign you was so difficult!  But this was so much fun, too :D.  It was really special to share Doctor Who with you in this way – to give you a little sampling of a show I love so much while you shared a show you love so much with me.  I’m still unsure about leaving the Ninth Doctor off but his thirteen episodes feel like such a connected story to me.  But had I included any of his episodes it (probably) would’ve been either “The End of the World” (S1E2) or “Dalek” (S1E6).  I hope you had fun and enjoyed your time in the TARDIS, Nancy!  For anyone else interested in getting in Doctor Who, you can follow the course Nancy journeyed here or use this piece – “Should I Watch Doctor Who? / How to Begin Watching Doctor Who – I wrote a while back.

Nancy: So will I continue watching Doctor Who? Yes! I have already watched the last episode of Jodie’s Thirteenth Doctor and saw her regenerate into a surprisingly familiar face for the Fourteenth Doctor. The next episodes are a full year away (timed to coincide with the 60-year anniversary!) and I believe will only consist of a few episodes, before yet another regeneration occurs and we finally meet the actor who will be playing the Fifteenth Doctor in 2024. Watching these episodes has led to some nice communication with my quiet brother-in-law, as he texted me after the recent season ended to discuss the reveal. I had also sent him Michael’s list and he suggested a few others for me to watch, so I will try to watch those before I see Chris next. While I don’t see myself being a consistent watcher, I now feel confident in my background knowledge of Doctor Who to check out some future episodes, so this franchise swap experiment has been a success!

Star Trek Edition: The Great Fandom Swap

The following is a repost from Michael of My Comic Relief in regards to the fandom swap we recently worked on together!

Friendship is wonderful, isn’t it?  It can lead you to do all sorts of things you’d never do on your own.  I’d start listing examples but, c’mon, then we’d be off on a tangent (a beautiful, nourishing, and entertaining tangent to be sure!) which could fill pages.  Let’s cut to the chase!  My friendship with Nancy of Graphic Novelty2 – my oldest, longest, and dearest blogging friend – has led to an historic first.  I, Michael John Miller, author and operator of the blog My Comic Relief, am writing about Star Trek for the very first time.  You see, Nancy loves Star Trek and I’d never seen a single episode of Star Trek (only the JJ Abrams films).  I love Doctor Who and Nancy had only seen a few episodes in passing.  So, in the name of friendship, AMAZING THINGS, and blog content, we did our first ever Fandom Swap!  Eagerly sharing what we love with the other, Nancy chose eight episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (her favorite iteration of the show) for me to watch and I gave Nancy eight episodes of Doctor Who

What follows is a unique piece, a sort of dialogue.  You’ll see Nancy’s intro material leading me, a Star Trek newbie, into each episode, followed by my thoughts, feelings, and reactions to the episodes as well as my general feels on wading into the world of Star Trek for the first time.  Enjoy!

NancyStar Trek: The Next Generation ran for seven outstanding seasons, but I am starting off with an episode from S3, for truth be told most series take awhile to gain their footing and attract a fan base. 

Yesterday’s Enterprise S3E15

Photo Credit – Paramount’s Star Trek: The Next Generation

Nancy: This episode was the perfect “going back in time to right wrongs” episode.  It features Tasha Yar, a character from the first season who had been the first Head of Security in S1 and was killed in the line of duty.  IRL the actress wanted to leave the show (so foolish!) and was given a rather ignoble death scene, so this episode in S3 gives her a fitting end, plus I liked the subplot about the possible romance between her and Castillo.  It also ended up setting up another amazing twist storyline in future seasons.  Some background knowledge: The Enterprise NCC-1701-D  is the fourth Enterprise, under Captain Picard (A was Captain Kirk, B was Captain Harriman, C was Captain Garrett). 

Michael:  My very first thought as I began my very first episode?  “Is that Whoopi Goldberg???  It is!!!”  I had no idea she was on Star Trek!  The size of The Enterprise is something my mind kept sticking on.  I’m not used to “good guy” ships being so big/full.  In Star Wars, the Rebels’ ships are so much smaller than the Empire’s and in Doctor Who the TARDIS is infinite on the inside but it’s always just the Doctor and a few companions.  To think of this ship’s “ecosystem,” as it were, is staggering.  It’s so much more “polished” than the world of Doctor Who, where the Doctor is essentially a vagabond setting things right where they find things needing sorted.  I got lost

thinking on the Tasha/Castillo romance.  The idea of meeting someone, having that connection, and then knowing they have to go back into the past which will reset your timeline and make you forget ever even having met them??  That’s a heavy thing to wrap your mind around.

It’s not as jarring as I thought it’d be, jumping into the world of Star Trek for my very first time.  My most vivid connection to a character from this episode was Tasha then Picard (obvs.) and Data and Whoopie.

Sins of the Father S3E17

Photo Credit – Paramount’s Star Trek: The Next Generation

Nancy: Worf, Klingon Head of Security, defends his family’s honor and has to make a sacrifice.  This episode really showed Klingon society.  Worf has proved to be one of my favorite characters, and later very capably made the jump to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and helped anchor the series that was initially struggling before it hit its stride. 

Michael:  Worf is one of my most vivid Star Trek memories from my youth, seeing him in ads in my comics or on TV.  I always thought he was a villain (he kinda scared me) given the way he looked.  Since Klingons freaked me out as a kid, it was interesting to see an episode so focused on their culture.  They were as intense and violent as I would’ve expected but there was a surprising warmth and familial connection.  As I observed above, the very military nature of this show is so foreign to me.  I don’t normally watch or read things like this.  The hierarchy.  The routines.  The protocol.  It all fees so…strict.  I got a rush o’ feels when Worf asked Piccard to serve as his cha’DIch.  And when Picard replied in Klingon??  It felt surprisingly sweet for a show I was only on my second episode of.

The Best of Both Worlds S3E26 & S4E1 (two-parter)

Photo Credit – Paramount’s Star Trek: The Next Generation

Nancy: The Borg, cybernetic humanoids that assimilate individuals into their hive-mind, are introduced.  Captain Picard is captured and assimilated!  His time there would forever change him and would tie him to another character (Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager – which was Captain Janeway’s ship) who also was formerly a Borg, and the two co-star in the series Star Trek: Picard.  This was an excellent cliffhanger episode and really made me anxious for the start of S4.  In the years since, the Borg have become the Big Baddies of the franchise, and are over-used TBH. 

Michael:  What came to mind whenever I thought of Star Trek as a kid, before ever seeing an episode, was their color coded uniforms, the shape of the Enterprise, Picard, the Klingons, and the Borg.  So to see the introduction of the Borg was exciting!  The Borg gave me major Cybermen vibes – a cyborg species seeking to assimilate everything and operating through a hive mind.  So this was kinda cool :).  This threat felt familiar.  It makes me wish I gave you an episode of Doctor Who with the Cybermen in it!  I get your anxiety over the summer, too.  My notes at the end of Part One literally said, “That’s where they did the ‘To Be Continued…’ cutoff??  How did people wait all summer to see the next one?!?

This episode was the first time through this I felt really invested in the story.  Like I was on the edge of my seat watching!  I also keep thinking of how often I saw the Borg, the assimilated Picard, and their big ol’ cube ship in my comic ads as a kid.  So much of my sense of Star Trek comes from those ads.  Going into the second episode, even though I knew Picard would be ok (somehow), I still felt a pit in my stomach as Ryker takes charge and Guinan gives him his li’l pep talk to do so.  My notes for the end of Part Two, “What was with that ending??  Was it just a sobering reflective moment or are they still in his head someway??”

The Inner Light S5E25

Photo Credit – Paramount’s Star Trek: The Next Generation

Nancy: Probably my favorite TNG episode ever!  Picard is always so stoic, but here he gets to raise a family and the ending will gut you.  The flute…tears!!!  It makes you wonder how long you yourself would fight against knowing you were in the wrong era/world and give in and live the best life you could under the new circumstances.

Michael: Knowing this is your favorite TNG episode ever had me really excited to see it!  I can see why you like it (and I don’t even have the emotional connection to the series/characters that you do!) and it did give me a lot to think about!  Waking up in a world I know is wrong but everyone else says is correct would be so overwhelming!  I presume I’d spend a lot of time crying and ultimately find myself committed.  Even if I had another family and natural supports, I’d be haunted by what I knew was right and what I knew I’d lost.  Could I go to bed with a women I just met who was certain we were married?  When would I commit to an illusion?  When would I accept it as “real”?

I figured out the twist when Picard and Batai were talking about the planet being doomed but that didn’t make it any less emptional.  What a beautiful reflection on the power and purpose of history!  History, when done right, should pull us into a people and we should come to love them – their life, their culture, their ways, their world – just as we do our own family.  But history often fails.  Though when it doesn’t, well it can forever change our lives as it did for Picard.  The flute scene at the end, while I was expecting something like it, was so poignant!  This was an episode!  I see why you love it so much!  On the one hand, my gut reaction was it was kind of a dick move on those people’s part, to hijack a consciousness to share their story with the world.  But as soon as I thought about it for a few moments I realized…what else is the point and purpose of history?  Yes, it’s hard but it should be.  WOW.

I, Borg S5E23

Photo Credit – Paramount’s Star Trek: The Next Generation

Nancy: An injured Borg drone is captured and Picard has to decide if he will use him as a weapon against the Borg, who have become a huge threat to the Federation.  What happens when this former Borg begins to demonstrate free will? 

Michael:  Seeking out an area “for colonization” carries a different connotation in our age of growing awareness of the horrors of empire.  Dr. Crusher’s immediate compassion for the wounded Borg boy was welcome, especially after their last encounter.  I really like her character for that :).  Picard plotting a potential Borg genocide with Data is not unsurprising (heck, Star Wars adores genocide) but it still makes me sad.  The whole military-centric drive of the show, in fact, is something that has yet to feel like it “fits comfortably” for me.  I love how the more Geordi gets to know Hugh, the more uncomfortable he feels with the program he’s designing.  Conversation breeds connection and connection breeds communion.  The last episode tugged on the ol’ heartstrings but watching Hugh voluntarily go back to the Borg to protect Geordi from their pursuit hit hard.  I just wanted them to save Hugh!  Why couldn’t they take him with them??  Why didn’t he become part of the crew??  Siiiiigh.

The First Duty S5E19

Photo Credit – Paramount’s Star Trek: The Next Generation

Nancy: Wesley Crusher, the doctor’s son who had been a regular in the first few seasons but had left the Enterprise to attend Starfleet Academy, is back in this episode and he is in trouble.  He and some other cadet pilots made a stupid decision while flying and a crewmate died.  This isn’t truly one of my very top episodes, but it ties in nicely with the next episode I am having you watch.  Aside – the actor playing Nick Locarno would later be recast and play Tom Paris in Star Trek: Voyager.  For legal reasons, he couldn’t be the same character in two different series. 

Michael: “Captain’s Log: Stardate…”  “Space – the final frontier.  These are the voyages of the starship, Enterprise.  It’s continuing mission, to seek out new life, to explore new star systems, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”  “Resistance is Futile.”  It’s so cool to finally be experiencing these classic lines for myself as part of their narrative rather than just hearing them as an oft quoted piece of pop culture!  Picard told Wesley the duty of every Star Fleet officer is to the truth – scientific, historical, and personal truth.  I really like this frame of what they do.  And I got to see future Earth – future San Diego, it looks like – for the first time!

Lower Decks S7E15

Photo Credit – Paramount’s Star Trek: The Next Generation

Nancy: We get a look at the younger crew members of the ship, and one of them is from the episode The First Duty.  This gives us a different perspective of the ship, seen from the crew who are part of the “lower decks.”  This premise is the basis for the new series Star Trek: Lower Decks, which is a cartoon, but ties in with the entire franchise.  A very bittersweet ending, but realistic that sometimes captains need to make decisions that they know could hurt or kill their crew, but is for the greater good.  

Michael:  In some ways this episode reminds me of Scrubs S9, with it’s focus on the ensigns on the ship and their concern about their careers and promotions and coming up in Star Fleet.  I was really happy to see Sito back from the last episode.  I like her.  Watching her talk with Picard in the wake of what happened at the Academy was hard.  We’ve all been haunted by mistakes but how do you come back from something like that.  Do you?  Can you?  I like how this episode explored that.  I love how often they hang out in the bar/restaurant on the Enterprise.  I like the overlay of senior officers and the ensigns playing poker – regular poker on a regular poker table

with regular cards – and chatting, too.  It gave a strong sense of continuity between those on the Enterprise and us.  It felt more like our possible future, you know?  Ok, so here are my literal stream on consciousness notes:

“If Sito dies in this episode…I’ve not seen enough Star Trek to learn their narrative rhythm yet but it seems like this could be setting her up for a tragic ending.  I am rooting for her!  I really like her as a character!  She can’t die here!  If I lose Sito after the flute scene and losing Hugh, I am gonna be in a rough place!  I am not comfortable with this whole hostage ruse/escape pod pickup scenario.  I am not liking this one bit!”

What a heartbreaking way to end.  I mean, it makes sense.  It is bittersweet, as you said.  And it certainly leaves me awash in my own emotions around the crew of the Enterprise.  Part of me is surprised I became so connected to these characters in just eight episodes – and Sito who was only in two of them! – but part of me isn’t.  I’m an empath by nature and I’m easily pulled into a well written story.  Also, Star Trek has been popular for sixty years precisely because it pulls people in like this.

Nancy: I hope you enjoyed your window into my beloved franchise, and if I had another episode I would recommend the last episode of the series, All Good Things, which wraps up the series nicely.  It had a perfect ending scene with all the main characters.  While of course Star Trek: The Original Series is the granddaddy of the entire Star Trek universe, I believe you can truthfully say it was Star Trek: TNG that revitalized the franchise, and all series that came afterward are truly based on TNG.  For anyone interested in getting into Star Trek for the first time, of course, I recommend TNG, but the new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is absolutely fantastic and will make a Trekkie out of you yet!  In the meantime, Live Long and Prosper!

Michael:  I did enjoy this!  In fact, I enjoyed it so much by the start of “The First Duty,” I began to consider watching Star Trek on my own, making it another big series I explore alongside Classic Doctor Who.  This is HUGE as I feel I never have time for the TV people tell me I “should” be watching (in fact, I just wrote about my reluctance to jump into new TV shows here).  But I was open to – even eager – to explore more of the Star Trek universe on my own.  The main reason I haven’t yet was I wasn’t sure if we’ll make this Fandom Swap an annual thing we return to so I held off ;D.  But I’m SO GLAD we did this!  And I’m really happy you chose TNG for me to begin with as almost all the Star Trek memories I have from my youth are about TNG.  Now I finally got to see it for myself!

I chose to end with this picture as a) I mentioned above how much I enjoy the characters regularly hanging out at this bar on the Enterprise, b) Worf is one of Nancy’s favorite characters, and c) my heart still hurts for poor Sito! / Photo Credit – Paramount’s Star Trek: The Next Generation

Nancy: Stay tuned for my piece on Doctor Who next week!!!!!

Star Trek Strange New Worlds: Season One

I adore Strange New Worlds! While I have been disappointed with recent Star Trek shows (I hate Discovery and Picard was only been ok) this newest series hit it out of the park. I shared in a previous post that I feel the episodic storytelling serves it well- while of course there is continuity over the episodes, the self-contained episodes have been working to SNW‘s advantage.

Strange New Worlds

The first episode lays down some background for Captain Pike, establishing his knowledge of what he knows will befall him, and his affable nature as the first captain of the USS Enterprise. When his second-in-command, Una goes missing on a planet during a first-contact mission, Pike needs to work around Starfleet rules when he realizes the planet’s government has recreated some technology and possibly will use it as a weapon. This protocol breach results in the Prime Directive.

Children of the Comet

A comet is headed towards an inhabited planet, and when trying to course correct it, the Enterprise is blocked by a group of zealots who tie the comet’s journey into religious significance. Of course, the crew figures out how to modify its trajectory, and realizes that the comet is some sort of living entity. We have some lighter moments of seeing Pike host crew dinners in his personal quarters and viewers get to know some background on Cadet Uhura and find out the pilot Ortega is quite the jokester.

Ghosts of Illyria

A colony of Illyrians, who have been kicked out of the Federation due to genetic engineering, have disappeared and the Enterprise crew tries to find them. We learn a secret about Una in this episode, plus that the widowed Dr. M’Benga has been keeping his terminally sick daughter in stasis while he tries to find a cure for her.

Memento Mori

While bringing an air filter to a space colony, the Enterprise crew finds out that many of the colonists are dead due to a Gorn attack. Security chief La’an Noonien-Singh recognizes the threat since she is a childhood survivor of a Gorn massacre. (Aside- In TOS Kirk fought off a Gorn in a ridiculous wrestling match, and the actor in a reptile suit was comical looking, even by 1960s standards).

Spock Amok

The crew is given shore leave, and Spock plans to reconnect with his fiancee T’Pring, but is called away for a mission. There is some levity, with Spock and T’Pring accidentally changing minds for a time, and the serious Una and La’an trying to understand a bingo game that new crew members play. Spock and T’Pring show some serious chemistry (to Nurse Chapel’s disappointment), so I wonder how they will handle the relationship in SNW, as in TOS the engagement ends.

Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach

This was a heartbreaking episode, as the crew meet a child who is doomed to be a sacrifice so his people can live in paradise. Pike is horrified that the child will endure years of pain, and tries to thwart the ceremony to no avail.

The Serene Squall

A space pirate captain fools the Enterprise crew for awhile, but then reveals her true motive- she demands her lover, who is being held by the Vulcan government be released. It is revealed in the last moments that the prisoner is Sybok, Spock’s half-brother, who was infamously in the movie Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (directed poorly by William Shatner). This movie has been derided for years, but hey, SNW is leaning into it.

The Elysian Kingdom

I loved this fun high fantasy episode! When surveying a nebula, the crew is knocked out and wake up dressed as fairytale characters. Only Chief Engineer Hemmer, who is a telepath, realizes that the nebula has a consciousness and is trying to entertain the doctor’s daughter. Later the doctor is given a heartbreaking decision, as the nebula can cure his daughter but she will have to remain behind. But the nebula is kind and will give her a good life, and the doctor can come back and visit her in the future. You can tell the actors had fun with these roles- they got to act against type and go full-out camp. See the below YouTube video for a fun preview of the episode.

All Those Who Wander

The Gorn are back! The crew beams to an ice planet to try to save the survivors there, but one of the main characters of this season becomes infected and they bravely sacrifice themselves so others can live. This death took me by surprise, and I was saddened to realize this character won’t be in S2.

A Quality of Mercy

Pike’s vision of his future death tie into this episode, as Pike thinks if he changes a few choices he can prevent his death, but a future Pike comes back to warn him that those changes set off an even worse chain of events. Despite this sobering news, Pike remains optimistic as he knows his sacrifice will be for the greater good. We also are given a surprise cameo of the future Captain Kirk played by Paul Wesley (famous for his role Stefen in The Vampire Diaries) and I like the casting. But in the last minute, a cliffhanger is established when the Federation shows up to arrest a member of Pike’s crew.

I really believe the producers and writers of Star Trek really took fans’ concerns to heart in this new series. The tone is much lighter, similar to the iconic original series that started this entire franchise. While they still tackle big issues, we aren’t burdened with overly long and dark story arcs. I like all the main roles, and I personally find Pike incredibly dreamy. SNW is everything I hoped it would be, and I speak for many when I say that this series is exactly what the franchise needed. In the meantime- live long and prosper!

Star Trek Picard: Season Two

As I said in my synopsis of S1 of Picard: While I had been fond of Star Trek (TOS) from watching re-runs, it was Star Trek: The Next Generation that cemented my love for the franchise. I have watched every episode of the seven-season series (many multiple times) and the four movies afterward. I was also a big fan of Voyager, DS9 and the Kelvin timeline movies but didn’t care for Enterprise and have found the recent Discovery unwatchable; so when I heard that there would be a new series about TNG’s iconic Captain Picard, I was in! Plus, I was thrilled that my husband would watch the series with me, for while he was a fan of TNG and DS9, he hasn’t watched any newer series with me, until now.

Overall, I was pleased with S1 which was set in 2399 and showcased the retired Ambassador, who had left Starfleet in disgust after they backed out on their promise to help the Romulan population escape a planet-destroying catastrophe, as he covertly worked with some “synths” (like his former crewmate and friend Data). Picard works with a new crew but a highlight was Picard working with Riker and Troi from TNG, who are now married parents, but I missed the original crew.

Set two years later in 2401, this time the premise is that the alien Q traps Picard and many of the S1 crew in an alternate reality, and they must travel back in time to the 21st century to save the future of the galaxy. First off, I have to say- I have always hated Q. That the entire second season revolves around his whims, already set me on edge. While they brought everyone back from S1, a few characters’ roles were reduced, which was fine with me, as I hadn’t really jelled with everyone.

Having Star Trek episodes set in our era is an easy way for producers to save money on sets and costumes, but is overused, paling in comparison to when TOS utilized it in the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In fact, there is an awesome Easter egg that connects that movie to this series (hint-they both take plus on a bus) that had me so excited that I rewound it a few times to enjoy it again. There is also a connection to TNG when we meet a younger Guinan before she and Picard meet officially in the future. One other character falls in love with a doctor, and predictably but implausibly chooses to remain behind with her once the mission is over. The Borg Queen is merged with someone else, making them less evil, but TBH, I’m a bit confused if that changes the future. Finally, we are given a surprise (and kinda weird) cameo by Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher, with the show doubling down on him remaining a Traveler (even though he didn’t seem to be one when he returned for Riker & Troi’s wedding in the movie Star Trek: Nemesis).

All in all, this was a mediocre and uneven season. But then I found out they are bringing back the original TNG crew in season three!!!! Forget about everything else- we will see Worf, Geordi, Crusher, Riker, and Troi again. So while I eagerly await the third and final season of Picard, I wish that you may live long and prosper!

Sorry Picard crew, I want the TNG crew back!

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

It has been 40 years since the second Star Trek film, The Wrath of Khan, was released in the theatres. This now classic film saved the franchise, as the first movie had been rather underwhelming. When my oldest son told me that Fathom Events was sponsoring the movie for a week in the theatres and wanted to know if I’d like to go, I was ALL IN! While Star Wars has been an easy sell to my children, and all three are fans of that franchise, sadly, none (until now) have shown any interest in the Star Trek universe.

In preparation for watching the movie, we first watched the episode Space Seed (1967) which was one of the last episodes of season one of TOS. My God- was it equal parts awesome and cringy! The Enterprise crew come upon an old spaceship of 1990s origin, a time referred to as WWIII and the Eugenics War, thus records were spotty during that era. The ship is named Botany Bay, in reference to the penal colony of Australia from the late 1700s to the early 1800s. Kirk, Spock, Scotty and ship historian McGivers beam down and find 70+ people in deep hypersleep. The first to revive was no other than Khan Noonoen Singh, a genetically enhanced human who ruled much of Earth in the 1990s. McGiver is much taken by him, attracted to his charisma, and the feeling is mutual. As the rest of his followers awaken, he convinces McGivers to help him overthrow the Enterprise, in a disturbing masochistic scene. Of course, they don’t succeed, and in a surprising move, Kirk offers them sanctuary on a nearby uninhabited planet, with McGivers very willingly choosing to go with Khan. In the last lines of the episode, Spock and Kirk ponder what their society will be like 100 years from now.

Flash forward fifteen years, and Kirk has now been promoted to Admiral but a recent birthday makes him feel old and out-of-touch. Spock and Scotty are training a new batch of recruits on the Enterprise while it is docked, and Kirk, Bones, Uhura and Sulu head to the ship together for a tour. In the meantime, Chekov, who is now a first officer on another ship, and his captain encounter Khan and his remaining crew on the now desolate desert planet, that was knocked off orbit six months after they arrived. Khan’s wife and many of his followers are dead and he wants vengeance! This all ties in with a group of scientists who are developing the Genesis device, that alters dead matter into new life. Khan is able to use Chekov’s ship to capture the Genesis tool and they go into battle with Kirk and his ship of young and untested crew members. While Khan has the chance to escape with his followers with an incredible cargo, instead he is a revenge-obsessed megalomaniac, who is determined to make Kirk pay. An epic battle and a devastating sacrifice are made, while these two men helm their ships in a game of cat and mouse.

While I had seen both the original episode and the movie years ago, it was obviously the first time for both for my son. He laughed at the sexism (both unintentional and intentional) found in Space Seed, but he was impressed with the movie and now wants to watch the fourth movie, The Voyage Home (the one with the whales!) with me in the future. As with books and movies you revisit years later, you pick up on new things that you didn’t notice or had forgotten about. Why was Khan now so old, yet his followers were so young? I was glad that my son also noticed the glaring inconsistency with Chevok (which the actor later admitted knowing about, but he didn’t want to ruin his chance for a juicy scene) but I was truly bothered by the lack of character development that was given to Uhura and Sulu. In light of Nichelle Nichol’s recent death, it made me angry to see how little they gave her and some of the other characters to do in these movies. I still cried at Spock’s sacrifice and admired the brio Ricardo Montalban brought to the role of Khan.

This was a fun experience to share with my son, and reminded me why I became a fan of Star Trek so many years ago. Live long and prosper, my friends!

This much-parodied line is the best!

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

I LOVE Strange New Worlds! I now consider it one of the best Star Trek shows, giving my beloved The Next Generation a run for its money.

I have to admit I have been disappointed with Trek for many years now- although I will always be a die-hard Trekkie. As a child, I watched re-run TOS episodes and watched all of the original movies, but it wasn’t until college that I became a true fan because of TNG and Captain Picard’s tenure. I also adored Captain Sisko’s DS9 and Captain Janeway’s Voyager series. However, I was disappointed with Captain Archer’s Enterprise, which I considered not up to par and not Trekkie enough, but now it has moved far up in my estimation due to my extreme dislike for Discovery. The new Picard series has been good but doesn’t have the same appeal as TNG (but the original crew will be back for S3!).

Many Star Trek fans have been very critical of Discovery and accused it of being too “woke”, and for awhile I tried my best to embrace the show, but eventually I gave up early into its third season. The main character Michael Burnham was much too much for me, it had long convoluted storylines, and it kept on introducing new characters and ignoring its bridge crew. The only bright spot was the second season was when Captain Pike, who was Captain Kirk’s predecessor, came aboard to help the USS Discovery crew. He brought along a young Spock who had a ridiculous plot line with Burnham, and these two plus Pike’s second-in-command Una became fan favorites.

These three hit it out of the park on Discovery and are anchoring SNW!

Anson Mount has done an admirable job of playing Captain Christopher Pike, a role originated by Jeffrey Hunter in the 1960s. Hunter shot the original pilot for Star Trek, but tv execs wanted to re-tool the concept, and Hunter was let go and replaced by William Shatner who played Captain Kirk. Only the character Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy, was kept, and eventually, the footage of the first pilot was brilliantly worked into the episode The Menagerie linking Spock and the two captains of the Enterprise. That episode establishes that Pike will have a terrible accident and he will become disfigured and live his final years on an alien planet. Strange New Worlds is a prequel, as was Discovery for the first two years (before they jettisoned into the far future-gah!), so the specter of the accident hangs over the dashing Pike who has had a vision of his fate.

The original pilot, in addition to Captain Pike and Spock, featured Pike’s second in command Una Chin-Riley whom he typically called Number One. She was played by creator Gene Roddenberry’s soon-to-be IRL wife, Majel Barrett, who later played Nurse Chapel on TOS and Counselor Troi’s mother on TNG. Plus, we have more familiar characters- Doctor M’Benga who served under both Pike and Kirk, Nurse Chapel (which is funny because Majel Barrett played both her and Una), La’an Noonien-Singh who is a descendent of the famous Khan from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan movie, Spock’s fiancee T’Pring, and best of all a young Nyota Uhura. Then there are a few new characters such as the brash pilot Ortegas, and the gruff blind engineer Hemmer.

This season had ten episodes, which nowadays is considered a full season, and every single one was excellent. The first episode laid down some background for Captain Pike, establishing his knowledge of what he knows will befall him, and his affable nature as the first captain of the USS Enterprise. We meet all the characters I mentioned in the above paragraph, and as the season progresses we get to know every single one of them. What I found a problem on TOS and on Discovery (but not so much on TNG, DS9, Voyager or Enterprise) is that some people fade into the background and they concentrate too much on only a handful of the main characters. Of course, a series can’t always be equal, and some characters will naturally get the main storylines, but they seem to be really trying to flesh out all of these characters and also a few others on the ship.

The episodic storytelling is going well- while of course there is continuity over the episodes, the self-contained episodes have been working to SNW‘s advantage. They have been able to have episodes that center on certain characters, and have some dark storylines but also have some comedic moments, with one episode going full-out fantasy. In fact, I will have a future post just centering on the episodes!

All in all, this new series has hit the sweet spot for me and many other Star Trek fans. I look forward to season two and picking up the threads that were left in the finale. In the meantime- live long and prosper my friends!

Fiction’s Fearless Females: Star Trek’s Beverly Crusher & Deanna Troi

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, I am concluding our Fiction’s Fearless Females series with two Star Trek friends, Doctor Beverly Crusher and Counselor Deanna Troi. This is the fourth year that Kathleen and I have participated in this series and joining us is Michael of My Comic Relief, Kalie of Just Dread-full, and Jeff of The Imperial Talker.  What is wonderful about this series, is there are no winners, as each woman featured is fabulous and ALL are deserving of praise!

Star Trek is my favorite fandom, as many of the posts on my blog revolve around the movies, television and web series that have been inspired by the original classic. While some of my previous posts were about the iconic Lieutenant Nyota Uhura and the indomitable Captain Janeway, here I picked a duo who were on the series The Next Generation, which is the series that forever cemented me as a Trekkie. Many of our FFF posts this year have centered around female friendships, so these two women aboard the Enterprise-D came immediately to mind.

The Next Generation was the first Star Trek to feature a brand new crew (there had been Star Trek: The Animated Series in the 70s and there had been the movies, but both utilized the original crew) so establishing a new set of characters is a fraught move, as you want everyone to work well together. And while I could wax poetic about my favorite Trek show’s crew, I want to feature the two characters that ended up standing out to me.

Hanging out when off duty

Authentic female friendship representation in books, tv shows and movies is scarce. Perhaps you have heard of the Bechdel Test, which is a measure of the representation of women in fiction. It asks whether a work features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. So often the only time you see females interact is because it somehow revolves around a man, or the women are being snarky and undermining one another. I think there is more effort nowadays to represent female friendships, but when this show was on the air from 1987 to 1994 it was still rare.

Doctor Beverly Crusher was introduced as the ship’s doctor, a widowed mother whose teenage son Wesley later became an ensign on the ship. Counselor Deanna Troi was a half-alien empath who gave counsel to Captain Picard and offered much-needed counseling to the crew during their long space journies. The first season was a bit dicey, establishing the tone of the show and fleshing out the characters and how they related to one another. The character of the doctor was off the ship during the second season, but once back on during the third season and onward, Crusher and Troi’s friendship developed in a believable manner.

At this time IRL, I was in high school and college and developing my own female friendships, some of which were fleeting, while others I still have to this day. I have seen females support one another, and others backstab one another, but in this ideal, Crusher and Troi rocked their friendship. Sure there were times that they met to talk about men (the below picture of them meeting to exercise showcased a bawdy conversation between the two that was refreshing to hear) but talking freely and without judgment is a true indicator of the realness of a friendship.

Meeting to exercise and gossip

Another plus with these women is their development in their professional life on the Enterprise. The actresses were hired partly because of their beauty and their potential to be love interests (Crusher with Captain Picard and Troi with Commander Riker) but they were able to grow as officers on the ship. Both characters retained their original jobs, but got command experience and moved up in ranks during their tenure on the Enterprise. And they supported each other as they moved through the ranks.

I have been blessed with some wonderful friendships, many of them lasting for decades, and I realize that it takes time and effort to maintain them. But I truly think watching women who developed a genuine friendship and who supported one another, during a critical time in my life, helped shape my ideas of the worthiness of prioritizing friendships and extending kindness to others.

Crusher was at Troi’s side when she married Riker

Star Trek presents an idealistic and Utopian future, with Earth moving past its racial and cultural differences, and ready to explore space. The tagline was “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!”.  And boldly go it did- the series has given us many iconic friendships (both male and female)- and seeing people look for connections and community in the future is something we can all aspire to.

Live Long and Prosper, my friends.


My post is the last in this year’s series, so make sure you check out the previous entries:

Michael of My Comic Relief- Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy

Kalie of Just Dread-Full- Ellie and Sandie from Last Night in Soho

Kathleen- Black Canary/Birds of Prey

Jeff of The Imperial Talker- Shmi Skywalker

Please give them a follow to catch their posts as all have great content outside of #FFF!

TV series + four movies together!

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