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.
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).
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!
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.
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!
In celebration of Women’s History Month and for my entry in this year’s Fiction’s Fearless Females series, I am choosing Star Trek’s original fearless female – the one and only Lieutenant Nyota Uhura! This is the third year that Kathleen and I have participated in this series and joining us is Michael of My Comic Relief, Jesse of the newly revived Green Onion, Kalie of Just Dread-full, and Jeff of The Imperial Talker. Please give them a follow to catch their posts (all have great content outside of #FFF), or look out for them here, throughout the month.
My first entry in this series was the brilliant Captain Janeway of the Star Trek Voyager series and my second was the ever-vigilant Sarah Connor of the Terminator movies. For my third entry, I circled back to Star Trek and choose Uhura, for all strong female Star Trek characters owe a debt of gratitude to her. Beautiful, smart, ambitious, and an equal to the men – she is the original Star Trek role model. Even Uhura’s name has important meaning – Nyota means star in Lingala, a language from the Democratic Republic of Congo, while Uhura is the Swahili word for freedom.
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. The series was conceived by Gene Roddenberry to present an optimistic view of life in the future and show a diverse crew, thus actress Nichelle Nichols was cast as a 23rd-century Starfleet officer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise and she served as a communications officer. The crew’s mission was “to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Fluent in a myriad of languages, human and alien, not only was she head of the communications department but she was an excellent bridge officer, as she could additionally work the helm, navigation, and science stations as needed.
The show debuted in 1966 and was groundbreaking because of its disparate cast, and Uhura’s role as a professional Black woman was a rarity on television, as they were usually relegated to portraying characters with menial jobs. Now I am going to take a brief detour here and mention that IRL Nichelle Nichols was not only an actress, she was a singer and was hoping for some Broadway success, so she briefly considered leaving Star Trek to pursue other creative opportunities. She told creator and producer Roddenberry that she wanted to leave, but before she made her final decision she attended a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) luncheon and was introduced to Martin Luther King Jr. He wanted to meet her and express his admiration for her, as Star Trek was one the only shows he let his children watch, as Uhura was an example he held up to them, as what could be achieved in the future. Shocked and thrilled by his words, she stayed with the show, and the rest is history. For an exaggerated but hysterical reenactment of this incident, watch the Drunk History video – Nichelle Nichols Lives Boldly – at the end of this post!
Another pioneering moment in the Star Trek franchise was the first interracial kiss shown on US television between a Black woman and a white man that involved Uhura and Captain Kirk. Lore has it that producers were worried that the kiss would run up against Southern censors so they were supposed to film two versions – one with a kiss and one without. But Nichols and co-star William Shatner deliberately messed up the without-a-kiss scene, so that the kiss scene would have to be used. That indeed was a fearless move, for everyone involved knew that interracial relationships were taboo and in some places against the law at that time.
The Enterprise’s five-year mission proved to be only three, but Uhura’s story did not end there. A few years later in 1973 Star Trek: The Animated Series gave the crew another year on the ship (and this animated series gave her some surprisingly good plotlines), and in 1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture premiered in the theatres. Uhura would play an integral part in the six theatre movies that spanned twelve years. While Kirk, Spock and Bones always got the lion’s share of character development; Uhura, Sulu, Scotty and Chekov were shown as moving up in rank and with key moments hinging on their assistance. In fact, Uhura continued to be an influential character, as she was shown as a mature woman who was lovely, capable, professional and didn’t need a man to fulfill her life. She put her career first, and the universe was better for it, as she is now ranked as a Commander (and Admiral in some non-canon books and movies) in Starfleet.
Star Trek presents an idealistic and Utopian future, with the Earth moving past its racial and cultural differences, and ready to explore space. Its opening line, “Space, the final frontier…” proved prophetic, as I must once again mention Uhura’s real-life counterpart Nichols, as she became a space ambassador for NASA from 1977-2015 and helped recruit diverse astronauts, including women and minorities such as Mae Jemison. Uhura and Nichols have merged into one incredible icon – who is fine, fierce, and fearless!
As I wrap up this post, I now pass the baton to Kalie who is planning to write about Norma Bates from the Bates Hotel (of Psycho fame). Bringing us home will be Jeff with a post on Nomi Sunrider from Star Wars Legends. Please check in weekly as this series unfolds.
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? 😉
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!
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 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.
Star Trek Continues is a homage to Star Trek TOS, and this web series’s ninth episode is the best yet! This episode was so very true to TOS, that it was eerie. While past installments have been an accurate recreation of the first series, this episode felt like it truly belonged in the canon of the original series.
The opening scene begins with some light hearted banter between the senior staff, with some expository dialogue to set up the scenario of sending the ship to a planet to help a never before contacted society.
The big three beam down, and are surprised that the world is only in shades of black and white- there is no color. They are soon greeted by two political ambassadors, one of whom is the guest star John de Lancie, who famously played the alien Q in the TNG, DS9 & Voyager series. The married ambassadors share that their Hyalini civilization is in peril, thus their distress call to the Federation. A radiation disease is killing off the population, one of the symptoms being that generations of the planet’s inhabitants have been color blind.
Doctor McCoy needs to take one of the Hyalini to the Enterprise so he can study the radiation poisoning and find a cure for it. Kirk is pleased that it is Sekara, a beautiful woman who is close friends with the ambassadors. After beaming up, with her sun’s radiation no longer affecting her, she is shocked to discover color. Initially overwhelmed by this, purple haired Sekara soon adjusts and she and Kirk manage to find some sexy time in his quarters.
During this time another alien race, the Ambicians, are discovered trying to land on the Hyalini home planet. Kirk and his crew are shocked that the seemingly peaceful Hyalini shoot at the Ambicians, and that they profess such hatred for them. Further research into the matter shows that many Ambicians have actually settled on the planet, but have been able to escape detection for their purple hair and different skin tone have not been noticed by the color blind inhabitants. Wait…doesn’t Sekura who is Hyalini have purple hair? What???
Kirk lets Sekura know the truth and she is horrified- what will her former friends and loved ones think of her once the medicine cures everyone of their radiation poisoning and color blindness? She shares her fear, “Their eyes will change but their hearts may not.” Kirk and Spock beam down to speak again the ambassadors and political council, and Kirk confronts them on their prejudices.
The obvious parallels with this story is our current political climate and issues we face with immigration. Star Trek has always been at it’s best when episodes make us confront our moral, racial and political bias. The dialogue between the Captain and Ambassador Galisti is poignant, and both make valid points. However, Kirk’s arguments are the better of the two, with Galisti echoing some uncomfortable rhetoric we have heard out of President Trump’s speeches. Ultimately Galisti discovers the truth about Sekura and his beloved wife, and he and the other Hyalini are faced with a moral dilemma. The Enterprise has given this civilization the tools they need, now it is up to them to face an uncertain future and try to broker a peace between the two races.
In my previous posts, that cover Episodes 1-6 and then 7-8, I complain that Uhura, Sulu, Scotty & Chekov get minimal screen time, and AGAIN, this was the case. I am including some pictures of Kim Stringer who wonderfully plays Uhura, just because I think she deserves it. Love her! What could have been a perfect episode, was marred by this continued omission.
In conclusion, I was (mostly) thrilled with this episode. It saddens me to realize that just as this web-series is at it’s strongest, it only has two more episodes before they are done for good, as to avoid any conflicts of interest with CBS and the upcoming Star Trek Discovery. I look forward to the remaining two episodes and hope that they are as strong as this one.
Live long and prosper.
*The featured top picture is made by Star Trek fan and amazing artist, Gaz Williams.
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.
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.
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 that 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, and 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.
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.
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 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.
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!