Showing posts with label trek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trek. Show all posts

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Happy 30th Anniversary to "Star Trek: The Next Generation"


Happy 30th Anniversary to Star Trek: The Next Generation!

First of all, I wasn't looking forward to a reboot of Star Trek when this show aired.  I sort of thought of Star Trek as Kirk and his pals cruising around space in their cool car, getting into scrapes.  This was not going to be that. 

Boy howdy, do I remember being 12 and showing up at school the next day and me and my fellow nerd friends standing around trying to make heads or tails of what we'd just watched.  We knew we liked Data, Riker, Tasha Yar and Geordi.  But what was up with that kid?  And why wasn't the Klingon phasering and stabbing everything in sight?  And, of course, the notion of Counselor Troi was a lot for a 12 year old to get their head around.  And why was the Captain not a brash, emotional young man?  He seemed so old...  (he was, of course, only about 47, just a few years older than I am now). 

But eventually I got sucked in, and by the time I got to college, one of the few posters I brought with me for my dorm room wall was a poster-sized portrait of Captain Picard that I woke up to every morning. 

Mostly I watched the show in nightly reruns in syndication, catching them out of order in a way that TV could never withstand today.  And, since I was living with other people during college, if I didn't catch a reference to something from a prior episode or Star Trek mythology, often someone could fill in a gap who had seen those episodes. 

Man, we *all* watched this show back then.  Where watching the original series still carried the whiff of nerdiness to it, the seeming omnipresence of ST:TNG made it kind of okay, and while not everyone was super into the mythology, people mostly knew who the cast were and whatnot.

The show can be intensely uneven, everyone has things they like about it and things they don't just because of the sheer sprawl of the cast and show (I have mixed feelings about the holodeck stuff).  But the good outweighed the bad to a massive degree. 

I can intellectualize issues with the show, and while I continue to watch the show from time to time, I've never returned to it in any systematic way.  Mostly I'll catch an episode or two on BBC or streaming.  But, yeah, I still enjoy it quite a bit, even if its a clunker of an episode (but what do you want?  They had around 180 episodes.  Not everything is going to be gold.). 

The show underwent a lot of changes over the years, with cast coming and going, plot threads and characters continuing, growing, changing, revealing themselves in episodic bits.  The Trek universe expanded into new edges of the universe and contracted (lots of guest appearances by TOS cast members). 

Some of you may have enjoyed Star Trek: The Experience in Vegas, and if you did not, I'm very sorry.  But in addition to a recreation of Quark's from DS9, the experience also included a recreation of the bridge of the NCC-1701D, down to the last detail.  And not a person who found themself on that bridge did get something of a shiver.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Pleasure and Pain of a New Star Trek Series



I am going to be blunt with you people.

Since late college, I've liked Star Trek more in theory than in practice.  The last Star Trek movie I remember enjoying on its own merits was The Undiscovered Country, and possibly First Contact.

Admittedly, my exposure to Deep Space 9 was deeply hampered by the fact it ran while I was in college in the 90's (and often cash-poor) so I had a lack of things like:  television, cable, free time and Saturday afternoons, which is when I think the show aired in Austin.  Voyager I tried on, but literally disliked everyone but Janeway - and a recent attempt to watch the series again bore that out.  An attempt to watch Enterprise was hampered by a terrible theme song, pandering cat-suited Vulcans and a fairly bland kick-off that I never got into.  But I liked Captain Archer, so, I dunno.  By the time I looped back to try and watch it ("it got good!" people told me), it was canceled.

The new movies have only occasionally even remembered that they're Star Trek, failed to go on any missions, and while I genuinely liked the most recent one, the plot was weirdly inconsequential and could easily be forgotten if they skipped to a movie where they (a) actually went space exploring and (b) didn't destroy the Enterprise again.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Trek Watch: Star Trek III - The Search For Spock (1984)



Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984) was the second Trek movie I saw, the first being Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  I expect we saw it in 1985 as we watched it on television - either VHS or on cable, so I would have already been very familiar with the cast of characters by this point as 1984 was the year I discovered Trek reruns on our local UHF channel, KBVO.

I liked the movie then, and I was delighted to find I thoroughly enjoyed it all over again.  Frankly, it's been forever since I'd seen this movie despite the fact it came with the Star Trek BluRay set Jamie gave me a few years ago for Christmas, and I didn't have particularly great memories of it from the last time I'd seen it, which could have been fifteen years ago.  At the time, I mostly just relished Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon ship's captain who is not so clever as he believes and is simply outclassed by Kirk and Co.

But there's a lot to recommend The Search for Spock.  It's a movie that does a fine job of raising stakes, having some fairly dark implications, but is eternally, against all odds, optimistic as our heroes fight bureaucracy, Klingons and the forces of nature for the sake of a friend.  And you can't get better than that.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Star Trek 50th Quick Post

Tiny Spock is judging you


This here above is the culmination of my Star Trek collection.  You'll notice it's a little Gorn-centric.  When Diamond put out all the gear I'd wanted since I was 11, I went ahead and did that.  I've only made room for a model of NCC-1701, but I'd sure like an NCC-1701-A and NCC-1701-D sometime (if I knew where they'd go).

Tonight I celebrated Trek with my brother by getting pizza and enjoying some official Star Trek 50th Anniversary beer.



We watched the original series episodes "Arena" and "The Enterprise Incident".  I hadn't seen "The Enterprise Incident" since I was a kid, and it was really pretty darn good.  Funny what happens when you get your head around, uh, "relations" more than you did at age 13.  That D.C. Fontana is a heck of a writer.

After I got home, Jamie was watching the beginning of Star Trek: Generations but had to go to bed.  So, we've agreed we're going to sprint through the Next Generation films, which I haven't seen in forever.  And, hey, I'm a big fan of those characters.

Now I'm watching "The Naked Time" on BBC America.  Good day, all and all.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

50 Years of Star Trek



Here's to 50 years of Star Trek, in television, movies and beyond.

September 8th, 1966 saw the premier of Star Trek on network television.  The episode was "The Man Trap" (the Salt Monster one).  The show lasted for three seasons and blazed trails before spinning off into weirdly wild success in syndication.  Of course, Star Trek: The Next Generation cut out the middleman and went straight into syndication.

I am not a real Trekker, and I'm okay with that.  I never really watched much Deep Space Nine, Voyager or Enterprise.  Not the way I watched original series or Next Generation.  I like all the movies with the original cast for one reason or another, even if I mostly enjoy Star Trek V as camp.  I even liked Star Trek Beyond quite a bit  (Karl Urban was fantastic).

Where Star Wars broke me circa 1999, ending it's drought in 2015 with The Force Awakens, there's always been enough Trek to keep me invested, willing to go to bat and try another movie, TV show, episode, what-have-you.  But I've never felt fan enough to attend a Star Trek convention or the like.  Which is weird.  I guess I've just always been aware that I'm a fan, but I've seen the real fans, if you know what I mean (I do not know a single word of Klingon, for example).

The original show sparked my imagination when I became a regular viewer of episodes at 5:00 PM on the local UHF channel when I was about 10.  The idea of moving through space, of not just constantly fighting some antagonist over and over, but exploring, of discovery - that got my interest.  Also, Lieutenant Uhura.  But flying around in a ship I still haven't gotten over, not necessarily shooting or punching to solve the problem of the week, of trying to find a better tomorrow out on the edge of known space...?  Sign me up.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Seattle VayCay - Star Trek, Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy and more at the EMP

GORN FREE!!!

We're in Seattle for a week of vacation.  We've seen the Space Needle, Pike's Place and a few other things as we caught up with old friends who've relocated to the area.

Today it was just me and Jamie, and he headed down to the EMP.

The EMP is a museum that was set up by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen and was originally going to be all about music.  Well, half of the museum is - and we went to that, but this isn't a music blog and it's weird to take pictures of certain kinds of exhibits or art.  But the EMP is now also home to Paul Allen's other collections, I guess.

Above, you see me freaking the hell out about the Gorn costume from the Star Trek episode Arena, the episode that first piqued my interest in Trek as a kid and - in my humble opinion - one of the finest hours of television ever produced.

But, I was basically just freaking the hell out through the whole museum as it was truly an amazing spectacle of genre movie and TV props and FX items.

You can view my stash of photos here.


This is exactly the sort of stuff I'd wind up owning if I had billions of dollars

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Trek Watch: Star Trek Beyond (2016)



No big secret to anyone with whom I talk Star Trek, but I hated Star Trek: Into Darkness.  That's not a term I use lightly.  Generally, I "didn't like" a movie, it "wasn't aimed at me", "wasn't my cup of tea" or I might have believed "it sucked".  But, nope, I hated Into Darkness.

The movie, which could and should have been about the launch of the Enterprise and establishing the universe around the characters set up in the first movie (which, in many ways, was a glorified version of Space Camp), didn't just feel like a betrayal to the spirit and (pardon the pun) enterprise of the Star Trek universe I've enjoyed as both an avid enthusiast and sometimes occasional fan, depending on which incarnation of Trek we're discussing.  Into Darkness felt like it was picking the bones of a better, much-loved franchise to tell a lousy story and try to steal some of the gravitas along the way rather than creating anything of its own or lending anything new and not doing anything compelling with what bit of novelty it did contain.

With this third installment, Paramount does a yeoman's job of righting the ship and getting it back on course.  I won't try to oversell the movie - it's far from a perfect film (but name the Citizen Kane of Star Trek movies, I dare you), but for the first time in three movies, it feels like Trek.  And, man, that is actually terribly important.  Not only does this installment understand the universe of Trek better than its forebears, it does that thing of spiffying it up and adds some new bits along the way.

I hadn't actually planned to see the movie.  The first trailer I saw alongside The Force Awakens was so cringe-inducing and tone deaf (and, as it turns out, a bad representation of the actual film), that I just laughed it off and decided I'd get back to Star Trek at some other point with some other relaunch after the public wrote off this series for good.

The Star Trek reboot, in my opinion, was a failure.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Before Comics Were Cool - The Gen-X Recollection Project: David Rossi

I can't tell you how gratifying I'm finding this whole Gen-X Recollection project.  One of our first submissions was from a new friend from Denmark, and another from a person I'd only met once in the flesh, but that I spent plenty of time chatting with online (and Stuart is tops, people).  Then the flurry of submissions from friends from all across my lifespan.  I've been doing this blogging thing for a while, and this is one of the most fun things I've ever done here.

And now we have an entry from someone from the twitter-verse who I was kind of aware had a fascinating background, but hadn't put all the pieces together.

David Rossi is not someone I know in person, but he is a man who may have lived one of my lifelong dreams: working in a Star Trek Future.

Dave has had many roles when it comes to actually working on Star Trek.  But, I'll let him tell you about that himself, and how he got to that point.

Then, I'm going to ask him how many Captains chairs he's secretly sat in.


Editor's Note:  As a plaid-wearing Superman fan, I approve of Dave's whole aesthetic here


Dave Rossi
Los Angeles, CA via Buffalo NY
51 Years Old
Married, 2 kids.

I’ve worked at Paramount Pictures for 25 years, 14 of those on the Star Trek franchise, starting as a Production Assistant and ending as an Associate Producer. I also served as Supervisor of Star Trek Projects for Executive Producer Rick Berman, who created the position for me when he realized all the Trek knowledge in my head was actually valuable! I also co-produced the Star Trek Original Series Remastered project.

I’m still an avid Star Trek fan, Sci-Fi fan, Comic book collector, tabletop game player (It’s all about the Heroclix!). I am loving what Jason Aaron, Tom King, Geoff Johns, and Greg Pak are doing with their titles, and I think it’s a magical time to be a fan of these inspiring characters and their stories.


Before Comics Were Cool.

My father was a WWII veteran, and not much of a dreamer, unlike his youngest of 5 children, me. I had discovered Star Trek when I was in my 6’s, which profoundly changed my life. No one “got it.” None of my siblings, not my mom, certainly not my father. In fact our interactions on the subject went something like this: I’d be prone on the carper, head propped up on palms watching Star Trek with rapt attention. My father would walk in and say, in his deep voice, “Who’s winning?” to which I would reply, proudly, “Captain Kirk always wins.” My father would then say something pithy like “Now that you know that, turn the baseball game on.” It was a little game we would play I guess. Whenever it happened, I would use that tiny opportunity to try and imprint on him that what was happening on the TV was important, to me anyway. And I never thought he understood.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Star Trek: Now Safe for Dumbs (AKA - Space Bros: Bros in Space)

Did watching people talk about Prime Directives and interstellar anomalies make you... uncomfortable?  Maybe even angry?  Were you just waiting for that bald guy to quit talking and for the boney-headed guy to shoot somebody?  Was it weird that the old Star Trek was... old and stuff?

Well, buddy, have I got a Star Trek for you!



Featuring space people who KICK-ASS, CRACK-WISE and ARE SEXY AS HELL™, this ain't your DADDY'S STAR TREK (not that your Dad would have ever watched that p***y s**t, anyway.  He was more of Beastmaster guy).  We've fixed your lame-ass Star Trek to give it all the same excitement as pounding a Coors Silver Bullet while you ride your jet ski through a flaming hoop with a topless model straddling your junk!

Like 20 year old pop songs?!!  SO DOES CAPTAIN KIRK!!!  Like aliens that look mean as hell but who you could still beat in a fist fight?  We got 'em!  Like the idea of banging alien broads?  Well, Kirk was always into that.

So, stop worrying, bud!  That way Star Trek used to work where those @#$%s wouldn't just shoot first and sort it out later?  We've taken care of that.  And we've got funny @#$%ing jokes for the guys to say.  Say adios to that feeling you used to have where you just wanted to give a wedgie to every last one of those space-nerds.  Now you'll want to blast the speakers in your Camaro with your space bros while you swing through the Party Barn and grab a case of Milwaukee's Best.

@#$%.  Yeah!  They finally fixed it.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Grace Lee Whitney, Star Trek's Yeoman Janice Rand, Merges with The Infinite


It seems that actress and singer, Grace Lee Whitney, has passed. Fans of the original Star Trek show will remember Whitney as Yeoman Rand, Captain Kirk's sometimes love interest, especially during early episodes of the series.

We're very sorry to hear of her passing.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Trek Watch: Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home

As we say good-bye to Leonard Nimoy, I wanted to give one of the Star Trek movies a whirl.  And Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home seemed a good choice.  It's lighter, was directed by Nimoy, and has a strong character thread for Spock.

just a couple of bros, trading colorful metaphors

I'm actually a fan of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, not the least because it truly felt like an episode of the original show taken to its logical extreme - exploration leading to realization of some greater truth about humanity, etc... And the direction by Robert Wise is impeccable.  I'm also a fan of Star Treks II and III, both great action movies, expanding on the ideas from the TV series, both the commentary of The Star Seeds and the pioneering science you'd see Kirk and Co coming upon from planet to planet, episode to episode.

Star Trek IV, of course, picks up the threads of II and III and completes a trilogy of related movies, sending the crew of the Enterprise home to face court-martial for the events of the prior two movies.  Spock has returned to life in the events of III, and keeps up a stoic as he finds his footing.  And, of course, the world will end if we don't travel back into the past, enjoy a Michelob and grab some humpback whales.  Returning to the roots of Trek, Star Trek IV sets up a conflict that can't be resolved with phasers or photon torpedoes, setting up what a wacky adventure for our faithful crew in the 1980's.

Of course, y'all don't need a plot synopsis of Star Trek IV.

And, of course, it's not like I haven't written about the movie before.

This movie marked another evolution in Spock's character - the movie where he fully accepts his human nature and the inherent illogic of humanity as part of his own nature.  His mother's reminder that his friends have substituted the "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one" was ignored to save him, he in turn applies to the comatose Chekov.  And he embraces the human notion of "guessing" rather than working from facts and numbers.

It's not the A Plot of the movie, but it's interesting to see what must have been on the minds of Nimoy and Harve Bennett, who acted as story developers but also as Director and Producer, respectively (for you kids who weren't around yet, saving the whales was kind of a big thing back in the '80's).






Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy Merges With The Infinite



We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most.... human.

This one hurts, y'all.

I only post about folks who've gone beyond the veil when it's personal, but this one...  Leonard Nimoy meant a lot to generations of us folks who grew up with Star Trek.  I was too young to get it when DeForest Kelley passed, and was saddened when James Doohan went, but now we've lost Nimoy.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Single Question Posed is Answered - Star Wars or Star Trek?

Gerry asks:

Not sure if you've ever come out on either side of this, but the public demands an answer: Star Wars or Star Trek?
The short answer is:  Planet of the Apes.

pew pew pew!

The real answer is - I grew up loving both, and never understood why I had to pick one over the other.  To me, that was sort of like picking Dragonslayer over The Secret of NIMH.  I kind of felt they were two different animals (one is fantasy, one is space adventure) and I could enjoy both, but I do get that it's like the need to pick either DC or Marvel and then go online and defend your stance from a religious perspective.  It's the internet.  You want to feel that there's logic to your gut feeling.

In my youth, Star Wars certainly got a lot of extra weight as it was the franchise that was being merchandised like crazy.  I never had any official Star Trek stuff until college, I think, when Jamie's Dad got me a Next Generation badge for Christmas (I was touched).

But let's not take any short cuts.  Let's take a really, really long look at this, shall we?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Signal Watches (and spoils) - Star Trek: Into Darkness (the title that made no sense)

Y'all know I love my Captain Kirk, Uhura and McCoy.  I have and wear a shirt with the image of Leonard Nimoy that reads "Spock is my homeboy".  My clock at work bears the image of the Enterprise.  I was ridiculed in 4th grade Reading class for wanting to be on Enterprise away teams when I grew up.  By the teacher.

I understand that one must reboot and refresh a franchise from time to time.  For goodness sake, I'm a Superman fan.  The trademarked character is more about how he's been interpreted in various incarnations than he is about any particular story.

I just don't think JJ Abrams is much of a writer or director.  And its possible Chris Pine isn't much of an actor.



SPOILERS BELOW

What is true is that by the time Star Trek: Enterprise aired, the Star Trek franchise had become so insular and inward looking that it was basically extended fan service.  I don't even know if the show was good or not, as I found myself just... not caring that it was on as I saw it jumping back through the hoops I'd found all-too-familiar after multi-year runs of ST: TNG, DS9 and Voyager (a show I wanted to like, but found everyone but Janeway kind of perplexingly flat.  At least she got to make command decisions and wrestle with saving her crew).

Friday, April 5, 2013

Oh, Did You Just Figure Out That Maybe Disney Buying Star Wars Means Everything You Liked About Star Wars is Going to Getting Demolished?

Shoemaker sent me this article from i09.  It's basically about how, the afterglow of Disney's purchase of Star Wars and the sudden lay-offs, etc... start to settle in, someone realized that Disney probably doesn't give two Jawa farts about the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

As I said in my email response to Shoemaker: no kidding

once again, your avatar for what will happen to everything you once loved

Even when the first Expanded Universe stuff hit the shelf when I was in high school, I didn't read it.  I guess by the time those books arrived, I was pretty well aware that studio executives weren't going to care that some sci-fi authors wanted to write Star Wars books when it came time to make new movies, and those studio execs were going to include George Lucas and his associates.  When movies that moved past the conclusion of Return of the Jedi did happen, they'd be so much bigger than a series of fantasy books, that the books would just sort of disappear into the ether as non-canonical, leaving a herd of nerds wondering how to reconcile the irreconcilable, narratively speaking, in their minds.

Of course, for two decades we had Uncle George backing up the books - which I doubted he ever read, but he knew that without his stamp, those books wouldn't be taken seriously nor purchased by Star Wars fans.  And that meant less dough, so best to just approve them and worry on it later.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Star Trek Wars, Jenny Olsen, and so much I missed while I was on hiatus

A lot happened while I was out.  Presidential Inaugurations.  The Sixth Gun got optioned for a TV show.  I watched a handful of pretty good movies programmed by Eddie Muller on TCM.

Anyway, while I was out I guess people online put together than Jimmy Olsen will not be Jimmy Olsen, but Jenny Olsen in the movie, Man of Steel.  I am sure five years ago that would have launched a 3000 word column from me on why it would be better if WB would respect the history and we'd all be snarky and sneer knowingly at the studio people for making some bad decisions.  But...

Yeah, I guess I don't really have the energy to get worked up about it anymore.  The studio is going to do what the studio is going to do, and it's not like they won't get my ticket on opening day.  Or that the prior five Superman movies really did anything with Jimmy as a character.  In fact, he got more to do in Supergirl than in pretty much any other film.

Not without precedent


I will always like the Silver and Bronze Age Superman comics, I think Jack Larson was great, but I think I'm kind of past thinking Superman is any one, particular thing.  I have my opinions of what works and what doesn't, but the past decade around Superman has really been about DC and WB wrestlimg with what they think Superman is or can be.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: "Trekkies 2" and "The People vs. George Lucas"

I watched these two docs back-to-back, trying to clear out some of my Netflix queue, but also to try to wrap up the number of docs I'm willing to watch about folks obsessing around a particular bit of geek-culture.  It seems like there's a built in audience around these things, so they get made and we can have movies about ourselves as geeks, and that's okay.  Having a movie that reflects the culture built up around a franchise is relevant if not important in understanding the context of that bit of media and why and how it fits in with the broader culture.

The two movies catch two powerful franchises and their fanbases at about the same period, around 2009ish, as Star Trek was more or less out of production and the audience is - you hate to say it - probably in decline as it aged out and maybe moved on as the content had both diminished over a few less-than-stellar series and hadn't had a great movie in quite a while.  Star Wars was, of course, Star Wars, and the final installment (at time of filming) had left audiences with mixed feelings.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

this summer, Star Trek will take my money

Here's the trailer for the new, action-packed-looking Star Trek.



I'm actually pretty comfortable with the complete distortion of Roddenberry's Star Trek that the new series has become.  Well, I'm uncomfortable with it, but what am I going to do?  Not watch new Star Trek?  Ha ha ha ha.

No.

Anyway, I'm looking at this wondering about the episodes "Charlie X" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before" rather than anything to do with Khan, but we'll see.

Also, is it wrong that I wish they found a home for George Takei in this movie?  Yes, probably.  But I just like George Takei.