Thursday, September 29, 2016


While it was nice to see a couple of Star Trek 50th Anniversary shows appear on History Channel and The Smithsonian Channel, there was no "official" celebration on CBS and Paramount, the actual owners of Star Trek. In light of that, let's watch the 25th Anniversary special that was originally broadcast on September 28, 1991.

It was a simpler time!



Thursday, September 15, 2016


Everybody's favorite actor, Tom Hanks, is also a Star Trek fan as evidenced by his various Trek insider comments over the years. Here's his latest where he talks about his "greatest day in Hollywood":



Monday, September 12, 2016


If you've always wanted a really big version of the original Enterprise, well, you're in luck!

A number of years ago, a company named Custom Replicas created a huge model of the Enterprise. And by huge I mean it was 66 inches long! That's roughly half the scale of the original filming model which was 11 feet long. Only a handful of these models were assembled, painted and finished, and one of those is now available. Click on the photo, below, to see this baby in all its glory!

This will soon be sold at auction (more to come as details are known). Keep in mind that these things were incredibly pricey to begin including the cost of the original model, having it built and wired for light, then painted and put on display. It is beautifully detailed and looks like it could take off for the stars at warp 9!

This is a really cool piece that I hope will find a good home with another devoted Star Trek collector. When the auction details are known, I'll post a follow-up. I'm not involved in this transaction in any way. I'm just a fan of this great model!



Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Star Trek was born on September 8, 1966, with the airing of the first ever episode "The Man Trap". Now, I'm not one of those people who claim that the heavens parted and their lives changed forever after that first hour of Star Trek was over. There's a good reason for that: I was simply too young to watch it, let alone be moved by it. No, my obsession didn't start until years later when I could actually think and read and stuff like that. Star Trek hit me right between the eyes when I discovered it being shown every afternoon at 6 on my local Kaiser Broadcasting station (Channel 61, Cleveland!) in the early seventies. While my parents watched Cronkite, I watched Kirk. And watched, and watched and – well, I'm still watching!

Why is a fifty-year-old TV show meaningful today? First of all, it's still relevant because of the simple fact that everybody knows what Star Trek is. Even after half a century, it endures. The longest period of time between Trek productions was the 10 year stretch between the original series ending in 1969 and the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in December of 1979. (I'm not including the short lived Animated Series from 1974 as it was not a traditional live-action show). After that time, no more than four years passed without a Trek series or film being produced. It's an unprecedented achievement with no other TV show in history even coming close to Star Trek's staying power.

That staying power has been fueled by one key thing: Star Trek is, at its best, a story about ideas. Sometimes it's big ideas (the end of the universe!) and sometimes small (the love between mother and child). And that's the beauty of Trek. It's not just telling the same story over and over (Law & Order, anyone?). It's about opening new doors, looking into corners that are rarely, if ever, peeked at and shining a light onto new possibilities. It can be alternately heavy (The Motion Picture) or light (The Voyage Home), big ("Best of Both Worlds") or intimate ("The Inner Light"). Great and awful (too many of each to name).

Star Trek typically tells its stories through the lens of family and how that family comes together in a moment of crisis to move things to a safer ground. Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Picard, Data and Riker. Sisko and his crew, and on and on. Our heroes are challenged, then rise to meet said challenge through ability, intelligence, guts and having that most undefinable of qualities, The Right Stuff. Sometimes they win, sometimes they don't. But it's almost always a positive, forward-looking outcome which is refreshing in this age of stories about darkness, evil and How Bad Things Are. In an ever-increasing pessimistic world, Star Trek has always strived to show the best in humanity.

We need that optimism now more than ever.

With that in mind, there's a new Trek coming our way next year. It's called Star Trek Discovery, a name that evokes the very best of what Star Trek can be. You know the drill:

" explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldy go where no one has gone before."

Let's hope this new Trek lives up to its distinguished pedigree.

Happy Fiftieth, Star Trek. May you continue to Live Long and Prosper.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Star Trek Discovery, the new Trek series due out in January from CBS, will have a female lead according to Showrunner Bryan Fuller speaking at CBS's Television Critics Association press event. Interestingly, the lead won't be the ship's captain, but rather will be a lieutenant commander.

A unique point of view

This will be the first time any Trek has moved away from the POV of the ship's captain. “We’ve seen six series from captain’s point of view,” he explained. “To see one from another point of view gives us a richer context.” Who will fill the role has yet to be determined. “It’s about who’s the best actor,” he said. We're going to delve into something that was for me always very tantalizing and to tell that story through a character who is on a journey that is going to teach her how to get along with others in the galaxy," Fuller said . "For her to truly understand something that is alien, she has to first understand herself."

Set 10 years prior to The Original Series in the Prime Universe

The show will NOT be set in the movie universe as created by JJ Abrams for his film series (THANK GOD!). It will take place ten years before Kirk, Spock and company set out on their Five Year Mission. That's far closer than I thought it would be. On a related note, Fuller mentioned that he loved the character of Amanda Grayson, Spock's mother who married the Vulcan Ambassador Sarek. Amanda was played by the great Jane Wyatt in the TOS episode "Journey to Babel" and in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Does that mean the character will actually appear in some way? Will a young Spock appear? Holy crap!

Gay characters will exist

Fuller, a gay man himself, stated that "Absolutely we’re having a gay character ." That element is one of the last taboos to be broken by a Star Trek production and it's long overdue. “What can we say about diversity in every role,” he added. “We’ll probably have a few more aliens than you typically have on the show. We wanted to paint a picture of Starfleet where we’re going to have new exciting aliens and also new imagining of existing aliens,” Fuller said via Entertainment Weekly.

A new visual style?

Fuller addressed the nature of a story that takes place 10 years before another show made in 1966 (TOS). "We can redefine the visual style,” he said. “We get to play with all of the iconography of those ships and that universe. Since we are doing this series in 2016 and all of the other series have been produced [at a time that] isn’t as sophisticated as we are now with what we can do production-wise, we’re going to be reestablishing an entire look for the series — not only for the series, but for what we wanted to accomplish with Star Trek beyond this series.”

This, frankly, confuses the hell out of me.  If you change the style, then this is not actually set in the Prime Universe, but one similar. If you change the visuals, you change the story and the universe in which it takes place.

This sounds like a defacto reboot. And I'm all for that!



Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Little has been revealed about the upcoming CBS Star Trek show that will debut in January. At long last we've finally been given something concrete. Revealed at Comic-Con 2016 by Executive Producer Bryan Fuller, below is a glimpse of the show's featured ship. Take a look and we'll talk.

Here's my take.

First off, the title is in keeping with the last three Trek shows which were named after their ships (or station). "Discovery" is also in keeping with Star Trek's Mission Statement: "explore strange new worlds..." and all that. So it works on many levels.

The ship we see features a design that was created way back in the late 70's by designer Ralph McQuarrie of Star Wars fame. McQuarrie was hired in 1977 to design a new Enterprise for a Trek film that never got off the ground called "Planet of the Titans". Small cardboard study models were made of two of his designs and these models made very brief and very minor appearances in later Star Trek productions, but no detailed models for featured use were ever made so this makes the first-ever use of this design in any significant way.

Concept models of McQuarrie's designs

Renderings of McQuarrie's take on a new Enterprise
Keep in mind that at the time of their creation, no other Enterprise had been designed. These were a decade before Next Gen and 2 years before The Motion Picture.

McQuarrie's spacedock design is clearly seen in the new footage

Even if you don't know McQuarrie or his work on Star Wars, you can definitely see the influence of such things as the huge Star Destroyers – designed by McQuarrie for George Lucas – at work here. And while I've always found these to be interesting approaches, I have always thought the proportions were not very elegant. The huge triangular secondary hull dwarfs the saucer. The engines seem too insignificant.

In short, this design is butt ugly, in this fan's opinion. So I think it's unfortunate that they went to this particular well for a ship design to be featured heavily in a new production. It's my opinion that no featured ship should be blatantly unsophisticated. This seems to be just that.

Here's stills that show how they interpreted McQuarrie's design into a finished form:

There are some significant differences. The basic proportions of the saucer to the secondary hull are changed to create a larger overall saucer size which I think is a good thing. The engine size has been upped as well.

But the overall take-away for me is that this seems to be an intentionally crude ship design. The cages over the engine domes are almost steam-punkish. The engines lack any real sense of grace, at least from the limited angles we are given. And when combined with the music, this ship has an almost Klingon feel to it, mostly because of the triangular hull's forward-thrusting engines.

I'm not crazy about it but CBS has stated that this is a concept piece so hopefully it will be finessed (improved) a bit. A lot. A whole lot.

As for what the trailer actually tells us about the show, we actually get a few hints with some detective work.

First off, there's the aforementioned crudeness to the design. Is it meant to evoke an early era of Starfleet design, ie: before The Original Series? Perhaps.

Then there's the ship's number, 1031. That puts it well ahead of the Enterprise's 1701 registry number, again pointing to a pre-TOS setting. The ship's name features the "USS" designation which was not used in Star Trek: Enterprise, a show that was set a century before TOS. So, if we put it all together, the clues point to this being set between Enterprise and TOS. Exactly when is anybody's guess at this point. So I'll do just that and guess that it is squarely between the two eras so as not to crowd one or the other in its story-telling.

Fuller reiterated that the show (which will be abbreviating DSC) would not be episodic in nature, but would be structured “like a novel,” telling stories “chapter by chapter” across episodes. He also stated that it would take place in the Prime Universe, ie: NOT in the JJ Abrams film universe. Hallelujah!

As for the quality of the show, that is totally unknowable at this point. We'll have to hope that with people like the great Nick Meyer and Bryan Fuller on board that it will be a voyage worth taking.

Let's hope!