Romulan

Lower Decks: “Veritas” & “Crisis Point”

Lower Decks Ep. 8 & 9 Double Episode!

Our animated journey continues with Star Trek: Lower Decks Ep. 8 “Veritas” & Ep. 9 “Crisis Point”! Trials, fan dances, holodeck programs, and Q! Plus, Derreck is re-watching Voyager and Discovery and there’s a new movie with giant tribbles?

We’ll be back each week to review all 10 episodes of Lower Decks Season 1, so stay tuned!

Want to join us live? We’re live streaming our episode on Facebook while we record and you can chat with us during the show! Just join our Facebook community: Facebook.com/groups/RedshirtsAndRunabouts

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Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts: Derreck Mayer (@TheStarTrekDude)

Guests: Zach Story (@AvengerZS)

Executive Producer & Editor: Derreck Mayer

Music by Flying Killer Robots

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Lower Decks: “Veritas” & “Crisis Point”

Nothing but Blue Skies

All good things must come to an end, even Picard. Derreck is joined by recurring hosts Rae & Zach to discuss the two-part Season 1 finale of Star Trek: Picard along with our overall thoughts for the show’s premiere season. There will be spoilers, lots of emotions, and plenty of opinions. So sit back, download the episode, and engage!

Plus, we talk a little news including Picard’s soundtrack.

Also, please note that after next week’s episode, we’re moving to a bi-weekly format. So we’ll have a new episode for you on April 7th and then again on April 21st, followed by May 5th, etc.

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Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts: Greg Bosko (The_Bittersteel) & Derreck Mayer (@TheStarTrekDude)

Special Guests: SirynRae & Zach Story

Executive Producer & Editor: Derreck Mayer

Music by Flying Killer Robots

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An Impossible Box Filled with Broken Pieces of Nepenthe

We return with an impossible box filled with broken pieces of Nepenthe. See what we did there? This week we kick things off with some news about Short Treks before diving back into the world of Star Trek: Picard! We cover episodes 6-8, also known as “The Impossible Box”, “Nepenthe”, and “Broken Pieces” as well as talk about the show as a whole to this point and our thoughts going into the two-part season 1 finale!

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Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts: Greg Bosko (The_Bittersteel) & Derreck Mayer (@TheStarTrekDude)

Executive Producer & Editor: Derreck Mayer

Music by Flying Killer Robots

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An Impossible Box Filled with Broken Pieces of Nepenthe

Do Picards Dream of Androids?

We’re back, baby! It’s time to catch up on Star Trek: Picard and we do it in style! Well, we do it. We cover Episodes 2, 3, and 4… also known as “Maps and Legends”, “The End is the Beginning”, and “Absolute Candor”. We cover the general plots, along with what we like and don’t like about the newest addition to the Star Trek universe. How do we feel about the story, the pacing, the characters, the ships? You’ll find out in this latest episode!

Don’t forget to join our brand new Facebook community! Facebook.com/groups/RedshirtsAndRunabouts

Hey, don’t like ads with your podcasts? We get it! Head over to Patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts and join our Premium Tier today to get this episode and more without third-party ads!

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Not ready for a monthly commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts: Greg Bosko (The_Bittersteel) & Derreck Mayer (@TheStarTrekDude)

Executive Producer & Editor: Derreck Mayer

Music by Flying Killer Robots

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Do Picards Dream of Androids?

Star Trek: Picard Final Prep & Premiere

Star Trek: Picard is officially here on streaming services! Greg and Derreck sit down to first wrap-up their #Prepping4Picard conversation by discussing some other important moments and episodes that didn’t make the original cut. Then, it’s off to an in-depth spoiler-filled discussion on the premiere of Star Trek: Picard! Don’t worry, we’ll give you a warning before we dive into spoilers.

Don’t forget to join our brand new Facebook community! Facebook.com/groups/RedshirtsAndRunabouts

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Not ready for a monthly commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts: Greg Bosko (The_Bittersteel) & Derreck Mayer (@TheStarTrekDude)

Executive Producer & Editor: Derreck Mayer

Music by Flying Killer Robots

Linktree: https://linktr.ee/redshirtspod

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Star Trek: Picard Final Prep & Premiere

Short Treks: “Q & A” + NYCC News

We are clear from dry dock. Ahead 1/4 impulse power. We are back! This week, Derreck returns with guest SirynRae to talk Short Treks Season 2 opener “Q & A” along with the biggest news out of New York Comic Con including the new trailers for Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Discovery Season 3! Plus, the state of the Redshirts & Runabouts podcast, the plans moving forward, and the fate of #Prepping4Picard.

Top 20 Quintessential Picard Episodes: http://heroespodcasts.com/top-20-picard-episodes

What did you think of Short Treks’ “Q &A”? What about our new trailers? Just want to talk with us? Hit us up @RedshirtsPod on Twitter!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts: Greg Bosko (The_Bittersteel) & Derreck Mayer (@TheStarTrekDude)

Special Guest: @SirynRae

Executive Producer & Editor: Derreck Mayer

Music by Flying Killer Robots

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Short Treks: “Q & A” + NYCC News

RR47: Star Trek Nemesis Review

We conclude our TNG film era reviews with one of the more controversial Star Trek movies, Nemesis. Nemesis is the fourth TNG cast film and the tenth Star Trek movie, the last in the Prime timeline. Rae and Zach join Derreck for this movie review continuation. We discuss budgeting differences between the TNG era films, overall plot, how Nemesis might have the best space battle of the Star Trek movies, and so much more!

Join us next week as we cross into the Kelvin timeline for our review of Star Trek (2009)!

Be sure to check out @RedshirtsPod on Twitter and follow us!

What did you think of Star Trek: Nemesis? Are you hyped for Discovery Season 2 and the Picard show? Comment below or hit us up @RedshirtsPod on Twitter! Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links are below!

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Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer

Special Guests
Rae Stewart
Zach Story

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
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RR47: Star Trek Nemesis Review

RR29: Mudd’s Terror

Jeremy and Derreck tackle the first appearance of Harry Mudd in “Mudd’s Women” along with Mark Leonard’s first appearance in “Balance of Terror”. While Harry Mudd is one of the more iconic recurring characters from Star Trek: The Original Series, he only appears in two live action episodes plus an episode of The Animated Series. Also, while Mark Leonard first appears as a Romulan in this Cold War era episode, he is later cast of Spock’s father. There’s a lot to unpack, so set course and engage!

Next week we review “Miri” and “Space Seed”! Don’t miss it.

How do you feel about “Balance of Terror”? Is it the best episode of Star Trek? Is “Mudd’s Women” really that bad?

Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Join our three-man crew for a journey that will span decades, every episode, every series, every movie, and every possible timeline no matter how small.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Google Play, and our RSS Feed are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer
Jeremy Monken

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
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RR25: Section 31, Obsidian Order, and Tal Shiar

With all three hosts back in the studio for the first time in over month, Greg, Jeremy, and Derreck sit down to talk about Star Trek’s most secret and covert organizations, Section 31, the Obsidian Order, and the Tal Shiar. Who are these organizations? Well, three of the galaxy’s biggest groups, the Federation, Cardassian Union, and Romulan Empire each created a convert special forces organization that works, sometimes, completely outside their own laws in an attempt to sway the fates to their people. We dive into the details, when these organizations first formed, their appearances in TV and film, and some of what Section 31 is doing on Star Trek: Discovery.

Plus, we talk about some of the Star Trek: Discovery casting including the man who will step into the role of Captain Pike in Season 2.

Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Join our three-man crew for a journey that will span decades, every episode, every series, every movie, and every possible timeline no matter how small.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Google Play, and our RSS Feed are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer
Jeremy Monken

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/redshirts-runabouts/id1290563072

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redshirtsandrunabouts

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RR25: Section 31, Obsidian Order, and Tal Shiar

Star Trek Horizon: The Review

Star Trek Horizon is a fan film set in the era of Star Trek: Enterprise. Work on the project took about 3 years and has been described as a love letter to the Enterprise show that went before her time. Back in November we got a chance to chat with Tommy Kraft from Star Trek Horizon and you can find the interview here. Now that the film has been released and after having a chance to watch it I was really impressed with it. And you can watch it to on youtube here. I mean it’s not that it’s flawless, but as far as fan films go, Star Trek Horizon is a shining example of what a fan film ought to be. I was particularly impressed with the story and the acting. Special effects were also very excellent.

Star Trek Horizon: Trailer #1

-Story Outline-

I really enjoyed the plot and it was a far better send off to the show than the Enterprise final “These Are the Voyages…” It starts with a battle scene between the out matched NX-04 Discovery and several Romulan Bird of Preys in the Earth solar system. Discovery has information about a Romulan secret weapon of devastating power being built just outside of the solar system. With this information a task force is put together to remove this threat on Starfleet’s doorstep consisting of Enterprise, Discovery, and some Vulcan vessels. In the desperate battle that ensues, Discovery lands the final death blow on the Romulan station but there is more to it. The station was just the tip of the iceberg.

Star Trek Horizon - Romulan Base

It is eventually discovered that the station was relaying power from another location. Disturbingly it is discovered that an agent from the future has been manipulating events, giving the Romulans access to awesome powers that are centuries beyond them to help them in the war with Starfleet. Despite temporal tampering, the crew of Discovery finds a way to set things right, destroying the weapon and taking care of the temporal interloper for good.

-Plot Reaction-

The plot with Horizon is what sets it apart from most fan films out there as it’s really good and flows from one part to another. Horizon actually makes you forget you’re watching a fan film, and that’s how you know its good. There have been a lot of Star Trek fan films out there, even some with veteran Star Trek actors but they never really pulled this off (cough cough, Star Trek Renegades) . It was Horizon’s superior storytelling and how all the pieces fit together that pulled this immersion off and it’s what makes it so enjoyable to watch.

Star Trek Horizon - Discovery

The only complaints I’d lodge against the plot are ones that can be found with the Enterprise show in general: the frequent use of transporters, too much being known about the Romulans, to name a few. But since this was the mood of the show I can’t say I really blame Horizon for it. Hey it works for the era they’re in, I guess. Despite these cannon problems Horizon actually did an excellent job of having face-to-face time between the Discovery crew and a Romulan antagonist. Due to his “Balance of Terror” style helmet, his Vulcan like features were hidden. The crew had conversations with him and never knew his people shared common ancestry with another founding member of the federation, the Vulcans. This was a really clever way of having the characters share a scene together and I have to give the makers of Horizon props for it. As an Original Series fan this means a lot.

Star Trek Horizon - Captain Hawk

Some more solid critiques of the film are only slightly more severe. I don’t think the story was helped by the idea of having a Romulan defector deliver the intelligence about the weapon. I also didn’t care for the plot point of having her surgically altered to appear human just to avoid anyone in Starfleet seeing a Romulan and breaking canon. She could’ve have just have easily been a third party alien as proir collaborator or something like that. It’s just a little too hard to swallow considering the no contact precedent already established between Starfleet and Romulas. I also found it a little odd that Discovery was calling the shots in the battle to destroy the Romulan weapon when Enterprise was with her, especially when it is established that Archer is still in command and he has seniority. It just doesn’t make sense and falls in to the trope of having a fan film stars out shinning the show that they making a film for. Having another NX class ship instead of Enterprise or having Archer otherwise disposed would’ve been cool; promotion would’ve been a nice idea. Besides, I think after building four of those NX class ships they ain’t prototypes anymore, but I digress. Maybe a little more progression from the Enterprise show was missing. These are only small nitpicks of an otherwise excellent story but as being a plot-Nazi, I had to get those little nuggets out there.

Star Trek Horizon - Discovery

-Acting-

As far as acting is concerned it’s actually pretty good. At times the film struggles to grasp the characters’ personalities and they don’t really come off as distinct as they should but acting isn’t the blame. It’s more due to the writing of the lines than the actors themselves. But this shouldn’t be surprising as this is one of the hardest things to pull off for any show, not just fan films (cough cough Star Wars prequels). Often times you’ll have characters saying exactly what happen instead of their lines injecting a characters personality of their own on it.

 

One scene in particular exemplifies this is where the Romulan villain disappears via a transporter and the Captain just say “where did he go?” Instead of him literally saying what happened it may have been better for him to say something a little more specific to what a character might say. Imagine for example putting Archer, Tucker, or T’Pol in the same situation and they would’ve reacted differently with what they said. It’s in the lines and the dialogue that characters are defined and this is throwing the ball to the actors. If it’s a good pitch, they can hit it out of park. What worries me is that viewers often confuse acting with writing. I’m afraid they may reject the performances expecting it to be something like what they see on television. The scenes and character interactions aren’t quite ready for the big leagues yet but are still far better than a lot of other fan films. There is no shame in this though, as just about every other show in their first season struggles with this problem. But in the case of Star Trek Horizon, the acting is pretty good when you take this into consideration.

Actor 1 St Horizon

Now that I think of it, I actually liked the acting, especially when compared with fan films or even indie films in general. Ignoring some of the dialogue, the actors did a great job. Paul Lang as Captain Harrison Hawk has some real charisma that hints at some grit just underneath the surface, perfect for an action film. I would’ve loved to have seen Captain Hawk as a little more martial though. And his chemistry with costar Jeannine Thompson is nice to see; I love their interactions. Marc Bowers as the XO has some real stage presence in his own right. I also had some fondness for Tom McClure as the Security Chief. He seemed to have some personality on his own, it just came naturally. Lastly, all of the Romulans were done excellently. Coming off with just the right amount of smugness and over confidence. The final villain in particular was especially well done. You could just sense the bile and hatred for Starfleet oozing out of him, loved it.

Star Trek Horizon - Romulan

-Special Effects-

Lets just say Star Trek Horizon looks awesome. The outer space battles look fantastic and getting to see the NX-01 in action one last time is wonderful. Even getting a few close in shots of the name Discovery being painted on the hull is a nice treat. The other Vulcan and Romulan ships are done nicely and their maneuvers are what you’d expect to find in action scenes. When you’re watching the space battles you have to remind yourself that this isn’t a professional show because its hard to tell as it looks that good.

Star Trek Horizon - Space Dock

The interior shots may not be for everyone, but the look actually grew on me. It looks like a hybrid approach was used for the set, partially building objects in the foreground while doing the rest of the back ground with special effects (i.e. green screen). This has two effects; it kinda makes for static shots of scenes, and makes it all look a little off or weird. Wel, at least if you expect television level of set pieces that is but it isn’t all that bad in my opinion. To lessen this, everything as a soft glow or fuzz to it that actually grew on me, gave it a nostalgic look. It kinda stylizes the look of the film and unifies it all together.

Despite the limitations of static shots from background replacement, Horizon counters this by striving very hard at having movement in its scenes. Though much of the film is zoomed very close or shot statically to minimize the special effects work needed. There are still quite a few scenes of movement and panning shots, people walking down corridors and across scenes to help this along. This really makes Horizon stand out among other fan films who had back grounds that were done by a programmer instead of a carpenter to save money. Horizon looks much better doing it because of the resourcefulness of their team. I have to give a nod of respect to the technique and ambition to the special effects.

Star Trek Horizon - Behind the Scenes

Sound and music are often the unsung heroes of television and Horizon has these in spades as well. Everything sounds great from doors opening to mysterious alien tech sounding the way it should. Music feels appropriate for the scenes and sounds a lot like season 4 of Enterprise. The subtle component of audio is in attendance for Horizon and feels perfect.

-Conclusion-

Star Trek Horizon is an excellent fan film and should stand as an example of how a fan film should be made. It hits way above its weight class because of its story, acting, special effects, and sound. If their where awards for fan film, they’d be walking away with arm loads of them. Though at times the dialogue leaves the characters a little too bland and poorly defined, this is understandable. It’s one of the hardest things of making a show. Despite this, enough of the core elements of the characters remain to make you forget this is just a fan film at times. The story more than makes up for it and moves you along from start to finish with little down time between. At the end of the day this stands as worthy tribute to abruptly ended Star Trek Enterprise, one that fans of the show would enjoy and should give a look. Star Trek Horizon easily ranks as one of the better fan films out there, keeping deserved company with Star Trek Continues and the Prelude to Axanar short. If you like Star Trek Enterprise or Star Trek fan films in general, give this one a try.

Have you watched Horizon yet? What did you think? Sound off below.

Star Trek Horizon: The Review

Grid Talk: 04 – Star Trek Horizon

This week, on Grid Talk, I was able to sit down, well sit online, with the main man behind Star Trek Horizon, Tommy Kraft. The many of many hats and talents was nice enough to come on and answer my questions about his Horizon project, making a Star Trek fan film, and the overall process he’s been going through over the past few years. What is Star Trek Horizon? It is a fan film set after season 4 of Star Trek Enterprise during the Romulan War. For those who watched the series, many were disappointed that Enterprise never got to the Romulan War, well, Horizon is here to show us a bit about that time period on-board the NX-04 Discovery, another NX Class starship like Enterprise. So sit back, relax, and polarize the haul platting, it’s time for Grid Talk.

After listening, please stop by StarTrekHorizon.com. He’s got two different trailers available to watch as well as a gallery of photos. Also, if you’d like to help support Tommy’s ambitious Star Trek Horizon project, he’s got a PayPal donation page setup on his website in the project’s post-Kickstarter era.

Keep an eye out for Star Trek Horizon in February 2016.

Star Trek Horizon Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer

Special Guests
Tommy Kraft

Executive Producer and Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

iTunes Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/grid-talk-sci-fi-frontiers/id1057992963?mt=2

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Social Media
@GridTalkTweets

Email
contact@thegridscififrontier.com

Grid Talk: 04 – Star Trek Horizon

What I love and hate about Star Trek

Derreck’s recent article about the Star Trek: Pacific 201 Kickstarter campaign got me thinking about Star Trek again.  It’s a topic I generally avoid because I am fairly passionate about it, and really disappointed with how the property has been handled in recent years.  But now that I’m thinking about it again, I feel the need to write it out so I can (hopefully) move on fairly quickly.

In case you have to ask, there will be spoilers aplenty here.

I know people that dislike the JJ Abrams Trek movies purely because of the use of the alternate timeline in order to ‘reset’ things.  I’m not a huge fan of using that particular storytelling device as permanent change to the storyline, but alternate timelines have a very long tradition in Star Trek.  My problem with these movies is that they just don’t feel like Star Trek to me.  They’d be perfectly adequate generic science fiction movies.  But trying to copy/paste names, ship designs, and world details into these movies…well…more often than not, it infuriates me.

I think the easiest way I can express why I feel this way is by comparing arguably the best Star Trek movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, against (in my opinion at least) the worst Star Trek movie, Star Trek Into Darkness.

Somehow, I managed to win a pair of tickets to see Into Darkness a couple of days before the general release of the film.  I never win anything, so this was rather surprising.  So I and a friend went to see the movie, and about halfway through it I couldn’t enjoy the movie anymore.

What I Hate About Star Trek

Star Trek Into Darkness poster

Kirk and Spock spend pretty much the entire movie sniping at each other, despite seeming to come to some sort of understanding at the conclusion of the previous film.  From a certain point of view, Spock directly stabs Kirk in the back towards the beginning of the film.

Towards the beginning of the movie, an admiral says to a room full of Starfleet officers “You are the captains and first officers of all of the ships that could get here (to Earth) quickly.”  Yet at the end of the movie when two ships (one definitely belonging to Starfleet, and the other bearing a similar design but probably not in any Starfleet database) begin shooting huge chunks out of each other…where are those other ships?  The admiral said they were close by.  The Enterprise made it to the Klingon homeworld and back, while also being stranded for a while with engine problems.  Why were none of the other ships here, or able to arrive at some point?  When those two same ships start crashing into the Earth’s atmosphere,why are there no defensive systems present to prevent one of those ships from colliding into the capital city of the Federation?  Especially since the villain of the movie, the previously mentioned admiral, had explicitly stated his intention to start a war with the Klingons.  So…his plan was to start a war with a very warlike race, when Earth itself was almost literally undefended.  That sounds like a GREAT plan.

The absolute worst part was Khan.  Benedict Cumberbatch is a tremendous actor, and I don’t blame him for it.  The problem is the script.  The writers really want Khan to be the bad guy here, because he was the villain in Wrath of Khan.  The problem is that so much of what he does in this movie seems quite reasonable, given what the admiral was doing and the threats the admiral had made against Khan.

At one point I had a glimmer of hope that Khan would help defeat the admiral, but then quickly kick Kirk and Scotty back over to the Enterprise (via transporter), and basically say, “I used to think that I needed to rule the human race.  Now I find myself in a galaxy full of aliens, and I know some of them at least want to see the human race destroyed.  And you’re too principled to respond appropriately before it’s too late.  So I’m going to take care of that problem for you.  Until next we meet…”  It would have been a fresh take on Khan, allowing the character to exhibit some growth and change as a result of the altered timeline.  Which, hello, is one of the big points of using an alternate timeline to begin with!

Instead we’re treated to Kirk being overly suspicious of Khan for pretty much no reason.  Kirk shoots Khan in the back when, to my memory at least, Khan hadn’t done anything yet to draw serious suspicion.

Then there’s the whole role-swapped death scene between Kirk and Spock, which didn’t feel earned at all.  Because the two of them spent so much of the movie explicitly NOT being friends.  Followed by McCoy discovering a cure for DEATH by using Khan’s blood.  But for reasons that are never explained, it has to be Khan’s blood they use (so they can’t kill him), instead of any of the other 40+ genetically modified humans that they have safely in suspended animation.

What I Love About Star Trek

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan poster

Right after I left the movie theater, feeling extremely dissatisfied, I wandered over the Best Buy.  I had a gift card with nearly $20 on it, and I felt the need to watch something that I didn’t already have at home.  The feeling was like needing to wash the taste out of my mouth.

As fate would have it, Best Buy had a Star Trek-specific display set up, and The Wrath of Khan was on sale.  With tax, it cost just under $20.  Worked out perfectly.

Do you know what I forgot about this movie?  The first half of the movie goes out of its way to remind you that, above all else, Kirk and Spock are friends.  Spock is supposed to be the captain of the Enterprise, but a mission comes up that Kirk has some personal involvement in (i.e. an old girlfriend).  So they fight (verbally) about who should be the captain.  In the JJ-verse, they’d be fighting for their own side.

But here, they understand what is at stake for each other.  Kirk says Spock should remain the captain, because it is his assignment.  Spock counters that Kirk is more heavily invested, and tells Kirk not to be worried about insulting his pride.  Vulcan and Human, Starfleet officers, Captain and officer, above ALL of that, Kirk and Spock are friends.

That’s why Spock’s death at the end of the movie has meaning to it.  Firstly, because it wasn’t reversed in the same movie 10 minutes after it happened.  And second, because the entire movie had been crafted in a way to make sure you, as a member of the audience, understood and believed what close friends they were.  I have yet to believe that the Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto versions of those characters are friends on any level.  So far all I’ve seen is for them to, at best, barely tolerate each other.

Star Trek’s Missed Opportunities

I’m going to step away from the movie comparison now, to provide a rough outline of the Star Trek stories that I wish were being told now.  A lot of it is based on where the Federation was left at the conclusion of the previous TV series.

In the final TNG-era movie, Nemesis, the Romulan government goes through not one, but two coups.  Shinzon (a clone of Picard) kills the Romulan leaders that won’t do what he wants them to do and assumes control.  Then he is killed towards the end of the movie.  I think it would be very easy from the Federation’s point of view to essentially say that the government with which they made a treaty to not explore cloaking technology no longer exists.

In the wake of DS9, the Bajoran wormhole is now a bridge to a completely new area of the galaxy.  For so many years, the Dominion had ruled that area of the galaxy.  With the Dominion defeated, there’s any entirely new area of the galaxy to explore, new dangers to be encountered, and new questions to be asked and answered. And the Cardassians are severely weakened as well.

Finally, with Voyager’s return to earth, we get some of the biggest changes.  Because Voyager not only returns home from the other side of the galaxy, but does so with starship weapon and defensive technology from 30 years in the future.  The holographic doctor has become fully autonomous, thanks to the mobile emitter (also from the future), while the rest of the Federation happily makes use of holographic beings as something akin to a slave labor force.

Now, put all that together.  Several of the biggest threats to the Federation are severely weakened.  The Romulans and Cardassians have gotten it really bad, and the last time we saw the Klingons they looked more like allies than anything else.  There’s an entirely new region of the galaxy to explore, with advanced technology to help accomplish that in, hopefully, a safer way.

In more general terms: the Federation is facing drastic changes in multiple levels of society: diplomatic relations with foreign powers (Romulans, Cardassian, Dominion, and even Klingons), technological and economic (tech from the future, new resources or opportunities beyond the wormhole), and perhaps most importantly social (holograms as a slave work force).

The kind of stories that could be told in that environment, where on the surface the Federation appears to be approaching a golden age but in reality is starting to split apart at the seams due to all of these converging pressures, fascinates me.

Those are the kinds of stories I always thought Star Trek was best at.  The ones that took the science fiction premise and used it to comment on political, social, or economic issues, often that were somehow paralleled to issues we face today.

Those are the stories that I miss.  We have a plethora of action-y science fiction movies and television shows.  We have Star Wars movies coming up, for multiple years, that are going to fill my need for science fiction action quite nicely.  Turning Star Trek into action movies as well, which is what it feels like we’ve arrived at with the JJ-verse, does a disservice to the kinds of stories Star Trek usually excels at telling.

What I love and hate about Star Trek