Star Trek

Green Room: Patrick Stewart Q&A

Green Room is a new film starring Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men), Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later, V for Vendetta), Alia Shawkat (Three Kings, Whip It), and Anton Yelchin (Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness). The film was written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier (Septien,Hamilton).

Here’s the official synopsis of the film:

“Green Room is a brilliantly crafted and wickedly fun horror-thriller starring Patrick Stewart as a diabolical club owner who squares off against an unsuspecting but resilient young punk band.

Down on their luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights are finishing up a long and unsuccessful tour, and are about to call it quits when they get an unexpected booking at an isolated, rundown club deep in the backwoods of Oregon.  What seems merely to be a third-rate gig escalates into something much more sinister when they witness an act of violence backstage that they weren’t meant to see.  Now trapped backstage, they must face off against the club’s depraved owner, Darcy Banker (Stewart), a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his nefarious enterprise.  But while Darcy and his henchmen think the band will be easy to get rid of, The Ain’t Rights prove themselves much more cunning and capable than anyone expected, turning the tables on their unsuspecting captors and setting the stage for the ultimate life-or-death showdown.

Intense, emotional, and ingeniously twisted, Green Room is genre filmmaking at its best and most original. Saulnier continues to build his reputation as one of the most exciting and distinctive directors working today, with a movie that’s completely different from his previous, highly acclaimed Blue Ruin, but which is just as risk-taking and even more full of twists. The entire cast deliver first-rate performances, but Patrick Stewart gives a transforming and brilliantly devious turn as Darcy—elegant yet lethal, droll yet terrifying, Stewart makes the film simply unforgettable.”

Catch the official RED BAND trailer below followed by a Q&A with Patrick Stewart.

Green Room Q&A WITH ACTOR PATRICK STEWART

GREEN ROOM: Patrick Stewart

How did you first get involved in GREEN ROOM and what made you interested in doing it? 

A script arrived with the usual offer, plus a DVD of Jeremy’s first film Blue Ruin. I knew nothing about the story when I started to read Green Room but was at once interested, amused and touched by the situation of the punk band The Ain’t Rights.

The drama and horror that followed their rural gig was unexpected and shocking. Quickly turning pages my discomfort grew (I was alone in my rather remote house in the English countryside) and I was compelled to lay the script aside and pour a large scotch and soda. I didn’t think I could finish the script without it.

I was fascinated by the character of Darcy, so calm, so unruffled, so merciless. The next night I watched Blue Ruin and went through exactly the same experience as the previous evening. Beautiful and terrifying movie.

Was it appealing to play the villain in a movie? 

I don’t think in terms of “villain,” “hero,” and all that–but Darcy certainly wasn’t Jean-Luc Picard or Professor Xavier. I was intrigued by him and that’s enough.

Can you talk about the experience of working with Jeremy?  He is clearly rooted in genre filmmaking but also consistently works with great actors who give terrific performance in his films…what makes him an exciting filmmaker to collaborate with?   

Working with Jeremy was great. As writer he is so close to the work and he understands the genre marvelously.

How did you flesh out the character of Darcy?  Did you do research, discuss a backstory, etc.? 

I did research on the white supremacist movement in the USA and was surprised to find that its heartland is the Pacific Northwest.

Can you talk about your experience working with the other actors in the film?

I had never worked with any of these actors previously and I was immediately struck by their focus and commitment to the subject and story. Darcy is a very detached character and it worked well for me to keep my distance from the others except for Darcy’s closest “associates.” I had loved Macon Blair’s work in Blue Ruin and we became a brutal partnership.

Were there any outside performances, characters, or films that specifically influenced your work in Green Room?  

Yes, John Boorman’s brilliant movie, Deliverance. Same theme. Naive innocents as victims of people with whom you cannot reason.

Green Room Poster

Green Room is in theaters now!

Green Room: Patrick Stewart Q&A

Dead Drift: The Indie Spotlight

Today we turn our indie spotlight to web show Dead Drift. You should give it a watch by clicking here. It’s a short little five minute episode kinda thing that shouldn’t take too much of your time.  Dead Drift is a futuristic sci-fi take on The Office style of comedy that pits three crew members in a interstellar mission where things, well … uhmmm, they get a little weird.

The show consist of short 5 minute episodes with interactions between Captain Ryland Banks and Technician Maurice Morris. In between the conversations or short little asides, the characters break the fourth wall and talk directly to the viewer, much in the way that is seen on The Office.

Described as a screwball buddy comedy Dead Drift is pretty darn funny. Having Technician Morris squaring off with Captain Morris is hilariously done and well acted. I couldn’t help but to chuckle at Star Trek references but what is so funny is that the two man crew is so incompetent. We all have a picture in our head of NASA sending the best and brightest out there but these two are not it. Morris is a insubordinate and a malcontent who has contempt for his Captain. Captain Morris on the other almost graduated West Point and can’t help but to be anything but inspire leadership, Captain Picard he is not.

Banks

Almost Graduated West Point

Morris

Sending Sass Your Way

HANNAH

The Only Competent Crew Member

One scene in particular has the Captain trying to get a replicator to make him, tea, earl grey, hot, and is too incompetent to figure out the device. When he called Morris to correct the problem the technician gives him sass and says holding up a induction clamp voltmeter “I’ll just use my tricorder and run a level 3 diagnostic.” Just about any Trekkie would recognize a level 3 diagnostic. In another scene, Morris runs out of toilet paper and decides to use a technical manual to finish his business and some how manages to use it despite it actually being a tablet. Who says eBooks will replace paper print anyways?

The screwball crew is eventual joined by a sexy and competent AI named H.A.N.N.A.H. Playing the role of the comedic “straight man”, her character does a great job of punting joke set ups to Morris and Banks. And as you might imagine Hannah’s perfect capabilities make these two slobs look even worse.

 

Dead Drift Clones

Attack Of The Clones

There short mission takes them to their first port of call to visit a Mars station where a German Commander named Schneider has is dead wife cloned, multiple times… things get weird for Morris and Banks.

Schneider

You Better Believe German Accents Can Be Funny !!

On the whole, this is great little show, funny, crisp, and sharp in its unique sci-fi brand of comedy. Every episode comes in at just under 5 minuets so it makes it easy to watch either on the go or in that short break between tasks. Dead Drift is a great sci-fi show that deserves to be given a chance to entertain you, if even for a few minutes. Check out there website and check out what they accomplished here.

Have you watched any of Dead Drift yet? Comment below with your thoughts on the series!

Dead Drift: The Indie Spotlight

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

Star Trek in Right Direction with Nicholas Meyer

Nicholas Meyer is joining the new Star Trek TV series.

Most Trekkies, myself included, were elated at the news that Star Trek was returning to TV on CBS in early 2017. We’ve been without a Star Trek series since Enterprise went off the air in 2005. Since then, we’ve had nothing set in the Prime universe and only two films in the form of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness. That’s not much for a franchise that had running TV series from 1987-2005 which included four different series plus six motion pictures. The announcement of Bryan Fuller as the show-runner was great news. Why? Well, he’s been involved in Star Trek before, writing over 20 episodes across multiple series, mainly Voyager. He’s also been involved with very successful series like Pushing Daises and Hannibal.

Today, another great thing happened. Bryan Fuller announced one of the writers for the upcoming series, Nicholas Meyer. Sound familiar? If you’re a Trekkier\Trekker, it should. Nicholas Meyer has been responsible for three out of my top four Star Trek films. You can catch my full ranking here. Check out the official press release below from StarTrek.com:

It’s official. Bryan Fuller, who will co-create, produce and serve as showrunner of the upcoming Star Trek series, has just announced the news that Nicholas Meyer has joined the show’s writing staff.

“Nicholas Meyer chased Kirk and Khan ’round the Mutara Nebula and ’round Genesis’ flames, he saved the whales with the Enterprise and its crew, and waged war and peace between Klingons and the Federation. We are thrilled to announce that one of Star Trek’s greatest storytellers will be boldly returning as Nicholas Meyer beams aboard the new Trek writing staff,” said Executive Producer, Bryan Fuller.

Meyer, of course, is beloved by Star Trek fans worldwide for directing (and co-written, uncredited) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, co-writing Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and co-writing and directing Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

The new Star Trek series, produced by CBS Television Studios, will launch in early 2017. In the U.S., a special premiere episode will air on the CBS Television Network and all subsequent first-run episodes will be available exclusively on CBS All Access. The series will also be available on television stations and platforms in local countries around the world.

So there you have it. Meyer directed both The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country in addition to being involved in writing both of them PLUS co-writing The Voyage Home.

Bryan Fuller Meyer Tweet

This is very exciting news because the two biggest hires that CBS has made to this point include two major Star Trek alums who have a passion for the franchise and were involved in what many of us call the Golden Age of Trek. Meyer was even involved in the film that brought the franchise back from the dead after the lack of success The Motion Picture had.

Many people, myself included, have not fully enjoyed what is called the JJ-verse. Many felt that Abrams was not right for the job, having been quoted saying he didn’t watch or like Star Trek but was instead a Star Wars fan. Now, I also love Star Wars and think Abrams was perfect for The Force Awakens and I think most would agree with that. But, I want someone passionate about Star Trek. This franchise means the world to me and to see CBS take it seriously and bring in two alums right off the bat makes me optimistic.

There have also been rumors that Tony Todd might be joining the cast. For those who don’t know, Tony Todd is also a Trek alum, having starred in 6 episodes between Voyager, Deep Space Nine, and The Next Generation as Worf’s brother Kurn, a future Jake Sisko, and the Hirogen Alpha. He’s also been in such shows as Chuck and The CW’s The Flash as the voice of Zoom. He was also involved in the Prelude to Axanar short fan film that leads up to the Axanar movie currently involved in a lawsuit with CBS. Tony Todd is no longer associated with that project.

So there you have it. CBS has added Bryan Fuller and now Nicholas Meyer to the upcoming Star Trek TV series. How do you feel about this? Are you excited? What is your favorite Nicholas Meyer Trek contribution? How about Bryan Fullers? Would you like to see Tony Todd return to the franchise? Comment below!

Star Trek in Right Direction with Nicholas Meyer

Star Trek: Progeny Interview

We were able to talk with the creative mind behind upcoming Star Trek fan film, Star Trek: Progeny: This film looks a currently untold time during the Federation, following up on a story from The Original Series. Check out the synopsis from the official website and then our interview below.

James T. Kirk never realized how true those words would become when a casual romantic eveningchanged the history of Magna Roma the Roman Planet forever.

50 years later, his granddaughter, Livia Avitus, embarks on her own destiny among the stars, A Federation Special Agent protecting the galaxy.

progenysolo

 


The Grid:

All of us over here at the Grid love indie sci-fi and we look forward to Star Trek fan films in particular. Star Trek: Progeny is completely unique in its approach, a spin-off of The Original Series episode “Bread and Circuses” and having a strong female protagonist.

What are the effects of the character origin on the personality of Livia Avitus, the lead character?

Star Trek Progeny:

First, thank you allowing me to share some details of what Star Trek: Progeny is about on your great website. It really is a passion project for me, and the fanbase has been steadily growing since I announced the Fan Series.

Star Trek: Progeny came about one evening while I was watching the episode in question. It was one of those episodes that, for me, left me wondering, “Well what happened next?”

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy left a few devices behind. Phasers, a Tri-corder, and Communicators. Kirk also left behind something of a more personal nature with his tryst with Drusilla. To Kirk’s credit (and also the great writing of Gene L. Coon and Roddenberry) he never took advantage of Drusilla. Could his will had been stronger? Sure. But maybe Kirk was thinking to himself, “Well I’m in Rome. And when in Rome…”.

I’ve been developing the pilot script and series bible for over a year now to answer those questions that I had. Also tying them into the 50 year anniversary of Star Trek. 50 years later, what does this world of Magna Roma look like and what involvement does the Federation have?

From this comes our female protagonist, Livia Avitus, the granddaughter of Kirk and Drusilla. First, she’s a Roman, trained extensively in hand-to-hand combat and weaponry. She also has a keen mind. She’s able to see the bigger picture. A trait inherited by Captain Kirk. I think this makes her a great detective and then later, a special agent.

One choice I did make with her character is that she’s not an anti-hero, which is popular in Film and TV today. Protagonists who are battling inner demons like drugs or alcohol…etc. Carrie, from Homeland or Tony Stark from Ironman as examples.

Emotional pain from failure or losing a loved one, most definitely. As Kirk would say, that pain makes us who we are.

         trekbreadandcircuses5          

The Grid:
The casting Progeny is impressive. Cassandra Scerbo looks incredible in the trailer and I loved Rick Worthy in Battlestar Galactica: The Plan.  What’s it like getting veteran actors onboard for your project?

Star Trek Progeny:
I feel very lucky to have these actors attached. My casting director, Neely Gurman, did a fantastic job in seeking these actors out. It’s also very validating to know they were interested after reading the pilot script we sent them. Having a cast of this caliber is a great piece to have in the larger production puzzle.

Cassie Scerbo in the lead role is a major plus. An incredibly talented actor, blessed with athletic prowess and fashion model looks. What more could you ask for?

The Grid:
Three of your actors have previous Star Trek experience; Stephen Manley, Carlos Carrasco and Rick Worthy.Will these characters be reprising their roles or will they be doing something different, what can you tell us?

Cast Star Trek Progeny

Star Trek Progeny:
All of the roles are new characters except the role of Drusilla, the slave girl from The Original Series. Sadly, Lois Jewell who played her in “Bread and Circuses”, passed away in 2014, so we very are fortunate to have Francine York play the role. Stephen Manley will play a Vulcan again, but a very different character. Rick Worthy will play a Roman Police Detective. And Carlos Carrasco will play a Starship Captain. Anne Marie Howard, a newcomer to Star Trek will play Commodore Yvonne Ellison. That’s all we have attached at this point, but there are many other roles to fill also. Hopefully we can get some more Star Trek alums to fill them.    

The Grid:
I’m an avid fan of classical history.

Can you tell us about the Roman look and feel of the story? It was an interesting idea of a planet where Rome never died.
Star Trek Progeny:
In the original episode, the look was similar to Earth in 1968. It’s now 48 years later, and Magna Roma resembles Earth in 2016. There’s been some sweeping changes that have come about to be included in the Federation of Planets. No more slavery; the “Children of the Son” movement has been accepted into society. But, the planet is still Roman by nature. The government has the same structure as Ancient Rome. The Military, although now more advanced, has the same tactics, and the society is very liberal about things like drug use and prostitution. Also, televised gladiator games to the death are still a big ratings draw . Granted, not the utopian society that Gene Roddenberry created for earth, but let’s give the Magna Romans time.

bread_and_circuses_046

The Grid:
Interesting, what else can you tell us about what things you are considering about the plot in general? Will we be seeing the Federation on the planet or will this be a lone agent?

Star Trek Progeny:
Starfleet and the Federation are very much a part of the story. But at the heart of the series is Liv’s journey in finding her true calling as she becomes a member of Starfleet. The series is also procedural in nature with a new mission each episode.

The Grid:
You have events taking place after Star Trek Original Series, yet just before The Next Generation in the year 2316. From my understanding this was a time of long lasting peace for the Federation. When some other fan films opt for times of war for the action, Progeny as gone a different direction.

How will the time period effect the story in Star Trek: Progeny?

Star Trek Progeny:
In researching other Trek series I discovered that this time frame has never really been depicted, mainly only in novels.  Also, if you look up 2316 at the Memory Alpha site, there’s nothing there.  I was drawn to that.

I actually see these times similar to a Cold War scenario. Very political. Tensions between the Klingons and the Federation are better, but still raw. It will be many years before the first Klingon is allowed into Starfleet.

In the middle of all this is a planet poised to become a great galactic power and the Federation is first in to influence them, to the dismay of the Klingons.

Personally, in screenwriting, I find the threat of war creates more tension than being in an actual war. Star Trek has a few instances of this. As an example: Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country and in The Original Series episode  “A Taste of Armageddon.”

Star Trek Progeny Scene

The Grid:
When you describe it like that, this time period sounds like some real fertile ground for story telling.

It looks like Progeny has some experience behind the camera as well; having a writer, composer, and casting director already.

How are things going in getting others to work behind the camera on Progeny? Any ideas on who will be directing it?

Star Trek Progeny:
I am sort of a one man band when it comes to producing it. I will write, direct and edit the first episode. I work for NBCUniversal and for the last 19 years have  been in different post-production capacities, as Editor, Graphics Designer, Sound Design and Mixing. In the last few years, I’ve also been working in After Effects. Before I came to NBCUniversal, I also directed quite a bit.

But, I can’t do it alone and I’m very fortunate to be in the Los Angeles area. There’s so many Film and TV pros here. What’s amazing is the fact that simply saying “Star Trek” to anyone in production returns an immediate “Yes”. I’ve also received numerous emails from film/tv students at USC, UCLA, and many others, willing to volunteer their time.   

The Grid:
I love that Star Trek still has such a strong pull from people in the L.A. and people are so willing to work on the project. As far the technical side of things, what do you have planned for special effects? Will we be seeing ground side action or any space scenes?

Star Trek Progeny:
A mixture of both. I’m trying to keep the VFX to a minimum so I can keep the costs down. There won’t be epic space battles, but there will be a number of scenes with a Starship.

Having the first episode take place on Magna Roma also helps keep the costs low. Los Angeles in its present day look will serve as the backdrop.

The Grid:
How about costume and props? Will you be making your own or reproducing what has already been seen on Star Trek?

Star Trek Progeny:
Again a mixture of both. The Starfleet uniform designs will be from the first scene in the movie Generations. I believe those uniforms were still used in 2316. The Romans will look present day. Government officials will be an updated look of Merik’s and Marcus’ costume in “Bread and Circuses”.

There’s so many Starfleet props already on the market that I see no need to manufacture new ones. But, (and I’ve received flak for this already) the gun used in the first teaser is a new prop designed to be a Roman gun. A hybrid of a modern day glock 9mm and a phaser.

And then there’s SFX makeup to think about too.     

tos-225-bread-and-circuses-300x225

The Grid:
CBS has recently given Axanar a cease and desist while allowing many other fan productions to go on.

The Star Trek fan community loves the idea of fan films and as a fellow fan film maker, what are your thoughts on this?

Star Trek Progeny:
First of all, when the lawsuit came out, my first thought was that Progeny was dead in the water.

After a few days, I decided to stick it out and I contacted our cast about it. I told them to check with their agents/managers to see if they should withdraw from the project. So far, my cast is intact with the exception of Gates McFadden, who would have played the new role of Commodore Ellison.  She decided not to continue with the production and I clearly understand her decision.

Secondly, I’m not surprised that something like this has happened. I’m not picking a side. What I mean is that the behind-the-scenes history of Star Trek has always been plagued with controversy and legal actions. It’s such a contradiction in itself. Such a beautiful universe created by Gene Roddenberry yet so much ugliness that has taken place just to make that universe. 

The Grid:
We’re glad you guys decided to stick to your guns and continue with Progeny. Do you plan on making use of various crowd funding to help the fans support Star Trek: Progeny and when do you think we’ll see the first episode?

Star Trek Progeny:
We’re hoping to do an Indiegogo campaign in February. If we get all necessary funds, a 9-10 day shooting schedule is tentatively set for April, with a premier of the first episode by May.

Along with crowdfunding I’m really trying to get a number of things donated to the project.

Camera gear, locations, drivers with trucks, all of this helps keep the costs down while not hurting the production values.

I’ve also seen people willing to donate Sky Miles.

The Grid:
Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring film makers out there just trying to get things started and off the ground? What are some of the lessons you’ve learned?

Star Trek Progeny
Fan films bring a large fan base but also a ton of scrutiny. Be ready for that. Tell the story you want to tell and keep focused on your vision.

The Grid:
Excellent advice, thank you very much for the interview. We’ll be looking forward to seeing it.

Star Trek: Progeny:
Thank you and thanks for your work in keeping Star Trek alive through your website.

There you have it, our interview with the upcoming fan film, Star Trek: Progeny. What do you think about the project? Is this a topic\theme you are looking forward to? Comment with your thoughts.

For more information on Star Trek: Progeny, check out their official website here.

Star Trek: Progeny Interview

Top 12 Most Anticipated Board Games of 2016

As an avid board game enthusiast, part of the fun of this hobby is looking forward to the new and exciting games coming out soon. 2015 was a strong year for board games, and so far what little news we have from 2016 appears to be shaping up to be another exciting year. Already there are more than 150 board games that have been announced for release during 2016 with varying degrees of information available about those games at this point. Most of the board games announced look mediocre or don’t appeal to my taste, but some have me just waiting to pre-order as soon as it becomes available.

som

Before I begin my list, I should say that this list doesn’t represent the games I think will be the best this year. Some of the best board games that will come out this year won’t be announced until much later in the year. The games in this list merely represent the games I’m the most excited about. Some, I’m sure, will turn out great, others have the promise of being great, and it’s almost certain at least one of these will flop, but I’m dying to learn more about them anyway. Since this is going to be a long article, I’m going to list out my board games first, and if you’d like to see what they’re about, keep reading or just skip to the one’s you’re interested in.

Here’s the TL;DR Board Game list:

12) Apex Theropod Deck Building Game by Die-Hard Games
11) (Tied) Back to the Future: An Adventure Through Time and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past by IDW Games
10) (Tied) Legendary Encounters: Firefly and Legendary Encounters: Big Trouble in Little China by Upper Deck Entertainment
9) Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks by Gale Force Nine
8) The Networks by Formal Ferret Games
7) Campaign Trail by Cosmic Wombat Games
6) Victorian Masterminds by Space Cowboys
5) Star Wars: Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games
4) Chronicles: Origins by Artana
3) Scythe by Stonemaier Games
2) SeaFall by Plaid Hat Games
1) Untitled Star Trek Game by Gale Force Nine

Intrigued? Keep reading, and I’ll give you my take on the most exciting games set to be released in 2016.

12)  Apex Theropod Deck Building Game by Die-Hard Games

Apex Board Game Image

The Apex Theropod Deck Building Game is a deck-building game where each player takes on the role of a dinosaur species brood mother.  As the game progresses, you use dinosaurs from your clan to hunt for food along a rotating game trail, which you use to feed new dinosaurs that can be added to your brood, or to unlock new evolutions that give your species certain powers.  Each species of dinosaur includes a custom deck of cards with very distinct playing styles that fit the type of species you are playing.  For example, Raptors need to focus on ambushing and attacking in packs, whereas Tyrannosaurus can scavenge dinosaurs that were killed by other predators in the game trail.  Occasionally, a more powerful dinosaur shows up in the game trail to challenge your brood for dominance.  The game ends when the world is destroyed by a massive meteor strike, and the player who managed to hunt the most game, including bosses, wins.

This pick is a little bit of a cheat.  The first Kickstarter edition of this game was released early in 2015, and while I played it a lot, there were some flaws.  Some dinosaur species were unbalanced, and it was a little too easy to end up in a ‘death spiral’ where your deck becomes so clogged by wounds that you can never recover.  That said, the play was really thematic, and the card artwork was amazing.  Last summer, Herschel Hoffmeyer, the game designer and artist, announced that he was releasing what amounts to a second edition of the game, even though it’s not called such.  He took a lot of the feedback, fixed some of the balance issues, and the new version of the game is set to be released in late January or February.  The game looks even better, and if you like deck-building games, this one is worth your time.

11)  Back to the Future: An Adventure Through Time and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past by IDW Games

idw

This will be the first of two ‘ties’, but it’ll make sense why I’m ranking them this way.  Last year, board games saw a glut of campaign style games, some of which were great, many of which were not.  Very few had licenses on par with Back to the Future and TMNT.  IDW is a company mostly known for their comic book lines, but in the last few years has ventured into board games.  They’ve put out a few decent games, including Machi Koro and Yedo, but they’ve been focusing recently on licensed properties, including The Godfather, X-Files, and Orphan Black.  All of those games have been largely disappointing.

Last year, Cryptozoic Entertainment released the Ghostbusters game, which primarily used artwork from the IDW Publishing Ghostbusters comics.  Ghostbusters is a game that hits the nostalgia factor hard, and has great miniatures, but the story and gameplay falls flat and feels very repetitive.  Ghostbusters was one of several games to try and add a campaign element to it that just feels underwhelming.  Now IDW is venturing on their own with TMNT and Back to the Future, and while once again the nostalgia factor is high, I’m REALLY nervous.

IDW Publishing has been putting out TMNT comics for a number of years now, which I’ve quite enjoyed.  The new TMNT game appears to let players play as one of the half-shell heroes or as Shredder (which I assume means it’s a 1-vs-All style game as opposed to purely cooperative), and will recreate stories from the comic book arcs of the last four years.  The artwork promises to be great with Kevin Eastman on the project, and the game is being designed by Kevin Wilson, who has done some great games (Descent 2nd Edition, Arkham Horror, and Fury of Dracula), but has also had some misses.  With a summer release, we should get more information soon.

Back to the Future is a more nebulous game right now.  From what we know so far, it’s a card game for 2-4 players that involves traveling back and forth between 1955, 1985, and 2015 to ensure that key events from the movies happen as they are supposed to that plays in about 30 minutes.  Each turn, players take on the role of one of the iconic characters and will be trying to maneuver other characters from the movies to their play areas to trigger key events from the movies.  It adds an interesting ‘ripple’ mechanic, where you bank cards in between the three time periods that represent positive changes that occurred because of how events in the past were changed.  While I’ll have to wait and see as more information comes out, I’m not sure I’m sold on a filler-type version of a Back to the Future game yet, but the idea is interesting.  We’ve yet to see a great game with this license, so maybe this one will be it.

10)  Legendary Encounters: Firefly and Legendary Encounters: Big Trouble in Little China by Upper Deck Entertainment

legendary

The Legendary system is one I have raved about before.  Towards the end of last year, Upper Deck announced there were two different new Legendary Encounters games being planned that would be standalone titles, but both of them had me very intrigued:  Firefly and Big Trouble in Little China.  For those unfamiliar, the Legendary System involved a Deck-Building engine with a story-driven event track of villains/challenges that the players must overcome all while trying to accomplish a set of objectives to complete the story/defeat the villain.  The Alien and Predator versions of the game are among some of my favorite games of all time, so it’s a system I like a lot.

My concern is how these two IPs will fit into that system.  Every variant of the Legendary engine so far has been focused on combat.  This gives me some concerns when it comes to the Firefly license.  The idea of a Firefly game being a cooperative effort I like a lot, but it never felt like combat lay at the heart of the show, so I’m curious/nervous to see what direction they take it in.  Big Trouble in Little China is a fantastic cult classic film (set to be remade soon as well), but my only concern here is the depth of the story.  Marvel Legendary has a billion villains available to play now, Aliens has 4 movies to recreate, Predator only has two, but you can play as either Humans or Predators, which gives effectively 4 scenarios to play (plus the Alien crossover pack which allows you to combine the two games).  Even Firefly could probably pick a couple of episodes to recreate, but there’s just the single story from Big Trouble in Little China, which is my only concern there.  I think the theming would work well in this engine since there is a lot of combat, and bosses along the way to define the story.

So, long story short, I’m excited to see what they do with both games, since both have the potential to be interesting iterations of the Legendary system, but both could just as easily turn out to not work at all.  Both look to be released by GenCon 2016, which will be in early August.

9)  Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks by Gale Force Nine

doctorwho

This has every appearance of being the game that Whovians have been waiting for, though there’s not much more than an initial press release known about the game right now.  The press blurb indicates that the Daleks appear to be waging an all out war across time and space to eliminate the Doctor, and players will step into the role of one of the various incarnations of the Doctor to try and stop their plan to erase the Doctor from history.  Promising miniatures (Dalek miniatures make me want to do a little happy dance by themselves) and interesting game play, I’m actually really excited to see where this game ends up.  Gale Force Nine, unlike IDW or Cryptozoic, has an almost flawless record for licensed IP adaptations.  Their versions of Firefly, Homeland, Sons of Anarchy, and Spartacus are all incredibly thematic, well-designed games that have received a lot of critical praise.  A great property in the hands of a solid company makes me really excited to see where this one goes.

8)  The Networks by Formal Ferret Games

TheNetworks

The Networks is a game released on Kickstarter this past Fall and set to release in June 2016 about running the best TV Network.  Players compete to have the best prime-time lineup and draw the most viewers to their network.  Players must manage their lineup of shows, which may gain or lose viewers as the shows age, and fill those shows with acting talent and advertisements to keep their network in the black.  Many of the cards are very tongue-in-cheek references to existing shows (my favorite being NCISICMBOMGOMG: Scranton), actors or ads, and the humor is one of the elements that really drew me to this game and I think will help it be a hit with a lot of people.

I’ve had a chance to print out a print-and-play copy of this game to try out, and I was surprised to see how strategic the gameplay is.  The humor across all the cards really belies that fact that there’s a lot of competition to get the shows you need.  Money always feels tight, so there’s always a balance to make sure you’re able to take the right actions when you need them.  With a catchup mechanism that feels very fair, special abilities that can be gained through the game, and ways to specialize your network to your advantage, I’ve been very impressed with how solid this game is, and can’t wait to get the real thing in my hands this summer.

7)  Campaign Trail by Cosmic Wombat Games

campaignTrail

Another Kickstarter project, this one is more forward looking.  Campaign Trail ran a campaign this past fall that didn’t fund, and will be relaunching again next month.  Don’t be afraid when I say this is a game about politics, specifically running for President.  There’s actually a lot of game to like here, and while politics is the setting, this game is at its core a fairly competitive area control game, with players vying for influence in key states to make sure they maintain their edge in electoral college votes.  When my Republican candidate runs ads on, say, Gun Control, I don’t have to say what position he takes, just that he’s out campaigning on that issue, which helps avoid the ideological problems many other political games have in forcing players to argue or defend positions that they don’t agree with or (more commonly) that start out of game conflicts at the table.

Each player represents either a Republican, Democratic, or Independent candidate (and when you play with more than three, players form teams of President and Vice President candidates), and while candidates will be running ads and holding debates on a number of pressing topics, players aren’t required to actually espouse or argue a given opinion.    Using one of my favorite mechanics, players have a hand of cards with each card capable of performing most of the 6 actions available each turn.  Some cards are stronger in certain actions such a fundraising or travel, but this gives you a lot of tactical options to respond to what other players are doing.  There’s a really cool scoring track that shows who leads in each state that represents the role that polling plays in an election and gives all players at the table a real-time view of who is in the lead at any given time.  This looks to be a really strong game that fills a theme I think is really underrepresented, and one I can’t wait to back once it becomes available.

6)  Victorian Masterminds by Space Cowboys

While the game title (which is not finalized yet, apparently) doesn’t give you any real idea what the game is about, the setting from the game descriptions is as follows:

“Sherlock Holmes is dead! And with London’s greatest detective out of the way, those with villainous minds decide to wreak as much terror as possible on the populace — and you are one of those dastardly no-goodniks!  In Victorian Masterminds, you use five agents to destroy buildings, kidnap scientists, complete missions, and collect resources in order to assemble your custom death-dealing device. Don’t forget to increase your firepower, too, so that you can then put that device to good use.”

Add to that description that the game is being designed by Eric Lang (Blood Rage, XCOM: The Board Game, and Arcadia Quest among others) and Antoine Bauza (7 Wonders, Ghost Stories, Takenoko, and Tokaido), and you have my attention.  It’s supposed to feature worker placement with different kinds of workers, and will likely be released towards the end of 2016.

If you’re curious to know more, here’s an interview with Eric Lang discussing the prototype at BGG.CON 2015:

5)  Star Wars: Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games

rebellion1

Reminiscent of the PC Game of the same name released in 1998, Star Wars: Rebellion is a game of galactic conquest for 2-4 players developed by Fantasy Flight Games.  They’ve done pretty amazing work with the Star Wars license, though almost all of that work has been either in card or miniature games.  This appears to be their first ‘pure’ board game effort with the license, and I couldn’t be more excited.  This game appears to be the first to try and take the full galactic view of the conflict, and players will have to manage system morale, ground and space combat, and either find or protect the Rebel Alliance Headquarters to win.

rebellion2

With 170 miniatures, custom dice, cards, and a massive board, it promises to be an engaging experience, though the retail MSRP appears to be set at $100, which is a little steep for my liking.  What remains to be seen is whether the game will be a great game for Star Wars fans, or just a great game period.  With an estimated release in Spring of 2016, Fantasy Flight Games should soon start releasing teaser content to give us a better taste of what this game will involve, so keep an eye out for that in the next few months if this sounds interesting to you.

4)  Chronicles: Origins by Artana

This game is one of the hardest to get my head around, but could end up as one of the most unique gaming experiences of the year, assuming it gets released during 2016.  Set to launch on Kickstarter next month, Chronicles: Origins is the first in a planned series of Chronicle games that attempts to take the Legacy game concept to places it’s never been before.  It seems like the goal of this game is to take the legacy experience you get from playing through a single arc, then apply the concept used in some video game franchises of taking your saved data to inform the next game, except in this case, you’re filling out the breadth of civilization.

Hard to get your head around?  Sure.  This video may help.

I’m really, REALLY excited by the idea of a series of Legacy games all linked together, with the big advantage being that you can change up the game style between Ages.  Really interesting idea, and one I’ve definitely got my eye on.

3)  Scythe by Stonemaier Games

scythe

This is another game that’s a little hard to summarize, so I’ll simply fall back to the Kickstarter video to explain:

Did I mention this game raised $1.8 million on Kickstarter?  It’s fair to say a lot of people are looking forward to this one.  A 4X, alternate history, area control and resource management game with Mechs with beautiful artwork and custom miniature Mechs?  Yeah, I’m pretty excited.  Did I mention Mechs?

2)  SeaFall by Plaid Hat Games

seafall

SeaFall has been seemingly stuck in development hell for a long time now, which proves just how hard it is to actually balance a Legacy style game.  SeaFall is a 4X game (I guess I just really like that genre) set in the age of exploration, where each player plays a world power beginning to establish their naval supremacy.  From the brief game description:

“In SeaFall, the world is starting to claw its way out of a dark age and has begun to rediscover seafaring technology. Players take on the role of a mainland empire that consults with a consortium of advisors to discover new islands, explore those islands, develop trade, send out raiding parties, take part in ship-to-ship combat, and more. As in Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy, co-designed by Rob Daviau, SeaFall evolves as the game is played, setting their grudges into the history of the game and building a different narrative at every table as players open up the world.”

This game has been kept under rather tight wraps as development has progressed.  Unlike Pandemic: Legacy, it would seem that individual games will tend towards 120 minutes instead of 45 – 60 minutes, which I’m totally fine with.  What I’ve been able to see of the game reminds me of the Uncharted Waters video game series for the SNES/Genesis that I spent hours playing when I was younger.  I think a lot of people are eagerly waiting for a release date to be put out there for this one, but all indications are that it will come out this year.

1)  Untitled Star Trek Game by Gale Force Nine

While there’s been a glut of good Star Wars board and video games, there hasn’t been a great Star Trek game in quite a while.  Mayfair’s most recent attempt (Star Trek:  Five Year Mission) was just not good.  I happen to enjoy Star Trek: Fleet Captains a fair amount, though the rules are so dense and the setup time pretty intimidating to the point it almost never hits the table anymore.  The X-Wing Miniatures game is superior in all aspects to WizKids Attack Wing.  That’s why when I heard last month that a new game was being developed, and by Gale Force Nine (see my earlier gushing over them about Doctor Who), my ears perked up.  There are actually two new Trek-themed games coming out: one a reskinning of an existing game called Mage Knight by WizKids, who doesn’t have the best track record in my book, and this game.

What we know right now is pretty slim.  Planned to be released in time for the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek during the summer (read GenCon 2016 I would think), this currently untitled game is meant to be a giant 4X style game in the Star Trek Universe.  (I just realized my top 3 games are all 4X style games.  Hmm…)  Rather than play characters, you play as an empire (in what I REALLY hope feels closer to the old Birth of the Federation PC game released nearly 20 years ago) starting at the discovery of warp travel.  The game is currently in alpha testing, and has been kept largely under wraps, so we don’t know a lot yet, but the promise of a good, big, meaty Star Trek game has me the most excited of any game that’s been announced to this point.  Here’s a video from BGG.CON with about as much information as is available yet.

If it’s at GenCon this year, it’ll be my number one acquisition.  I want this to be good so badly, yet I fear for my wallet if it is.

So, that’s my list for the most anticipated board games of 2016.  If something caught your eye here, or there’s something you’re excited for this year, let me know down in the comments below.

Top 12 Most Anticipated Board Games of 2016

NX-01 Enterprise Refit Model Build

So I had some downtime recently and decided to spend it doing what I used do as a kid, put together a model. I’m not an expert modeler and I don’t do models very often, so when I do, I look for ones that are unique. Models where I can’t find any alternatives for. I was drawn to the NX-01 Enterprise refit done by Polar lights, found on Amazon for under $30 here. Released back in 2013 , this 1/1000 sale ship is a snap-it-together, or glueless style based on the ship from the Star Trek show Enterprise. You have three options of builds with this kit: the default Enterprise seen in the show, Columbia with very slight part variations and decal changes, and what is seen on the cover, the Refit style with the added secondary hull.

NX-01 Enterprise Refit Model Kit Polar Lights

 

Enterprise Background

The refit of the Enterprise was never actually used on the screen, though there was speculation that it could’ve made it in later seasons of Star Trek Enterprise if the show wasn’t canceled. It first grabbed my attention in the beautiful Ships Of The Line Calendar. Though I was never a big fan of Star Trek Enterprise I was nevertheless intrigued by the idea of updating NX-01. I’ve always been in love with the idea of things changing, upgrading and moving forward, pulling outdated technology into the future. I love seeing historical photos juxtaposing old naval ships with newer technology. like seeing an old WWI battleship crudely being retro fitted with a flight deck, heralding the end of one ship design while ushering in another.

Early Carrier

I guess this was the appeal to me of this ship, it looked to be evolving into the future. It took the ship and morphed it into something closer to the Original Series. I’ve only seen artist conceptions of it and wanted to look at it at all angles. See what impressions it gave from typical view points and some more combat oriented angles. I guess I’m weird like that.

NX-01 BattleIn the fiction of the show, technical reasons for the refit have been proposed as; increased power or faster warp, or both. The increasing threat of Romulans and the eventual war spoken about in the episode Balance of Terror were really good reasons to upgrade the ship. This could’ve been a missing link in Starfleet ship design, and a testament to what could’ve been. It was the imagination sci fi and I wanted it realized. And it linked Enterprise with the Original Series in both form and idea. Cool.


Assembly
What isn’t especially explicit with this model kit is it is a three in one model kit. Giving you the choice to build the default Enterprise or Columbia along with the Refit. Though most people who build this will probably be opting for the refit the two redundant options makes the instruction more complicated. Often times it will have you doing steps; 1,2,3 but skipping 4 and 5 if doing the Refit and so on. This makes the instructions muddled and more complicated than needed. However if you’re familiar with Star Trek Enterprise show then this shouldn’t slow you down much. You may’ve noticed already from the show the slight difference in deflector dishes between Columbia and Enterprise. Or even that the Original Series Enterprise had little needles on its Bussard Collectors in the pilot. You’ll also have three options for decals depending on the type of build and these can be a little difficult to follow instructions for. Just try to imagine only using a third of the instructions and the rest is just a distraction.

Model Instructions NX-01 Refit

NX-01 Refit Model Instructions

Fortunately since this isn’t officially cannon you have wiggle room for improvisation if you want. I think most Star Trek fans shouldn’t have trouble with the three sets of instructions and extra parts but young children and those unfamiliar with the show may have to pay closer attention.

NX-01 Model Pieces

NX-01 Refit Model Parts


Difficulty
The model isn’t particularly difficult to do, some sites having it as ages 10 and up. Part of the reason is it’s a Snap kit, meaning that it can be assembled without glue. But I’d recommend you use glue regardless. I’ve found that using to glue doesn’t really make a kit any harder but it ensures that the pieces fit all the way together and makes sure they stay together without any gaps between the parts. I believe making it glueless is just a method of the company of marketing to parents of younger builders. And well I’m a grown up dang it … …

NX-01 Refit Secondary Hull

NX-01 Refit Model Secondary Hull


Scale
The scale of the ship is pretty good though most people may feel it’s smaller than expected. Coming in at just under 9 inches the Enterprise Refit is in great proportion to other models but especially the Diamond Select Enterprise from the Original Series. Its size does pose problems for those wanting to run lights in it though. And for some reason they felt the need to use extremely small parts in the kit that add no aesthetic value, seemingly just to add work. They could’ve just have easily added, say the bridge as part of the saucer section without losing any detail. Instead it has you attaching it for no gained detail. You’ll find many instances of this where unnoticeable little pieces have to be glued that would’ve not needed to be done with other model kits. This would make since on a larger kit but on one of this size the detail gained by this isn’t noticeable.

NX-01 Enterprise Refit Constition Size Comparison

NX-01 Refit Model Constition Size Comparison


Time to Finish
It took about 8 hours including painting and decals, a little longer if you leisurely go about it as you watch season four of Enterprise as I was doing. Oh that Brent Spinner and his Augments … … On the whole the model was fairly easy to assemble and decals and painting are what you would expect for a model of this type.

NX-01 Enterprise Refit Aft ad Front View

NX-01 Refit Model AFT and FORE views

The overall default plastic color of the ship is way too glossy to leave as is, so I’d recommend painting it over with at least something grayish. The highlight painting scheme is rather simple, though if you want to go the patch work metal style known as “aztecing”, as seen on the show, this may take longer. I opted for a transition solid color look of the Original Series as I didn’t want to hassle with aztecing a model of this size.

NX-01 Refit Angle 2 View

NX-01 Refit Model, a great angle


Finished Product
All in all I was really impressed with this little NX-01 model. For its size and it being a snap-together it has excellent detail. I particularly liked the details on rim of the saucer section and those near the bridge. I loved the look of the default nacelles and opted instead to keep the plates off that would normally cover them as part of the Refit. However the detail on the secondary hull wasn’t quite as good as the rest of the ship being only just barely good enough I suppose. The stand is a little Spartan for my liking as well as being very plain, a black oval with a metallic rod shooting perpendicular from it. The stand isn’t really in line with the show’s style but it does hold the ship firmly. Something I can’t say for the Diamond Select line of Ships (points finger at them). But the paint scheme and decals add a lot to this little ship and makes it look as good, if not better, than the Diamond Select brand of starships. In the end I feel it was well worth the time and effort to build her.

NX-01 Refit Bow View

NX-01 Refit Model Hiding the Extra Bulk


NX-01 Enterprise Refit Conclusion
Having the NX-01 Refit model on my shelf next to the Constitution class is a great feeling of continuation. With no Star Trek show on TV just yet and Enterprise’s abrupt cancellation it reminds me of what the show could’ve been, an evolution to Kirk’s era. It’s odd how much both The Original and Enterprise had in common. In looking at the ship though I realized some of its flaws. For one, the secondary hull can only be seen from certain angles and is completely obscured by the primary hull from above. This is a very common angle that the ship was often shot from.

NX-01 Enterprise Top Front

Filming wise I imagine this could be used for some really creative reveals. Imagine the ship rounding an asteroid looking like its earlier form and slowly revealing its extra bulk as it aligns with its target and let’s loose a volley of torpedoes. In the real world this means that my new little ship’s home will be somewhere aloft, high up so I can see the secondary hull. Placing it down lower has the secondary hull obscured by the saucer section. But unlike other Star Trek ships this one doesn’t necessarily look good from every angle, I don’t know what it is. It just isn’t as aesthetically pleasing to look at from all angles as the Constitution or Galaxy was.

NX-01 Refit Angle 1

NX-01 Refit Model

Another starship design flaw that I couldn’t help but to notice is where neck attaches the primary hull. It connects where the shuttle bay used to be, blocking one bay entirely and obstructing another. From the decals it looks like one of the shuttle bays have moved to the secondary hull but I imagined ship designers would have moved the neck further back or forward, perhaps spoiling the nostalgia of the Constitution class but being more practical. I don’t think I would’ve ever thought of this without having a physical model in my hands.

NX-01 Refit Shuttle

NX-01 Refit Model Shuttle Bay Relocation


Supplemental
As I write this I see that Eaglemoss, the magazine miniature Star Trek ship maker, is planning a NX-01 Refit release in June 2016 as part of a special edition. Eaglemoss captured the original NX-01 beautifully so this could be another option for people who want to see the refit in real life like me but don’t want to bother with building it. It looks to retail at about $40 and will be slightly larger than the standard ships that they make, though much smaller than this model.

Eaglemoss NX-01 Refit

Eaglemoss Sure makes pretty ships

She certainly is a pretty ship. What do you think of the NX-01 Enterprise Refit starship and model? Comment below!

NX-01 Enterprise Refit Artist Concep

NX-01 Enterprise Refit Model Build

AXANAR: CBS Suit and Star Trek Fan Films

Axanar is attempting to boldly go where no Star Trek fan film has gone before. Over the course of three crowdfunding campaigns between Kickstarter and Indiegogo, they have raised about $1 million in funding for their Prelude to Axanar short film and Axanar full feature film. While their process has been ongoing for well over a year and production is set to begin on the feature film in February, CBS and Paramount, the owners of the official Star Trek TV and movie rights, have decided to file a lawsuit against Axanar Productions.

For many in the Trek community, this has been taken as a serious blow to the fan base. For decades, CBS and Paramount have allowed fan films to continue with little to no intrusion. Some of these productions have been incredibly popular like Star Trek: Continues which continues The Original Series story and format, leveraging new actors to portray Kirk, Spock, Bones, and the rest of the Enterprise crew. They currently have six episodes available on their website. Additionally, Star Trek: Renegades leveraged previous Trek actors in their original roles continuing on a more dark theme. The actors included in “Episode 1” are Walter Koenig (Chekov), Tim Russ (Tuvok), Robert Picardo (Dr. Lewis Zimmerman), and Manu Intiraymi (Icheb), among others. In fact, they’ve even boasted bigger Trek names for future episodes including Nichelle Nicoles (Uhura), Robert Beltran (Chakotay), Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko), Aron Eisenberg (Nog), and Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax). So, people want to know why Axanar is any different.

In their defense, they are using a new story with primarily new characters and have even taken Star Trek out of their title. They are using new ships and covering a time period not used in previous Trek. The characters they are leveraging were minor and not star or leading roles in the various TV series or movies. With that said, yes, they are using Klingons, Vulcans, and other Trek-specific species. But, what is the difference? This is something I suppose that Axanar Productions and CBS have to figure out together but many people think it’s the money involved. While arguing quality is something subjective, money is not. The amount of money raised by Axanar Productions is significantly higher than any previous Star Trek fan films and might even take the crow for fan films in general.

What do I think? Well, I think that CBS and Paramount have a vision for Star Trek with the upcoming Star Trek Beyond film and untitled TV web series set to hit in the next 13 months. CBS has a vision for these official productions and it’s possible that Axanar does not gel with these concepts or ideals and due to Axanar’s popularity, CBS wants to down-play their story. With that said, this is poorly timed by CBS. Star Trek is a complicated franchise, one that has a complex fan base that is willing to be very vocal about their passion of Trek. While the announcement of a new TV series was very exciting, many (not myself, by the way) were disappointed and down right angry that the series would only be available on the CBS All-Access paid subscription network (the pilot episode will air on CBS directly though).  Things continued on the downward trend with the release of the first Star Trek Beyond trailer which many (again, not me) felt did not feel Trek. In fact, it prompted Simon Pegg to make statements about how the trailer didn’t truly depict the message and tone of the film and that he was unhappy with said trailer. Thirdly, Creation Entertainment tried to pull a fast one on passionate fans by price gouging the General Admission tickets for the 50th Anniversary Star Trek Las Vegas convention, causing a retraction and reversal of the price increase within 12 hours.

Star Trek Axanar Ares

For CBS and Paramount to file suit now, after Axanar Productions already met with them as recently as August, seems confusing and in poor taste. With that said, since I am not a lawyer, CBS and Paramount may be completely in the right here if Axanar Productions is making a profit from their crowd funding or breaking other aspects of copyright law. For now, we’ll have to wait. Below is the official response from Alec Peters of Axanar Productions:

STATEMENT FROM ALEC PETERS, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF AXANAR

December 30, 2015

This morning, I was greeted with news that our production company, Axanar Productions and I, personally, am being sued by CBS Studios, Inc. and Paramount Pictures Corporation for copyright infringement of Star Trek.

First of all, I was disappointed to learn about this through an article in an industry trade. For several years, I’ve worked with a number of people at CBS on Star Trek-related projects, and I would have hoped those personal relationships would have warranted a phone call in advance of the filing of a legal complaint. Nevertheless, I know I speak for everyone at Axanar Productions when I say it is our hope that this can be worked out in a fair and amicable manner.

Axanar is a fan film. Fan films – whether related to Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Power Rangers, Batman or any other franchise – are labors of love that keep fans engaged, entertained, and keep favorite characters alive in the hearts of fans. Like other current fan films, AXANAR entered production based on a very long history and relationship between fandom and studios. We’re not doing anything new here.

Like all fan films, AXANAR is a love letter to a beloved franchise. For nearly 50 years, Star Trek’s devotees have been creating new Star Trek stories to share with fellow fans. That’s all we’re trying to do here.

Since the original Star Trek TV series, when the letter writing campaign by fans got NBC to greenlight a third season of Star Trek, fan support has been critical to the success of the franchise. It is the Star Trek fans themselves who are most affected here, for by suing Axanar Productions to stop making our movie and collect so-called damages, CBS and Paramount are suing the very people who have enthusiastically maintained the universe created by Gene Roddenberry so many years ago.

The fact that many of the fans involved with Axanar Productions are also industry professionals speaks volumes to the influence of Star Trek in the entertainment industry. Not surprisingly, these fans want to give something back. We’re very proud that the work we’ve done to date looks so good. That is also a reflection of the devotion of Star Trek’s fans.

Like everything related to Axanar Productions, we take this matter very seriously and remain open to discussing solutions with all parties that can be mutually beneficial.

Alec Peters

The official statement can be found on the official Axanar Facebook page here.

The full complaint (via Hollywood Reporter) is available here.

Many people have taken to the Internet with a hashtag supported by Axanar Productions #IStandWithAxanar which is paired with various images, profile photos, cover photos, etc. Additionally, Change.org is being leveraged for petitions supporting Axanar, like this one.

Others are concerned about their connection to the crowdfunding efforts. As contributors, our money is already gone. If production is shut down, what happens to our money? Additionally, are we liable for any damages as contributors? Again, while I’m not a lawyer, I do not think that CBS and Paramount are out to get any of the fans involved and are directly interested in Alec Peters and the rest of Axanar Productions. So, I don’t think we have to worry there. In the end, our money is likely lost but the show might go on. A couple years ago, a Kickstarter funded card game, Redshirts, was put on hold for about a year due to a copyright lawsuit with CBS. Eventually, an agreement was made and the game was altered and is now sitting in my basement. Perhaps an agreement can be made. For now, we’ll have to wait.

 

 

AXANAR: CBS Suit and Star Trek Fan Films

Star Trek Beyond: Trailer Reaction

The new Star Trek Beyond trailer dropped earlier this week, with rumors of it showing before the much anticipated upcoming Star Wars film. The first thing I noticed was how crude the first scene was with Kirk and Scotty. It looked so mashed together. They pasted scenes from the film together to sell the Beastie Boys song, “Sabotage”. Recycling from the first film’s music. This isn’t unusual for a teaser though. Neither is a simplified representation.

Typically trailers try to put all films into cookie cutter genres; action, romance, comedy, etc. So don’t get your feathers all ruffled just yet if this one comes across as an action adventure romp. Hollywood is expertly adept at twisting and turning films to fit their cookie cutter image of what they think will get the most butts in seats in July. They rushed this one out to hit with Star Wars. I know first impressions aren’t that good but teaser trailers usually suck, instead lest take a closer look at some of the more interesting details.

If you haven’t seen the first Star Trek Beyond trailer yet, check it out below before continuing.

 

Enterprise Destruction

You clearly see the port-side nacelle separate and the neck linking the primary and secondary hull take heavy damage. There are also hints of the saucer separating and the crew using escape pods. This wouldn’t be the first time the Big E was taken out in a film (see Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek: Generations ) and even more times on the television show; this is a popular way to ramp up the drama and excitement if it’s done right. Ultimately the ship is a part of the family and when it dies you can feel its loss. Hopefully, the ship isn’t sacrificed on the altar of action and adventure. Maybe they’ll try to evoke the sadness of the Search for Spock. One thing to note is that the Enterprise was attacked by a swarm, kamikaze style. Star Trek usually doesn’t touch on either of these often. The only exception being Voyager’s episode, “Swarm”.

Star Trek Beyond: Nacelle Damage

New Aliens

There looks to be at least two new aliens introduced in Star Trek Beyond; one enemy, one friendly. The hostile one (Idris Elba) looks to be a mixture of perhaps Jem’hadar and Reman, and probably with the same disposition to match. The other is a more friendly, black and white toned alien with a wielding a staff, presumably played by Sofia Boutella. What these two characters represent in the story is unknown but it may be related to the two different types of locals in the film cities and wilderness

Star Trek Beyond: Idris Elba Alien
New Uniforms

The obvious one would be the previously leaked Guardians of the Galaxy style worn by Kirk. Though unoriginal, it looks good. Maybe Paramount is hoping to cash in on the casual fun of Guardians of The Galaxy. But more the subtle change would be the regular duty uniforms seen on the ship and on the surface of the planet(s). It looks like a high mandarin collar has been added with some slight shoulder pads. And it looks like the fine texture that gave the uniforms a jersey, modern sports look has been dropped. With the high collar, plain texture, and shoulder pads it shares many similarities with the TNG uniforms. We don’t get many clear shots of the new regular duty uniform so it’s hard to say if it’s an improvement. Usually, high collars and shoulder pads add a certain professionalism to the look, a seriousness. Maybe hinting at the true tone of the film. I guess we’ll find out in July if they actually pull it off.

Star Trek Beyond: McCoyStar Trek Beyond: McCoy

Star Trek Beyond Plot Speculation

Creeping on forum boards, hoping to get glimpse of movies before they release really isn’t my thing. It’s just that I prefer something more tangible than rumors. From what I’ve seen, the ship takes heavy damage and the crew has used escape pods. But I wonder if this happens at the start of the film instead of at the climax at the end as it looks like they continue on the planet surface for a bit. The film may have a survivalist aspect with the ship being lost and the crew captured as POWs with Kirk saying “we have no ship, no crew” supporting this. A sort of Great Escape style story of the crew fighting to survive and get the upper hand of their captors. Perhaps Starfleet has gotten too ambitious pressing Beyond civilized space and found that “this is where the Frontier pushes back.” I love that line, I just hope it’s better than Voyager’s “Back to Basics” episode if this is the case. Either way this is just idle speculation.

Star Trek Beyond: POWs

Note Scotty’s little alien friend

Conclusion

The newer Star Trek films have been hit and miss with Trekkies and critics alike. After the less than perfect Into Darkness iteration they’ll need Star Trek Beyond to do much better, well at least if they want to keep making movies. Add to that a strong desire for the studio to get that huge Avengers and Guardians kind of revenue, you have some potential for Star Trek Beyond to be a hit. Consider also that they’re already taking steps to make another film after this and it makes me wonder if it will be a semi-cliffhanger like the end of Star Trek III. But when it comes to trailers, I’m too jaded and I try to stick to the look and feel of it, ignoring the studio’s attempt to cookie-cutter categorization. It looks like they may be setting audiences up for an emotional loss and comeback story. Are they bold enough to end it like Empire Strikes Back? All in all, just try to remember teaser trailers are rushed and try to fit cookie cutter ideas of genres. Let’s be a little patient shall we. Isn’t Star Trek about optimism. Keep your chin up Trekkies!

What did you think of the trailer? Comment below with your thoughts!

Star Trek Beyond: Trailer Reaction

Star Trek and Religion

Science fiction is often times used to tell stories about the human condition because of how sci-fi uniquely offers situations and settings that provide such a rich platform for these types of stories. Star Trek is no exception and has often been lauded for its ability to provide stories that deal with various aspects of the human condition wrapped up in a Utopian futuristic setting. However, it seems Star Trek hasn’t really done as much exploring of religion as it should. Considering how big an aspect of humanity religion is and how Star Trek is often equated with exploring humanity, one would think that religion would figure heavily but that isn’t the case. This may be in part because of Gene Roddenberry’s pronounced atheism or the subsequent writers’ wish to keep one of the most controversial topics out of Star Trek but in any case, Star Trek simply hasn’t explored this issue as much as one would think and when they do, it’s almost never explored in a realistic or meaningful way.

Back in 1966 when The Original Series first aired, Star Trek religion-focused examples were few and limited. Perhaps the two most religiously oriented episodes are “Who Mourns for Adonais?” and “Bread and Circuses”. The former presents the origins of the ancient Earth Greek polytheism as a product of alien influence when the Enterprise discovers Apollo,Apollo an alien being who used his great power to demand worship from the ancient Greeks. In “Bread and Circuses”, the Enterprise discovers a society greatly akin to ancient Rome nearing its fall as paralleling Earth history. There is also a group of people who preach kindness, brotherhood, and peace who are described as “sun worshipers”. This is, however, confusing to Spock who recalls that most societies that practice sun worship are usually barbaric and warlike which is at odds with this group’s teachings on peace. It isn’t until the end when Uhura figures out that they are actually worshiping the “Son” of God. Again, paralleling early Christianity as it grew during the years preceding the fall of the Roman Empire, however, this episode seems more focused on how this alien world is paralleling Earth’s history and less about how the religion actually impacts people. Aside from these two episodes, The Original Series only scantly references any Earth religion usually through a Christian reference here or there from Kirk or McCoy and any time they discover a religious aspect of an alien society, it is always portrayed as being more alien influence similar to the Apollo situation from “Who Mourns for Adonais”.

In The Original Series movies, only one directly deals with a religious aspect and that is the heavily panned fifth film, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. In this film, the Enterprise crew meets Spock’s half-brother, Sybok, who has rejected Vulcan logic and seeks to find God at the center of the galaxy where the Vulcan heaven, Sha Ka Ree, is supposedly located. Once there, they discover an alien entity who passes himself off as God in order to gain Sybok’s trust. Kirk, however, discovers a flaw in God’s logic when the entity requests a Starship to be able to escape his planet and Kirk wonders why an all-powerful god would require a ship to do anything. Once the realization that this entity cannot be God, Sybok sacrifices himself to defeat the entity as the Enterprise escapes. Again, this film doesn’t really deal with religion in any realistic way since the “God” figure is again portrayed as an alien whose great power is mistook for the divine.Sha_Ka_Ree_God

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the same attitude towards religion is again taken, although I would say much more militantly so, and the vague Christian references that Kirk and McCoy would often give are entirely absent in this incarnation of Star Trek. Every portrayal of religion is shown only in primitive alien societies who are seen as not having evolved enough to abandon religion as Earth has. I would hazard a guess that this is because Gene Roddenberry had become much more humanist and instead of thinking that religion wasn’t for him, as I would guess he felt during The Original Series, he instead began to feel that religion was an opposing force to progress and human evolution which is why TNG presents itself as much more atheist and humanist than its predecessor. One interesting religious aspect of TNG, however, is the character of Q. While TNG is arguably the most openly atheist and devoid of religion, Q is presented as an all-powerful and all-knowing being but uses his powers to annoy, badger, and generally cause no end of mayhem and misery for Picard and his crew. I would submit that Roddenberry used Q to say that if God existed, he would be a bully and therefore unworthy of divinity or respect.Q-Richterkleidung

Kira Nerys - Bajoran ReligionPerhaps the most religiously oriented incarnation of Star Trek, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine presents a multifaceted approach to exploring religion and is perhaps the only Star Trek incarnation that does this in a serious and respectful manner. The most prominent religious aspect is the Bajoran religion to which main character Kira Nerys ascribes. The Bajorans believe in a religion curiously similar to both Judaism and certain denominations of Christianity. Their gods, the Prophets, are beings of great power that reside in the Celestial Temple and are said to look out for and guide the Bajorans. Starfleet, however, presents the more atheist and skeptical view of the Bajoran religion as they see the Prophets as another example of aliens using their great power to masquerade as gods; however, due to the way the Bajoran religion is portrayed, mostly through Kira’s devout faith in the Prophets, the audience is often left wondering if the Prophets aremerely powerful aliens or if they are something more. Winn Adami - Bajoran ReligionThis is compounded by the interactions between more religiously important characters like Captain Sisko, who is chosen by the Prophets in the first episode to be their Emissary, Kai Wynn, the often antagonizing leader of the Bajoran religion in a role similar to the Catholic Pope, or Gul Dukat who, by the series’ end, joins the Pah Wraiths in their war against the Prophets. The depth and respect afforded to the Bajoran religion is something that hasn’t been seen in Star Trek before or since Deep Space Nine which I submit is unfortunate.

In Star Trek: Voyager, the only real religious aspect that the audience is presented with is through the character of Chakotay.
Benjamin SiskoThis Native American First Officer is portrayed as a devout follower of his Native American religion; however, his religion is always portrayed as vague, nondescript, and an amalgam of basic Native American beliefs with no attention given to how his tribe’s beliefs differ from other Native Americans or anything like that. Unfortunately, Chakotay’s religion ends up being used as mostly a plot device for when he needs information. During these situations, Chakotay will enter a “spirit quest” with his spirit guide, Akoocheemoya, and will always be presented with the needed information just in time so his objective will be completed. Essentially, Chakotay’s religion isn’t really anything more than a stereotype used as a plot device, making any exploration of this religion mute and pointless.Chakotay

In Star Trek: Enterprise, there is perhaps only one episode, Chosen Realm, that deals with religion. In this episode, the Enterprise crew finds the crew of another ship that are found to be religiously fanatical and use violence, mostly through suicide bombers, as a form of enforcing what they would see
as peace on a planet that has been war torn by religious war for years. Considering that this episode was released in 2004, it can be seen how this would be culturally relevant since 9/11 was still fresh in the cultural mindset and many people were blaming religion for the cause of that disaster as well as other violence that ensues in the modern day. As the episode ends, the fanatical leader of this religious sect is returned to his home planet only to find that the religious war he sought to end has completely destroyed his planet and left it uninhabitable. This approach to religion seems to mirror the TNG approach as it displayed religion as a cause of great strife and holding a people group back from evolving into a more peaceful society; however, it still seems that religion here is portrayed very generically and it doesn’t actually explore how religion works on a personal level like it did in Deep Space Nine.ENT064

With the notable exception of Deep Space Nine, Star Trek has curiously ignored, misrepresented, or criticized religion as holding people back from becoming better. While Star Trek is famous for its exploration of the human condition, it seems to have largely failed in this area. With a new series being released in 2017, I would hope that a broader and more understanding attitude towards religion be brought  to Star Trek as it is a huge part of the human condition that deserves more attention and respect than what the vast bulk of Star Trek has done.

What do you think about religion’s inclusion in the Star Trek universe? Do you think it got a fair shake in the various series? Comment below with your thoughts!

Star Trek and Religion

William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge

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Intro

Chaos on the Bridge is another excellent documentary from William Shatner. All done in a crisp style that never shies away from answering the questions; what actually happened during the first two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation? How did lightning actually strike twice? And finally, what was all the drama behind the scenes? The answers to these may surprise you and just how candid they really are is the kind of thing that will please most Star Trek fans.

Shatner the Interviewer

Shatner is actually a pretty good interviewer with an aggressive approach that’s great at eliciting a response from who ever he’s talking to, making the whole interaction seem fluid and natural. Chaos on the Bridge can be compared to Shatner’s other works, The Captains Up Close and the short lived show, Shatner’s Raw Nerve. Except with this newer interpretation he has refined his interview technique, leaving more room for the people he’s talking with to express themselves better, doing an even better job of coaxing their ideas out because of his improved technique.  All in all, Shatner not only is a capable starship captain, but he’s a pretty good interviewer as well.

Shatner the Interviewer

 

Production and Style

It’s not to say that Shatner does it all by himself. He’s helped by some excellent editing and great artistic style. All the bits and pieces of the interviews are put together in all the right places driving the over arching story that is The Next Generation, gluing all of these clips together in an excellent comic book style illustrating all of the behind the scenes drama. One scene in particular has Roddenberry sitting down with studio executives, to haggle about the show, has them drawn in a poker style card game where bluffing is the deciding factor. It sucks seeing the “Great Bird of the Galaxy” lose out to those executive sharks, but Star Trek the way it was meant to be eventually happened.

Star-Trek-TNG-Chaos-on-the-Bridge

Conclusion

That’s what this documentary captures so well. It gives a small glimpse into what went into making one of the greatest shows of all time. It breaks down the miracle of lightning striking twice, making it a little less mystical, humanizing it. I love how it was quick to note that The Original Series fans were not all on-board for the show. TNG’s struggles as an show in the beginning matches many of the other failed shows but the producers and writers found a way to make something wonderful, nailing that hail marry pass. Sometimes with Roddenberry, sometimes in spite of him. This documentary is an excellent candid take on the first two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation and is a must watch for any Star Trek fan. It first premiered on HBO but can be found on Netflix.

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William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge

Star Trek All-Star Crew

In the wake of the CBS announcement of a new Star Trek TV series set to land on CBS All-Access in January of 2017 as well as the franchise’s 50th anniversary coming up next year, I wanted to take a look back at the various crews we’ve had over the years and assemble the ultimate Star Trek All-Star Crew from across generations. I’ll be breaking down each crew position, taking into account primary characters from The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. I’ll provide a list of who was in the running and why I chose who I did. Now, since not all crews are created equal (for example, The Next Generation was the only crew with an official Counselor [yes I know about Ezri] and Worf was on two different series) I’ll do my best to fill all of the necessary roles even though my choices might not be who you would expect. So sit back, relax, and ahead full impulse. It’s All-Star time.

Star Trek New Series

All-Star Captain

In the running: Kirk, Spock, Picard, Riker, Sisko, Janeway, Archer

All-Star Selection: Jean-Luc Picard

Explanation: Picard’s experience as a diplomatic leader, as well as his levelheadedness in the face of significant danger makes him the perfect candidate for Captain of a Starship. His experience as Captain of the Federation’s Flagship as well as his knowledge of the Borg provide unique experiences the other Trek Captains simply don’t contain.

All-Star First Officer (XO)

In the running: Spock, Riker, Kira, Chakotay, Trip

All-Star Selection: Spock

Explanation: While Spock was in the running for Captain, I think he is best suited as a First Officer. Even in the films when he was a Captain, he stood by Kirk’s side as his First Officer. Spock’s logical thinking, expansive knowledge of species and natural phenomenon, paired with his human side provide a highly intelligent and reliable XO for Picard.

All-Star 2nd Officer and Science Officer

In the running: Spock, Data, Jadzia Dax, Tuvok, T’Pol

All-Star Selection: Data

Explanation: While Spock provides a great deal of logic and intellect, who would not want Data on your crew? He is the smartest officer in Starfleet with processing speed that cannot be matched. Countless times the crew of the Federation, among others, were simply kept alive by Data’s ingenuity, quick thinking, and unparalleled physical abilities. Additionally, I think it would serve his mission to becoming more human well if he was able to leverage Spock as a mentor since Spock is of two worlds.

All-Star Chief of Security

In the running: Chekov, Yar, Worf, Odo, Tuvok, Malcom

All-Star Selection: Odo

Explanation: This was a very difficult call. While Worf makes a great tactical officer and the best in a fire fight, Odo’s natural shape-shifting abilities as well as his impressive mystery solving skills make him the best person to protect any location, be it a space station or Starship. He is highly intelligent but also able to keep a cool head and ensure that squabbles are resolved in a diplomatic way, if possible.

All-Star Chief Engineer

In the running: Scotty, Geordi, O’Brien, B’Elanna, Trip

All-Star Selection: B’Elanna

Explanation: Even without complete Starfleet training, B’Elanna is able to keep a new type of engine and ship technology running for over seven years halfway across the galaxy with limited resources, constantly using incompatible elements as power sources. Additionally, her doesn’t back down attitude will serve her well if commanding officers order her to complete tasks that are truly unattainable. She is resourceful, spirited, and always looking to push the boundaries of the technology available.

All-Star Chief Medical Officer

In the running: Bones, Crusher, Bashir, The Doctor (EMH), Phlox

All-Star Selection: The Doctor EMH (if he has his mobile emitter, otherwise Bashir)

Explanation: I hedged a bit on this one. If the EMH Doctor has his mobile emitter, then he is the clear choice. He has the knowledge of countless medical professionals from dozens of worlds and species. He is able to perform more surgeries than any human could ever learn in their lifetime. Without the emitter though, he becomes limited to specific locations, even on a ship outfitted with holo-emitters on every deck. Bashir is the next best choice due to his high, though artificially created, intelligence, drive, and passion for the profession.

All-Star Helmsan\Con Officer

In the running: Sulu, Wesley,  Paris, Mayweather

All-Star Selection: Paris

Explanation: Who better to fly a ship than the fly-boy himself? Let’s face it, the rest can do their job but Tom Paris is a true pilot in every sense of the word. His experience designing, building, and flying the Delta Flyer is a prime example of that. The rest can pilot a Starship but Tom can pilot anything.

All-Star Communications

In the running: Uhura, Kim, Hoshi

All-Star Selection: Uhura

Explanation: While Hoshi had the harder job of trying to translate on the go with a relatively useless translator system, I never felt that her heart was really in it aboard a Starship. On the other hand, Uhura has one of the best ears in Starfleet, able to distinguish Romulan dialects from Vulcan and she is not one to be trifled with… just watch Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. She is someone you want on your side, hands down.

All-Star Counselor

In the running: Troi, Guinan, Ezri Dax, Neelix,

All-Star Selection: Guinan

Explanation: Sure, Guinan was the ship’s bartender but we all know that she was far more than that to Picard. Even if Picard wasn’t the Captain, Guinan provides a unique opportunity due to her mystical background. She is experience, knowledgeable, and powerful, yet she is easily able to help the person she is talking to come to the appropriate conclusion on their own, with just the smallest of pushes. Besides, anyone Q is afraid is someone you want on your team.

All-Star Non-Ranked Crew

In the running: Quark, Neelix, Kes, Seven

All-Star Selection: Seven

Explanation: Finally, the non-ranked people. We’ve had several, primarily in Deep Space Nine and Voyager. These characters played vital roles in their respective shows but when push comes to shove, if you could only have one, it would have to be Seven of Nine. Her technical expertise and knowledge of the Borg are outmatched only by a select few, like Data or perhaps Spock. She is quick to learn and constantly looking to expand her capabilities. Additionally, she would pair well with Data and Spock in their journeys in accepting their own humanity.

All-Star Roster

So here it is folks, my All-Star Star Trek crew. Some of these decisions were easy while others were quite difficult. Review my final list and then comment below with what changes you’d make and why.

Captain Picard

First Officer Spock

Second Officer Data

Chief of Security Odo

Chief Engineer B’Elanna

Chief Medical Officer The Doctor EMH

Helmsman\Con Officer Tom Paris

Communications Officer Uhura

Counselor Guinan

Crew Member Seven of Nine

Star Trek All-Star Crew