The Original Series

RR22: Controversy in Star Trek

RR22: Controversy in Star Trek
Redshirts & Runabouts

 
 
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Star Trek has been around for over 50 years. We have nearly 750 episodes across six… maybe even seven (yeah, I’m looking at you The Animated Series) shows. Sure, there’s been some issues with consistency and canon, but there’s also been some highly controversial moments both from episodes themselves and behind the scenes action. This, Greg and Derreck take a break from Discovery and the movies to talk about controversy in Star Trek. With Jeremy getting setup on the West Coast, we’ll return to our movie re-watch when he has some Internet.

Now, what makes something controversial? Well, we cover episode themes and content that perhaps turned broadcasting companies away from airing episodes, or ones that prompted fans to call up the network to complain. We also discuss some that even made the actors upset. But that’s not all. We talk about issues between certain actors and overarching concepts that didn’t quite pan out the way we all would have hoped.

Since we’ve been talking Discovery a lot recently, we do not discuss the new series in this episode. But trust us. We’ll be back for a follow-up episode.

How do you feel about our Star Trek controversies? Which ones should we talk about in Part 2?

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

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

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

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Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer
Jeremy Monken

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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RR22: Controversy in Star Trek

SH S4E09: Ultimate Star Trek Crew

We build the ultimate Star Trek crew! We cover ten different ship positions\roles and fill those spots with characters from all five previous Star Trek series. That’s right, our Ultimate Crew includes characters from every series currently out. We pick our First Officer, Chief Medical Officer, Counselor, our Captain, and more.

Then, when we’re done, we discussing our Ultimate Sci-Fi Crew that covers the same roles but across all of science fiction outside of Trek!

So listen in and let us know what you think of our Ultimate Star Trek Crew, plus who would show up on your roster!

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

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Prefer to watch the show? Catch the broadcast below!

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guests
Christopher Scott
Jeremy Monken

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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SH S4E09: Ultimate Star Trek Crew

Star Trek Beyond: The Spoiler Free Review, It’s Fantastic

But I’m sure you’ve already heard that it’s good or that some reviews not liking Star Trek Beyond for its lack of depth, you know, the kinda of depth of classic episodes like “City on the Edge of Forever” or “Balance of Terror”, for example. What some people forget is that on average The Original Series was far from perfect. Depending on who you ask, only about half the episodes are really good. What brings fans like me back continually are the characters and how they interact. I’ll sit through some of the worst TOS episodes if the banter between Spock and McCoy makes me smile and if it has a theme or at least some solid message I’ll have a good time watching it. And that’s what Star Trek Beyond is, a simple character driven story with a theme. Its theme is camaraderie plain and simple. There are also much more sublet nods to ideas of globalization and provincialism and sense of wonder. Sometimes all you need is a nod if you want to focus more on the characters and you’ll have a great film.

Plot:
The plot is functional, nothing too elaborate, but it gets the job done. There are no big loop holes or dramatically illogical moments like what was found in Star Trek Into Darkness. But it does lack the freshness and charm of something like an origin story that is found Star Trek (2009). At no time was the story dull or boring, even during the moments of exposition and story setup it was fun to watch. The film moves from start to finish in a quick way that will leave you feeling like it’s going to end way too soon but the pacing never disappoints.  Interestingly enough where you could argue Into Darkness failed at plot twists and surprises, Beyond does a much better job at it. You’ll definitely want to avoid spoilers with this one.kirk-yorktown-uniform

Cast and Acting:
This film’s saving grace is its cast and acting. I know it’s been said before but if you think these actors have hit there mark before, you’ll be blown away with how they’ve improved on capturing the characters. They all feel much more visceral. Most noticeably is Karl Urban’s McCoy who is given a far greater role in the story. He’s your battle medic alright. And McCoy is gonna make you laugh, let me tell you.

karl-urban-almost-said-no-star-trek-beyond

The new comers to Star Trek, Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella, are well done also. You’d think Idris Elba, being so buried in makeup would be a mistake. When I first saw the trailer, I was reminded of the Remans from Star Trek: Nemisis, shallow Nosferatu like aliens that were flat and dull, more monster than villain. But Elba pulls it off well. He has a certain speaking cadence like Bane from The Dark Knight Returns but it’s actually much closer to how Ceaser speaks in the Planet of the Apes remakes. It draws you in, eager to hear every word, it keeps you hanging on his words. The villain interestingly enough has a not too subtle character arch that when it reaches its climax is interesting and adds to both the story and characters motivation, if a little to late.

bts-idris-elba-justin-lin

Sofia Boutella’s female heroin character, Jaylah, has some range as well. She portrays her as a strong and cunning independent survivor. Yet Boutell gives Jaylah a much needed vulnerability at times. Something that other space fairing, sci-fi flicks didn’t do with there stick fighting female leads (cough, cough Force Awakens). It’s Jaylah’s vulnerability with her strength that makes her compelling in the opposite way of how Rey was handled in Star Wars.

jaylah-franklin-chair

Script:
Much of the charm and fun from Star Trek Beyond comes from the clever script. Cheeky one liners and interactions between characters are what makes this film exciting during the down time between the action scenes. McCoy and Spock’s interactions are some of the best moments with the film. But every character has his or her scenes and contributions to the plot; no character is wasted and everyone has a reason to be there.

jaylah-scotty-scanning

The only draw back at the end is the problem solving felt a little too collaborative. Like cheesy 90s sitcoms where couples finish each others sentences when faced with a problem, it felt like they where kicking a ball back and forth and it felt a bit too forced.

Action:
The action is real good but perhaps not as good as something like Force Awakens. True, there are some moments where Star Trek Beyond introduces some very interesting shots and camera work that depict actions scenes in zero gravity in a new way, both in space and hand to hand combat. But these shots don’t always pay off. When they do, they’re something special.

kirk-motorcycle

Oddly enough though, the infamous motorcycle scene is actually pretty darn good. When I saw it first in the trailer I was reminded of the lame dune buggy scene from Star Trek: Nemesis. But it fits with the story and is fun to watch. I actually liked it. Kirk was the action hero we always knew he was.

Lastly, the space battles where good but not overly so. Much as with the plot, the strength is with the characters not the space ships.

Special Effects:
Actually, I was slightly disappointed with the special effects. Generally most sci-fi films do a great job at this, heck even fan films can have some great stuff. But there are some moments here and there where I guess they got overly ambitious with shots and angles and didn’t have the budget to make everything look perfect. I mean don’t get me wrong, the film overall looks great but early on in the above mentioned motorcycle scene for example,  it looked sub-standard, perhaps because they wanted an interesting pan shot for the camera. It may be from lack of budget more than lack of vision though.  I got to hand it to them for trying an interesting shot though. I’m no special effects purists.

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Overall:
Star Trek Beyond is a fantastic film but if you’re an old school Trekkie that hated the previous two films then there really isn’t much here you’d like. As for everyone else, you’re going to enjoy yourself with Beyond. It feels like a love letter to The Original Series, at many times echoing it in form and function. Though not a film with intellectual depth, it stands on par with the complexity found with Star Trek: First Contact easily and in many ways surpasses it. It’s an incredible bounce back from the shortcomings of Into Darkness and though in may not have the charm of the 2009 entry, it feels much closer to the source material than many other Star Trek films. In many ways, it was much closer to Star Trek: The Motion Picture as far as look and feel to The Original Series. That’s pretty darn impressive in itself.

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What did you think of Star Trek Beyond? Do you think Justin Lin was up to the task? Comment below with your thoughts!

Live long and prosper.

Star Trek Beyond: The Spoiler Free Review, It’s Fantastic

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

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

Thoughts on the Star Trek TV Series Announcement

Hurray! Star Trek is returning to TV! Excited doesn’t even capture me right now. All I can say is that I am beyond words that CBS finally decided to bring Star Trek back to TV. And with that, here are some words.

There is honestly just so much that I want to know, what didn’t seem to be revealed in the announcement itself. Who are the characters? What time period is this set in? Will there be Vulcans? Andorians? Romulans? Borg? But unfortunately, all of this is left to my imagination. Star-Trek-616433But let’s start with what we know. Perhaps the biggest piece of information is that Alex Kurtzman, co-writer of the J.J. Abrams Star Trek films as well as co-creator for shows like Fringe and Sleepy Hollow, is listed as executive producer. While not terribly informative, we can assume that this means the new Star Trek series will be set in the alternate timeline colloquially known as the “JJ-Verse.” Let it be known that I am a full-on fan of most everything J.J. Abrams has ever done including his Star Trek films so I have zero problems with it should this be the case. Setting this new series in a Star Trek universe that is both familiar and yet unknown presents many different paths it could go.

Vulcan_consumed_by_black_holeMy personal biggest hope is that they address the elephant in the room and deal with the destruction of Vulcan. When Nero created a singularity at the center of Vulcan, destroying one of the Federation’s founding cultures, as well as Spock’s mother, one would hope that it would be addressed. While admittedly Star Trek Into Darkness had its story dealing with different matters, I always hoped that the destruction of Vulcan would impact the Alpha Quadrant in some heavy ways. Most notably, how will the Romulans take it? Several episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series show Romulans as being conniving but also a respectable and proud people who hold their Vulcan cousins in decently high regard. Will the Romulans give the Vulcans humanitarian, or in this case vulcanitarian, aid? Or will the Romulans take advantage of this weakness and invade? Who knows.

My only other major hope, and I know I’m about to get a lot of flack for this, is that they don’t set the show on an exploration ship. Yes, I know Star Trek, with the notable exception of Deep Space Nine, has always been set on an exploration ship and that’s precisely my point. That concept is tired.  We’ve had 21 seasons of 4 incarnations of Star Trek all set on an exploration ship and I think its time to move on. Sure, exploration can still be a theme but having one ship with one captain, one XO, one engineer, one tactical officer, one helmsman, one navigator, and one science officer is just something Star Trek needs to get away from for a while. We don’t need a show that’s essentially another rehash of The Original Series or Next Generation… again. The bulk of Voyager and the first two seasons of Enterprise proved that. I know people are going to say that Star Trek‘s exploratory theme is where its roots lie but I would argue this. Yes, Star Trek is about exploration but not the universe, they were exploring the human condition. What you see in The Original Series is exploration of the universe used as a metaphor for exploring what makes humanity so human and I believe there are ways to do this without resorting to the same concept used by Star Trek for 21 seasons. Star Trek writers are some of the most creative bunch out there and I believe them perfectly capable of bringing us something so clearly innately Star Trek but not a tired unimaginative redo of the same thing we’ve known for 50 years. Star Trek is better than that.

cbs-all-access-logoOne possible concern I know several people have is its distribution model. This new Star Trek show has been announced as only being available on CBS All Access or as I call it, CBS Not Netflix. While yes, I understand your frustration for them not releasing the series on cable like normal but let’s be real here. Bringing Star Trek back to TV is an enormous gamble for CBS and I’m sure they want some reassurance that it will be a successful venture before they sink so much money into actually doing that for a cable audience. This new series is their beta tester and should it do well, I have no doubts that Star Trek will return to cable for everyone to enjoy. So let’s make that happen.

Finally, I want to address something disturbing I’ve noticed just today since the announcement was released and that is the absolute mind-boggling hate and general nastiness that so many people have posted in regards to the new announcement, mainly because of how Alex Kurtzman is attached to it and Kurtzman worked for Abrams. I’ve seen so many post hateful and negative remarks about how Star Trek is dead and they won’t watch it with Kurtzman at the helm. Star Trek finally returns to TV and this is the reception they get? Star Trek‘s return to TV heralded by negativity and disdain? It’s simply sad to see that what the fans claim to have wanted for so long suddenly turn against it because one of Abrams’ writers is at the helm. Regardless of how TV network politics and money matters happen, it’s the fans that kept Star Trek alive for this long and it’s also the fans that can kill it. To everyone, I urge you to not be pre-maturely judgmental. Be open, be positive, be accepting, and be the fans that kept this franchise alive for 50 years with 30 seasons and 12 movies. We all want more so let’s be open to more even if it’s different.

Sovereign_Crew_QuartersNow as I raise my glass, here’s to season 31. Make it so.

Thoughts on the Star Trek TV Series Announcement