Recently, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun asked me what do fans of TOS think of the plans to “reboot” Star Trek?
I’ll admit to some misgivings. Rebooting worked well for Battlestar Galactica, but the original version of that show only went one season. Trek on the other hand has nearly 43 years worth of stories spanning 5 TV series and (as of Thursday) 11 movies. Within the genre, I believe only Doctor Who has been around longer.
One thing a great many fans seem to enjoy is the way the writers have tried to maintain the series’ continuity. There have been a few slip-ups, but over the years, the various series have built up a fairly intricate web of future history. One of my fears was that the new movie would throw all of that “out the window” without telling a compelling story to keep me interested.
There’s been a half-joke floating around for years that “Trekkies will buy anything if you put the words ‘Star Trek’ on it.” And it’s true that there will always be people willing to give the franchise “one more chance.” But eventually you get to the point where there’ve been too many disappointments, not enough people will give that “one more chance” and the show will die.
After seeing an advance screening of the movie, I’m cautiously optimistic about the future of the Star Trek franchise. I know a few die-hard fans of the The Original Series who were disappointed. But I’ve also talked to several people who enjoyed the movie and have found themselves with a renewed interest in the entire series.
So what do you think?
I had an opportunity to see the new Star Trek movie on Thursday evening.
Going in, I had some misgivings about the movie. I knew it was going to be the original Enterprise crew, I’d heard it would be the story of the TOS crew first coming together, and I’d heard Leonard Nimoy would be reprising the role of Spock. The concern with this is that over the past 43 years, Star Trek has a lot of established continuity. Throwing that to the wind would upset a lot of fans. (Putting new actors in familiar roles was a concern as well, though I think Star Trek: Phase II – formerly New Voyages – has demonstrated that this can work.)
J.J. Abrams managed to have his cake and eat it too. Hardcore TOS fans may very well be disappointed by the way the plot is resolved; but by doing the unthinkable this movie does open the door for new adventures in the TOS timeframe without breaking continuity. What’s more, new and casual fans may become interested in both new stories and the existing ones.
Among the things that struck me about the movie:
- This is a much grittier universe than we’ve ever see. The newly launched Enterprise is all shiny, but what we see of other ships and Federation facilities look a lot more lived in.
- In the past, all we ever saw of any starship was a room with four walls, a floor and a ceiling. The ships in this movie have actual superstructure.
- This was a much different style of film making with tight close-ups of faces and shaking cameras. Even the shots of the Enterprise were all close-ups.
Yesterday, quite by accident, I discovered by that Star Trek: Phase II has released Part 1 of their new episode, Blood and Fire.
That got me to wondering how things were going with Starship Farragut and their “Crew Logs” releases. Back in November, I attempted to attend their premier at the University of Maryland’s Hoff Theater, but ended up missing the event due to some bad directions from Google. (I’ve since heard from Mark Hildebrand that parking was pretty horrible that day due to a Maryland home game, so perhaps that worked out in my favor.)
Visiting the Farragut web site, I learned that the first “Crew Logs” episode, A Rock and a Hard Place, was released to the web on December 10. (The episode is available from the Crew Logs download page instead of the general episodes page.)
I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but if it’s anything like their previous efforts, then I expect it to be thoroughly entertaining.
In July of last year, I had the opportunity to see a preview of Blood and Fire, from Star Trek: Phase II (formerly Star Trek: New Voyages) before the visual effects and audio track were completed.
A finished version of Part 1 is now available from the Star Trek: Phase II web site. It was released to the web on December 20, just two days after Majel Barrett Roddenberry passed away and includes a brief memorial before the opening credits.
I’ve only watched a few minutes worth so far (enough to discover a member of the medical crew is named Fontana — a reference to writer DC Fontana?), but it looks good. I’m looking forward to watching the rest of it.
A craft project for a rainy afternoon.
- A transparent light switchplate or outlet cover. You can probably find them at a craft store or possibly a hardware store. They’re generally sold with the idea that you put a piece of wallpaper inside so that you’ll have a wallplate which matches your wallpaper.
- Your imagination
- Using your favorite graphics program, create an LCARS display the same size and shape as the wallplate. Be sure to leave a blank area the size and shape of the hole(s) in the wallplate. This will be your insert for the wallplate.
- Print out your insert and using a sharp pair of scissors, or an X-acto knife, cut out the holes to match the wallplate.
- Install the wallplate on the appropriate wall switch or power outlet.
Total cost, less than $5.
Or, you can visit Think Geek and buy the same thing for $17.99 plus shipping, thus proving the somewhat cynical claim that Trekkies will buy absolutely anything if you put the words “Star Trek” on it. But hey, the Think Geek version is “Made by Eugene ‘Rod’ Roddenberry” and therefore qualifies as licensed merchandise.
Full Disclosure: About 15 years ago, in the dealers room of a local con, I bought both a switch plate and an outlet cover with LCARS-style graphics on them. So on the one hand, yeah, apparently I’m that much of a geek. On the other hand, my two wallplates combined cost less than $20….