Thursday, September 8, 2016

Happy 50th Anniversay Star Trek!!! has finally come. Behold...the 50th anniversary of...

 Yup! That's right! As of today, September 8th, 2016 Star Trek is now 50 years old! I remember growing up and having no idea what this franchise was about. Who is Captain Kirk and why is there a pointy eared elf that doesn't smile? How little did I know it would end up having such a strong impact on my life and end up with me investing a lot of my time in this particular blog?

As of this date, fans everywhere are celebrating in their own way what Star Trek means to them and I certainly am going to drink to this great show in a few hours (after looking at some stats first...yay math...if only Spock were here to help me).

On September 1966, the world was introduced to Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy and the rest of the crew of the Starship Enterprise. There has never been a show like this before and will never be one just like it again. It not only marked the beginning of a true space opera on television, but it also marked the beginning of a major multi-racial crew. An Asian man steering the ship, a Russian ensign navigator (mind you this is during the height of the Cold War), a Scottish engineer, an African-American communications officer, a country doctor, a galant captain and an alien! Creator Gene Roddenberry had a vision that gave a 1960's world hope that we would survive the struggle of poverty, racism, war, disease and greed into the 23rd century and beyond! Not many people understood it's importance, but it came to be an icon that the whole world would know about down the line.

After three years, NBC cancelled Star Trek and the franchise was thought to be dead, until they started airing reruns as well as coming up with an animated series starring the voices of the original crew. This spawned 13 motion pictures, 4 television spinoffs (not counting the Animated Series as I had already mentioned that), and many comics, books, games and conventions! 

With the release of Star Trek Beyond this year and the exciting news of the up and coming Star Trek: Discovery in 2017, things are looking bright not only for this franchise, but for the fans and newcomers alike. Live long and prosper!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Nichelle Nichols (African Diversity in Trek)

The main reason why Star Trek has held up for as long as it did is because we all want to believe that the human race makes it out of the current state we live in. With war, poverty, disease, greed and Trump in the foreground of our future, it's good to know that it's possible to live past this. Having the technology to travel through the stars, communicating with a dozen species and traveling with friends in space is something I couldn't imagine if it wasn't for Star Trek.

Many people find Star Trek to be boring, especially before J.J. Abrams took over with his view of the franchise. This is because it's not all about the action, suspense and war, but about family, friendship, togetherness and us living in a world together as one. Sure Trek has it's share of villains and action-the Borg are a perfect example-but what makes this franchise standout is what the goal of it's all about: exploring our galaxy together and beating poverty.

Not only is Star Trek the first show on television to really give us a utopian view of the future, but it's also a milestone starring a multi-ethic cast of actors. During the 1960s, the Cold War began and then of course Vietnam. People needed hope and looked to television to entertain them during this time of crisis, a lot like television does for us today during our current world struggles. Nichelle Nichols, an African actress with a talent for singing and acting, is perhaps the one lead in the cast to have faced the most problems in the role. 

Beautiful much? Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura
In the third season of the show, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) shares the first interracial kiss with Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and the only way for the sensor to allow this, was if the characters were under the influence of an alien power so as not to be solely out of love as this would infuriate the studio. According to the website Memory Alpha, the scene "was, at the behest of NBC executives worried that Southern affiliates might refuse to air the episode, filmed with and without the kiss, but Nichols and Shatner consciously sabotaged the non-kiss takes so that there would be no choice but to leave the kiss in the final version." So, it ended up in the episode and thus history was made in the future...if you get what I mean. Nichelle dealt with a ton of racism from the studio when she learned "studio executives were withholding her fantail" during the first seasons of the show. The fact that she had a major fanbase was unheard for an African-American in society. She was set to leave after the first season, but was convinced to stay afterwards when she was told that her role was "too important a cultural impact to leave." The person? Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. She pushed through it and left a lasting impression on many Africans to pursue a careers in acting, namely Whoopi Goldberg and LeVar Burton. 

Not only does Dr. King give her this ever-lasting advice, he also says to her that Star Trek "is the only show that [his] wife Coretta and I allow my children to watch-to stay up and watch." How awesome would it be if your hero, one who speaks up for you and demands equality, walks up to you telling you to continue playing a role that has left so many impressions on people?! In the video below, courtesy of the Archive of American Television, you can watch Nichelle's personal experience with Dr. King and how she is persuaded and convinced to stay on the show.

The benefit of making a science-fiction production, is that you can indirectly address issues currently affecting our society. As stated earlier, interracial marriages and relationships were looked down upon in the 1960s America. That is not to say that relationships did not exist, but it was simply not talked about. Let's not forget about segregation in America. With the experience Nichelle Nichols has, through the tough times and the bleak occurrences, she can now live with being one that so many look up to in entertainment. Brining it all back to Star Trek, creator Gene Roddenberry pushed the boundaries with what was accepted in television and stopped at nothing to ensure that not only Nichelle, but the entire cast got respect to the best of his ability. There are bumps along the way and of course even today as stated earlier we still have issues, but what started in the 60s pushed through and now we have a new Star Trek cast of diversity. Live long and Prosper! 

Nichelle taking a break between shoot



Quotes on Nichelle Nichols:
Memory Alpha 

Image of Uhura at her station:

Video Courtesy of
Archive of American Television

Uhura on bike courtesy of:
Huffington Post
Nichelle Nichols On Having First Major Black Female TV Role And That First Interracial Kiss On ‘Star Trek’

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Star Trek: Discovery (The New Series)

I'm so glad that Star Trek is retuning to the small screen! With the announcement that the series head is one that previous wrote and produced epos des of Star Trek in the past-Bryan Fuller-it's safe to say that the Trek we've come to know and love is going to make a return with...

Star Trek has always been meant for the television screen. Don't get me wrong, I love the films with a passion, but in order to see characters grow, having them on weekly basis is the way to go. Plus you can focus on certain characters that two hours just wouldn't be able to cut. That's why the films by JJ Abrams don't have much space to breath in between each other. They are motion pictures, which come out ever four years or so. It's hard to capture the feel of the old school Trek if we only have so much time to watch them grow. Sure, you can take a look at the comics and novels showcasing their adventures between films, but it's not enough if you're just an average movie goer who doesn't follow the material or side stories between films.

As of today, August 11th, Bryan Fuller announced that Star Trek: Discovery will "bridge the gap between Enterprise and the original series." This means that the Prime universe will return. For those of you unfamiliar with what I'm referring to when I say "prime", I mean the universe of Trek that existed before J.J. Abrams' reinvention of the franchise. I'll get into my thoughts on JJ's interpretation in a moment, but now I want to discuss the new direction this show will go than any has before. First, it's going to "absolutely have a gay character" as stated by Fuller. Star Trek has never really been the focus on such diversity other than a small hint of it in the current film Star Trek Beyond where Sulu has a male lover. This is something fresh and new especially seeing that this franchise has been around for 50 years.

The new ship is unlike anything we've seen before and was met with mixed reactions. Upon seeing it, I was a bit surprised and underwhelmed as well, but I may grow to like it. Change isn't always a bad thing. Some say the same thing about these new films.

While I love the new films, they are not really what Star Trek has been about from the beginning. It's not about action, war and suspense. Sure, we have gotten more than a handful of that even before JJ, but it's also about the human condition; how we've managed to survive all these years into the future and have beaten disease, poverty and greed. Sure, we deal with different species in the show that still have the traits we have today, but they are not us as they are different beings (and we also need conflict for entertainment purposes), but you get what I'm trying to tell you. Friendship, family and togetherness and exploring the unknown is in the heart of Trek. This is what makes it so different from Star Wars, which I love to death as well. I feel this is going to return to what Trek is all about.

The new series is going to hit the airwaves with a 2-hour premiere on CBS and then head to CBS All Access for the remaining 12 episodes. Oddly enough, only outside of North America will the show be on Netflix. It seems the market doesn't feel they can really profit on people using their new app, and what with a high percentage of Star Trek fans are in the U.S. it appears they are banking on us to get their All Access program, but you can all read my rant on what I think about that in my previous blogs.

In conclusion, we should all stay optimistic and excited that Star Trek continues to remain relevant in our society no matter what form it's in. Live long and prosper!



Selected Quotes from:
-Star Trek: Discovery: 'Prime' Setting, Gay Character, Heavy Alien Presence and 11 More Spoilers 
About CBS Reboot

-Star Trek: Discovery logo
Memory Alpha

Video courtesy of 

Spock GIF

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond is here! After three long years and a mess of different directors/writers setting this film up, as of July 22nd, 2016 it's here! Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and the rest of the intrepid crew of the Starship Enterprise, J.J. Abrams steps out of the director's chair and gives the reigns to Fast & Furious director Justin Lin.

Although I've never been the biggest fan of J.J. Abram's version of Star Trek (seeing as he's not a fan of Trek and more into Star Wars), I've come to get used to this interpretation and I'm left intrigued to see what our young gallant crew has been up to since 2013. Now, Star Trek in it's best form is on television, so in between the films all we really get to show the progress of the crew is through comics and novels. There really isn't much to help us with what exactly going on.

If you're looking for something that has a ton of action, little time for story and a wide range of breathtaking effects, than this movie is for you! Having established the crew of the Enterprise in the last two films, we are now ready to see them during their five year mission into space and when something goes horribly wrong during a rescue mission, our crew is left to fend for themselves while trying to escape the desolate world.

Now, I've only seen the film once and it was during a midnight screening where I was excited but honestly found myself nodding off a bit. It was a long day at work for me where I had to work two jobs and didn't get out until around 11. So, here I am, in Hollywood waiting on my friend and then once the film starts, I find myself nodding off in and out. This is so unlike me! But I am awake through a large majority of the film. I need to see the movie again and certainly will.

Happy 50th Anniversary Star Trek!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Into Reboot?

I'd like to share my thoughts on the rebooted Star Trek films created by J.J. Abrams. With the box office failure of Star Trek Nemesis, Paramount took a step back from the franchise and let the air settle. In 2005, the prequel series, Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled. With nowhere else to go, the head of the franchise, Rick Berman, decided to come up with Star Trek: The Beginning. Nothing came of it and Paramount decided to scrap the idea and for the first time since the show's cancellation in 1969, Star Trek was dead.
Upon first reading about this, I was furious and sad. I remember telling my dad, "So, Star Trek is no more." He responded with optimism and didn't really believe that. "It's not dead, it's just going to take a while before they can come up with something new."

Chris Pine (l) as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock
Four years later, Star Trek made a come back on the big screen taking us back to the adventures of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. A story focusing on the background of how these two friends meet is something never before seen it Trek and is the right approach to making something even general movie goers to be aware of. In 1991, producer Harve Bennett had the idea for a rebooted story after the failure of Star Trek V, but his idea was scrapped when Paramount wanted to have one last film starring the cast of the original 60s show in time for the show's 25th anniversary. J.J. continued his idea and made this film. This new take was going to take place in an alternate reality and star the characters from the original show but when they are much younger and their first adventure into space. 

Leonard Nimoy returns as Mr. Spock

Seven young and talented actors stepped into the role with approval from each member of the original cast with the exception of the late James Doohan (1920-2005) and DeForest Kelley (1920-1999). Chris Pine stars as Captain Kirk; Zachary Quinto (Heroes) stars as Mr. Spock; Karl Urban (Dredd) is Dr. McCoy and even Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz, Shawn of the Dead) stars as the new Mr. Scott. You can look up the rest of the cast members here and they are all wonderful. Not only do they look much like younger versions of all the actors, but they don't play them for laughs. Pine doesn't mimic William Shatner's speech patterns and the entire cast does an outstanding job. I would have to say, however, the I am most impressed with Urban's portrayal of Bones. The best! Joining them in the film would be villain Nero, played by the great Eric Bana and a much extended cameo by Leonard Nimoy. Well, he's a little more than just a cameo but he is also not in the film a great deal. The scene with his Nimoy's Spock and Quinto's Spock is unforgettable. A way of passing the old to the new so to speak. Keep an eye out for Winona Ryder as Spock's mother, Amanda Grayson.
Both films, Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness are quite good in their own light. However, I wouldn't call them Star Trek movies, I would rather just call them action movies that happen to include the name Star Trek in them with elements of what came before. Many of my friends, including myself enjoy these movies and find themselves enjoying Trek a great deal more. I tell my friends to start with these films and then go back to check out what has come before. Maybe that could start them to enjoy a totally new world of Trek.

Now, J.J. Abrams is known for his particular style of directing. He loves using trademarks such as lens flair, shaky camera work and cameos of people he has worked with. Everyone does that, and I have no problem with it. The only thing I have a problem in these new films, is the lack of character development and slow scenes. He feels the need to keep the camera moving at all times even when it doesn't call for it. I can understand that before this film, Star Trek in general had a negative wrap for slow scenes and such, but even movies and films most people enjoy include them. Here, there are too little and too few. I feel like he's trying to make this into more of a Star Wars movie, and that doesn't work. Just because they have the name "Star" in them doesn't mean they are anything alike. At the same time, I do enjoy this re-branding for what it is. I highly recommend it for newcomers of the world of Trek. Including Leonard Nimoy was an awesome touch as a way to link the old with the new. 

For me, if you are someone that is new to Trek, I would highly recommend starting with these new films. They are easy to follow, don't suffer from continuity and feature the young actors of today. Just be aware that if you plan on going backwards to previous productions, it won't be anything like this. They will be far more story-driven and personal. Either way, enjoy and as Morpheus said, "...You have to see it for yourself."


What are your thoughts on the Star Trek reboots? Do you think J.J. took Trek in the right direction and that it brought new life into a dying franchise? Let me know in the comments below!


Kirk and Spock: Google Search



Sunday, March 20, 2016

Trekking Back to Television

I've been told that a new Star Trek series is in the works and it won't be related to the J.J. Trek films! My reaction? YES! OH YEAH! YEAH BUDDY! WELCOME BACK STAR TREK! WE MISSED YOU!!!! That being said, I am optimistic and look forward to whatever the producers do with this new concept!

Since the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005, it's been over ten years since Trek was on television. Since that time, we've only had two films, fan fiction and a wonderful show called Star Trek Continues, which is a fan-made series based on adventures of the 60s show. With much speculation and finally confirmation, the new series will hit screens on January 2017 in honor of Star Trek's 50th anniversary.

Bryan Fuller on the set of Voyager.

The cast is not confirmed as of this stage, however there are a few veterans with previous Trexperience (haha totally made that word up) working behind it. Nicholas Meyer, director of both Star Trek II and VI is on board as writer and well-known producer Bryan Fuller is labeled as the show's creator. Fuller is no stranger to Trek, as he wrote many episodes for Star Trek: Voyager and Deep Space Nine. Ever since 2009, before the rebooted film, he has been a runner up and expressed interest in doing a new series. Taken from an article in Science Fiction Fuller says, "I told my agent and told the people of J.J. Abrams' team I want to create another Star Trek series and have an idea that I'm kicking around. I would love to return to the spirit of the old series with the colors and attitude. I loved Voyager and Deep Space Nine, but they seem to have lost the '60s fun and I would love to take it back to its origin." Roddenberry's son, Eugene Roddenberry will also have a hand as producer for the new series. From what I understand, CBS is going to air the pilot on their station and then release a season on All Access.

I am mostly looking forward to a return to form in Star Trek. Although the J.J. Abrams aka Abramsverse of Trek is highly successful and brought a whole new cult following with fresh energy and storytelling, it lacks the heart of what Star Trek is about. With explosions, fights and battles with little backbone, these movies appeal more to the general audiences, which I totally get. You can't have a theatrical film and target only the fans. You need to open a broader range and I understand that. I just wish there was more Trek in it, because without that, it's what makes it just a simple action movie. I love the movies, but just as action movies. The first movie was great but the second just relied too much on what came before and rehashed it with only too much action.

So, now that you read my thoughts on the new series, what do you think? Are you looking forward to Star Trek's return to television? Has it been too long for anyone to really care about there being a new show? Let me know in the comments below!


Friday, March 11, 2016

Star Trek Timelines

There's a new, quite addicting Star Trek game for your mobile device called Star Trek: Timelines. This is so addicting that I even find myself playing it off and on at work. It is essentially a mix between a MMORPG and a space simulator where you can create your own crew, get a ship and fight battles with enemies. Even though it's free, there are some upgrades that require you to spend money. Certain upgrades can cost as much as $100. Now, I'm a Star Trek fan but I would not spend that much on any app, no matter what it is. There are far more important things to spend that money on such as donating to charity, saving up for a bike, or going on a trip. I'm not going to lie, I was tempted to spend at least $5 but I thought about it, and figured it would only escalate higher and higher. Oh, I need an extra phaser bank! Hmmm...$30? Okay fine...Yeah, no! However, the game is fun and you should check it out! I recommend it!

Let me know what you think in the comments below!