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Trek Bastard

Before Star Trek: Discovery, a lot of the talk online about what form a new Star Trek series should take often involved a couple of key words: “civil war.” Fans frequently phrased their idea as “after the Federation Civil War,” or “because of the Federation Civil War”, which suggested to me that a lot of people thought the only way forward was to tear down all the things that make Star Trek, Star Trek. But it’s not breaking a thing that can make a story interesting, it’s how far you can bend it and still keep itself from breaking. That’s Deep Space Nine! It tested the very limits of Trek, and it showed, in the end, the centre can hold. (more…)

As a life-long Trekkie one thing has vexed me more than all others, how is Deep Space Nine the Star Trek that time forgot? On Canada’s Space channel, they dedicate three hours in the afternoon every weekday to Trek: the original series, The Next Generation, and Voyager, and it sticks in my craw that Voyager, a show that struggled to maintain a steady level of mediocrity for seven years, gets that third slot ahead of what is, arguably, the best modern Trek series. That’s a bold statement, but in the next couple of columns, I hope to lay out my case.  (more…)

This week’s Trek Bastard was going to look back at the problems at a previous incarnation of Star Trek, but the problems of the present keep presenting themselves. As you may have heard, Star Trek: Discovery has been delayed again, moved off from its premiere perch of this coming May on CBS All Access to parts unknown. Even though the series is supposed to start shooting next week, CBS/Paramount has offered no new release date for the series, which the studio has been pushing for over a year now, and while on the one hand we may be able to appreciate a deliberate pace with development, we’ve all got to wonder if Discovery’s maybe gone off the rails. (more…)

startrekvi-1

In looking back at Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country late last year, director Nicholas Meyer said in an interview that his one regret on the project was that he was kind of naive at the time. The end of the Cold War, which served as a thematic basis for the story, was not the end of history as they had though. Indeed life 25 years after the end of the Cold War might be even more dangerous, and ever more unpredictable than the 45 year stand-off between super powers. Despite Meyer’s personal feelings though, it’s hard to argue that The Undiscovered Country isn’t as prescient today as it was a quarter of a century ago. (more…)

nickfury_starfleet-copy

The most defining moment in film the last 10 years was probably at the very end of Iron Man when Samuel L. Jackson walks out of the shadows as Nick Fury and tells Tony Stark that he wants to talk about something called “the Avengers Initiative.” Comic book movies had fun before dropping little hints about a bigger superhero universe outside their immediate area, but here, Marvel Studios boldly said, “We’re going to show it to you!” As Marvel showed more, Hollywood got the hint, “Let’s make all the universes!” they shouted. As always though, Star Trek got there long before we knew what to call an “expanded universe.” Too bad they can’t get back there… (more…)

Social Star Awards Day-1

Casting announcements were finally made for Star Trek: Discovery this week, the long-awaited return of Star Trek to our TVs, or at the very least our streaming sites. The very talented Chinese actress Michelle Yeoh will play Starfleet Captain Georgiou, the multifaceted Doug Jones will play the alien Lt. Saru, and Rent star Anthony Rapp will play science officer Lt. Stamets. Although this was big news, the bigger news is that Rapp, star of a Broadway show that spoke so clearly to a generation of queer people (not to mention their peers), would be the first openly gay main character on a Star Trek series, and considering the show’s commitment to diversity, it’s way past damn time. (more…)

star-trek_firstcontact

Whether you love or hate Star Trek: First Contact, there’s no denying that it came out at a time where Star Trek, as a franchise, was still at its zenith. It was Star Trek’s 30th anniversary, there were two successful series on the air, and along came First Contact to become, at the time, the second most successful Trek movie in the history of the box office. Nearly 10 years after the debut of Star Trek: The Next Generation, it seemed like this was a ride that was never going to end, but in re-watching First Contact now I couldn’t help but hear a double meaning in the Borg Queen’s words. “Watch your future’s end.” (more…)

beyond2

If the year 2016 is remembered for one thing in the annals of film history, it might be that our expectations were so high that it was almost impossible for most films to meet them. That’s true in a financial sense as well as a creative one, and perhaps there’s no better example of that then Star Trek: Beyond. While the third film in the rebooted Trek universe (the so-called “Kelvin timeline”) produced by J.J. Abrams fell about $100 million short of the box office of its two predecessors, it was still received well critically. So where was the disconnect? Where was the enthusiasm for Beyond? (more…)

unification_spock

The week of November 4 will be the 25th anniversary of the first airing of “Unification Part I”, the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that finally brought together the two generations of Trek in a meaningful and substantive way. Given how easily universe-building seems to come for producers in the year 2016, one can perhaps not appreciate the logistical challenges in getting one part of the franchise to crossover with another, even if it’s just one-time only, but maybe that’s what made it so special. Aside from Spock and Picard finally appearing side-by-side, “Unification” marked an important turning point in Star Trek at one of its most difficult times. (more…)

axanar_ship

Peace in our time. Earlier this summer, J.J. Abrams and Justin Lin told a group of Trekkies that war was over, and that war was the one between the corporate lawyers of Paramount/CBS and the makers of the Star Trek fan film Axanar. The lawsuit attempting to bar the filmmakers behind Axanar from completing their film has been a sticking point for fans, many of whom – including this one – have spent long hours in yellow and blue sweaters and exploring the backyard as if it were a strange new world, all while capturing the whole thing with a camcorder. So while CBS thinks they have their eye on the big picture, they’re actually losing all the little people that make a fanbase. (more…)