Archive for the ‘Star Trek’ Category

Favorite Films and Video Games of 2009

June 7, 2010

We’re halfway through 2010! You know what that means!

Time for another shitty overdue list!


Star Trek: The Future’s So Bright, You Gotta Wear Shades… Seriously

May 17, 2009

Let me start off by explaining to you, the reader, that I grew up a Star Trek geek. I’m not really sure how it started. My father has his own fascination with sci-fi spectacle, having owned dubbed copies of just about every shitty sci-fi movie you could think of in the 80s on Betamax tapes that piled high in our basement as if it were the lair of some sort of audio/visual schizophrenic. I think we owned something like three or four different copies of Aliens at one point. But that’s just the background info. This post is alllll about Star Trek.

The earliest memory I have of the franchise is my dad watching syndicated episodes of The Next Generation as they were being aired in the late 80s/early 90s. For some reason I really wanted to stay up with him and watch, but I was too young and they were on too late, so my sister is the only one who had the privilege of watching them with him. It’s probably for the best. Looking back, the show definitely wasn’t intended for the enjoyment of young children. But my fascination for Star Trek had been planted…

When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was introduced, I’d finally seen a few Star Trek movies, even seeing Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in theaters and not really understanding it, but having a blast anyways. I don’t think I got into the habit of watching DS9 regularly until the story arcs started picking up around the third or fourth season. (Coincidentally, that was around the time Battlestar Galactica showrunner Ronald D. Moore began taking the reins of the series.) By then, I believe Star Trek: Voyager was also starting broadcast on the doomed UPN, a network bitterly divided between black sitcoms, Star Trek and professional wrestling. If ever there was a network with segregated audiences, it was UPN. I didn’t understand until years later that Voyager was an extremely unsatisfying series that frittered away all of its potential in lieu of the sweet embrace of familiarity.

Then after Voyager, Paramount immediately flew in headfirst with another new Star Trek series, Enterprise. Ohhhhhh boy. The problems with this show were many. The episodes didn’t bring anything new to the table for anyone that had been following Star Trek over the years, the cast was by and large wooden, and there was the misguided notion that this would be the “sexy” Star Trek and whenever the away team would come back from a mission, they’d spend the decontamination period rubbing each other in their underwear. Oh, and the second-in-command was a Spock-wannabe who had two of the most enormous, fake-looking breasts I’ve ever seen on television. The hardcore fans were even picking up on the show’s lack of quality and tuning in in fewer and fewer numbers, causing the series to be canceled in its fourth season after several unsuccessful attempts to shake up the format of the series.

The motion pictures weren’t faring too well, either. The last success had been the Ronald D. Moore-written Star Trek: First Contact and the movies that came after it had frittered away even that movie’s goodwill. Star Trek: Insurrection was like an awful episode of TNG stretched out to feature-length size. They visited a world where everyone got younger and the cast started acting stupid and Picard fell in love and F. Murray Abraham was the quadrant’s biggest botox addict. And the final movie featuring the TNG cast, Star Trek: Nemesis, was a misguided attempt to try to recapture the grand scope of The Wrath of Khan with a Picard clone raised by Remans (appropriately a planet close to Romulus) and featured Data in the martyred role of Spock. Blehhh. I didn’t buy it and neither did the movie-going audiences.

And so the franchise was done-in by diminishing returns, lazy creative choices and a general lack of interest at Paramount for making Star Trek an AAA priority. I was kind of sad to see the franchise lay fallow, but not if Nemesis and Enterprise were the best they could come up with. In the intervening years, I got interested in the non-Trek sci-fi TV shows I’d missed, such as Farscape, Firefly and the new Battlestar Galactica, which showed just how varied the possibilities for television science fiction could be and how much of a dinosaur Star Trek had turned into over the years. Then murmurings began happening that Paramount was interested in re-launching Star Trek, not as a TV show, but as a tentpole feature film. And then news came down that J.J. Abrams, mastermind behind some of television’s biggest genre successes of the past few years, Alias and LOST, was going to be the one to bring it back to life. EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!