Ladies and gentlemen: we have a date! Paramount has announced the release date for Star Trek 3. This date is just 3 months shy of the 50th anniversary date of debut of Star Trek: The Original Series back in 1966 on NBC.
To replace JJ Abrams (who had to leave to focus on Star Wars: The Force Awakens), the franchise has brought in Justin Lin to direct the movie. Originally Robert Orci had been hired to replace Abrams as the director of the Star Trek 3 since he wrote the first two reboot films. However, he has stepped away from the director's chair but remains on the project as a producer along with Abrams.
Justin Lin is known for directing three of the Fast and Furious films.
Harlan Ellison, the multi-award-winning writer of science fiction and fantasy, had a stroke last week and is recovering in a Southern California hospital. He is grumpy -- and everyone considers that a good sign.
Patton Oswalt tweeted: "'I gotta go do some physical therapy on my stupid ... arm.' -- actual quote from when I spoke to Harlan Ellison earlier. He'll be fine."
Ellison expects to spend several weeks doing physical therapy and then be released.
Last Summer my husband broke out his complete collection of Stargate SG-1 DVDs and watched them in order, not skipping one episode. Stargate SG-1 was a series based on the motion picture Stargate, which originally starred Kurt Russell and James Spader. The series recast the two leads and had greater success on the small screen than in the theater. Stargate SG-1 aired for a remarkable ten years from 1997 to 2007. The series was first shown on the cable channel Showtime in and then later on the Sci-Fi Channel.
Over the couple of months it took to view all 214 episodes and the two films made for DVD, we not only saw Colonel Jack O'Neil and his SG-1 team battle the wicked Apophis and his army of Jaffa, the relentless Replicators, and the overbearing Ori, we also got to learn in very vast detail the lives of the team outside of their work lives. We learned O'Neil's pain of losing his son and his joy of fishing, our hearts were tugged as we witnessed many of Samantha Carter's failed relationships, we learned how Daniel Jackson lost his parents and how he was perceived by his college classmates, and we watched as former Jaffa, Teal'c, attempted to fit in with Earth's lifestyle. Although not every episode was memorable, I came to the realization that we, the sci-fi fan community, are being shortchanged these days when it comes to science fiction on television.
Beginning around 2007, just as Stargate SG-1 was finishing its run, the Sci-Fi Channel (now known as Syfy), and other cable channels started to cut episode orders of their series. Instead of getting 20 to 22 episodes a season, shows got cut to 18, and currently Syfy series like Defiance and Lost Girl get 13 episodes each and summer favorite, Falling Skies on TNT, has only 10 episodes per season. These short season series, although well liked, leave a lot to be desired.
One of the major problems about shortened seasons is that it takes sometimes over a year to get new episodes. Last Summer, my husband and never missed an episode of Defiance, but I can barely recall the characters and the major plot points now that it is about to start its second season. In order to get back up to speed, it will be necessary to binge watch the show. When sci-fi series have a longer season arc, it can be broken up and aired throughout the year, bridging the gap between seasons. Perhaps many people will not even bother to watch season two because they have forgotten about the show or lost interest. Even with the advent of Facebook and other social sites, it takes a lot to keep a fan base going strong.
Another negative to shorter seasons is that series writers do not have much room to be creative and branch out from their main story arcs. Sci-fi series like the Star Trek franchise, which had between 24 to 26 episodes a season had an opportunity to go beyond their core story plots and characters and show different aspects of their imaginary world. If Star Trek: The Next Generation had been relegated to only 13 episodes a season, we would have most likely never seen Captain Picard play his Holodeck alter-ego Dixon Hill in episodes like "The Big Goodbye" or been charmed by Data's version of Sherlock Holmes in "Elementary, My Dear Data". Star Trek: Voyager would most likely been void of the "Captain Proton" episodes since the writers being relegated to plotting out 13 episodes would have had to base most of their storylines about getting back to the Alpha Quadrant. The myriad of sub-plots and character arcs have helped Star Trek, as a whole, to endure over the years even though no incarnation has been on the television since 2005.
One of the largest issues with having short seasons is that most of the characters do not have the time they need to develop and grow. The bulk of the episodes have to be about moving the plot forward, therefore in order to keep the audience interested, most short series creators these days focus their shows on which characters will live or die during the season. Take for instance the highly popular AMC series "The Walking Dead". Regular viewers have got accustomed to anticipating major cast deaths near the middle and during the last episode of the season, and when they die, Twitter and Facebook accounts go nuts for a brief time, then it is back to watching and waiting for the next slaughter of characters. It is hard to get attached to a character when you know that they may be dead after the commercial break, and even if they have been around for a while, how well did you, as the viewer get to know them? There is just not time to write those little memorable moments that make characters endearing and enduring to the audience. Even though "The Walking Dead" is popular now, will it still be a staple in households ten years after the series is over? What was Rick's wife name again?* Did you have to think about it? How about the Star Trek: The Next Generation fans out there? Do you remember the name of Captain Picard's fish?** I bet you do.
The television industry as a whole has suffered financially in the last ten years due to the loss of viewers because of new media and the antiquated Nielsen rating system, which helps to determine the cost of advertising by a show's viewership. Since there has not been a system put in place to determine viewership of television series that are streamed on the internet, the cut in advertising dollars has led to lower budgets for networks and cable stations, and hence, shorter television episode seasons. Sci-fi fans may never again have the opportunity to enjoy new episodes of a show that last months instead of weeks. We may have to continue to rely on fan fiction and the occasional comic book or novels to expand the universe our favorite shows are based in.
*On The Walking Dead, Rick's wife's name was Lori.
**Captain Picard's fish was named Livingston.
Over the holidays, in between shopping and spending time with family, I took the opportunity to read "Star Trek: Devil's Bargain" by award winning author Tony Daniel. The novel was released in 2013 and is based on the continuing voyages of the original series. The story is a follow-up to "The Devil in the Dark", which was the 26th episode of Season One. In the episode, Kirk and Spock travel to the mining colony on Janus VI to investigate the mysterious deaths of fifty miners by a mysterious creature. Continue reading
A very long time ago, a little girl sat on a blanket in front of a television in her one bedroom house and was transported to worlds of wonder and discovery every afternoon. A valiant crew dressed in gold, red and blue traveled in an amazing space craft called the U.S.S. Enterprise, which was led by a very handsome and decisive leader named James T. Kirk. Little did she realize at the time, but that man, played by actor William Shatner, would be a part of of the rest of her life. Continue reading
Every time I read a rumor on the internet about a new "Star Trek" television series in the works, I get all excited. Since the untimely demise of "Star Trek: Enterprise" in 2005, the fans have been waiting for another series to fill the void. "Star Trek" has been an innovative and thought provoking franchise throughout the years and its episodes have portrayed the human condition in such a way that no other television series ever has or probably ever will. The overall meaning of "Star Trek" is hope, hope for humankind and hope for our future, which is lacking so much on television today. Continue reading
It is that time of year again. Everyone is gearing up to start their holiday shopping. Songs of the Season are thrust upon our ears whenever we enter a store and every commercial seems to be about buying jewelry or electronics for our loved ones. However, most of us cannot run out and get the latest $500.00 piece of tech or a diamond ring. I am one of many women out there who could care less if my husband went to Jared. If he is going to remember to buy me anything for Christmas, he knows it should be sci-fi related. In fact, one of the best gifts he ever got me was a cardboard box he decorated himself filled with a myriad of sci-fi collectibles. I loved it so much I still have the box!
I admit. Back in 2007, I had my doubts when I heard that the iconic Star Trek fable had been entrusted to a director who -by his own admission- was never a fan. I was disappointed and skeptical.
Not that I didn't love J.J. Abrams' work, both as director and savvy producer. I was a stone cold follower of "Lost." I got a kick out of "Mission Impossible III" and "MI: Ghost Protocol." Heck, I even loved the critically maligned "Cloverfield." And if you haven't seen the 2008 vid of Abram's TED talk...well, you really, really should. It's a great one.
Nor was my reaction colored by Abrams' original preference for the "Star Wars" saga. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the two great "Stars" of modern mythology co-exist peacefully and have countless cross-over fans; I, included in the horde. Continue reading
Decades before “The Hunger Games”, on an asteroid far from Earth, two Captains were transported against their will and forced to have a fight to the death. One, a ruggedly handsome Earthling by the name of James T. Kirk, the other, a green–skinned Gorn Captain, with about as much speed and dexterity as a zombie from “The Walking Dead”, who both had to use their ingenuity and brute strength to determine a victor when their ships invaded Metron space.
Over the years, the classic Star Trek series episode “Arena”, which originally aired on January 19, 1967, and was the 19th episode of the first season, has stayed in the imaginations of those who have seen it. It was the first time in the series that Captain Kirk used his fighting skills in hand to hand combat against a humanoid nearly twice his size and with magnificent strength. It is considered by many to be one of the best episodes of the series, making many Top Ten lists.
The infamous fight scene between Kirk and The Gorn Captain which may seem laughable by today’s high-tech standards has invaded pop culture and has been recreated in television series like “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy”. “Mythbusters” did an episode of their series to recreate the bomb Kirk makes using sulfur, potassium nitrate and coal. “The Big Bang Theory” centered an episode around Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park in California, where the fight scenes for “Arena” were filmed. Sheldon Cooper even had nightmares about the Gorn. Then in April 2013, 46 years after their first encounter, William Shatner and The Gorn Captain reunited for a rematch in a commercial to promote “Star Trek: The Game”.
Although only seen once on-screen in the original series, The Gorn Captain has become one of the most recognizable aliens in the Star Trek Universe. His reptilian mug can be found on many t-shirts, trading cards, and action figures. Not too shabby for a fellow in a green rubber suit.
The Away Mission now carries several new products including several t-shirts featuring the classic episode "Arena" as well as the Gorn Captain himself. Click this link to check them out!