Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blog #9: My Favorite TOS Episodes

 
 
- "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (Great pilot episode of Kirk & Crew)

-  "The Enemy Within" (Kirk separated into a Good and Evil version of himself)

- "The Menagerie, Part I & II" (Seeing footage from the original 'Cage' pilot, we learn what happened to Captain Christopher Pike and Spock is on trial for his life)

- "Balance of Terror" (First appearance of the Romulans)

- "Arena" (Kirk fights for his life against a giant humanoid lizard)

- "Space Seed" (Kirk meets his greatest enemy for the first time, Khan as played by the great Ricardo Montalban)

- "Errand of Mercy" (First appearance of the Klingon Empire)

- "The Alternative Factor" (The same man from 2 different universes threatens to destroy out universe)

- "The City on the Edge of Forever" (Kirk must make the ultimate sacrifice to save the future)

- "Amok Time" (Spock must journey home to marry his arranged marriage wife, but then fights Kirk to the death...)

- "Mirror, Mirror" (Kirk & Co are trapped in a evil parallel universe)

- "The Doomsday Machine" (A machine that destroys planets threatens the galaxy and only the Enterprise can stop it)

- "I, Mudd" (Harry Mudd returns with comical results)

- "Journey to Babel" (We get to meet Mr Spocks family for the first time)

- "The Deadly Years" (Kirk and crew must battle against rapid ageing while a stupid starfleet Commodore almost gets the Enterprise destroyed by Romulans)
- "The Trouble With Tribbles" (Tribbles are cute and cuddly and this episode is funny like no other Trek episode)

- "The Enterprise Incident" (Kirk seemingly goes nuts and the Enterprise is surrounded by Romulan ships. Spock seems to have turned traitor but not everything is as it seems...)

- "Day of the Dove" (Kirk must battle Klingons again while a entity feeds off their aggression)

- "The Tholian Web" (Kirk may have died, Spock is now in command and the Enterprise may be captured by the Tholians)

- "All Our Yesterdays" (It's a race against time as a star is about to explode and Kirk, Spock and McCoy are trapped in different time periods)
 
If you can get past all the dated aspects of this series it really is good at it's core. Some episodes are very bad, and if you are a new viewer you may want to stick with the episodes I recommend.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blog #8: The Original Series & Me

This was originally posted on my 'Random Nerdness' blog before I created my 'Trek1701' blog, so I wanted to include this blog in my Trek blog.
 
Star Trek: The Original Series:
 
The series that started it all back in 1966. Gene Roddenberry is credited as Creator, but some would argue that it was show writers/producers such as DC Fontana and Gene Coon who really made the original series the cult classic it truly is. Set in the 23rd century it follows the adventures of Capatin James T. Kirk played by William Shatner, as he leads the USS Enterprise on adventures. Leonard Nimoy stars as First Officer Commander Spock, a half human half Vulcan scientist. James Doohan as Chief Engineer Lt. Commander Scott or rather 'Scotty'. George Takei as 'Lt Sulu', Nichelle Nichols as 'Lt Uhura' and Walter Koenig as 'Ensign Pavel Chekov'. Back in the 60's it was rare to see such a multi-national cast of characters, and
with it being set in the future the Writers were able to tackle topics which normally couldn't be done on conventional TV. But with it being a Science Fiction series they were able to get away with a lot. It truly was
an original series. Unfortunately it was made in a time where special effects were in its infancy so by today's standards the FX is quite bad. However they have in recent years released a 'Remastered series' with
updated FX which really is awesome and worth watching. But again it was filmed in the 60's with a shoe string budget so the make-up, wardrobe andacting (at times) is very bad and a direct result of lack of funds, and also a lack of interest shown by Gene Roddenberry, especially in the shows 3rd and last season. Roddenberry by the 3rd year had pretty much given up on the show and their budget was cut even more resulting in episodes being constantly filmed on set and not on location. But if you can get past
all that and watch the show for it's heart and the great episodes they did do it is so worth it. The first season episode, 'City On The Edge Of Forever', written by sci-fi literary icon Harlan Ellison, is my absolute
favorite Trek episode of any series of all time. William Shatners performance in particular for that episode is stunning and proves what a great actor he truly is.

The heart of this series really is the interaction between the characters and the actors who play them. The dynamic between Kirk/Spock/McCoy (Shatner/Nimoy/Kelly) really is amazing, and in the last season they added Scotty in more with that dynamic. If I could point out one glaring issue I have with Roddenberry's Star Trek is that the characters never seem to evolve or be expanded on to a certain extent. They just did their jobs and never really got involved with anyone. No one got married or had families. Sulu had a daughter apparently, but he was never seen to have had a family. Having characters that never moved on seemed not realistic to me. I would like to have seen Uhura hook up with Scotty, or something like that. I never understood the logic of having characters simply married to their jobs. Growth of a character allows the viewer something to relate to, and I feel that some people may not have been able to relate to the characters.

Gene Roddenberry created the series and the characters, but he did not create the heart of the series in my opinion. To make a real world analogy: Roddenberry was a biological father who was responsible for the birth of a child, but that child is raised by another person, and said child becomes the person they are based on the person who raised them, not the person who helped create them. Roddenberry came up with the original concept of the characters and the series, but it was the actors, and producers and writers like Gene Coon and D.C. Fontana who defined the characters and the series. Truth is Roddenberry has been given too much credit when it comes to Star Trek, and most of that credit was self praise he gave himself. Gene Coon died in 1973, and thus never lived to see Star Trek become the phenomenon it has become. He never attended a Trek convention, he never was able to tell his side of things. Had he lived I think Roddenberry would have been forced to share the credit with Coon, rather than take it all for himself. Gene Coon is credited for many creations on Star Trek which include the Klingons (in "Errand of Mercy"), Khan Noonien Singh (in "Space Seed"), Zefram Cochrane (in "Metamorphosis"), and the Prime Directive. Coon also had the position of doing rewrites for scripts, and as such his work touches many more episodes. This Trekker will never forget “The Forgotten Gene”

Anyway this last June I got the chance to meet my childhood hero, Mr William Shatner at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. William Shatner was awesome at his panel. Shat came out on stage with a arm full of hot women in the green Orion slave girl make-up, very cool. R2D2 presented the Shat with a white cowboy hat from the Mayor of Calgary. Apparently the white hat ceremony is a big thing in Calgary. A guy behind me said "That's not right. R2D2 should not be giving him the hat. The mixing of universes is not right!"...wow, and I thought I was a nerd... Shat was great on stage and announced a special documentary series he has done interviewing all the Captains of the Star Trek series, I actually watched that last month and it was great. The line up for my picture with the Shat was crazy busy. When we got to get our pic with him I didn't get to ask him anything.There was a little boy who got his pic before us and after the pic the boy didn't know where his dad was and Shat said to me "Who does he belong to?" referring to the kid. That was it. It was very much get in and get out or get tossed by security. Shat just wanted it to be over, you could tell he had had enough at that point. Still very cool to be standing next to him!! The guy is 80 years old and the fact he still does so much is amazing to me.
 
 
 
The only other original series cast member I have met is the late great James Doohan, back at a Trek Convention in 1994 in Edmonton. He was very entertaining on stage and answered all our questions including his dislike for William Shatner. I got his autograph and he was very friendly and kind to us all. Like Shatner Doohan was Canadian. Doohan was also a veteran of WWII. I read his biography a few years ago, co-written by Trek novelist Peter David, Doohan opened up about his life and his military service for Canada. He was truly a remarkable person and a Canadian icon.

Another original series star who I admire is George Takei. One of the reasons I admire George Takei is not for his work on Star Trek or his work on the Howard Stern satellite radio show, I admire him because he took a very difficult step and admitted publicly that he is and has always been gay. He came out of the closet after spending most of his life in it and has become a huge star in the gay community. September 14, 2008 he married his companion of over 18 years Brad Altman. Walter Koenig ("Chekov" from Star Trek) served as Best Man and and Nichelle Nichols ("Uhura" from Star Trek) was the matron of Honor. As a fan of Takei and Star Trek I applaud this man for his bravery in coming out and being true to himself. I'm sure it wasn't easy, he comes from a time when Gay meant "Happy" and not "homosexual". But times have changed and he has changed with them. George Takei you are a great man, I am a fan and I salute you sir for being the great person you are.

Well that concludes my discussion on the Original Star Trek series and it's stars, for now...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blog #7: TNG EXPOsed!!

Menage a Troi? Who wouldn't??


(Update from Blog #5: TNG Reunion In Calgary)

The official press release from the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo:
Star Trek TNG EXPOsed will be the only opportunity to see the nine cast members together - Sir Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden, Wil Wheaton and Denise Crosby, on stage together for the first time in more than two decades.
Included in the evening's program, which will be hosted by the Calgary Expo's mascot Emily Expo, is a 90 minute panel discussion and Q n' A session moderated by InnerSPACE stars Teddy Wilson, Cynthia Loyst, and Ajay Fry, music by Johnny Summers Little Big Band and a video presentation in honour of the cast of TNG. Doors will be at 6 PM and the programming will begin at 7 PM.
Well it is now official: I have my ticket to the show bought and paid for. I have a floor seat, Row 25!!! I couldn't be more excited! My wife will also be at the con but she is not a Trek fan so she did not want to come to the show. But that is OK, I'll be too focused on the Trek TNG cast on stage anyway. Last year was my first year attending the Calgary Expo and I had already made plans to attend the con this year anyway BEFORE this TNG Reunion was announced. What an amazing opportunity for a Trek fan from the Canadian Prairies to meet his idols!! Anyway I couldn't be more excited at this point. In past Trek and Comic con's I have met a few of the TNG cast already: Jonathan Frakes. Levar Burton. Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis. This year I am hoping to get a photo op with Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner and Wil Wheaton. I'll probably just get autographs from the other TNG cast members I have not met. I'm also looking forward to the InnerSPACE hosts moderating the show. I met Ajay and Teddy last year at the Calgary Expo and they couldn't have been nicer. For those of you who do not live in the great white north 'InnerSPACE' is a weekday Geek info show which airs on our 'Space' channel in Canada.
Anyway there will be more updates as the show approaches. And eventually I'll get to blogging about other Trek besides TNG, but with the 25th Anniversary of TNG being this year there is a lot to talk about. Well that's all I have for now, see you in the future!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Postcards from me to you!


Hey there friend this is Chris with something to give you, and something you can give back to me. Sounds mysterious but it isn't. Last fall my fellow blogger CT from the 'Nerd Lunch' blog did something awesome for his readers, and I liked it so much I'm doing it for you. It goes like this: I have a book of 'Bone' postcards, 'Bone' being the comic book character created by Jeff Smith. If you would like me to send you a free 'Bone' post card I would be happy to do that. The only thing I ask for in exchange is that after you receive the postcard in the mail take a picture of yourself holding the postcard and e-mail that picture to me so I can post it on my blogs. It's a neat idea for me to connect to my readers, and for them to connect to the blogs. 



So if you are interested send me an e-mail with your name and full mailing address to: chrisloc1701@gmail.com
and after you receive the postcard send me your pic with the card to the same e-mail address, and please specify which of my blogs you prefer to read and I'll post your pic to that blog.  

I'm hoping to have at least 24 people respond to this, because that is all the 'Bone' postcards I have. If this little experiment is a success I'll be doing more of these postcard exchanges in the future. 

Hope to hear from you!

- Chris

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Blog #6: TNG in HD!!




In 2012 Star Trek: The Next Generation season one is coming to Blue-Ray HD. Until the entire season is released they have issued a sample disc of TNG in HD. I recently ordered 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' The Next Level to see my beloved TNG in HD. I must say it is breathtakingly awesome. Everything has been improved upon, you can especially notice the HD difference with the special effects. The Enterprise and her crew have never looked or sounded better. The episodes they have chosen for this 'taste' or TNG in HD are 'Encounter At Farpoint' the TNG pilot, 3rd season episode 'Sins Of The Father' which is a great Worf/Klingon episode and 'The Inner Light', a 5th season episode which is one of the best Trek has to offer. I am looking forward to the release of the entire series of TNG in HD. A few complaints however:

- The episodes are still in 4:3 aspect ratio, whereas most Blue Rays (including the Original Series) is in 16:9 ratio. 4:3 gives you the black bars on the left and right sides of the picture, where the 16:9 ratio would give you the full screen treatment on most newer TV's. Apparently when TNG was originally filmed it was filmed with 4:3 ratio in mind, and therefore it will probably not be seen in the 16:9 ratio. Very sad indeed. 

- 'Encounter At Farpoint' looks great and sounds great in HD, but HD cannot save this episode from being one of the worst TNG episodes ever made. At the very least it is the worst Trek pilot made out of the entire franchise. Rather than have this episode I wish they had included something better from TNG like 'The Best Of Both Worlds' 2 part episode. The point of this 'taste' of TNG in HD disc is to get us Trek geeks hooked, not leave a bad taste in our mouths like 'Encounter At Farpoint' did. 

All in all this Trek fan is hooked on the TNG HD, and I cannot wait to get my fix. 



Live Long And Prosper! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Blog #5: TNG Reunion In Calgary

Last year was my first time attending the Calgary Comic And Entertainment Expo and it was a great experience. There I not only got to meet 2 of my favourite Trek stars, William Shatner and Jonathan Frakes, but I also got a professional photo taken with them. Based on this experience I fully intended to be at the Calgary Expo in 2012 April 27-29. Then came the announcement last Sunday that the entire original cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation would be attending the con together for a special 25th Anniversary show. First time this has ever been done with the cast of TNG. Excited doesn't hardly explain what I am feeling!! This Reunion show is a part of the Calgary Expo and the stars I assume will be available for photo-ops with fans, but the actual stage Reunion show is a separate paid event for that Saturday night. I couldn't be happier to put out money to see them, and I am hoping for a good seat when the tiks go on sale. Rest assured I will be taking many photos and try to connect with as many TNG stars as possible. 2012 it seems will be a great year after all!!!

Blog #4 : Random Best Of Trek

Here's a few 'Best Of's' I've come up with. More to come later on for sure. Be sure to comment below and leave your opinion. 
 
#1 Best Captain:

Captain Kirk
Captain Picard
Captain Sisko
Captain Archer

Captain Kirk. He was the man, he kicked ass and got the ladies. Who wouldn't want to be him!!
_______________

#2 Best First Officer:

Commander Riker
Commander Spock
Commander Chakotay
Major Kira

Spock. He was smart, strong and logical. His vast knowledge of science often saved the day.
_____________

#3 Best Fighter:

Data
Worf
Spock
Lt Reid

Data. He has the strength of 10 men, he's fast, he's smart and he feels no pain. He would be the ultimate fighter against any one he fought.
________________

#4 Hottest Female Character:

Troi
Seven of 9
Uhura (2009 film version)
T'Pol

Uhura!!! Actress Zoe Saldana is so hot!!! She is without a doubt the winner of this contest.
________________

#5 Best Bad Guy:

Q
Khan
Lore
Locutus

Locutus. Picard was transformed from being a good guy to being the voice of the Borg. As Locutus Picard was forced to use his vast knowledge of starfleet operations to aid them in their invasion of the Federation. Picard was forced to kill friends, but his knowledge of the Borg helped Data to stop the Borg and stop them a second time in their second invasion (Star Trek: First Contact)
____________________

#6 Best Alien Crew Member:
Spock
Worf
Phlox
Odo

Worf. Klingon warrior and hero. Worf was the first klingon cast member and the first to be seen as a good character. It was great to learn more about the klingon warrior culture through Worf. Worf was excellent on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and also excellent when he joined the cast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the 4th season. When we last seen Worf on the movie 'Star Trek: Nemesis' it appeared that Worf was staying on board the Enterprise-E, we would assume he was Picard's new First Officer following the death of Data and promotion of Riker. I even met Michael Dorn at a Star Trek convention, the actor who plays Worf. He was a real cool dude.
______________________________

#7 Best Trek Character Interaction:

Kirk/Spock/McCoy
Odo/Quark
Archer/Tucker/T'Pol
Data/Geordi

Kirk/Spock/McCoy. Their friendship, arguments and brotherhood were always priceless and touching. Spock and McCoy would always argue and Kirk would be stuck in the middle. McCoy would always speak his mind even when it upset Kirk or Spock. It was always great to see these 3 characters together.
_______________________

#8 Best Trek Extended Family Member:

Sarek (Spock's Dad)
Lwaxana Troi (Troi's Mom)
Kern (Worf's Brother)
Rom (Quarks Brother)

Lwaxana. She had a mad crush on Picard and was always making him feel uncomfortable. Her episodes were always funny, but at times serious. She was last seen after having married Odo and expecting a child from another guy. She was never seen again in Trek and sadly actress Majel Barret Roddenberry passed away so Lwaxana will not be seen again.
_________________________

#9 Best Star Trek series:

Star Trek: TOS
Star Trek: TNG
Star Trek: DS9
Star Trek: Enterprise

The Next Generation was the best, no doubt. They told great character driven stories and didn't always rely on special effects. Voyager is the worst series, that series relied on special effects, gimmick stories and a hot chick in a tight silver body suit for ratings. TNG had a great cast with great characters and told great stories that really made you think.
___________________________

#10 Best Enemy Empire:

The Borg Collective
The Romulan Star Empire
The Dominion
The Klingon Empire

The Dominion. The leaders of the Dominion are the shape shifter race that Odo comes from. But they are evil and seek revenge against all 'solids' including the Federation. They enslave other races and force them to do their bidding. The Vorta are the voice for the Dominion, while the Jem'Hadar are the drug addicted super soliders. The Dominion conquered the Cardassian Union and went to war with the Federation, Klingon Empire and Romulan Star Empire and almost defeated them all!! They kicked ass and almost destroyed the Federation...
_____________________________

Well that's it for now for Best of Trek. I'm sure I'll continue with this later at some time. Let me know what you think if your a Trek fan!!