Category Archives: Warp 9: All Things Star Trek

Taking a look at anything and everything Star Trek- TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT, Movies, and the Re-Boot

Ranking the Star Trek Series

There have been 5 live action Star Trek series over the years, each one different and unique and each one adding to and building upon the Star Trek universe. Each has its own pace and tells its own story, so the argument could be made that none of them is better than the others, they’re all just different. On a certain level, I could and would agree with that. On another level, I also think it is fun to try to rank things and decide and argue which one is best. That’s the point of this post. Which of the series is the best series? Which one is the worst? I’ll be deciding that here, and I’m sure you’ll disagree. All Star Trek fans are pretty passionate, especially when it comes to their own, beloved series. Please let me know which is your favorite in the comments. i would love to hear from you. Here is how I have them ranked:

5. Star Trek: Enterprise

Celebrity CityOh Enterprise, where do I start? I never could get into this series. I tried, I wanted to like it, but I just never could. It was the newest series, but it was supposed to set the furthest back in time of all the series. It was a starship that predated the NCC 1701 Enterprise by about a hundred years. It takes place before there is a United Federation of Planets. In some ways, it was very cool. It was cool to see the struggles of early travel to the stars for Earth, breaking away from the Vulcans who were monitoring everything since First Contact. All of that was interesting, and then it wasn’t.

For me, the highlight of the series was Captain Archer, played by Scott Bakula. He was great, and I had little to no issues with him. He was a cautious captain, but also knew when to take risks. He also ends up being very important for the formation of the Federation. His character was good, and if we were ranking Captains, I don’t know that he would end up in last place.

The low-light for me was the series finale, which was sudden, to say the least, and felt more like an episode of The Next Generation, as a result of the appearances of Troi and Riker, and that they were observing all the events from a holodeck. What a weird way to end a series.

4. Star Trek: Voyager

cast_s2dAlright, I’ll be honest, numbers 4 and 3 are almost interchangeable for me. I enjoyed both series quite a bit, and it is almost unfair to rank one above the other, but I’m going to, and when we get to 3, I’ll tell you why it lands higher on the list for me. One of the best things about Voyager, for me, was that it got back to space exploration, and it introduced a bunch of new alien races, as they were stuck in a completely different part of the galaxy and had to make their way home.

This is a great series to watch if you want to learn about managing and putting together a team. Janeway had her hands full as she had to bring together Star Fleet officers and members of the Maquis, all of whom did not like each other, or the prospect of working together. Janeway was a level-headed commanding officer, and she made it all work, somehow, and brought everyone home.

For me, the toughest stretch in this series is the first season. It is necessary to watch to get what is going on, but the series gets much better after the first season. I love that they have encounters with the Borg, and I also love how the team evolves over time and become a strong crew, despite their initial differences. All around, an enjoyable series.

3. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

023-star-trek-deep-space-nine-theredlistLet the debate begin. You might argue that Voyager was better, because it was more traditional Star Trek, with a starship and exploration and all of that, and you might be right. Nonetheless, I rank this show higher because this was my wife’s first introduction into my geekiness. We sat down and made our way through all the episodes of DS9 together, and she really enjoyed it. That’s why this one makes number 3, and no other reason.

This was a very different series in that it was driven by long story arcs, instead of being more episodic, like TNG and TOS. If you started watching it, you needed to watch the next episode, and probably the next and maybe even the whole season before all the story lines were wrapped up. That takes some adjusting, and may not be what a lot people preferred for the time, but I think it was ahead of its time, really. How many popular shows are there now that are the same? Long story arcs that draw out over a full season, or possibly longer-it happens all the time now.

This was another series where the finale was not so great. The final episode felt cramped and rushed as the tried desperately to wrap all the loose ends form he entire series, which they didn’t really. Then there’s the whole Sisko becoming a god thing. That was just unexpected and strange. I did love, though, that they eventually brought on Worf to boost ratings. Any show with Worf is ok in my book.

2. Star Trek

ST_TOS_CastThis is it, the original series, the show that launched the franchise. As such, it automatically gets moved almost to the front of the line. There was nothing like Star Trek, when the series landed on TV in the 60s. It seemed like it had a history and culture already fleshed out when it began airing, and it created a fan culture unlike any other. The series itself only lasted a few years, unfortunately, and then it was canceled. They tried to bring it back as an animated series, and then it was brought back as a series of feature films.

Fans latched onto Star Trek and never let it go. And that all started here with this series. We were racing to get to the moon, and Star Trek provided us an example of what we could do once we got there and then went further. It also painted a picture of a society with intolerance or hate. It was an ideal, utopian society with really cool phasers and communicators, and transporters. The bridge crew was diverse with different nationalities and races represented well, including an alien with pointy ears. The original crew, led by Kirk, will never be forgotten, and there’s a reason that the reboot started with them. Everything we love about Star Trek is thanks to Kirk and Spock and Bones.

1. Star Trek: The Next Generation

The_Next_Generation_Main_Cast_Season_1What can I say? This was my Star Trek. I don’t think I really realized I was a geek until I started watching this show. I loved it. Granted, watching it now, i wonder how it survived past the first 3 seasons, but I am glad it did. Once “Best of Both Worlds” hit, TNG had cemented itself as the best of the Star Trek franchise, at least in my heart.

This was similar to TOS, but also very different. Everything looked newer and was sleeker, for one thing. no more buttons, it was all touch screen. Picard was a very different captain than Kirk (a debate for another time), and his crew seemed to have a very different mission. Yes, the opening credits said it was the same mission, but in reality, this Enterprise explored less and was more of a diplomatic powerhouse sent in to end in any conflicts within the Federation. The crew had a different chemistry, reflective of the late 80s, early 90s. Picard was in charge, but the crew discussed things a lot more. It was more cooperative, whereas Kirk was much more authoritative.

As I mentioned, the series had a rough start, but got better with each season. I have two measuring sticks when trying to decide if an episode is worth re-watching: 1. How tight are the uniforms? the more skintight, the less likely that it will be one of the better episodes, as this indicates it is an earlier episode. 2. How long is Worf’s hair- the longer the hair, the later the episode, so it may be better.

What do you think? which was your favorite episode? Did you know, that starting in 1987, we had 18 years straight of new Trek on TV. We are now coming up on a full decade without any. I think it’s high time we got a new series of some sort on TV. Trek in the movie theater is one thing, and rebooted Trek is another thing entirely. Where the franchise really belongs is the small screen in a weekly series. That’s what i think most fans want. In any case, let me know in the comments how my list compares to yours. It is always fun to see how people view these things differently.

This Week in Geek: Leonard Nimoy Passes at Age 83

leonard-nimoy-spock-star-trek-2Leonard Nimoy was an icon. I can’t think of any other way to describe him. There are a few faces that are instantly recognizable as the characters they play in a movie or a TV series. Leonard Nimoy was Spock, and Spock was a character that meant so much yo so many. I was saddened to hear that he had passed away on Friday, but I was also grateful for everything he left behind. His body of work, particularly in the Star Trek universe, will remain a source of inspiration for countless geek generations to come.

I have been thinking of the last day or so about what made Spock so important, what made him stand out. I think one thing that made him stand out was that Star Trek was the first really successful Science Fiction television series. There was no such thing as a “fandom” before Star Trek. It was a series that changed the whole landscape of Science Fiction and it laid a foundation for every franchise that followed. It has endured through all this time. The original series wasn’t appreciated enough as it originally aired, being cancelled after only 3 seasons, but with time it caught on and the fan base, which was extremely loyal, grew. Spock was a big part of that.

Was he a bigger part of the success than Kirk? For me, the answer is yes. Spock was the original outsider looking in. Each Star Trek series has had this type of character. For TNG it was Data, for DS9 it was Odo, and for Voyager it was the Doctor. These were characters who showed us what it meant to be human from the outside looking in, and helped us understand our selves better. More than that, as geeks we all felt like outsiders at some point in our lives. These characters gave us hope that we could belong. Spock was basically the high school nerd or geek, and somehow he was hanging out with the captain of the football team.

Spock was so different from the rest of the crew, relying on his logic, instead of his emotions, which helped us understand our own emotions. Spock, of course, would not have been Spock if not for the masterful way that Nimoy played the character. I don’t think it is easy to appreciate how hard it is to play a character like Spock, who doesn’t feel or emote, and to keep it up as well as Nimoy did. He embodied Spock and I don’t think anyone could play the character as well as he did over 49 years in the role. He became one of those actors that people had a hard time separating from his role. For many fans, there was no difference in their minds between Leonard Nimoy and Spock. Rarely, does an actor embody a role like that.

One of the great things about Nimoy was that he embraced that aspect of playing Spock. He embraced the fans and was always appreciative of their support. Star Trek fans are known to be a bit obsessive, and it would be easy, especially as he got older, to pull away and not want to speak with the fans. Nimoy didn’t do this. As he got older, his health began to get worse, but he still found ways to connect to the fans. In September of 2014, health prevented Mr. Nimoy from physically visiting fans in Salt Lake City, Utah who were attending Salt Lake Comic Con. That didn’t stop him, however, as he visited with those fans via Skype:

Leonard Nimoy’s passing on February 27, 2015 brought a great amount of sadness to the geek world. It also brought a great amount of gratitude and appreciation. All of a sudden dress colors didn’t matter anymore on the internet. Remembering a treasured performer became more important. I think most geeks out there have some connection to  Leonard Nimoy. He was one of the greats, and we will be able to look at the huge amount of work he did, both on the screen and off, and appreciate this man for years and years to come. The magnitude of his career will never be fully appreciated or understood. I can say, without question, I would not be here today writing this post or keeping this blog. I know my blog is really small and insignificant, but I think there are a lot of geeks and geeky franchises that can make the same claim. Leonard Nimoy influenced so much in the world of geek, that it would be hard to find any facet that wasn’t touched or affected by this man. He was an icon.

To close out this post, I can think of only one way. I wanted to share the funeral scene for Spock from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. That and to say, Live Long and Prosper.

Warp 9: Re-Booting Star Trek: TNG

The new Star Trek movies have been big box office hits. It looks as though rebooting the property and adding more action was just what the franchise needed to be more desirable for the mainstream crowds. Some might argue whether they needed to make it more desirable for the mainstream public. I would argue that since movie studios are out to make as much money as possible, then yes they did need to reboot the franchise and start from scratch. It seems to me that there certain characters or movies that should not be rebooted or redone. Prior to 2009’s Star Trek I would put James T. Kirk and the rest of the original Enterprise crew in that category. Hollywood, however has now proven that they will reboot anything to make a buck. Considering that, I am stuck wondering if they will ever give TNG the reboot treatment. I hope not, but who knows? I think people would flock to go see that in theaters, if they got the right people to take over the bridge of the Enterprise-D. Then I thought, that might just make an interesting blog entry. So, here it is, my ideas for who they could cast in a TNG reboot. To be clear, this is all in fun, and I have heard no rumors or even hints of rumors that any of this would actually happen. These are just my thoughts.

Captain Jean Luc Picard

MV5BMjE0MjAwOTMzMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDg1MjEyNw@@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_Probably the most important casting of the whole show. The original TNG’s success completely hinged on how well Picard went over with the fans. Patrick Stewart pulled it off, as we know, swimmingly.  We would need a pretty good actor to step in and fill those shoes. I think martin Freeman could be our guy. There’s nothing says that Picard needs to be played by a Brit. In fact, the character is from France. The precedent, however has been set by Stewart, and I think it would be a nice nod to have the remake go in that direction as well. When I first came upon the idea to cast Freeman in the reboot, my first thought was that he was too young. Patrick Stewart was in his late 40 when he began playing Jean-Luc. Freeman will be 44 this year, so he is in the same age range. I know the hair thing might be a big deal, but I think we could get over that. I think Freeman can play that great mix of stern and compassion that Picard requires as a starship captain. We know he can play diplomatic after seeing his work on Sherlock where he has to be the peacemaker in each episode. If he can deal with Sherlock and be his best friend, he should have no problem taking on Romulans and Klingons.

Commander William Riker

MV5BMTAyNTAzMTA4OTJeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDA4NDI2Njk@._V1_SX214_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Jonathan Frakes should be involved somehow with the reboot. Maybe as a director. The guy knows how to direct Star Trek, at least in the traditional sense, and although he has aged well, his time as Number 1 would definitely be over. For our first officer, I think Zachary Levi would be a great choice. He has grown up a lot since Chuck, but he hasn’t lost that charm, which would be key for the role. I think he could really pull it off, brining his own touch to the character. He would play well opposite Freeman’s Picard. He looks younger, but not too young, and I think the crew would have no problem following him while Picard went inevitably missing. And, let’s face it, Levi hasn’t been overly busy since Chuck, which is too bad. We need to get him back into a starring role. Another role that would just add to his geek cred. I mean look at this guy- wouldn’t he look good in the Star Fleet Uniform? Like he was born to wear it.

Lt. Commander Data

jim-parsons-big-bang-theory-mainOk, this might be a little type casting here, since you could argue that Sheldon is almost an android, especially in the first few seasons of TBBT. That’s true, what can I say? I really think Parsons could pull off the Data character in a classic way. almost as well as Brent Spiner pulled it off. I mean, no one could really replace Spiner as Data. He just nailed the lack of emotion, yet still curious and inquisitive Data. Always striving to be more human and to understand living beings. He was just amazing, and no one would ever do it better. Parsons, though, I think could do it as well. He knows how to play quirky and inquisitive, and let’s face it, TBBT is all about Sheldon trying to figure out people. It would be a smooth transition from that character into Data’s shoes. He could bring the same touching emotional moments that Spiner did, making him the heart of the show.

Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge

70558085I think LaForge was probably LeVar Burton’s second most well-known Television role. Hosting Reading Rainbow was probably his most well-known role. I always thought it was so cool that he was on both, and I loved the episode of Reading Rainbow  where the visited the set of TNG and talked about it. It was so awesome. Of course, i thought I was the only person in the world who was smart enough to figure out that he was the same guy. Obviously, I wasn’t really that smart at all. Donald Glover doesn’t have  hosting a children’s Television show to his credit, but he has had a number of roles that display his depth and range as an actor. I think he could fit in well as our chief engineer. He also has a great smile, which I think is necessary for Geordi’s character. The only question is whether he would have to wear the visor or if they would just go straight to the implants. I think it would be cool if they went with the visor, but you don’t have to take my word for it…

Lt. Worf

8aae294a2ebd0b798c5044c815790d23Worf is the Klingon Chief of Security with the big heart. He may be Klingon on the outside, but he was raised by humans, and even though he doesn’t like to show it, that means he is just a big softy on the inside. We would need an imposing figure who could also play the big heart. David Ramsey is a great choice for that. He plays that every week on Arrow. I mean, where would Ollie be without Diggle? Lost in the pursuit of vengeance, that’s where. I think Ramsey could easily move from one franchise to the next and step into the role of everyone’s favorite Klingon. He would look imposing for sure, but look at the guy, he is obviously really a softy at heart. Now just picture him with a really bumpy forehead and a Klingon scowl. Now you’re seeing it, right? Trust me, it would work.

Deanna Troi

MV5BMTM4MTU0Nzg1N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODI2ODgzOQ@@._V1_SX214_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

Deanna Troi, the counselor aboard the Enterprise. Before TNG I had no idea that starships came with a counselor. She was there for the emotional needs of the crew members, and somehow that meant that she needed to sit on the bridge, right next to the captain. She was also involved in all the bridge crew meetings and a part of every major decision. Apparently, in the future, being a counselor has a lot more clout than today. In any case, my choice for the role would be Alexandra Daddario. You might not recognize her name right off, but chances are you have seen her onscreen before. She has had roles in the Percy Jackson movies, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, True Detective, The New Girl and many more. This could be the role, though, that becomes her signature role. I mean, who had heard of Marina Sirtis before TNG? Now, she is loved by Trek fans throughout the world.

Dr. Beverly Crusher

MV5BMTc5Njk4MTM0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjI3NDUwOA@@._V1_SY317_CR11,0,214,317_AL_Beverly Crusher had to deal with all the pressures of being the Chief Medical officer of the Federation’s largest starship and being a single mom of a teenage boy. That’s a lot of pressure to deal with, but she handled it well and was able to balance it all. The role would require someone who could pull all of that off  just as well. Erika Christensen may just be the right fit. She is best known for her role on the television series Parenthood, in which she plays a woman who is balancing a career as a lawyer and her responsibilities as a mother (at least as far as I know, I have only seen the first few episodes). I think lawyer is pretty stressful, probably up there with Chief Medical Officer of a starship. I think she could do it. She’s not a redhead like Gates McFadden, but I don’t think that Beverly Crusher has to have red hair. If they really wanted her to have it, then they have ways of making that happen.

Well there you have it. At least the “bridge crew.” What do you think? Would you watch this crew step onto the bridge of the Enterprise D? Or, am I way off? Who would you cast in a TNG reboot? I know I didn’t include Wesley, so who would you pick for that role? It’s always fun to think about what a reboot of the series would like, and to wonder if they would do it as a TV series or if they would reboot it as a movie. The series premiered 28 years ago, so it is probably due for a reboot, because that’s all Hollywood does anymore.

 

Warp 9: A New Star Trek Series?

tillman-homefront

I am in San Francisco this week, a place that holds a special place in any Trek fan’s heart. It is the future site of Star Fleet Command and Star Fleet academy.  This location has been well established in every era of Star Trek, whether it be the original crew in the movies, or The Next Generation, or even Enterprise, all of them have established San Francisco as the location for Star Fleet command.  Even the new movies establish this town as the base of operations for Star Fleet. It is hard for me to not think about Star Trek when I come to this city. And when I think of Star Trek, I always wonder when or if we will ever see a Star Trek television series again. For me, Star Trek will always belong on TV, in a serial format, and not just in the megaplexes of the world.

starfleet-academy-2377-inthefleshA recent post over at io9,by Mark Altman, discusses how one could turn Star Trek into the next Marvel mega-franchise. I may not agree with all of his suggestions, like making Star Trek into the Sci-Fi version of Game of Thrones, but I agree with his sentiments. I think there is huge potential for the Star Trek property to become huge. Bigger than anything else out there. I also agree that Star Trek making its triumphant return to television is key to that happening. Star Trek has never been a franchise that could survive solely on the big screen. We need a series of some sort, and if it were the right series, it could be a mega-success.

So, other than San Francisco making me think of Star Trek, what does any of this really have to do with San Francisco or me being here? Well, none of it has anything to do with me being here. I am here solely for work at my day job, which unfortunately has nothing to do with Star Trek (sadly), but it does have to do with San Francisco, because I have an idea for series that I think could be pretty good. Now, keep in mind that I am not a television series developer in any capacity, so at the end of the day, what do I really know about any of this? This is simply my idea, and I think it might be pretty cool.

The idea? Simple. It would be Star Trek: Academy, and it would take place primarily at the Star Fleet Academy, in San Francisco. Brilliant, right? Well let me tell you more, and maybe you might think so. For all you television producers out there, feel free to contact me directly about a development deal.  I don’t have an agent (just in case anyone like that reads this).

The Pitch

golden-gateThe story would basically follow a class or cadets who all seem to be a little rough around the edges, or they don’t quite fit in (picture Ender’s Dragon Army, full of outcasts, with a dash of Wolverine-a little rough). This group of cadets seems to always find themselves in trouble. They don’t seek it out, trouble just seems to find them. However, they always find a way out, and over time, they begin to earn the respect of their instructors and most of their peers. Of course there would be one rival group of cadets that would always hate them and try to make their lives harder. Their main instructor would be a Captain (I always pictured his name being either John or Jack Wolf) who, due to chronic injuries, has been forced into instructing at the academy, but he sorely misses the action. He plays by his own rules, and he is a survivor, so he passes that on to the students. That’s the basic premise.

Why it Could Work

The beauty about this is that it could take place in any era of Star Trek (Except for Enterprise, without adjustment, anyway, which is fine because I don’t think they want to revisit Enterprise any time soon), whether it be the Original Series, or TNG, or even the new parallel universe. My vote would be in the new parallel universe, so it could coincide with the movies that Paramount is working on. Also, the new universe is a little more action packed, which I don’t like as a traditional Trek fan, but I recognize that it has more of a mainstream audience appeal. So, I would suggest placing it in that parallel universe and going from there.

I also see it working one of two ways. Either this class graduates and new cadets are constantly being refreshed and brought into the group, causing a need for constant adjustment, or it follows just one class through to graduation. A few might change over time, but the core group would remain intact. The first scenario gives you a way to change the crew as needed, keeping it fresh and preventing it from hitting a slump. The downside would be that the audience would never really connect with the cadets, as they would constantly be changing. The burden for that connection would be with Captain Wolf and the other instructors. The second scenario basically subs in the class of cadets for the bridge crew and the audience would be able to connect with them and watch them grow. The downside here would be that the characters could become stale, so they would need to be changed out anyway. I think somewhere in the middle of the two would be best.

The cadets would obviously be based in San Francisco, but they would also spend a good deal of time on short missions.  The missions will always be presented as routine missions, but then something goes wrong, and the cadets, who are all inexperienced, would have to figure out a way to resolve any issues that would arise. The missions would always be closer to home, and so they would involve alien species we already know from the Star Trek canon. This would not be a series of exploration as much as it would be a way for a new generation of Trek fans to be introduced to many of the classic Star Trek races. So, again, while they will be based here in San Francisco (it feels weird to say that), they will not be confined to only San Francisco.

This also gives the Star Trek Universe a place to develop some new characters. Maybe we see one of the cadets graduate and then make it on board the Enterprise with Kirk. Maybe we see some of them graduate and then go on to be part of a bridge crew for a spin-off series. The possibilities are there. This would be just one avenue for new character development.

The biggest thing, I think, a series like this would have going for it is that all the cadets would be fairy young, which could draw in some of the younger crowd. I think it is apparent that most young people enjoy movies and stories where other young people are the main protagonists. That is one of the keys to the success of Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Narnia, even Star Wars, and many more. That is what young people want, so if we want to draw in that younger demographic, make the main characters young. Trust me, it will work.

That’s my idea, anyway, for a new Trek series. What do you think? Would a series like that work? Would it help to bring Star Trek back to TV, where it belongs? What would you do if you were making your very own Star Trek series? Let us know in the comments.

 

Star Trek Generations Turns 20!

stock-photo-14301910-20th-birthday-candles

 I hope you like cake, because there is plenty to go around as we celebrate a pretty big day in Trek history.  Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the theatrical release of Star Trek Generations.    This film was a huge milestone for me growing up, because it marked the first big screen adventure of my Enterprise crew.  Done were the days of Kirk and Spock.  Now was the time of Picard and Riker to rule the cinema.  Sort of.  I have a love/hate relationship with this movie.  On the one hand, I loved that this movie featured the Enterprise D and her crew.  On the other hand, the movie kind of sucked.  It was long and boring in parts.  I watched it again, recently, thinking maybe I just needed to be more mature to enjoy the slower parts.  I still didn’t, so either I will never enjoy the slower parts, or I just haven’t matured enough yet.  Maybe I will give it another 20 years.  In any case, in honor of the 20th Anniversary, here is a Warp 9 look at 9 random things from Star Trek Generations:

Warp 1- Whoopi Goldberg

whoopi-goldberg-as-guinan-in-star-trek-generations

In this movie we get a glimpse into Guinan’s origin.  Where she came from and how she ended up in the Federation as a bartender.  Which was great, because as  a Star Trek fan, I often asked myself, “Self, where did Guinan come from?  I hope the base a future movie loosely on her origin.”  And with Generations, they did.  Lucky us.  Mostly lucky Picard, because it is really Guinan that convinces him to leave the nexus.  Apparently, Guinan’s origin story was such a success that it cemented her as a regular for future films.  Or, not so much.  We don’t see Whoopi again until Nemesis, including the crew’s run in with the Borg in First Contact. Whoopi’s eyebrows, on the other hand, have yet to appear on-screen.  We are still waiting…

Warp 2- The Enterprise B

Enterprise_B_by_Merc_Raven

At last we get to see the Enterprise B on-screen.  We had seen the models in the conference room on the Enterprise D for years, and we knew that it was an Excelsior class starship, but up until now, we had never seen it in action.  The Enterprise B was the third starship to bear the name, but the fifth one to show up on film.  Fun fact, David Carson, who directed the film, also directed the TNG episode, “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” which featured the thought to be destroyed Enterprise C.  So apparently, Carson had a thing for bringing old models of the Enterprise to life.  Good for him.  This is one of the highlights of the film for me.

Warp 3- Worf Gets Promoted

Enterprise,_sailing_brig,_Generations

In one of my favorite scenes from any of the Star Trek movies, Worf finally gets a little respect as he gets promoted to Lt. Commander.  It only took him 7+ years to achieve, but well done Mr. Worf.  He gets the well deserved promotion, and then he gets all wet.  Good times had by all. Except for Worf who does not look happy at all, or Dr. Crusher, who gets thrown into the water after data tries to be funny.

Warp 4- The World Through Geordi’s Eyes

LaForge gets taken by Klingons in the movie, in one of multiple subplots that are at the route of this films issues, and as a result, they rig his visor to send them video images of what he sees.  We find out through their viewing that LaForge is a pretty voting guy.  Nothing super exciting going on in his life at all, until they get a glimpse of the technical specs for the Enterprise’s shields.  After hours of watching.  Who knew Klingons had so much patience.

Warp 5- Data’s Emotion Chip

We finally get to see the funny side of Data.  In yet another subplot, Data has Geordi install his emotion chip.  What we get as a result is a lot of funny Data, along with scared Data, but really the funny Data is the best.  Check it out for yourself:

 “I just love scanning for lifeforms.”  Classic!

Warp 6- What Could Have Been

Did you ever wonder what a Star Fleet captain has to give up to make it to the top?  For Picard, apparently it was a wife and family.  As he is in the Nexus, we see that this is what is supposed to keep him in there, maybe something he really wishes he had.  It becomes one of the underlying themes of the film- Family- what does it mean, what is really important.  It calls back to when Kirk meets Sulu’s daughter on the Bridge of the Enterprise B, and asks Scottie when Sulu found time for a family.  If it’s important, you make the time.  Both Picard and Kirk are seen in the Nexus experiencing what they have had to give up.  Makes you stop and think about what is really important to you.

Warp 7-A Trio of Good-byes: The Old Oval Comm Badge

In Generations, the crew of the Enterprise is seen wearing a mixture of old and new uniforms throughout the film, mixing their classic look with the new look employed by the DS9 crew.  In addition to the uniform changes, we see for the first time, the new comm badges.  They went from this:

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To this:

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I guess the more square look was hipper and more modern.  Whatever the reason, it stuck, and we get this comm badge for the rest of DS9, Voyager, and the remaining TNG movies.  I like it more than the original, personally.

Warp 8- A Trio of Good-byes: The Enterprise D

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For me, one of the saddest moments of this film was when the Enterprise D is destroyed, and Riker and Picard are standing on the bridge saying good-bye.  I loved that ship.  It was my Enterprise, and it was really too bad that it only got one film.  Don’t get me wrong, Enterprise E is fantastic, but D was a classic.  It was sad to see her go.  But, like Picard points out to Riker, there are plenty of letters left in the alphabet.  Which is true, yet, here we are, starting over at the beginning again.

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Warp 9- A Trio of Good-byes: Kirk is Dead.

Ever the Hero, Kirk comes back with Picard to save a planet from impending doom.  He comes back to make a difference, and he does.  The big difference this time is that he dies in the process.  I remember watching this scene in the theatre, and I couldn’t believe it.  Kirk can’t die, I thought.  But he could and he did.   Here are two cuts of the scene.  The first is what appeared in the movie, and the second is a very rough, but slightly different cut.  Enjoy:

So that’s it.  That is our Warp 9 look back on Star Trek Generations.  It wasn’t the greatest Trek of all time, but it’s not the worst either.  It served as a passing of the torch from one crew to the next, one movie franchise to the next.  I enjoy it for what it is, and as a 12-year-old, I loved seeing my Star Trek in the theatre.

My 9 Favorite Star Trek Aliens

Welcome to Warp 9.  It will be a regular feature here on The Geeky Mormon site.  It will be an opportunity to explore all things Star Trek.  It won’t always be a list, but rest assured it will never be a “top ten,” because our engines only reach Warp 9.

Today’s topic is Alien races.  Notice that list consists of my favorite, so naturally it is completely subjective.  The only thing I used in my ranking system was how much I liked a particular race.  That’s it.  Nothing fancy.  I’m not trying to win or even start any arguments.  I am just giving you my list.  Please feel free to disagree.  My feelings won’t be hurt, and I welcome the feedback.  We will be counting them down from least favorite to most favorite, but the least favorite will be labeled as Warp 1, while the most favorite will be Warp 9, because obviously, faster is better.  So, let’s begin.

Warp 1: The Cardassians

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These guys make the list because I loathed them.  They were slimy, sleazy, double-crossing, brutal and overall not nice people.  Is it any wonder that they were cold-blooded and more closely related to reptiles?  They acted like walking talking snakes.  There was never once a Cardassian that appeared on the shows that made me think, “He seems like a nice fellow.  I would trust him with my life.”  Even when they were trying to be nice, I wanted them to get blown to smithereens.  Why are they on my list of favorite species?  Any show like Star Trek is only as good as its villains, and these guys were great villains.  They also get the award for ugliest heads in a galaxy full of ugly heads.  Congratulations, your prize is in the mail.

Warp 2: The Ferengi

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In Star Trek: TNG I thought the Ferengi were pretty much the lamest race in the galaxy.  They were brutish, savage, stupid creatures whose heads looked like my backside with giant ears.  I really thought that this race was made up on a dare, or as a joke, back when no one was really taking TNG all that seriously.  The Ferengi were introduced as a primary antagonist early in the series, but it never stuck and I quickly lost interest.  Until DS9.  Quark changed my whole perception of this race.  Yes, they were still a rotten people, but somehow Quark made them more likable.  He was still super greedy, and I would never trust him with my money, because somehow it would end up becoming his money, but I would trust him to have my back if we were friends.  They were an interesting race, and it seems, commentary on a society based solely on making money.  In any case, they went from potential big scary bad guys to lovable little imps.

Warp 3: The Romulans

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As a kid, in my head I always saw the Romulans as cousins of the Vulcans.  They had the same pointy ears, same bad haircuts, a more pronounced brow line, and weird emotions.  And a really bad sense of style.  I mean, yes, for the photo above, it was the late 80’s/ early 90’s, but even for that time frame, those shoulder pads are huge!  Who would design something like that and think that it was a great idea for a military uniform.  The Romulans were the consistent threat to the federation, so there are plenty of Romulan appearances throughout the Original Series and TNG, not to mention two movies so far that focus on the Romulans.  I always thought the Romulans were boring as a kid, but appreciated them more as i got older.  They make my list, if for no other reason, then for one reason alone: The Warbirds.  Coolest looking alien ship, in my opinion.

Warp 4: The Trill

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What an interesting race, and one, like the Ferengi, that we get to know better after TNG in DS9. They’re really one race made up of two species, a symbiotic species and a host species.  The cool part, or horrible part, depending on the episode, was that the host had all the memories from the previous hosts.  This led to some interesting and awkward things in DS9, like the fact that Sisko always called Dax “old man,” even though she clearly wasn’t.  That’s because Sisko knew her previous host as an old man.  Or the episode where a former spouse of Dax’s comes aboard DS9, and the two women strike up the old flame against the laws of their hoemworld, risking exile.  Or when Jadzia died after marrying Worf, and the new Dax host shows up on DS9. These moments were all awkward, but they made for some interesting stories.  It was a very foreign concept to me, but intriguing.  I don’t think I would like the idea of either living throughout multiple lifetimes, or having someone else’s memories.  It makes me wonder how the Doctor does it…

Warp 5: The Bajorans

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What can I say?  Despite my generally straight arrow approach to life, I love a good righteous rebel.  You know, the kind of rebel that is fighting against a rotten establishment.  That’s what the Bajoran’s are.  After years of slavery and oppression at the hands of the Cardassians, they are finally freed, looking to join the federation only to have the Federation make a treaty with the Cardassians.  Now they are supposed to live in peace with their old oppressors.  Not happening.  It was always amazing to me that there were so many Bajoran rebel cells.  It seems like between TNG and DS9, a new one was uncovered every other week.  I always identified with the Bajorans.  I don’t want to explore a bunch of other worlds.  I want a family and a farm and my religion.  Give me that, and I’m happy.  try to take it away from me, and I will probably rebel.

Warp 6: The Vulcans

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The original aliens.  In the Star Trek Universe, these were the folk that made first contact with us, ushering in a new era for human kind.  Then they babysat us forever, until Captain Archer got them off our backs.  Of course, the original Vulcan was Spock.  A character who is a legend in the Star Trek Universe and with Trek fans everywhere.  More respected and loved than even Kirk, if i could be so bold.  The Vulcans, and Spock in particular, were necessary as a balance for Kirk and his recklessness.  Spock was always there to try to reel him in and get him to look at the situation logically.  Plus there’s the whole “Live long and prosper,” thing.

Warp 7: The Borg

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The Borg were the boogeymen of the Star Trek Universe.  They were just plain creepy.  The idea that somewhere in this galaxy is a race of beings that have no sense of individual identities and only serve the hive mind and are more machine than organic being was just plain unsettling.  Then you throw in the idea that they are headed for Earth and they are nearly unstoppable, and it become terrifying.  Plus, they took down Picard.  Granted, he didn’t stay down, but they were more successful than anyone else at taking him out of the game.  Let’s face it, without Picard, mankind has no hope.  They were just so logical and analytical and uncaring.  They flew through space in a giant cube.  Not because it looked cool.  They did it because it made the most sense.  There is no creativity there, just utilitarianism.  Basically, they are the opposite of everything we believe in and hold true.  Like Communist Russia.

Warp 8: The Q Continuum

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The only thing worse than this guy is knowing that he is not the only “Q” in the universe.  Q was basically a god with all the annoying attribute of that guy you can’t stand at work or at school who is better than everyone, and he knows it.  He was condescending and arrogant and rude and cruel.  And every episode he was in, I was glued to the TV.  There was just something fun about watching Picard and the Enterprise crew outsmart this guy.  It always made me feel like it was victory for the little guy, which is what I am, so it was a victory for me. However, if I could pick any race in the universe to have their powers or abilities, it would be the Q.

Warp 9: The Klingons

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Sometimes allies, sometimes enemies, always looking for a fight.  That was how I viewed Klingons as I grew up watching Star Trek.  I loved the Klingons, and anytime I played Star Trek, I was always a Klingon.  Naturally, Worf was my favorite character on the show.  I loved any episode that explored the Klingon culture more thoroughly.  I kind of picture it as taking Vikings and throwing them into space and you have Klingons.  I love the idea of honor and the idea of living life to its fullest, so everyday is a good day to die.

Well, there’s my list.  Who did I miss?  Who would you put in the number 1 spot? Or in this case, the Warp 9 spot.  Let me know in the comments.  We would love to hear from you.

Star Trek: TNG-Inheritance

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I am back with another review of a classic Star Trek: TNG episode.  I didn’t know how to approach this series at first.  The first entry,  I just picked an episode I had always enjoyed and wrote about it.  I didn’t know how long I could do that, or if I should try to review them in order or what, so I decided to do it randomly.  And to assure that it is completely random, I have gone to a random number generator on the internet.  Here’s how it works: First I enter the range 1-7, for the 7 seasons of the series.  Once that number is generated, i put in the range of the number of episodes in that season, like 1-25.  This gives me a result like season 3, episode 14.  That’s the episode I will watch, and then I will write about it here.  I will keep track of the episodes that I have already discussed, so if the number generator spits out the same result again, I will regenerate until it is an episode we have not discussed. If it is a two-part episode, either the first part or the second, then I will watch both parts and review them here as one episode, for example Best of Both Worlds would be discussed as one episode, instead of two. I think this will be a fun way to rediscover the series I loved so much. For today’s entry, the number generator produced season 7, episode 10, which is entitled Inheritance.”

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In this episode, the crew of the Enterprise is sent to help a planet that is having some seismic issues and they need to help them solve it or the planet is going to be destroyed.  Don’t worry too much about the details of that, because, believe it or not, that is the secondary storyline of this episode.  One of the scientists from the plane who is helping with this seismic issue is a human named Julianna.  Once she and the other scientists meet with Captain Picard and the other senior officers, she hangs back to speak with Data.  She asks if he remembers her or recognizes her.  He doesn’t and she mentions that it is because he memory had been erased, and that she was there from the beginning, that she was married to Dr. Soong and had helped him build Data.  She was essentially his mother.  And that’s only the first bombshell here.

The first half of the episode involves Data researching records to validate her story.  He had previously been unaware that Soong had been married to anyone, so he had no idea that this mother figure existed.  In his research he is able to confirm what she has told him, so he accepts that she is his mother, and decides to try to get to know her a little better.  They visit in 10 Forward and she tells him about his “childhood,” from her stories we learn that Data started out very rude,  demonstrating a need for a politeness protocol to be added to his programming.  We also learn that he was a little nudist, refusing to put on clothing because he did not need protection from the elements.  This meant they had to add a modesty program as well.  During this “getting to know you” phase, Data, his mother, and LaForge are all working on drilling some magma pockets into the planet’s surface using phasers.  Data is of course doing the heavy lifting in the calculating department, but at one point, a correction needs to be made, and his mother is able to do it on the fly, showing she is one smart cookie.  This raises Data’s suspicions, to the point that he requests to see her medical records, which Dr. Crusher refuses to let him do.

Data and his mother are sent down to the planet to work on setting some kind of stabilization up in the magma pockets to save the planet.  The pockets are becoming unsafe, so the two of them are sent down to work quickly to finish the set up.  While down there they experience an earthquake type event and quickly finish up and head back to where they need to be to beam back up to the ship.  Their field generators have fallen off a ledge, and they need them to be able to beam back.  At this point, Data is pretty certain about his assumption, so he suggests that the two of them jump down.  He grabs her arm and they both leap off the ledge.  Data is fine, but Julianna’s arm has come off, revealing that she is an android, just like Data.

Once they are back on the ship, they inspect this new android very closely, and find she is much more complex than Data.  She has emotions, and tear ducts, and sweat glands, and puts out bio signs as if she were human.  She even ages like a human.  While looking inside her android head, they find an info module that has a holographic interface.  Data takes it the holodeck and the image is Doctor Soong.  He explains to Data why she was an android, how she had been injured during the attack by the crystalline entity, and she didn’t recover and died.  So he took her memories and turned her into an android.  He then asks Data not to tell her the truth, to let her live out her “life” still believing that she is a human being.  Data is torn.  On the one hand, if he tells her then they will have that in common and he won’t be alone in the universe.  on the other, she has what he has always strived for: she lives as a human, and he is not sure he can take that away.

This is a great Data episode as he continues to define what life truly is, and how artificial life can fit in with the rest of the universe.  Obviously, this is in season 7 so he is much further along in this process than he would be in say, season 1 or 2.  It was always interesting to me to watch the “Data” episodes, because his exploration of what our life is is a reflection of our exploration of our own lives.  It helps us to kind of step outside and look at ourselves differently. Because this is so Data centric, we see mainly just Data in this episode, with the other members of the crew popping in from time to time to remind us that they are still there.

I didn’t really remember this episode that well when it came up in the generator, so it was fun to watch it again and experience it again.  I am not a Data guy.  I enjoy the character, but if I am going to look for specific character episodes to watch, I would be more likely drawn to a Picard or Worf episode, so it was fun to experience a Data episode again. I would recommend this one, if you’re looking for something to watch on Netflix, check it out.

Star Trek TNG: Yesterday’s Enterprise

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Star Trek: The Next Generation, or Star Trek TNG, was one of the coolest television series ever to grace the airwaves.  As an impressionable young buck, it was the series that got me into science fiction.  I loved everything about the show back then, and one of the coolest things about it is that it still holds up, for the most part.  Looking back, what made TNG so cool?  I think it was a lot of things.  I think the crew of the Enterprise-D was amazing and they had such great chemistry.  Somehow, you could tell that they really enjoyed working together.  I think the ship itself was cool.  They took everything that was cool about the original Enterprise, made it bigger and got rid of all the clunky buttons and replaced them with a touch interface.  The new Enterprise was sleeker, more futuristic, just cooler.  I know there are a lot fans of the original series out there who might disagree, but this is what I grew up with, and in my opinion, TNG was the greatest Star Trek of all time.

Now that all the Star Trek series are available on NetFlix (with the exception of the animated series), it is easier than ever to go back and watch the old TNG episodes, and maybe, if you’re brave, you can work your way through all 7 seasons to the end.  If that feels like too much to bite off for you, then maybe I can help by occasionally selecting an episode to discuss here on the blog, and then you can go back and watch it.  It will be fun for me to go back and revisit some of my favorite episodes.

The first episode I picked is “Yesterday’s Enterprise.”  This episode premiered during the series’ 3rd season.  In my opinion, the 3rd season was really where the crew was hitting their stride.  The stories started getting more interesting, and the costumes began to look not so…’80’s.  This was also the season that introduced us to the classic Star Trek cliffhanger season finale with one of the greatest TNG stories ever-“Best of Both Worlds.”  The 3rd season was great, and other than the aforementioned season finale, “Yesterday’s Enterprise” was the best of the season.

If it has been a while since you have seen the episode, or if you have never seen the episode, let me give you a brief rundown of what the episode was about.  The Enterprise encounters some kind of temporal anomaly, which occur all the time in the Star Trek universe.  As they are checking it out, their scanners pick up another federation ship, and upon further inspection, they find out it is the Enterprise-C.  In the original, “real” universe, the Enterprise-C had been destroyed relying to a distress signal from a Klingon outpost.  This has led to the treaty between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.  Once they encounter this ship, though, everything changes in an instant.  There is no more treaty.  The Enterprise-C was recorded as missing, and the Klingons believed they had run away like cowards, leading to an ongoing war between the Klingons and Federation.  The Enterprise-D is no longer a ship built for exploration, but a warship.  You can tell, because no one turns all the lights on in war, because who needs a well-lit space when making battle plans:

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Guinan realizes that something is wrong, especially when she interacts with Natasha Yar (not dead, convenient since there’s no Worf on the ship).  She convinces Captain Picard that they need to send the Enterprise-C back to the past, and their doom, to make everything right. Picard must then convince the crew of the beaten up ship to go back, which, of course he does.  Everything is going to work out, until a group of Klingon Birds of Prey show up to take out both ships. The Enterprise-D almost loses ship and crew to rescue the Enterprise-C long enough for them to go back and get blown up in the past.  They hold them off just long enough, and everything returns to “normal.”

This episode really has quite a bit to get excited about.  Number 1, it marked the first return of Denise Crosby to her role as Lt. Yar.  She has been, and always will be a fan favorite.  I personally never cared for her character, but I know she is beloved by TNG fans, and was even back when this episode aired.  That alone would make this a favorite episode.  Plus, she goes out in a very heroic way by joining the crew of the Enterprise-C, a much better ending than her original demise.

Another thing this episode has going for it is the appearance of the Enterprise-C.  We had never seen it on film before, and it was pretty cool.  For geeks like me who totally go gaga over different ships and made up history, it was really cool to see the Ambassador class ship show up next to the Galaxy class Enterprise-D.  You could see how this ship was step in the evolution of the Enterprise, bearing a few similarities with its present day counterpart.

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A third thing this story had going for it was time travel and parallel universes.  Classic ingredients for a great SciFi story.  And, of course, it leads to a huge moral dilemma.  Do you put the universe back to how it is supposed to be, and save a bunch of lives in the process, or do you save the Enterprise-C and her crew?  Picard has to make this choice.  He doesn’t really know that sending the C back will change his universe and end the war before it begins, and the federation could always use another ship.  All he has to go on is Guinan.  Apparently, for Picard, that’s enough.

Finally, we get to see the Enterprise as a warship.  As a kid, I thought this was really cool.  If there was anything I felt like Star Trek was missing, it was battles and war.  After watching the last few seasons of DS9, I found out how wrong that is, but as a kid I wanted more action.  Seeing the Enterprise as a warship and an epic battle at the end of the episode, it was just cool. Plus, we see that no matter the circumstance, Picard is the greatest captain Star Fleet has ever had.

“Yesterday’s Enterprise” was one of the first episodes of the series that I remember really standing out to me.  I enjoyed, and it was one that kind of succeed me in even more to the show.  I think it is still just as popular as ever with the fans, and probably always will be. So, if you’re browsing through NetFlix, looking for something to watch, go check out “Yesterday’s Enterprise.”  Whether you’ve never seen it, or you are watching it for the hundredth time, you won’t be disappointed.