I thought it would be fun this week to take a look at the Star Trek films. I love each Star Trek series, and I love to sit down and find a random episode to watch. Sometimes, thought, I want something more. Something a little more substantial, but still Star Trek. When those times are upon me, I turn to the films. Not all Star Trek films are created equal, though, and there are some I can sit and watch again and again, and others I have only seen once or twice. Which is which? Today I am going to start my own personal ranking of the Star Trek films.
One of the biggest stories on my Facebook feed last week was the announcement from CBS that a new Star Trek series was in the works and would be hitting our screens January, 2017. My initial reaction was excitement at the news. I am a big believer that television is where Star Trek belongs. That’s where it started and where it thrived from the late 80’s through the 90’s. Star Trek just belongs on TV, and it has been a while since we have had that, so the fact that they were developing a new Star Trek series was awesome.
For another project I have been working on, I have been thinking a lot about myself and how I got involved with my first fandom. I don’t consider myself an exclusive member of any one fandom, but a card carrying member of numerous fandoms. I can carry my own with the Whovians, the Star Wars fans, the Marvel fans, the Lord of the Rings faithful, DC fans, and yes, Star Trek fans. My first love, however, was Star Trek. That was the first show I remember being obsessed with as a kid. The first convention I ever went to was a Star Trek convention. Star Trek was the franchise that launched me into a life of geekdom. For me, when I think about all the things I enjoy today, about all of my geekiness, it all comes back to Star Trek.
Why Star Trek? The short and simple answer is that Star Trek is the greatest Science Fiction show to ever air on TV. Pretty straight forward. It is hard for me to think of any show being better than Star Trek. There was just something totally immersive about the franchise. To be clear, when I say Star Trek, I am mostly referring to TNG, but I was blessed to be an adolescent during the ultimate Star Trek age. Think about it, in the fall of 1996, Deep Space 9 was going into its 5th season, Voyager was going into their second season and First Contact was playing in theaters, which was the best of all the Next Generation movies (probably my favorite Trek movie). It was a great time to be a Trek fan, and that is probably why Trek was more than just my first passion. It’s always my favorite. It always comes back to Trek.
I loved the message of hope that Star Trek represented. This wasn’t a dystopian future where we totally murdered each other and blew up the planet. This was a future where we faced trials and came together as a result. Knowledge and tolerance won out in the end, over hate. That was an important message for me as a teenager. I wasn’t ever popular in school. I always had my own little group of friends, and some of these friends are the best people I have ever known, but i was never homecoming King material. Looking back, that’s totally fine. I think in the end, we geeks have inherited the Earth, or we are at least on our way. Back then, though, it was rough. Star Trek always offered me an escape from a tough time. I was the fat kid who didn’t grow up in the neighborhood and who didn’t quite always fit in. When I watched Star Trek, I felt at home. I felt like I belonged. I know that sounds cheesy, because it was just a TV show, but it is a reality for a lot of kids. The only place they really feel like they belong is when they are part of whatever fantasy world they love. Star Trek was always that for me.
I know it doesn’t have all the same kind of action and adventure that other Sci Fi franchises have, but that was appealing as well. It wasn’t a shoot first galaxy in Star Trek. It was galaxy that valued diplomacy and peace, using the weapons as a last defense. The Enterprise, the largest ship in the fleet was not a war ship. It was an exploration vessel. That was their mission, not to conquer new worlds, but to explore and discover. What a cool thought. When I was a kid, I remember watching that, and Picard was awesome because he could end a conflict with his words instead of fighting. I wanted that skill. If only I could find a way to get the mean kids at school to leave me alone just by talking like Picard did. He was like a superhero.
As I have gotten older, those lessons have always stuck with me. I manage a team at work, and sometimes I find myself thinking about how Captain Picard would react to a certain situation, and then I try to do it. I’m still the fat guy at work, but that’s ok now. I have learned how to work with all sorts of people who are very different than I am, because I learned from Star Trek that those differences make your team stronger. I learned, from Generations, that the most important thing i could have is my family. Both Picard and Kirk gave up the opportunity for a family for their careers, and regretted it in the movie. I won’t make that same mistake. These are the kind of lessons I learned from Star Trek, and how they apply to me.
I don’t know why it started with Star Trek instead of something else, like Star Wars, but somehow, I am glad it did. As I look at who I am and what I enjoy, it all comes back to Star Trek, and frankly, I am glad it does. I think that’s why I get a little upset with the reboot movies, and Paramount who is pushing them to be less and less Star Trek-y. What’s wrong with being Star Trek-y? I have spent my whole life being somewhat Star Trek-y, and I’m better for it.
What about you? It may not be Star Trek, but what was your first passion? Which one from your childhood resonates with you still today?
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
Oh 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
Alright, 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
Let 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
This 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
What 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.
Who doesn’t love a major blockbuster franchise? I think everyone does, especially the studios who make said films, and consequently make lots of money. These films have a tendency to be a huge part of our lives. We literally spend years waiting for the next one to come out, and then when it does come out we pick it apart with our friends and begin waiting for the next one. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t anticipating a new film. Granted, sometimes I was waiting for films that probably weren’t really coming out. That was before our magical information age, so I was relying on friends, who had no more information than I did.
In any case, I have taken it upon myself to seek out the 10 greatest geeky film franchises, and then to rank them from 10 to 1. Why? Because, obviously, I love starting arguments. You won’t agree with my list. That’s fine, you’re entitled to your opinion, however incorrect it might be. Just joshing’ you. A list like this is absolutely subjective, so your list would definitely be different from mine, and that’s ok.
You’ll notice that the Marvel movies did not make my list. I love these films, for the most part, but I felt like a whole “Cinematic Universe” was too broad. Since I am the one making the list, I felt comfortable making the rules, like that one. I also did not include two franchises that were the same, like the 1990’s Batman and Nolan’s Dark Knight, or Star Trek and the new Star Trek. I picked one or the other.
This list is supposed to be anything ground breaking. Mostly it was just for fun, and to hopefully start a conversation or two. Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts in the comments. We love hearing from you.
10. The Spider-Man Trilogy
This trilogy seemed like the first big Superhero hit of the century. This thing was just massive when the first one came out. It was well done, as it brought Spider-Man to the big screen for the first time. It’s interesting because this was before Marvel Studios was really a thing, so they were more invested in this one. Go back and watch these films. They feel like the current Marvel Cinematic Universe, more than the recent Amazing series. Tobey Maguire was great as Peter Parker and was decent as Spider-Man. The suit was spot on. Everything was pretty good. It was a shame that it was rebooted so quickly after the third film was released.
By far, in my opinion, the best film of the trilogy was number 2. The story seemed to flow the best, and Doc Ock was fantastic. I think it worked because there was one, count ’em, one villain in the film. That just seems to work the best. It built on to what we saw in the first film, and had the classic moment where Pete decides to hang up the suit for good. As well as the classic moment where he saves the train and the people of New York finally really embrace him as a hero. Start to finish, this installment was the most watchable.
Number 3 is the infamous franchise killer. If this installment had just been any good at all, Tobey Maguire may be getting ready for his close up in Avengers instead of a new Spider-Man being cast. Start to finish, this film was just not good. Part of the problem? It was the opposite of what we saw in 2- it had too many villains. For some reason there always seems to be a desire with a superhero franchise to begin character cramming. It never turns out well. Ever.
9. Back to the Future
There were few movies that were as cool as Back to the Future when I was a kid. I loved these films. Each of them was one of my favorites growing up. I always dreamed of someday having a DeLorean of my own. It has yet to happen, but I am holding out hope. I loved watching the adventures of Marty and Doc, and I always get sad when number 3 comes to an end and it’s all over. Despite all the 80s references, it is still timeless in a lot of ways. My kids watched the first one a couple of weeks ago and really liked it quite a bit.
The best of the series was the original. It had the tightest story (notice I said tightest, not necessarily tight), and the fewest gimmicks. It seems like the second and third movie thrived on the gimmicks and the same jokes from the first one, just replayed in different times. The first one was just so original, it is hard to top. It is the main reason why the franchise has endured as long as it has.
Number 3. It was just too cheesy. Don’t get me wrong, number 3 is still a lot of fun, and out of nostalgia, I still love watching it, but it is just not the same quality of the first film.
Where does the X-Men movie franchise end? is it 2 separate franchises, or just one? With Days of Future Past, it became one franchise. I grew up in the 90s watching the old X-Men cartoons, and I was in love with them just as much as any other kid alive at the time. It was just amazing when this franchise was launched, and seeing Hugh Jackman step into the Wolverine role for the first time was just incredible. He was born to play the part. As was Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier. I remember thinking he would be a perfect Xavier if they ever got around to making an X-Men film. I was right.
My personal favorite was X-2. I always liked the story of how Wolverine becomes Wolverine. I have also liked the Nightcrawler character. I’m sure is has nothing to do with the fact that he is German. The second movie was a lot of fun from start to finish. Although, First Class is a close second for me. It was also very solid and enjoyable.
Easy. Last Stand. I am can’t tell you how happy I am that Days of Future Past basically retconned that Last Stand never happened. It should have never happened. I wish it hadn’t. Unfortunately, I do remember paying good money to see it in the theater.
7. Harry Potter
One of the best modern book series became one of the best geeky movie franchises. There is a definite shift in these films as they transition from Chamber of Secrets to Prisoner of Azkaban, just like the books did. The young actors were not very good at first. They got by mostly on just being “cute,” but they grew into their roles and each one was pretty good toward the end. The movies may not have followed the books perfectly, but I think they did a great job capturing the feeling of the books, which is really almost the best one can hope for.
For me, I have to say, I really dig any of the movies from Order of the Phoenix onward. They are paced well, and pretty action packed. That’s saying something, because I did not enjoy the Order of the Phoenix book. It was one of my least favorites.
The Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone for our British friends). The kids were just learning how to be actors and just developing their chemistry together. Plus, it was like a Disney version of Harry Potter. It was way family centric and almost kid focused. It started getting better with Prisoner of Azkaban.
Superman: The Motion Picture was pretty amazing for its time. I understand it doesn’t compare to what we see today as far as special effects, but it’s not bad either. Plus, Christopher Reeves will always be Superman in my mind. I admit that this is probably higher up on the list for me simply because I grew up watching these movies constantly. I’ll admit right here that Superman has always been my favorite, and I know I am opening it up for all the Batman and anti-Superman folks to send me hate mail or stop following my blog, but I’m proud of my love for Big Blue.
For me, none of the films in this series touches Superman II. That was always my favorite. I think the main reason why is because Superman actually had a real challenge on his hands with 3 other beings just as powerful to fight against. Then to top it all off, he had just given up his powers to be with Lois. Yes, the costumes definitely date the movie, but 30 years from now, some other blogger, or whatever they will be doing then, will be writing about how the costumes in Man of Steel date that movie.
Superman III. Out of all the stinkers on this list, this one is the one that I will say go ahead and just skip it. There is no reason to watch it, unless you have a couple of hours you simply don’t want.
5. Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones was the reason I wanted to study History as I got older. I know, he was an archaeologist, but in High School, History was as close as I could get to Archaeology. Then I found out that archaeologists don’t have adventures like Indiana Jones, plus, in History class, I learned about how the Nazis were not really around anymore, so it kind of lost some of its magic. Not completely, though. Indiana did really teach me that there was value in the past and that it was worth studying. I credit him for my love of History. Plus, Harrison Ford was pretty much the coolest guy in the late 70s and through the 80s and early 90s. Who am I kidding, after walking away from that plane crash last week, he’s still the coolest guy around. Indy was so iconic, with his fedora and his leather satchel and jacket, and the whip. He was awesome. I loved this trilogy growing up, and I even have fond memories of seeing Last Crusade in the theater and thinking it was awesome. What a way to end the series. Let’s all pretend that’s how this paragraph can end.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is tough to beat. While Last Crusade will always have a special place in my heart because I remember seeing it in the theater and it started in Utah, Raiders is the superior movie. It is a classic in every sense of the word. This movie, along with Star Wars launched Harrison Ford from being a relative unknown to being a super star.
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Pretty easy choice, if you ask me. Maybe I need to go back and revisit the film, but it is just so hard. I left the theater thinking, “Why?!” Last Crusade was so perfect, this one just did not need to happen.
4. The Dark Knight Trilogy
In an attempt to stem the thousands of comments I was sure to receive about how Batman is better than Superman, I have ranked Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy above the Superman series. It would be hard to rank it below. This was a very solid trilogy, and what I love most about it is that it was a trilogy. Nolan is not coming back to do another Batman film. He told his story, and now he has moved on. This trilogy really showed what Superhero movies could be. It’s no coincidence that this series is the highest ranking superhero franchise on my list.
Could there be any other choice? The Dark Knight is one of the most perfect films from start to finish. It was a masterpiece, from the storytelling to Heath Ledger’s Joker, it is hard to find a lot of fault with this movie. It has to be the best of the 3.
The Dark Knight Rises. It just didn’t flow as well as The Dark Knight, and Bane was a poor substitute for Joker, but for obvious reasons Joker did not return in this film. It wasn’t a horrible movie, so maybe calling it a stinker is unfair, but I had to pick one film to be a stinker from the trilogy.
3. Star Trek
10 movies puts this franchise at the top of our list as far as number of installments. It is a testament to the endearing qualities of Star Trek that have allowed the franchise to last as long as it has and still be relevant. I selected the original, prime universe, franchise, and not the new rebooted universe franchise because of how long it lasted. I have always thought of Star Trek as the best of the best as far as Science Fiction goes, at least on TV and on film. Trek was such a big part of my growing up. I used to go through my house and pretend that there were sliding doors in every doorway, like my house was a starship. I would even do sound effects as I went from room to room. I mean I eventually grew out of it…when i got married and I was too embarrassed to let my wife know that I did that kind of weird stuff. Ok, fine, I do it when she is not at how and the kids are in bed. It’s really not that weird.
When you have so many films, it is hard to choose which one is the best. I have always been partial to First Contact because Picard is so awesome in it, but I think for the Best, I have to go with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. This is the movie that saved the franchise after the first Star Trek Movie was less than good. It is also the movie that set the pace of every even-numbered Star Trek being good, while each odd-numbered was typically not as good. Go ahead, look ’em up if you don’t believe me. It pretty much works out that way.
When you have this many movies, chances are there are a couple of stinkers in the bunch, but the stinkiest of the stinkers has to be Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. So much bad heaped into one movie. They almost had to make VI just to save the franchise and get it back on track. They couldn’t with this dung pile.
2. Star Wars
Let the arguments begin. How is this not number 1? I hear you, but I think it is indisputable that this belongs in the top 2 with my number 1, and the 2 franchises could be interchangeable, at least in my mind. So how did Star Wars end up at number 2? The stinker was just a little more stinker than number 1’s stinky. Star Wars has so many fond memories for me, but what I love is that the series remains pretty timeless. I know the prequels get a bad wrap, especially by people my age and older, but for my kids, the prequel are just part of the story, good or bad, it is the way it is. This and X-Men were the only franchises I had on this list that we know for sure are still going on. I will be eager to see how Episode VII turns out, even if it is a Christmas release. However, good news today as it was announced that Episode VIII will be end of May in 2017. That just feels right.
This comes down to A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back. For me personally, it is Empire Strikes Back. There was just always something great about this movie for me. The characters seemed more developed, more comfortable in their roles, and more complex. The story was also really good and flowed well. I love watching Empire Strikes Back, and the big reveal scene never gets old, even when I know it’s coming. I am right there with Luke shouting NO! Literally. I mean my wife usually has to calm me down and remind it’s only a movie.
A lot of people will say it Phantom Menace. I disagree. For me it is Attack of the Clones. I think part of the problem is the name. I could never get past the name. It just sounds stupid. I think the other part, and this is the bigger part for sure, was Hayden Christensen. Attack of the clones was painful for me from start to finish. This is the movie that is responsible for Star Wars at 2 instead of 1. This movie and Jar-Jar.
1. The Lord of the Rings/ The Hobbit
First of all, congratulations on making it to the end of what has ended up being a very long post. Congratulations, and thank you for reading and sticking with it. Yes, The Lord of the Rings is my number one. When you think about it, it has a lot in common with Star Wars. Both had very solid original trilogies, followed up with prequel trilogies that were not as good. In my mind, the Hobbit trilogy, although obviously not needing to be a trilogy, is better than the Star Wars Prequels. Hence, it takes the number 1 spot. These movies are huge time commitment (much like this post), but they are always worth it. I can’t think of a time when I have been bored while watching these films, at least the original trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. The scene when Sam picks up Frodo and carries him up the mountain, it just hits me in the feels every time. So much so, that I won’t include the video here.
It is hard to say which of the Lord of the Rings movies is the best, and really they were all shot at the same time, and are all one continuous story, so the whole trilogy is the best, and should always be consumed in one sitting. Always.
The Desolation of Smaug. Just shouldn’t have happened. The Hobbit was too long by about one whole installment, maybe two. But definitely this one. And whoever heard of a romance between an elf maiden and a dwarf? No one, not even Tolkien.
Well, there’s my list. What did you think? Which ones do you agree with? And disagree? Let me know in the comments. I love hearing from you, and love talking about this stuff, so let me know. In any case, there’s a pretty good list of movies for you to watch, if, you know, you’re bored or anything like that.
Leonard 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.
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.
A 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 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.
I feel kind of weird writing this post. I mean, I feel like the guest lineup for FanX is pretty solid, so I don’t want it to seem like I am complaining or nitpicking or anything. I fully recognize that the team that is bringing you FanX has done a stellar job to get some fantastic guests, and we really shouldn’t complain about the lineup. That being said, there are always folks that I would love to see come and make an appearance. Besides, I ran a similar post just before last fall’s Salt Lake Comic Con, and one of the guests I wished for is coming (Matt Smith), and although we didn’t get Mark Hammil, we are getting Carrie Fischer. I just hope they read this list and maybe a star or two from the list will come next time.
1. David Tennant
This is a carry over from my previous list, and it might also seem a little picky. I am very excited that Matt Smith is coming. It’s just that Tennant was my favorite Doctor. There was just something really cool about him as the Doctor, and goofy at the same time. It would just be awesome if we could get him to come here. Plus, now he will be appearing in a new Marvel series as a villain, so he has that going for him as well, in the geek cred category. This would just be great.
2. Mark Hammil
I love Star Wars, so naturally, I am very excited about Carrie Fischer being at the event. She is big time, as far as Star Wars gets, and it is amazing that she will be here at our little show, in the same year that the latest Star Wars movie will be released. All of that is just really amazing, and I was floored when I saw that she was coming. All of that being said, Hammil would be just as incredible. He is my only other carry over from my old list, I promise. He has done so mush in the geek community, that whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not, he has probably done something that you do follow. For example, he has had a great voice acting career, including his stint as the Joker on the Batman Animated Series. His is probably the first voice you hear in your head when you think of the Joker. It would just be incredible if he came and was able to do a panel and tell all of his stories on the different shows he has been a part of, or if he participated in a script reading. It would just be incredible.
3. Zachary Levi
I love Chuck. It was one of my all time favorite shows, and one of my wife’s all time favorites. We have had Agent Casey at last year’s FanX, and this year we have Shaw, so let’s get Chuck for next time. In addition to being in Chuck as the main character, Zachary Levi also appeared in Thor: The Dark World and has recently been tied to the new Heroes re-boot. All of that spells geek in my book, and it would be great to have him here. It would have been awesome to have him here with Brandon Routh or Adam Baldwin to make for a great Chuck centered panel.
4. Grant Gustin
I don’t know anything about Gustin from his Glee days, and frankly, I don’t care to. I do know that he has made a fine Barry Allen and Flash on the new CW series. I am glued to the TV once a week following the exploits of the Scarlet Speedster, and I think Gustin is a big reason why. Last year, at Salt Lake Comic Con, we had Stephen Amell from Arrow, and it was awesome. Now we need the CW’s newest star, The Flash. As a bonus, his team would be awesome too, like Cisco. That would make for a great panel. Or even better would be to get Grant Gustin to come, and get Stephen Amell to come back and have a crossover panel where both of them could be on stage together. I mean, their crossover event earlier this season was one of the biggest TV events of the year, the fans loved it, and the fans here in Salt Lake City, the Geek Capital of the World, would love a crossover panel. That would be a great foundation for a killer con.
5. One of the Other Star Trek Captains
I’ll be honest, Picard is my favorite captain. He always has been, and I think a big reason why is because TNG has always been my Star Trek. He is my favorite, but he is not the only one I would like to see in person at a panel. Sisko was a great captain, and I have heard that Avery Brooks is fantastic in person. I have seen video of interviews with him, and he seems very interesting. As does Kate Mulgrew who played Janeway in Voyager. This would be a killer year to get her to one of our events, since Voyager just hit their 20th anniversary on January 16. Then there is Scott Bakula who not only played Captain Archer in Enterprise, but he is also known for Quantum Leap and as Chuck’s dad in Chuck (another great multi-person panel if he and Levi came).
There you have it. I don’t expect any of these guests to be announced this week just before FanX, but it would be really cool if any or all of them showed up at Comic Con in September, or the next FanX. To be honest, it seems like it has grown very quiet on the guest announcements from FanX, and I have heard that there will most likely be no more guest announcements for this round. I could be wrong. Maybe another killer guest committed at the last-minute. Either way, this year’s line up is very good, the best they have had so far, so i am looking forward to it getting even better in the future.
Who would be on your guest wish list? I am sure it is not the same as mine. Maybe we have a couple in common? Let me know in the comments.
Read all about my thoughts on the current direction Star Trek is headed. Do you agree with my thoughts? Disagree? Let me know in the comments. Check out the post here:
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
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
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
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:
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
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.
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.