Best (and Worst) of Star Trek in 2007 December 31, 2007by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Trek Franchise , trackback
As the year wraps up, TrekMovie.com takes a look back and picks the best and worst Trek had to offer over the last year.
TREKMOVIE.COM BEST OF 2007
Counting down here are the top 10 Trek stories and events of the year
10. Star Trek to Mars
On August 4th Star Trek blasted its way to Mars as part of NASA’s Phoenix mission. On board the Phoenix Mars lander was a DVD which included “art, literature, and sounds, all celebrating humanity’s fascination with the Red Planet.” This included the dedication plaque for the Starship Enterprise-D, which in Star Trek lore is to be built at the Utopia Planetia Fleet Yards on Mars. This event, like the recent designing of real mission patches by Trek designer Mike Okuda, shows the continued connection between Star Trek and real science.
9. Star Trek The Tour gets going
It was a long time coming, but details and dates Star Trek The Tour were finally announced recently with tickets going on sale just a few weeks ago. The 50,000 square foot traveling interactive exhibit of Star Trek sets, props, models, motion-simulator rides will visit 40 cities around the country, kicking off in Long Beach California on January 18th, 2008. The tour looks fun and will build the profile for Trek in the general public.
8. Star Trek II finally gets action figures + return of Mego
Last summer in honor of the 25th anniversary of the film, Diamond Select announced a series of fifteen figures from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Although the film is one of the most popular in the franchise it never had a full line of action figures. Plus these new figures have nice touches such as glasses for Kirk and a Ceti eel for Chekov. In addition DST also released 2 ST:TWOK ships. Diamond Select are also to commended for bringing back the classic Mego toys from our childhoods (or your dad’s childhood).
7. Its A Wrap Star Trek Auction
Throughout 2007 CBS Paramount have been auctioning off the remainder of their five warehouses worth of stuff built up over decades of continuous Trek production. In weekly E-Bay auctions managed by Its A Wrap Hollywood five thousand items ranging from props, uniforms, set pieces and some models have been sold to over a thousand collectors, many of whom are fist time collectors. The ongoing auction is likely to last until mid 2008.
6. The Fan Lib Star Trek contest
In a first of its kind event, CBS worked with Fanlib.com to create the Kirk v Picard script writing contest. KvP allowed fans to participate in the creation of a script for a showdown between Kirk and Picard. Fanlib brought in Trek writing vet Andre Bormanis as the judge and Will Wheaton and George Takei as hosts to give the event more high profile as well as giving fans a chance to feel truly involved in creating their own bit of Trek.
5. The Menagerie showings
Although no film was released this year, Trek fans did have a chance to go see Star Trek on the big screen. The airing of the remastered two part episode “The Menagerie” may have been a marketing ploy for DVDs but it was a great event for fans across globe. And it was a nice trial run Kirk, Spock, Pike and the gang who will show up a year from now.
4. Star Trek comics return
In 2001 DC comics sub-brand Wildstorm dropped their Trek license and for the first time since 1967 there was no one making Star Trek comics. But with the release of the six part series “Star Trek The Next Generation: The Space Between,” IDW brought Trek back to comics and then kept it going with the release of three other series (“Star Trek Year Four,” “Klingon Blood Will Tell,” and “Alien Spotlight”). Recently the announced five new series for the first half of 2008 with more to come so it looks like Star Trek comics are back.
3. New Voyages, Of Gods and Men and fan films
For years there have been independent Star Trek fan films, but in 2007 they really hit the big time. In the Summer Star Trek New Voyages released “World Enough and Time” which was truly the first of these independent productions that came close to resembling a professional production. TV Guide agreed by awarding it the “Webisode” of the year. Just last week part 1 of Star Trek – Of Gods and Men featuring Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols was released which also showed that someone besides Paramount can make a serious Star Trek production. Another high point of the year was Daren Dochterman’s “Trek Enhanced” version of “The Doomsday Machine.” 2007 also saw the launch of a number of new smaller scale fan productions showing that this facet of Trekdom is flourishing more than ever.
2. Star Trek Remastered on TV and DVD
The digital remastering of Star Trek The Original Series (aired in syndication) began in 2006, but got off to a bit of a rocky start. In 2007 CBS-Digital seemed to get their bearing (and a better model of the Enterprise) and really made the old show shine again. To top it off CBS decided not to wait until the project was complete and brought out the first season of TOS for HD-DVD/DVD combo. Although it was a bit pricey, the set turned out to be a good one and even came with a free phaser remote control if you also bought a new HD-DVD player.
1. Star Trek feature gets greenlight/Abrams agrees to direct
I bet you were wondering when we would get around to this. By far the biggest and best news of the year was that Paramount greenlit a big budget Star Trek feature film. Most thought that after the disastrous performance of Star Trek Nemesis in 2002 and the cancellation of Star Trek Enterprise in 2005 that Trek was done…at least for a while. But JJ Abrams and his band of merry men (Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk) got Trek back to the front burner at Paramount in 2006. However it wasn’t until February of 2007 that Abrams finally signed on to direct and the studio finally agreed to give him the freedom and budget to bring Trek back in a big way. The second biggest set of stories about the film were the flurry of casting stories over the fall (many of which were scooped here on TrekMovie.com). Most fans have been delighted at most selections, especially the return of Leonard Nimoy as Spock and the selection of Zachary Quinto as younger Spock. Throughout the year Abrams, Lindelof, Kurtzman and especially our friend Bob Orci have been saying all the right things about their approach to respecting Trek’s past while creating an inviting epic movie for a new audience. Over the next year we will learn much more and see if they can pull it off. The next big step will be the release of the teaser trailer on January 18th.
WORST OF TREK IN 2007
Of course it has not been all good for Trek this year. Below are the news items and events that we could have lived without. The following are in no particular order
Startrek.com team fired
In order to cut some costs CBS decided to fire the entire staff for the official site STARTREK.COM. For over a decade the site has been the source for official news and information about one of the biggest franchise’s in the world, but CBS decided that they no longer needed to update it (or could no longer afford it). In addition the way CBS handled it was also not a high point. The staff was only given a couple of hours notice and the subsequent CBS corporate-speak announcements gave little indication as to the future of the official site.
Star Trek Merchandising (aka Star Trek: The Funeral)
Star Trek may be on an upswing, but it certainly isn’t back. One only needs to look at Trek products to see that there is a long way to go. There is still a regular stream of Trek books from Pocket Books, but it is not at the pace it was in years past and this year had just one book each for fans of DS9 and Enterprise plus Voyager fans had to look to the TNG books to find their friends. There were also fewer Hallmark ornaments, fewer calendars. Although Diamond select have released some good figures in 2007, Trek toys still seem to be more of a niche collector item (just compare the availability of Star Trek vs Star Wars in you local toy store). And don’t even get me started on the bears. The only new items seemed to be niche products totally out of left field, including funeral products, golf clubs and slot machines. Let’s hope that with the new movie we can finally see a renaissance in Star Trek merchandising.
Perpetual’s troubles and Trek gaming going nowhere
Another area of Trek that is decidedly weak right now is gaming. Trek fans look longingly at other franchises and the steady stream of games only to see not a whole lot going on with Trek. In 2006 Bethesda Softworks picked up the Trek license four years after Activision sued Paramount to get out of it, but the three games they released in 2006 didn’t exactly light the world on fire. In 2007 they only released only one game (“Conquest” which was pretty good), and have no games announced for 2008. 2008 was to be the year that Perpetual released the MMORPG “Star Trek Online” but that is now pushed to 2009. In addition 2007 has been a PR nightmare for Perpetual with them canceling their only other game in development, news of a lawsuit and rumors that they may move to ‘micro-payments’ for STO instead of the traditional monthly fee (used by virtually all successful MMORPGs like World of Warcraft). Perpetual did recently release the first ever in-game images trying to put to rest concerns that the game was totally vaporware and hopefully in 2008 they can step up and show that STO will be a reality in 2009. Bottom line…Trek gaming is not dead, but it isn’t exactly thriving.
TNG’s 20th Anniversary fizzle
In the past anniversaries in Trek have been big occasions. Both the 30th and 35th anniversary for The Original Series had TV specials. TOS’ 40th in 2006 was a bit lower key, but was tied into an auction at Christies, higher profile conventions, the launching of Star Trek Remastered, a number of special 40th anniversary products and a History Channel special. But when it came time for The Next Generation’s 20th all we got was a new box set of the series with a couple of special features. Some cast members appeared together at various Trek conventions but never more than three at a time and Patrick Stewart seemed no where to be found. TrekMovie.com and the official site did our part to celebrate the event, but in the end it just didn’t seem enough for such a great show and landmark in Trek history. But for one last time TrekMovie.com says happy 20th anniversary to Star Trek: The Next Generation…we remember!
No Star Trek on TV
Although the big news about Trek these days revolves around the eleventh feature film, Trek is primarily a TV franchise. Starting in 1987 Star Trek had a series or two on the air for eighteen years straight. In 2005 that came to an end with the cancellation of Star Trek Enterprise. It appears that CBS (who control Trek on TV) aren’t even going to think about Trek until after they see what happens with the new movie and they will likely wait until we see how George Lucas does with his live action Star Wars TV series which may show up in 2009.
Shatner in Star Trek saga and movie secrecy
The new Star Trek movie may have been the best news of the year, but it also generated some of the most annoying news of the year as well. At the top of that list must be the ongoing going saga that is “will William Shatner appear in Star Trek?” All year long there have been rumors, stories, confirmations, debunkings, accusations, counter-accusations and more. The whole thing has been handled poorly by all parties involved. The saddest part is that even though the film is in production, the saga is still ongoing. Some believe that the whole mess is part of some secret plan, (which it is not) but that brings up the second most annoying part of the new movie…the secrecy. It has become legendary now in Hollywood that the new Star Trek is the most secret project in town. Even the actors are complaining about how they have to go around wearing hoods in enclosed golf carts. Hopefully starting with the release of the trailer this cone of silence will start to be lifted. JJ if this movie is half as good as you guys say it is, then trust us fans with some pictures and scoops and we will be an unstoppable army of evangelists dragging everyone we know to see this movie.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Well that is it for 2007. This is the last story of the year and as a personal note I would like to thank all of you for visiting and commenting and helping make this the fastest growing and number one site for Trek news on the web. I would also like to thank all the contributors like Chuck, Matt and the Tenutos. Happy New Year to all of you and have a drink on me.
What was your best and worst?
So do you agree with the TrekMovie.com assessment? (unlikely since Trekkies cannot agree that water is wet) What are your favorite stories of 2007? Let us know in the comments below…and how about some of the 99% of visitors who never comment coming out of the woodwork to delurk and say hi.