In yesterday’s Tidbits it was noted that the mainstream media was again paying attention to Star Trek, with many stories about the return of the venerable franchise. And this week we will see what is likely the biggest example yet in the form of a cover story in the new Newsweek all about “How Star Trek taught us how to dream big.” Details below.
Star Trek: big news & big ideas
Taking a break from politics and the economics news, one the two big news weeklies in the US is devoting its cover to the final frontier with a beautiful image showing a silhouette of the USS Enterprise (classic). The issue is not out yet, but some of the Star Trek aspects are already online at the Newsweek site.
Cover Story: We’re All Trekkies Now
covering the history of the franchise up to the new movie, and how it ties into today (with some comparisons of President Obama and Spock)…excerpt:
It’s the Spock plot strands that give the new “Trek” its best shot at once again commanding the zeitgeist. Spock’s cool, analytical nature feels more fascinating and topical than ever now that we’ve put a sort of Vulcan in the White House. All through the election campaign, columnists compared President Obama’s unflappably logical demeanor and prominent ears with Mr. Spock’s. But as Spock’s complicated racial backstory is spun out in detail in the new “Trek”—right back into childhood—the Obama parallels keep deepening.
Side Story: Vulcans Never, Ever Smile
Caltech Physicist (and co-writer of the TNG episode "The Dauphin") Leonard Mlodinow analyzes the enduring power of the franchise — excerpt:
To me, the success of the “Star Trek” franchise is based not on an irresistible world or set of characters, but upon its “corporate culture,” a culture of imagination. Bell Labs was not the only precedent. Think of Walt Disney, who didn’t just pioneer a few cartoon characters, but built an empire based on an environment that valued and nourished creativity—it is no accident that the company has an arm called Imagineering. Or think of Google, a company created on the very idea of searching. Google seems to invent the future, and ways to see into it, every day, taking us under the oceans, above the Earth and, of course, into the worldwide web of knowledge. Similarly, Gene Roddenberry’s real creation is a franchise culture dedicated, like his fictional characters, to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” That makes “Star Trek” more enduring than any set of characters or episodes Gene himself created, and bigger than any one of its products or the people who pass through it.
Photo Gallery: Famous Life Forms on ‘Star Trek’
A look at some of the famous faces that have appeared on Star Trek, inlcuding King Abdullah II of Jordan and Stephen Hawking.
Newsweek Photo Gallery shot of Stephen Hawking filing his scene in on Star Trek: The Next Generation ("Descent")
The Star Trek issue of Newsweek Magazine goes on sale this week.
Cover of Newsweek (May 4th 2009 issue)
[we will try to get a better image]
Also in Time Magazine this week
Although it didn’t make the cover, Star Trek is the topic of a two-page spread in the new issue of the other big news weekly in the US, Time Magazine. (story isn’t online)
Past Star Trek Covers
This is not the first Time Star Trek has graced the cover of a news weekly in the USA. Newsweek has had Star Trek on the cover before: during the 20th anniversary in 1986 with a picture of Leonard Nimoy, and in 1994 William Shatner and Patrick Stewart graced the cover of Time Magazine in anticipation of the passing of the torch in the film Generations.
Previous Star Trek news weekly covers from 1986 and 1994