Kirk and the gang find a planet where an alien odd couple has set up their own private house of horrors complete with spectral witches, a sinister castle, a black cat and zombified landing party members. All of this seems to be an elaborate ruse to discourage uninvited guests and/or evaluate their worthiness as a species, etc, etc. It’s a rare, Halloween themed episode of Star Trek with some fun and memorable moments, but mostly you’ll go home with a bag full of cheese instead of candy. With the new remastered ‘Catspaw’ you get more castle, more cat and no strings attached.
Like Star Trek XI, the Halo movie was one of the more anticipated films planned for 2008. Now the film is in limbo, and apparently Trek is partially to blame. After losing financing from Universal and Fox, the Halo producers (Peter Jackson and Microsoft) pinned their hopes on Warner Brothers and Paramount. According to IESB, Abrams and Trek factored into Paramount’s decision to say no. IESB quotes a Paramount exec as saying Why share a franchise with other parties when we own Star Trek and have a real director doing that film?.
Paramount chief Brad Grey recently described JJ Abrams as a ‘triple threat’ because he can write, produce and direct. However so far it looks like Para is only getting a ‘double threat’ for the first project under his new multi-mil deal. Abrams is down as producer and (co)writer for Trek XI, but tells MTV that it is still ‘too early to make the call’ on directing. He also talked again how ‘cool’ Trek XI is going to be, saying… we’re all ridiculously excited about it. It’s hard to talk about at this stage, because there’s so much still left to do, but I can say that the story is incredibly cool. To be honest with you, I haven’t been a follower of the more recent "Star Trek" films. I got to appreciate them and like them, but this is the movie I would be in line to see.
TV Guide has an interview with JJ Abrams that focuses on M:I:3, which is released this week on DVD. However, they do throw in a couple of Trek questions TVGuide.com: Changing topics, where do you stand on the Star Trek feature? Is there any framework in place, a setting, characters…? Abrams: The framework is firmly in place, the script is being written now, and we are incredibly enthusiastic about it.
Details on the new Shatner hosted game show ‘Show Me The Money’ are starting to come out, and it sounds pretty cheesy. Variety reports… After answering a trivia question, a contestant will choose one of 13 dancers, each of whom has a scroll with a dollar figure to be added to or subtracted from the player’s winnings. Contestants must answer at least six questions. ABC is calling the hoofers the "Million Dollar Dancers" and says they’ll always be "ready to break into any style of dance, while audacious master of ceremonies William Shatner spontaneously boogies with the beauties onstage."
Just in time for Halloween, LA Theatre Works present the classic radio play ‘War of the Worlds’ performed by a whole bunch of Trek stars. Lending their voices are John de Lancie, Gates McFadden, Leonard Nimoy, Dwight Schultz, Armin Shimerman, Brent Spiner: and Wil Wheaton. de Lancie, a LATW regular, directs. It was originally aired last night on KPCC in Los Angeles. No word yet how many Angelinos thought aliens were actually attacking Grovers Mill, New Jersey. It is available online for free until Nov 4, after that it will be available for purchase. [Listen with RA ]
We have the usual assortment of old versus new and remastered shots for your pleasure. Click the pictures for larger versions.
The Enterprise and her crew are held captive by some spoooooky aliens Video preview / Local Station & Showtimes / More at Memory Alpha This rare ‘themed’ episode is yet another one with few opportunities for new CGI crew. We already know there is a new matte painting for the castle. In addition keep your eye out for… new planet and Enterprise in orbit shots new witches maybe? maybe some new magic flashes? …and for the aliens…no strings attached! so what did you think of Catspaw Remastered
Robert Picardo, Star Trek Voyager’s lovable Holodoctor, seems to have a nuanced view of Star Trek under the command of JJ Abrams. According to an interview from Trek Magazine (via SciFi Pulse) the actor seems to be supportive of Abrams helming the franchise, but isn’t too sure he likes that rumored prequel idea. Look they’ve re-launched the Batman franchise and that worked out. I’ve heard that they may re – launch the franchise with a story about Kirk and Spock as younger guys, back in the day, but I don’t know whether that’s the way to go because it seems to remove some of the jeopardy to know what happens in the future. On the other hand, they did kill off Spock four times and bring him back to life. I lost count!
Bryan Fuller is certainly one of the more successful Star Trek almuni in Hollywood. Since his time as a writer on Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Star Trek Voyager, Bryan Fuller has been very busy with shows like ‘Wonderfalls’, ‘Dead Like Me’, and this year’s breakout hit ‘Heroes’. Comic Book Resources interviewed the writer/producer on his various projects, but spend quite a lot of time on Trek. Fuller said he got into the business because of Star Trek and he could talk about it all day. He certainly seems to be optimistic on Trek’s future under JJ Abrams, saying: I think the status right now is very encouraging, and I’m referring to the J.J. Abrams-helmed reinvention of the franchise, which it’s desperate for.
It is great to see Trek return to the world of gaming, but perhaps the new publisher Bethesda could have chosen a better game than ‘Star Trek Encounters’ to be the first entry. IGN gives the game a 4.9 out of 10. From the review: "Encounters suffers from a dire lack of Star Trek. There’s very little point in using the Star Trek license without exploiting its greatest assets"…ouch. Bethesda has just started shipping the 2nd game (Tactical Assault for the PS2 and DS), hopefully the reviews for that are better. For the third and most anticipated game, ‘Star Trek Legacy’ it appears we will have to wait even longer. Gamespot reports the bad news that the game is being delayed until the end of November due to quality assurance issues. There is a bit of good news, Bethesda recently announced a deal with Ubisoft to distribute all the new Trek games in Europe, story here. While we wait for Legacy, Bethsoft has provided some screenshots to tide you over… (Xbox 360)
Yesterday we reported that the Tom Cruise in Trek XI rumor appears to be bogus. But of course it is hard to keep a good rumor down, and anything with Cruise in it is ‘good’ to the tabloids. The British tabloid Daily Star has picked up the rumor but morphed it into ‘Cruise Will Be Spock‘. That story is now being cited by others including ITV a British TV Network, but so far this is our favorite… Original ‘source’ (TV Guide Canada) denies ever running the story…
(download WMV / pics of the new spooky castle) thanks again to our ChiTown Reader for scaring this up for us
It looks like Tom Cruise won’t be beaming up. As we reported yesterday there is a new rumor about Tom Cruise and JJ Abrams being in talks for a cameo role in Trek XI. TrekMovie was skeptical so we looked into it and so far cannot find any corroboration. Paramount insiders say they know nothing about it, and Arnold Robinson, a publicist for Mr. Cruise, tells TrekMovie.com "that story is not true." As yesterday’s article stated, WENN (who first reported the rumor) don’t exactly have the best track record on these things. However WENN’s Editorial Director Kev Lewin tells TrekMovie that they stand by the story, but also stated "we are not on that story anymore, that is yesterday’s news."
According David La Fountaine, exec-producer on Trek Remastered and Exec VP at CBS Paramount, there there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the Star Trek Remastered project. As everyone knows, each week the CBS digital team send out a new digitally remastered CGI-enhanced version of the Star Trek: Original Series for broadcast syndication. La Fountaine tells TrekMovie.com that what we are seeing is only one of the many different versions of each episode that the team is making. The first version they make an unedited or ‘network’ version without any CGI enhancements but with all the digital remastering from the original source. Then they make the CGI enhanced version of the full length version, and then edit it down for syndication. This means that some of the new CGI effects being done are not being seen in the syndicated versions. Plus all 3 versions are being done in both High Definition and Standard Definition. In addition all the new CGI space shots and matte paintings are being done in 16:9 wide-screen, so every time you see a new shot in Trek Remastered there is a bigger HD version waiting in the wings.
When I was about six my father sat me down to watch a show with a guy in a yellow and black uniform fighting it out in the desert with a big, ugly, green skinned lizard. He told me it was called ‘Star Trek’ and I was hooked. I voraciously devoured every episode and, in through my formative years, the show and its characters became a central part of my worldview. My childhood hero was Captain James T. Kirk, and few episodes of the original series epitomized who and what he was better than my first episode: “Arena,” Now the Remastered version brings back all those memories and created some brand new ones…if you are looking close enough.
This week Trek Remastered has a Halloween theme with ‘Catspaw’…check out the brand new spooky castle… click to supersize it
The WENN entertainment news service is reporting TOM CRUISE is in negotiations to reteam with MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 director JJ ABRAMS for the next STAR TREK movie. The movie superstar is reportedly a huge fan of the sci-fi franchise and jumped at the chance to play a cameo role in the new film, which will be directed by Abrams. An insider tells Canada’s TV Guide magazine, "He didn’t even need to be begged to appear in it.".
15 years ago today Gene Roddenberry, creator of ‘Star Trek’, passed away. StarTrek.com marks the date with an excellent article and retrospective. On the subject of what Roddenberry would think of Trek going strong in the hands of a new generation of professionals (including JJ Abrams) and even the fans themselves (in the form of fan films), it says: "it’s probably a safe bet that he would say something to the effect of, Star Trek no longer belongs to him, it belongs to the world." Well said. It is a true testament to Roddenberry’s vision that 40 years after he started the franchise and 15 years after his passing, Trek still inspires generation after generation. To mark the 40th anniversary of Trek, Roddenberry.com is selling a DVD of one of the last interviews Gene Roddenberry ever gave. More info at RodenberryInterview.com
Longtime Gene Roddenberry assistant Richard Arnold has some views on the LA Times editorial discussed here recently. The editorial called for a total ‘reboot’ of the Trek franchise, which Arnold wasn’t buying….his letter to the editor: Although I share Dan Neil’s concern about any plans Paramount Pictures may have for the next "Star Trek" feature film, I do not agree that the"franchise" should be abandoned. Certainly the series’ creator, Gene Roddenberry, wouldn’t feel that way, nor do millions of "Star Trek" fans worldwide. What "Star Trek" does desperately need is some new blood. Hopefully with J.J. Abrams at the helm, the next film will get the ship and her crew back on course!
Since the announcement of Star Trek XI there has been a frenzy of both excitement and anxiety. Scores of people are speaking up with their opinion on how J. J. Abrams should craft the story, with some championing strict adherence to the Trek canon, while others wish he would throw it all out with the bathwater much as Ronald D. Moore’s re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica. But in all of this, the truth is that the Trek franchise began dying more than a decade ago as viewership declined from a peak during the height of Next Generation to the abysmal ratings of Enterprise and poor box office results for Nemesis. Mr. Abrams has a massive task ahead of him. He must breathe life into a franchise that has lost its fan base by finding a way to open Trek up to an entire new generation. However, I believe that in order for the movie to be successful, he must also find a way to also connect with ‘old school’ fan base. There are a lot of us out here with purchasing power of a demographic that spans every generation. J. J. Abrams will have to pull out those things that were great about Star Trek and “reboot” the franchise in such a way as to attract a mainstream audience. It is a monumental task, but one that could be accomplished simply by talking with the “Old School.”
We have the usual assortment of old versus new, plus video clips of the blinking Gorn and new CGI! Click the pictures for larger versions.
The popular culture presented at a Detroit’s Motor City Comic Convention is multifarious. Last weekend’s con had The Greatest American Hero’s Robert Culp to I Dream of Jeannie and The Bob Newhart Show’s Bill Daily to Desperate Housewives’ Dagney Kerr all there to blend the worlds of science fiction, comedy, comic books, and entertainment. For Trekkies there were Star Trek XI posters offered as swag, fans dressed in Trek costumes, Trek items for sale, Lori Petty (Noss from Voyager) signing autographs and last but not least Michael Dorn (TNG: Worf) sharing his thoughts on Trek’s past and future. About 100 people crammed into a small room to hear Dorn discuss his views and experiences of Star Trek.
Kirk goes mano-a-clawo when he faces a Gorn Captain Video preview / Local Station & Showtimes / More at Memory Alpha This classic episode gives the CGI crew at CBS a bit more to work with. There is a lot of action both in space and on the ground. Possible areas for improvement: some new Enterprise shots, including at high warp new planet(s) new Cestus III landscape phaser effects…and the first photon torpedoes a very hard to see Gorn ship …and a Gorn that blinks StarTrek.com has posted some preview pics…
With so much reporting on other things, thought we should update you all on that other little Trek project Although Trek XI is still just in ‘development‘ there already is quite a lot of activity going on. According to studio insiders the assumption is that Trek XI will get a greenlight and will be one of Paramount’s tentpoles for Summer 2008. Apparently the first draft of the script is due shortly and the Abrams team are already seeing actors for the major parts. Although no names are available, TrekMovie is told that "many A and B listers have been in and out of Abrams offices" (which are actually still on the Disney lot). One Paramount source tells TrekMovie that it is possible there will be a casting announcement even before the script gets final approval and the film gets the greenlight (which should be sometime in December/January). "Although it hasn’t been greenlit yet, it is as close as you get around here," said the source. Still unclear how many TOS roles are being recast, but another source indicates that the treatment included the characters of McCoy and Scotty in addition to Kirk and Spock. The ‘Kirk’s first Mission’ plotline (which TrekMovie first reported in August) still seems to be the prevailing assumption amongst those TrekMovie has spoken to, but still nothing firm so it is still in the realm of ‘rumor’.
(download wmv)…plus a bonus Trek promo from Chicago’s MeTV
TrekMovie got some time with Trek Remastered Producer David Rossi to talk about how the project is going and where they are going next. Like any Trek endeavor, the CGI-enhanced Trek Remastered project has spawned much discussion. In general the show has been well received. The re-recorded theme and the digital transfers get a lot of praise. Much of the CGI work like the new matte paintings and planets have gone over quite well, and some of the live action touches have been pleasant surprises. However, much discussion has focused on how CBS have been digitally recreating Kirk’s classic Enterprise. Many seem to feel that the team have not got it quite right yet, but what may surprise the critics is that the producers at CBS agree. "It is not that we are unhappy with the work, but it is not yet the Enterprise as we want to see it" says Dave Rossi, going on "we want it to be there as much as everybody else does." And this is not just talk; the team has a plan…and a new model.
Harcourt Fenton Mudd appeared in only two Original Series episodes and one episode of the Animated Series, but he is probably one of the best remembered and best loved supporting characters Star Trek has ever had. Harry Mudd was the prototypical rogue and scoundrel, a petty thief, an outrageous liar and a brazen conman with a rap sheet as long as Kirk’s service record. He was a walking, talking, conniving refutation of Roddenberry’s whole concept of “evolved” human beings, and all the more interesting for it, if you ask me.
Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand) only appeared in 8 episodes in the first season of Star Trek before being let go amid some controversy. But fans remembered Yeoman Rand and she came back (as Lt. JG Rand) for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. She went on to appear in three more Trek films (III, IV & VI) and even an episode of Star Trek Voyager (‘Flashback’). She is again reprising her role for the new independent Trek film ‘Of Gods And Men’. TrekMovie chatted with the actress about playing Rand again as well as her thoughts on a new Rand for Star Trek XI.
In its third week in syndication, Trek Remastered scored a 1.3 1.2 rating with the episode ‘Naked Time’ . This rating is exactly almost the same as the 1.3 rating Enterprise got in its 3rd week of national syndication a year earlier with ‘Borderland’. It is also below the average rating Enterprise got in its first year. The Remastered version of the Original Series with new CGI effects was seen as a way to improve things for CBS after Enterprise didn’t catch on in syndication. There isn’t enough data yet to declare TOSR a success or failure, but one would imagine CBS was hoping for a higher rating.