Best Of Star Trek In 2008 – Top Real World Star Trek News Stories

Today TrekMovie continues our ‘Best of Trek 2008’ series with our picks for the biggest real world news stories of the year, with a Star Trek twist. In 2008 Trek continued to show that it is a cultural touchstone in the world’s of politics, science, media and even gossip and celebrity news. See below for our picks of the best.


As noted in our regular ‘Great Links’, ‘CelebWatch’, ‘Science Friday’ and other articles, Star Trek continues to have influence in popular culture and the media. The editor’s of have combed through the ‘real world’ news stories from 2008 and picked our favorites where the Trek franchise (outside the new movie and other products and productions) has become part of the story.


Best ‘Real World’ Trek News Story – Trekkie Elected President
Regardless of your political bent, you must be able to agree that it is pretty cool that the guy headed to the White House stated in a speech earlier in the year "I grew up on Star Trek…I believe in the final frontier" and greeted Leonard Nimoy at a fundraiser with a Vulcan salute (see TrekMovie story for more on Obama’s Trekkiness). It is not just TrekMovie that has noticed, just last week AP ran a story about the new President’s affinity for Trek and comic books with the headline "Obama to boldly go where no geek has gone before." Let’s hope that sometime next May someone asks Obama if he is going to see the new Star Trek movie, that is the kind of publicity Paramount would kill for. Someone get Wolf Blitzer on the phone, he already talks to holograms.

Obama…first Trekkie President

Best Gossip Story – Shatner/Takei feud
Star Trek’s William Shatner and George Takei have been not getting along for decades, but in 2008 this low simmer feud went right up to the front burner in the tabloids and talk shows all year long. As Trek fans it is hard to watch two of our heroes throwing barbs at each other in public, but like a roadside accident, we can’t take our eyes off it. The feud probably peaked shortly after Takei’s highly publicized wedding in the Fall with claims and counter-claims involving who was invited and was not, and we still don’t know (and maybe still don’t care). The latest round had some good news, as it looks like Takei will appear on Shatner’s Raw Nerve talk-show some time in 2009, so they can either fight to the death or bury the hatchet.

Where’s Bill?

Best Outed Trekkie Celebrity – Megan Fox
There are quite a few celebrity Trek fans out there, and with all the buzz with the movie there seemed to be getting more attention. The set of JJ Abrams Star Trek movie seemed to be grand central station in 2008 with all sorts dropping by including Tom Cruise, Ben Stiller, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford. And while Rosario Dawson is still our favorite Trekkie hottie, she outed herself on Conan last year, so for 2008 we pick Transformers star Megan Fox who was quoted in July saying "I’m a Star Wars fan. I’m a Star Trek fan. I’m a big nerd. I’m a big, giant comic book nerd." Welcome to the club Megan.

Beam up Megan Fox

Best Trek Reference – Big Bang Theory “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock”
References to Star Trek in modern pop culture remained as ubiquitous as ever in 2008, including a funny Gorn scene in Ben Stiller’s hit summer comedy Tropic Thunder. But this year the king of Trek references is the nerdy CBS sitcom Big Bang Theory and the best reference of the year is their variation of the ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ (below), although Sheldon getting a Nimoy Napkin was a close second. 

Best Trek Science Story – Planet Vulcan discovered
It has been a big year in science, and we all dodged a bullet when the LHC went online and we weren’t all sucked into a black hole. But the biggest Trek related science news has to be the apparent discovery of the planet Vulcan (or something close enough). According to the non-canon Trek reference book, Spaceflight Chronology, Epsilon Eridani is the location of the Vulcan system. And in October of this year scientists using the Spitzer Space telescope made big news when they announced that they had discovered asteroid belts in the system and deduced the Epsilon Eridani contained ‘Earth-like’ planets.

Artist’s conception of the Epsilon Eridani star system

Best Treknology Story – Medical Tricorders coming soon
We are always hearing about breakthroughs that could lead to ‘Star Trek tech’ but often they are decades away from true Treknology (sorry but 3-D virtual reality goggles are no Holodeck). However in 2008, two separate teams at two separate  universities in California have made progress towards hand-held medical devices that can perform detailed medical scans and even detect DNA, or esstientially taking big steps toward real world medical tricorders.

University of California handheld scanner (right) detects a simulated tumor


Saddest Story  – Star Trek RIP
For a franchise that is in its 40s, it is expected for their to be passings, however in 2008 there were too many to bear. In just the last week of May we learned of the losses of three lions of the Original Series: director Joseph Pevney, composer Alexander Courage, and producer Robert Justman. Other Trek luminaries who passed away in 2008 include STIV composer Leonard Rosenman, as well as superfans Joyce Mason and Joan Winston. 2008 also saw the passing of sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke, who didn’t work directly on Trek, but (directly and indirectly) influenced many of the creators, including Gene Roddenberry. And just when we though this ‘annus horribilis’ was over, the ‘First Lady of Star Trek’ Majel Barrett Roddenberry passed away in the second to last week of the year. In this regard, 2008 can not end soon enough. 

Goodbye to Majel and the rest of the Trek luminaries lost in 2008


More 2008 Lists to come
Still to come in the coming days are our lists for best official productions (episode, book, etc), best fan productions, biggest Star Trek movie stories, and Trekkies of the year…so stay tuned. 


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Very sad about Majel.

My friends and I had an alternative to Rock Paper Scissor called Data Borg Human

Its become a thing even with non trekkies we know

It’s been a good year for Star Trek with the exception of the passing of Majel, I’m looking forward to 2009 and what that will bring. As for our president it’s so cool that the leader of the freeworld is an open Star Trek fan… Now if someone could just get Paramount to release a better photo of the new Eneterprise that would be a great way to start the new year.

I hope Obama is ultimately faithful to his Trek cred. The word is otherwise from NASA sources — his transition team allegedly is hammering on the agency, leaving them believing we’ll not be boldly going anywhere anytime soon….

Okay, Trekmovie…

I’m a little mad at you. Mad at you for not linking us a higher-res picture of Megan Fox!

Agreed that 2008 had better end soon. It’s been a bloodbath. Not only all the above-mentioned Trek alums but the multiple others like Heath Ledger and Bernie Mac… 2009, please hurry.

Data, Borg, Human… hmmm… Fascinating! I believe I understand how this works, but please post the rules…

It’s funny how many people have complained about the Big Bang Theory, but seriously it’s opened doors for me to get some of my friends into Trek!

My most non-Trek friends all know “Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock!” And, that opens up the door to conversation about the new movie! Thanks BBT!

The rules are pretty simple. Basically, there is a countdown..


and then both parties make a simultaneous selection:

Data beats borg
borg beats human
human beats data (not physically, obviously. But, you know..)

Lets just hope Trek doesn’t go along with Majel. Planet Vulcan Found would have to be my favorite.

oh thank you redshirt now u got an old image from farscape of two john chrictons both playin rock paper scissors and both continuously dealing identical moves to each other, with your

The rules are pretty simple. Basically, there is a countdown..


and then both parties make a simultaneous selection:

Data beats borg
borg beats human
human beats data (not physically, obviously. But, you know..)

thing… just happened

and ummm how did the trailer being released for the new film and the release date change not make the list???



Like #4 alluded to, let’s see just how much Obama believes in the “final frontier” when he cancels NASA funding.

Remember guys, he isn’t just canceling “NASA funding.” He’s challenging them to be better and do it cheaper. I don’t think there is anyone out there who doesn’t think some seriously fresh thinking would be a good thing for NASA. It’s not that much different than the challenge JFK threw down when he was taking office.

-Huge Obama supporter, but I’m concern about the Space Program. Although, I trust him and his cabinet.

-ALSO, I hope the Academy puts Mrs. Roddenberry in the “Farewell” video on Oscar night. I think DeForest and Doohan didn’t get that respect if I remember correctly.

Oh and #5 The Gorn Identity can I tell you how much I like your screename!

Hey Anthony, where did you get that pic of Epsilon Eridani? I’m wondering if there’s a 1680×1050 version I could use as my desktop. :) That’s awesome.

The Academy did include a tribute to DeForest Kelly with I believe some shots of a western he was in and Star Trek. As for Obama and NASA I agree with Obama. NASA (and the government in general) wastes alot of money and it seems like NASA is going backwards from a winged spacecraft to a less capable capsule going back to something similar to the Apollo era. If anything NASA needs to go back to the US Air Force DYNASOAR program from the 1960’s. Check it out on Wikipedia.
Virgin Galactic will soon be operating a more advanced vehicle than NASA, and if Burt Rutan evolves the design he could eventually fly into orbit.

Doohan was in the Academy Awards tribute, but he was wearing a TV show uniform, and not a movie uniform.

Oh god!

Another website doing another top 10/best of 2008, Please……

How about a top 10 lame storys? I’m sure that there are more than enough to choose from?

Darth “Top 10” Ballz

It is REALLY annoying when you click on a link and you get a response “This video is not available in your country or domain.”

JFK gave a big boost to Bond when it was announced From Russia with Love was either his fave book or fave film (i forget which)…

Reagan gave a big boost to First Blood Part II when he said something along the lines of ‘after seeing Rambo last night i know what to do..’ (or something like that)…

Maybe they could invite Obama to the Trek premiere or give a special screening at the white house (or even hold the premiere at the WH??)

kinda OT – but regarding the Planet Vulcan story – a similar thing happened a year or 2 ago with Superman when they found some real life Kryptonite (the componants of which were listed in the museum in Superman Returns):

then they found his fortress of Solitude hide out in a cave in Mexico (giant pillars of ice crystals shaped exactly like in the movies):

and they also found a giant planet obiting a red sun in a far away galaxy that could support life (Krypton was established as being much larger than earth)

oh yeah and finally to top it all off Superman himself was spotted flying around:

I hope Obama is the guy who guide the americans to a wonderful and peaceful future. I’m sure he’s the right guy for The White House!

I mean “lead” not “guide”!


Thank you!

#18 Darth Ballz

What, are you kidding? This top 10 story was a winner just for the Megan Fox picture alone!

You guys do realize the Obama picture is photoshopped, right?

Sorry ’bout that, I read somewhere that said it was.

About Arthur C. Clarke, his influence was great in the birth of Star Trek, since Gene Roddenberry read his essays book called “Profiles of the Future” and especially its “Index of the Future” included in this book. After reading that Clarke’s book, Gene decided that his next project would be a sci-fi series. Star Trek was born thus, thanks to the Arthur C.Clarke’s inspiration. So, I believe new Star Trek producers or the guys are making fanfilms must pay a tribute christianising a starship, planet, etc with the name of this great visionary as it was made for Bradbury, Asimov or Sturgeon.