The previous entry in our ‘Best of Trek 2008’ series looked at all the top stories related to Paramount’s Star Trek movie over the last year. Today we look at all the other official productions related to Star Trek coming from CBS and the various official licensees, including picking our favorite Trek episode, DVD, book, comics, and events of the year.
BEST ‘OFFICIAL’ STAR TREK PRODUCTIONS AND EVENTS
There is a lot more to Star Trek than merchandise and the new movie, and today TrekMovie looks back at 2008 and picks the best of the lot.
Episode of the year – Star Trek Remastered "Court Martial" (CBS)
Although there hasn’t been a Star Trek TV series in production since Enterprise ended its run in 2005, there are new versions of classic TOS episodes airing in syndication with Star Trek Remastered. Of the ones that aired in 2008, TrekMovie picks "Court Martial" as the best. In the TrekMovie review, Jeff Bond noted the episode "has to stand as the ideal for what this project was trying to achieve." Not only did CBS add a number of new and interesting Enterprise shots (with appropriate damage as dictated by the episode), but we also see a TOS-era Star base fully realized with all the activity you would imagine, including new beautiful matte shots. And we finally find out where the ship’s ion pod is located. Other highlights of the year were the many third season episodes, where the CBS-D team had more opportunities to fill in the gaps left due to budget limitations in Star Trek’s final year.
F/X reel for TOS-R "Court Martial"
Book of the Year – "Star Trek Destiny" Trilogy (David Mack – Pocket Books)
Over the years ‘crossovers events’ in the world of Star Trek books have been a mixed bag, and yet David Mack’s Destiny trilogy managed to overcome every obstacle thrown at it and win over nearly every skeptic in the Trek literary world. Mack’s writing skills were never a concern, of course, but when you are considering the sheer amount of material that Mack was working with, his success is utterly impressive. Having been handed the baggage of an awkward (at best) releaunch of the TNG storyline, a massive invasion of the (overused) Borg, and the immanent decline of the Federation, Mack deftly set the twenty-forth century literary incarnation of Trek on course for a bold new future; a future that Keith RAG. DeCandido "A Singular Destiny" will be exploring right out of the gate in 2009, followed by additional books that will carry what is now being called the ‘post Destiny’ Trek universe, showing what a milestone this series is for Star Trek books. [Rob Lyon’s full TrekMovie Destiny reviews: I: Gods of Night, II: Mere Mortals, Destiny III: Lost Souls.]
Comic of the year – Assignment Earth Series (John Byrne – IDW)
This year, IDW released six complete original comic series and portions of three others. Of these, the best was the John Byrne imagining of where the "Assignment Earth" back-door pilot could have spun off too. Byrne managed to take this concept and spin it off into five fascinating issues of the adventures of Gary Seven and Ms. Lincoln, spread across five years, highlighting the styles and attitudes of the era, even including bringing in Richard Nixon as a character. [Alex Fletcher’s full TrekMovie ‘Assignment Earth’ reviews: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5.] The other two series of real interest this year were D.C. Fontana’s "Enterprise Experiment", and Byrne’s "Romulans: Hollow Crown".
DVD of the year – Alternative Realities Collective (CBS DVD)
2008 saw the release of three DVD sets from CBS Home Entertainment. While much of the attention was on Seasons Two and Three of Star Trek Remastered (both of which got good reviews at TrekMovie), we pick the Alternate Realities Collective as the favorite. The two main reasons is that while DVDs are great, we want to see seasons two and three of TOS-R in HD on Blu-ray, and we primarily picked the Collective for the price. For around $30 (prices vary based on retailer and over time), you get a nicely packaged set of 20 fan favorite episodes. The set has four episodes from each of Trek’s five series, all with a twist, from the mirror universe stories, to parallel dimensions, to twisted realities (like "The Enemy Within"), to alternative lives (like "Yesterday’s Enterprise"). On top of that you get a whole slew of new special features and commentaries and even a free Geordi action figure. [See full TrekMovie review]
Collection/omnibus of the year – Complete Comic Book Collection DVD-ROM (GIT)
There were a few print omnibuses of stories and comics in 2008, but the Graphic Imaging Technologies ‘Star Trek: The Complete Comic Book Collection’ has them beat by being…complete (or almost complete). On one DVD ROM you get almost the entire history of Trek comics starting from the Gold Key era in the sixties all the way to DC Wildstorm comics in the 2000s. This one set retailing now for around $30 can keep you entertained for weeks and is the best way to enjoy Trek comics for those who don’t want to go through the hassle (and expense) of finding original issues. [See full TrekMovie review]
Star Trek – The Complete Comic Book Collection
Game (News) of the year – Cryptic takes over Star Trek Online
The last Star Trek game to hit streets was Star Trek Conquest at the end of 2007, and in our Best/Worst list for 2007, TrekMovie gave Perpetual and the troubles with the Star Trek Online MMORPG a big thumbs down. When Perpetual finally went under in early 2008, things seemed truly dead (again) for Star Trek games. However, soon TrekMovie began reporting that STO could be saved, but it wasn’t until the summer that Cryptic Studios (the award-winning makers of City of Heroes’ MMORPG) finally announced that they had taken over the game, followed soon by the big ‘STO revealed’ event at the Star Trek con in Vegas. Since then Cryptic have been good at regularly updating fans and showing real in game footage and artwork. With the recently announced acquisition of Cryptic by Atari/Infogrames, it looks like Cryptic now has the resources to finally get this highly anticipated title out (although it looks like we may have to wait until 2010).
Leonard Nimoy helps launch Cryptic’s Star Trek Online
Distribution News of the year – Star Trek Goes Digital
Although some Star Trek episodes had been available via iTunes and other digital distribution formats in recent years, in 2008 this really took off. The star was back in February when CBS put every episode of The Original Series online for free (ad supported) streaming. Not were the episodes at CBS, but they also became available at AOL, YouTube, Fancast, and other sites across the web…Star Trek had gone viral. CBS later added Star Trek Remastered episodes in HD at CBS.com, and Remastered Trek is also now available at Netflix via their Instant streaming service. This all means that no matter where you are (at least in the USA), if you have a computer, you can watch Star Trek. The next set will be to get the rest of the Trek catalog online in both ad supported and paid downloads and streaming, but 2008 was a big step in the right direction.
CBS puts Trek episodes online
Event of the Year – Las Vegas Official Star Trek Convention (Aug – Creation)
There are fewer and fewer official Star Trek events these days, but the annual Creation Convention in Las Vegas is still going strong and the 2008 convention was one of the best yet. It had a fantastic assortment of Stars from all the Trek series, culminating with the meeting of the Spocks (Nimoy and Quinto), which became the premier movie event of the summer (with Paramount being a no-show for Comic Con panels). In addition there was a lot of product news from CBS, Mattel and others, plus a new movie poster was released and there was that big ‘STO Reveal’ mentioned above. Add to that tons of fun parties, including some at the Star Trek Experience, and it was a good time to be had by all. Sure the event is pricey, but with all the news of conventions in trouble, it is good to know that this stalwart of Star Trek is alive and well (and next year will include Shatner!…so the hits keep coming). [see Full set of TrekMovie Vegas08 stories]
Two Spocks chat on stage at Creation Las Vegas Convention
Attraction (Good) News of the Year – ST: The Tour morphs into ST: The Exhibition
2008 started off with the opening of the big ‘Star Trek The Tour’ in January in Long Beach, CA, but after this first stop for the traveling exhibit if Star Trek memorabilia, rides and recreations was over in March, things went strangely quiet. It looked like The Tour was over, but then in June Premiere Exhibitions announced it had taken over the tour and turned into multiple museum attractions called ‘Star Trek: The Exhibition.’ The first ‘engagement’ opened in San Diego in late June, and the second opened in Phoenix in November. Early next year the first engagement heads to Detroit and so it looks like this new modular version focused at museums is working much better and will hopefully be coming to a city near you in the future.
Crowd lines up for opening of Star Trek The Exhibition in San Diego
Attraction (Bad) News of the Year – Star Trek: The Experience closes
In May TrekMovie first reported that the future of Star Trek The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton was in doubt. After more long negotiations over the summer, it was eventually announced that after 10 years, the premiere Star Trek attraction would end its lease at the Hilton and close in 2008. On September 3rd, in a tearful decommissioning ceremony, The gate came down for the last time. However, not all hope is lost. TrekMovie and the Vegas press have been reporting recently that there is a deal in the works to resurrect The Experience at a new location in Las Vegas in 2009. However, CBS has yet to make an official announcement, and even if it is moved, it is not known exactly what form this new Experience will take. For now we are cautiously optimistic.
Decommissioning of Star Trek: The Experience
What we are looking forward to in 2009 from CBS, Paramount and partners:
In addition to the big movie, the rest of ‘official’ Trek should be busy in 2009. There are a number of things we are looking forward to, although some are just hopes as they are not yet officially announced.
- Star Trek Movie collection on Blu-ray (and DVD?)
- "Star Trek Countdown" movie-tie in Comic books
- John Byrne’s "Crew" and other IDW comics
- Post-Destiny TNG era Books & return of Voyager books
- More cities announced for ST: The Exhibition
- Official announcement and re-opening of ST: The Experience
More 2008 Lists to come
Still to come, TrekMovie will next look at the best fan productions, and Trekkies of the year…so stay tuned.
Previously posted Best of 2008