H. Jon Benjamin Talks Tribbles, Chabon Goes Nostalgic, Frakes Gets Goofy, And More

On this autumn Friday, we bring you the latest tidbits from CBS Trek productions around the web.

Short Treks

Michael Giacchino’s influence on second season music

As many have noticed, there’s a bit of a similarity to Michael Giacchino’s scores to the Kelvin films in the latest Short Treks episodes. That’s because Giacchino is not only directing and scoring an episode this season (“Ephraim and Dot”), but he’s been mentoring the composers scoring the other shorts.

Chabon’s throwback novel cover for “Q&A”

Showing his love of TOS and the ’70s-era fandom, writer of the episode Michael Chabon made his own retro “Q&A” design based on the classic novel Spock Must Die! by James Blish. The book was the first licensed Star Trek novel based on an original story, published in January 1970.

The cover to the classic novel by James Blish.

So many Tribbles!

Discovery Producer/director Olatunde Osunsanmi shared a behind-the-scenes look at all the tribbles used in making “The Trouble With Edward.”

Prop master Mario Moreira jumped in with some details:

H. Jon Benjamin interview

The official StarTrek site has a brief interview with Edward Larkin actor (and voice of Bob from Bob’s Burgers and the eponymous Archer) H. Jon Benjamin. He spoke about his earliest exposure to Trek:

I can’t specify the exact year, but I will say mid 1970s and it was The Original Series in my living room on the television. I watched when I was probably — I must’ve been like 10 years old. I remember a whole bunch of them [because] I’d watch pretty regularly when I was a kid. That was probably the first science fiction I’d ever seen. So I was fascinated by it.

The well-known voice actor discussed what appealed to him about doing the short:

I’d read the script and thought it was really funny and as I said, because I was a viewer of The Original Series, [I remember] the tribbles episode being particularly iconic just because of how unique it was relative to the other [episodes]. So when I read “The Trouble With Edward,” it was a really funny idea, based on the outside. That’s sort of what got me interested. And then finding out later that a lot of people had no idea what tribbles were even; [as in] younger people who had come to Star Trek later. Some were not aware that tribbles came from TOS.

And Benjamin revealed that there’s a deleted scene from his Short Treks episode “The Trouble With Edward.”

I’m not sure if it made it into the episode, but [we shot a scene where] Edward was eating a cross-section of a Tribble. Like really eating it. We used watermelon to make it look like meat. It ended up looking kind of like prime rib, so it seemed like it wasn’t too bad!

(source: @HJBenjamin/Twitter)

Discovery goings on

Work on Discovery’s third season is well underway, but a few folks have taken a moment to share some updates and insights on social media.

Paradise shares Iceland photos

Co-showrunner Michelle Paradise put up a few behind-the-scenes photos of the production’s time in Iceland after the season 3 trailer premiered at New York Comic Con.

Frakes is back

Jonathan Frakes was back in Toronto directing his second episode of the season, the eighth episode. He took time out to pose for a fun photo with executive producer Olatunde Osunsamni and actress Michelle Yeoh.

Disco syndication deal in UK

Channel 4 in the UK has recently acquired the rights to the previous seasons of Discovery. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it will join the line up of Channel 4’s entertainment-focused digital network E4 in 2020.

Guest actor in season 3 revealed

Indian actor Adil Hussain, probably best known to American audiences for his role in award-winning film The Life of Pi, took to social media to point out his involvement in season 3. Hussain plays the Federation representative who is waiting to greet Michael Burnham.

“That hope is you…”

Writers’ Room adds a new pet mascot

Meet Romeo the Disco Dog:

Star Trek: Picard special effect tease

Picard’s first season is now in post-production, and visual effects artist Charles Collyer teased folks on Instagram with a very mysterious object draped in blue screen fabric. The hashtags included only add to the mystery, the most cryptic being: #itsnotwhatyouthinkitis #strangethingsonset #flyingdelorian.

Nicktoon crew getting into the Trek or Treat spirit

Over at Nickelodeon, the writers on the forthcoming youth-focused Trek cartoon poked their heads up and showed off their “Trek-o-ween” spirit with two unfortunate members of a landing party.

The team also showed off their Halloween Trek costumes and office party from Friday afternoon


Keep up with all the news on upcoming Star Trek shows here at TrekMovie.com

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“Spock Must Die!” — the first-ever Trek novel, written by SF author James Blish (who had adapted the original episodes in a series of paperback books based on TOS). I remember how excited I was to pick it up: original Star Trek, finally, even if it wasn’t on screen!

Not a bad SF novel either, IIRC, though Blish doesn’t get the “voices” of the characters exactly right.

I bet the blue screene cloth cowered mystery thing is Q’s chair/ throne.

I bet it’s the Argo. Picard has a midlife crisis, pops down to Federation Automotive, picks up a sweeeeeet classic vehicle with a twist… it has Data’s engrams loaded into it. Now, armed with his talking super car, he moves to a small town in the midwest where he finally becomes a PI. CBS is proud to present this fall: MAGNUM P.I.-CARD

Will, you win:)

It really looks like Q’s Chair, it really does. Too small for the Argo.

Please let it be Captain Braxton.

Hope not. Don’t want to see Q anywhere near this production.

Surprising that neither of those skeletons were wearing red shirts.

Man it really is an exciting time for Star Trek again. This article cited four different productions all in various stages. Remember the days we were just hoping to get ONE show again? Now we are getting multiple ones in various formats and time periods. It’s a great time to be a fan! :)

I just want one great show I guess

Plenty more are coming so maybe it will happen. I’m crossing my fingers it will happen with Picard!

Certainly, many of us would be happy with one great show.

However, there are a lot of different perspectives on what is great Trek.

The fact that there are folks on this board who love Trek generally but found TNG boring, more than proves that.

Kurtzman and CBS seem to have solid strategic smarts.

So, instead of 26 episodes a year of one series that doesn’t appeal to everyone, we’re getting around 33 episodes in 2020 of 3 series plus assorted Short Treks.

Yeah TNG was pretty boring. The Disco crew is more interesting.

Surely that’s sarcasm?

More like troll bait.

you guys…it’s exhausting. discovery is great. there you have it. it’s too bad you don’t see it. i’ve listened to unhappy trek fans since tng… tng wasn’t as good as tos… then ds9 wasn’t as good as tng… everyone was wrong. so i guess good work keeping it up

Forward Propulsion, its great you love the show. But its not a consensus either, far from it. I like it too, but no don’t love it. It still has lots of issues but as you stated most Trek shows has improved with time and I am hoping it will improve as I feel it did a lot in season 2 and very excited about season 3. In fact this is the most excited I been about the show since it was announced. I wish the show started out in the 32nd century to begin with. It still may not been good but it would’ve been far more interesting to me at least.

But not everyone still feels that way with even the time jump and all the changes. You have to respect that a lot of people are still very divided on this show. No not everyone hates it, but not everyone loves it either. And the producers know this, hence ALL the changes they have done with it in its first three seasons. If it wasn’t broke…

Forward Propulsion, I understand your frustration with the inevitable naysayers for each new Trek show.

However, both your point and much of the criticism seem to be anchored on a supposition of that Trek should have a kind of mass media appeal, that transfers for all fans from one to another.

Instead we have an annoying sibling rivalry. Instead of celebrating that each series has its fans that say “this was great”, ” this was the best of Trek”, there are too many of us who only really want and accept Trek as ‘real’ when it’s in our ‘favourite flavour’.

Tiger2 also has an important point that most Trek shows took a couple of seasons to truly find what they did well and hit a consistent level of quality. This makes it easy to find things to criticize, especially if one is looking to recapture the peak experience of a previous series. Discovery in its two short seasons has put out barely more episodes than the first seasons of any of the 90s series. It’s really still a new series in Trek production time.

I have no issues accepting Discovery as Trek, or celebrating it strengths, but the turmoil in the writers room has taken a toll on the show that’s hard to deny. I’m hopeful that we’ll see the show become more coherent and clear in its identity in S3.

I’ll continue watching STD with the hope it improves. Season 3 will be the last chance for me though.

I just think it’s been nothing but terrible so far and that’s coming from someone who’s loved every Star Trek series from TOS right through to Enterprise and all 10 Prime films. The Kelvin films and STD are a different story though.

Dropping another comment to celebrate Tamara Deverell’s win for Production Designon Discovery from DGC.


She had some stiff competition.

I rather have a show like Disco that’s not afraid to try new things every season to keep the show fresh. I prefer that to the tired and stale format TNG settled on.

BTW, broken shows don’t create four different spin offs. Disco is successful no matter what a small minority of fans say.

TNG wasn’t as good as TOS – at first. Then it improved. Whether good or bad or something in between, you have to call them how you see them. Arguing about something being totally ‘great’ or ‘terrible’ is binary nonsense.

I will agree that TNG did take a lot of time to “gel”. DS9 did as well. But I think DS9 learned from TNG’s mistakes and really got very good. TNG merely got a little better but never was able to measure up to TOS. And TOS “gelled” nearly right away. I always got the feeling watching TNG that they tried too hard to “mesh”. The show and the characters always felt a little “forced”. The good news is, as mentioned, DS9 didn’t feel like they were trying to recapture TOS. They were doing their own thing to their credit.

The Shawshank Redemption ruined all movies for me, too.

The first licensed STAR TREK novel wasn’t SPOCK MUST DIE. It was MISSION TO HORATIUS. SPOCK MUST DIE was the second one.

Sci Fi being what it is, Spock dies a lot. On occasion, so does Kirk.

Yeah, TONS of characters–almost all of them–have died and come back to life on Star Trek:


Yup, name the episodes where Captain ——- died and came back to life has got to be the most predictable Trek trivia contest question.

Correct. However that was a storybook for kids. You’ll note the article says it was “the first licensed Star Trek novel.” ;-)

Matt Wright,

At 200+ pages, I think that makes MISSION TO HORATIUS a novel, as I am unaware that intended market, or quality of the prose, for that matter, plays any part in the definition of same which is largely defined by being of book length? And aren’t all discussion on a novel’s secondary characteristic of “realism” in portraying its tale, off the table for STAR TREK works which tend to settle for “plausible”?