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.
As per ususal here are some comparison shots and an assortment of extra shots for I, Mudd. Since this is the first 2nd season episode we also have an MP3 of the new theme, this one with the trademark soprano (related story). Click the pictures for larger versions.
Our friends at TwitchGuru sat down with ST:II (& ST:VI) director Nick Meyer to talk a little Khan. Although the interview doesn’t get around to JJ Abrams or Star Trek XI, there are some interesting comments from the last guy to save the Star Trek franchise. On the issue of Trek’s sacred continuity Meyer draws a parallel with the work of Arthur Conan Doyle who often ‘forgot’ various details between his various Holmes stories. I suppose my attitude towards fidelity to the Star Trek material as if it were holy writ is similarly: "Alright, we’re in the ballpark but we don’t have to be 100%."
The Enterprise gets taken over by an android controlled by the infamous Harry Mudd Video preview / Local Station & Showtimes / More at Memory Alpha This lighthearted episode is the first 2nd season episode, so listen for the different theme with the new soprano vocalist (read more about her here). This is one of the ‘easier’ episodes that CBS seems to be packing into their first couple of months and there really aren’t many opportunities for new effects. Expect the usual ship flyby and a new planets (there are rumors of an added ring to the android planet), other possibilities include: ‘overload danger’ indicator inner workings of the ‘Norman’ android extra android duplicates TrekMovie will have screenshots up late Saturday or Sunday, and a review by Monday UPDATE: Screenshots and Audio from I’Mudd Remastered so what did you think of I,Mudd Remastered?
According to an interview in the new Star Trek magazine, longtime Trek producer Rick Berman has read the writing on the wall. Berman on being involved in Trek’s future: Without sounding clichéd I’m not going to say never, but I assume that I have produced my last Star Trek, especially with the interest that Paramount has gotten from J.J. Abrams to do another movie, which if successful, could lead to other television shows
Although the new CGI effects get most of the attention for Trek Remastered, CBS also gave the show’s opening music new life. The classic theme written by Alexander Courage was re-recorded in digital stereo and most agree that it is pitch perfect. That is thanks to the people involved, starting with the man tasked with the job Greg Smith. Smith is a Trek music veteran who began working on Trek back in the early 90s . He worked on DS9, VOY and ENT as an orchestrator for composer Jay Chattaway and even composed a few episodes himself. "I tried to remember how many Trek music sessions I worked on and I lost count," Smith tells TrekMovie. Star Trek up until Enterprise was one of the few shows that still used full orchestral scores. "For music, Trek always had the highest production values," says Smith, and Trek Remastered wasn’t going to be the exception.
Captain Kirk Meets The No-Win Scenario The Enterprise crew discovers an alien time machine on an uncharted, lifeless world. In a fit of drug-induced paranoia (it’s an accident, kids — I can’t stress this enough; don’t do drugs, stay in school), “Bones” McCoy leaps back into 1930s New York and alters history such that the “Star Trek universe” never happens. Kirk and Spock go back in time themselves in order to fix history; in a twist familiar to anyone who has read much of Harlan Ellison’s work, a blameless young woman who loves the protagonist has to be killed in order to make Everything Okay Again.
Consider if you will JJ Abrams. In the new issue of Star Trek Magazine, Abrams still won’t talk details on Star Trek XI, but did discuss how he thinks Trek relates to some of his favorite franchises. I always loved it when stories that were somewhat outlandish and larger than life were told with the intensity of a real life drama – things like Planet Of The Apes had such an impact when I saw it as a kid. Most episodes of The Twilight Zone were dramatically told. Star Trek is a good example too – in many ways, that series shared some of the qualities (and in some cases, crewmembers or cast members) of The Twilight Zone. I loved how Star Trek and The Twilight Zone would take things incredibly seriously – but that’s not to say there wasn’t humour of humanity built into those stories. The humanity was the thing that made those shows resonate and matter. Overall, I feel that watching larger than life, extreme and often preposterous situations told with the same commitment, as a true –to – life drama, was always my favourite kind of storytelling. Science fiction and thriller genres, when done well, seem to do that consistently.
Star Trek fans eagerly await the time that JJ Abrams really begins to produce (and maybe direct) Star Trek XI, but it appears for now that Trek has to get in line behind all of Abrams TV projects. Abrams currently has 3 hour long shows running on ABC: ‘Lost’, ‘What About Brian’ and ‘Six Degrees’. As the headline in CTNow states: 3 shows keeps Abrams sprinting. It appears that the latter two shows are currently his focus. Abrams recently had to cancel plans to direct an episode of Lost so he can work on his other shows, telling TV critics in a conference call last week: "I’m depressed because I was supposed to leave today to direct an episode with a mind blowing story, but because of these other shows Iwas unable to do that." And it isn’t just Abrams. Bryan Burk and Damon Lindelof are also slated as Trek XI producers, but both of their ‘day jobs’ are on Abrams TV shows. Lindelof keeps quite busy as a showrunner for ‘Lost’ (along with Carlton Cuse) . Bryan Burk, like Abrams, is an exec producer on all three shows (Lost, Brian and Six Degrees).
download wmv …once again, thanks to our favorite loyal reader in Chicago UPDATE: Screenshots and Audio from I’Mudd Remastered