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
Fans of JJ Abrams’ ‘Alias’ will recognise Kevin Weisman who played the resident geek; in a way he was the ‘Scotty’ of the hip spy show. In a new Moviehole interview with the actor the subject of Abrams new Trek movie came up and Weisman made it clear he was interested in a role… J.J [Abrams] is doing Star Trek now.Yeah. I don’t know if I look like a young ‘any of those guys’ so I’m screwed. I can’t be a young Mr.Spock… Greg Grunberg’s already got his hand up for that, hasn’t he?I’m sure he has [Laughs]. If there’s a job that J.J’s doing, Greg’salways knockin’ on the door. Yeah look, I would love to work with J.Jagain – on anything – he’s a great guy, great director…. I’m sure we will, when something comes along. There’s gotta be a Young Scotty in there…Yeah, I gotta work on my accent. I’ve gotta start renting the old ones, researching them thoroughly, and then I’ll be calling J.J constantly and leaving messages. I’ll stop, when he gives me a role.
Its been a slow couple of days around TrekMovie HQ…here a few things to tide you over 5 years after DC comics (through WildStorm) dropped its license, Star Trek is headed back to comics (not counting the recent ‘manga’). According to Newsorama, IDW (who do comics for CSI, 24 and other franchises) are picking up the Trek Comic baton. Their first foray will be for the 20th anniversary of TNG next year (has it been that long?). IDW also hint at a Trek XI adaptation. Anything has to be better than Marvel’s Trek/X-Men crossovers. Unlike some of his TNG colleagues, Star Trek Enterprise’s Conner Trinneer seems to be open minded towards Abrams Trek XI. The actor tells SFX Magazine (via Scifi Pulse) "I certainly hope JJ Abrams is doing it (Trek XI) I think that would be fantastic. And I’m sure Star Trek is going to continue in some form, at some point down the line." Trineer also says he prefers to get paid but is open to being in a fan film…they can certainly use the help.
In the November Starlog Magazine William Shatner says that is willing to play Kirk again ‘if the opportunity were right’. Since Shatner recently played Kirk to hawk DirecTV one would imagine that ‘opportunity’ = large sums of cash. The last thing we heard from Shatner was his rapid backpedalling on stating he and Trek XI produder JJ Abrams were meeting. That was when Shatner issued his odd "there’s gas and in this case, the gas is coming from JJ Abrams" comment. In Starlog the Shat has only praise for Abrams: I think he’s the right guy…He’s the perfect person: He’s an aficionado and a brilliant storyteller and film-maker. If anyone can find the essence of ‘Star Trek’ and bring it up to date, he’s the man
As per ususal here are some comparison shots and an assortment of extra shots for The City on the Edge of Forever and one little video clip of the new pan upwards. Click the "more" link to see ’em all!
Article Updated: The Christies Trek auction is over and according to their release it brought in $7,107,040 (more than double their expectations). The highest priced item was the model for the ST:TNG Enterprise D for $576k, a new world record for Trek memorabilia. Other items that far exceeded expectations were McCoy’s TOS spacesuit for $144k and Picard’s flute from ‘Inner Light’ for $48k. Christies touts it as a truly ‘global event’ with bidders coming in from all over the world, however all but two of the top 10 items went to Americans. could have been yours for half a $mil
Kirk and Spock go back in time to save McCoy. Video preview / Local Station & Showtimes / More at Memory Alpha This episode was written by Harlan Ellison and is often considered one of the best of the series. However there doesn’t seem much for CBS to play with for new CGI effects. We do know that there will be a new Guardian Planet, other possible things that might get a CGI upgrade the Guardian of Forever (the glow talk effect and/or the images seen in it) Guadian planet ‘set’ Spock’s tricorder display an enhanced Joan Collins? TrekMovie will have screenshots up tonight, and a review by tomorrow. so what did you think of City on The Edge Of Forever Remastered?
In the last week a new DirecTV commercial has shown up that features William Shatner playing a movie era Captain Kirk. The commercial is part of DirectTV’s new ‘fourth wall’ campaign were they show scenes from popular films re-edited to have some of the actors talk to camera about the clairty of DirectTV. Previuos commercials featured Vern Troyer from ‘Austin Powers’ and Ben Stein in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’. The new Trek commercial uses footage from Star Trek VI. Walter Koenig and Leonard Nimoy are also featured, but it appears their footage is taken from the original film. And here it is… download wmv
The auctioning of Trek’s history has begun and boy did Christies underestimate their prices. Not a single item has gone for anything close to their original estimates. For example: two empty Chateau Picard wine bottles (from Nemesis) were estimated to go for $700, in the end they went for $5500…for two empty wine bottles!. Christies and CBS Paramount had made around $250,000 off just the first 50 lots (out of 1000) which was at least double what they were estimating.Other highlights from the first 50 lots (note auction started with TNG films) Enterprise E Captains Chair: $52,000 (est. $9k)Enterprise E Blueprints: $2,400 (est. $600)Picards Sextent: $5,500 (est. $300)Ent-E Dedication Plate: $7,000 (est. $600)Ent-E Engineering Table: $13,000 (est. $1200)Borg Alcove: $8,000 (est. $700)Borg Mannequin: $12,000 (est. $800) Watch the auction live at History.com Click ‘more’ to see end of day update
TrekMovie visits with Of Gods and MenThe crew for the independent Trek web mini-series ‘Of Gods and Men’ (henceforth referred to as OGaM) did some location shooting in L.A. last weekend and TrekMovie.com was there. The first thing you notice when pulling up to the location is that this does not look like the proverbial ‘bunch of fans in a barn’ scenario. The scene looked like a typical L.A. filming location complete with honey wagons, equipment trucks, trailers, P.A.’s running around screaming into their headsets and extras milling about. What was different about this is that most of the extras had pointy ears. OGaM has turned a little corner of the San Fernando Valley into the planet Vulcan.