StarTrek.com has just posted a con report from the recent PlanetXPo in Seattle which describes a Trek XI themed ‘radio play’ performed by a number of Trek Luminaries. The play was titled ‘My Kingdom for a Kirk’ and mimicked a theoretical casting call for a new captain Kirk. Star Trek Enterprise’s John Billingsley played the part of Trek XI producer JJ Abrams, assisted by his secretary "Miss Rand" played by Grace Lee Witney. Auditioning for the role of Kirk was none other than George Takei, Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig…all playing themselves. Takei self deferentially told ‘Abrams’ that he should actually do a movie about ‘The Adventures of Captain Sulu on the Excelsior’, then acquiesed to doing his best attempt at a Kirk (in full Shatner mockery). Nichols tried to convince Abrams that he should have a woman play Kirk and Koenig tried to convince him he wanted a Russian Captain Kirkov. The original series stars were followed up by Tim Russ and Gary Graham vying for the part of the new Spock. Alan Ruck, J.G. Hertzler and Garrett Wang also show up with the play ending with ‘Abrams’ deciding he is willing to pay Matt Damon anything he wants.
TrekToday interviewed Star Trek DS9 star Alexander Siddig and it appears that he has put Trek behind him. Siddig talked about his successful post Trek career and only said "next question" when asked if he would be interested in getting a call from Trek XI’s JJ Abrams. He also said that he doesn’t think his Syriana co-star Matt Damon would want to even be in Trek XI, telling TrekToday "Damon would be a great Trek captain, but I’d be a little surprised if he has agreed to do it, frankly." Check out the full interview for more. We still dont know if a new Sulu will be in StarTrek XI, but it seems the old Sulu is getting one more shot. Star Trek’s George Takei will reprise his role as Sulu for the popular online fan film "NewVoyages" which is shooting a new episode this week. With his usual humility Takei tells AP "My coming back is crucial to the existence of the Enterprise…It’s classic drama, and it’s rip-snorting good." More coverage on the TrekFan Film phenom at Forbes.
A week ago HDNet began showing Star Trek: Enterprise in HD. This makes it the sole source for any Star Trek TV in HD, as the new Trek Remastered is not being broadcast in HD (story). Since they currently have a monopoly on Trek in HD, TrekMovie.com contacted HDNet to see what is next and owner Mark Cuban himself answered our questions about the future of Trek on HDNet. Cuban tells TrekMovie.com that HDNet has spoken to CBS Paramount about the new Star Trek Remastered in HD but they are not interested in the show presently. Cuban did say he was open to HD version of other Trek series (like TNG) in HD if they become available, telling TrekMovie.com "It depends on the response to this series. If we find a lot of people are subscribing to HDNet to see Enterprise, we will of course look for more." But for the 10 Trek feature films in HD, Cuban is ready to go, telling TrekMovie "we are in discussions about them." Cuban and HDNet did not give any further details on when we might see the feature films in HD and our sources within Paramount and CBS are still trying to figure out where in the vast former Viacom empire deals with HDNet are struck.
As a kid, Devil in the Dark was always one of my favorite episodes because it’s just about the closest thing Star Trek has ever done to a bona fide monster movie. It’s also one of the cheesier episodes in terms of paper mache rocks and tunnels, melodramatic performances and a monster that looks like an unholy union between a shag carpet and a giant pan pizza. It’s essentially a bottle show and most of it takes place down on the planet, but there are a few unique opportunities for updated visual effects.
Star Trek XI is still months away from getting a finished script and budget, but the recasting buzz is already building. Many Trekkies are still debating if recasting is the right way to go, but the mainstream media is way past that. Even though it is too early for Abrams to start approaching actors, Matt Damon just saying he hasn’t been approached yet resulted in hundreds of articles around the web and in print. It may not have been Abrams intention, but the buzz about ‘who will be the new Kirk/Spock/etc’ is guaranteed to generate tons of free publicity for Star Trek XI. It is still unclear how many original characters will be in the new movie, but each one will create its own mini buzz. And the media aren’t waiting to see who Abrams picks, they are already choosing their favorites (usually going for the whole crew). Here are some recent examples of some journalists’ recasting advice for JJ Abrams
A week ago we reported how WWME is really running with Trek Remastered, here is a new promo featuring Chicago fans version of the Star Trek opening monolog and theme: Are we seeing a resurgence of original series nostalgia…JJ Abrams is certainly banking on that.
Sociologist John Tenuto shares some preliminary findings from his study of scifi fandom… The concept of the Star Trek fan is a myth.Those attending Star Trek conventions see a variety of people that questions the simplistic view that all Trekkers are the same. Star Trek fans are multifarious in political views, occupation, demographics, and shape. Yet, the myth persists that all Star Trek fans are similar. Similarly geeky. Similarly minded. Similarly shaped. Similarly bereft of social relationships. This is not true. Never has been. Probably never will be.
Here we go folks some comparison screenshots, some new ones for eye candy and quick video clips of the new effects. Click the "more" link to see ’em all!
Recently we reported that Brent Spiner (TNG’s Data) was resigned to Star Trek Nemesis being the end of the line for the Next Generation crew. But it appears he is not bitter (unlike a certain former Counselor) and is upbeat on Star Trek XI’s Producer JJ Abrams. Spiner tells Starburst Magazine: I think he’s a fine choice, why not? Lost is a really interesting show. Alias was fun. I haven’t seen Mission Impossible III. But who would be better? Spiner also scoffs at ‘purist fan’ reaction to CBS adding CGI effects, telling Starburst "I don’t think that remastering the Star Trek series to look better is really tampering with it.” In other Trek Remastered news, the Jules Verne Adventure Expo will be showing the remastered versions of ‘The Naked Time’ and ‘City on the Edge of Forever’ on October 15th in Los Angeles. That will be the first public showing for the remastered ‘City’, which is considered by many to be the best episode of the series and TrekMovie.com will be there.
Week 2 of Trek Remastered gives us Devil in the Dark. Don’t expect much in terms of new space effects with Kirk and a few red shirts hunting Horta. That being said this week will mark a Trek Remastered first with some redone (and possibly animated) versions of the old matte paintings. Check our listings for your station and showime (if your local time is not there then send us a tip to add it). Promos are already airing, here is one from Chicago (thanks to a loyal reader) TrekMovie.com will have screenshots and a review up this weekend, and if you see any promos for Trek Remastered let us know. but you don’t need to wait for that to tell us what you think of Devil in the Dark Remastered.
Since the first airing of Trek Remastered many have raised the question of CBS possibly being ‘too faithful’ to the original effect shots. ST:TMP Director’s Edition Visual Effects Supervisor Daren Dochterman, who reviewed Balance of Terror Remastered for TrekMovie.com, takes a different view on ‘faithfulness’. Dochterman blogs today: I don’t think it’s a bad idea to be slavishly copying the original 60s visual effects. I just think it should be done more accurately. To demonstrate this he has created what he considers a more accurate but still faithful version of the proximity phaser shot. click to launch QT video of Dochterman’s Proximity Phaser Shot (see below for CBS’s version and the original version)
Not only is JJ Abrams prepping a new Star Trek film, but he has three series on broadcast television; Lost, What About Brian and now Six Degrees which launched last night. Both Abrams and fellow Trek producer Bryan Burk are credited as executive producers of Six Degrees with former Voyager writer/producer Ken Biller in as show runner. Having secured the plush post Grey’s Anatomy slot, the show failed to deliver on high expectations. According to fast national ratings, the premiere of Six Degrees was in third place for its timeslot, delivering with 13.34 million views. It lost a good chunk of the 25 million viewers who watched Grey’s Anatomy the previous hour.
I first started working on 3D models of the USS Enterprise in the early 90s when I was studying computer-aided design. I got hooked on the idea of updating those beloved but antiquated special effects using modern computer technology and I have continued to pursue it on my own ever since. Given my interest in updating the look of the show, you might think that I would be ecstatic at this development and I am for the most part, but I still haven’t decided exactly what to think about certain aspects of it. Somewhat to my own surprise, I have come to realize that my own unofficial tinkering and that of other much more accomplished 3D artists like Darren Dochterman is an altogether different thing than an official production by CBS. Theirs is the definitive version, after all, and will be remembered as such for good or ill. From what I’ve seen so far, the transfer to HD was a definite improvement even when viewed as an SD broadcast, but I daresay the replacement of the original effects shots is going to generate far more controversy, not only among purists but also among those who might have wished for something even more radical.
After Tom Cruise was booted off the lot by Sumner Redstone last month it seemed the Mission Impossible franchise was no longer on Paramount’s front burner. MI:III director JJ Abrams was signed this summer to a long term deal with Paramount, but his first film was to be Star Trek XI. Then there were a few rumblings from the Paramount and Cruise/Warner camps that maybe a Cruise MI4 was possible. Now the new hot rumor burning up Hollywood is that Paramount want the series to continue, but now with Brad Pitt. The original report in This Is London states that Pitt would play a new character and Cruise’s Ethan Hunt will be ‘retired’. The report throws around some gigantic numbers related to the project, that would make Pitt the highest paid star in history. Paramont has recently signed a deal with Pitt’s production company Plan B, and he is certainly a bankable name. If the report is true (something others have not been able to confirm) and Paramount want to keep the MI:III cash register ringing, the obvious question for us is: what about Abrams?
Editor’s Note: this article is the first of a series that will explore the works of the creative team behind Star Trek XI. Warning containts some spoilers What can Abrams ‘Alias’ teach us about Trek XI cheap soft tab viagra Alias. It is a familiar name to those who follow the exploits of J.J. Abrams and his coterie of Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Damon Lindelof, and Bryan Burk (all of whom are producers and/or writers for Star Trek XI). It is also familiar to those of us who once watched the weekly ratings for Star Trek: Enterprise only to find that Bristow, Bristow, and Vaughn had once again fairly trounced Archer, Trip, and T’Pol in the only battle that mattered to the networks. With the announcment of Abrams’ involvement in the future of Trek, I got some DVD’s and started watching. I have now finished the first two seasons and part of the third in this five-season spy show.
Star Trek XI is certainly not the only iron in the fire for producer JJ Abrams, here are some of the latest news items for our new dear leader… ABC is launching its 4th Abrams produced show ‘Six Degress’ this Thursday. Vareity says of the show’s Pilot: "cleverly written giving the characters a heady, just-specific-enough mix of mystery, intrigue and charm — the key in each of producer J.J. Abrams’ hits." ‘Six Degrees’ will be one of three Abrams series on ABC this fall, joining ‘Lost’ and ‘What About Brian’. Abrams has recently cut a multimillion dollar deal with Warner Bros. to develop even more TV shows…spreading yourself a bit thin there JJ…don’t forget about Kirk and Spock! Trek XI’s only semi-certain castmember Greg Grunberg told the NY Daily News that lifepartner Abrams is a big fan of his new show on NBC, ‘Heroes’. They quote Grunberg as saying "I talk to him (Abrams) every single day…and he said to me, ‘I’m telling you, "Heroes" is going to be a huge hit.’" As they point out, it is a good thing Abrams new show isn’t going up against his pal Grunbergs show.
Ahoy mateys, today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. If there is one thing that that Star Trek’s Orions, Ferengi, and Nausicaans has taught is…pirates are eternal. (note this may be in dispute according to the Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster) Even in the utopian Federation there are bound to be a still a few malcontents, and Mal Reynolds and Han Solo show us that everyone loves a bad boy. I for one would like to see a certain Harcourt Fenton Mudd appear in Star Trek XI. Ye hears that Abrams ye scaleywag!
Today TrekMovie.com ran our first review of Trek Remastered from Daren Dochterman and it was decidedly mixed, summing the first episode up as a missed opportunity. More reviews are coming in and it appears Daren is not alone. On one hand, the transfers of the original episodes look absolutely gorgeous. The vibrant color, the fine detail, the light texture of the print grain… it’s just exceptional. The new HD transfers offer really a great looking image. On the other hand, the new CG effects aren’t nearly what I’d hoped they’d be. – Bill Hunt, Digital Bits A few of the FX seemed appropriately organic, while others screamed out tacky CGI that didn’t integrate with either the feel of the show, or other newly rendered effects…. all in all, a mixed bag thus far. – Merrick of Aint It Cool News
Because Trek Remastered is syndicated the airtimes are based on the local broadcaster, with the show often being aired in the wee hours of the morning. Some stations are taking a different tack and Chicago’s WWME is a perfect example. Up until recently Star Trek Enterprise showed at 11 am on WCIU in Chicago, the nation’s third largest media market. When Star Trek Remastered was announced Weigel Broadcasting, who had the conract for Enteprise, took it as an opportunity. They decided to move the show to 6pm Saturdays and put it on WWME (also known as ‘MeTV‘) with a rerun on the following Sunday night at 11 pm. "It is a much better time and a pefect fit for MeTV," says Sean Long Program Director for Weigel. MeTV almost exclusively shows reruns of classic TV shows and starting next week Trek will be preceeded by the classic scifi show Lost in Space. "We are really excited about the the show and especially the new effects," said Long. They were so excited about new Trek they issued a press release and have been heavily promoting the show (see previous story). "We expect better ratings for the show in its new slot," said Long. WWME are already happy with the results telling TrekMovie.com that their overnight ratings showing a 550% improvement for the timeslot (previously airing back to back episodes of Batman). "Enterprise never really found its audience, but the classic show is for everybody," said Long. WWME plan on continuing to promote the show and said they would even be interested in showing Trek in its uncut form if CBS made that available.
In today’s New York Times, Battlestar Galactica co-creator and longtime Trek writer/producer Ron Moore offers his thoughts on Star Trek’s 40th Anniversary. In his editorial Moore details now Trek ‘literally changed’ his life. Moore elaborates on how the actions of Kirk and his crew served as a reference for him as a young man. “Star Trek” painted a noble, heroic vision of the future, and that vision became my lodestar.
I’m torn. Torn between my reaction to the IDEA of this project and the final realization of it. Also, I’m torn between knowing the dedication and talent that the people responsible for this obviously have, and my ho-hum reaction to the final product. Bottom line… Star Trek Remastered is ok. But it is mostly a wasted opportunity. Why just ok? I don’t know… honestly. After one episode, all I can think is that I hope it gets better… because right now, it isn’t justifying its existence. Obviously, the new HD transfer is lovely… I just wish it were being broadcast that way. The original film elements look excellent. The effects seem flat. I guess having those transfers paid for is reason enough to do this project, since theoretically all the new transfers will be made available in the future in their original form. But frankly, the new additions aren’t up to snuff just yet.
On Thursday, William Shatner breezed into Richmond BC for an event so far off the radar it didn’t appear on his website’s official schedule. Shatner was in BC to host the first ever Canadian Awards for the Electronic Arts and Animation. Prior to the show there was a "Champagne Reception" and it was here that Shatner fielded all manner of Trek related questions. The press gaggle was on him like an EF Hutton commercial peppering with questions, however Shatner did try to stay on message about Canadian animation. As a result, many of his replies to Trek questions were brief and often showed his trademark sarcastic wit. On how he he celebrated the 40th anniversary of Trek Shatner quipped, that he and "George Takei spent some time alone together but I’d rather not go into details."When asked by one reporter about his years as Capt. Kirk, he said: "I’m all done talking about that stuff." He did say that he thought that the role of Captain Kirk should be played by somebody very handsome, "just like in the original series," being careful not to endorse Matt Damon when the interviewer mentioned his name. When asked about JJ Abrams, he quipped in reply, "JJ Abrams? Who’s he?..is he an actor" — still apparently stinging from the"odourous gas" comments earlier in the week and trying to dodge any further controversy. When asked if he was involved in the production of Star Trek XI he replied "I haven’t been asked for input on the new movie".
Here are some screenshots from my local digital TV carrier of Trek Enhanced. Remember that these aren’t HD resolution, as CBS Paramount isn’t sending HD feeds yet. Some screenshots from the DVD of Balance of Terror are provided for for comparison. Notice in the live action shots that there is better contrast and more detail in the faces, even in the standard definition version, you can certainly tell that it comes from a remastered high definition source. Click "More" to see them all!
Don’t forget boys and girls…today is the day (for many of you) to see the first episode of the remastered Star Trek The Original Series: ‘Balance of Terror’. Our stations & showtimes list has been updated again. Showtimes vary from this morning to Monday morning, and if you dont find your showtime…check local listings and then let us know! Some stations will also air ‘Miri’ at a special time this weekend, but if your local does not it will repeate it repeats later in the year. You can check the full list of episdoes air dates here. TrekMovie.com will have reviews of both ‘Balance of Terror’ and ‘Miri’ hopefully by Monday. StarTrek.com has put up a brief promo vid for Balance of Terror (click to launch player) What did you think of Trek Remastered?if you have seen Balance or Miri, feel free to share your thoughts with fellow TrekMovie readers (just make a comment to this article)
IESB is reporting that Matt Damon ‘was quick to say he hadn’t heard anything about it’ in reference to him playing Kirk in JJ Abrams Star Trek XI. Damon’s publicist also told IESB "We’ve never heard anything on our end. I even called Endeavor, Matt’s agency, to see if they had heard anything – they hadn’t. There has been nothing from Paramount and I haven’t heard anything from JJ’s camp." The Damon as Kirk rumor was started months ago by Mark Malkin of the Insider and grew to monumental proportions when (briefly) IMDB listed Damon as being confirmed for the film (story). When TrekMovie.com asked Malkin about this he was quick to point out that he never claimed that Abrams and Damon were talking; only that Abrams was interested. And these latest comments from Damons publicist are essentially the same ones she gave the Wall Street Journal a month ago. TrekMovie.com did talk to a source inside Paramount about this who noted that that no one has been appraoched becuase (as we have reported here in the past) there is no script, no budget and no greenlight yet. So essentially no one can be approached for Star Trek XI formally.
Today the folks at williamshatner.com sent out an email special announcement: "SPECIAL NEWS EDITION: William Shatner on the Star Trek Movie." William Shatner has released a statement on the new Star Trek MovieBill has posted a short comment on the Star Trek movie on his website that we feel is important enough to send out an additional bulletin this week…. What was the big deal? It turns out it is just the rather oddly worded ‘gas’ comment from his forums which was reported here yesterday. For some reason Shatner and/or his people feel this is so important that every knows his vews on ‘the gas coming from Abrams.’ It does seem a bit strange after weeks of Shatner talking up JJ Abrams every time he was interviewed or appeared at a convention that he feels this comment must get out to everyone.
The Akron Beacon Journal spoke to Leonard Nimoy yesterday mostly about is photography, but he dropped a couple of Trek bombshells on the way. On whether or not (if asked) he would reprise his role as Spock in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek XI he said he would be willing "if I thought they had a project of merit". One would also imagine that (as Nimoy and Shatner have recenlty joked about) Abrams would also have to ‘meet his price’. But the Beacon reports he wasn’t so optimistic on Trek Remastered: …he also worried about a newly enhanced version of the original series…Nimoy, who has not seen the new version, said at first that he thought the changes were simply sprucing up the colors and clarity of the show, and that was fine. Told the new version also had computer-updated images of the starships and other new details, he said, “Shame on them.”
In recent weeks William Shatner has been quite chatty about Star Trek XI and producer JJ Abrams. 10 days ago in Toronto he said he thought Abrams would revive the franchise and spoke about how Abrams wanted to talk to both he and Leonard Nimoy. Then last weekend in Chicago he told a convention audience he had indeed spoken to Abrams last Friday and was planning on meeting him this week. He repeated hints that he may be involved in Star Trek XI to another audience in Sacramento on Sunday. Just this Tuesday he posted the following on the front page of his offical website On Star Trek’s 40th: Forty years of age, as far as I’m concerned, is still a child. STAR TREK is in its infancy-wait until We Really Get Going.- My Best, Bill ‘we really get going’…is Shatner including himself in that future? But early this morning in his chat forums there is the following reply to queries about Abrams:
CBS have released their full list of 39 episodes for season 1 of Trek Remastered. The list has been been integrated into the TOS Remastered Episode Guide on this site. You will note an empty space next to each episode for ‘review’, starting next week there will be a full review by an industry expert only here on TrekMovie.com. Before year’s end we will see remastered versions of many fan favorites like ‘The City on the Edge of Forever’, ‘The Corbomite Maneuver’, ‘Space Seed’, ‘Trouble With Tribbles’, ‘Mirror Mirror’ and the 2 parter ‘The Menagerie’ In addition CBS have updated their Stations list , unfortunately the CBS list does not have showtimes. The TrekMovie.com stations & showtimes list is now half complete. If you don’t see a showtime for your station then please do us (and your fellow citizens) a favor and look it up and send it in…we really appreciate all the help of those who have provided showtimes in their cities.