Articles by Anthony Pascale


Trek Stars Perform Mock Trek XI Casting Call

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.


Siddig, Sulu, Singer, and Spaceballs In A Slow News Day Smackdown

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.


HDNet Not Interested in Trek Remastered, Is Interested in Trek Movies

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.


Media Already Playing The Trek XI Recasting Game…TrekMovie.com joins in

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



Spiner Aproves Of Abrams and Trek Remastered

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.


Remastered Devil in The Dark Airs Today…See the Preview

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.


Dochterman Fires Proximity Phasers

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)


Is the MI Franchise Still Alive?…Now with Pitt!? [Update: Para says not happening]

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?



Abrams O Rama

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.


Avast There Be Space Pirates

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! 


Reviews Of Trek Remastered Mixed

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


Trek Remastered A Hit In Chicago, A Miss In NYC

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.


Ron Moore: Star Trek Changed My Life

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.


Today is Remastered Balance Of Terror Day (and Miri too)

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)


Damon: Not Been Approached For New Kirk…But Is That Significant?

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.


Shatner Continues To Backpedal On Abrams Remarks

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.


Nimoy Up for Spock Again, Down on Trek Remastered, Barrett OK With Both

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.”


Some Mixed Messages From William Shatner On His Site

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:


Daren Dochterman Talks ‘ST:TMP Directors Edition’ And His ‘Trek Remastered’ Pitch

When word of Star Trek Remastered hit the web last week, very often discussion mented the name Daren Dochterman. It was a reasonable to speculate that Dochterman was inovled in the new project since he was the digital effects supervisor for ‘Director’s Edition’ of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and had recently launced  TrekEnhanced a site dedicated to the notion of adding CGI effects to the original series. The speculation of his involvement was so rampant that after the official announcement from CBS, Dochterman issued an official statement to tell fans that although he had pitched, he wasn’t involved. TrekMovie.com decided to give Daren a ring and talk to him about his history with Trek and the new Trek Remastered project.


Is Rick Berman Holding Up New Trek?

Recently some video popped up of Garrett Wang (VOY: Ens. Kim)talking at a con about the future of Trek and long-time Trek producer Rick Berman‘s place within it. Wang said of Berman "his contract is almost up and Paramount is waiting for that contract to end before they proceed with the next Star Trek television creation, because they don’t want him there anymore". Marina Sirtis (TNG: Cmdr. Troi) is also on the video and appears to be agreeing with Wang’s assessment. This meme is something that has been seen around fandom and is something that TrekMovie.com has heard from a few Trek insiders, but more as a ‘rumor’.  When TrekMovie.com contacted a studio source who is working on Trek XI about this, the source said it is not true and and made it very clear that Rick Berman does not (and will not ever) have anything to do with Star Trek XI. TrekMovie.com has also confirmed with CBS that Rick Berman has nothing to do with Star Trek Remastered. It is true however that Rick Berman’s contract ends later this year.


SacTown Con Report: Nimoy To Play Sarek?

TrekBBS friend Sean brings TrekMovie this new con report:  Nimoy and Shatner Look Back, Express Hope for the Future Two legends, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner, shared the stage on Sunday to celebrate Star Trek’s 40th Anniversary at Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention in Sacramento, California. As usual, they didn’t disappoint the sold out audience gathered to hear them share their memories of the franchise. Nimoy appeared first, looking fit and happy. He shared with the audience that he had “been contacted” by JJ Abrams, director of Star Trek XI. He did not go into anymore detail, except to express positive impressions of Abrams and hope for the film. One audience member asked him if the movie was supposed to be about a young Spock, would Nimoy consider an offer to play Sarek? After a brief pause, Nimoy said “Someone get Abrams on the phone right away!” Nimoy went on to say in all seriousness, that he was retired from the movie business, preferring to focus on his photography and spending time with his family. When it came time for Shatner’s appearance, he began with the statement that, although there was no Star Trek right now, “Something is in the wind. Something exciting.” He was referring obviously to the new movie, and also had praise for Abrams. “He seems to be a bright and talented young man.” Shatner said he did not know whether or not he would be asked to appear in the film, but did not rule out an appearance.


Trailers for Trek Remastered Hit the Web and the Airwaves

In their recent press call, CBS said they would give Star Trek Remastered a promotional push. Well that push has started. At a number of  Con this weekend (more on that soon), CBS showed a new trailer that they have also put up on YouTube. UPDATE: TrekMovie.com now has a higher res version available as a download   …and stations across the country are also starting to show promos…here are a couple from WWME (Chicago)



More ‘Just For Fun’ Images From EdenFX

As mentioned in a previous article, the Emmy Award winning team at EdenFX love Star Trek. Although CBS decided to go in-house for Star Trek Remastered, the team are still inspired to play with their Enterprise models. Eden sent over some of their ‘fun shots’ as a 40th birthday present for their fellow Trekkies…try not to drool. NOTE: These are shots being done independently of CBS and Star Trek Remastered. (click on the pics to see them full sized)   


Star Trek: 40 Years Young

There are many things being said today about the history of Trek…I won’t bore you with another, just a quick personal reflection I have had a lifelong affinity and connection to Star Trek, we both arrived in the world in 1966, and since I can remember I have loved Trek. I know for many that Trek was an inspiration to become an engineer or even an astronaut, and others learned valuable life lessons from it’s vision of the future. For me, however, it has always been an escape, in a way the United Federation of Planets was a home away from home. Whether it was watching an old episode or film, reading a book, or playing a game, I always had a place to go for a couple hours and leave the world behind. In recent years it looked like there might not be any new additions to my ‘other home’; Trek was disappearing from gaming, comics, the big screen and the small screen. I must admit that I feared for Trek’s future, but just recently it has shown new life and proved that it still endures. I look forward to visiting my ‘other home’ in Star Trek Online and Star Trek Legacy, watching the remastered Original Series, and reading the new  books and comics. And in 2 years a fellow 1966 child JJ Abrams will bring me and you Star Trek XI, and Trek will be back in a big way. And that is what this site is all about: the future of Star Trek; it is merely 40 years young. – Anthony Pascale, editor Trek Movie Report Star Trek at 40 Celebrations at:TV.com, StarTrek.com, Ex Astris Scientia, Soul of Star Trek,  SyFy Portal, TV Land, the BBC, TV Squad, Wired and more 


Shatner And Nimoy Clown Around on CNN

CNN have put up an article including 3 video clips of an interview with Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner. It appears the interview was done a few weeks ago at the time of the TV Land Launch. One of the questions was about younger audiences accepting the original effects, to which Shatner said that ST audiences “ignore the primitive effects” and Nimoy quipped “the audience is in it for the stories and we had good stories.” Ironically, just yesterday the President of CBS Paramount Television said that it was ‘imperative’ to update the ‘primitive effects’ for the younger audiences. For the most part it seemed hard for the interviewer to get a straight answer out of the pair, but the subject of Star Trek XI did come up. When asked if Paramount should just ‘declare victory’ and stop making new Star Trek, the actors mocked the question saying sarcastically “so you want Paramount to say we’ve made enough money?”. On the notion of Paramount recasting their characters, Nimoy said “I think they should” and again Shatner responded with a joke saying “I on the other hand, resent it totally.” When asked specifically about Star Trek XI producer JJ Abrams, Nimoy commented “he is very talented,” going on to say “We will help anyway we can.” Shatner added “as long as they can meet Leonard’s price.” Again it is worth noting that Shatner and Nimoy continue to talk up Trek XI and take it as a given that their original characters will be recast. They also had some good anecdotes about the animated series and even John Wayne. Check out CNN for the article, partial transcript and links to video. .


Trouble Ahead for JJ Abrams Paramount Benefactor?

It seems that there may be a rocky road ahead for Brad Grey, the man who brought JJ Abrams into the Paramount family and agreed to hand him the keys to Star Trek. If you haven’t heard already, Viacom Chairman and part-time Cryptkeeper Sumner Redstone fired Grey’s boss, Viacom CEO Tom Freston yesterday. It was Freston who had brought Grey on board a year ago and the word on Wall Street is that the axe may continue to fall…possibly into Grey’s neck. This has not been a good year for Paramount Pictures and Viacom stock has been falling (it fell 5% yesterday alone). It appears the split up of Viacom hasn’t worked out the way Redstone had planned, and he is pinning the blame on Freston. And it appears he isn’t too happy with Grey, recently Redstone cut Grey’s negotiations with Tom Cruise off and kicked Cruise and producing partner Paula Wagner off the lot. Cruise and Waner were the ones who brought Abrams to Grey’s attention after hiring him for MI3. The question for TrekMovie.com is, what is the shake-up at Viacom and Paramount do to the Star Trek XI project. Sources inside Paramount tell us that technically the project is not officially ‘greenlit’ and does not yet have a budget. This is not unusual because the script is still being worked on, but so far work just falls under Abrams overall 5 year deal and not part of a full-blown Trek XI development project. The project is still at a stage where it wouldn’t cost the studio a lot to put it on hold or kill it outright.