CH-CH-CH-CHANGES – By Bill Allen

Sometimes it seems like Star Trek just isn’t as good as it used to be…

Where did CBS/Paramount go wrong? When did they start missing the mark, and seemed to forget what Star Trek was really about?  I think it happened when they brought in a director who was never a fan of the show, who slapped on all sorts of redesigns to all the visual effects, uniforms, changed Star Trek from a show about exploration and made a movie focusing on action and combat, just ignoring canon to tell the story he wanted to tell, slapping in some garbled pseudo-science what was completely unrealistic…

I am, of course, talking about Nicholas Meyer and that abominable film called “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. “

…wait,

You mean that wasn’t when Trek was ruined forever? Then it must have been that guy who came in and completely changed everything, undid the relationships that made Star Trek so great to rewrite the very personalities of the characters, completely changing the looks of the uniforms to a drab, almost monochromatic kind of spread (all those grey uniforms…what were they thinking?)  altering even the classic, iconic design of the ship itself to make it more contemporary and using the latest in special effects instead of the same old 1960s stuff that worked so well, and even completely altering the look of Klingons, and just recycled an old Trek story because they didn’t have an original idea….you know, “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”…

OK, then it must have been when they changed Kirk from being a great leader to making him just an overhyped criminal, constantly breaking the rules and violating the laws, coupled with all this phony ‘science;’ that would have fit better in a fantasy movie and has no place in the kind of realistic science that trek is known for… “The Search For Spock”.

OK, I get it….those are movies, obviously, a film will take a radical departure from what a television series did. Comparing the television series to films is comparing apples to a fruit orchard. It is the SERIES that matter. And I remember the complaints the fans had for the various iterations of Trek.

So, clearly, it was “Star Trek: The Next Generation” that screwed it up. Shatner et al were still alive, dammit! You didn’t need to create some whole new show with a bunch of random nobodies. And how stupid IS Paramount? You have a British guy playing a French Captain, they put a KLINGON on the bridge, they completely screwed up the uniforms—not only did they change the style, they fouled up the colour scheme…COMMAND is the Gold tunic, you morons!—and the uniforms were SO screwed up they had to change them AGAIN, because of the cheap looking production values. They couldn’t even put it on a network….they went straight to Syndication. And whose idea was it to have a BLIND guy flying the ship? IDIOTS!

…OK, OK… a couple of seasons in and we were wrong. TNG is a worthy successor. Star Trek lives on…for now.

Here’s DS9…a show designed to kill the franchise. In order to make Star Trek different, they get rid of the ship altogether. How can you have a show about space exploration if they don’t go anywhere? It’s stupid. And the station looks NOTHING like the space stations we have seen up to now. Did you see those hideous monstrosities they use for shuttlecraft? Oh, excuse me, I mean ‘runabouts’….sure, call a shuttle on steroids designed by a crack head by a different name, that makes it ok…NOT! And there is a Trill on the crew…only; it looks NOTHING like the Trill we already saw on TNG. These writers don’t give a damn about canon, they are just slapping the Star Trek name on some crappy show about a space station…basically, it is a generic rip off of Babylon 5 disguised as Star Trek in a shameless money grab.

And now there’s a WAR? THIS IS NOT STAR TREK! Star Trek is about Peaceful exploration, not war and NOT about life on a stationary outpost. This will kill Star Trek. 

Oh, wait, let’s do a new Star Trek show, even though the one we have right now is Excellent. Stupid to run another one…why not just bring back TNG if you want two shows? What the hell is this? ‘Voyager’? The Probe from TMP was called Voyager, that’s a stupid name for a manned vessel. If you are going to have a ship, why not make it the ENTERPRISE?  Oh, look, a Vulcan officer….just ripping off TOS and trying to sell it. And half the crew is made of space pirates…what decent captain would let such scum on their ship? That Captain Janeway…. what a lame choice for a captain. She isn’t tough enough to be a captain, not like Kirk, or Picard, or Sisko after he shaved his head and took the job SERIOUSLY.

Wait, that’s how it ends? What about all the loose threads? Why can’t we see what happens next, after they get home? They were one of the best crew, made it through so much…bring back, Voyager!

OK< this show Enterprise….what a disgrace. No wonder the UPN network tanked, those guys have no clue what fans want! The first ship to be called Enterprise was the Constitution class….and if this is supposed to be a prequel at the beginning of the Federation, that should be a Daedalus class ship, not that abomination that is a rip off of the Akira and has NO PLACE in Trek’s history. These writers obviously don’t know anything about Star Trek, and don’t give a damn about canon…just throwing in crap we already know, or adding adventures that were never mentioned in other series…how could a crew have all these discoveries and it never ONCE gets mentioned by Kirk or Picard? This show will kill Star Trek.

You know, I wish they would bring back ‘Enterprise’…

…yeah, I remember those comments. Fans REALLY dislike change, and they are sure to let you know it. And now, here we have a new Star Trek series. One that is building on what has come before, but still giving us new and interesting stories and ideas. A diverse cast talent from across the spectrum, updated F/X and stories that fit the spirit of Trek, while still having appeal to a more contemporary crowd.

Despite all the changes and new shows that come out over the decades, it seems there is one thing about Star Trek that doesn’t change: the fans.

Maybe it was time they DID change.


  • Blog Author: Bill Allen
  • Blog Layout: James Hams

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But Is It Really Star Trek? A Fans View On The New Discovery Trailer – By Deeesher

I’ve been a Star Trek fan for most of my life. Although, when I was very young, my first experiences of TOS were from behind the safety of a throw pillow. Hey, when you’re like seven years old, that Salt Creature will give you some serious nightmares!

Throughout the years, I’ve had many love/hate feelings about each incarnation of the show in varying degrees. I’m not such a die-hard fan that I’m madly in love with anything that says Star Trek, but it definitely has a warm, fuzzy, Tribble-like place in my heart, and I always hope for the best.

It’s been quite some time since Star Trek has been on television, and now finally, this September 2017, CBS is reviving the series, calling it Star Trek Discovery.

If you haven’t seen it, here is the latest trailer.



Looking at it objectively, this looks great!

But is it really Star Trek?

Part of me feels like CBS is setting this series up to fail. If you will indulge me a moment, let’s think about this… logically.

They are alienating (pun intended) most of their fan base with so many drastic changes.

Before you freak out and say too many fans are living in the past, think about this…
Star Wars was made in 1976 and released in 1977. But throughout the years, the look has been consistent. Why? Because that’s what fans want! Imagine the uproar if someone decided to change how a Wookiee looks. Or what if someone suddenly said Stormtroopers look dated, let’s give them scales! We can even go beyond “Star things”, and talk about comic book fans and their collective gasps if suddenly Batman’s cape was made of feathers!

So is it unrealistic for fans to have a preconceived notion of how Star Trek should look? Discovery is being set in a time ten years before Kirk became Captain of the Enterprise, and every fan of the series can tell you exactly how the universe looks at that time, and how the Federation of Planets was operating. I completely understand the need to update and make some tweaks with today’s CGI, but you still have to stay true to the source material. Star Wars seamlessly combined Rogue One’s ending with A New Hope, forty years apart. Why can’t we make a similar connection with Star Trek?

Someone made a comment that we just want to re-watch TOS over and over. As much as I do enjoy watching those episodes, we want something new in a universe that has so much potential! But we want the same heart and soul that Gene Roddenberry created many years ago. There’s a reason Star Trek is so well loved. The chemistry of the characters, unique concepts, and a heavy amount of imaginative and thought to provoke stories gave it that longevity.

I’m always looking for good writing, but I’m worried that CBS is too concerned with action and trying to keep up with all the Hollywood big explosions/lens flares to know how to give us anything well written. Even the Discovery trailer seems to ride on the coattails of The Force Awakens trailer with the simple piano intro. If you understand anything about great science fiction stories there are millions of decent ones in the world without depending on the pew-pew factor, that are still be powerful and intense.

And yes, phasers go “SKRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR”, not “Pew Pew”.

Now let’s talk about “All Access”.

It seems they are over estimating the eagerness of the fans if they aren’t going to make a show for fans. At $5.99/month with commercials ($9.99/month without), how long can they maintain viewership? They already have a limited amount of people subscribing, so maybe they will have a slight bump when the series begins. But many fans have already seen enough to know, they won’t be spending the money. Discovery seems to have a fairly large budget, so it could be a losing proposition over time.

Maybe they could save money by cutting back on the lens flares?

And finally, I refuse to acknowledge those idiots that have posted about how upset they are with women being in command of a starship. They need to leave their bigotry in their cab because there’s no room for it on the bridge.

So that’s my two cents worth, and of course, realistically I could be wrong. This could be the one series that new and old fans alike can rally together and keep on the air for ten seasons. I guess we’ll all find out in a few months.


  • Blog Author: Deeesher
  • Blog Layout: James Hams
  • Trailer: Netflix

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Spocks Siblings – The Sons And Daughters Of Sarek – By Jason Kovalik

This past weekend was San Diego Comic-Con, and for the uninitiated, it’s sort of like the nerd version of the draft.  While actors and talent aren’t chosen based on a lottery, like a draft, the event gives insight to the upcoming “season” of entertainment. This past weekend, we saw much of what we could expect for the next year or so of genre based entertainment.

CBS gives us a great look, this year at Comic-Con, into upcoming series Star Trek: Discovery. Fans were treated to a gallery of props, costumes, and concept art, as well as a new two-and-a-half-minute trailer, and a panel discussion.

During this panel discussion, it was said that the series main character, Michael Burnham (played by The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin Green) grew up under the same roof that another famous Star Trek character grew up under.  While during the Panel it was made clear that Sarek, took her in after her parent’s death, Comicbook.com ran a story that she was Spock’s Half Sister, the human daughter of Spock’s mum Amanda, and other outlets ran with the story as presented by Comicbook.com

As you could imagine, nerd rage hit the internet, as people were levelling the serious charge of “Canon Violation”. How could Spock have a half-sister he never mentioned?  Later in the day, from the Trek Writers room twitter account, it was clarified, that she was Spock’s adopted Sister, not his half-sister.

But still, the question remained, how could Spock grow up with an adoptive sister without us knowing about it. As we dig into the question, let’s just see how the timeline of events adds up. What we know about Discovery is that it is set roughly 10 years before TOS. This would set the series in the middle of the 2250’s. This would be close to 25 years after Spock’s birth in January of 2230 (Star Trek Beyond). When Discovery takes place, Spock is on the Enterprise serving under Captain Pike, as a Lt. and Cmdr Burnham is the first officer of the USS Discovery. Prior to her time on the Discovery, Cmdr. Burnham served with Captain Georgiou for 7 years, which means that she potentially left Vulcan to serve in Starfleet when Spock was 18. This would make her somewhat of an older sister to Spock. (I admit much of this is conjecture based on the limited information that has been released so come September 24th, some of this may be different)

So, how could Spock potentially have an older sister, and us, the fans not know about it??

“UHURA: She’s lovely, Mister Spock. Who is she?
SPOCK: She is T’Pring. My wife”

And with that, we are introduced to Spock’s betrothed. This is from the second season episode of The Original Series titled Amok Time. In this episode, Spock gets his Vulcan 7-year itch and has to go home to have it scratched, or face death. Upon returning to Vulcan, and confronted with T’Pring, Spock tells his friends and shipmates that he is married. This is episode 34 of the series, and the beginning of the second year in their 5-year mission. But even then, Spock remained secretive about his relationship with T’Pring, not announcing to the larger audience on the bridge that she was more or less his fiancéé.

SPOCK: The marriage party approaches. I hear them.
KIRK: Marriage party? You said T’Pring was your wife.
SPOCK: By our parents’ arrangement. A ceremony while we were but seven years of age. Less than a marriage but more than a betrothal. One touches the other in order to feel each other’s thoughts. In this way, our minds were locked together so that at the proper time, we would both be drawn to Koon-ut-kal-if-fee.

So this is one of our first glimpses into the private life of Cmdr Spock, and we see that he isn’t very forthcoming about his personal and family life. He is so private that he sought to avoid telling even his captain and friend about his health condition and pending nuptials when asking for leave. Based on this, I don’t think it’s a difficult conclusion to jump to, to think that Spock is fiercely private about his personal life.

But could it be that Spock’s privacy in this situation more tied to potential embarrassment surrounding his libido, and not necessarily tied to privacy around his family? Is there other evidence that suggests that Spock is a private person when it comes to his family? 

KIRK: Captain James Kirk.
SAREK: Captain.
KIRK: My First Officer, Commander Spock.
SPOCK: Vulcan honours us with your presence. We come to serve.
SAREK: Your service honours us, Captain.
KIRK: Thank you. Chief Medical Officer Doctor McCoy.
MCCOY: Ambassador.
SAREK: Doctor. My aides and she who is my wife.
(He holds out his right hand with two fingers extended, and a human woman steps forward to touch them.)
AMANDA: Captain Kirk.
KIRK: Our pleasure, madam. As soon as you’re settled I’ll arrange a tour of the ship. Mister Spock will conduct you.
SAREK: I’d prefer another guide, Captain.
KIRK: As you wish, Ambassador. Mister Spock, we’ll leave orbit in two hours. Would you care to beam down and visit your parents?
SPOCK: Captain, Ambassador Sarek and his wife are my parents.

So, this is another season 2 episode, Journey to Babel. In this episode, the Enterprise is playing Galactic Uber for dignitaries to a conference. One of the dignitaries the Enterprise is expected to ferry is the Vulcan Ambassador to the Federation, a man by the name of Sarek, and his human wife Amanda. We find out through a little bit of family awkwardness, that Amanda and Sarek are in fact Spock’s parents, and the audience is also made aware that Captain Kirk didn’t know this. 

There is a saying, once is a fluke, and twice is a trend. So, there is now a trend showing Spock’s propensity towards being private when it comes to his family/personal life. But there is still one larger instance of Spock keeping to himself when it comes to matters of family.



KIRK: Dammit. God dammit, Spock!
SPOCK: Captain, what I have done…
KIRK: What you have done is betray every man on this ship.
SPOCK: Worse. I have betrayed you. I do not expect you to forgive me.
KIRK: Forgive you? I ought to knock you on your goddamn ass!
SPOCK: If you think that will help.
McCOY: You want me to hold him, Jim?
KIRK: You stay out of this! …Why, Spock? Why? All you had to do was pull the trigger.
SPOCK: If I had pulled the trigger, Sybok would be dead.
KIRK: I ordered you to defend your ship.
SPOCK: You ordered me to kill my brother.
KIRK: The man may be a fellow Vulcan, but that doesn’t…
SPOCK: You do not understand me, Captain. Sybok, also, is a son of Sarek.
KIRK: He’s your brother brother? You made that up.
SPOCK: I did not.
KIRK: You did too. Sybok couldn’t possibly be your brother because I happen to know for a fact that you don’t have a brother.
SPOCK: Technically, you are correct. I do not have a brother.
KIRK: You see?
SPOCK: I have a half-brother.
KIRK: I’ve got to sit down.
McCOY: Let me get this straight. You and Sybok have the same father but different mothers.
SPOCK: Exactly. That is correct. Sybok’s mother was a Vulcan princess. After her death, Sybok and I were raised as brothers.
KIRK: Why didn’t you tell us this before?
SPOCK: I was not prepared to discuss matters of a personal nature. For that I am sorry.
KIRK: That makes everything all right? I’m sorry…
McCOY: Stop it, Jim. Spock could no more kill his own brother than he could kill you. If you want to punish him for what he’s done, why don’t you throw him in the brig?
KIRK: Right.
McCOY: Besides we’ve got bigger problems to deal with. Like how the hell do we get out of here? …I’ll say one thing, Spock, you never cease to amaze me.
SPOCK: Nor I myself.

In Star Trek V The Final Frontier the primary Antagonist is a free love hippie Vulcan by the name of Sybok. Sybok saunters into galactic affairs on the Planet Nimbus III (a planet governed by Federation, Klingon, and Romulan representatives). It is here Sybok captures the government of this planet and forces Kirk and Company to come out of shore leave to rescue the hostages.  It turns out, that the hostages have a case of Cultish Stockholm syndrome and turn on their rescuers. Sybok and his cult, force Kirk and company to take them up to the Enterprise on their shuttle craft. After they land/crash Spock gets a drop on Sybok but is unable to kill him and keep the later from seizing control of the Enterprise. Kirk, Spock and McCoy are led to the brig where the above exchange happens.

So, here is the third time where the crew of the Enterprise is meeting a member of Spock’s family, and they aren’t told until it’s almost too late.  In this case, it’s AFTER his half-brother has seized control of the ship, and has put his friend’s lives in jeopardy.

When I look at these three situations, it’s clear that Spock is private about his family almost to a fault. The first time, it almost cost him his life, and the third time it almost cost the lives of his friends and crew mates.

So it makes sense that if Spock had a foster/adopted sister that he wouldn’t have necessarily talked about her. Especially considering that she went to the Vulcan Science Academy, and Spock didn’t. It has been stated that it was Spock choosing Starfleet Academy over the Vulcan Science Academy that was central in the rift with his father. Obviously, Spock’s estrangement from his father is a topic he isn’t fond of, and if his Father was closer to his adopted human daughter while rejecting Spock for his own human heritage, it presents a certain logic in the Sarek/Spock relationship dynamic that hasn’t been explained before.

Further, it seems to actually give motivation to Spock’s mentorship of both Saavik, and Valeris. He saw his father mentor a young woman, perhaps it was his way of trying to understand who his father was?

With all that said about Spock, there is another elephant in the room, when it comes to Star Trek, particularly the TOS characters. The narrative laid out in the body of canon, surrounding the family of the central characters isn’t what we would call reliable. In two instances, the audience was made aware that these characters had children when they were never previously mentioned on Screen.

In The Wrath of Khan, we are introduced to David Marcus, who after trying to stab Kirk, we find out, is actually Kirk’s son.  Kirk’s progeny was never mentioned before this, and since neither Spock nor Bones seem surprised by the development, it would seem that they knew he had a Child, but the audience didn’t.

In Star Trek Generations, we are introduced to Demora Sulu, who is the daughter of Enterprise Helmsman Hikaru Sulu. Based on the dialogue, we know that Kirk and company knew that Sulu had a child, but it was never referenced on screen. According to Memory Alpha Demora was born in 2271, which was around the time of the V-Ger incident. But again, she was never mentioned onscreen in any of the films prior to that moment.

While in later iterations of Star Trek we see the crew open up more about their family, it isn’t something that is talked much about during TOS and the TOS films. It stands to reason that between Spock’s privacy around his family life, and in general, The Original Series crew outings, not being big on talking about family personal life, that Spock could have easily had an adopted sister, that those of us in the Audience wouldn’t know about.

Of course, none of this suggests that this new Spock sibling isn’t a contrivance or that the relationship needed to happen to tell this story, that remains to be seen. This was clearly an artistic choice by the writers and the team behind Discovery. Whether or not this adds or subtracts from the previous narrative, we won’t know that until the series premieres on CBS on September 24th in the USA/Canada and worldwide on Netflix on September 25th.


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Discovery Vs The Orville – By Bill Allen

Good evening sports fans, and get ready for an exciting challenge…the ultimate sci-fi showdown: the Boldly Going Bruiser vs the Wisecracking Wanderer; the Parody vs the Legacy, the Battle Beyond the Stars…wait, that’s the wrong franchise…

A lot of folks are making comparisons between the two big sci-fi entries premiering this fall: Star Trek Discovery (CBS) and The Orville (FOX). So, let’s take a moment and run the stats on these two.

The Orville looks amazing. Spectacular. And any other adjective used to title a Spiderman comic book. This is from Seth McFarlane, a guy who got his Start writing for such iconic cartoon network shows such as Dexter’s Lab and Johnny Bravo, probably most well-known for his phenomenal talent across all aspects of production on the long-running Fox cartoon Family Guy.  He also made a helluva western comedy (A Million Ways to Die in the West) and somehow managed to make Mark Wahlberg funny TWICE (the Ted movies). He’s also a born geek, as evidenced by the Star Wars parodies he cranked out for the Family Guy specials, and the fact that he actually Starred in a couple of episodes of Star Trek’s Enterprise. In short, he knows comedy, he knows sci-fi, and so his comedy sci-fi show is going to be a most excellent adventure. (Wait, that’s the wrong franchise too…)

And in the other corner, wearing the blue uniforms…Star Trek Discovery. Bryan Fuller, Nicholas Meyer, Alex Kurtzman, Rod Roddenberry (I heard he is some distant relative of some guy involved with creating the original Star Trek….) a creative team pulling from just about every iteration of Star Trek there has been, coupled with a cast of top notch talent that includes Doug Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Jason Isaacs, Sonequa Martin-Green….this is the show that carries on the Legacy that is Star Trek, boldly going where no one has gone before in the final frontier, pushing our knowledge of what’s out there to new limits in order to better understand and examine what is going on right here….it has a shot…it could be somebody… it could be a contender (OK, now that isn’t even the right genre…)

so folks are saying this is the ultimate ‘vs. showdown….but you shouldn’t listen to those folks, because they are just sulking for various reasons, and most of the reactions are just a mindless knee-jerk response because they aren’t paying attention.

See, Orville really isn’t a Star Trek Parody.
Orville is also not “Galaxy Quest: the series”. (Galaxy Quest WAS a Star Trek parody, but its parody status was a secondary thing: primarily it was about dragging actors kicking and screaming through the fourth wall…it is a “Three Amigos”, a “Tropic Thunder”, a “My Name is Bruce”….even, dare I say it, a “Last Action Hero”.)

Orville is a SCI FI COMEDY. Yes, it is going to poke fun at the tropes and clichés that riddle science fiction in all its various forms over the years, and since Star Trek had plenty of those clichés in its beginning–and Star Trek introduced a lot of new and unique content that became so iconic, they became a standard trope and cliché of the genre—then obviously the science fiction elements from Star Trek can be found here. But it isn’t making fun of them, it’s using them as the material to tell a great joke…or a whole series of jokes…jokes that need to be made, that fit the genre.

Orville is ‘M*A*S*H* in Space’. (Or maybe a TV version of “Schlock Mercenary”, possibly one of the best sci-fi webcomics out there right now…)

But there are people out there who HATE Discovery. They haven’t seen it yet, but they hate it, so they make these vapid comments like ‘this is the Star Trek fans want, not Discovery,’ and various comparisons are already being drawn up. The Orville is not trying to challenge Star Trek or compete with it, but Star Trek fans love a good war….they need conflict and destruction and discord. So, without wanting to square off, these two contenders are locked in a cage match.

Who will win in the fight the fans want? Who will be destroyed? Some will be offended by The Orville, because Star Trek is, as the kids say these days, ‘srs bsns.’ There aren’t supposed to be jokes in Star Trek; it is meant to be dry, intellectual fare meant only for the most elite of the upper crust, not intended to be common entertainment and to make a mockery of Star Trek is just wrong.  Others are offended by Discovery and want to see it torn down because of various superficial reasons regarding looks and visual effects and all sorts of shallow reasons that have nothing to do with substance.

IF the decision were up to the fans, both shows are doomed. Orville is going to have the quick-witted, dry sarcasm that McFarlane is famous for, but isn’t going to be as crude as his other comedies… in space, no one can hear you fart. (still, in the wrong genre, I know, but still…)

it highlights the smartest parts of McFarlane’s humorous style, and it is likely to go over many people’s heads (as evidenced by how many folks have already misidentified the comedy style at work.) it’s also going to have a lot of fans watching it not because they enjoy it, but because they really hate CBS’s product.  So there’s a pretty good chance it will miss the mark…or rather, it will hit the mark squarely while everyone is looking the wrong direction.

Discovery has to overcome the ire of the fans as well. Far too many people are determined to tear it down, to say it ‘isn’t real Star Trek’ or that it is the ‘wrong’ kind of story…and those folks will do their best to dominate the internet and give this show as many bad reviews as they can before it even comes out.

Aside from just the fan base, these shows have to overcome the Networks. Orville is on FOX, and just ask Firefly or Almost Human how THAT usually works out…the production value for Orville is top-notch—which also means ‘really expensive’—so it may not be profitable enough to get a second season. And there is also a chance it gets canned to make room for Fox’s new show ‘who wants to be a reality show host?’

Discovery is blazing a new trail for Star Trek, as they try to shake things up and make this the first Star Trek series to go directly to streaming. (If you’ll recall, when TNG tried to go direct to syndication, many thought it was a gamble that would seal the death of Star Trek…will the gamble pay off this time? Enterprise was meant to be a prequel, but it ran into some troubles and fizzled out. Discovery now tries to do the same thing…has it learned from the mistakes of ENT, or it is doomed to the same fate?

Sometime last year, Suits from CBS said that various international distribution deals and pre-sales had made sure that DSC was already profitable, and not a frame had been shot. Will the subscriptions for CBS All Access that this show brings in be enough to sweeten the deal and make a second season look good, or will the numbers fall short of established streaming services like Netflix’s original programs, and DSC will be written off as a failure that profited, but not quite enough?

So, here is what I think will happen: Orville will be a phenomenal comedy, and get only one season because what Fox does to their shows makes what George RR Martin does to his characters look nice.
Discovery will get its second season, but the second story arc will push things too far and go in some screwy direction, and the Star Trek fans will see to it the series fails.

That’s how it could happen. But How about this?

Orville and Discovery aren’t really competing against each other, but they instead end up complimenting each other.  The world right now is an angry and fight kind of place. So much divisive rhetoric, so much arguing and doom and gloom and irrational hate….the world NEEDS the lessons of Star Trek. But the hate is so bad, the ‘us vs them mentality’ so thick right now, that folks can’t learn those lessons until they lighten up. Enter the Orville:  Seth McFarlane will teach us how to laugh again, giving us three solid seasons. Eventually, Fox decides to wrap up the animation domination of Sundays and do something new…Orville gets moved to Sunday for a new sci-fi lineup which will include the return of Firefly.

Meanwhile, Discovery Season one ends up getting rave reviews because the knee-jerk fan reactions lowered expectations, and the finished product ends up vastly exceeding expectations, and a few folks Star saying silly things like ‘this is the best Trek ever’. Now that we can laugh again, thanks to Orville, we’ll see more of ourselves in the crew of Discovery, and see how we can make ourselves better than we are, in the finest tradition of Star Trek.   It wraps up the funky Klingon storyline in season one (They are some kind of ancient Klingon cult…that’s the rumour we are going with, right?) and season two decides to do some time travel, give the fans some of that post-25th-century action they were wanting. Season two declines because time travel fanservice tends to go badly, but the season finale is a two-parter that brings back Enterprise and has the crew of Discovery undo THAT god-awful finale, saving Tripp Tucker from an ignoble and abrupt death. Fans are thrilled by this, and overlook how bad other time travel elements in season two were, and look forward to season three, which goes for a deep-range exploration of the Beta Quadrant.  CBS All Access bumps up the Trek content on their site, adding a ‘captain pike animated series that is (loosely) tied to Discovery, and possibly another animated series; The Adventures of Marauder Moe. ‘Gary Seven’, a contemporary action/thriller show, debuts on the network, revamped to deal with modern day characters that are going to pave the way to the future: Lt Green of the US army, hunting down ‘alien threats’, and a mysterious corporation working on the future of genetic engineering.  Discovery ends up running for a total of five seasons, then a year later gets a brief six-hour miniseries follow-up that concludes with the Battle of Rigel VII, and an appearance by Captain Pike.

These shows don’t need to survive each other, but they do need to survive in a harsh and ever-changing landscape. I’d love to see them both make it…and I really hope Star Trek fans go back to classic Vs fights (let’s all make fun of the Han Solo movie!) and quit picking new fights.


  • Blog Author: Bill Allen
  • Blog Layout: James Hams

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Star Trek: Discovery, boldly go where no Star Trek series has gone before – By Raymond James H Dale.

Ever since Star Trek first aired on television sets back in 1966 with the Original Series, we have been exposed to diversity. Lieutenant Nyota Uhura portrayed by Nichelle Nichols was a large progressive step for man and a giant leap for humankind. A woman on the bridge of a fictional starship was already progress, but Uhura was more than that. She was a symbol of African-American representation on television in a non-domestic role. She was not the ship’s maid. She was not shown cooking for the crew. Instead, she was shown similar to and about arguably as equal to the men aboard the starship Enterprise. Lieutenant Uhura accompanied Captain Kirk on others on landing party missions from time to time. She was also shown as a capable technician making repairs to ship’s systems and was once even mentioned having command of the Bridge while Kirk and others were busy elsewhere. Likewise, the Original Series had diversity in Hikaru Sulu and Pavel Chekov. Gene Roddenberry set the stepping stones for representation of minorities at a time when it was risky business to do so. (Read about the first TV Interacial Kiss)

News broke surrounding the upcoming Star Trek series Star Trek: Discovery that it would boldly go where no Star Trek series has gone before…at least not fully. The news of a confirmed homosexual character being part of the franchise (excluding that of the Kelvin universe Hikaru Sulu) is fairly groundbreaking for the franchise. At this point, I think it is pretty safe to say that gay, straight, bisexual, male, female, or whatever, we are all on the edge of our seat waiting for Star Trek: Discovery to actually come to fruition. With behind the scene changes happening and premiere dates being pushed back, we have been left waiting to meet the new crew and see the new starship in action.

When it comes to the Trek fandom and examining the fraction who are also part of the LGBTQ community, the news of an established homosexual character is both anticipated and welcomed yet also disconcerting and potentially problematic. This is not unexplored territory for the Science Fiction genre, but it is still vastly unexplored territory to one of the most beloved franchises in the genre. The truth is this is probably a Kobayashi Maru for the writers and their pens could very well feel like wielding double edged swords. You cannot please everyone and you definitely are not going to be able to please all LGBTQ-identifying (or allies) fans of Star Trek when it comes to the introduction and potential development of Lieutenant Stamets portrayed by Anthony Rapp.

At this point, we do not know how the crew involved with the new series will handle their identified gay character of Stamets. However, with openly gay former showrunner Bryan Fuller taking a bit of a step-down, it has made some wonder if the character will be in good hands. From what we do know about the character, Rapp’s character will be a science officer with a speciality in astromycology (the study of fungi in space). So, it does not appear that he’s going to be a Department Head and probably won’t be a member of the senior staff. We can only imagine his character will come in handy studying fungi on alien planets or growing samples and various culture aboard the starship. There’s no telling how prominent the character will or will not be. Clearly, from characters like Kes and Neelix we have seen that you can be a civilian or hold a minor position aboard and still be pretty important.

Will he or will he not be open about his sexuality? How will his sexuality be handled? These are definitely questions that I and others have. Will the character have a boyfriend, husband, or a love interest at all? It is possible to have an openly gay character and handle it simply by showing the character off duty in the mess having a meal with a member of the same sex and imply that it’s a date. You could show him holding hands with a member of the same sex. For some fans, this will be enough to make us as LGBTQ fans looking for representation quite happy. Of course, there are others who may want the character to lock lips on screen with a member of the same sex or be the Kirk, Riker, or Tom Paris of the show by romantically or sexually pursuing shipmates or aliens on the various planets we see. However, if they take the character down the sexually liberal or promiscuous route, they risk alienating a good portion of fans and taking the character down a dangerously stereotypical route.

When we examine what we already know or can deduce, we are already seeing some potentially questionable decisions. The character will be a science officer. These are usually highly intelligent individuals that tend to avoid conflict and combat. Be it Spock, Jadzia Dax, or T’Pol they had their moments where they were not to be toiled with, but often offered the more analytic or philosophical support. A bolder approach may have been to put the first openly gay character in a Star Trek series in a more combat position such as Security or Tactical as was the case in the Star Trek: Titan series novels with the character Ranul Keru, an unjoined male Trill who served as Chief of Security (though the character’s past explains he transitioned from being a science officer). The casting of Anthony Rapp is also questionable in a way. It’s no secret that Rapp is a well-known stage and film actor/singer who starred in Rent both the Broadway production and film. He’s also a self-identified ‘queer’ individual. Of course, there is a decent argument to make that who better to properly portray a gay character than an actor who has been in love and in relationships with someone of the same sex. However, this particular casting could unintentionally hinder the progress some in the targeted community (LGBTQ) are looking for. All in all, it is too early to really judge without seeing Star Trek: Discovery in action. We can only hope for the best as we continue standing by.


  • Guest Author: Raymond James H Dale.
  • Blog Layout: James Hams
  • Images: Google Images.

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So, let’s talk about Discovery – By Bill Allen

“A minority female lead is a groundbreaking—“
no, plenty of folks are going to cover that.

“The F/X are CLEARY, not pre-TOS Prime—“
Yeah, let’s skip that can of worms.

“The Klingons are—“
I have absolutely no idea, heard thirty theories, will hear thirty more. (Looks cool, though.)

“It’s on a Streaming service instead of—“
no, I will not argue about this…and no, I will not get off your lawn, grandpa.

“the ship looks like—“
that was done, redone, overdone, then done again during the first teaser.

So, a thousand blogs, ten thousand opinions, a hundred thousand fan theories (some of which are good, and some of which…well, folks, please have your homes tested for lead paint.) What can I say about the new Series? There are a lot of folks who are much smarter than me and very clever analysing all the little details…and there are folks who are not as smart as me but much louder making assertions and assumptions based on no evidence, or two seconds of footage, or tinfoil hats.  How can we write about Star Trek Discovery when we haven’t seen it yet? We can talk about what we know about it: it is Star Trek.  But what does that mean?


The crew of TNG

Let’s go for a little trip down memory lane.

I never Discovered Star Trek. the birth of Star Trek came about a decade before I showed up on the scene. So, unlike a lot of fans, I don’t have a ‘moment’…Star Trek was something my family liked, so it was always on in reruns as I grew up. So, I don’t have a cool story about my first experience with Star Trek. (It wasn’t even the first non-cartoon movie I saw in cinemas…I ended up seeing “Ghostbusters”, and then “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, and then saw “Search for Spock”.) But there were plenty of firsts.

I remember being 15 minutes late for the Premiere of TNG. I was at my grandmother’s in Texas, and it was Sunday afternoon that it was slated to air (the wonders of a show jumping directly into syndication…) I had gone to church (because that is what you do when you stay at Mamaw’s) and hung around a bit to play with kids my age, let Mamaw kibbitz with the preacher, that sort of thing, and then she said, “Well, let’s go home so you can watch that new Star Trek show you keep talking about.”

so, I missed the beginning. My first sighting of the New and ‘improved’ Enterprise, redesigned to be more futuristic and the like, was as it soared majestically in orbit over whatever alien planet they were visiting to see some station called ‘Farpoint’. I liked the lines of the hull and the glowing blue of the nacelles that swept so smoothly and majestically up from the hull…and found that the teeny tiny saucer on the Enterprise looked really out of proportion and stupid. “what have they done to my ship?!?” I cried, aghast…then the Enterprise flew off and reconnected with the saucer section, and suddenly, not only did the ship look MUCH better, it had a cool new feature with the detachable saucer. The lesson here: sometimes we can be hasty with our gut reactions. Not only did the first episode of TNG get better, but over the years, the series as a whole got better.

The crew of DS9 S7

I remember being less than thrilled about Deep Space Nine. This was the golden age of syndicated TV: right before all these new networks popped up and really defined themselves, you had outfits doing all sorts of great sci-fi/fantasy shows: Time Trax, Babylon 5, Kung-Fu the Legend Continues, Hercules….Star Trek deserved a spot in among all the PTEN fare. But…a Space Station instead of a Starship? But then I read the TV guide articles (Sure, the internet was around back then, but not exactly commonplace) and they talked about the mysterious wormhole to the other side of the galaxy, and how O’Brien would figure out a way to make the whole space station move….so I thought, ‘ok, they fall in the wormhole, and drift around from place to place in a mobile station, far from home, more resources than a Starship, but less mobile…put the crew to the test beyond the final frontier…’ of course, the actual show played out a bit different than the concept I had in my head, and while I thought *MY* idea was cooler…DS9 ended up doing great and gave us a fascinating Trek series. The Lesson Here: fans tell great stories….but those are not the ONLY story. Someone else—especially guys whose stories are good enough that they get PAID to tell them—are ALSO going to be good.

I remember Voyager. Back to a Starship now, but on the far side of the galaxy (I guess those network execs listened to my cool idea about how they should have done DS9…?) TNG really shook things up, gave us a DRASTIC shift away from TOS in look and feel…it was still Star Trek but was definitely a ‘strange new world’. DS9 gave us a different kind of story altogether, again going new, with new life and new civilisations…and it laid the groundwork for building that ephemeral thing called ‘canon’.

The crew of Voyager

Voyager gave us a universe. It took the aspects that created the ‘TNG era’, cemented ‘canon’, took a deeper look at the old standards and went a little more in depth, laying the foundations that changed Star Trek from being just a franchise and bumped it up into…a Legacy? I’m not sure, but whatever Trek had become, ‘franchise’ seemed an inadequate word. It gave us our favourites, it fleshed out details, and still managed to surprise us with new discoveries…even about some of those old favourites. The lesson here: Star Trek lives. It perseveres….it keeps on sailing along the horizon, and often the journey matters even more than the destination. 

I remember Enterprise. A reimagining (a ‘reboot’ before it was even a word) going back to the beginning, restarting everything, giving the tired old 1960s tech an upgrade and facelift, while still holding true to the core of Star Trek. It somehow managed to avoid most of the catastrophic clichés and hackneyed tropes that ruin prequels, staying fresh and imaginative, while simultaneously screwing the pooch with fan service and getting strung along some lousy storylines because that was what fans really wanted to see. The fan base lost interest, the show overran its costs, the franchise was fatigued….

The crew of Enterprise

for whatever reason, the show did not do well and was cut down before its time. When it had a bad episode, it was one of the WORST episodes of any Trek in the 50-year history of the universe…but when it had a good episode, it was some of the absolute BEST Star Trek EVER. The lesson here: don’t listen to fans. Star Trek is not what it is because the fans made something of it; the Fans are what they are because Star Trek made something of THEM.

I remember Kelvin.  Go back to the beginning (the REAL beginning, not some silly prequel story), give us Kirk, Spock and the OG Masters of Sci-Fi. But don’t give us papier Mache Monsters and reused Andy Griffith Sets. We live in a new era, where technology and cinematography allow us to push the envelope visually, create a look that still captured the spirit of Trek, but wrapped it in all the new advances that we had made to make it feel like the future again. (Because, let’s face it, here at the dawn of the 21st century, much of our tech has already greatly surpassed that which TOS envisioned for the future centuries hence…) the heart of Trek is still there, the soul of Trek shines through…Star Trek will not become dated or archaic.  The lesson here: the journey is just beginning.


I remember Discovery…

For all of you who are fans, take a minute and name the five best directors/writers/producers that worked on Trek. No matter who you are, somehow, by some miracle, at least one name from your list is part of the Dream team building the new Star Trek series. The cast is made of A-list actors and B-listers who damn well ought to be A-listers.  The ship…the ships, the aliens, the imagery….they pored over the archives, selected bits and pieces from the greats of Treks VFX history….pulling from TOS, TMP, the Maroon movie era, TNG era, etc etc etc. this is Star Trek, through and through.  The stories, the characters, the actors….all the instruments are in play, and the conductor is about to begin, and a new symphony will resonate through the internet and the rest of the galaxy.

We are going to see some old favourites reborn, revitalised, improved and explored in greater depth. We are going to see new and amazing things. We are going to wax philosophical about sociological and cultural issues through allegory both internal and external and ponder some of the ‘meaning of life stuff’ along the way. We are going to get some of the ‘the world can be a better place’ commentary on contemporary humanity as it contrasts with this vision of a better future. We are going to get some god awful episodes that will leave you wondering if the writers were drunk or if they just lost a bet (if I ever become a successful novelist, I am bound by such a drunken wager to write a story about a worm that poops platinum…I know how painful a bad bet can be) and we are going to get some episodes that will be so magnificently crafted that you say “This. THIS is what Star Trek is.”  We are going to get other things that I can’t even begin to think of….and when all is said and done, we are going to get at the very least two or three Years of Discovery….and we will get another 50 years of Star Trek. (and in five or ten years, I’ll write another blog about Discovery, and be able to fill in this ‘I remember Discovery’ section with all that we have learned, and loved, and hated, about Discovery…but I look forward to watching the show, and discovering whatever it has to offer.)

The lesson here?

who cares? Star Trek IS BACK! LET’S PARTY!!!!!!


  • Blog Author: Bill Allen.
  • Pics and Blog Layout: James Hams.
  • Pics: CBS / Google pictures.

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The Trekzone Interview – Part One – WHO! is Matthew Miller

Trekzone.org is Australia’s first Star Trek fan website launching in 2003 Trekzone, was a year 10 High School IT project for its host Matthew Miller, although it sat idle for a few years in 2012 Matthew finally decided to turn it up a notch and really get into producing content for his site.

In February 2012 Matthew launched a short-lived fan series called Eternal Night, but it was in Apr 2013 that things really took off for Trekzone when Matthew attended the red carpet event for Star Trek Into Darkness, where he managed to interview some of the main cast from the film. Since then Matthew has managed to interview some really big names not only from the Trek universe like Doug Drexler, Anthony Montgomery, Alice Krige, Rod Roddenberry and Walter Koenig. But Matthew did not just stop there and in the space of ten years, Matthew has managed to pull in some other big names from the Sci-Fi universe adding the likes of Richard Dean Anderson (SG1) & Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis) to his list.

However, Matthew and Trekzone have not stopped there, and in 2016 Matthew took to the road and produced a mini-series of blogs called Sci-Fi Weekly where he got the chance to meet some of the top scientists in Australia for example Dr Andy Thomas – Australia’s first astronaut, Dr. Anton Wallner, Dr. Geoff Campbell and Dr. Brad Tucker, although a short-lived mini blog series it was one that drew a lot of interest to his site and more recently Matthew was one of the main followers of the Axanar lawsuit producing content that covered, the particulars of the lawsuit and how it has changed the fan film world forever.



James) Hey Matt, tell us a bit more about you.

Matt) I’m a thirty-year-old broadcast engineer in the real world, which sees me working in television making sure people can keep watching our TV signal.  I like a good bottle of scotch, a decent TV show (Designated Survivor is a good one right now… I’ve only seen the pilot so far though.)  I dislike frauds and people who make huge claims but fail to deliver.

James) Other than Trek, what other TV shows do you like to watch?

Matt) Babylon 5, Stargate are a couple of other Sci-Fi shows I like, also enjoying Dick Wolf’s Chicago series of shows and a few others on TV right now.

James) Well, you should like Stargate lol you have interviewed a few of the main cast :p how awkward would that be if you interviewed someone you had no idea who they were,

As a keen Star Trek fan, do you play any Trek Games, and If not Trek Games then what ones?

Matt) I recently discovered Steam has the entire back catalogue of Age of Empires, man that was a cracking series for its time (and they released a remastered version of number 2!)  In the Trek universe, Armada II, Bridge Commander, Birth of the Federation were amongst my ‘lay by’ purchases when I was a junior… I remember waiting for hours for the install and crossing fingers hoping the graphics card was up to spec!

James) So know we know the basics of who you are and some of your likes, because I am nosey lol, what is your day job?

Matt) I work in TV here in Brisbane, they’re good to me and it’s fun to be behind the camera at work – which allows me to not be too burnt out while producing The Trekzone Spotlight (I do feel that they are different sides of the TV business so it’s good fun.)

James) Tell me a bit about your history with Star Trek what does Trek mean to you. What Trek Actors have you met in real life if any?

Matt) Thanks to The Trekzone Spotlight, I’ve met Nana Visitor, Connor Trinneer, Rene Auberjonois, Anthony Montgomery and a few others… also met a few of the guys and girls from Stargate (Richard Dean Anderson was a highlight, so awesome!)

James) I so need! To start doing Cons I think I need to get out more lol. With Trekzone do you go to many Star Trek Conventions?

Matt) One dedicated Trek con when I was 10… we had lunch with Tim Russ! Australia doesn’t get too many dedicated cons, the audience would be there for it though…

James) That is kind of like the UK We have Cons but I think the only Trek-centric one is Destination Europe, everything Trek-centric seems to be states side mostly.

So moving on out of 5 live action series, 1 animated one do you have a favourite Trek Episode and if so why this one?

Matt) That’d be a tossup between DS9 season 4’s The Visitor, TNG Season 6’s The Inner Light and VOY season 3/4’s Scorpion parts 1 & 2.  I love some good character focused eps (and Scorpion because the Borg get their ass kicked!) – OK, you only said episode… but can YOU just pick one from 728!? ;).

James) Erm, I guess not for me though I have my go to episodes which I guess they can be considered “favourites”. Out of all the features do you have a favourite Star Trek Film?

Matt) First Contact.

James) Hmmm That is a good choice but, I think a lot of people pick that one, it is one of my faves but my fave film I think and it is controversial lol is Nemesis, not for the story as such as let’s face it, it does lack in a lot of areas but it is just different enough yet similar to be a good trek film. Do you have a favourite Trek Actor/Actress?

Matt) Nana Visitor… she went on such a ride with her character that was so rigid in the beginning, striving for independence for herself and her people after the Occupation, but over seven years developed deep friendships with these aliens that came straight after the Cardassian’ and started running the space station… she even fell in love with the shapeshifter.

James) Worst Trek Episode Why?

Matt) VOY’s Threshold. Need I say more?

James) The Jane Paris BABIES! Lol. Favourite Series & Why?

Matt) Tossup between DS9, for its gritty take on Trek and Enterprise for its optimistic vision of our near future (despite an out of character third season.)

James) Worst Series & Why?

Matt) TOS, purely because I grew up on TNG and those 60’s elements are so 60’s. (It’s not bad, it’s just very different… or original.)

James) You know I am the same, everything seems to be TOS saturated, yes I get it, TOS is what launched 51 years of greatness but like you TNG was my baby but it’s not my fave : -O.

You recently covered a few fan films and you have interviews people like Vic from STC, Do you watch any Fan Films do you watch?

Matt) I’ve caught Hidden Frontier (that series got me excited for my fan series, and then I met Carlos who worked on it!) Continues, New Voyages. Most recently Chance Encounter – good flick.

James) I remember seeing Hidden Frontier YEARS! Ago then I drifted away from fan films it was not until Renegades did I come back and play catch up. Can you rank your top five (if you have them)?

Matt) Chance Encounter, Hidden Frontier, Continues, Intrepid, New Voyages (I haven’t seen much of James’ series.)

James) I have seen all of them you have listed and like you, I have not watched many NV episodes yet, TBH I think once I watched a lot of STC and a few stand alone ones I was TOS’ed out, BUT! I plan to go and watch some of them over the next few weeks as I want to see the ones with some of the TOS cast in.

What other Star Trek fan productions do you watch/listen to etc (Podcasts, YouTube shows etc)

Matt) I’m so short on spare time that I don’t catch very much else.

James) TBH, I am the same with having to “try” to cover as many fan productions as possible, I tend to skim through podcasts to bits that I am keen on hearing, I try to catch Sunday G&T as often as I can, I do watch yours when you interview someone I want to see and Trek Geeks I skim but Dan and Bill do it weekly so I always know I can go to their site and catch up.

As someone who has been involved in the fan community for a lengthy period now, what would you say is favourite parts of the Trek Fandom?

Matt) Meeting strangers with a shared passion the world over.

James) Worst Parts of the Trek Fandom (any bad experiences)?

Matt) Stubborn individuals that believe their way is the only way (to tell a story, to report on facts or even about other people.)

James) Man your diplomatic LOL, do you have any funny stories to tell

Matt) Not necessarily funny, but the spread of Trek fans always surprises me… there are Trekkies in the same suburb as me!

James) What makes you thankful to be a part of this amazing universe

Matt) Finding it tough to be thankful as this universe as thrown a few curve balls at me in the last six months, but I’m in a good place now and cracking on with the podcasts and staying busy for a while.



James) Moving on, we have covered your likes and dislikes in regards to the last 5 live action series, but now I want to tackle DISCOVERY.

I guess the first basic question is, are you looking forward to it?

Matt) Very much so, I’m hoping that The Trekzone Spotlight can help me delve deeper into it.

James) When you first saw the trailer for Discovery were you worried at all?

Matt) I was concerned that they’d be repeating the same ‘mistakes’ as Enterprise (doing a prequel because there is nothing left to explore post VOY)

James) See, I liked Ent a LOT so I get what you mean but I am keen on seeing another new prequel tbh lol. What do you think about the casting choices thus far?

Matt) Very good, it’s another group of relatively unknown / niche actors which are what TNG-era Trek has been about.

James) What are your hopes for Discovery?

Matt) That it survives the first season.

James) Well we know now, that they have ordered another 2 episodes and things do look real good for Season 2.

The departure of Brian Fuller has caused a lot of miss information being floated and a lot of “vocal” fans crying that it now means this series’ days are numbered, are you concerned at all?

Matt) I think Brian should’ve focused on one project at a time.  Does anyone know what J. Michael Straczynski is doing?

James) LOL I would prefer some of the old crew to replace him over J. Michael Straczynski tbh but each to their own 😛

What look do you hope they go for, we know its prime time line but do you hope it’s more prime than Kelvin or vice versa?

Matt) Has to prime timeline and character driven – we don’t need a million dollars of special effects to make good Trek.

James) I think with the latest trailer, it is going to upset a lot of people but! I am still excited. What do you hope they do not do with Discovery, as in PLEASE DO NOT GO THERE LOL?

Matt) Avoid the Arcanis sector at all costs.

James) LMFAO! You mean do not Axa it LOL!, another controversial point, that seems to have upset a few people is CBS’ decision to place it on CBS all Access in the states and Netflix worldwide  Do you think this move is a good or bad idea?

Matt) It is… interesting.  In one way it frees the series from the pressure of rating success, but on the other, there are more accurate viewership figures than broadcast TV’s Nielson boxes.

James) When I first heard of this choice I was not overly happy as tbh Netflix UK, not so good LOL but I think it is the way things are moving now, people in the UK at least tend to watch TV less and less and want to be able to watch things NOW!, I think this is the way things are heading tbh.

Do you think online streaming is the future of televised series and films, just as you use YouTube etc now, is TV on its way out?

Matt) That’s an interesting question, given I work in TV… I think free to air will stick around as long as it has things you can’t get elsewhere (in Australia before broadband internet our prime time was all the American shows, usually on a 6-9 month delay because our TV season is Feb-Nov, but now there is mostly reality TV or sport and news during the day because that’s not available anywhere else.)

That said, in the US it’s different because it is the world premiere of episodes each week… free to air and cable has its niche that way.  It is still the most popular medium to reach the masses.



That wraps up part one, in part two I talk to Matt about what his best and worst interviews were, his history in fan productions and what made him stand up and take a stand against that fan production that just doesn’t seem to go away. 

 


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Asexuality in Star Trek by Emma Filtness

Hello, my name is Emma and I am a member of Starfleet and the Tactical Officer on the USS Merlin (Region 20). I have identified as Grey-Asexual for roughly a year and as a keen sci-fi fan, I was curious to look into the spectrum of asexuality in the expanded universe. Today I am happy to produce my results.

What is Asexuality?

According to Urban Dictionary, the term asexual is described as “a person who is not interested in or does not desire sexual activity, either within or outside of a relationship. asexuality is not the same as celibacy, which is the willful decision to not act on sexual feelings. asexuals, while not physically sexual-type folks, are none the less quite capable of loving, affectionate, romantic ties to others.” As a spectrum, asexuality is, much like space, yet to be fully explored.

Asexuality in Star Trek

During my research, I was able to find a few different scenarios featuring blatant asexuality as a theme. Throughout these story arcs, there is a recurring driving force which is that sexuality is considered to be a building block of the human psyche. Any species, alien or otherwise, that are currently not sexually active wish to embrace sexuality in order to further discover what it is to become human. The species that I will be using as examples are The Vaalians from The Original Series episode The Apple, Jn’aii or more specifically Soren from the Next Generation episode The Outcast and Data also from Next Gen.

The Vaalians

The Vaalians are discovered by Kirk and the landing party after being attacked by the indigenous flora. The Vaalians do not procreate as it is forbidden and are replaced as needed by the Vaal, who is the driving force behind their community. According to a blog by Women at Warp, which also explores asexuality, “The episode links the Vaalians’ lack of sexuality to the other elements of their society that causes them to stagnate… When the people express concern about how they will survive [after Kirk & co destroy the Vaal who has been operating a sophisticated computer system which is damaging the Enterprise.] Kirk reassures them that they will now be able to lead ‘normal lives’… ‘You’ll learn something about men and women – the way they’re supposed to be.” On a positive note though Spock stands up for the Vaalians by saying that simply because their culture is different to the crew’s expectations does not make it invalid. The episode links the species’ naivety and lack of understanding to the biblical story of Adam and Eve, with the Enterprise away team as the Apple of Knowledge (hence the episode name) and the controlling Vaal as God. I think this is a ‘fascinating’ though relatively insulting look into an asexual society, though the time period must be taken into consideration here as any sexuality other than straight was highly frowned upon. As a result, the fact that there is even a mention of another sexual culture was a step forward.

The J’naii and Soren

The J’naii are introduced to us in the Next Generation episode The Outcast which lies out as follows. The Enterprise is contacted by the genderless J’naii who require assistance finding a missing shuttle which has disappeared into null space. In order to track down the shuttle, Soren, a skilled pilot and Riker are sent out as a search party. However, the craft is damaged and Soren is injured. During her treatment by Dr Crusher, Soren is interested in learning more about the female identity as it turns out that Soren is interested in Riker and wants to pursue a romantic relationship with him. This presents a massive problem as the J’aii forbid any expression of gender or sexuality in any form as they believe that it is primitive and is thus a perversion. “Those… who view themselves as possessing gender are ridiculed, outcast and forced to undergo ‘psychotic therapy’” which is designed to forcefully re-educate the individual in order to bring them back into line. The point of the episode was to highlight LGBT rights and homophobia in line with Gene Roddenberry’s legacy who wished to include more LGBT characters in the show. Which in addition to The Apple shows that despite arguments that Star Trek is only science fiction and therefore not necessarily accessible, it is one of the only shows willing to express the many variations of the human psyche.

Data

In the last of today’s explorations, Data is arguably the most mainstream asexual character in modern culture. As an Android, “Data is not human, though he desperately wants to be.” In order to become more human, he engages in sexual intercourse with Tasha Yar which is a continuation of my larger point. In a blog post from 2009, the author, Elizabeth, herself an asexual, theorises that in the Star Trek universe, “sexuality… is contingent on having emotions… This implies that sexual attraction is itself an emotion… it could be that the emotion Data as experiencing was purely his desire to be human, channelled through a sexual circuit.” Data is in many ways a very good example of an asexual and the wider reactions to this, in that many asexuals face harassment stating that lacking sexuality is in a way inhuman, much like Kirk and McCoy’s reaction to the Vaalian’s lack of sexual activity or leanings.

Conclusion

Summing up, it is clear to me that within the Star Trek mythology, asexuality is treated as a somewhat alien trait, lacking emotion and deeper knowledge which is a cornerstone of humanity. However, I am not attacking the franchise, in fact, I celebrate that Gene Roddenberry was forward-thinking and daring enough to encourage other cultures, ideologies, gender and sexual identities when it is still relatively frowned upon in society. This legacy has continued in the Star Trek pathos, introducing Sulu played by John Cho as gay in the new film ‘Star Trek Beyond’. I hope to see this legacy grow in future series and films and potentially include another asexual character.

Thank you for reading!  


Bibliography


  • Author: Emma Filtness
  • Pictures provided by: Emma Filtness
  • Blog layout, Some Pictures and links: James Hams

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LGBT in Star Trek: We Are Ready and We Have *Been* Ready – By Jason Fritz

Star Trek is one of the most enduring cultural phenomena to come out of the United States in the 20th Century, and certainly the most enduring science fiction franchise to ever do so. Premiering with the original series in 1966, viewers have swept away to strange new worlds and new civilisations as well as new cultural and technological ideas. While lagging behind the 1963 debut of the British series Doctor Who, it preceded the 1977 release of Star Wars by more than a decade and pushed the limits of television standards in the sixties. In 1979, the cast was reassembled for a motion picture continuation, followed by five more instalments with that cast of characters, four more television series and another seven motion pictures with varying casts and characters.

For over fifty years, Star Trek has introduced us to changes in the way we view gender and racial equality as a society, explored the implications of becoming involved in the internal affairs of others (a thinly veiled criticism of American adventurism overseas to stem the spread of communism during the Cold War), and employed the use of alien races and cultures as metaphors to examine aspects of our own condition. Star Trek was among the first to feature an interracial kiss on television, and among the first to feature roles of significant professional authority for women and minorities.

Despite all that, throughout its long history of promoting social change in America, one glaring omission from Star Trek lore has been the lack of any significant non-heterosexual characters. While the subject has been touched on in passing, most notably in Next Generation’s “The Host” in 1991 and Deep Space Nine’s “Rejoined” in 1995, both of which used the alien Trill’s trait of changing host bodies (and therefore genders) over time to explore the issue, the main characters in both stories remained firmly heterosexual thereafter, their orientation never to be explored or even questioned again. Next Generation also touched on the subject more metaphorically in the 1992 episode “The Outcast” through another alien race, the androgynous J’naii as represented by Melinda Culea’s character Soren, who in this case enjoyed a brief romance with Will Riker. The episode kept Riker’s orientation firmly heterosexual, however, while the conflict safely revolved around Soren’s self-identification as a female in a society that rejected gender identification altogether.

More recently, sharp-eyed viewers of the 2016 feature Star Trek Beyond might have caught a brief glimpse of Hikaru Sulu (played by John Cho) enjoying shore leave with his unnamed husband and daughter, but in fifty years of existence, that is the extent of the entire Star Trek franchise’s efforts to depict any significant character as anything other than heterosexual. That is literally it.

Last August, as the casting process for the upcoming series Star Trek: Discovery went into high gear, executive producer Bryan Fuller announced that the new show will feature the franchise’s first openly gay character, which we now know will be played by Anthony Rapp. In a landscape where the first gay character on television was introduced in 1972 and Billy Crystal played the first openly gay regular television series cast member in 1977, where Saturday Night Live featured its first openly gay cast member in 1985, where Friends depicted the first lesbian wedding on television in 1996 and Ellen DeGeneres came out on her own show in 1997, where Buffy the Vampire Slayer and ER ousted longtime regular characters as gay in 2000 and 2002, and where Will & Grace and Queer as Folk have both enjoyed long and successful runs, this hardly seems to be breaking new ground. In fact, one could argue that simply featuring an openly gay character is old and tired ground. Still, sceptics of the depiction of a gay regular character have loudly asked: “Is Star Trek ready?”


Ready for what???

For a franchise that purports to “boldly go where no one has gone before”, Star Trek is remarkably behind the curve on this issue. Instead of asking if the franchise is ready, critics should be asking where the franchise has been all this time. The opportunity to create controversy, which I would argue is no bad thing, was decades ago. Carol and Susan already got married, Willow and Tara already kissed, and Will and Jack have already made every risqué gay reference that prime time television will allow, plus a few others that managed to sneak by. Captain Jack Harkness, who became the first omnisexual character on television in 2005, should have premiered on Star Trek, not Doctor Who. Now is not the time to question whether Star Trek should be inclusive; now is the time to play catch up.

Most commercial ventures have a natural desire to increase profits as much as possible. If the owners have good business sense, that usually means taking steps to offend as few paying customers as humanly possible because even the people who are wrong still have green money. Some media properties have an advantage in that regard because of not reaching the phenomenal success that Star Trek has, and not have become such a cultural touchstone. The gayness of Will & Grace was part of the concept before it was ever greenlit for a pilot, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer was lucky enough to air on the fledgeling WB, where network scrutiny had not yet reached the point where it would later doom Joss Whedon’s Firefly. ER was able to introduce the story as a major conflict with a character who wasn’t fully revealed as gay until her sixth year on the show, and even then, she was depicted as facing the threat (or reality) of extreme homophobia and discrimination at every turn.

None of those advantages is available to Star Trek. The future depicted in our weekly programs and movies is one where discrimination and bigotry are dead, where racism and homophobia are but footnotes in history, and where all people are treated equally regardless of heritage, skin colour, or sexual orientation. Star Trek has no choice but to depict an openly gay character as unremarkable in his or her gayness. By the time of Star Trek: Discovery, if everything we’ve learned about Gene Roddenberry’s future is accurate, being gay should simply be an accepted part of society, no more or less remarkable than my heterosexuality.

All that leaves critics in a bind. There can be no easing into this. There can be no slow introduction, no period of getting to know the character before revealing that he or she is gay, no comfort zone. For those who have felt safe in the womb of a Star Trek that addresses gayness only in easily dismissed metaphor, briefly touched upon one week and then blessedly gone the next, the idea of an openly gay character suddenly standing next to Captain Kirk week after week can be a scary one. There can be no pretending that the future is not gay, that marriage will only ever involve a man and a woman, perhaps while one of them wears comfortingly silly forehead prosthetics or painted on spots. They must face the stark reality that gay men and gay women are attracted to and date other gay men and gay women week after week, and that they are not going anywhere no matter how much some people might wish the episode would just be over.

Some people won’t like that; it’s practically inevitable. Some longtime fans will refuse to accept it. They’ll complain loudly about how the new series is destroying their childhood; they’ll lament the state of excessive tolerance in our society and how it will end the world as we know it; they’ll mock the gay lieutenant mercilessly and portray him as so disliked that the producers should give him an abrupt “Wesley Crusher” exit; and they’ll threaten to withhold their dollars and CBS All Access subscriptions until their intolerance of tolerance is tolerated and appeased.

Some fans will argue that we shouldn’t risk creating a schism in the Star Trek community, that we shouldn’t risk conflict between the people who are willing to accept a gay character and the people who aren’t. I submit that the schism already exists—it’s just hiding safely in the shadows right now, safely nurtured and protected by the absence of any significant portrayals of gay characters in the Star Trek mythos to date. That situation shouldn’t be preserved. It should be dragged out into the light and exposed. It should be questioned, it should be examined, and it should ultimately be discarded. Nothing is accomplished by hiding it in the name of offending as few people as humanly possible. That may be the commercial way, but that is not the Star Trek way. That’s not what our fathers taught us. That’s not what Gene taught us. And that’s not the way we should move forward.

I am the last person in the world to tell anyone “If you don’t like it, get out.” Those words are not worthy of Gene’s vision, either. They’re not worthy of our fifty years of history and tradition. They’re not worthy of us. Instead, I would encourage everyone to stay—stay and watch, even if you don’t like it. Stay and take the journey. Stay and get used to it.

Because gay people aren’t going anywhere. And neither are we.


  • Blog Words: Jason Fritz
  • Blog Layout and Pictures: James Hams

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LGBT in Star Trek: We are not ready – Bill Allen

“Foreword: As we draw closer to the release of Star Trek Discovery (DSC) there has been a lot of assumption as to what the new show is going to bring to the franchise, one thing we know for a fact it is going to bring is Star Trek’s first openly gay character.

Throughout its 50-year history, Star Trek has brought us TV’s first mixed race kiss along this was in itself controversial for its time, even though Star Trek has had an infinitesimal fling exploring same sex relationships it has never embraced it. One thing I wanted to explore was how we as Star Trek fans feel about this unexplored country, so I advertised on Facebook for you the fans to write a series of guest blogs about this topic.

One of the first people to answer the call was Bill Allen, below you can read his take on how he feels about the inclusion of this controversial Trek character.”

By James Hams 


LGBT in Star Trek: We are not ready.

When you look at the 50 plus years of history of Star Trek, one thing becomes clear: any statement that begins with ‘Star Trek is not about’ is false. Star Trek is about EVERYTHING. It is an action/adventure show, hard sci-fi and science fantasy combined an allegorical examination of contemporary humanity, a philosophical examination of humanity’s purpose, a dream, an aspiration, a hope, a promise…Star Trek is everything.

For Star Trek, there are no real limits to what can be done, or how it can be done. So, it might seem counterintuitive to hear me say that an LGBTQ character in Trek is not something that should be done.  And yet, here I am, saying that the new Star Trek Series “Discovery” has announced that they will have an openly gay character, and I am telling you it is a bad idea.

It’s not because Star Trek and the values it represents are antithetical to the LGBTQ community; LGBTQ is just one more facet of ‘IDIC’.

It’s not because homosexuality is ‘evil’ or ‘perverse’ or whatever another pejorative adjective one would want to assign to it; morality is subjective, and often irrational, emotional, and rather silly, so passing judgment on someone else’s life is foolish and pointless. ‘Evil’ knows no orientation preference, and ‘good’ is within anyone, no matter which way the door swings.

It’s not because sexuality has no place in Star Trek; I submit to you James ‘seduce the hostile alien’ Kirk, William ‘chicks dig the beard’ Riker, Mr. ‘Fully Functional’ Data….and let’s not forget T’pol, 7 of 9, Dax, Troi and those lovely Orion Dancers.

It’s not because the writers are going to screw it up…though this one does worry me some. The Producers have assembled a team of writers that include folks who are not only some of the best and brightest from Trek’s own history, but just phenomenally talented writers related to Star Trek and non-Star Trek stories alike, these guys are good, some of the best. But even the best writers will have a hard time hitting the right balance when they start tackling some of the trickier issues society faces today.

The true problem lays with the viewing audience…The fans and potential fans.

The problem with any Ideology, even one as seemingly noble and ideological as ‘Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations’, is that those who believe in that philosophy can believe HARD, and idealism becomes a fanatic. And we live in a world where ideological conflicts are a constant source of hate, and divisiveness, and antagonism.

There are two kinds of fans that are going to create all sorts of problems for this show because of an openly gay character. First, you have the bigots, the homophobes, the religious fundamentalists, the folks who despise, fear, dislike, and oppose homosexuality and homosexual people.   (I think it’s fairly obvious why THEY are going to be part of the problem.)

the second kind of fan that is going to be a problem will be the fans that hate bigotry, that fight against oppressive and discriminatory people, that fight for equality for ALL, and are offended by Homophobic people. The people who read the previous paragraph and said ‘screw those bigots…Star Trek isn’t for them, they don’t deserve to be fans if they can’t be more liberal.’

Star Trek is not a show for bigots.Star Trek is not a show for people to push their narrow-minded superstitious and backwards religious views onto others.

Star Trek is not for people who are intolerant.

Now, take a minute to go back and re-read the first paragraph of this blog….are the three statements I just wrote true, or false?

It happens far too often in all sorts of forums: fans argue. They squabble, they bicker, they debate, and they fight. They fight over which captain was the best, they argue over whether Janeway made the right call in killing Tuvix, they nitpick any little detail in the ‘bad’ Trek and criticise anyone who nitpicks the ‘good’ Trek.  It makes sense; anything we feel strongly about is something we will argue passionately for or against. The problem is that there is so much negativity.

I’ve seen it far too often, and I’m sure you have too: in an online forum or discussion, someone has said things like ‘if you don’t agree with____, you don’t belong in this group,’ or ‘your moral and ideological position contradicts the true meaning of Star Trek’ and ‘you aren’t a real fan if you don’t like____’. The message of ‘you do not belong here/get out’ is often followed by ‘you missed the lesson Star Trek teaches us about a better point of view. And the people who say such things don’t even realise how horrible and destructive their statements are….if you exclude and exile the bigots, if you really believe they need to stay away from your Star Trek because they don’t think the right way, then how the hell are they supposed to learn the lessons Star Trek is trying to teach them?

If you are not a bigot, then you are the one who learned nothing from Star Trek, because you already knew the answer.  Even then, though, Star Trek has a lesson for you, if you are willing to learn it. That lesson is the core of what ‘IDIC’ represents. The lesson is so incredibly simple and obvious; some people are incapable of seeing it.

The lesson is this: Star Trek is for EVERYONE.

Star Trek is made for Bigots.

Star Trek is made for the Atheist.

Star Trek is made for the Religious.

Star Trek is made for the sinner AND the saint.

Star Trek shows us a better future, a future free of bigotry, poverty, conflict, etc., and then finds ways—subtle ways, not the crude and imbecilic ‘GTFO’ of internet crusaders—to examine the flaws of contemporary humanity in a way that gets the lesson home without demeaning or belittling the person you are trying to teach. It instead WELCOMES them, takes them in, and shows them a better world that they have every right to be a part of. But too many fans would rather cast them out and attack the bigot, part of their righteous crusade to make the world a better place…the end justifies the means, and to hell with ending bigotry, just attack the bigots.

 TOS gave us ‘Let that be your last battlefield’ an episode where black/white faces and white/black faces fought each other over an incredibly silly thing like skin colour. Gee, I wonder who would find such an allegorical lesson something they should consider. TNG gave us “The Host”, where Dr Crusher falls in love with a man, a Trill…and when the Trill changes hosts, the man is now a woman, still the same person, still the same feelings for Dr Crusher…but she no longer feels the same way. DS9 gave us several more episodes about the Trill, showing, through this alien’s life, that who a person is and how they love is not bound to one gender configuration, that there are more important aspects.  With Seven Series, 13 movies, and hundreds of books, comics, etc. etc. etc., there are many more examples. Star Trek has spent five decades trying to appeal to as many people as possible, from all sorts of cultural and ideological viewpoints, and it is something more than just a franchise….it’s an opportunity to reshape the world and bring us all together.

all these examples are the ones the anti-bigots point to as being the philosophy Trek represents…but the subtext of their statements is not ‘this is how we all should be’; it is more ‘I am right and my ideology is superior!’  So, they have those human flaws of hate and petty struggles to establish dominance or whatever primate instinct they are doing, and they completely miss the point.

Star Trek Discovery provides yet another opportunity for the writers to play in that sandbox, to show us through metaphor our own flaws and foibles, a chance to make the world better by reaching out to the intolerant and the misinformed and hopefully get them thinking about being a part of something bigger and better than themselves…..but the fans will just use it to attack people they don’t like, wrecking an opportunity to turn an enemy into a friend, because they value victory more than peace. The fans are going to selfishly ruin Discovery’s attempts to enlighten the human race.  They don’t see that the homophobe and the gay man have an opportunity to come together and get to like each other because both love Star Trek; they only see an opportunity to insult and degrade a human being who isn’t as liberal or enlightened as themselves, and they don’t even realise they are just causing the resentment and hate to fester and grow within the bigot, making things worse for the world instead of better.

I really hope the writers for Discovery deliver a brilliant show, and I think they will…but I’m also fairly certain that when they do give us something amazing, the fans will screw it up.

The simple fact is as fans we are not ready for an openly gay character in Star Trek…but we do need one it is long overdue.


  • Foreword: James Hams
  • Blog By: Bill Allen

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