About these ads

Tag Archive: Deep Space Nine


Spock with tricorder

It’s a question die-hard Star Trek fans ask themselves:  If you could own one favorite Star Trek prop, what would it be?  This weekend a Star Trek Facebook page asked thousands of followers to comment on one question:  If you could have any autographed Trek prop, what would it be and who would you have sign it?  With nearly 2,000 respondents we thought it was a good opportunity to use these responses from across Star Trek fandom to see if we can glean what Star Trek fans think are the most iconic props of the franchise.  It’s not all that scientific, since the page posting the question was a general Star Trek page, and many fans may only follow the individual pages from any of the Star Trek series.  The image shown in the post was of an original series phaser–did that skew fans to select that prop?  Are there more original series fans in the mix who follow this page?  We don’t know.  But the results are still interesting and who better than a random group of Trek fans to share what they see as the top Holy Grail of Trek props?

The question is ongoing, with hundreds more responses entered after we stopped tracking answers–around 1,860.  Many responses were attempts at humor–many claiming Shatner’s toupee as their response (how do you autograph a toupee anyway?).  Others were rude or sexist or otherwise the typical worthless responses you find across social media on any given day.

Worf bat'leth from Firstborn

Also, nobody addressed a key topic–why do people think it’s a good thing to autograph a screen-used prop?  The truth is that collectors of screen-used props will refuse to purchase a prop if it has been defaced in any way, especially by an autograph (screen wear and tear excepted).  Recent auctions of an original series gold tunic worn by William Shatner sold for a fraction of what a similar one sold for that was not so marked.  The autograph literally cost the consigner thousands of dollars.  One rare command Starfleet uniform worn by Robert Picardo on Star Trek Voyager was once highly sought after by collectors, and has remained unsellable for years because of a scrawling signature across the front.  The bottom line: Collectors prefer a prop or costume to look just as it did the last time it was shown on the screen.  Actors would be well-advised to refuse to autograph screen-used props at least without first telling fans they may be ruining their chances to re-sell the prop down the road.  Whether or not you think you might keep a prop forever, do yourself a favor and don’t limit your future options.

Putting the “should they/shouldn’t they” question aside, the great response showed fans love their favorite Trek and thousands would want a piece of TV or film history signed by their favorite actor.  So what did we learn?

Continue reading

About these ads

Today we continue yesterday’s interview with former Paramount art coordinator and Star Trek archivist, Penny Juday…

CB:  How often does Star Trek enter your thoughts now that you no longer work for Paramount?  I heard that Star Trek video supervisor and graphic artist Denise Okuda introduced you to your husband, Anthony Fredrickson, while working on Deep Space Nine.

PJ:  We talk about it every day.  Not that we want to—it just is I used to tell everyone who would listen, and probably still do—that Star Trek paid for my house, my car, my clothes, my pets, my food, my gas, well you get the idea.  If I owned it Trek bought it for me since we both worked for Trek for so many years which was considered a coup in the film industry—to get a show that lasted that long was unheard of.  As far Anthony… poor guy … apparently had a crush on me for eight years.  He was very shy. Most people didn’t even know who he was, just the guy in graphics.  So he never really asked me out.  I had no idea.  He would talk to me at lunch, bring me little trinkets, hover when I was in the DS9 art department–always so sweet to me.  We were very good friends.  So one day Denise Okuda and I are picking up some crew jackets, I was complaining bitterly about the lack of great guys to date.  So she tells me about the guy who sits next to her and how he has been in love with me for many years. “Anthony?”  I said.  Yes, I just couldn’t believe my ears.  Then all the clues hit me–I am just oblivious at times, I guess.  So the game was afoot: I was invited to an Oscar party, I call Anthony and ask him to lunch, I take him to my favorite spot near Paramount, I ask him if he would like to go to this party with me, just as friends—I didn’t want to frighten him.  He tells me he has other plans. “Rats,” I thought.  Oh, well.  We are almost finished with lunch and he tells me he has changed his mind and he will alter his plans.  “Great,” I said, “I will pick you up.”  I got the car washed, I flew to Vegas to my favorite guy and had my hair done, I bought a new outfit.  Now I had never seen him in anything but a T-shirt and jeans.  He comes out in a navy blue double breasted jacket.  Man, who is this?  It was over for me.  I made up my mind as did he apparently and we have been together ever since.

Penny and husband Anthony Fredrickson, former Star Trek scenic artist.

CB:  Do you still watch the series and Star Trek movies?  What are your favorite episodes and scenes as a fan of Star Trek, and are there any of your favorites that you were part of creating?

PJ:  My favorite scenes are endless.  I think “Trials and Tribble-ations” from Deep Space Nine is probably my favorite of all, then “Little Green Men,” also from Deep Space Nine, where Quark is making the military look very smart.  The comedies are the best.  I know it wasn’t a comedy show, but I wish they had done more.  It worked so well.  On the other hand you have actors like Avery Brooks and Patrick Stewart, with their backgrounds and complete ability to become any character they choose, and so convincing.  Watching them work, I would get goose bumps being around them.  That’s not to say that I am pretty sure all the girls got goose bumps being near them.  Sorry, got lost there.  Watching Christopher Plummer in the Klingon court room, my very first experience at being on a Star Trek set… that was a surprise for me.  I was speechless.  The scenes are endless because I felt Star Trek was one of the best shows ever made.  And the pranks, moving an entire company from Paramount out to locations, just being on set and watching the cast and crew.

The production set went retro for the Deep Space Nine time travel episode “Trials and Tribble-ations.”

CB:  I have always been a fan of Trials and Tribble-ations, too.  What was your involvement with that episode and what was it like to have all those actors walking around in Original Series garb, with 1960s-style props and sets?

PJ:  That show made just about all of us nostalgic.  We loved it.  It was a great challenge to make it look like the real thing, so to speak.  The best part was the tribbles, of course.  A fun note:  Bob Key, who was in charge of the fabric drapery department, was working at Desilu at the time and remembers how the tribbles were made.  Not a tough thing really, but he was very important for choosing colors and types of fur (fake of course) that was used.  I was surprised any of the tribbles made it through the show as stuff vanished as if on a transporter pad constantly.

Penny discussing Viceroy prop knife on DVD extras for Star Trek Nemesis.

CB:  You have appeared in several video and DVD featurettes, including “Penny’s Toy Box” where you give fans a glimpse at Nimoy’s maroon Starfleet uniform from Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country and various prop masks and weapons.  Before the Christies and It’s a Wrap auctions (where Paramount sold off most of the Star Trek collection) you were the caretaker of the archive of thousands of pieces of Hollywood history.  You also set up the museum at the Star Trek Experience that used to be in Las Vegas as well as the traveling museums that have circled the planet.  What are your favorite props or costumes from the franchise and are there any specific props or costumes that you, as a Star Trek insider for so many years, consider to be the most iconic?

PJ:  I felt the most awed I think working with Mr. Shatner’s costumes.  Even though they were from the features and not the original series it was so cool to be able to be the caretaker of things he had used and worn.  Quite a few of the costumes in the Las Vegas museum were reproductions as so many things were missing.  I have a lot of great stories about putting the collection together.  One of my favorites is Kirk’s broken reading glasses that McCoy gave him [in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan]… of course those were long gone so “the game was afoot” to find a matching pair.  I can’t tell you how many older eyeglass shops I was in with photo frame grab in hand showing it to shop owner after shop owner.  Nothing.  So one lovely day my gang and I are having lunch on Larchmont Blvd, which is blocks away from Paramount Studios.  I see this tiny eyeglass shop that has obviously been there for many years.  It hit me that the prop master might have gone there having been so close to the lot, duh.  I took my photo and my chance and went in.  A young clerk went to get the owner and must have thought I was nuts… this small elderly gentleman comes out, examines the photo, I explain why I want them, he says “not only do I have the exact same pair, but I sold the originals to the prop master and I have the case they came in.”  Yup…

Captain Kirk’s birthday present from Dr. McCoy in Star Trek II was a pair of glasses that came from a shop very close to home.

The other experience I will never forget… we had a DeForest Kelley costume from one of the early films.  I knew he was small, meaning very thin, but do you think it dawned on me just how thin?  I bought a teenage boy mannequin for Mr. Kelley’s costume just to make sure I would have no issues getting the piece of iconic history into place.  Not to be… there we were days before opening, mannequins are very expensive.  I can barely get the pants over the thighs and not even close to going over the back side sitting area of the large fiberglass doll… So I go the art director and explain the problem, feeling not very bright of course, he says let me dwell on this for a bit as life is utterly crazy of course trying to get The Experience open.  A few hours later he shows up with a hack saw… there the two of us were on the floor hacksawing off the buttocks of the mannequin.  I was laughing so hard I could barely help get this done.  We still barely got the pants on.

Center is DeForest Kelley’s Leonard McCoy costume from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, that Penny had to put on a very small mannequin at the former Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas.

CB:  You now have a business designing jewelry, and some of the jewelry has been worn on TV.  Can you share some details about that?

PJ:  My shop is called The Lost Box which is in downtown Tehachapi, California.  There is a webstore, www.thelostbox.com, which is currently wiped out from the holidays so I am working to get more goodies listed.  I specialize in one of a kind wearable artworks of jewelry like the steampunks which seem to be a favorite as I cannot keep them in stock.  I also work with precious and semi-precious stones and metals.  I love getting a strand of amethyst stones and making it into an incredible piece of jewelry that will be worn for hopefully generations to come.  And one of my pieces, a copper beaded strand, will be on an episode of NCIS.  The guest star has it on.  There are more pieces out to other shows.  I am just not sure when they will air. Having been in the business for so many years really helps with contacts and getting the jewelry used on the shows.

Penny’s silver steampunk jewelry like this can be seen on the NCIS TV series.

CB:  I know that today you run a cat rescue shelter.  Can you tell us more about that?

PJ:  There are always dumped and stray cats on the lots at the studios.  Now it’s even epidemic, I might add.  Anyway, after feeding and trying to care for as many as I could that were living under our lot trailer, a co-worker tells me of a person on the lot who has proclaimed that she is the cat caregiver.  I called her.  The beginning of the end for me!  (Just kidding).  She jumped right in and helped out several of them.  As we talked I learned her goal is to make a real cat rescue and non-profit organization.  Here we are 15, 16 years later with preciouspaws.org.  I call it “recycling kitties.”  We save them, clean them up and find homes–we hope.  Donations are so way down as you might imagine these last two years that it has become a struggle to keep the doors open.  We do have a great back up team, like most the Brady Bunch cast is huge in supporting us–Susan Olsen just did an interview with The Today Show with brand new kittens.  I do not know when it will air.  Going back to the beginning… I had no intention of really getting involved.  I was busy with school, the films, etc., however, I started working with the cats just three months after my twin and nephew were killed so I figured this was given to me to help with the horrible grief.  So here I am… my twin was a rescuer as well.  Since I can remember we were always rescuing something, and we became known on the lot as the rescuers–right down to little birds, we got the call.  So many stories about them, I could write a book just about the cats alone: the “coffee can” rescue, the “cat under the manhole cover,” the “cat caught in the gate,” the “long-haired calico dumped in a stair well,” where I took her home and Anthony said, “where’d you get the carpet?” So her name was “car’pet.”  Then there were the tiny babies we would find scattered about the lot that took us three litters before we were able to catch the mom with trickery.  A lot of people on the lot spent time on that rescue.  If Paramount only knew how much money they spent helping us!  For anyone able to donate to preciouspaws.org, please check out the website as donations are always appreciated.  Donations can be sent any time to Penny at ahabbud [at] aol [dot] com!

Thanks, Penny!

Interview by C.J. Bunce

One of my favorite people in the Star Trek world is Penny Juday.  Not only is she a great person, she is always willing to share interesting stories about her days working for Paramount on Star Trek.  As a former U.S. Navy Submarine fleet detailer, Penny Juday staffed the Navy’s sub-fleet with crew assignments.  She joined the Star Trek Deep Space Nine decorating department in 1991.  Penny was soon hired as the personal assistant to the production designer of Star Trek, which then led to becoming the art department coordinator of Star Trek for the next 18 years, where she also served as Star Trek archivist.  During her off hours Penny attended art school at Otis Parsons and earned her certificates as designer and illustrator.  borg.com is happy to welcome Penny here today.

CB:  Penny, you have a pretty unique college background, studying art and design, as well as computer science and physics.  And you were on your way into Intelligence in the U.S. Navy.  You seem to be cut out for your role as guardian of the secrets behind the Star Trek franchise.  How did that background help you move into the role as Art Coordinator and Star Trek Archivist at Paramount Pictures?

PJ:  I was a submarine fleet detailer.  They wanted me to go into INTEL when my tour was up but they would not agree to anything I asked for in return.  In retrospect it was not such a good idea on my part, of course.  I assigned submariners to their duty stations as they came out of school in Groton and kept track of all the available positions for enlisted crew for all the submarines.  I had to make sure they were properly and completely staffed at all times.  If one were taken ill or sadly, killed, I had to find the replacement ASAP.  I studied computer science and physics while in the Navy.  Another decision gone wrong.  If I had stayed with that, I could have been the girl Steve Jobs!  At the time computer programmers worked nights and weekends since it was still reel to reel and we worked while others didn’t.  I just couldn’t do that.  How it helped with my Star Trek job?  You have to be extremely resourceful to get a lot of military jobs done for many reasons.  My boss on Trek, Herman Zimmerman (who we called “Z”) often told just about anyone who would listen that I was the most resourceful person he had ever met.  I could find just about anything we needed to get a job done, or anyone, for that matter.  If a prop guy told Z we couldn’t find a particular product I would get the task.  Now that’s fun and interesting.  One of my favorite things was when I would call a company and tell them who I was and who I was with.  Usually there was a minute of total silence because they did not believe me, of course.  Then when it sunk in I was telling the truth…  I can’t tell you how much I could achieve with vendors just because I worked on Star Trek.  They would jump through a lot hoops to help us.  And the undercover Trekkies that I would run across!

Penny in her Star Trek “toybox” warehouse at the Paramount set.

The archives–being a personnel person in the Navy I took care of thousands of records, copied thousands of pages of documents, records and cared for the same, so making an archive was cheese cake.  Again finding anything… I was sent to Long Beach Naval Station to finish my Navy tour.  There had been a serious lack of commitment to record keeping, and personnel records were a mess so I was sent to help redo and get it smooth again.  Within days this Chief Petty Officer comes to my desk, almost in tears, very upset, telling me his records had been missing for weeks, meaning, he doesn’t get paid, can’t move forward in any capacity–remember this was before documents were scanned and kept on computer.  Some info was in Washington on OCR documents but the bulk of your records were still just paper in a manila folder in a real filing cabinet.  If that went missing you were in serious trouble.  So Chief tells me the story… he had been in day after day, asking someone—anyone—to search for his records.  “They cannot be found,” they tell him.  Knowing full well how badly the records in Long Beach had been stored, mostly by young “kids” who just didn’t care and wanted to get through their tour period.  I asked him his full name, was there any known misspellings, etc.  I take the “intel,” go to the records room and start the search… yup, under his middle name.  Chief hung his head in silence.  I still cry when I think of how happy it made him.  I got a letter of appreciation for that one, which is a small Navy award.  My work at the station was awarded several times with a scholarship, award letters, and I was the only female side boy at the station to pipe the leaving Captain away and pipe in the new Captain.  Side boys are the crew who line the plank at attention and one blows the pipes–a very great honor.

Star Trek cadet piping in Captain Kirk on the USS Enterprise refit (one of Penny’s duties in the US Navy).

CB:  You worked for several years with the Star Trek franchise but also worked on other notable films.  How did your work on Star Trek compare with your project and art coordinator daily duties on other action films like The Hunt for Red October and Alien Resurrection and comedies like Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Wayne’s World II?

PJ:  I have to start by saying nothing compares to Trek.  Nothing.  However, that being said The Hunt for Red October was my first film.  Poor Anthony [Penny’s husband, Anthony Fredrickson] is tired of watching it.  It is near and dear to my heart not only being the first film but they used the USS Houston, in the film known as the USS Dallas.  I was the detailer who put the original enlisted crews on board all the Los Angeles class boats as they were being built.  Eventually I got to see the Houston in dry dock in San Diego.  All the Los Angeles class subs look a like so they could easily get by with using one for another.  The first thing I saw walking on set was the missile silos.  I told the decorator I didn’t remember seeing neon around the bases on the real subs.  “Shuuuh,” he said.  But then standing next to Sean Connery was the memory any girl would cherish, whew.  Can’t believe I was still standing when he walked away.

The Hunt for Red October production photo.

CB:  As art coordinator for Deep Space Nine through Star Trek: Nemesis and Enterprise, you were second in command to art director and production designer Herman Zimmerman, known not only for his incredible futuristic sets on Star Trek but also work on Happy Days, The Land of the Lost, The Tonight Show and Cheers.  What’s the secret to running a multiple Emmy-nominated art department?

PJ:  First, I used to watch Land of the Lost all the time, even at my age it was just fun.  So on a Deep Space Nine episode we had a very rustic cottage with a fairly short door.  Z and a lot of us are inside, the special effects guy, Joe, comes in who was well over six feet tall.  The way Joe came in for some reason Z said you remind me of a Sleestak.  I said I was shocked that he knew this word.  I asked him how he knew what a Sleestak was.  He said, “I designed him.”  I had no idea.  So I was constantly learning of Herman’s accomplishments and shows, and awards, and the list goes on of things he has done throughout time, even working on one of my favorite soaps.

Original Herman Zimmerman Sleestak (display by Tom Spina Design).

As far as running art departments, whew!  Especially on larger shows like films.  I can’t make the list long enough of what your job title is.  You are the middle girl between most of the departments and the art department.  You are the coordinator for just about everything the art department needs.  The art coordinator is one of the first people in—meaning we are given a blank space to fill right down to the pencils.  You have to get it all, the phones, the phone lines, desks, copiers, papers all the supplies, set up the kitchen, often interview or find staff to be interviewed by the art director, depending on who that is, usually my production designers know me well enough that I hire the staff and set the deals.  Then research, finding things, orders, craft service kitchen, oh, boy!  Talk about egos–and the special needs of each and every one of the artists.  Can you say “four different kinds of coffee?”  I had a set designer who constantly demanded their own office because this person didn’t want to hear others talking.  Production meetings, usually keeping all the budgets for set decorating, often construction, and the art department.  Time cards for all of the above.  Location tours, call sheets, scripts, clearances (which I have no idea when the art coordinator became responsible for making sure everything was cleared but that happened somewhere in time).  Product placement, but I have to tell you… talk about fascinating… your every minute is different.  Alien 4 was one of my favorite films to work on at Fox.  Huge art department, sets, budgets, construction, and a lot of people from Star Trek, however, one of the first things the production designer told us was: “I see anything that looks like Star Trek, you’re fired!”  Ok, but he was a lot of fun to work for.

Filming the Baku Village at the Lake Sherwood set.

Sometimes things would go wrong or go missing.  When we were out at Lake Sherwood for the Baku village in Star Trek Insurrection, Worf’s teeth came up missing.  They were very expensive to make so there was one set at the time.  So the hunt was on and of course we were still shooting Deep Space Nine at the time.  That created quite the stir to have a whole lot of people searching for Worf’s teeth.  So yes, they were found, but at great cost to both productions.

Penny Juday (far right) as an extra in Star Trek Generations, in Ten Forward on the USS Enterprise-D. Also in this scene were Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard, Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan and Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Soran.

CB:  You were able to work with the Star Trek original series cast on Star Trek Generations, and even performed on camera as an extra.  What kind of interaction did you have behind the scenes with the original Enterprise crew?  Any lasting impressions?

PJ:  I met Mr. Kelley on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as they were walking out of the Klingon courtroom.  He had had a long day but stopped and introduced himself to me, shook my hand.  What a lovely, gracious man.  Shatner ran past, couldn’t leave the set quick enough, which is understandable.  I later met him on Star Trek Generations.  We were in the Valley of Fire, north of Las Vegas.  I was put in the crew van which was traveling to the site in the desert where the bridge set was.  I was in charge of taking orders for the crew gift bomber jackets.  He had never heard of a bomber jacket.  So that was a great fun thing to do, he got a laugh out of the whole thing.  Ms. Nichols, I interviewed her for Star Trek: The Magazine.  Again just so warm, friendly, kind, happy to talk to me.  I think I have met them all at one time or another and what an experience to meet your idols from your favorite show and then get to work with them.

Energy beacons used by The Borg that Penny helped to create for Star Trek: First Contact.

CB:  Part of your many roles for Star Trek included locating found props in the real world, such as purchasing furniture for sets or odd bottles to get re-dressed for use in Quark’s bar in Deep Space Nine.  What were some of the stranger creations you were asked to come up with?

PJ:  Wow, there are so many!  I think the Borg energy packs in Star Trek: First Contact—where they are on the dish—the Borg pull out these long acrylic tubes that glow… those were bird feeders that we put fluorescent tubes in, wrapped them in the mess they are shipped in, then wrapped those in a lighting gel.  When I called the company, because we needed a lot of them, they were so excited and it was hard for them to believe how they were going to be used.  I think the second is all the vacuum packaging we used.  If you look at the packages your cookies, candy, make-up, anything with a molded part, you will see a great deal of interesting usable shapes.  We had stacks of packages friends and family would save up for us, just in case we needed something on the run.  Anthony had a kludge closet in the art department where we would store found objects for instant prop and model making.  Then I think the Picard family album was probably one of my favorites.  I worked on that for weeks digging through flea markets, yard sales, antique shops, asking crew for items, family photos and such.  I would get French newspapers and make up articles, soak them in coffee or tea then run over them with the car.  So much fun!

Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) flipping through the Picard family album Penny Juday created. The original album was on display for years at the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas.

Please come back tomorrow for part 2 of our interview with Penny Juday.

Deep Space Nine, the bleaker vision of the future in the Star Trek franchise of all the Star Trek TV series, has finally been released on streaming video via Netflix.  All the rest of the Star Trek live action series–Star Trek the original series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise have been available since July 1.

I think Deep Space Nine suffered from a lot of things that didn’t meet the approval of fans of the other Star Trek series.  I liked the characters on Deep Space Nine, especially Jadzia Dax, Martok and Gul Dukat, but sometimes the episodes got too heavy-handed, and I felt like the show took itself too seriously, and in turn became too bleak for the positive vision of the future seen in the other series.  My least favorite character in any series was Kai Wynn.  Good villains need to give us some reason to at least understand what it would be like to be in their shoes.  The phrase “villains you love to hate” is different from villains you just plain hate.  I couldn’t watch Kai Wynn’s episodes as I thought she was too vile to be a leader of anything and I just couldn’t stop seeing Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  (Did Louise Fletcher’s agent ever get that poor actress a role as a sweet lady?)  On the other hand Gul Dukat and the race of Cardassians and Jem’Hadar made great villains, that is, until Dukat killed off Jadzia Dax.

I thought there was too much focus on Bajorans, and I did not like the storylines with: Sisko as a religious prophet, Bashir as a James Bond character, those shape-shifting Founders, Bashir as a super genius, Odo and Kira as a love interest, Kira and Gul Dukat friendly with each other even remotely (I often wondered how Nana Visitor could play the part knowing her Bajoran character’s  past with the Cardassians), battles too grand and epic to be understood and to fit on a TV screen, and too many Ferengi-focused episodes.  It sounds like I don’t like Deep Space Nine.  I actually do like it, but it is just my least favorite Trek series.  The truth is I would probably watch any bad Trek episode over most anything else on TV. That said there are a lot of great reasons to watch DS9 for the characters and the better episodes.

Here are the best episodes I remember from Deep Space Nine, which I saw in the initial airing or in reruns a few years later, and look forward to watching again:

1.  “Trials and Tribble-ations,” Season 5, Episode 6 – The care given to this episode, and almost reverence to the Original Series episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” causes this bridging of two series to be one of the top episodes created for any Star Trek series. Klingon-posing-as-human Arn Darvin returns to use a Bajoran Orb to transport the Defiant back in time to the era of Kirk & Co. and the original starship Enterprise.  The DS9 officers must infiltrate the Enterprise and space station K7 to stop Darvin from assassinating Kirk, and at the same time must prevent the timeline from being altered.  All scenes with Jadzia Dax are brilliant and the buddy scenes with Bashir and O’Brien are their best team-up in the series, especially when they are dressed down by Kirk himself and Bashir has an “encounter” in the turbolift with a possible ancestor.

2.  “The Visitor,” Season 4, Episode 3 – An accident in the Defiant’s engine room causes Sisko to disappear before Jake’s eyes. When Ben begins appearing to him for a few minutes at a time, with years between appearances, it becomes clear that he is not dead, but trapped in subspace. Tony Todd, who was previously perfect as Worf’s brother Kurn on Star Trek: The Next Generation, plays the older Jake brilliantly and makes this a beloved episode like the “Inner Light” episode from TNG.

3.  “Duet,” Season 1, Episode 19 – A great espionage and mystery episode. Kira realizes that one of Bashir’s patients is a Cardassian slave labor overseer who was stationed on Bajor.  Kira places him under arrest to learn the Cardassian is the man who authorized the genocidal killings of Bajorans.  The counterpoint between Kira and her prisoner makes for great intrigue, but the story’s true strength is its examination of responsibility and guilt.

4.  “Second Skin,” Season 3, Episode 5 – Kira is captured and transported to Cardassia Prime, where she wakes up in the guise of a Cardassian woman. She is told that she is, in fact, a Cardassian by birth whose deep cover spying assignment necessitated her cosmetic alteration to look like a Bajoran rebel.  Several DS9 plots seem to be reworked TNG episodes, and this one plays a bit like Counselor Troi as a Romulan–but both are still fun to watch.

5.  “Tacking into the Wind,” Season 7, Episode 22 – Worf kills Gowron to become chancellor of the Klingon Empire but immediately hands rule over to Martok.  Other stuff happens in this episode but to see Worf finally get to be a full-blooded Klingon is a nice change.  Visually beaten up Martok is a classic, almost epic, choice to rule the Empire.  Worf had to do so many dumb things over the course of his episodes on TNG and DS9 that it was nice to see Dorn allowed to act in some great scenes and situations here.   Note:  A lot of this episode and tangents have this long, drawn out epic Romulan vs. Cardassian vs. Klingon vs. Bajoran vs. Starfleet storyline and I found that my favorite parts of DS9 were the single story episodes, so there is not a lot I have here that is of the ongoing variety.

6.  “Improbable Cause,” Season 3, Episode 20 – Odo and Garak discover ex-Obsidian Order mastermind Enabran Tain when Garak thinks that Tain may also be target of an assassin.  Andy Robinson was a great villain as Clint Eastwood’s nemesis in the original Dirty Harry, so it is fun to see what he was able to do when the writers focused on his character Garak in DS9.

7.  “Little Green Men,” Season 4, Episode 8 – One of the all-time top 5 best Star Trek episodes is TNG’s “Darmok,” in part because it deals with the one thing humanity has the hardest time with, communication, which Star Trek refused to deal with because of the magical universal translators since the original series.  In two of the best Ferengi episodes, later Enterprise’s “Acquisition” and here with “Little Green Men,” we get to experience the Ferengi language and realities of the basic problems of communication between different cultures.  This is also an episode that harkens back to the original series returning to Earth.   Quark, Rom and Nog, whether you like them in other episodes, are in their best form in this episode.  Roswell in 1947.  A fun romp.

8.  “The Sword of Kahless,” Season 4, Episode 9 – Together, original series Kor, Jadzia Dax, and Worf go to a planet in search of the legendary Sword of Kahless.  But they have been followed there by Toral.  Toral was the last member of the House of Duras, who at one time tried to seize power and failed, with Worf letting him off easy.  The House of Duras ended up being a great foil for the other competing Klingon factions over the course of TNG and DS9 and even Star Trek: Generations.  Like TNG’s “Captain’s Holiday” and the quest for the Tox Uthat, this is a fun episode about discovery.

9.  “Sons and Daughters,” Season 6, Episode 3 – The once wimpy and anti-warrior Alexander Rozhenko returns trying to prove himself as a Klingon.  The distance between his early appearances and the length of time that allowed someone like him to return was a testiment to the longevity of the Star Trek franchise.  Different actors played Alexander, but it makes you want to see a “where are they now” of Toral and Alexander.

10.  “You are Cordially Invited…,” Season 6, Episode 7 – The wedding of Worf and Dax.  Great costumes and ceremony.  This was also the beginning of the end of the top episodes.  When Jadzia is later killed off it makes it hard to keep watching the series…

…so on that note, it’s time to queue up the Netflix and give it another go!

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

 

Whether you are a Star Trek casual watcher or an uber-fan, whether you are a cosplayer or a collector of real Trek memorabilia, there is always more out there to catch up on or watch all over again.  Unlike any other franchise, there is more information available today than ever before in case you want to check out more about a replica of your favorite tricorder or disrupter, or get into real props and costumes.  Or maybe you like to make your own replicas, and the more info you have available the more accurately you can create replicas from the Star Trek universe.  Resources today fall into four categories: First, the episodes and movies themselves, the primary source material, including the artifacts from the actual shows.  Second, websites have an endless supply of Star Trek information on any subject.  Third, general reference books have been created by various publishers since the first series.  And fourth, auction catalogs get you as close to costumes and props from a show as you can get other than looking at the real thing.

The TV series are available on DVD, Blu-Ray, VHS, and streaming video, by series and in compilations.

Here are the key websites you need to know about:

  • Memory Alpha – A detailed, currently maintained encyclopedia of all things Star Trek.
  • Trek Core – A great source for screen caps of all series episodes, including some HD versions.

As to reference books, several licensed Star Trek books are available, some still in print, and the following are what I consider the best resources publicly available. I have also provided links to the books at Amazon.com, but your local library can also get these for you.  Today we will run down the best Star Trek reference books for the TV series.  Tomorrow we will continue with reference material for the eleven Star Trek movies. (Book cover thumbnails are a bit fuzzy since I used direct links to Amazon listings).

Star Trek – General

Star Trek: The Art of Star Trek, by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, 1997.  If you only have one book about Star Trek behind the scenes, it should be this book.  Full of original paintings, behind the scenes photos, and close-ups of costumes and props, this is the best book available on the Star Trek television shows and feature films.  If you have it you will read it over and over again.  It is only lacking in the fact it was made before Star Trek Generations, so for everything after that you should seek out some of the other suggested books.  Also, you’ll notice on this list the Reeves-Stevens are a great source of all sorts of Trek material.  Highest recommendation.

The Star Trek Encyclopedia, by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda, 1999.  With two Star Trek insiders like the Okudas writing this reference guide, it’s no wonder this is such a popular book.  Literally the A to Z guide to the Star Trek universe, make sure you get this most recent version that includes all updates.  Unfortunately it has not yet been updated to include the latest films and the Enterprise TV series.  Still, a single source for the obscure and the general in the franchise.  Highly recommended.

Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future, by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda, 1996.  Another reference by the Okudas, this time aligned in chronological order of the events of the Trek universe, as opposed to the order of production of the series, which is the format of all other Trek reference books.  Handy to see overlap between series and whether the Battle of Wolf 359 comes before or after the destruction of Praxis (in case you get confused on that).

Star Trek The Next Generation: Technical Manual, by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda, 1991.  An unprecedented look at the science and technology of Star Trek.  The masters of the Trek art production team include here detailed drawings and explanation to support the science behind the stories portrayed in the television series and films.  A must for all Star Trek fans.

Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, by Michael Westmore, Alan Sims et al, 2000. This book provides key views from the main make-up artist and the propmaster for the later Trek series. Lots of close-up photos of alien races and make-up, but a lesser focus on props. Good behind the scenes stories. Highly recommended.

   

Captains’ Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages and Captains’ Logs Supplemental: The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages-Entire Deep Space Nine & Voyager History, by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, 1996.  Although this episode-by-episode guide has has been replaced for the most part by the TrekCore free website, it’s still worth flipping through to find episodes you may have forgotten about. The first contains the original series, the supplement expands into later episodes of Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Star Trek Generations.

Star Trek: The Original Series

Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, by Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman, 1996. A source for those wanting an insider’s look at the making of the original series. Not much on costumes and props. A lot of information on the business of television production. Useful here for the impact of the business and budgets on creative decision-making.

The Star Trek Sketchbook, by Herbert F. Solow and Yvonne Solow, 1997.  Great images of the art of the original series, including sketches and paintings in full color as well as a look at the various Starfleet and alien costumes created by William Ware Theiss.  A great art book.  Recommended.

Star Trek: The Animated Series

See Star Trek: The Art of Star Trek referenced above.

Star Trek Phase II

Star Trek: Phase II : The Making of the Lost Series, by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, 1997.  The TV series that never was.  The only detailed account of the Phase II series that turned into Star Trek: The Motion Picture after the success of Star Wars.  Includes hundreds of pages of material, with sketches and photographs of production material that didn’t make it to the screen.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

The Continuing Mission (Star Trek: The Next Generation), by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, 1997. THE sourcebook for all things Next Generation. Episode summaries. Costumes and props, including photos of original art and design. Text includes the environment in which each season was created. Insight from cast and crew. Next to The Art of Star Trek, the best Trek resource out there. Highly recommended.

The Star Trek The Next Generation Companion: Revised Edition, by Larry Nemecek, 2003. The only comprehensive look at all Star Trek: The Next Generation seasons and movies through Star Trek: Nemesis. Well researched trivia about each episode and movie is covered. Delves into the world building for the series, including a look at technical and scientific continuity across episodes. Hundreds of good black and white photos. A great book even compared to The Continuing Mission. Nemecek shows he really knows his Trek trivia.  Highly recommended.

Editor’s Update:  Check out this new addition to resources from this series: Star Trek: The Next Generation 365 here.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

The Making of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, 1994. Lacking only because it was made too soon, this look at Deep Space Nine was created before the third season got underway. It provides good black and white illustrations of props, costumes and set design. This also has some good information on alien creation, including make-up decisions.

Deep Space Nine Companion, by Terry J. Erdmann, 2000.  The best book available documenting the series with episode descriptions and behind the scenes information.  Recommended.

Star Trek Voyager

Star Trek Voyager: A Vision of the Future, by Stephen Edward Poe, 1998. I only recently discovered this book. It provides a wealth of information about the business of creating a television show, including insight about Star Trek Voyager’s specific creators and what role each person plays (note several individuals worked on several series so this is a good guide for TNG and DS9, too). The book covers in a journalistic style the background events surrounding a few first season episodes of Voyager. It includes a detailed analysis of what happened when Genevieve Bujold commenced filming as the original Captain Janeway, and manages to avoid “dirt digging” type commentary. Includes a small peek at key staff such as Alan Bernard, Alan Sims, and Michael Westmore, Michael Okuda, Rick Sternbach, and the entire writing staff.  Highly recommended.

Star Trek Voyager Companion, by Paul Ruditis, 2003.  One of the best written of all Star Trek source material, this book delves into each episode with great sidebar material, insight into the cast and crew and hundreds of black and white photos.  Highly recommended.

Enterprise

Unfortunately, the best resource for Enterprise information is Memory Alpha, TrekCore and the current Star Trek Magazine. One of the biggest gaps in the Star Trek universe is a comprehensive book about the last series in the franchise.

Also, invaluable costume and prop information can be found in the following catalogs:

  • Christie’s December 2006 Auction Catalog
  • Profiles in History 12, 14 , 41, and 44 Auction Catalogs
  • Julien’s 2010 Star Trek Catalog

Check back tomorrow for some recommended books covering the eleven Star Trek feature films.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 514 other followers

%d bloggers like this: