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Tag Archive: Star Trek


ST-CEF03-coverSUB    star-trek-city-edge-forever-ellison-idw-cover-juan-ortiz

The background of the making of the classic Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever has been discussed over and over among Star Trek insiders and fandom.  Harlan Ellison wrote the screenplay, which was carved up so much in Ellison’s view, that over the past four decades Ellison was vocal in rejecting Gene Roddenberry’s final version that first made it to television screens on April 6, 1967.

What would the original version have looked like had Roddenberry stuck closer to the original script?  It’s the kind of thing you would have thought fan film creators would have jumped at before now, but–even better–Star Trek fans can now see The City on the Edge of Forever visually portrayed in its originally conceived form.

Woodward Edith Keeler IDW

IDW Publishing partnered the Star Trek writing team of Scott Tipton and David Tipton with the best Star Trek artist around, J.K. Woodward, and this year they adapted Ellison’s original screenplay into a five-issue comic book series that wraps this month, and will soon be released in a hardcover and trade edition.  If you think that a comic book cannot convey everything you’d want to see from the original Star Trek, then you haven’t seen the photo-real artistry of J.K. Woodward.

In fact the single biggest reason to read The City on the Edge of Forever is J.K. Woodward’s panel after panel of beautiful paintings– renderings of not just the characters but William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Joan Collins, and Grace Lee Whitney–that will have your mind’s eye believing you just watched an actual episode of the original series.

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Orion in space

Nichelle Nichols is partnering with NASA in its efforts to move forward with Earth’s exploration of outer space.  From inspiring countless future astronauts and scientists with her character Uhura in the original Star Trek to being part of the promotional efforts for the space shuttle program in the 1970s including NASA’s own Enterprise, Nichols is now continuing her inspirational role for the next generation of space travelers.

In a promotional video released this weekend by NASA via YouTube, Nichols is sure to generate interest in the new space capsule, called Orion, which is being engineered to take humans farther into space than ever before–eventually to Mars.  This is similar to the role played by Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Wil Wheaton with the Curiosity program that we reported on here at borg.com back in August 2012.

Scale photo San Diego recovery Orion module

Significantly smaller and with far less room to move around in than the space shuttles, Orion has the look of a giant version of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space capsules that are now displayed in the National Aeronautics and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.  Sitting atop a Delta IV rocket system like those old Redstone and Jupiter launch systems but bigger and more advanced, Orion is being tested to prepare it to take astronauts “farther into the solar system than ever before, including to an asteroid and Mars”.  Check out a great article about a test near San Diego a few weeks ago here.  After the break, watch Nichols’ new video about the Orion:

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George Takei Sulu in The Naked Time

If holographic television were available today, would you go right out and buy it?

We’re more than four years into the widespread availability of affordable consumer 3D television and the viewing public hasn’t embraced it yet.  My best guess is simply because they haven’t seen it yet, or they are basing their lack of interest on a poor viewing experience with 3D in a public theater.  At borg.com, we’ve got no skin in the game–we don’t work for or with the studios–we’re just after the best viewing experience possible.  And we’re completely sold on both 3D Blu-ray and the lesser discussed 2D/3D “upconversion” technology.

Distributors have been relatively slow at releasing 3D Blu-rays, the current standard for 3D home viewing.  Many films actually produced in 3D, like Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit series, are very quickly released now in a 3D Blu-ray.  Other films are converted to 3D in post-production, like Star Trek Into Darkness, and they are also released on 3D Blu-ray.  Both films look far superior to standard films–you can’t even compare the quality.  The distinctions between a true 3D film and a conversion are probably not all that noticeable to the average moviegoer with normal vision.  But what we’re focusing on today is something different.

Dathon and Picard in Darmok

A different category of conversion, called 2D/3D conversion, is available on certain affordable 3D televisions today.  This is a technology available to anyone with a 3D television that includes the upconvert technology and compatible 3D glasses.  For films, TV series, or even real-time live or pre-recorded television, this technology manipulates the images to create a real 3D experience for the viewer.  Sounds like a gimmick?  It’s not.  To test it, we tried 2D/3D upconverting on an episode of each of Star Trek, the original series, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The result?  We were blown away.  We think if you try it, you too will ask:  Why don’t we watch everything now in 3D, and why isn’t everyone talking about it?

If you’re waiting around for holographic TV, that’s pretty much what you’re getting here, too.  You can even get up and walk around without the 3D image going away.  The only thing you can’t do is walk completely around a floating object, which is what a true holographic TV experience should be.  But this is the next best thing.  We watched two acclaimed, classic Star Trek episodes, the original series episode “The Naked Time” and the NextGen series episode “Darmok” using a 3D television, a Blu-ray/DVD player and, for “The Naked Time” a remastered DVD version, and for “Darmok,” a remastered Blu-ray version.  We then applied the 3D television’s upconvert and easily adjusted the various 3D settings, such as “Standard” or “Cinema” or “Extreme,” tint, and brightness/backlighting, to create the best picture possible for the room lighting.

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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?

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Entertainment Earth

Now through September 2, 2014, Entertainment Earth is having a summer blowout sale, including more than 100 Star Trek items.  You’ll find everything from toys to prop and costume replicas to art prints–all on sale at the below links.

Looking for Juan Ortiz’s retro original series posters?  How about some pips for your Star Trek: The Next Generation Starfleet uniform?  How about a sphere from Star Trek: First Contact from the Earth invasion by The Borg?

See something you like?  Just click on any of the links below to get more details and place an order.

Star Trek: First Contact Borg Sphere Monitor Mate Ship Star Trek White Phaser & Medical Tricorder 2-Pack Exclusive Star Trek Into Darkness Movie Lt. Commander Scotty Tunic Star Trek Movie Deluxe Spock Blue Shirt Star Trek USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A Launch Rocket Model Kit Star Trek USS Reliant 13-Inch Launching Rocket Model Kit Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Poster Set 10 Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Poster Set 7 Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Posters Set 3 Star Trek The Original Series Blue Uniform Dog Bowl Star Trek the Original Series Deck-Building Game Star Trek United Federation of Planets Buckle Star Trek Into Darkness Falling Movie Poster Lithograph Star Trek Enterprise NX-01 Starfleet Commad Patch Star Trek Enterprise 1701-C 1:2500 Scale Model Kit Star Trek Attack Wing Romulan Kraxon Expansion Pack Star Trek The Original Series Red Uniform Dog Bowl Star Trek The Motion Picture Yellow Engineering Patch Star Trek Scotty Red Beach Towel Star Trek Expeditions Expansion Board Game Star Trek Original Series Red Cross Insignia Patch Star Trek: TOS 1st and 2nd Season Starfleet Scienc Patch Star Trek Petty Officer First Class Rank Pin Star Trek Klingon Bird-of-Prey Launching Rocket Model Kit Star Trek Trekkies Nyota Uhura Q-Pop Vinyl FigureStar Trek The Motion Picture Silver Science Patch Star Trek Starfleet Academy Cufflinks Star Trek Original Series Lt. Commander Unifrom Rank Braid Star Trek Chief Warrant Officer Rank Single Black Pip Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Shot Glasses Set 1Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Shot Glasses Set 2 Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Shot Glasses Set 3 Star Trek Original Series Communicator - an EE Exclusive Star Trek Classic Gold Handle Phaser - EE Exclusive Star Trek Trekkies Captain James T. Kirk Q-Pop Vinyl Figure Star Trek Vinyl Figures: Quogs Captain Kirk Star Trek Sulu Cologne Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Shot Glasses Set 10 Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Shot Glasses Set 6 Star Trek The Original Series Fine Art Shot Glasses Set 7

After the break, check out even more from Entertainment Earth…

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star trek city edge forever ellison idw cover juan ortiz

Hands down J.K. Woodward is the best artist to ever take on Star Trek in the comic book medium.  His Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who Assimilation² was a stunning visual journey, and that series, reviewed here at borg.com, showcased Woodward’s superb painted panels and contained an imaginative story by David and Scott Tipton.  Tipton, Tipton, and Woodward are back this week with the long-titled Star Trek:  Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever, The Original Teleplay, a five-issue limited series beginning tomorrow.  For borg.com readers we have a nine-page preview of the issue below after the break, courtesy of IDW Publishing.

The Star Trek: The Original Series episode “City on the Edge of Forever” is regarded by many (including a TV Guide poll of the “100 Best TV Episodes of All Time”) as the greatest Star Trek episode of all time, but what made it to television was a far cry from the original teleplay by noted science fiction writer Harlan Ellison.  Ellison’s original teleplay won both the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation as well as the Writer’s Guild of America’s Award for Most Outstanding Teleplay.

JK Woodward Enterprise from City on the Edge of Forever

The new IDW Publishing comic book mini-series, produced under the guidance of Ellison, now brings the classic story to fans like they haven’t seen it before.  Issue #1 is a blast.  Woodward’s visuals are eye-popping as usual, and the story presents its own parallel universe for those familiar with the classic TV episode.  Yeoman Rand never looked better!

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SW 18 1  Legenderry04-Cov-Benitez

It’s Wednesday again, and that means the new comic books are out for the week at your local comic book store.  We’ve got several previews for a whopping seven issues of new books that should have something for everyone.  There’s Dark Horse Comics’ great ongoing Star Wars series, which will be wrapping up this year.  Then there’s Bill Willingham’s excellent steampunk series Legenderry for Dynamite Comics, reuniting the best of classic pulp heroes with new twists, like the Six Thousand Dollar Man.  We also have previews of two issues from Archie Comics–one from Archie Comics Digest and the other from the SEGA video game universe: Sonic the Hedgehog.

SON_261-0  ARDD_251-0

Also, a new Angry Birds series begins, IDW is releasing a brief history of Godzilla comics, and a preview of the next issue of the ongoing Star Trek series is here, all from IDW Publishing.

Star Trek 34 cover  GODZILLA_IDW-ERA_FrontCov-copy

After the break, check out previews for one or all of them, courtesy of their respective comic book publishers.

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These_are_the_voyages_TOS_season_two_first_edition_cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Marc Cushman’s second volume of These Are the Voyages, his unprecedented treatise on Star Trek, the original series, is an improvement on his first volume, reviewed last year here at borg.com, which was a thorough history of the landmark series’ first season.  But where Volume 1 was a good read–an assemblage of facts from multiple sources not easily obtainable otherwise and an accounting of television history from 1966–Volume 2 qualifies a great read.  With more in-depth stories, anecdotes and interviews, from original sources as well as recent reminiscences from actors and production staff, Volume 2 provides a superb history of the production of Season Two and the world of American TV studios in 1967-68.

Highlights of Season Two recounted by Cushman include key changes to the show, such as the introduction of Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov, which often led to the reduction in the roles of Sulu and Uhura.  James Doohan’s Scotty was made third in command in Season Two, based on the writers’ efforts to keep Spock and Kirk together and expand the show to strange new worlds away from the Enterprise.  The book includes modern accounts from the actors as they reflect back on their interpersonal relationships during production–everyone from George Takei to William Shatner seems surprised in retrospect by each other’s reported dismay during the series.

Shatner on set

Volume 2 reveals Star Trek in its prime form—after a year of world-building in Season One, the first half of Season Two includes some of the best Star Trek episodes the series had to offer.  Much of this was thanks to writer Gene L. Coon, whose selection of material lightened up the tone of the show, broadening appeal to viewers.  Coon created the Klingons and the Prime Directive and the humorous relationship of Spock and McCoy.  His influence can be seen in Season One’s “Space Seed” as well as Season Two’s classics “City on the Edge of Forever,” “Mirror, Mirror,” and “The Trouble With Tribbles.”  Sadly his mid-season departure led to more campy elements seeping into the series toward the end of the season.

Many components spice up what could otherwise have been a bland, encyclopedic offering.  The seemingly endless writing process during production that is recounted by Cushman is simply… fascinating.  Robert Justman’s hilarious (but always spot-on) script notes alone make the book worth reading.  The often eloquent and usually contentious back and forth battle on paper between Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana and Gene Coon and Robert Justman and Gene Roddenberry would make modern email battles seem lightweight.

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How I Married Your Mother finale

It always pays to be wary of grandiose statements and definitive pronouncements.  When I first watched Forrest Gump in the theater, one-third of the way through the movie it occurred to me I might be watching the greatest production of all time, and walking out of the theater I carried that thought with me.  But time changes things.  Now I see it as a fun film, but it’s not at the top of any of my “best of” lists.  Professor Schofield advised that you can’t really objectively analyze something, an art movement, a political figure, a fad–anything worth analyzing–unless several years had transpired and you could have the value of time and distance, contemplation and reflection, to look back with.

So it is with a bit of reservation that I am asserting that the series finale to How I Met Your Mother that aired Monday night should top any list of great finales.  The writers, producers, and actors simply got it just right.  Exactly right.  Airing the first episode of season one just before the finale aired really showcased how this ending was exactly what viewers deserved after nine seasons of sticking with the show.  Consider all the series finales that were promoted over the years, and despite the biggest of viewing audiences, you might find that most last hoorahs miss the mark, try too hard, or just do something that didn’t reflect the best of the series.

Trek TNG All Good Things

The granddaddy of all finales was the 1983 M*A*S*H extended episode “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.”  Although some elements were right, like a bounty of typical and appropriate sad goodbyes, Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, (one of the best characters of all time) after more than a decade of using laughter to beat the odds and help his unit survive the Korean War, cracks at the very end.  NBC’s comedy spy series Chuck made a similar mistake, wiping the memory of Chuck’s hard-earned love interest Sarah after we cheered him on all those years, requiring the story to basically start over from scratch in some far off place after the series wrapped.  Another less than satisfying but at least appropriate-to-the-series finale was the end of the monumental 20th year of the original Law & Order.  We basically got to see a fairly typical episode of the series, which certainly fit the seriousness of the show’s drama.  But we also got a goodbye scene and were left on a positive note with “Lieut’s” good news about her hard-fought illness.

Before that, you might have seen the last episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show on Nick at Nite or other classic rerun network if you weren’t old enough to catch it in its initial run.  The TV network that was the subject of the series fires everyone including Mary at the end, except Ted Knight’s character Ted Baxter.  The annoying guy that we loved for being annoying gets to stay.  A funny series with a funny end, as well as the requisite bittersweet goodbye scene.  A similarly funny sitcom, Psych, wrapped its eighth and final season last month, tying up all its remaining loose ends.  Psych took a different path, taking its angst-inducing character, Detective-then-Chief Lassiter, and with a redemption of sorts, switched up his role in the last two seasons to become a guy viewers could cheer on.

Newhart finale

Another comedy, Newhart, gave us a completely bizarre ending for an otherwise enjoyable comedy series.  Yet it was saved literally in the last two minutes by a brilliantly concocted stunt–bring back Bob’s wife from his original series, The Bob Newhart Show, the lovely Suzanne Pleshette, revealing the whole series was just a dream.  It’s a gimmick that didn’t work for a series like the original Dallas (recall Bobby Ewing died then came back to life with a “poof”), but for a comedy wrap-up, it couldn’t have been better timed.

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ST Archives 1

IDW Publishing is bring back a series of volumes reprinting the original classic Star Trek series originally published by Gold Key Comics, including the memorable photo covers of the Star Trek crew that you might remember from nearly 50 years ago.  The first volume hits the shelves of comic book stores tomorrow and features the first six issues that were originally sold between 1967 and 1969.

If you lost your original issues to time, this new volume will bring back some good ol’ Trek nostalgia for you.  It includes Issue #1 from July 1967, “The Planet of No Return,” and Issue #2 from March 1968, “The Devil’s Isle of Space,” both written by Dick Wood with art by Nevio Zaccara.  You’ll also get Issue #3 from December 1968, “Invasion of the City Builders,” Issue #4 from June 1969, “The Peril of Planet Quick Change,” Issue #5 from September 1969, “The Ghost Planet,” and Issue #6 from December 1969 “When Planets Collide,” all written by Wood with art by Alberto Giolitti.

ST Archives 2 ST Archives 3

Plenty of modern Star Trek comics have done all kinds of things with storytelling and artwork.  But there is something fun about the simplicity of these old stories that will appeal to fans of 1960s comics and the creators’ vision for the future from long ago.

After the break, we’re previewing the first several pages of Star Trek–Gold Key Archives, Volume 1, courtesy of IDW Publishing:

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