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Star Trek Turns Fifty and Other News Around the Net!

September 12th, 2016

Last Thursday, Star Trek turned 50 years old!  Wow!  It was fifty years ago that NBC aired the first episode of Trek, “The Man Trap.”  It’s unbelievable that this franchise has lasted for fifty years.  I have loved Star Trek for as long as I can remember.  Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the first movie that I remember ANTICIPATING before its release to theatres.  (After I saw the movie, I had to go back and re-watch the first three with my dad because I didn’t remember what had happened to the Enterprise or to Spock!!)  I was so excited when I heard that Trek was returning to TV with the release of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and for the next two decades Trek, in its various TV incarnations, was a weekly appointment for me.  In recent years, the production of new official Star Trek on-screen adventures has dwindled, but my love for the franchise has continued and I have deeply enjoyed Pocket Books’ continuing series of Trek novels and so many of the amazing Trek fan film projects.

In this wonderful article, Devin Faraci from passionately argues that, no pressure, he needs the in-production new Trek show Star Trek: Discovery to save the world.  I love this article, as Mr. Faraci is able to perfectly crystalize why Trek is so important, specifically its emphasis on the values of science and tolerance.  Star Trek “tells us that there’s a hopeful future where humans will stop being en masse assholes to one another, but it also tells us that it’s our responsibility to get there.”  In an equally great follow-up piece, Mr. Faraci suggests that a key reason why Trek has endured for fifty years is because it is so much FUN.  He writes: “I’m a Trekkie because I like watching the adventures of the Starship Enterprise and her crews. I like seeing ships go to warp and I like seeing phasers being shot. I like watching Captain Kirk down someone with his patented two-fisted punch. I like seeing cool aliens and I like the bright colors in the hallways in the first two seasons of The Original Series. I like the strange new worlds and I like the crazy scifi concepts that fuel the stories. I like seeing the crew bounce off one another and I like knowing that, in the end, they’re always there for each other. I like the moral conundrums and I like the hot women in miniskirts. I like watching the actors throw themselves across the bridge and I like watching the actors be called upon to deliver truly heartbreaking moments of emotional sincerity. I like the fucking and fighting and I like the philosophizing and the moralizing. I like the silly episodes and I like the classic, heavy moments. I have fun watching Star Trek.”  And he continues: “Every night on channel 11, WPIX, I would watch. I had a TV in my bedroom, a small one, and I would stay up too late and watch the reruns, played in haphazard order, unless football ran long. If the game ran long it would be yet another instance of the jocks keeping down the nerds, but on so many nights I was able to struggle through and watch and be transported. I might fall asleep before the end, my dreams merging into the candy-colored fantasia of the show, but I stayed up because it was fun. This wasn’t a duty, this wasn’t a dry experience of nerdly intentions but rather a full-on celebration of the shit that I loved.”  I, too, watched Trek reruns for years on WPIX channel 11!! has had a ton of great Trek-centric articles this week.  I particularly loved this one: “Star Trek is My Best Love.”  Here’s a great excerpt: “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I became enamored with Star Trek during the period when one captain was black and the other was a woman. It meant everything in the world to me that Star Trek wasn’t only diverse, but that its main characters were. And that no one made those jokes about them. It meant everything in the world to me that Star Trek presented a future where a woman who had the same first name as me could be in charge. It meant everything to me to see female characters with stories that weren’t romances. It meant everything to me to see all of this depicted in our future. Star Trek still means the world to me.”

This article praising “Journey to Babel” as embodying everything perfect about Star Trek is a great read.  And I agree, “Journey to Babel” is a spectacular episode.  I feel a little bad about leaving it off my list of my twenty favorite Trek episodes of all time.

This is a great article that tells the story of the memorable punk rocker from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home!

This is a great look back at the Star Trek remastered project that is, gasp, already ten years old.  In this project from 2006-08 that predates the more recent magnificent updating of Star Trek: The Next Generation for HD, a team at CBS Digital overseen by Mike & Denise Okuda cleaned up and restored all 79 Original Series episodes to prepare them to be viewed in HD.  Additionally, they replaced many/most of the outdated 1960’s visual effects shots with new CGI effects.  For the restoration work alone this project was admirable, as we can now enjoy the entire Original Series looking pretty amazing on blu-ray in HD.  And personally, I really dig the new CGI effects and now when I watch a classic Trek episode I usually choose to watch with the updated effects.  (Thankfully, the Classic Trek blu-rays include BOTH versions of every episode, and I hope all future home video releases will do the same.)

Are you looking for some Star Trek gifs?  Then look no further!

This hilarious tumblr explores the many crazy fashions of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I’ll wrap up this Star Trek goodness with this phenomenal fan-made video in honor of Trek’s 40th anniversary, which is just as awesome here on Trek’s 50th:

Moving on to non-Trek-related fun:

This is SO FUNNY — the Suicide Squad sales pitch:

Click here for my review of Suicide Squad, though that video above does a far better job at eviscerating that ridiculous movie.

What if Rogue One starred Jar Jar Binks?

Forget Batman, I am far more interested in Ben Affleck’s latest film (which he directed and stars in), Live by Night, adapted from a Dennis Lehane novel:

Christopher Guest has a new movie for the first time in a decade!  I was very let-down by For Your Consideration all those years ago, but this teaser for Mascots looks great.  I can’t wait:

And, apparently, Mr. Guest is reprising the role of Corky St. Clair in the film??  That’s very exciting!

OK, I said I was done with the Star Trek stuff but this one has a Trek connection — here’s Brent Spiner as Donald Trump’s doctor.  Amazing.

There are some great suggestions in the comments thread of this piece asking “what is the best single run on a comic book ever?”

This is a terrific article focusing on Gene Wilder’s wonderful performance in The Frisco Kid.  This movie has been forgotten by many today, but I absolutely adore it.  Harrison Ford and Gene Wilder were spectacular together.

This is intriguing: Donald Westlake’s “lost” James Bond story, Forever and a Death, is now being published as a novel?  Cool!

This is a fantastic interview with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer that covers a lot of ground, with some particularly juicy tidbits about the upcoming Dark Tower film (about which I am nervous but ho boy do I really hope it will be good) and Mr. Howard’s new Beatles documentary (which I am very eager to see).  It’s a great read.

I’ll leave you with this: the phenomenal and hilarious Comic-Con short that details what Thor was doing during the events of Captain America: Civil War.

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