Category: Star Trek


Spock Days 2013

Spock Days 2013: Vulcan, Alberta June 7-9

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So my wife Crystal and I made the journey down to Vulcan, Alberta to attend ‘Spock Days’ for the first time. Big “Thank you” to my wife for agreeing to go along with this trip as she is not a Trek fan at all. For those who do not know, Vulcan is a small town in rural Alberta, south of Calgary. The town is celebrating it’s 100 year anniversary this year, so their name predates the original Trek series. But Vulcan tourism came up with the brilliant marketing ploy to capitalize on their name and associate it with Star Trek. For 21 years they have had their town fair as ‘Spock Days’. Spock days is essentially a town fair and Star Trek convention rolled into one. And Vulcan is officially recognized by CBS Studios (which owns the rights to Trek) as the ‘Star Trek Capital of Canada’! Very cool, well cool if you are a Trek fan that lives in Alberta. Back in February I purchased my ‘Captains Tickets’ and I was ready to go. Star Trek: Voyager actors Robert Picardo (the Doctor) and Ethan Philips (Neelix) were there along with Trek illustrator Rick Sternbach. 
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Friday night they had a ‘Meet & Greet’ with the Admiral & Captain ticket holders at the Vulcan Legion Hall. We got to mix and mingle with the celebrity guests. Crystal and I got to meet the actors agents as they sat at our table. Rick Sternbach eventually sat beside me at our table and we had a good Trek conversation. 

I shook hand with Ethan Philips and he asked me about my Toronto Blue Jays hat. We then had a quick conversation about baseball and his fondness for the Jays. I got to shake Robert Picardo’s hand and listen to him tell stories about his acting career. He was drinking a Kokanee beer!! 

Saturday Crystal and I got to see the actors again as they were staying at our hotel in High River. When we got back to Vulcan we attended the parade which was awesome with a lot of cool parade floats and great Trek cosplay. Robert, Ethan and Rick were also part of the parade riding on convertibles. 
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Vulcan was to open their official ‘Trek Museum’, but unfortunately due to issues with CBS they were unable to open this weekend. Much to the disappointment of fans. 

At the school was the ‘Dealers room’ and photo-ops and autographs with the guests. Robert Picardo & Ethan Philips performed a funny comedic stage play prior to the dinner that evening. I also won free ‘Captains tickets’ for the 2014 ‘Spock Days’, so yes I will be returning. 

Overall ‘Spock Days’ was a great experience, I had a great time and met some great people.

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Chris with some cosplayers

Chris Lockhart
@chrisloc1701

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Hey there fellow blog reader and/or podcast listener, Chrisloc1701 here reviewing his second most anticipated film of 2013, and that is of course ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ (with the most anticipated being ‘Man Of Steel’). I was going to try and do a SPOILER free review but it is just impossible with this film so be warned that there will be specific spoilers after my rating. So read on if you wish or watch the film first then come back. Please be sure to leave me a comment on the blog or the Geek Fallout or Random Nerdness Facebook Pages. So here is the rating:

****1/2 (4.5 Stars Out of 5)
A great film and definitely worth going to the theatre if you are a Trek fan or a fan of action/adventure & space sci-fi. Better than the 2009 film in my opinion. 

Spoilers Review:

Well as stated in the rating I thought this film was better than the 2009 ‘Star Trek’ film. This film had it all: action, suspense, interesting story, good acting, good villains, and Zoe Saldana. There are some die hard Trek fans that hate what JJ Abrams has done with the franchise. Even with this ‘alternate timeline’ there are things that they have been done with these films that cannot be explained away by the creation of a new timeline, but I choose to not think too much and enjoy these films for what they are. What Abrams is doing does not take away from what has come before, as Trek fans we must remember that and continue to support theses  films if we are ever to see Trek return to TV. 

‘New’ Characters & Cast:
Anyway getting back to the film, I really thought it was superb. Loved having Peter Weller on as ‘Admiral Marcus’. Benedict Cumberbatch was an excellent addition to the film, however again getting back to the timeline unexplained changes, I hated the fact he was Khan after all. Ricardo Montalban IS Khan and no recasting is necessary. As much as I loved Cumberbatch in this film and all he brought to it I really wish he had been a different villain. Maybe Khan’s younger brother? Alice Eve is a welcome recast as ‘Carol Marcus’, I just wish she had had more screen time and maybe her and Kirk fall in love. Call me a romantic but I would have loved if they had a love story for those two in this movie. 

‘Old’ Characters & Cast:
Welcome back Leonard Nimoy. Loved his brief cameo in the film and to know that old Spock is still alive and ticking, just wished he had made a ‘William Bell’ cameo on the 5th Season of ‘Fringe’… All the actors were once again excellent in their roles. I really wished Bruce Greenwood hadn’t been killed off so soon. I would loved to have seen him make the death sacrifice to save the ship instead of Kirk. Christopher Pike deserved to go out as a hero. Also would have been good to see Kirk learn a thing or two more about command from his Father figure before he died. Not enough Karl Urban in this film!! He is perhaps the best casting of these films and he was totally under used in this film. Also wanted to thank Mr JJ Abrams for putting Zoe Saldana in several skin tight uniforms in this film, WOW she is HOT!!! 

Nit Picks:
 – I HATE all of Abrams unnecessary lens flares. I know people have joked around about Abrams use of them, but in this film I really noticed them and they really started to annoy me. I know they are intended to bring a sense of realism to the movie experience but I already know I am watching a make believe film, I do not need lens flares to fool me into thinking this is real. 

– The Klingons: Again the change to the timeline by Nero and Old Spock in the 2009 film would not explain why the klingons and their homeworld would look so different. I love their use of helmets but I hated their new look. They looked like a Klingon alien cousin or something. The look sucks and there was nothing wrong with the traditional Trek look to the Klingons. A very unnecessary change on Abrams part. 

Overall it was a great film with a few minor nitpicks. Go see this film! Next up on my list is ‘Man Of Steel’ in June, with a review to follow. 
Live Long & Lens Flares!!

Chris Lockhart
@chrisloc1701

Letter to William Shatner

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Recently on Facebook the great William Shatner posted the following:
 
William Shatner
Friends,

I’m looking for true stories on how watching Star Trek (any series) affected your career decisions later in life. Did you go into a career in Science or Aviation or even become an Astronaut due to Star Trek and Science Fiction?

I want to hear your story. Please send me an email of your story on what about Star Trek made you choose your career path. Send a email with your story in the body of the email to: ShatnerScifi@gm ­ail.com

My best, Bill
 
 So I took up the challenge and wrote one of my heroes in life to discuss my career path and how ‘Star Trek’ fits into it:
 
Attention Mr William Shatner:
 
First off allow me to say it is an extreme Honor to be writing you Mr Shatner. With me being a ‘Star Trek’ & ‘Boston Legal’ fan and a Canadian, you are one of my heroes. I had a chance to meet you at the Calgary Expo in 2011 at it was a thrill of a lifetime.
 
Anyway when I graduated high school I was unsure what I wanted to do with my life. I worked for 9 years in the lumber industry but was never really happy with what I was doing for a living. So I did some brainstorming one night and thought about some of the careers paths I admired throughout my life, then I got thinking about ‘Star Trek’. I always loved the characters of Trek, but the ones whose jobs I enjoyed to watch on screen where those of the Engineers. Scotty and Geordi where two characters whose jobs I would want to do if I were on the starship Enterprise. Knowing how the Enterprise really works, being able to fix the problems with the ship when needed, using your mind and hands to save the day really appealed to me. Of course this is fiction and Engineers like Scotty do not exist…but they do.
 
I never really paid much attention to my Dad’s career path. I knew he had a ‘Steam Ticket’ and worked with large rotary kilns which were used to destroy hazardous industrial waste in Alberta, but my Dad never really talked about work with me and he had assumed I was happy with working in the lumber industry. But when I began to talk to my Dad about changing career paths he suggested I take up ‘Power Engineering’. When I asked him what a power engineer does he explained that’s what he is. My Dad as it turns out has a ‘steam ticket’, but it is technically called ‘Power Engineering’, and my Dad has his 4th class ticket. A Power Engineer works in industrial facilities (plants) operating equipment, learning how a plant process works and repairing equipment and process when needed. Put simply, my Dad is a real life ‘Scotty’. Granted he does not work in space, he has not been on a starship, and he’s never been in a bar fight with Klingons, but he in his own way does what Scotty & Geordi did as Engineers, but for the real world.
 
I quit my job in the lumber industry. Now 6 years later I work at a facility where I destroy hazardous waste through the use of large rotary kilns and incineration. Like Scotty I use both my mind and my hands for my job. I work with equipment, I fix equipment when needed, and I finished my schooling for my 5th Class Power Engineering, I am currently studying for the Provincial exam. At the facility where I work I also act as my crews ‘Control Room Operator’. I have 6 computers which I monitor/control and in essence run the facility as we safely destroy waste, making the world a better place. Again like Scotty when he would ‘run’ the Enterprise from engineering, I run our plant from the control room. Very cool, and I am so much happier now with my career choice in life. When people ask me what I do for a living, I say “I’m kinda like Scotty from Star Trek”.
 
I have ‘Star Trek’ and my Dad to thank for showing me the right career path to walk on.
 
Thank you for your time Mr Shatner.
 
Chris Lockhart
@chrisloc1701

DS9: Best Trek Series?!

Hey there fellow podcast listener, this is your pal Chrisloc1701 with another Geek Fallout blog post. This post was previously released on my old ‘Trek1701’ blog, but I thought I would repost it here on the new blog.
 

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I have to say that DS9 may be the best Star Trek series ever made thus far. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge TNG and TOS fan but DS9 just has much more going for it than any other Trek TV series. The creators were able to be creative with this series and were not restrained, especially towards the end of the series. For example they allowed real conflict on this series, the last 2 seasons the characters were fighting in a war. Characters were allowed to change and grow, actors were able to act and writers got to write and see their vision become a reality. They had long reaching story arcs and a supporting cast that got in some cases more screen time than the ‘main’ cast. I loved in particular the long continuing story lines. In the start of season 6 they had 6 episodes that were essentially one big continuing story and the last 10 or so episodes of the 7th and final season followed the same pattern. It was an interesting and rewarding experience for us fans, but it did alienate new viewers who came in and had no idea what was going on. That is probably why TNG was able to create such a big fan and casual fan base, by doing one and done stories. A 2-part episode is all that TNG ever did, where as DS9 would do 3-part, 6-part, 10-part epic stories.
 
DS9 is the best Trek series in my opinion. TNG may have a better cast and better one and done stories, but DS9 overall told a better epic story. And the actors were great too. But if you are a new viewer to the DS9 universe may I suggest that the first 3 seasons can be hard to get through, because they follow the TNG one and done story telling style, but DS9 seasons 4-7 are the best Star Trek ever made.
 
See you next time. Beam me up Scotty!!

Chris Lockhart
@chrisloc1701

Hey there fellow podcast listener, this is your old pal Chris, also known as ‘Chrisloc1701’ with yet another blog post discussing a subject near and dear to my heart: STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION!! I am especially looking forward to re-watching season 3 of this series as it was just released on stunning Blue-Ray. This was originally posted on my ‘Random Nerdness’ blog and my ‘Trek1701’ blog, so I wanted to include this blog in the ‘Geek Fallout’ blog.
 

Season 6:  This was another solid season. Star Trek: Deep Space 9 launched mid-season and TNG viewers saw guest star Colm Meaney (Transporter Chief O’Brien) and his family transfer to DS9. Season 6 also marked the end of Whoopi Goldberg’s tenure on the TNG series. She only appeared on 3 episodes and never returned. Her character made no official exit and I to this day I am not sure why she never returned to TNG in season 7. TNG needed a shake-up and they got it in the great 2 part episode ‘Chain Of Command’ with Picard being transferred and Ronny cox coming on board as ‘Captain Edward Jellico’. Jellico was a very strict commanding officer who was hard to please and this created great drama for the actors, especially Rikers epic confrontation with Jellico. Also in that 2 parter Picard was captured by Cardassians and actor Patrick Stewart got to play one of his best performances as Picard. Also James Doohan from the original series returned as ‘Scotty’ in the great episode ‘Relics’. Despite having such a great season it ended with TNG’s worst cliffhanger episode, ‘Descent’ which featured the lame return of the Borg and Data’s evil brother ‘Lore’. It would prove to be a preview of things to come in season 7…

Season 7: Aside from season 1 and 2, season 7 proved to be one of the worst in TNG. There were not many good episodes this season and sadly it would be their last as TNG was being groomed for the silver screen and ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ was being prepped for launch on the upcoming ‘UPN’ network. TNG just suffered extremely creatively this season. I’m not sure if the fact that DS9 was running and Voyager was being prepped that TNG didn’treceive the creative attention it needed. There were more bad episodes than good ones, and many plotlines that had been building for several seasons were not resolved by the end of the show. The series finale ‘All Good Things’ proved to be a terrible send off for the TNG series as the events in that episode didn’t really happen. TNG should have gone out in a blaze of glory, but it didn’t.
 
Despite all the growing pains TNG had, it still is tied with DS9 as being my favourite Trek series. Besides certain creative people holding the show back, I think what held TNG back was that it was limited by the era in which it was created. TNG was the first series in modern television that tried to do the things it did, but it was held back by the limitations of the time. Special effects were very costly and time consuming to produce which is why there were very few big battle scenes and the TNG crew often talked their way out of battles or just missed them (Wolf 359). Cheaper computer generated special effects really did not become the standard until the 4th season of DS9, 1995 or so. But I feel these limitations just made the writers work hard and thus TNG has several of the best Trek franchise episodes. TNG is a great series and is worth watching, but beware of seasons 1, 2 and 7 which are the worst of the series.

And that concludes my discussion on the TNG TV series. But I’m sure to be discussing it again. Thanks for reading and be sure to listen to the ‘Geek Fallout’ podcast!

Live Long And Prosper!!

Chris Lockhart
@chrisloc1701

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Hey there fellow podcast listener, this is your old pal Chris, also known as ‘Chrisloc1701’ with yet another blog post discussing a subject near and dear to my heart: STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION!! I am especially looking forward to re-watching season 3 of this series as it was just released on stunning Blue-Ray. This was originally posted on my ‘Random Nerdness’ blog and my ‘Trek1701’ blog, so I wanted to include this blog in the ‘Geek Fallout’ blog.
 
Season 3:  This is perhaps in my opinion the best season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This was the season when they came out of the shadow of the Original series and became their own Trek. I think this was in huge part due to behind the scenes creative changes. Roddenberry  stepped back due to health issues and Rick Berman took over. He brought on board the creative talents of Micheal Piller and Ron Moore, who would later go on the produce the ‘new’ Battlestar Galactica. Season 3 saw the beginning of the ‘cold war’ between the Federation and the Romulan Empire. The Romulans were present in 3 of the seasons best episodes, ‘The Enemy’, ‘The Defector’ and ‘Tin Man’. They introduced new costumes and fixed up the set in certain areas to make the show look a little better. Season 3 saw the return of  Dr Beverly Crusher and the apparent departure of Dr Pulaski. apparently the producers and actress Diane Mulder were not happy with the character and what she added to the second season so Dr Crusher was brought back. Season 3 also saw the return of Lt Tasha Yar in the brilliant episode ‘Yesterdays Enterprise’ which saw an alternate time line form after the Enterprise-C travels 22 years into the present future. ‘Yesterdays Enterprise’ is without a doubt one of the best Trek franchise episodes of all time. Patrick Stewart and Whoopi Goldberg in particular were amazing in that episode. TNG made a direct connection with the original series when Spock’s father, Ambassador Sarek, made a great guest appearance in the episode ‘Sarek’. Data created a ‘daughter’ android in a very moving episode ‘The Offspring’. Finally Wesley Crusher was made a full Ensign. Despite most fans misgivings with the character of Wesley Crusher, I really liked him. I was just a 10 year old kid watching the 3rd season and I really could identify with the character of Wesley Crusher. This season we also got to see for the first time the Klingon home world and the inner workings of the Klingon High Council, and we discover that Worf has a brother in Commander Kern (played by Tony Todd). Now finally we get to the high point of this season, perhaps the best episode of Star Trek ever produced: Best Of Both Worlds Part I. The seemingly invincible Borg have sent a cube/ship to Federation space to ‘assimilate’ the Federations people and technology, to make them part of their ‘Collective’. The season ends with an epic confrontation between the Enterprise and the Borg with Picard being captured and ‘assimilated’ becoming the voice for the Borg, also known as ‘Locutus’. The season ends with Commander Riker ordering the Enterprise to fire on the Borg ship which will seemingly both destroy the Borg and the Enterprise too… BEST CLIFFHANGER EVER!!!  Picard is now a villain, Riker has to destroy his friend and Captain… very cool shit. this marked the first Trek cliffhanger as part 2 would not air until later that year in the fall as the first episode of the 4th season. It made for a very long summer…

Season 4:  After a long summers wait we finally got to see the fall out in part 2 of ‘Best Of Both Worlds’. Or should I say lack of fallout. don’t get me wrong I liked part 2 but everything wrapped up too soon and there was little change following the end of the season premiere. Riker was promoted to Captain of the Enterprise for 40 minutes but had to step down when they rescued Picard.  The events of Wolf 359 would have lasting effects in the Trek universe but the whole Borg invasion was wrapped up too soon and too easily. TNG never really attempted to create long lasting significant story arcs, like they did on DS9, and the Borg invasion should have stretched out for several episodes instead of wrapping up in just one episode. But that being said season 4 was still a great season. Not much changed this season except for the fact that Wil Wheaton left the series, Wesley Crusher finally got to go to Starfleet Academy.  they did some good episodes this season too, and the Romulan cold war continued to build leading into the season finale where Worf resigned his Starfleet Commission to fight in the Klingon Civil War, which was being engineered by the Duras family with help from the romulans. But the shocking conclusion to the season was the reveal that the Romulan causing all the trouble was the daughter of Tasha Yar, Commander Sela, who was the product of the alternate time line Tasha from the 3rd season episode ‘Yesterdays Enterprise’. Sela too was portrayed by Denise Crosby. I had heard the reason she left the show initially in the 1st season was to pursue a film career, which it seems didn’t work out so well for her. Maybe that’s why she kept returning to the show despite her character being dead.  The focus on season 4 was ‘Family’ and we got to meet several members of the enterprise crew’s family, including Worf’s son Alexander. It is amazing how Klingons, who are partly human, can age so fast! Alexander would have been born during the 3rd season yet at the beginningof the 4th season he appears to be a 4-5 year old child. Maybe they age in dog years? TNG also surpassed the original series this season by reaching episode 80, TOS only made 79 episodes. Both Jonathan Frakes and Patrick Stewart got to direct episodes this season, with Frakes directing one of the best TNG episodes ‘The Drumhead’.

Season 5:  Again TNG wrapped up the Klingon Civil War story quickly in the season premiere. It would have been cool to see this be an extended multi-episode storyline too. This was a great season again with several memorable episodes including the 2 part episode ‘Unification’, which featured the return and death of Sarek and the guest appearance of Leonard Nimoy as ‘Ambassador Spock’. The Unification 2-parter seemed to mark the end to the Romulan Cold war story thread. Michelle Forbes joined the series as ‘Ensign Ro’ for several episodes. The season ends with another cliffhanger featuring TNG’s first time travel story. Behind the scenes TNG creator Gene Roddenberry passed away. Despite my criticism of Roddenberry he did create this franchise and without him there may have never been anything like this on Television. The loss of Roddenberry was a very sad time indeed and he will never be forgotten.

Till next time, see you in the future!

Chris Lockhart
@chrisloc1701

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Hey there fellow podcast listener, this is your pal from the Geek Fallout & Random Nerdness podcasts submitting my first entry to the Geek Fallout blog. For those who know me from the shows or from real life know that I am a huge fan of Star Trek, so I wanted to share with you an essay I wrote about TNG.

This was originally posted on my ‘Random Nerdness’ blog, then my ‘Trek1701’ blog, so I wanted to include this blog in the new Geek Fallout blog.

Star Trek: The Next Generation:

I didn’t watch TNG until it was in it’s third season. At first I was a little critical of this new series. Captain Kirk was my Captain, his crew was the only crew I wanted to see. Being a 7 year old kid I just didn’t understand why they couldn’t do a new TV series with the original cast. Also at that time my family lived in an area where TNG was not available on the air waves. But when we moved to our acreage in 1989 I was able to start watching TNG, now in it’s third season, for the first time. I soon forgot my misgivings of them not using the original cast and quickly embraced this new cast of intergalactic travellers.

It was easy for me to get hooked into this series having watched it for the first time in it’s third season, because in retrospect it was probably the series best season. Some of the finest episodes ever made in Star Trek can be found in the 3rd season of TNG. I’ll break down each individual season and give you my take on each:

Season 1: Is probably the worst season this series did. it had many bad episodes and had this show not been on syndication it probably would have been cancelled. It definitely would have been cancelled by today’s TV standards. Gene Roddenberry was tapped to re-create the magic that is Star Trek. Problem is although Roddenberry created the original series he was not the one who made it what it was. In fact in this writers opinion Roddenberry penned some of the worst Trek stories ever done. The pilot episode ‘Encounter At Farpoint’ , written by Roddenberry is the worst Trek pilot ever made. The only shining light in that pilot episode was John De’Lancie as the god-like ‘Q’, which was really a rip-off of the original series character ‘Trelane’ from the TOS episode ‘The Squire Of Gothos’. Also Roddenberry ripped-off his own character ideas from ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’, as the characters of Riker and Troi were almost exactly like Decker and Ilia from the film. The entire first season was filled with bad scripts, bad special effects, bad sets. The only thing that saved this show, beside it being in syndication, was the actors and make-up artists. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Levar Burton, Brent Spiner and the rest of the cast by the end of the season had stepped into their roles and were starting to work well together. However the death of Denise Crosby’s character ‘Tasha Yar’ in no way affected the series in my opinion. She added nothing to the show and her death made way for Worf to step up and Michael Dorn too. Before that Dorn/Worf was just a background character.

Season 2: This season was a little better than the first. actually it was a lot better in many ways. Levar Burton’s character was promoted from being ship navigator to being Chief Engineer, a very important position in the original series made famous by Scotty. Why Roddenberry didn’t have a member of the main cast be the chief engineer in the first season is very odd to me. But things got set right when Geordi was made the Chief Engineer. Doctor Crusher, played by Gates McFadden was replaced in season 2 by Dr Pulaski played by Dianne Mulder. She was an older woman set in her ways much like Dr. McCoy from the original series. Again it appeared as though Roddenberry didn’t have an original idea to use in TNG. Despite her crankiness and her constant putting down of ‘Data’, I actually liked the Dr Pulaski character and I know I probably am the only one who does like that character. Season 2 also saw Whoopi Goldberg join the cast as a regular guest star as the ’10 Forward’ bartender ‘Guinan’. This was an original idea I liked. Goldberg is a very funny lady and I loved seeing her in every episode she did on the series. Season 2 had some high points like seeing the ‘Romulans’ appear and the introduction of the Borg. Season 2 had the weakest finales ever in television as it was essentially a ‘flashback’ episode from Rikers perspective. Season 2 was better, the characters started falling into place as far as the roles they would be playing. But they were still in the shadow of the original series at this point, but they would come into their own in season 3…

More from my essay soon. Same blog time, same blog channel!!!

Chris Lockhart (aka: Chrisloc1701)