Just think: up until a few months ago, the Star Trek franchise was nothing but a corpse for J.J. Abrams to piss on. Sure, Star Wars had long since been ruined, but at least George Lucas was able to make a few bucks while insulting and alienating his previously loyal army of freaks and geeks. Not only did Star Trek’s most recent film pull about $10 in global box office, but its last television series got thrown off UPN — that’s UPN, for Christ’s sake — the network that one year later was forced to merge with the fucking WB in order to survive. The once mighty juggernaut that brought Shatner to the hungry, desperate masses, introduced Patrick Stewart to a not-altogether-indifferent American audience, and catapulted Colm Meaney to immortality — tossed into the trash by the broadcast home of Friday Night SmackDown!
Yes, lonely virgins, those were dark days indeed. But look where we are now! The new film, Star Trek, is set to debut worldwide in five days, riding a wave of ecstatic early reviews and inescapable media hype toward what is sure to be a monstrous opening weekend. Even if the movie turns out to be a total dog, it will be the first super-blockbuster in the forty-three-year history of Star Trek. For the first time in a long time — ever, I would argue — Star Trek is hip.
What better time to post a bunch of Trek-related articles in order to dupe curious, unsuspecting nerds into visiting my blog? Presenting . . .
Monday, May 4
The Ten Best Star Trek Films (Before This One). Star Trek is more of a TV thing. Still, this Friday the eleventh big-screen spin-off of that silly ‘60s sci-fi show opens in theaters all over the world. That’s almost twice as many as the Star Wars series, for those of you trying to keep track. Of the ten previous Trek films, some have been pretty good and some have been bad enough that I’m pretty sure they contributed to a few murder/suicides. Which ones are which? Not to worry — I, author of this little-seen fourth-rate blog, have settled the issue once and for all by ranking all ten of the pre-reboot Trek movies from best to worst. Here’s a brief preview: Generations is not #1.
Tuesday, May 5
The Baddest Asses in the Galaxy: Star Trek’s Top Villains. Throughout its various incarnations, it’s been the captains of Star Trek who’ve gotten the most attention. Fair enough, since they’re always the stars of the show — but where would they be without the bad guys? What fun would it be to watch Captain Picard without the Borg? Or Sisko without Gul Dukat? Or Kirk without herpes genitalis? Not very damn much, buddy. That’s what. And since arbitrary lists ranking trivial things are fun to write and even more fun to bitch about, here’s one I made ranking the five best villains in all of old school Star Trek, from the original series up through Enterprise — though nobody from Enterprise has any reason to pay attention. If you know what I’m sayin’. (There are no Enterprise characters on the list. That’s what I’m sayin’.)
Wednesday, May 6
Nowhere Man is a Great Fucking Show — Or at Least It Was. What I’m really looking forward to from Star Trek — way more than the new cast taking on the classic characters, way more than Eric Bana’s angry time-jumping Romulan, way more even than the cameo by Leonard Nimoy’s desiccated mummy — is seeing Captain Pike as portrayed by Bruce “Motherfucking” Greenwood. To mark the occasion of one of my favorite actors getting a major role in a surefire blockbuster that actually has an outside shot at not being one of the worst films of all time (unlike, say, I, Robot), I take a fond look back at Bruce’s old UPN series, Nowhere Man. It came and went when I was fifteen years old, and I never forgot it. I’ve since been forced to admit that, objectively, it wasn’t as good as I thought it was at the time. But it’s still one of the coolest shows I’ve ever seen. Here’s to you, Thomas Veil. I know you’ll make a way better Captain Pike than that guy who played Jesus.
Thursday, May 7
Who’s Who on the Enterprise Bridge Crew. Producers of Star Trek have introduced new casts many times over the last forty-some years, but the new Star Trek film by J.J. Abrams marks the first time that fresh regulars have inherited classic characters. From now on, William Shatner is not Captain Kirk but rather “the first Captain Kirk,” and Leonard Nimoy not just Spock but “the old Spock who takes dirty pictures.” Still, despite the fact that they’re essentially starting over, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and their merry band of greenhorns are getting the chance to redefine some of the most iconic characters in our popular culture (or, in Anton Yelchin’s case, a character who often stood in the same room as some of the most iconic characters in our popular culture). Before we see the film and find out who the classic Trek crew are now, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at who they have been — highlights and lowlights, memorable lines, all that shit. So that’s what I did. And now you get to read it.
Friday, May 8
“This Side of Barrel Dice”. The latest in my series of sophomoric comics assembled from the dismembered carcass of the original Star Trek TV series. This one combines two of my favorite themes: Captain Kirk’s all-consuming self-obsession, and maliciously mocking sci-fi nerds.
Saturday, May 9
Film Review: Star Trek. Well? After all this — month after month of hype, a plot shrouded in secrecy, a cast of untested unknowns taking on the most beloved characters in science fiction — is the movie even any good? Just hold onto your shit for a few minutes, and I’ll tell you. (As if you haven’t seen it already. Disingenuous motherfucker.)
Sunday, May 10
Why Star Trek is Better Than Star Wars. The Civil War of nerd-dom, ever raging, never ceasing. For as much as I kid the Trekkies (and by “kid” I of course mean “pelt with savage verbal assaults at every opportunity”), and though I do enjoy Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back somethin’ fierce, in this fight I’ve got to side with Kirk, Spock, Picard and Sisko. And it has nothing to do with the new Star Trek, and very little to do with the cynical and god-awful prequels George Lucas has stamped out in the last decade. Trek’s always been the better franchise. Here’s why.