STAR TREK CONTINUES releases their 10TH EPISODE: “To Boldly Go, Part 1”!

Ten down, just one more to go!

Back in 2013, STAR TREK CONTINUES came in like a lion with a sequel to the TOS episode “Who Mourns for Adonais” that featured Michael Forest reprising his role as Apollo.

Now, as 2017 comes to an end, so does the 5-year mission of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 as Star Trek Continues goes out with a bang!  Their series finale “To Boldly Go” is making its debut to the public today with the first of two parts.  The conclusion will debut in 11 days at a live screening at L.A. Comic Con, and then the final episode of STC will be released onto the Internet for the general public on November 13.

Both parts were written by noted Canadian sci-fi author ROBERT J. SAWYER (his first-ever work for STC).  He is one of eight authors in history to win all three of the science-fiction field’s highest honors for best novel of the year: the Hugo Award (which he won for Hominids), the Nebula Award (which he won for The Terminal Experiment); and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (which he won for Mindscan).  Sawyer is a huge Star Trek fan, which you’ll be able to tell almost immediately when you watch the episode.

NICOLA BRYANT with the 6th Doctor, COLIN BAKER, in 1986…and today in the penultimate episode of STC.

I don’t want to give away any plot spoilers, so with the exception of gushing about a top-level performance by guest star NICOLA BRYANT (companion “Peri Brown” to the 5th and 6th Doctors on Doctor Who), I’ll simply tell you to note how awesome the music sounds.  A full orchestra made up of more than 40 student musicians from New York’s Empire Film Music Ensemble in Rochester, as well as several professional instrumentalists, recorded the brilliant compositions of Andy Farber.

While Star Trek: Discovery darkly reminds us that it is now 2017, this penultimate episode of STC is a like a warm, comfortable blanket wrapping us up once again in the TV magic of the 1960s (or if you weren’t there in the 60’s, then the 70’s or whenever you first discovered TOS).

Perhaps more than any other episode of STC, “To Boldly Go” will remind you of everything that Star Trek was, is, and can be when there is love and dedication…something the STC team has shared with us fans during the course of their own five-year mission.

And now, please enjoy the first half of this most wonderful gift to Star Trek fandom…

Are YOU a CAPTAIN LORCA? Am I??? (editorial review)

Spoiler warning!   Beige Alert!

“Choose Your Pain.”

That was the title of the fifth and possibly best-yet episode of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY.  Like many of the strongest stories of literature and cinema, the title “Choose Your Pain” works on multiple levels.

  • “Choose your pain” is what the Klingons say to the captives on their prison ship before beating the living crap out of one of them.
  • Michael Burnham is, arguably, choosing her pain when she holds onto the loss of Captain Georgiou and wallows in her seemingly endless morass of un-Vulcan-like self-pity and guilt.
  • Saru, likewise, is holding onto the loss of Captain Georgiou but also to his pain at having not been chosen to be her first officer and thereby not being able to learn from her experience and wisdom in the same way Burnham did.
  • Captain Lorca can and should get his eyes fixed, but he chooses not to.  He holds onto the pain the light causes him and lives in mostly dark places, a harsh reminder of the heartrending decision he made during his previous command of the USS Buran.

(Please note, there’s a theory currently making its way around fandom that the Lorca we’ve seen so far is actually a Mirror Universe counterpart of the “real” Lorca.  The reason the Buran was destroyed was to eliminate any witnesses—including the “good” Lorca—and that the whole interchange was orchestrated by Section 31 in order to acquire a captain who knew how to be ruthless in fighting the Klingons.  The reason that Lorca refuses to get his eyes fixed—a problem stemming from being transported to this universe—is that he doesn’t want the doctors to discover what he really is.)

Obviously, my blog today assumes that the above theory is NOT the case.  Instead, let’s just assume that Lorca is merely a man who was forced to make a tragic decision to destroy his ship and kill his crew to save them all from slow, painful deaths on Qo’Nos.  For this, Lorca has chosen to keep his pain as a reminder…and potentially as self punishment for what he did.

Like Lorca, I and many other Trek fans who are either not watching the show or frequently complaining about it are choosing to hold onto our “pain.”  We simply can’t seem to let go of our issues with the new series and  enjoy Star Trek: Discovery for everything it gives to us as fans.  Like Lorca, we choose to continue living in our dark places.

In short, WE ARE LORCA! Continue reading “Are YOU a CAPTAIN LORCA? Am I??? (editorial review)”

The BEST TWO Trek fan films you’ve NEVER seen! (interview with AARON VANDERKLEY, Part 2)

Last week, we met AARON VANDERKLEY, the Australian filmmaker behind the two excellent Trek fan films, NEEDS OF THE MANY and THE DERELICT.  After graduating with a Bachelor of Media degree, majoring in Screen Production, with minors in both Scriptwriting and Screen Acting, the 24-year-old Aaron went on to do film production professionally in Western Australia.

As I did in Part 1 of this interview—to avoid you folks inadvertently reading any spoilers—I heartily recommend that you watch the two fan films first (last week, about a thousand people did so) and then read the interview:

And now, let’s conclude an awesome interview with Aaron Vanderkley…

Continue reading “The BEST TWO Trek fan films you’ve NEVER seen! (interview with AARON VANDERKLEY, Part 2)”

Why STAR TREK: DISCOVERY makes me sad… (editorial)

WARNING – some spoilers from the fourth episode of  Discovery.  Read at your own risk.

It seems that I’m now doing weekly reviews/ editorials about this show.  Not sure how long I’ll keep it up, but with each new episode, I realize something else that I want to share with you guys.

But before I do that…!

I AM ENJOYING STAR TREK: DISCOVERY!!!  It’s a very well-written and well-produced show with strong visual effects, amazing production values, fast-paced editing, interesting characters, fantastic music, and a very compelling story line.  It’s excellent television, and I am truly entertained when I watch it.

But it’s still not Star Trek to me.

Star Trek doesn’t make me feel sad about the present and possibly the future as well.  Star Trek doesn’t remind me of how much the world has changed (for the worse) since the terrorist attacks of 9-11.  Instead, Star Trek gives me hope for a BETTER future than what we have now.

Star Trek always made me believe that human beings can and will achieve something better for ourselves and for others.  Want to make America great, or better yet, make the world great?  Then make HUMANITY better, and the rest of what we do will follow.  Star Trek used to demonstrate those possibilities to me…episode after wondrous episode.

So why does Star Trek: Discovery make me feel sad?  And why the heck do I have pictures of a Pakled, Hugh the Borg, the USS Voyager alongside the USS Equinox, and the Tardigrade creature from this week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery?

Because I’d like to make a point about this new series—one of many, I admit, but continuing on with my central theme that, as good as this show is, it isn’t “my” Star Trek…and why that makes me sad.

Continue reading “Why STAR TREK: DISCOVERY makes me sad… (editorial)”

The BEST TWO Trek fan films you’ve NEVER seen! (interview with AARON VANDERKLEY, Part 1)

Fan films like Star Trek: Horizon, Prelude to Axanar, Star Trek: Renegades, Star Trek Continues, and New Voyages have been viewed millions and millions of times on YouTube….and with good reason.  All are excellent productions of professional-level quality.

But those are the “big fish” in the fan film pond.  Two much smaller fish have swum underneath the sonar and haven’t been noticed by more than a couple of thousand viewers each…which is a shame because they are two of the best, highest quality Star Trek fan films you’re likely to see!

They didn’t have mega-budgets like some fan films, nor did they use big-name Hollywood actors or Trek veteran producers.  In fact, there isn’t even a VFX space shot in either.  What’s more, neither violates any of the fan film guidelines, coming in at 6 and a half minutes and 12 minutes respectively.

The first of these two films, THE NEEDS OF THE MANY, was released in January of 2016 (five months before the guidelines were ever announced) and the second, THE DERELICT, debuted just last month on the 51st anniversary of Star Trek.

Both short films take place during the Enterprise NX-01 era and use real, practical sets instead of green screen.  The costumes look amazing, and the actors do a really spectacular job.  Add in subtle lightning, great make-up, excellent camera work, a strong script, solid directing, and even top-notch editing, and these two fan films can easily take their place among some of the best ones so far.

So who made these two masterpieces, and how did they manage to do such a FANtastic job for so little?  For the answers, we need to travel all the way to the land down under…

Continue reading “The BEST TWO Trek fan films you’ve NEVER seen! (interview with AARON VANDERKLEY, Part 1)”

Is CARLOS PEDRAZA a liar or just a lousy journalist? (editorial)

“Lie.”

It’s a strong word, and it’s one I don’t like to use on this blog if I can avoid it.  It implies both intent to mislead as well as the act itself.  It’s not a nice thing to do, nor is it a nice thing to accuse someone else of doing.

As far as ALEC PETERS is concerned, CARLOS PEDRAZA (the “journalist” who writes the obsessively hyper-critical Axamonitor blogs) is an outright liar when it comes to all things AXANAR.  Alec has often asked me why I don’t call Carlos out on his lies here in this blog…especially when they are so obvious.

Not so fast, Alec.

It’s not that cut and dried for me.  I draw a distinction between lying and simply bad journalism.  For example, when Carlos mistakenly reported the wrong location for the new Georgia studio for Axanar Productions, that wasn’t knowingly a lie.  Carlos had been fed bad information, rushed to publish it before confirming his facts, and was later called out on it.  To me, that was not lying; it was simply sloppy reporting.  And to his credit, Carlos was quick to correct the misinformation and apologize.

And as I commented here in a recent editorial, Carlos is renown for reporting only PART of the facts and leaving out almost anything that works against his primary goal of discrediting Axanar.  For example, take a look at this screen cap from a blog Carlos wrote on September 5, 2017

Notice that Carlos says “…all of which was spent without a single frame of Axanar shot in the studio.”  Makes it sound like nothing was produced at all, right?  Of course, the 3-minute Vulcan scene—the thing that reportedly got Axanar Productions sued—was shot outside of the studio in the parking lot, NOT inside.  See what Carlos did there?  Clever!

But reporting only half the truth with the intent to mislead is still not technically lying…even though Carlos does it a lot.  He even does it with his own resume when he lists himself as a “former Associated Press writer.” If you google “Carlos Pedraza” and “Associated Press,” you’ll discover, as I did, that Carlos wrote one—just one—article for the AP back in 1988.  (It was a fluff piece about a new wave folk-singing trio in Seattle called Uncle Bonsai.)  Yes, Carlos did write for the AP…one article…29 years ago.

So by sharing some facts but leaving out certain others, Carlos can “color” the truth.  But now it seems to me that Carlos Pedraza may have finally crossed that line between bad journalism and outright lying.  Read on and decide for yourself…

Continue reading “Is CARLOS PEDRAZA a liar or just a lousy journalist? (editorial)”

My real problem with DISCOVERY – the ship is full of D*CKS! (editorial / supplemental review)

Captain’s blog, supplemental.  While I’m going to try to keep this follow-up review less spoiler-y than my last one, a few minor spoilers might creep in.  Consider this your official warning.

My STAR TREK: DISCOVERY review from last Thursday certainly hit a lot of nerves, but it also gave a lot of people an incorrect impression that I didn’t like the new series and that I wanted CBS to fail.  What I actually said was that I didn’t feel like Discovery was “my” Star Trek—the Star Trek that I have held in my heart for these past five decades.

And yes, when it comes to imagining what a war with the Klingons would have looked like a decade or two before Kirk, my “head canon” will remain with Axanar, and I’ll think of Discovery as some kind of alternate universe like the JJ Abrams movies.

But that doesn’t mean that think Discovery is a bad show or that I won’t be watching it.  In fact, last night at a friend’s home, I had a chance to see the third episode of the new series, “Context Is for Kings.”

So, is Discovery STILL not “my” Star Trek…or did they manage to change my mind?

Continue reading “My real problem with DISCOVERY – the ship is full of D*CKS! (editorial / supplemental review)”

PLEASE HELP! STAR TREK MUSEUM needs $10,000 from fans in 24 hours!

Attention!  All hands in deck!

Some of you may have heard of the TREKCETERA Star Trek Museum that had been located in the small town of Vulcan, Alberta, Canada.  The museum was fully licensed by CBS with displays that included props, costumes, and set pieces used in various Star Trek movies and TV series.

BUT WITHOUT YOUR HELP TODAY, THE MUSEUM IS IN DANGER OF DISAPPEARING FOREVER!

From 2013-2016, the museum did modest business in the town of Vulcan.  But last year, the owners, Devan J. Daniels and Michael Carl Mangold (both huge Trekkers who had sunk their life savings into this museum) made the difficult decision to move out of the perfectly-named town of Vulcan (about 90 minutes from Calgary) to the not-so perfectly-named town of Drumheller, Alberta (about the same distance away from Calgary).

Why the move?

Unfortunately, the perfectly-named Vulcan is off the beaten track and didn’t bring in a lot of foot traffic.  Drumheller, on the other hand, is located in “Dinosaur Valley” and gets a half million visitors a year to see dinosaur fossils in the nearby badlands, a huge dinosaur museum, and even the world’s tallest dinosaur statue.  And if you’ve got kids who love dinosaurs, maybe they love sci-fi, too…?

Relocating was a smart move.  In just five months after reopening in Drumheller, the TREKCETERA Star Trek Museum made TRIPLE  that they had made in ALL of 2016 in Vulcan.

Devan J. Daniels and Michael Carl Mangold put their heart, soul, and life savings into the TREKCETERA Star Trek Musuem.

But moving wasn’t cheap, and it required Devan and Michael to take out a large loan to help fund the move to the new location and the construction costs of converting the new building to hold their Trek exhibits.

While business is growing and the debt is being repaid, the burden is high, and the owners are looking at a default this week.  However, they do have ONE LIFELINE…and YOU CAN HELP!

Their lender has agreed to restructure their entire debt to a lower interest rate and payment schedule if—IF!!!—they can raise $10,000 by tomorrow!

Friends of Devan and Michael have stepped forward this past weekend to set up a last-minute GO FUND ME campaign to help them save their museum.  And even though GO FUND ME won’t release the funds immediately, a local bank has agreed to cover the payment until the money hits their account.

THIS IS A ONE-DAY CROWD-FUNDING EMERGENCY, FOLKS!

If you wait until Wednesday or Friday, it’ll be too late for the museum.  It has to be today…even if all you can afford is $10 or even $1 (I gave $50, someone else gave $500).  And if you can’t afford anything, then please, PLEASE pass the following link around to anyone and everyone you know:

https://www.gofundme.com/save-the-trekcetera-museum

If we don’t help, this wonderful Star Trek museum and all of its exhibits could be lost forever!

I thank you all in advance for any help you can give.

DISCOVERY vs. AXANAR – choose “your” KLINGON WAR! (editorial / review)

WARNING – SPOILERS!!!  Lots and lots and lots of SPOILERS!!!


I really WANTED to like Star Trek: Discovery.  And to be honest, some things I actually DID like.  Sonequa Martin-Green put in a great performance playing the character of Commander Michael Burnham, and I loved the dynamic of seeing two women interacting as captain and first officer of a starship…and neither was caucasian!  (If only both characters could have continued beyond two episodes, but alas, we’ll soon be back to a captain who’s a white male.  Oh well, at least we’ve still got a black female lead.)

I even really liked some of the scenes…like when Burnham talks the ship’s computer into letting her out of the brig before power goes out.  But in the end, I just really didn’t enjoy the show overall—at least the first two episodes.  It was so dark (visually and emotionally), and I just couldn’t grab onto that uplifting feeling I used to get when watching Star Trek.  This new show felt so weighed down to me that even when things were moving quickly, they still seemed somehow slow and heavy.  A couple of times during those Klingon scenes with the never-ending subtitles, I nearly dozed off!

And it wasn’t even the Klingon actors’ fault they were so boring.  The decision to completely redesign the look of the Klingons not only alienated many long-time Trek fans, but it made it virtually impossible for those actors to deliver decent performances.

Imagine if you were asked to give a compelling performance while wearing a medieval suit of knight’s armor with the face-plate covering every part of your face except your mouth. You can barely move your head except a little side to side—very little!—and your arms won’t go any higher than your chest. You can’t even bend your elbows!  And then, before you go in front of the camera, you realize that all of your lines are in Polish…and your don’t speak Polish!  Sounds like an actor’s worst nightmare, right?  Well, that was pretty much the assignment these unfortunate Klingons were given.

And as I was considering this, I began to imagine what Discovery would have been like had they NOT redesigned the Klingons…or the Starfleet uniforms…or made the starships into barely-recognizable whatever-they-were…or had a dark bridge covered with lens flares.  What would Discovery have looked like then?

And then I realized: it would have looked a lot like Axanar

Continue reading “DISCOVERY vs. AXANAR – choose “your” KLINGON WAR! (editorial / review)”

Great news for STAR TREK: DISCOVERY…or is it? (news and editorial, part 2)

Rather than writing a review of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY (that’s coming tomorrow), I decided to take a look at the bigger picture.  Were the record sign-ups right after the premiere really “big news” or simply the inevitable result of hundreds of millions of dollars in production and advertising/marketing budgets?  Also, what does it tell us that CBS remains so reluctant to provide hard numbers about how many people actually subscribed last night?

As I said in yesterday’s blog, my goal here is NOT to try to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory for CBS.  I’m actually very happy that Star Trek: Discovery did so well in both ratings and sign-ups.  This means that the worst-case scenario—CBS simply assumes that Star Trek has run its course and is no longer a viable sci-fi franchise—has been avoided.  Nearly 10 million people watched the free network TV premiere on Sunday night.  So anyone accusing me of sour grapes is wrong.  Wet blanket, yes.  Sour grapes, no.

My desire, to be honest, is to simply take a wider look at this new series…beyond just Sunday night or this one week.  Now that the horse is fast out of the starting gate, what are the challenges facing Star Trek: Discovery in terms of keeping and growing its viewership?  Obviously, CBS is in a unique situation due to its decision to require viewers to pay to see episodes of the new series.  How does that affect their goal of attracting and keeping viewers?

Continue reading “Great news for STAR TREK: DISCOVERY…or is it? (news and editorial, part 2)”