Trek Series Updates, and Readers Vote

Star Trek CaptainsStar Trek is facing something of a renaissance at present, with a new caretaker team in place dreaming up more exciting and thought-provoking adventures in the universe created by Gene Roddenberry.  Despite that, and despite a push by CBS for more Trek on their streaming platform CBS All Access, there hasn’t been a lot of news about their new shows in recent weeks, and what we have heard hasn’t been particularly illuminating.

Last month, Deadline, TrekMovie and other notable Trek and entertainment websites, reported that Michelle Yeoh was in talks with CBS to lead a new Star Trek series, most likely centred around the Mirror Universe’s Emperor Georgiou and her mischief-making in the normal Trek time line.

CBS have not made any official announcement yet, though they have acknowledged they’ve considered the possibility of a Georgiou Section 31 series.

For those of you who may have forgotten, a Season One deleted scene was released earlier this year showing Georgiou being recruited by a mysterious Section 31 operative (possibly their leader) called Leland, played by Alan van Sprang.  Months later, Georgiou showed up in trailers for Season Two and the subtext was that she’s now working for that particular organisation.

Alan van Sprang as Leland

Why a Section 31 series and not a series that goes back in time to focus on Captain Georgiou?

Firstly, you’d be paying out a lot of money for a cast that would almost never get a break.  Georgiou’s Shenzhou also had Saru and Burnham on it, as well as Detmer, and those characters would feature prominently.  Between shooting Discovery and a Shenzhou series, Doug Jones, Sonequa Martin-Green and Emily Coutts would barely get any free time to focus on other projects, which is important to an artist if they want to have longevity in the entertainment industry.

Secondly, the sets for the Shenzhou no longer exist.  They were struck and used for other sets, which is standard practice in most television shows.  Rebuilding that beautiful ship’s interiors would prove prohibitively expensive.

USS Shenzhou Bridge

Finally, Michelle has just come off of the success of Crazy Rich Asians, which she starred in alongside Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Nico Santos, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, and Ken Jeong.  She’s always been in demand, but she’s going to be in even greater demand now.  Will she have the time?  Would the beautiful and ethereal Michelle Yeoh even want to commit to a standard 12-13 episode run of a series?

Then again, many of us said the same thing about Patrick Stewart.  We thought the new Jean-Luc Picard show would be a special or a limited series, and it was recently announced it would be longer.

Speaking of that series, we still know next to nothing about it.

Ambassador Jean-Luc Picard

Alex Kurtzman recently stated that writing on the series had begun, and that actual production was scheduled to commence sometime in April next year (2019) with an air date in late 2019.

That’s something.

We still don’t know the title, if there is one yet, nor the basic premise.  Whatever they’re developing in the writers room is not leaking out, which is good, but it would be really nice if they’d share a few plot points now and then.

Our last news item from around the Trekverse comes courtesy of the wonderful Anson Mount.  Or, if you prefer, Captain Christopher Pike.

Next Chapter - Star Trek Discovery Season 2According to Anson, the thirteen-episode order for Season Two has been extended by one episode.

You can read a tiny bit more about that extension, including where the confirmation came from, at TrekMovie here.

This isn’t all that exceptional.  It happened in Season One, where Star Trek: Discovery‘s order went from 14 episodes to 15 episodes.  Extra episodes can happen for a number of reasons.  It could be the studio saying “we are super impressed… give us one more,” or it could be “this is super expensive, let’s get more bang for our buck, do another episode.”  They could also be doing an extra episode to create a back-door pilot for a new series.

Disco Christopher PikeEither way, I don’t care.   More Trek is more Trek and that makes me a very happy fan!  Particularly if this new episode gives us some additional time with the crew of Discovery and the crew of Pike’s Enterprise.

I know I’ve said this half a dozen times already, but if one of the new shows coming out is not a Pike’s Enterprise show, I will be SO disappointed.

That’s it for the news update! See what I mean? Not much news out there.

For those of you who don’t know, Star Trek: Discovery Season Two will air in the United States and Canada on January the 17th, 2019.  In Australia and elsewhere in the world, Episode One will air January 18th.

Now, to wrap up this post, here are some reader lists from our What if Then was Now? Part 1 article.

Pardon, you say?

Approximately a week ago Star Trek: Sentinel posed the question: what if Star Trek: The Next Generation was released now, in today’s ‘streaming’ world of 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 or 15 episodes a season?  Which of the 26 first season episodes would you use if you were told to cut their run down?

I received some interesting responses, and of those two people totally okay with me posting their suggestions.  As you can imagine, there were a few e-mails saying we should forget Season One altogether, while a lot of other people were happy to think about the idea and give me their take.

Below, are the two I’ve been given the okay to reproduce.

First, a reminder of the rules:

  • You have a 12 episode order.
  • The pilot (season 1) and finale (season 7) episodes cannot change, so those seasons receive a 13 episode order.
  • You can change the order of any episode, except for the pilot and finale.

Let’s take a look!

Star Trek The Next Generation Encounter at Farpoint

Treklad_uk_1701 selected:

Encounter at Farpoint Part 1
Encounter at Farpoint Part 2
The Battle
Where No One Has Gone Before
Hide and Q

Hide and Q

The Big Goodbye
Haven
11001001
Datalore
Home Soil
Heart of Glory
Skin of Evil
The Arsenal of Freedom

Treklad thought that The Arsenal of Freedom episode was a pretty good one, and could work as a season ender.  It would by-pass episodes that seem to hint at something bigger coming in the second season, ideas that were never followed up on (Romulans and parasites).  He also wanted to show the crew actually exploring and engaging with strange new life forms.  As a fan of Crusher and Picard, he also felt it was important to show the beginnings of their on again off again romance.

TroisWigisSentient selected:

Encounter at Farpoint, Part 1
Encounter at Farpoint, Part 2
The Naked Now
Where No One Has Gone Before
Home Soil
Haven
The Battle

The Battle.jpg

The Big Goodbye
Datalore
Heart of Glory
The Arsenal of Freedom
Symbiosis
The Skin of Evil

Skin of Evil

TroisWigisSentient (which is a fantastic handle) preferred a season full of character development, choosing her episodes because she felt they either gave every character a chance to shine, or gave the ensemble an opportunity to work together.

A great selection of episodes from both of our contributors!

At the end of the week we’ll be applying the ‘What if Then Was Now’ process to Season One of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Check back then, and keep the discussion going via e-mail or in the comments.

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What if Then was Now? Part 1

The Captains TOS to ENT

Back in the good old days, you had around six months of new Star Trek coming at you week after week, for between three to seven years, with the average season length being 26 episodes.

There was the odd deviation now and again, particularly with Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager, but their one or two truncated seasons were the exception not the rule.

Nowadays, regardless of genre, we’re used to between six and fifteen episodes a season, depending on the show.  Some network television entries might go for 22 or more episodes a season, but most of us are streaming our content these days to escape the ads and the general drivel the networks cook up.

Shorter seasons usually means there are no ‘filler’ episodes, and it means we can binge like crazy people on our favourite series’if that is our desire.

For a few months now I’ve been wondering what each incarnation of Star Trek would look like, season after season, if they were limited to say a twelve episode order every year?

Which episodes would make it and which wouldn’t?

If we’re honest with ourselves, every Star Trek series has a bunch of outstanding episodes, a handful of good episodes, a decent whack of average episodes, and few real clunkers.  Would it be possible to put together a shortened version of every season of each series that still served our characters and kept the overall themes of Star Trek intact, and still be good viewing?

As a bit of a mental exercise I thought I’d give it a shot, starting with Star Trek: The Next Generation, the series I grew up on.

The only rules I applied to the experiment were that the pilot and the finale episodes had to be part of the season order – but in those instances, those seasons would be thirteen episodes long rather than twelve.  So, Encounter at Farpoint and All Good Things stay in, no matter what.  I also felt that it would be a good idea to re-order the odd episode, so long as the pilot and finale were left untouched.

Following is my take on Season 1 of TNG.  Depending on the response to this, we might tackle Season 2 in a week or so, or jump over to TOS, DS9, VOY or ENT to shake things up a little.

Please note that the episodes synopses are totally tongue in cheek.

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 1
13 Episode Order

If Then Was Now Experiment Part 1

Star Trek Encounter at Farpoint

Episodes 1 & 2
Encounter at Farpoint
The iconic crew of the USS Enterprise-D come together to play with space jelly-fish, while visiting a futuristic shopping-mall and dodging an eccentric omnipotent being intent on putting humanity on trial for crimes against the known universe.  You know, things like the Kardashians, reality TV in general, the new Star Wars movies, and super-sized meal deals.

Star Trek Where No One Has Gone Before

Episode 3
Where No One Has Gone Before
The Enterprise is thrown into deep space thanks to an arrogant idiot and his enigmatic bestie (who thinks Wesley is the sweetest thing since peanut butter and chocolate met and made babies).  Off camera, someone releases some happy juice into the water supply and everyone starts to hallucinate.

Why include this episode?  There are some strong moments in this episode, and it’s an interesting idea that I personally enjoyed.  Plus, the Traveller pops up again later in the series to explain why Wesley goes away.

Episode 4
The Battle
A Ferengi puts a big pink bow on an old starship, the USS Stargazer, and gives it to Picard for Valentines Day.  Picard, still affected by the previous episode’s happy juice, starts to hallucinate again.  Tripping out, he jumps into his pressie and attacks the Enterprise for a laugh.

Why include this episode?  It gives us some pretty important back story on the character of Picard, and is a better introduction to the Ferengi than The Last Outpost.

Lwaxana and Deanna

Episode 5
Haven
A box with an animated face vomits jewels all over the Transporter Room and tells Deanna she’s about to get married.  Deanna’s mother, Lwaxana Troi, pops in for a visit soon after, with Deanna’s intended and his family, just as a bunch of disease ridden space hippies turn up and start talking about dreams.  Meanwhile, Riker does a lot of sulking and Lwaxana’s assistant does a lot of drinking. If anyone needed a good drink, it was probably Deanna and Picard!

Why include this episode?  One word.  Lwaxana.  If you want two words, Lwaxana Troi.  Deanna barely gets anything to do in the first season, and this is a nice episode that lets her character shine and gives us some of her back story.

Episode 6
Lonely Among Us
Pussy cats hate on a bunch of reptiles as an alien energy being possesses Beverly, but quickly jumps ship into Worf because she’s wearing some truly hideous eye wear.  Growing bored of Worf and frightened his persistent scowl might leave worry lines, it hops into Picard and shoots lightening at everyone, while doing its best to convince Picard he should beam himself off the ship as energy and into a nearby space cloud.

Why include this episodeLonely Among Us is pretty universally derided, but it does establish the whole “Bev can sack the Captain” concept and I actually enjoy watching the crew scramble to try and stay ahead of their possessed Captain.

Episode 7
The Naked Now
Everyone gets space-drunk on a familiar virus, while Wesley and some other guy play pick up sticks with engineering’s isolinear chips.  Meanwhile, Tasha and Data get jiggy with it, and a big shiny star fragment tries to get jiggy with the Enterprise.

Why include this episode?  I like it.  A lot of fans don’t, but I do.  I enjoy the stuff between Beverly and Picard and I get what the writing staff were trying to do: by seeing the crew in varying states of vulnerability, we learn a little something about them.  The episode just appears a little too early in the series run.

Episode 8
Datalore
The Enterprise finds another Data, called Lore, who might be a smidge psychotic.  Beverly discovers Data has an off switch, while her son thinks there’s something a little suss about Lore who likes to grin a lot and use contractions.  While all of this is going on, a big crystal snowflake that made friends with Lore ages ago turns up and tries to eat everyone.

Why include this episode?  Beverly gets to shoot someone.  Plus, this is possibly the best episode in the whole first season, besides The Big Goodbye.  Lore would go on and become a really interesting character, responsible for some excellent future episodes, and his introduction deserves a place in this shorter season one.

Episode 9
Heart of Glory
A bunch of feral Klingons with testosterone patches whacked all over their bodies, tell Worf he’s a sissy and then try to get him to help them steal the Enterprise.

Why include this episode?  It’s a great Worf episode, bringing his character to the forefront in a season where he doesn’t have a lot to do.  Also, I really love the camera work in the end, when the Klingon falls.  Nice work, Rob Bowman.

Star Trek The Big GoodbyeEpisode 10
The Big Goodbye
Picard, Beverly and Data skive off work and hit the Holodeck for some much needed rest and recreation.  Calling up one of Picard’s favourite programs, based on an old series of novels, they pretend to be in the 1940’s.  Eventually, the bad guys from the novel find out about the Enterprise and want to take it and the whole galaxy over.  Wesley saves the day, because why not?

Why include this episode?  It’s a great episode, and it’s the only Star Trek episode to ever win a Peabody Award.  On top of that, it won an Emmy for Outstanding Costumes for a Series.

Merritt Butrick

Episode 11
Symbiosis
Captain Kirk’s son has a bumpy nose and is a junkie.  Diana’s right hand man from the original V TV Series, who, funnily enough, was also Khan’s right hand man from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, is an ass about it.  The Enterprise crew get to pontificate a bit and look all smug and superior.

Why include this episode?  It’s not a bad little episode that builds the tension really well, and it stars Merritt Butrick who played Captain (Admiral) James T. Kirk’s son in two Star Trek feature films.  Merritt would, tragically, die a year later from toxoplasmosis, complicated by the AIDS virus.  The message is still relevant today, and there are incredibly strong performances throughout.

Episode 12
Skin of Evil
Deanna crash lands on a planet where a really nasty oil slick with some serious issues lives.  The oil slick torments the crap out of the Enterprise crew before killing Tasha Yar.

Why include this episode?  I loved Tasha, and this is a great episode that really hits you.  Plus, we need to explain why Tasha doesn’t appear in future seasons.

Episode 13
The Neutral Zone
The Enterprise bumps into a really old probe with a bunch of frozen people in it.  They were all about to die from something yuck, so Bev takes care of it and now they need to try and adjust to 24th Century life.  Meanwhile, the Romulans drop in for coffee and to show off their really awesome shoulder pads. They get a bit angsty about some outposts of theirs and threaten our crew with a full Romulan makeover.

Why include this episode?  All things considered, it wasn’t a terrible end to the first season.  Most importantly though, it reintroduces the Romulans who will go on to play a major part at varying points throughout the series.

There’s not much you can do with the first season of TNG. I don’t mind it, but it’s not great.

There are a few episodes I quite like that I didn’t include in this season, simply because they go and set up something interesting but those ideas are never followed through.  Namely, Coming of Age and Conspiracy.

Other episodes weren’t included simply because they didn’t really do much for the characters, or for the overall series.

The above is far from perfect, but at the very least it’s watchable.

What would your picks be for a shortened season one of Star Trek: The Next Generation?

Let me know, and I’ll stick them in a post.

Until next week, where we might take a look at season two or jump to another series, Live Long and Prosper.

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