Tuesday 27 February 2024

Speak Your Brain! Part 73. Your favourite Star Trek shows.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

The Steve Does Comics Megaphone
Image by Tumisu
from Pixabay
How exciting! I've just realised it's one of those special Februaries! The ones that have 29 days in them!

Not that that makes any difference to this site. After all, today is the 27th and would, therefore, have occurred even in a non-leap-year.

Still, perhaps it's what's playing on your mind. And perhaps it's not. It doesn't matter. As long as you have something on your mind, then we're all set to go, as today sees the return of the feature they're all talking about. The one in which the first person to comment gets to choose the day's topic for debate.

Therefore, I shall offer no guidance as to what that might be and shall merely step back, recede behind this handily placed pair of curtains and let you The Reader take the microphone.


Colin Jones said...

Do you prefer the original Star Trek or Star Trek: The Next Generation (or any other Star Trek series)?

Matthew McKinnon said...

That's a very good question... it warrants tediously through answer of the kind I tend to provide.

I never really warmed to Star Trek TOS when I was a kid. It was on repeat throughout the 70s but it never made much of an impact.
I was never really into any SF TV except Tom Baker Dr Who and the odd bit of Blakes 7. It just felt cheap and padded.

I really liked the film series - that is definitive Star Trek to me: 1,2,3,4 and 6. The NG films were pretty terrible.

The Next Generation... well, I was a teenager and had better things to do. I'd catch the odd episode here and there, but it seemed a bit antiseptic and dull. Though I have warmed to it a bit since then. I like Patrick Stewart a lot in it.

Tried Deep Space 9 and it was turgid [though I'm assured it gets very good later on].

Oddly, I watched all of Discovery because it was on Sunday evenings at teatime when I in my 20s and was winding down and getting ready for work the next day [Babylon 5 was another one like that] and I liked it a lot, though apparently that's a terrible opinion to hold because it's supposedly the worst 'Trek' ever. OK.

Never seen Enterprise.

I liked the 2009 Star Trek movie, and felt it opened up a lot of potential, but it squandered that as the sequels were shockingly bad.

I tried to like Discovery. The characters / production design / FX / music / direction is really good, but it's so badly written that it becomes unwatchable. I did two and a bit seasons then bailed.

Picard was one of the worst TV series of all time.

Strange New Worlds is quite good! I liked the first season. I just subscribed to Paramount for a month and I watched the first episode of season 2 this lunchtime, but it wasn't very good.

That's it, I think...?

Anonymous said...

The original series all the way for me. Nothing else even comes close. I’ve been hearing a lot about STRANGE NEW WORLDS, people saying it’s the best of all the recent ‘new’ Trek series , that it’s the most like the original, etc. I watched maybe the first half-hour of it, and nope, just not for me. Too slowly paced, too much soap opera. Can’t say I gave it a truly fair shot, and maybe all the praise had raised my expectations too high, but still, it just didn’t grab me.


Anonymous said...

TOS - Best - The troika of Kirk, Spock & McCoy - no other series has this. That friendship is the show's entire core.

TNG - 2nd - Yes, Picard's good, with many great episodes.

DS9 - 3rd - Eventually becomes a great show, what with Garak (played by Dirty Harry's psycho), and particularly Vic Fontaine, the super-cool crooner. But, you have to wait a while for the good stuff. By the end, DS9's the most character-driven show.

Janeway - Too many passive males, like Chakotay & Harry Kim.

Discovery - Quantum Leap's Scott Bakula - I gave it a go, but eventually drifted away.

The original movies - good! The new stuff - not.

This topic's giving me deja vu - have we done it before?


Anonymous said...

Matthew, did you mean VOYAGER was the Trek series you watched when you were in your 20s? If not, just how young ARE you?

I thought ENTERPRISE was the Worst Trek Series Ever, by general fan consensus? I don’t think I watched a single episode of it, so I couldn’t say.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I watched Voyager when I was in my first (rental) flat so it was my mid-20s. I was 30ish when it finished.

Matthew McKinnon said...

*that was me.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Never got into later series but I do enjoy Star Trek TOS.

I saw a lot of episodes back in the late 60s / early 70s when I must have been 6–9 years old but then it seemed to disappear from the screens in the UK until my Uni years - I can remember it being on during the summer of 1984 when I had a summer job in London. And the thing is that all those ages and years are the perfect recipe for nostalgia. You experience things at that young age and forget them during all the trauma of childhood and adolescense, then you rediscover them later and there's the odd little bit here and there that you remember.

It's the same sort of experience I had when they bought out Marvel Masterworks in the late 80s and I got to read all these stories, some of which I remembered from the days of Marvel UK and some of which I remembered from Fleetway comics and annuals that I'd been bought as a preschooler on the late 60s and that were far beyond my reading abilities.

The other thing about Star Trek TOS is that when they were repeating it around 1984, that book came out (was it by Alan Asherman?) with the history, the episode guides, the cast, the bloopers, etc. Again with me at just the right age to be able to suck up all that knowledge.

Steve W. said...

Colin, thanks for the topic.

I could put together a good argument for claiming The Next Generation is, in almost every way, superior to the original series, being better written, acted, directed and possessing greater ambition. However, the original series is still, somehow, better. Its dynamism and cast chemistry propel it forward in a way The Next Generation can't and doesn't try to match.

I liked Deep Space 9 because it ditched the bland optimism that often undermined The Next Generation.

Voyager had its moments but didn't feel like it was doing anything new.

Enterprise didn't have its moments and seemed to have no reason for existing.

I've not seen any of the more recent shows.

The older movies are fun, even when they're not very good.

I enjoyed the first of the reboot movies but the ones since then haven't made any impression on me.

Anonymous said...

DM,a similar thing happened to me. My brothers and I watched TOS when it first aired, then it was cancelled and I pretty much forgot about it. Years later, when I was in High School, my best friend and I started watching the syndicated re-runs on one of our local stations and practically had an epiphany — besides the cast of appealing characters, the sheer scope of the setting and the central premise were exhilarating. Also, the writing was (generally) of a much higher caliber than most other TV series - even the crap episodes (there were MANY) were kinda fun to watch, and the ‘good’ ones were GREAT, like nothing currently on TV at the time. We hadn’t realized how starved we were for quality SF/Fantasy programming. I think we’d been making do with stuff like the Six Million Dollar Man. Which , you know, is a decent enough show, but there’s no comparison.

Star Trek was my Sci-fi gateway — it pretty much turned me into a Sci-Fi Fan overnight. It opened my eyes to the entire genre. II started watching re-runs of Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits regularly, sought out classic movies like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, FORBIDDEN PLANET, and THIS ISLAND EARTH, began buying and reading the digest magazines (GALAXY, ANALOG, F&SF), books like CHILDHOOD’S END and DUNE, authors like Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg and Keith Laumer and Leigh Brackett…

When LOGAN’S RUN came out, I knew on first viewing it was bad, sure, but I was so hungry for an immersive escapist SF experience, I think I saw it four or five times in theatre. To this day, I have a lot of fondness for it (Jenny Agutter’s exposed lady parts have nothing to do with it, NOTHING). And when I first heard about STAR WARS (months before it hit the theatres) I was primed and ready.

At the time, the whole Star Trek publishing phenomenon was in its infancy. THE STAR TREK CONCORDANCE by Bjo Trimble was a big freaking deal when Ballantine published it in 1976, part Encyclopedia, part Episode Guide. Boy, I loved that book. Still have it!


Chim said...

TOS above all else. As said already: The friendship between Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty. It opened the world of SciFi and gave me the same feeling of amazement that Marvel Comics gave me (also the 60s stuff).

TNG: Picard is really good, but he is the only character of the series I care about. That is not enough. Though I like some selected episodes.

Voyager: I liked the concept of the long journey back home and the enhanced storyline with the borgs. Seven of Nine, the Doctor and Neelix/Kes where nice sidekicks. The rest of the crew not so much.

DS9 has a quite good story up to the end.

Enterprise never worked for me and Discovery neither.

The best TOS movie is of course Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

And I do like the new JJA movies, because again the chemistry between Kirk, Spock and McCoy works. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto where perfect casts for Kirk and Spock.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, I was thinking about WRATH OF KHAN, but didn’t quite feel like sitting through the movie again (I’ve seen it SO MANY times). So then I thought, ‘Hmm, I’ve got Vonda McIntyre’s novelization sitting over there on the shelf, I’ve had it since the movie came out but never actually read it…’ It was great! Enjoyed it so much, I bought a copy of her novelization of SEARCH FOR SPOCK on eBay, and loved that too (and I didn’t even like that movie much).


Matthew McKinnon said...

God I’d completely forgotten those novelisations.

I had the ST2 on on the shelf since I bought it in 1982 and didn’t read it until 1989 when I was 18 and going through a huge fear-of-the-future nostalgia phase that made me watch ST2 and 3 over and over. It was good!

Not sure if I ever read ST3. I am still fond of that movie, warts and all.

Anonymous said...

Cinematography-wise, Star Trek TOS uses (extreme?) close-ups a lot (like 'The Silence of The Lambs' & 'The Last Detective'/Dangerous Davis.) Other Star Treks, less so.


Colin Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Several Star Trek TOS stories resemble Marvel ones.

For example, in 'Where No Man Has Gone Before', Gary Mitchell & Elizabeth Dehner resemble Korvac & Carina Walters, in some respects.

Also, in 'Metamorphosis', Zefram Cochrane's relationship with the female alien entity is a bit like the Mega Man's, with the female entity in Nova.

Plus, Ted Cassidy, as the android 'Ruk', is clearly the inspiration, artisticallly, for John Buscema's Vision (Avengers # 57.)


Anonymous said...

Matthew: I’ve only seen SEARCH FOR SPOCK once, when it was in theatres, and at the time thought it felt like a weak, obvious, disappointing, by-the-numbers direct sequel to WRATH OF KHAN. Who knows, if I watched it again now, I might very well like it much more than I did then. I’ll spare you all my list of specific criticisms; in retrospect I think they’re a lot of little things that add up to an overall score of ‘Meh’. I’ll just say, one of my biggest problems with SEARCH is the absence of Kirstie Alley as Saavik. No offense to the actress who replaced her, but Kirstie’s oddly appealing performance was one of the major highlights of KHAN for me. While reading the SEARCH novelization, I kept visualizing Kirstie as Saavik and it helped a lot:)

Also, McIntyre fleshed out the character (in both novels) by leaning into her backstory as being half Vulcan / half Romulan. Supposedly, the character was originally written that way for KHAN, and scenes that dealt with it were even filmed but ended up on the cutting room floor. It added a bit of much-needed dimension to her in the SEARCH novelization. I’m probably being a bit unfair to Robin Curtis, Kirstie’s replacement — IIRC, the script didn’t give her much to work with.


Anonymous said...

Hey, since this is a comics blog, does anyone have an opinion on any of the comics spin-offs?


Anonymous said...

All the ones I've ever seen have been boring b.t. If you're interested, Tom Sutton talks about working on DC's Star Trek here -

(I linked straight to the Trek bit as its quite a long interview, but I reckon you might well enjoy the whole thing ;)


Anonymous said...

I wasn't much into the original Star Trek as a kid, but I kind of started appreciating the strange kitsch of it in later years, as it became more dated.

The first couple of TNG episodes I saw were terrible, but after a couple of seasons I'd see an occasional one and they were ok. Broadly agree with Chim.
DS9 was similar, except even worse at the beginning. But then one evening I was at my mate's place and we watched a two parter the BBC showed as a single feature, the one where Sisko, Bashir and Dax accidentally get transported to the nightmarish dystopian USA of 2024.
I think that was a couple of seasons in? Anyway, after that, it became the only Trek I enjoyed enough to make a point of watching regularly. My favourite episode was the one that crossed over with the original series, with the Tribbles.

Voyager was... ok after a rocky start I guess (once Seven of Nine was in it, natch). It was shown here early on Sunday evenings iirc, and fit right in to the hangover/come down slot.
Enterprise was on Sundays too, and once you got used to the characters it filled in the hour competently enough too. But Archer was the captain/commander I just couldn't accept, which was a problem. And don't get me started on the theme tune.

Not seen much Discovery. It does seem to get a lot of stick online, from the kind of fans who complain about political correctness gone mad. Which seems like a strange criticism of Star Trek, considering that its always been pro-diversity, and pushed a kind of liberal agenda relative to its time.
I've only seen what was on Freeview - the first season? - and couldn't see what the fuss was about. I mean, the main character was a black woman but is that really something people still get worked up about in the 21st century?

Anyway, it didn't make that much of an impression... but then Trek series never do early on.
Picard and Strange New Worlds I've not seen at all. Not that I'd normally let that stop me having an opinion anyway, but thats quite enough so far.


Anonymous said...

Sean : yeah I’ve read that Sutton interview before (several times actually). Agreed, most of the Trek comics I’ve read were pretty dull, Sutton’s DC run included. His SEEKER 3000 one-shot was more Trek-like than his “official” Trek comics, visually anyway.

Marvel’s post- ST:TMP comics were pretty dire. Cockrum lobbied hard for the gig but ended up hating it. I’m not clear if he disliked Wolfman’s scripts or if the drab TMP designs and overall milieu just sucked the joy out of his dream job. Maybe both?

I’ve read some of Byrne’s Trek stuff from IDW, both the ‘traditional’ style actual comics and his imitation Fotonovel things. They’re….fascinating :)

Speaking of which, I really liked those Trek Fotonovels back in the pre-Home Video days. Some of the episode choices weren’t great, not being especially visual — I’d rather have WHAT ARE LITTLE GIRLS MADE OF and maybe GAMESTERS OF TRISKELION than A PIECE OF THE ACTION and METAMORPHOSIS. The whole format became obsolete once VCRs became available but i still browse through them occasionally for nostalgia reasons . The AMOK TIME one still holds up pretty well.


Anonymous said...

Other Star Trek comics of note:

When I re-discovered the show (around 1975 - 1976) the Star Trek publishing boom was just picking up steam. In addition to theJames Blish TV adaptations from Bantam (Corgi in the UK, I think?), the two fat David Gerrold paperbacks (I sure loved his TRIBBLES book), Alan Dean Foster’s STAR TREK LOG Animated Series adaptations and the aforementioned STAR TREK CONCORDANCE from Ballantine, Gold Key jumped on the bandwagon, reprinting some of their earlier comics in a kind of proto-trade paperback format. Four or five comics (sans covers) bundled together under a card stock cover. They published two or three of these collections, I think. I bought the first one but bounced off it pretty hard. The characters were weirdly off-model, and though the artwork was technically well-drawn, I found it all dull, dull, dull.

Chris Claremont wrote a Trek graphic novel for DC that was illustrated by Adam Hughes sometime in the early 1990s. I remember flipping thru it at the comic shop, thinking the art looked good but for some reason, not amazing. I also think maybe I was worried that Claremont writing a Star Trek story, especially one set in the movie continuity, might be a recipe for some overwrought emotional hijinx, so I gave it a miss.

As for all those crossover comics of the last decade or so — STAR TREK / X-MEN, STAR TREK / GREEN LANTERN, STAR TREK / PLANET OF THE APES, etc — look, I know I’m into some weird stuff, but a guy has to draw the line somewhere.


Matthew McKinnon said...

You should give Picard a go just to see how bad things can get. It is truly awful.

Discovery’s woke-gone-crazy ‘controversy’ I think is predicated around there being female / black / Asiatic / gay / not-traditionally-beautiful characters left right and centre: not just on the token fringes. And for some people that’s just not what they grew up with so it can never be tolerated. I quite liked it!

I had a soft spot for the navigator with the metal plate on the side of her head. There was a great moment in one episode where there was a party going on and she was in the background just randomly getting off with someone.

Matthew McKinnon said...

I still have the Devil In The Dark fotonovel, and a stack of movie ones: Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (78), Lord of The Rings, Close Encounters, and the big deluxe Alien and Outland ones.

Definitely a format of its time though there seem to be some published for early 21st century movies as well, IIRC.

McSCOTTY said...

The only ST comics I have read were the UK strips that appeared as 2 page colour episodes ( unusual in the UK at this time to have colour strips) in the Valiant comic ( I think it appeared in TV21 before that).

TV wise I liked the original series best but I also enjoyed ST Next Generation and Voyager. I pretty much stopped watching it after that but I do like the new ST movies..

Anonymous said...

I thought the first of the new JJ Trek flicks was alright Paul, in a better Marvel movie kind of way. Which is to say it avoided a lot of the possible pitfalls, but I wouldn't have been that bothered if I hadn't seen it.
But the 'Kelvin timeline' was really annoying. And then they cast Bananadick Cucumbersnatch as Khan...

A pity the Tarantino one didn't get the green light.

Matthew, I would like to see a bit of Picard, but not to the extent that I actually want to pay for any channels or streaming services.


Anonymous said...

b.t. I read the Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover. You didn't miss much. You didn't miss much - it was really dumb, and not in a good way. I wasn't expecting much, and it still disappointed.

I expect Dave Cockrum's problem was that he was a Star Trek fan, so would have had all kinds of ideas about how a comic could be done, only to come up against the reality of being a content provider for a merchandising opportunity.
Paramount would have controlled their property pretty tightly even then. No freedom of the kind, say, Jack Kirby had with his 2001 series, or even the latitude Dark Horse seemed to have with Alien in the 80s.

The last licensed comic I read that was any good was the Robocop/Terminator crossover by Frank Miller and Walt Simonson. And even so, tbh those two were phoning it in a bit.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed both seasons of Strange New Worlds and season two of Discovery (which introduced SNW). Also, season three of Picard (basically Next Gen). I found the other recent Treks pretty boring. Similarly, I enjoyed a lot of Next Gen., but it started really slowly. Deep Space Nine was great once the Dominion war started.

Voyager had some good ideas but I struggled with Captain Chipmunk. Also, they over used/decimated the threat level of the Borg, which sort of killed the (Next Gen) golden goose. Enterprise had one good season but mostly boring characters.

Original series was mostly good, probably partially due to being the first. Movies, likewise.

Obviously all personal opinion.


Anonymous said...

I noticed that all the TOS movies are on MAX, a streaming service I actually happen to subscribe to, yay! So I gave SEARCH FOR SPOCK another shot. I still had many of the same criticisms I had on first viewing, but there were a surprising number of good things in it that I didn’t remember. For one, Shatner’s performance was really good, very restrained, not his usual hammy self at all. I’d forgotten what a badass screen presence George Takei had back in his prime. The finale on Vulcan was pretty great — the colored gel lighting and painted backdrop sky gave it a kinda ‘TOS TV’ aesthetic, but with huge sets and nice matte paintings for a proper feature film scale. Robin Curtis wasn’t quite as bad as I remembered but some of her line readings were almost laughably flat. And poor Checkov sported some tragically horrible fashions.


Matthew McKinnon said...

BT -

I'm fond of ST3, for many reasons.

I went to see it [twice] in the summer of 84 when I was 13, and that was a fun summer anyway.
It was also the last film ever shown at my favourite childhood cinema [https://www.chestercinemas.co.uk/abc-regal-cinema-southport/]. I didn't know it was closing, and was gutted when the news turned up in the local paper.

It gets a lot of flack for not being as good as ST2, but that's a hard act to follow but I think it takes itself seriously enough that the stakes feel real. Little 13-year-old me was astounded when they blew up the Enterprise!

Shatner is great. The humour is actually funny. The Klingons are terrific.

The special effects are astonishingly good - they hold up even today - especially since they were done by ILM's 'B-team' because the 'A-Team' were all working furiously on and then burned out from Return Of The Jedi.

The soundtrack is lovely - I still listen to it regularly.

I liked Robin Curtis! But yeah, Chekov seems to be wearing lederhosen at one point.

Anonymous said...

I remember Search For Spock as a pretty stupid film. But hey - nice matte paintings (;

For the record, I do not have a position in the Saavik debate.


Anonymous said...

As regards comic stories, Star Trek featured in Valour Weekly. In one story, as well as Spock, the Klingons captured a horror archivist, whose horror monster memories the Klingons started projecting into the Enterprise, using a "thought enhancer". That was an OK story. I don't know the artist, but Klaus Janson inked it.