STAR TREK is back, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is still flouting the rules, director J.J. Abrams is still dividing the fan base, but amazingly, inconceivably, there’s no dissent within the Cinefantastique Online ranks this time: Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons all agree that STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS is supreme, quintessential TREK adventure. Telling the tale of the Enterprise’s encounter with a diabolical mastermind (Benedict Cumberbatch), the film at once delivers the big-scale action (even better in IMAX 3D) that audiences have come to expect from a major studio tent pole release while honoring the ideals that made creator Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic vision of the future so compelling.
Come join Steve, Larry, and Dan as they delve deep into this top-notch entry to the TREK franchise, exploring what makes it both a superior entertainment and a worthy elaboration of Roddenberry’s humanistic vision. Plus: What’s coming to theaters next week.
A son goes in search of the father he never quite knew, and the CFQ crew gets introspective enough to take a nostalgic trip back to explore one of the formative influences on their sense of wonder, Gene Roddenberry’s STAR TREK.
Come join our special guest, theofantastique.com‘s John W. Morehead, as he joins Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons as they discuss TREK NATION, the documentary by Roddenberry’s son, Eugene, that delves not only into the landmark show, its follow-ups, and its eternal fandom, but also the man behind the trek, his strengths and his flaws. Lasting influences will be identified, favorite episodes will be discussed, lives will be lived long, and prosperity will be… uh… prospered.
Also: What’s coming in theaters. Guaranteed: 100% “Keep on Trekkin'” Free.
The original STAR TREK first aired on September 8th, 1966, forty-five years ago today.
The episode was The Man Trap —which if memory serves, was about the fifth episode (counting the pilots) to be shot. The executives at NBC thought it was one of the stronger and more conventional shows of those ready to be broadcast.
Not at first glance a truly representive example of the new “adult” science fiction series Gene Roddenberry touted it to be, on one level The Man Trap is basically a sci-fi monster movie on a space ship. Yet this offering, written by George Clayton Johnson and directed by Marc Daniels, also displays a number of strengths that would illustrate STAR TREK’s finer points. There is some sympathy for the Salt Vampire, the last of it’s kind. There’s a suggestion that perhaps it is lonely and poses as the loved ones and wish fulfillment fantasy figures of others as much for companionship as it does as predatorydevice.
The crew of the Enterprise kills the creature, but regrets the necessity.
The episode is also a great introduction to the main focus of the show: Captain Kirk (William Shater), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Doctor McCoy (DeForrest Kelley). We see the beginings of this relationship dynamic, that Spock and Bones serve to illustrate the Kirk’s inner battle, the balance of logic against compassion, pragmatisim versus morality, in an often hostile universe.
The Man Trap also displays its then-novel multi-ethnic crew, showcasing Mr. Sulu (George Takei) and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols). Forty-five years later this seems only natural, in 1966 it was something of a gamble for a science fiction TV program.
So even with the network playing it safe, viewers still got a taste of a ground-breaking show that is not only remembered fondly, it still remains strong and able to generate new productions and discussion today.