We’ve had fairly decent February weather in Wisconsin lately, so I got up at 4am this morning to check out the cosmos in my telescope. There were no bugs and no Moon (which tends to obscure the stars), so I had a great time! The star of the night (pardon the scientifically inaccurate pun) was Jupiter and its moons. Check them out!
Vic Mignogna and his friends came out with a new Star Trek episode earlier this month that I didn’t have a chance to review for the book. Here, however, I’ll share the episode and my review!
After a starship loses its crew under mysterious circumstances, Kirk must help choose its next Captain: and it’s come down to Spock and the female Commander Garrett.
Air date: September 3, 2016
Teleplay by James Kerwin and Vic Mignogna
Story by James Kerwin
Directed by James Kerwin
“Thewinds of change blow for us, and I do not envy the decision Starfleet now faces.” – Tellarite Ambassador
Plunging head on into TOS’s misogyny, this Kirk episode essentially says “Yes, women have been mistreated, and yes, we should have more women in charge; but that doesn’t necessarily mean this woman should be in charge.” And that makes you wonder if its some kind of 2016 Election allegory. (If so, the level headed, logical Mr. Spock is hardly the right character to use as a stand-in for Donald Trump.) But like TOS, you can forget about the specific real life events from the time it was made and and appreciate the story for its timelessness, with its issues not bound to any one period, showing up in new packaging with each successive generation. It’s not just about prejudice against women and the danger of a woman receiving favorably treatment in reaction to to it; it’s about all oppressed groups who attempt to shatter their own glass ceilings and face increased scrutiny as a result.
While Mignogna’s given plenty to do in the episode, it’s Todd Haberkorn who really ups his game, with his best Spock performance yet. Like Nimoy, he somehow manages to balance an unemotional front while letting his ego and emotions slip through at opportune times. Meanwhile, Clare Kramer (who played Glory on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) plays his female competition with just the opposite approach: beneath her passion, she occasionally lets some logic peek out.
Filling out the A story, Erin Gray (from Buck Rogers and Silver Spoons) reprises a recurring role as Commodore Gray and longtime character actor Beau Billingslea (who plays Captain Abbott in Star Trek: Into Darkness) steps into the shoes of Vice Admiral Stomm, a Vulcan. But writer Kerwin gives the remaining cast plenty to do as well, with the Enterprise assigned to a salvage operation that gives Chekov (Wyatt Lenhart) a B story that eventually ties into the rest of the episode.
Like all Mignogna’s Star Trek work, the TOS feel permeates the product, with some beautiful new sets and backdrops, including a stunning cityscape reminiscent of “The Menagerie”, and a score that uses tried and true music cues while mixing in some new themes. And yet there’s also enough new looks and ideas to see Star Trek moving forward.
Final Grade: B
Did you know? A then 17 year old Erin Gray was one of the dancers in Leonard Nimoy’s infamous Ballad of Bilbo Baggins video.
The Trekker’s Guide to the Kirk Years is now available! This one celebrates Star Trek’s fiftieth birthday with tons of episode analyses, photos, interviews, and even some never before heard stories about the actors from the Original Series. In the U.S., it’s available in kindle for $2.99 and paperback for $14.99. Here’s a look inside….
I’ve been hard at work on my Star Trek books, the first of which will be available in September… but I did set the project aside for a couple weeks to paint my kitchen cabinets white. It was hard work, and I’ll be happy to get back to writing!