Category “Star Trek Reviews”

New Edition of Trekker’s Guide to the Kirk Years

Thursday, November 30, 2017 19:25
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I updated The Trekker’s Guide to the Kirk Years, adding some photos and giving Star Trek Continues a chapter of its own. It now has reviews for all eleven episodes of Vic Mignogna’s Star Trek series. Get yours here for $14.99… or free if you have Kindle Unlimited! (And check out the Star Trek Continues finale episode below.)

Star Trek Discovery

Saturday, September 30, 2017 16:08
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discovery

So Star Trek Discovery has been released to the world, with its first episode airing on CBS. (Subsequent episodes are available on CBS All Access, a $6 per month streaming service.) It was the first time one of the big three networks aired a Star Trek episode in about half a century. But is the episode any good?

Thankfully yes. The plot was easy enough to follow while still being engaging, and the characters were interesting in their own right. That said, I’m not sure why the series needs to be set before The Original Series; and I’m a bit baffled as to why they give us redesigned Klingons. I just wonder why the show doesn’t set itself in the 25th Century and present their redesigned Klingons as a new enemy. As a bonus, the show could do whatever it wanted, freed up from 23rd Century continuity, and its gee whiz effects would make more sense.

But what do I know?

 

What Ships Are For

Sunday, July 30, 2017 15:30
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“What Ships Are For”: B

Kirk must convince an alien species to embrace their most hated adversaries on a world entirely devoid of color.

Air date: July 30, 2017

Teleplay by Kipleigh Brown

Story by Vic Mignogna, James Kerwin & Kipleigh Brown

Directed by Vic Mignogna

“They’re willing to die for the chance to live where they can be safe and free. Why not help them?” – Kirk

Mignogna takes the director’s reigns for the third time in this last “normal” episode of his series, an immigration allegory guest starring John de Lancie as a planet leader afraid of outsiders and unaware that they actually live amongst his people.

The most striking feature of the episode is “Dorothy in Kansas” idea of a planet where everyone sees in black and white (including the Enterprise crew), with the writers supplying a scientific explanation for it; and thanfully, the device itself does prove relevant to the plot. But Mignogna never loses sight of the characters themselves, with Battlestar Galactica’s Anne Lockhart giving a fine performance as the planet leader’s wife and anime voiceover artist Elizabeth Maxwell standing out as the first inhabitant of the planet to experience the gift of seeing in color.

It is, however, Kirk himself, played by Mignogna, who serves as the focal point of the episode, with the captain having to thread his way through a tricky maze of romance, racism, and xenopobia. As an actor, Mignogna continues to impress, somehow finding Kirk within him without having to impersonate Shatner in an obvious way. And by successfully contrasting big ideas with small humourous moments in a way that’s reminscient of TOS, he gives us yet another episode that can proudly take its place next to many of Star Trek’s original offerings.

Still Treads the Shadow

Sunday, April 30, 2017 19:40
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Vic Mignogna posted this new Star Trek episode recently.

By this point, his crew knows how to do a TOS-style Star Trek episode about as well as Gene Roddenberry; and when it comes to matching the look and feel of the original series, “Still Treads” doesn’t disappoint, with a Kirk story that serves as a sequel to “The Tholian Web” and includes an old fling, old age, an argument with a computer, and a triple role for Mignogna as young Kirk, old Kirk, and computer-Kirk.

But despite being Star Trek to its core, it’s not all that exciting of an episode.

“Treads” includes three ships, an intelligent machine, and an alternate timeline that collides with the prime universe; but at its heart, it’s a character-driven story with the psyche of the two Kirks taking center stage. There are some wonderful moments as the two Kirks interact with the crew and each other. But there’s no question how everything has to end, and the pieces fall into place just as you would probably expect as the episode plods towards its conclusion.

The truth is that Mignogna and his team succeed in replicating TOS in great part because their show doesn’t attempt to exceed the scope of Roddenberry’s original vision; but that does limit what they can do. In the end, “Treads” is another Star Trek Continues episode that’s just par for the course.

Embracing the Winds

Friday, September 30, 2016 15:44
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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

The winds 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.

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