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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Report # 01 on: “STAR TREK” 45th ANNIVERSARY = HISTORY of the TV shows & MOVIES



2011, 09-30:

Report # 01 on: STAR TREK45th ANNIVERSARY = HISTORY of the TV shows & MOVIES


It’s been a quite difficult time economically for most people in the past few years...  But, there are SOME elements of the economy that have “HELD-UP” surprisingly well...

...  One of those elements include certain specialized segments of things related to “NOSTALGIA” & “COLLECTIBLES”... 

...  That’s demonstrated by the strong response from the public to a CONVENTION held in Chicago celebrating the 45th ANNIVERSARY of STAR TREK...

...  At this time, I am going to begin a SERIES of Reports on the subject of STAR TREK, “CENTERING” around the Anniversary & the Convention...

...  For those of you not familiar with the phenomenon, I’m going to start out with a chronological HISTORY of the franchise:

...  Altho the sci-fi marvel had a development period going back to around 1960, creator GENE RODDENBERRY began actual production work in 1966 with the creation of the so-called ORIGINAL TV series sci-fi show (which he initially marketed as a “WESTERN” set in Outer Space, akin to a sort of “Wagon Train” to the Stars):

1966-1969:  The ORIGINAL TV series (of 80 episodes)-- with WILLIAM SHATNER as Captain James T.Kirk commanding the starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701;  and LEONARD NIMOY as Vulcan Lt. Commander (= First Officer & Science Officer) Spock...

...  Also:  NIchelle Nichols as Communications Officer Lt. Nyote Uhura;  DeFOREST KELLY as Chief Medical Officer Dr. Leonard “Bones McCoy;  with JAMES DOOHAN as Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty Scott...

...  Plus:  GEORGE TAKEI as Helm Officer (& Astrophysicist) Hikaru Sulu;  WALTER KOENIG as Navigator Pavel Chekov;  Roddenberry’s wife MAJEL BARRETT as Nurse Christine Chapel;  & GRACE LEE WHITNEY as Yeoman Janice Rand...

...  While the show ran for 3 years, it technically was NOT a real “hit” in the Nielsen RATINGS --  tho it was a big favorite with engineering students & fans of SCI-FI, & was nominated (as was Nimoy) for various industry AWARDS (re acting, drama, etc.)...

...  After the show was cancelled, it became extremely popular in RE-RUNS, & eventually developed a CULT following...

...  An example of that following was the development of various fan CONVENTIONS which were held with various people related to the show...

...  In the New York City area, 2 teenaged FANS of Sci-Fi (including ADAM MALIN) founded an operation in 1971 called “CREATION ENTERTAINMENT”, which was dedicated to presenting gatherings for those who loved various genres re certain FILMS & TV shows (like “STAR TREK”)...

...  Adam & his company are STILL holding such Conventions around the country-- including the 45th ANNIVERSARY one in CHICAGO, which I’ll be talking about at some length in LATER Reports in this Series...

...  In part because of the RERUNS, & the increased interest in space exploration encouraged by the successful July 16, 1969 landing of American astronauts on the MOON, and the continuing success of various CONVENTION-type activities, the appeal of “STAR TREK” continued to GROW around the world...

...  That led to some NEW ventures regarding the subject:

            1973-1974:    The 2nd TV series began-- a completely ANIMATED one consisting of 22 episodes (which was re-broadcast in the middle 1980’s)... 

...  Many of the actors in the original series used their OWN voices for this EMMY-winning series, which introduced certain new elements such as the holodeck...

            1978:              A new live series was planned & considered as one of the prime bases of a proposed new Paramount network— but certain cast disagreements, & the release of the first “STAR WARS” film, derailed those plans...

...  Thus, instead of designs for a new TV show, the studio switched to making the first feature-length MOVIE:

            1979:              The first feature FILM in the series was released, called STAR TREK--  THE MOTION PICTURE.  The title was certainly descriptive, even if not particularly clever!... 

...  In this, Admiral Kirk worked to help earth avoid disaster from a huge energy cloud descending towards it...

            1982:              Feature film # 2 =  The Wrath of Khan”.  RICARDO MONTALBAN was unforgettable as a onetime prisoner (Khan Noonien Singh) seeking revenge against semi-inactive Kirk who’d caused him to be sent to a penal colony 15 years before...

            1984:              Feature film # 3 =  THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK”.  Kirk steals the Enterprise to try to retrieve the body of supposedly-dead Spock, believing he was actually still alive as shown by the way his “essence” seemingly partially inhabited the body of “Bones”...

            1986:              Feature film # 4 =   The Voyage Home”.  For stealing the ship in the previous movie, Kirk & his crew are ordered home to face a court martial...

...  It turns out that a harmful PROBE is transmitting deadly signals towards Earth, &, to save the planet, the crew has to go back in time to find and retrieve the creatures for which the transmissions were originally intended...

...  As one of the first big films with an ecological type theme, this NIMOY-directed movie garnered four OSCAR nominations...

...  The success of the MOVIES helped lead to renewed interest in having a new TV series to “extend” the franchise...  Thus began the highly-regard SECOND COMING” of the idea (again, guided by GENE RODDENBERRY):  

           1987-1994:     The 3rd TV series began-- THE NEXT GENERATION(TNG, which consisted of 178 episodes & earned the highest ratings of any of the series)...

...  The new cast of this (set around 7 decades after the events in the Original series) included:  PATRICK STEWART as the Enterprise’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard;  JONATHAN FRAKES as Commander Will Riker;  and MICHAEL DORN as Starfleet’s 1st Klingon officer, Lt. Worf...

...  Also:  BRENT SPINER as android Lt. Commander Data, who’s the Chief Operations Officer & Science Officer (& he later played his own brother, Lore);  LeVAR BURTON as Conn Officer & engineer Lt. Geordi La Forge;  with psychic-like Betazoid MARINA SIRTIS as Ship’s Counselor Deanna Troi...

...  Plus:  GATES McFADDEN as Chief Medical Officer (in seasons 1 & 3-7) Dr. Beverly Crusher;  WIL WHEATON as her son Ensign Wesley Crusher;  & DENISE CROSBY as Chief Security officer Lt. Natasha (Tasha”) Yar (& later appearing as her own half-Romulan daughter Sela)

...  In season 2, while Gates was “away” as the Chief Medical person at Starfleet, DIANA MULDAUR played the ship’s Chief Medical Officer, named Dr. Katherine Pulaski...

  This series had a bunch of memorable characters in recurring roles:  WHOOPI GOLDBERG as mysterious psychic-like bartender Guinan (in seasons 2-6);  and COLM MEANEY as Navigator – Transporter Chief Miles O’Brien...

...  Also:  JOHN DE LANCIE as omnipotent alien Q”;  Dwight Schultz as increasingly-powerful engineer Lt Reginald Barclay;  with MAJEL BARRETT as Troi’s mother Lwaxana Troi...

...  In addition, you had JENNIFER HETRICK as Picard’s “love” interest (in seasons 3-4) named Vash;  TONY TODD (in seasons 3-7) as Worf’s brother Kurn;  PATTI YASUTAKE as Nurse Alyssa Ogawa (in seasons 3-7);  & MARK LENARD as Spock’s Vulcan father Ambassador Sarek...

...  I always found this to be an exceptionally well-done, thought-provoking series!...

            1989:              Feature film # 5 =  The Final Frontier(directed by WILLIAM SHATNER).  Every family has a black sheep. Spock’s family had Sybok (played by LAURENCE LUCKINBILL), an unacceptably-emotional [= screwed-up & thus exiled] half-brother of Spock...

...  Sybok steals a new version of the Enterprise, to try to reach an area where he feels he could meet the God-like creature who made him...  Also tooling around is an ambitious Klingon captain Klaa (played by TODD BRYANT)...

            1991:              Feature film # 6 =  The Undiscovered Country”.  This time, the environmental problems are on Klingon, which causes the people there to sue for peace with the Federation...

...  But, before peace (which is opposed by many on both sides) can be put into effect, Bones & Kirk are charged with “offing” the Klingon CHANCELLOR (which tends to be gallactically frowned on!)...  

            1993-1999:    The 4th TV series (of 176 episodes) began, called DEEP SPACE 9”--  set on a space station orbiting near planet Bajor, which was recently liberated from the “evil” Cardassians...  There was a significant presence by various Klingon characters as the series progressed...

...  This cast included:  AVERY BROOKS as (black) Captain Benjamin Sisco in charge of the Space Station DS9;  RENE AUBERJONOIS as shape-shifting Security Chief Odo;  and NANA VISITOR as (Bajoran) DS9’s First Officer Kira Nerys...

...  Supporting people included:  ALEXANDER SIDDIQ as Chief medical officer Julian Bashir;  MICHAEL DORN reprising his role as Worf (here, as Strategic Ops officer);  & COLM MEANEY reprising his role as Chief Ops Officer Miles O’Brien…

  Also in the cast were:  TERRY FARRELL as symbiant Trill host Jadzia Dax;  Armin Shimerman as untrustworthy money-grubbing Ferenghi bar-owner Quark;  & CIRROC LOFTON as Avery’s son Jake Sisko...

...  Plus:  MARC ALAIMO as Cardassian Gul Ducat (who’d once run the DS9 station);  CASEY BIGGS as Ducat’s onetime aide Damar;  & ANDREW ROBINSON as mysterious Cardassian tailor – power-broker Garat (who becomes very important in the Federation’s eventual war with the Dominion)...

...  And:  JEFFREY COMBS, who played at least 4 characters in this series;  LOUISE FLETCHER acted as deceptive Bajoran spiritual leader Kai Winn;  & SALOME JENS played the female Changeling

            1994:              Feature film # 7 =  Generationswas released.  We’re now on the Enterprise-B starship.  People believe that old Captain Kirk was suddenly killed by a destructive energy swath which was continuing to threaten the galaxy...

...  Nearly 80 years after Kirk’s supposed death, Captain PICARD [PATRICK STEWART & the rest of the crew from The Next Generation] goes searching for the truth about that...

...  All the while, they try to stop a mad scientist (Tolian Soran, played by MALCOLM McDOWELL) who wants to use the “swath” for achieving his own immortality...

            1995-2001:    The 4th TV series (of  172 episodes) began, called VOYAGER”... 

...  The cast consisted of:  KATE MULGREW as the 1st female Starfleet Captain, Kathryn Janeway... 

...  She had a crew consisting of s