Star Trek

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.  It's continuing mission - to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

-- Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, Opening sequence of Star Trek:The Next Generation

4 captains I have been a Trekker all my life, I can still remember seeing Encounter At Farpoint and thinking "wow", and I've been hooked ever since, the original series was ground breaking in it's day, but Star Trek:The Next Generation has ruled the roost over my Wednesday evenings and over almost all other Science Fiction shows since then.
Star Trek has an enormous following all over the world, and especially on the Net, just typing "Star Trek" into YahooLink returned over fifteen hundred entries.

Star Trek: First Contact poster The 8th film - Star Trek:First Contact was a smash all over the world - relatively speaking - and was nominated for a Hugo for best dramatic presentation. This was the second Star Trek film that I've seen in the cinema and rates as one of the best Trek films to date (the best is still, in my opinion, Star Trek IV:The Voyage Home). The Borg are wonderfully evil and the Borg Queen is fantastic, while Data, as usual, steals the show. For anybody that doesn't know, the plot features the Borg going back in time to try and assimilate the Earth before it was advanced enough to stop them by destroying the first warp capable ship on it's maiden voyage, so that the Vulcans would never discover Earth and the Federation would never be formed. And, as usual, it's up to the crew of the Enterprise to stop them. There are (as you would expect in a Brannon Braga time-travel script) plot holes the size of the Enterprise herself, but if you put your brain into low gear then it's a lot of fun.
This film features some great acting by the main cast - I would single out Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart especially - and some great location shooting. A criticism that has been levelled at this film (and all the TNG films to date) is the lack of good roles for the women, and Troi and Crusher really don't get much chance to do very much except stand around. The guest cast are all very good too - with a great cameo by Robert Picardo (Voyager's Doctor) - and everything adds up to a film that is well worth watching. Of course, it loses some of it's impact on video, but it still manages to carry itself off.

Star Trek: Insurrection The ninth film has now been completed, with Jonathan Frakes directing and all of the cast back. The film's title is Insurrection (which means "Rising in open resistance to established authority" for those like me that didn't know what it was, but couldn't be bothered to look it up Smiley).
I went to see this film on it's premier in the UK on 1st January 1999.  The main plot focuses on a planet that seems to contain the secret of eternal youth.  The Federation has allied itself with a race called the Son'a in order to get this secret using a technology which the Federation's scientists cannot replicate.  In order to do so, they plan to remove the planet's population (of 600 individuals) and relocate them on another planet.  Of course, things don't go according to plan; Data (who was on the monitoring station on the planet) goes a bit insane, bringing the Enterprise into things, and as soon as Picard finds out, his sense of morality goes into overdrive and things start getting a bit hectic from here onwards, with the planet's inhabitants being more than they appear and so on.
The main problem with this film is that it's all very mish-mashed.  For example, Worf just appears on the Enterprise at the start of the film with Picard welcoming him back, but you've got really no idea why he's there at all.  And then there's the whole Troi-Riker thing.  In almost the first scene, they're flirting with each other, and by about half way through, they're in the bath together!!  But there has been no explanation as to why, or when they got together.  Only at the end, do you get any idea as to what's been going on - unless I was just slow?  And then the whole B-plot with Data and the kid was so predictable and vaguely irritating.  It sounds as if I hated this film, but that's not the case.  Although not as good as ST:FC, this film is okay, just don't expect a lot from it, and do expect a lot of head scratching and more giant plot holes and unanswered questions.

ST:TOS Star Trek: The Original Series
So then. This was the series that started off a phenomenon. I think that I've seen pretty much the entire series now thanks to repeats on the BBC. It was ground-breaking in it's day, but to be honest, it hasn't really aged very well, has it? Putting aside the special effects and stuff to one side for the moment, a lot of people bang on about how it had women on TV and showed them equal to men - but these were women in very short skirts who did nothing at all, and as for Uhura - "hailing frequencies open, captain..." That's it! I know that these are old arguments and I'm not trying to take anything away from this series, it does have it's moments - the relationship between Kirk, Spock and McCoy, but it does have it's bad points too and, to me at least, some of the moral arguments are quite in your face. Still, not to be too negative, if you persevere, Star Trek:TOS is a series that was ahead of it's time and although I've rubbished Uhura's role above, the fact she was even there must have been hard for Gene Roddenbury to pull off.

ST:TNG Star Trek: The Next Generation
Ah, now we're talking. I am of the TNG generation. The first time that I saw this show, I was quite young and it really blew me away. Since it was first shown, I'm pretty sure that I've seen most episodes and I've enjoyed them all. The BBC are currently in the process of repeating the whole TNG series from the start and this has given me a chance to review the show from the start with a more adult frame of mind and I'm pleased to say that I still think that it stands the test of time well although many episodes from the early seasons are a bit cringeworthy and it took time for the show to get into it's stride, with some of the early special FX being a bit dodgy.

ST:DS9 Star Trek: Deep Space 9
Hmm, the black sheep of the Star Trek family. Placing DS9 on a space station was originally a bad idea in my opinion, I disliked it almost on principle, saying that Star Trek should always be about exploration and travel and you can't do this on a space station but now, with the introduction of the Defiant and more off-station shows, it has become less claustrophobic. I have also started to come around to the idea that keeping the crew in the same place all the time forces them to face the consequences to their actions. In my opinion, this show started off quite slowly, but has recently become quite explosive, I think that introducing the Dominion was a stroke of genius and one that may have even saved DS9 from cancellation as this has raised this show above most normal SF TV, and the audience obviously agreed!

ST:Voyager Star Trek: Voyager
Voyager has generally been seen as the poor relation of the Trek family, but I quite enjoy it.  The premise is quite good, with the USS Voyager being stuck 70 years from home and two separate crews trying to mix.  Okay, so it started off a bit slowly, but most shows do.  Even shows that the critics disliked, I thought were okay - but even I will admit that there have been some real turkeys, but the same is true of just about any TV show.  Recently, the Voyager has started to really come into it's own with the introduction of Seven of Nine and the Borg.

UK I've given up trying to keep up to date with Star Trek schedules in Britain, since the BBC keeps shifting it around, and I don't have Sky.  But for the sake of completeness, here are links to the BBC Link and Sky TV Link .  Both links take you directly to the TV listings page.

30 Years of Star Trek If you liked this page, then check out some of the other Star Trek pages out there in the Ether, via my Links page.  This contains some of my favourite Trek web sites, as well as some great web resources.

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