I basically got into journalism because I wanted to write for Rolling Stone. That took longer to happen than I’d hoped it might, but it was a real thrill to get to do this piece for them yesterday, reflecting on what Star Trek hath wrought on the occasion of the franchise’s 50th anniversary.
Last night, the National Air and Space Museum showed “The Man Trap,” the first Trek episode broadcast (albeit not the first one produced), at 8:30 p.m. Eastern — the same time NBC had shown it 50 years earlier. It’s a really fun episode that demonstrates that the rich character relationships were present in the Original Series right from the beginning, and that most of the comedy in Trek was fully intentional. (Also that what was progressive in 1966 is decidedly not in 2016. But that’s how progress works.)
Thanks to Scott Tobias for suggesting me for it, and to David Fear for editing the essay.
Kirstie Alley and Leonard Nimoy in 1982’s “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” (CBS Consumer Products / Star Trek Archive)
Leonard Nimoy and Jill Ireland in the 1967 Original Series episode “This Side of Paradise,” wherein the rational half-Vulcan Mr. Spock finds love while under the influence of a strange plant. (CBS Consumer Products/Star Trek Archive)
John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Karl Urban, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Simon Pegg in 2016’s “Star Trek Beyond.” (Kimberly French / Paramount)
The U.S.S. Enterprise studio model in 1965. (CBS Consumer Products / Star Trek Archive)
Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto in 2016’s “Star Trek Beyond.” (Kimberly French / Paramount)
Nichelle Nichols, William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, and James Doohan in “Mirror, Mirror,” which first aired Oct. 6, 1967. (CBS Consumer Products/Star Trek Archive)
Brent Spiner in the “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” (CBS Consumer Products / Star Trek Archive)
Zachary Quinto in 2013’s “Star Trek into Darkness.” (Zade Rosenthal / Paramount)
Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana in 2013’s “Star Trek into Darkness.” (Zade Rosenthal / Paramount)
The September issue of Air & Space / Smithsonian, featuring the cover story I desperately wanted to call Warp Corps — because it’s about a corps of people whom Star Trek has inspired and influenced, you see — is now on sale at the National Air and Space Museum (both locations, on the National Mall and at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia) as well as at Barnes & Noble stores and the digital retailer of your choice. You can read the feature here. Also, I’d love it if you would come buy a copy of the magazine from me for a paltry one-time fee $6.99 at the Museum during its three-day celebration of Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8 — the evening the Original Series episode “The Man Trap” was first broadcast on NBC. Continue reading
Posted in movies, sci-fi, science, TV
Tagged Gene Roddenberry, James B. Garvin, Justin Lin, Marc Okrand, Margaret Weitekamp, Simon Pegg, Smithsonian Air & Space, Star Trek
I had the good fortune to interview Star Trek’s resident alien linguist Marc Okrand this week, for a video that’ll posting next week as part of Air & Space / Smithsonian’s coverage of Trek’s 50th birthday. I met Marc through his involvement in DC theatre. After the shoot, we got some coffee and talked about—well, okay, yes, about his work on various Trek movies mostly, again, some more. But we also discussed how much we both enjoyed writer/director Kathleen Akerley’s ambitious new play FEAR, which I review in this week’s Washington City Paper.
Posted in theatre
Tagged Amal Saade, Ashley DeMain, Kathleen Akerley, Longacre Lea, Marc Okrand, Michael Glenn, play reviews, Smithsonian Air & Space, Star Trek, Tom Carman, Vince Eisenson, Washington City Paper, William Shakespeare
Star Trek Beyond, the third Trek in the 50-year-old franchise’s rebooted “Kelvin timeline,” wants to be a Skyfall-style cocktail of tradition and modernity. I wish it were bolder, but it’s energetic and fun. Here’s my NPR review.
What a pleasure it was to speak with Simon Pegg, an actor and writer whose work I’ve long admired, for my day job with Air & Space / Smithsonian magazine. I’ve been overseeing a special section of our September issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, and I was especially keen to have Pegg — as the co-screenwriter of the new movie Star Trek Beyond, as well as one of its key cast members — be a part of our coverage. He was as enthusiastic and smart and funny as I’d dared hope. You can read the interview here, and my NPR review of Star Trek Beyond will be up Friday. Continue reading
With the release of a new iteration of Ghostbusters — Sequel? Reboot? Don’t know; the DC screening conflicted with the first session of the new Boxing Fundamentals class I’m teaching at Y — every single one of 1984’s ten highest-grossing films has either been sequeled or remade. I believe ’84 is the only year for which this is the case. In terms of what ruled the box office, it resembled 2014 a lot more than it did ’83 or ’85. Because I enjoy staring at box office charts, apparently, I wrote about this discovery for NPR Monkey See.
The Nice Guys, which I expect history shall remember as my favorite film of the summer of 2016, came out last week; Captain America: Civil War, probably the best of the Marvel bunch, is old news. But Memorial Day weekend is still the traditional start of the summer movie season. Here, for the third consecutive Memorial Day weekend, is my Village Voice list of summer movies I want to see. Light up a phone in any of these and you’ll hear from me.