the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Star Trek’ Category

I’m late to Discovery, and I’m fine with that.  After watching the first season, i have a lot (holy shit a lot!) of thoughts.  I wasn’t sure how to get them all down, so I cheated, and interviewed myself about my experience.  This is not a review or a critique, it is a ramble.   Cuz I got thoughts, and what is the internet good for, if not rambling?


Yeah, so this blog post is less about ST: Discovery and more about how I react to things.  But I finally watched the first season, and I Have Thoughts.


Very minor spoilers ahead.


This showed on CBS All Access like a year ago. Why did it take you this long to finally watch it?


Biggest reason: I don’t find CBS All Access to be worth what they are charging for it. There isn’t enough there there.    I love subscription streaming services, when those services offer a lot of stuff I’m interested in watching. Netflix could double what they charge and I’d still be ripping them off.  CBS All Access was asking me to pay however much a month for one show. I still find that idea laughable. Discovery looked interesting, but this was a simple value equation: was the cost of CBS All Access a value match for what I was buying? Nope.


A friend bought the 1st season on Blu-ray and offered to let me borrow it. So that’s how I ended up finally watching Discovery.


What did you think of the overall design of the show?


I love the artwork of the opening credits. I’m a sucker for anything architecture-y.  I liked the interiors of the Klingon ships. The color schemes for the Discovery sere darker than I’m used to for a Star Trek story,  it was more Deep Space Nine (a station that wasn’t designed by the Federation), everything was more Battlestar Galactica than I was expecting.


Battlestar Galactica? What makes you compare this show to BSG?


Design. Color scheme. Dark plot elements. Tension.  The focus on non-verbal communication and body language. Even how it was filmed.


I’m used to Star Trek sets being of neutral color schemes, I’m used to the camera angles being more “old school”, so that one set, one hallway, could be made to look like many.  The set designs, camera angles, and filming style felt more Battlestar Galactica or even Firefly to me. Grungier sets, more sharp edges and fewer softened edges, more hallways that looked like actual hallways.  I grew up on Next Gen and Voyager. Those scripts were written almost “cozy mystery” style, where you knew from the first minute of the episode that everything would be neatly wrapped up and sanitized in 42 minutes with minimal tension, no anger or arguments, no issues with integrity,  plenty of diplomacy, and that in a few weeks the characters would forget everything that happened in this episode. Deep Space Nine left that episodic-ness behind somewhat, which was nice.


Discovery didn’t feel sanitized. It didn’t feel like anything was going to be wrapped up in one or two episodes. The character’s non-verbal communication added a ton of tension and suspicion. I didn’t feel like the characters would forget what happened in a few episodes. It felt like a scifi soap opera. It felt like Battlestar Galactica. I mean that as a compliment to both shows.


You posted on twitter that you’re afraid of Jason Isaacs. What the hell?


He’s a really great actor.  Has a metric fuckton of presence.  He walks into the room and your eyes are on him (ok, maybe that’s just me?).  I saw him in a Netflix original tv show called The O.A., which I highly recommend if you haven’t seen it.  Isaacs plays the villain, and boy is he sociopathically villainous. I left the first season of The O.A. scared shitless of him.  The 2nd season of The O.A. comes out soon, and in the promo, it looks like the characters are now friends with him? What the fuck! Why aren’t you running away from him as fast as your legs will take you? He’s the bad guy!!!


So when he showed up on Discovery, a loud voice in the back of my head was screaming “RUN”.   It wasn’t the words that were coming out of his mouth that made me nervous, it was all his non-verbal mannerisms, that he looked away from people while talking, the angle of his shoulders, his not quite smile when things were going the way he wanted.  Watching him on screen was like noticing a big spider crawling down behind the sofa. I know it’s there, i just don’t know exactly where, or when it’s going to crawl out, or if it’s two centimeters from my shoulder, right this second. Oh, hai anxiety!


I was so freaked out by him that I had a tough time paying attention to what was happening on the TV screen.    It made me feel a little better when some stuff is revealed about his character, i felt justified in my anxiety and unrelenting fear.


What about other actors and characters? Who did you like? Who didn’t you like?


I love Michelle Yeoh.  She makes everything better.  Every scene with her is my favorite scene. She looked like she had a TON of fun filming her scenes, and I just love everything about her and her character.

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on Friday July 22nd, if you live in Southwestern Michigan, you can hear an edited version of our Star Trek chat on 102.1FM at 7:50am, 11:50am and 4:20pm.  Or just click here to listen to us talk on and on and on and on.



vulcan Kathleen SkyVulcan! by Kathleen Sky

published in 1978

where I got it: purchased used










Ahh, Star Trek. I grew up with you, I watched all your spin offs, I learned all about diplomacy and crazy hairstyles from you, I’ve even transferred my school girl crush on Shatner’s Kirk to Vic Mignogna’s Kirk. But in all these years, I’ve never read a Star Trek tie in novel. Until now.  Browsing at a bookstore with some friends,   Vulcan! by Kathleen Sky was pushed into my hands. ok sure, why not?


You know sometimes you just need a fun, brain-candy kind of book? Something that is sure to entertain but doesn’t require your brain to do any back-flips? This was one of the books, and the timing couldn’t have been better, because boy was I in the mood for some easy to read candy.


The premise is that the Neutral Zone between Federation space and Romulan space is shifting, and a solar system that had always been on the Federation side will soon be on the Romulan side. The Enterprise’s mission is to visit the planet and determine if the life forms there are intelligent or not. On the way, they pick up the Federation’s preeminent expert on zenobiology, Dr. Katalya Tremain. Kirk has been warned that she’s got a difficult personality, but he figures he’ll put on the charm, and she’ll be like putty in his hands. Dr. Tremain beams aboard, sees Spock standing in the transporter room, and freaks the hell out.  Apparently “difficult personality” was subtle talk for she’s happily vocal about her bigoted hatred for all Vulcans.

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Two little Star Trek gems entered my life recently:


The comic book, circa 1986, is a quick and funny little story, about how Kirk and crew outsmart a group of aliens who invade the Enterprise. In command of the Excelsior, Kirk teaches Saavik a little something about humor and hunches, and we get to meet Lt. Naraht the Horta. Comics is the perfect medium for this kind of story, as it’s too light and fluffy  to survive being a filmed tv episode.  Not exactly canon, DC did this series of comics in the mid 80’s, to follow the crew of the Enterprise after Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  But I coulda told you that just by looking at the cover art and flipping through the comic book.

One of the many things I enjoy about the lifespan of Star Trek is what I like to call art-direction-dating. Similar to  carbon dating, the use of Star Trek art-direction-dating allows a fan to date an image, screen shot, film credits intro and uniform by the style of title font, and by Kirk’s hairstyle.

But mostly by Kirk’s hairstyle.

See how his hairstyle goes from late 60’s blonde-ish straight-ish hair with a side part, to 80’s more brown than blonde and curly on top, and then to a 90’s whatever moptop/toupee thing.

See what I mean? can totally date everything by the hair.

See what I mean? can totally date everything by the hair.

Piece of pie to date the comic to mid 80s.

moving on . . . to the second Star Trek goodie.

SAM_3428 Read the rest of this entry »

There’s a new trailer out for Star Trek Into Darkness.  It’s a pretty fucking epic trailer.

go watch it over at Wired.

Looks awesome, yeah?  i want to stand up and applaud after watching that.

but do these J.J. Abrams movies feel like Star Trek?

And does it matter?  Does Star Trek have, for lack of a better term, umami, that is or should be present in the J.J. Abrams films? and if yes, what is that particular flavor?



I’ll go first. You know how a lot of people were annoyed with the X-Men prequel that came out a couple years ago? Long time fans said it didn’t jive with the cannon story line and ret-conned a bunch of stuff. my only experience with X-Men is the movies, so if characters and plotlines were changed from the comics I had no way of knowing.  The way Abrams is handling Star Trek makes me really sympathize with those X-Men fans.

Today’s guest post is brought to us by Jim Black from Science Fiction Times. Jim’s blog is jam packed with all my favorite things – science fiction of the last hundred years, graphic novels and comics, Doctor Who, Convention news, thoughts on the genre, and how his experiences with science fiction have evolved over the years. He and I also share a fondness for the original Star Trek series. Please give a warm welcome to Jim!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Where No Writer Has Gone Before, by Jim Black

Everyone remembers the first time they hear those magical words These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise… spoken during the opening credits of Star Trek (the original series). Let’s take a short journey back to the time I first discovered this legendary series.

I fondly remember running from the school bus into our house, tossing my books on a chair, and turning on the television to channel 5 out of Washington D.C. My parents had just made the big switch from antenna to cable television. Now we could watch half a dozen channels instead of the old two that we could pick up with the antenna. By accident I had discovered a show that came on at 4PM. This fantastic show dealt with explorers traveling the universe in search of other races. Every weekday, channel 5 would show another episode. Four o’clock became my favorite time to watch television. What made the original series so great? It was a combination of many things (in no particular order).

The Enterprise. I was addicted to reading science fiction by this point in my life but this was the first time I was able to see a spaceship in action. The Enterprise was almost another character on this show. It carried the crew wherever they wanted to go. With Mister Scott in Engineering, it was always able to go a little faster than any other ship in the Federation.


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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.