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Tag: Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery Has Dropped the F-Bomb

I’m sure Kirk and Spock would be a bit more than a tad surprised if they heard some of the bad language coming out of the latest “Trek” iteration.

“Star Trek” has always been about breaking down barriers.

Remember that ‘first’ interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura in the 1968 “Star Trek” episode “Plato’s Stepchildren?” And the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” kiss between two women (Dax and Lenara) from 1995’s “Rejoined” episode.

Now, “Star Trek: Discovery” has one of those barrier-breaking scenes that Trekkies will talk about for generations to come. It’s from the “Choose Your Pain” episode.

No, there’s no kiss in this fifth episode of the young series, but we see Lt. Stamets and Dr. Culber brushing their teeth together in their quarters and articulating some clearly intimate feelings. We have our first openly gay crew members. It’s a gentle and charming scene in a show that’s bombarded with harsh uncertainty. It’s well written and another important “Star Trek” moment that supports and builds on its universe of inclusion.


That, in itself distinguishes this episode as one to remember.
And it’s all I should be writing about.
(Other than we are introduced to a young Harry Mudd.)

But unfortunately, that’s not all that differentiates it.

Star Trek and the Four-Letter Word
In what actually felt pretty awkward to me, the writers also decided to throw some bad language into the script.

Variants of the four-letter ‘F’ and ‘S’ words, to be precise.

(I had read this would be coming, but dropping the F-bomb still felt a little shocking.)

Look, I know that “Discovery” is a more gritty and edgy series, and there’s clearly a lot of violence.
So, what’s the problem with a few four-letter words?

We’ll, first off… it just seemed gratuitous. It didn’t feel any more significant except to inform viewers that the universal translator for this “Trek” doesn’t restrict *uck and *hit.

There are no CBS broadcast censors to worry about here.

So, I guess anything goes.
I feel it was clearly a message more than anything else.

Message received.

Daddy, What’s that Word Mean?
Suddenly, “Star Trek: Discovery” just became off limits to some younger viewers who aren’t allowed to consume R-rated content.

How inclusive is that?

Are the producers so desperate to distinguish their pay TV niche to attract only adults who enjoy their “Game of Thrones?”

I get the value proposition that if you’re going to pay for your “Star Trek,” the producers have got to give viewers more than what’s available on broadcast television.

But R-rated profanity? Really??

What’s interesting is the writers waited until the fifth episode to sprinkle in the three words at issue.

Hmmm… Actually, how bold is that?
If there’s going to be bad language here…. it should be present… front and center from the beginning of the series.

The Orville Surges Ahead
Speaking of trying to boldly go where no one has gone before, “Discovery” has another challenge to deal with. It continues to be scooped by the spoof over at Fox.

“The Orville” established its own onboard male couple (Bortus and Klyden) in its second episode. Sure, it’s a little different, because there are no females in their alien species.
(Well, not exactly)

And I’ve got to give some kudos to this “Star Trek” wannabe, which is rocking with some big-time guest stars – Liam Neeson and Charlize Theron.

I’m also really tickled how Seth MacFarlane is weaving in references (or boldly borrowing) story elements from some science fiction I grew up with… like “The Starlost” TV series from 1973 with Keir Dullea and 1989’s “Millennium” movie with Cheryl Ladd and Kris Kristofferson.

All of this is to say that “The Orville” in all of its silliness is showing lots of promise.

For Adults Only?
“Star Trek: Discovery” has promise too.

On a lark, I decided to take a look again at the first episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
(CBS All Access gives you instant access to all “Trek” episodes.)

Those first awkward minutes from “Encounter at Farpoint” have not aged well at all. We Trekkies really gave that series a lot of leeway until it found its footing.

But it was a series that everyone could watch.

All I’m saying here is I hope “Discovery” doesn’t continue too far down its path of targeting adult viewers only.

A Child of Star Trek
There has always been a younger generation of fans who were inspired by each version of “Star Trek.”

I was among the first wave, and honestly, I can’t imagine being told by my parents that I couldn’t watch “Star Trek,” because it wasn’t appropriate for kids.

Now, it’s true you can make the argument that “Discovery” is already too violent for children, but you wouldn’t find universal agreement on that point.

But you just can’t get around the F-bomb.


Retain the Universe of Inclusion
I just don’t think “Discovery” viewers need the naughty language.
(One Trekkie’s opinion)

That particular barrier doesn’t have to be broken.
It will just put up another one for younger viewers.

Message to “Discovery” writers:
Please clean up your potty mouth!

Why “Star Trek: Discovery” and “The Orville” are Tearing a Hole in My Mind and Wallet

I’ve been a Trekkie all of my life. Here’s a photo of me as a teenager sitting in a replica U.S.S. Enterprise captain’s chair at the 1976 New York City Star Trek Convention. Does this demonstration of core-level nerdiness qualify me decades later to offer my first impressions of “Star Trek: Discovery” and “The Orville?” You bet it does!

I feel like I’ve entered a sci-fi nexus. A place where I can clearly see a warped “Star Trek” from my past and a newly phased, slightly alternate-reality version for the future.

A little confused? So am I.
(Though not entirely displeased)

All right everyone… go find your Spock ears and put them on. This is going to get a little geeky…

Two New Versions of “Star Trek”
It may feel like blasphemy to tinker with the old “Star Trek” some of us grew up with. But as I’m sure you’re aware, two new “Star Trek” based sci-fi series have almost simultaneously arrived after twelve years without new Star Trek episodes on television.

After what seems like an eternity of preproduction, “Star Trek: Discovery” has finally premiered. But it doesn’t entirely own the new-Trek conversation, because Seth MacFarlane’s irreverent “The Orville,” actually beat “Discovery” to the premiere punch by a couple of weeks.

“The Orville” isn’t technically a “Star Trek” series, but it’s clearly paying homage to the original show and “The Next Generation” while also trying to have a lot of fun with the format.

“Star Trek: Discovery” has chosen a darker and grittier path than any of its predecessors, one seemingly inspired by the “Battlestar Galactica” reboot. Starring Sonequa Martin-Green, “Discovery” works hard to remind us it’s “Star Trek.” In the pilot episode, you’ll see a front-and-center shot of what looks like Kirk’s original phaser. Starship doors slide open with the familiar swish. And the gurgles and chirps on the U.S.S. Shenzhou’s bridge come from the same infrastructure as the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Yet, it’s clear that as a series, “Discovery” is a new version of “Star Trek.”

And while “The Orville” isn’t “Star Trek,” in so many ways… it is.
The ship. The bridge. The uniforms. Everything.
The special effects are even good.

Science Fiction for 2017
Both new series are intentionally being disruptive. One is dark.
The other is trying to be funny.

And it is that so bad?
Who said a “Star Trek” series had to be exactly like earlier versions? If you believe that, you can be sure you’d never see another “Star Trek” series ever again.

Hey, Trekkies… Grow up!
Life changes. Entertainment changes. “Star Trek” changes.

Unless you simultaneously resurrect and spoof the old format as Seth MacFarlane has done. As a life-long Trekkie, I’ve been wincing at some of the bits in the first two episodes of “The Orville.” Whether MacFarlane can successfully tap into “Star Trek” nostalgia and then skewer it in the same script will be determined as his series gets a few more episodes in under its belt.

One Trekkie’s Opinion
So, do I like “Star Trek: Discovery?”

It’s really too early to tell. It’s clearly got some big ambitions. The sets and special effects are beautiful, but I haven’t yet been drawn in emotionally, other than to mourn the loss of what I was hoping would be a long-time character.

Sure, I could quibble over how accurately the producers have inserted this series into the official Trek timeline. Should there be force fields that protect destroyed hull plating on a ship that predates the NCC-1701? That kind of tech didn’t start to show up until the Enterprise-D.
(The new “Star Trek” movies displayed advanced levels of tech… but that’s from an alternate timeline… so anything goes.)

But I know if I get stuck babbling like this, I’m missing the big picture.

Sticker Shock
The big question is whether I am going to start paying for my Trek moving forward.
(Except for the pilot, you can only watch the rest of the series by streaming it on CBS All Access for a monthly cost of $5.99. New episodes are available Sundays at 8:30pm)

As much as I hate the idea of it, yes… I’m in.
Of course, I am.

It’s worth mentioning that “The Orville” on Fox is free to watch with regular commercials. Or you can stream it on with only one commercial up front.
(As long as you ‘interact’ with the sponsor’s ad)

A Federation Universe without Commercials
So, I signed up to join the CBS Borg collective using the downloaded app on my Apple TV.
(Make it so!)

Now here comes the illogical part…
I’ve actually decided to pay CBS more than I have to for my “Star Trek: Discovery.”

There’s a second plan offered when you sign up online.
It’s the ‘commercial-free’ plan.

Yep, there’s a four-dollar monthly surcharge to lose the commercials.
So that gooses the price tag up to ten bucks a month.

And why exactly did I decide to throw away money every month?
Well, I figured I’m already paying for my “Star Trek.” I just know how I’d feel being forced to also watch commercials as well.
(There really shouldn’t be commercials in the $5.99 plan either, but I’m not ready to argue economics with CBS.)

So, all in… the price tag comes to $2.50 per “Discovery” episode.
(That’s assuming I don’t take advantage of any other programming on CBS All Access… which is substantial.)

Value Add
There’s actually one possible game changer available on CBS All Access that would help to soften the sticker shock for me.
You get your live, local CBS feed.
(In over 150 U.S. markets)

Now, that’s interesting…

Because as I continue to consider how to cut the cable cord without losing programming that I want, having access to live CBS news, sports and special events is a huge benefit.

Hmmm… Let me think a bit more about that.

Discovery Vs. Orville
If you’ve been expecting me to choose one of these series over the other, spoiler alert… I’m not. As much as they’re both based on the same origin material, they’re entirely different.

Yes, while it’s odd to see two “Star Trek” shows running simultaneously, that’s not unprecedented.
(“Next Generation” and “Deep Space Nine”)

And while it’s early for both series, I do think “Discovery” has a better chance of ongoing success if it can convince enough viewers to pay for the privilege.

“The Orville” relies on a simplicity in television storytelling that’s rather retro these days. And I don’t know if the occasional humor shtick is going to work out.
(Though “Galaxy Quest” and “Spaceballs” did just fine going for the funny bone.)
But at the end of the day, the series will have to decide if it’s a sit-com, a dramedy or just more relaxed sci-fi.

But one thing’s for sure… “The Orville” has heart. Lots of heart.

It reminds me of that sense of optimism and awe that flooded me when I was a young boy watching my first “Star Trek” episodes. I clearly remember that feeling.

Even though I’m all grown up now, I yearn for a “Star Trek” to do that again for me, whether the branded name is in the title or not.

Because I’m still a kid at heart…

…I’ll be watching.

What The LEGO Ninjago Movie and Star Trek: Discovery Have in Common

As both media properties switch distribution platforms, it’s clear that change is coming. Properly communicating some of those details ahead of schedule is always critical. Otherwise, you’ve got worried fans writing posts like this…

As both media properties switch distribution platforms, it’s clear that change is coming. Properly communicating some of those details ahead of schedule is always critical. Otherwise, you’ve got worried fans writing posts like this…

I just watched “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” trailer online. It’s based on the cartoon TV series about five young ninja warriors and their sensei who battle evil forces.

LEGO movies are seemingly starting to churn out faster than your kid can build a 500-block LEGO fortress. First there was “The LEGO Movie,” which I thought was a super fun family flick. Now, “The LEGO Batman Movie” has just been released to solid reviews, and “Ninjago” comes to theaters in September.

If you like these LEGO movies, (or your kids do) this should all be great news, right? My six-year-old son loves to watch the Ninjago TV series, and I can’t even imagine how excited he’ll get when I reveal there’s a movie version coming out.

But I’m not sure I’m going to tell him.
Well not yet.

And why not?
Well, I’ve identified a little problem in the trailer…

This is Not My Son’s Ninjago Universe
The voices of the animated characters in the movie are voiced by different actors than in the series.

While this might appear to be a subtle change, I’m not so sure I like it.
Plus, the animation design aligns a closer to the LEGO movie universe. Again, not in huge ways, but it’s noticeable.

Now, it’s not the first time a TV series has been changed or ‘upgraded’ as it morphs into a big-time movie. Often there’s a bunch of years between the two… So change is inevitable. But we’re talking about a current cartoon series about to release its seventh season.
(“Hands of Time”)

Shouldn’t the Ninjago transition to movies be a little more seamless?
(And speaking of the seventh season, my boy is extremely eager to know when it’s being released. Any ideas out there?)

Now I get that the producers of the LEGO movies want to create a product that’s distinct from and ‘better’ than its TV counterparts. (Otherwise, why would you choose to spend some serious money to schlep your family to the cinemaplex when you can stream it all for ‘free’ on your iPad.
(With a Netflix subscription)

I get why you’d sign up some big time talent like Jackie Chan to play Sensei Wu to help the marketing team sell more tickets.

“Jackie Chan?! COOL! Let’s go….”

But they’ve messed with my son’s Ninjago universe.

This is ‘another’ Ninjago.
…An alternate reality Ninjago.
…A ‘Kelvin’ Ninjago.

The Needs of the Many
Truthfully, I’m not sure that my son will really care about any of this.
But obviously I do…

Yeah… I think this actually may be more about me.
I‘m not a big fan of gratuitously messing with a formula that already works…

Which is why I’m still concerned with what’s happening with the new “Star Trek: Discovery” series.

Even from the distance as a “once and always Trekie,” I acknowledge that the Star Trek formula needs to continue to evolve as the original blueprints eventually ran out of steam with “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

Yes, the new movie series took some big-time chances to mix things up a bit. But J.J. Abrams successfully rebooted the franchise in a fresh way with its “Kelvin’ alternate timeline, while also respecting the original ‘Prime’ timeline.

“Discovery” is apparently not connected to the new movies in any way.
It reportedly takes place in the pre-Kirk ‘Prime’ timeline.
(Ten years before the original five-year mission.)

Have you got that?
…Because I don’t.

The timeline split off on the day of Kirk’s birth.

So this assumes the original timeline still exists somewhere… intact.

Hailing Frequencies Are Open
The problem is I still have no sense or feeling about this new Trek.
And it’s launching in May.

Sure there’s casting announcements and some vague plot elements.
(Young Sarek will be a part of the story.)

But the whole kit and kaboodle still feels like a black hole to me.
The marketing machine has given us almost nothing to get us excited about.

What I need is a decent trailer to settle me down a bit…
(And something more than concept animation…)

Maybe a few photos with the actors in uniform. Something!
Come on guys!

I know all about “The LEGO Ninjago Movie,” and that’s not coming out until September!

Settle Down, Barrett
It seems clear “Star Trek: Discovery” is going to be somewhat ‘disruptive.’
But I’m a little worried, because it continues to be so quiet.
Like something’s wrong.

The new “In Production” teaser makes me feel slightly better…

But it still doesn’t give much up.
Except a promise to maintain the tradition…

Birthday Wish
Change is inevitable… Whether we’re talking about animated Spinjitzu masters moving to the big screen or some version of the two Federation universes moving back to the small screen.

As a father of a kid and as a kid at heart, all I ask is to simply respect the ‘elemental powers’ that have made both franchises successful.

From there you can’t go wrong…
And your fans will continue to feel like it’s their birthday every time they tune in…

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