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Happy Birthday Star Trek

50 years ago today yesterday, the first episode of Star Trek (now known as ‘The Original Series’) aired.  Sci-fi fandom hasn’t been the same since.  Hundreds of episodes of TV across five decades, scores of books and comics, big budget movies, video games, copycats and parodies, Trek holds a special place in our pop culture.  Star Wars may have the cool laser swords and planet-exploding superweapons, Star Trek – for all the added fistfights – made you a better person.

The Original Series was the first show I ever watched that dealt with real social issues which despite the show’s 1960’s roots, were still relevant.  Star Trek made you think about the consequences of the action, even as they had to shoehorn in a ridiculous fight with papier-mâché rocks to try and stay on the air.  Sure, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” may have been heavy handed, but for ten year old me this was the first show that dealt with racism in a way I understood.  I came for the Frank Gorshin, but left asking my parents why those two men thought they were so different.

But the best part of Star Trek was how it brought my family together.  My dad, I think, was the driving force, he loved TOS due to the “Wagon Train to the stars” aspect.  I can still remember us gathering to watch Encounter at Farpoint together.  Looking back, it wasn’t the greatest premiere episode, but it still had a sense of wonder about it that captured my attention.  It didn’t hurt that it had John de Lancie mugging for the camera as Q.  Most likely I hit The Next Generation at exactly the right time – young enough to forgive the inconsistency of the first few seasons, but then maturing with the show as it truly hit its stride a few years in.  That led into Deep Space Nine, which remains one of my all-time favorite shows, and the one that best continued the Trek legacy of examining real-world issues through a sci-fi lens.

I am looking forward to the new Star Trek: Discovery show, as it looks like it may be a return to form for Star Trek after the uneven, action-oriented ‘Kelvin-verse’ movies.  And if it doesn’t, there’s always “The Squire of Gothos”, “The Trouble with Tribbles”, “Inner Light”, “The Visitor”, “In The Pale Moonlight”…

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Friday Finds – Kung Fu and Carmen Sandiego

Well, it was a busy week for me, though most of the creative juices were used at the Sabres site I run.  They had a rough week, what can I say?  Still, I got OGT out, and it’s one of my all time favorites, River City Ransom.  Check it out if you haven’t yet.  On to the links!

Martin Campbell (who helmed Casino Royale and The Green Lantern) is in early talks to direct The Fall Guy.  The Fall Guy, for those of you who don’t know, centered around Lee Majors as a stuntman who took bounty hunter jobs to try and make ends meet.  It’s pure 80’s cheese, right up there with the A-Team and Knight Rider.  It will be tough to cast the Colt Seavers role, though.  It can’t be somebody that actually looks like they could be down on their luck, but still tough enough to be a stuntman/bounty hunter.  Can Daniel Craig lose the accent?

Another of my favorite old shows might get the movie treatment – Kung Fu.  Bill Paxton may direct (he’s got some movies under his belt already).  It would be interesting to see how they go with it.  When I saw the show originally, I didn’t know about the whole ‘Bruce Lee came up with the idea and it was stolen from him basically’ thing, but Kwai Chang Caine became a favorite character of mine.  I even loved Kung Fu – The Legend Continues.  I’m curious to see if they keep the half Chinese/half American aspect, as I think that could still give an interesting slant to the story – a man who at the time would be rejected both in China and in the Americas for being different.

My friend Anneke as Carmen Sandiego.  May have to scroll down a bit.

Even our favorite, long running TV shows had bad seasons.  IO9 lists some of the worst in sci-fi and fantasy.  TNG Season 2:  Joe Piscopo.  Enough said.  Though as commenters pointed out, that season gave us The Measure of a Man and the first appearance of the Borg, so it’s not all bad.

Finally, Barnes and Noble is indeed firing back at the Kindle Fire, with a new Nook Tablet.  Engadget got a hold of some slides from a presentation that give some details, and it sounds solid.  Dual-core 1.2ghz, twice the RAM and on-board storage as the Fire, thought it is still more than the Fire at $249.  They will drop the original Nook Color to $199 (I think it should go lower, make Amazon sweat).