All posts by Sarah

The Original Trekkie In Training. Sarah will be assimilated into the Trekkie way of life. Follow her journey as she boldly watches Star Trek for the first time.

2016 – My Incredible Year as a Terrible Trekkie in Training

What a year 2016 has been for everyone huh? I mean, good and bad. In fact, an awful lot of bad, but it is not the purpose of this post to dwell on those. There have however been highlights, certainly for me personally. I downloaded my Tweet archive today because I was looking for a particular Tweet. I realised that I hadn’t done this since August 2015! You may be wondering what my point is here, but it kind of just sums up my 2016 really. I mean, where the hell did it go?! I know everybody says it, every year, but these past 12 months have literally just flown by. The Tweet archive thing is poignant because I always used to download my Tweets when I did my TNG season reviews, as a means of refreshing my memory. I started Season 5 on the 29th March this year and I’ve only reached episode 11. I may have watched a couple more than that, trying to make an effort, but I certainly haven’t tweeted them. #epicfail

My TiT New Years Resolutions this year were:

  1. Finish #TNGrevisited
  2. Start #FirstTimeDS9
  3. Catch up on the #RedShirtDiaries
  4. Watch @RenegadesTrek

I had 12 months to do this – a very realisable target I thought to myself.

How many of these have I achieved? Zero. Nil. None. Not one. Not even close.

So what happened? Life. That’s what. Sometimes it just doesn’t go the way you think it’s going to. That’s why I personally think New Year’s Resolutions are a waste of time. Am I sad about not meeting my own expectations? Anybody that knows me will tell you that it absolutely drives me insane. I hate to feel like I’m letting people down and I really, really wanted to do each and every one of those things. But… and it’s a BIG but, I have also had the most insanely amazing year as a TrekkieGirl, and for that I am not sorry.

Let’s just recap…

February 2016 – The SF Ball, Southampton

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TrekkieGirl Sam was flat out in sickbay and it was up to Carole and I to represent the team. What an amazing day we had, culminating in interviewing the awesome Connor Trinneer, Dominic Keating, Vaughan Armstrong and Casey Biggs. The video has never been released, but boy did we have fun! Naughty, naughty boys they are…

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April 2016 – Larry came to stay!

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Yes, in April, THE Larry Nemecek came to the UK, stayed at Sam’s house and we all went out for dinner in a local country pub – *bliss*. Oh, and I got my copy of “The Next Generation Companion” signed… #winning

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Also this month, I finished my #TNGSeason3 review and did my first solo Periscope. Nerve-wracking but fun, and thankfully well received!

May 2015 – The chipmunk/chipettes reunion / LA BABY!!

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May was the month when Simon, Jamie and Phil of The Engage Podcast came to visit. We had lunch, we podcasted and had a day full of general merriment! Love these guys SO much!!

I was also honoured to be asked to guest star on The Engage Podcast twice more this year – once in February to discuss “Star Trek Troupes” (not bad considering I didn’t know what a “troupe” was until then!) and then in June for our epic TNG Season Two review.

Also in May the most incredible thing happened. My *cringe* video won the #Star Trekcontest competition – a weekend break in LA!

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We attended exclusive audience with JJ, Justin Lin, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban; witnessed the dedication of Leonard Nimoy Way at Paramount Studios; saw a brand new trailer for the film; got a close-up view of the costumes and props, and partied like we were the only “English girls” there! Well, actually we were!

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Not forgetting of course meeting up with Larry (again!) and his friends for dinner. And listening to Steve D’Errico’s amazing stories!

July 2016 – Movie marathon madness and BEYOND!

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Yes, we sat in the cinema for 8 hours to watch Star Trek and Into Darkness, before getting to see the hotly anticipated Beyond for the first time! It did not disappoint.

October 2016 – #DSTE #DST50

What a way to finish off THE best year to be a TrekkieGirl. So many incredible memories from that weekend. Panels. Meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Recruited in to THE William Shatner’s crew for the morning. Marina Sirtis recognising US! Wil Wheaton. Adam Nimoy. And getting to experience all this with two of my bestest friends in the world. Love you girlies so much!!!

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So, yeah, I let myself down on the whole TiT front. I got a new job about six months ago and the effect it has had on the amount of “free time” I have has been hard. But by God I’ve made up for it in other ways. It has been an amazing year!

I don’t know what 2017 has in store. I’m sure it will hold its own special set of challenges. One thing is for sure though – that my love of Star Trek has grown exponentially over the course of this year and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. There is so much to look forward to…

So, whilst I won’t promise to do or be better in 2017, I can assure you that my love of Star Trek is here to stay, however that may present itself.

A very happy new year to you all!

For the Love of “For the Love of Spock”

*WARNING – SPOILER ALERT! *

Noble. Dignity. Artist. Integrity. Human. Logical. Humble. Hope. Cool. Loving. Love.

(THE mensch of menschs?!)

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As Sam reiterated during our anniversary Periscope shenanigans, after his passing in February 2015, what started out as a 50th Anniversary “Spock special”, evolved somewhat in to a well deserved “This Is Your Life, Leonard Nimoy”, and what a captivating story it is! Charting the highs and lows of the life of such an incredibly complex and talented man, genuinely loved and admired by all who knew him. When I sat down to watch ‘For the Love of Spock’ (a day late, as you would have come to expect from me!), I never intended to write a “review”, nor to write this much, but throughout the film I just found I had so much to say. It literally had me balling within the first three minutes, and sent shivers down my spine!

As a relative newbie to the world of Trek, I was fascinated to hear all about Nimoy’s life outside of Spock. What is probably common knowledge to the hardcore Trekkies/Trekkers out there, was all new and fascinating to me. I was gripped from the very beginning. He struggled with alcoholism; he wrote poetry; he sang; he was an amazingly talented photographer. He directed Three Men and a Baby?! What. The. Spock?! HOW did I not know this?!

He’d also had quite a few acting jobs before being cast in Star Trek. In fact, he’d even worked with Gene Roddenberry on TV series ‘The Lieutenant’. It was during this time that something about Nimoy caught Gene’s eye, namely his cheekbones: “He’d make a great alien…with those cheekbones, some sort of a pointed ear might go well?” – and so Spock was born. As I have suspected for quite some time now, Spock WAS created for Leonard Nimoy, or at the very least with him in mind. Whilst he thought he was going for a job interview, Gene was set on selling Star Trek TO Nimoy, he simply had to have him on board?!

Something that did make me chuckle – when talking about the lack of quality prosthetics at the very beginning: Gene said that if the ears didn’t work, they would simply write in to the script that Spock had an “ear job” or something. CAN YOU IMAGINE?!

The immortal words “live long and prosper” are also credited to Nimoy – I love the story of where the Vulcan salute came from, as well as the iconic arched eyebrow: “If you are minimal, then that becomes a big deal”. It was amusing to see how said eyebrows were rather more unkempt in the pilot, in comparison to the over-tweezed ones we are more used to seeing.

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 Again, I was completely ignorant to the fact that there was a whole other pilot/crew?! And that Spock was a very different Vulcan under Captain Pike. There is always so much made of the rivalry between lead stars, and Nimoy and Shatner did not escape this. As George Takei explained, “Shatner was the titular character, but people were absolutely magnetically attracted to Spock”. However, as Gene so wisely said: “If Spock is popular, then Kirk is popular, and the show is popular, and that’s what we all want” – and they never looked back, Shatner simply encompassed the popularity of Spock. It was lovely to hear the genuine affection between Nimoy and Shatner. The latter with his “energy and a sense of humour and a twinkle in the eye” changed the way Nimoy played Spock – a whole different dynamic evolved.

“Kirk is the physical embodiment of the show and Spock is the spiritual embodiment of the show” (James Duff).

Or as George Takei so eloquently put it, they we Yin and Yang.

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And can I just say – Jason Alexander’s Kirk impression? WOW!!

The scene were Nimoy is reading Star Trek’s very first review in ‘Variety’ magazine is hilarious. As his childhood friend, Barry Newman, had said they were on “a treadmill to oblivion” – the show was not initially received well. Roddenberry’s vision was way ahead of its time. However, I love the thought that “gradually the show and its audience found each other”, and how times change eh? From the network executives initially not wanting to upset the “Bible belt” with this satanic-type character, to asking why they weren’t you doing more with “that Martian” on the show, as its, and Spock’s, popularity grew.

“He was a multi-faceted individual, he was never just Spock to me” (Simon Pegg).

Two words: Bilbo Baggins. Oh dear. But LOVE the scene where the TOS crew are watching the video!

LOL: Even Nimoy didn’t like “The Motionless Picture”, calling it frustrating, depressing and dispiriting. Although I did like the fact that its story “began in London”. I also never realised that he had such a big part behind the scenes, directing the 3rd and 4th movies.

I can’t believe The Animated Series is actually a thing? It looks like some kind of spoof? How could they possibly have thought it was okay not to cast George and Nichelle?! The fact that Leonard refused to do it unless they were included because they were “the two people that most personified what Star Trek was all about: the diversity, coming together and working in concert as a team”, demonstrates wonderfully the kind of man he really was and what the character of Spock stood for.

As JJ says, it was “wonderfully comforting and relatable to know that Spock was an outsider”, his journey was all about how you find your way, as the alien in a foreign culture. These are perfect examples of how Star Trek encompasses “meaningful issues about to live” and why Spock and the values laid out in Star Trek “continue to resonate” 50 years later. It is also why it’s hard for me to grasp how negatively Star Trek / Spock affected the Nimoy family, and specifically the relationship between Adam and his father.

The best thing about ‘For the Love of Spock’ is the abundance of family photos, videos and interviews – it’s like we have exclusive access to the Nimoy family archive. You can 100% tell that it was directed by his son, and I think it would have been a very different project had this not been the case. I love that what started out as a collaboration between father and son to celebrate the former’s most successful part, transformed in to a wonderful tribute to his life – the good and the bad, warts and all as they say. Adam admits it became a journey of self-discovery about his own relationship with his father and you can really feel this throughout the film. And aww when Adam comes on set with the wig and ears…

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N.B. I didn’t realise that that was actually Nimoy’s real hair! I always assumed it was a wig?! As did his father. I love that kids would come in to his barber’s shop and ask for a “Spock haircut”.

It seems that Nimoy was a man after my own heart, a perfectionist, with a strong work ethic and a somewhat addictive personality. A very intelligent and savvy man, who knew that at any moment the crest of a wave upon which he and his fellow castmates were riding could have come crashing down, and so he never turned work down. His philosophy: making hay whilst the sun was shining.

Adam describes the sacks of mail that would arrive addressed to his father and how answering it all became a “family activity”. These elated early days however soon gave way to a tiresome frustration of life in the limelight and of father never really being around. So committed to his job, that when he was, he might as well not have been. If a picture says a thousand words, then this one says it all:

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I firmly believe that certain personality types are suited to certain professions and I think that most actors, have this “all or nothing” mentality. Nimoy became so fully committed to Spock that even his castmates didn’t “know” Nimoy that well, for he was only occasionally “Leonard like”, they felt they knew Spock better. It is a familiar story of actors so dedicated to a part they are playing they become internalised. When most of your waking life is in character, it’s very difficult to switch it on and off.

Just hearing Jim Parsons (Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory) talking about keeping a “panicked grip” on a character, because you don’t want to lose “it”, makes me think about the late Heath Ledger – who some believe, became so absorbed in playing the twisted character of The Joker, that this was a contributory factor to his tragic death at the age of 28. I had no idea that Nimoy himself had battled his own demons, namely his struggle with alcoholism.

I think his stepson Aaron Bay-Schuck sums it up perfectly: “Leonard was a very even-keeled guy, he didn’t always show a lot of emotion” – Spock was undeniably a part of him.

This film was incredibly moving. Hearing such a candid and personal account of how Spock, and Adam’s struggle to bond with his uber famous father (and vice versa), would ultimately drive a wedge between them. I can’t believe they were estranged up until as recently as 2006!? I am so happy that they reconciled, and that Leonard was there for his son, throughout such a difficult and heart breaking time. The letter from Leonard to Adam… oh the tears.

One question though: what exactly is a full-fledged deadhead?!

On a lighter note, as many of you will know, in my guise as TheOriginalTiT, I have (rather unsuccessfully of late) been making my way through TNG, and something that stood out to me in this film are the parallels that can be drawn between the characters off Spock and Data.

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“Vulcans never bluff”.

Take this conversation between Spock and Kirk for example:

  • S: I prefer the concrete, the graspable, the provable.
  • K: You’d make a splendid computer Mr Spock.
  • S: That is very kind of you Captain.
  • K: *grins

As Nicholas Meyer comments about Spock being a cold, unemotional guy, but that Leonard insisted “he never played him that way, he played him as a guy trying to keep his emotions in check”. As Simon Pegg laments: Spock had “so many emotions”, but as Nimoy himself recalls “he also has emotional control, expresses very little of what he’s feeling. It’s fun for the audience to watch to see if a glimmer of something pops through”. Okay, do Data is an Android and technically not capable of feeling emotion, but it reminds me of something that Brent Spiner said at Destination Star Trek 3, that people would always say that thought they saw Brent play emotions in him, but that actually he “could feel the audience through the TV projecting their emotions on to him”. I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder?

A bit like the “homoerotic relationship” between Kirk and Spock that some fans have created?! Fan fic can go to strange places… I wasn’t quite prepared for that! And no, I haven’t Googled it!!

I can even see a likeness between Nimoy and Patrick Stewart, both with a flair and passion stage acting. I would have loved to have seen Nimoy in the Man in the Glass Booth! ‘For the Love of Spock’ has made me so excited to watch TOS. It seems there was a much more obvious comedic element to the show that the new films have, but that TNG (my main experience of ST so far) lacks somehow. Not in a bad way, it’s just different.

Question: What’s the difference between a Jewish man and “a Jew”?

I absolutely love the term “The Triumvirate”, I hadn’t heard it before in a Star Trek context. Warping forward 50 years – I really feel that in “Beyond”, the latest of the new movie franchise, Pine, Quinto and Urban, finally nailed the recreation of the Shatner-Nimoy-Kelly dynamic. It was truly lovely to see so many of the new cast members involved in this project, to whom Nimoy was of course a castmate also, and no doubt had a tremendous influence over them during the filming of “Star Trek” and “Into Darkness”.

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Over the course of the 50th Anniversary celebrations I have really enjoyed watching all of the ‘closeted’ celebrity Star Trek fans coming out and proud as “Trekkies”. I absolutely loved all the “50 in :50” videos released by Star Trek – from Pete Wentz, to Slash – and you’ll all remember how excited I was about Rihanna getting her Trek on, to the point where she recorded an epic tune for the soundtrack of “Beyond”. I love how Star Trek is increasingly becoming more of an everyday topic of conversation, no longer reserved just for the geeks and nerds amongst us, it’s like totally cool now! Helped in no small way I’m sure by cult TV and firm fan-favourite ‘The Big Bang Theory’ – I can’t wait to watch this show and “get” all of the Star Trek references!

Note to self: must watch majority of Star Trek first.

The breadth, depth and diversity of Star Trek fans never ceases to amaze me. In this documentary for example, you have actual astrophysicists discussing their love of the show, what it means to them and how it has affected the path that their lives took. It is a profound thought that Neil DeGrasse Tyson has, that maybe Star Trek, and Spock, may in some way be responsible for the “slow but real appreciation of what science is and why it matters”. Freakin’ NASA even wished ST a happy anniversary!

As I said in my review of “Beyond”, any new Trek is good Trek, and I love the new films. It was great and somewhat of a vindication to hear how Nimoy viewed the reincarnation: “Along came JJ Abrams who found a way to crack it open to an entirely new and different audience… You didn’t have to know all about Star Trek, you could come and enjoy this movie as a person who had never seen anything of Star Trek before.” Now THAT’s a real seal of approval?!

Having not really seen that much of TOS (and I know that Sam will disagree with me on this one), I personally, have never seen Spock as a “sex-symbol”, although I have to admit that Quinto’s portrayal of the character is somewhat sexier – I understand the appeal there. However, one particular highlight of ‘For the Love of Spock’ was hearing Zoe Saldana talking about the character of Spock and seeing in him what SHE personally likes about men. I couldn’t help wondering whether she is talking about Nimoy-Spock or Quinto-Spock? Is there even a difference? It made me chuckle when an, albeit fairly young, Angelina Jolie confessed to wanting to make Spock “scream”?!

The best line of the entire documentary has to go to JJ Abrams though: “When you have wounded Spock, you just want to kill yourself!” He broke his nose!

Also, picturing the scene with Nimoy, Pegg and Pine – Spock snores!

It was great to see some of the friends that the TrekkieGirls have made over the years be a part of the film, including Bobak – MSL flight engineer NASA jet propulsion laboratory – the TGs new BFF (hope he doesn’t mind me calling him that – Sam and Carole met him in Vegas), and the delightful Scott Mantz!! And did I spy the wonderful @SpockVegas in there too…

Back in 1972, conventions were an entirely new concept: “this gathering of fans to celebrate Trek for a weekend”, and as Simon Pegg says, Trekkies really were “Pioneers of the cosplay culture”. It was amusing that the organisers had hoped for 500 attendees, and they got 3000! Star Trek is undeniably responsible for the formation of the modern day ‘con’, and Nimoy’s love of conventions, and for the fans (as praised by Karl Urban), is common knowledge. This was demonstrated by his appearing via Skype at DST3 in October 2014 – his last public appearance – where he embraced new technological platforms, just to keep that momentum going, when he was no longer able to travel to personally attend. I loved seeing Adam at his first convention and his total awe of it all. The scene spliced between him and Spock is beautiful.

On my relatively short journey as TheOriginalTiT, I have been fortunate enough to be part of some amazing experiences that I know many a hardcore Trekkie would give their right arm for. The gravitas of which is not lost on me. I am so humbled to have been blessed with the opportunity to ask him a question at DST3:

…and to have been present at the naming of Leonard Nimoy way at Paramount studios, LA in May.

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There was only one bit of the whole film that I didn’t quite agree with, and I suppose it’s a matter of opinion. I guess it’s like everyone has their favourite Bond or Doctor who, and I appreciate where Walter Koenig was coming from when he said: “There’s only one person who can play Mr Spock”. I don’t think there is anyone that could have been better cast to reprise the role than Zachary Quinto and I think this comment does him a little of a disservice. He has done / is doing, a simply amazing job following in some pretty big footsteps?! The scene with the two Spocks in the first film is literally one of my absolute favourites!

Quinto speaks about his “personal relationship” with Nimoy, I felt this in person in LA, listening to Quinto speak on behalf of the Nimoy family, about Leonard’s legacy, and about the legend that is Spock. He is part of the Nimoy family now and that can be both seen and felt in this film. At points it’s hard to tell who is interviewing whom? When Adam is talking about his late wife Martha, and his father’s unwavering support during this terrible time, they are almost like brothers.

The Spock tribute at the Burning Man Festival, 2015 must have been an amazing thing to witness and be a part of. It was such a lovely way to end the emotional rollercoaster that was ‘For the Love of Spock’.

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A self made Renaissance man. A ubiquitous curiosity.

You did make the world stand up and listen.

SO what IS your word Adam?!

 

If you haven’t seen ‘For the Love of Spock’ yet (and if I haven’t totally ruined it for you!) check it out over at We Are Colony now.

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A TiT’s Musings About Star Trek Beyond

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* WARNING – SPOILER ALERT! *

I have been a very excited little TiT these past few weeks. The release of Star Trek Beyond marks the first “new Trek” that I have experienced since becoming a Trekkie in Training and fully-fledged TrekkieGirl. It was great to see my excitement and enthusiasm mirrored in two such hardcore Trekkies like Sam and Carole.

Having sadly been unable to attend the EPIC world premiere in San Diego because of the quite serious potential to loose both jobs and husbands following our whirlwind trip to LA, we had to settle for the next best thing – the very first screening of Star Trek Beyond at our local cinema, the Vue at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth. There was no discussion to be had, we would attend the triple bill screening including both Star Trek and Into Darkness, before the hotly anticipated Beyond.

As somebody said to me just recently, any new Trek is good Trek. I personally like both of the first films, and so I knew that I was going to love this one. I just wasn’t really prepared for how much it would totally and utterly blow me away – I LOVED it!!

Let’s just get this bit out the way first – gay Sulu. WHAT was the big deal? I think they could have actually left in the deleted “kiss” and it would still have been completely un-shocking. In the context – of a military or service person greeting their loved one after a period away – what could be more natural? Regardless of gender or sexuality. As John Cho said when speaking to news.com.au:

“I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out of it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicise one’s personal orientations.”

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand where George Takei is coming from, but I hope that now he’s seen Beyond, he can take the whole thing as it was intended. I’m sure that Sam and Carole will fill me in on his response when asked THAT question during his panel at STLV!

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Following on quite nicely from that, I really liked the way they handled the tribute to Leonard Nimoy – so thoughtfully done. It was beautiful to watch Spock grieving for his future self, just as I’m sure Zachary Quinto grieved for his predecessor in real life (it’s no secret that he was close to Leonard and sees the Nimoy’s as “his family”). You could see real emotion in all the cast member faces, not just Quinto, but he did admittedly do an amazing job. Nimoy would have been proud. It was also lovely to see the photographic ode to the TOS cast – TrekkieGirl Sam was literally in floods of tears at this point!

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In a way, I’m envious of Sam and Carole. As lifelong fans, they can take so much more away from the movies than I can? All the subtle references to Enterprise that I just didn’t get, or the “Easter Eggs” that go straight over my head. I hope that this wave of new Star Trek continues so that one day I might enjoy it in the same way they do.

The character development in Beyond was really top-notch! A fact I think you can attribute to the film being co-written by the awesome (and out and proud Trekkie) Simon Pegg. Right from the very beginning where Kirk is explaining what it’s like having been in space for 966 days (loved the bit where he spilt his coffee – I just HAVE to get me one of those mugs!!). The ‘birthday drink’ between Kirk and Bones was a real nod to TOS and the relationship that the two characters had when played by Shatner and Kelly – namely, the “glasses / Romulan Ale” scene in Wrath of Khan – yes, that was one Easter Egg I did pick up on!!!

As TrekkieGirls we had expressed our excited anticipation at the unfamiliar on-screen pairings: Kirk-Chekov, Spock-Bones, Uhuru-Sulu, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The increase in screen time given to Bones was well deserved – I’m so glad Karl Urban agreed to sign up for Beyond (I believe it was in doubt at one point?). That guy is frickin’ hilarious?! He had, without doubt, the best lines!? The sparring between Bones and an injured Spock, stranded on Altamid, again, was a real throwback to the Kelly / Nimoy era and fantastically done! I think these scenes were some of my favourite of the whole movie!

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Something that did irk me a just little bit – every time the (a) ship was going terrifyingly fast, the camera would cut to Uhura screaming whilst all the men sat there stoically as if it were just another day at the office? I love Uhura because of her ballsyness, her feistiness, and don’t get me wrong, she demonstrates plenty of that in the film, but I just think these scenes were a little bit insulting? There was something “helpless female” about it? A bit too “Troi” for my liking? It just really stood out to me. Surely there is another way of demonstrating the impending peril of the ship? Maybe it’s just me…

Conversely, fickle like I am, I loved seeing the vulnerability in Spock – faced with his own mortality with the passing of Ambassador Spock, torn between head and heart, and seeing how both he and Kirk feared letting the other down.

Side note: (I guess this happens when you watch all three films in a row) how well-matched is young Spock in the first movie, to Zachary Quinto?! In the “emotional” scenes in Beyond, he is the spitting image of him! Fantastic casting!

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Speaking of which, I absolutely LOVED Jaylah!!! And the friendship that she formed with Scotty. It was great that he seemed more impressed by her engineering capabilities than by the fact that she is a smokin’ hot badass?! He’s SUCH a geek?! I really hope Sophia Boutella returns in the next movie as a fully-graduated-from-Star-Fleet member of the Enterprise crew.

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Okay, I’ve been putting this off because as you know I get quite emotional about it: Chekov. Anton really came in to his own in this movie. Being the youngest member of the cast (I think he was just 17 when he began filming the first movie?), he really has grown up, in to a man, before our very eyes over the course of the movies. I loved the direction they took with the character in Beyond – he’s almost turning in to a young Kirk? (Funny that the two of them should be stranded together?) I may have been imagining it, but I’m sure he was the guy being kicked out of the green girls’ room, during Kirk’s “daily life aboard a Starship” scene? And the way he looked Jaylah up and down – he was certainly becoming a little bit of a ladies man. I am so sad, as I feel like there was so much more to come from the character, so much more Anton had to give, that will sadly never be realised. I personally am happy that they won’t be recasting the role. I just couldn’t bear to see anybody else playing this Chekov now. So long as there is some plausible explanation for his absence.

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Of course, I’m not forgetting one very important character – the quite simply terrifying, Krall.

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Being a Psychology graduate, I was absolutely fascinated by this character, both fearing and pitying him at the same time. Despite possibly always having been a megalomaniac, I think he was clearly suffering from some of PTSD, having been a soldier before the formation of Starfleet. You’d think by the 23rd Century we would have worked out a way of solving that problem? Okay, so they didn’t foresee his ship getting marooned on a planet so far away, and the subsequent effects of this isolation were perhaps inevitable. However, expecting him to just adapt to this new “peaceful” way of life, all of a sudden, when all he had known was war and battle, was somewhat ignorant and negligent I feel?

I loved the parallel that could be drawn between Kirk and Krall (or rather his human self, Balthazar Edison) – you could see that Kirk felt a certain empathy for what he had been forced to endure, bearing in mind the apathy he had started to feel in his own role as a Captain. When the almost-back-to-human Krall, saw his face in the shard of glass, I thought he was going to have some sort of epiphany, realise the error of his ways and try to help Kirk stop the release of the bioweapon. But sadly not. You see that’s the difference between Kirk and Krall – Kirk is inherently good, Krall, whatever the reasons, is stark raving bonkers.

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So, there you have the TiT’s review of Star Trek Beyond. I hope my musings amuse you?! Needless to say, I am super excited that there’s going to be a forth film, and even more excited that it’s going to feature the gorgeous Chris Hemsworth!

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One more thing before I go…

Again, watching the three JJ films together, I was left wondering – what is the obsession with gravity in these films? From the gravity-defying stalactite-type buildings on Vulcan in the first film, to the mind-bending design of Starbase Yorktown – I mean, what’s with that place?! I couldn’t work out which way was up and which way was down? Also, on more than one occasion throughout the three films, there were scenes where you assume the ship is “above planet” and then the camera pans out and does this weird twisted angle thing to show that actually the ship is at the Southern pole of the planet, and is effectively upside down? Let me see if I can find a demo of this…

I guess when you are completely oblivious to these “Easter Eggs”, you notice other things? However, it all left me wondering, if, when you’re in space, do you ever really know which way is up and which way is down? Is there even an up/down in space? Just thinking about it makes my head hurt… Maybe Tim Peake can help me out on that?!

Oh What A Night!

Where to begin… It all seems like the most amazing, surreal dream now, but Friday 18th May 2016 is firmly cemented as one of the best moments of my life.

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The event itself was shrouded in mystery. There had been much discussion as to what had prompted such an out-of-the-blue “fan event”. Was it the somewhat lukewarm, “it’s-Star-Trek-does-Fast-and-Furious” reception to the first trailer. Or could it be the discontent at there being no new trailer at CinemaCon, in Vegas?

Whatever their motivation, we headed over to the Paramount Lot with a feeling of hugely excited trepidation. Whatever happened, we were in LA, at a once-in-a-lifetime Star Trek event, and we were sure as hell going to enjoy it! And enjoy it we did. Paramount pulled out all of the stops, this event was epic on every scale!

First things first though, making our own way over to Paramount, we pulled up outside the [slightly questionable looking] “Lucy’s”. You’d literally walk past this place without giving it a second glance, whereas hardened LA-Trekkies know that Lucy’s and Star Trek go way back! Gene Roddenbury himself (his signed picture graces the wall), plus many a Star Trek cast and crew, have drank, dined and no doubt laughed the night away there.

On entering we were told to head out back to meet up with Larry (Nemecek) and “friends” (that’s a great idea for a ST themed talkshow don’t you think?): Larry’s friend (who’s name completely escapes me at present – sorry!); Bree (another competition winner) and her +1, Tracy (I think?); Charlynn and Aaron from TrekFM; Darren Benjamin (co-host of Trekcast) and Jeff Gunter (co-host of The Ugly Couch Show) – both of whom coincidently used to work as bartenders in Quarks at the Las Vegas Star Trek Experience. And then there was another guy, who *I think* was called Steve? (I’m so sorry if that’s not your name! Blame it on the jetlag!?), who was very nice and helped Larry to take a “panoramic” shot of the gang!

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This was a great honour for me as I felt like I was amongst true “Trek”. Tucking in to an all-American favourite – a cheese and bean burrito (still not sure if I liked it or not?!) – washed down by a Margarita, there was much speculation: would they show us the whole film? I mean, the itinerary showed the event lasting four hours – what could they possibly do for four hours?! And where was Adam (Savage)? He’d said he be there for dinner…

After queueing for what seemed life FOREVER (although it was nice that a couple of people recognised the TrekkieGirls, and me from my video! BIG shout out to Jim from Enterprise Extra – sorry we didn’t recognise you!), having checked in, we were finally stood outside the door to stage 31. As it lifted, we were greeted by this plaque…

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*squeals in excitement*

Making our way through starship corridors we entered a distinctly “bridge” looking set, that I can only assume was created solely for this event, where 3 stools sat centre stage – who could they be intended for?!

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The wonderful Adam Savage (Mythbusters) was our anchor for the evening, which began with a montage of personal video messages from both current and previous cast/crew, as well as the likes of Rihanna, Slash (Guns ‘N’ Roses) and Fall Out Boys’, Pete Wentz. These made me realise that Star Trek is seriously cool right now. And not just because of the new movie franchise. These are people who grew up with Star Trek, each have their favourite series/episodes, and now they’ve come “out of the closet” and admitted they’re true Trekkies! (Rihanna has since further proved this!)

Out came JJ, and Justin Lin, who was literally fresh from editing #Beyond. Y’all know about the Axanar thing by now, so I won’t bore you with that, especially considering I don’t actually understand it!

Then something magical happened… out walked Karl Urban, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto looking absolutely smoking hot as always.

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I actually saw their names on the teleprompter before they came out and let out a very girly little squeal. The three of them really do have great chemistry together and you can tell that the relationships that their characters have developed on-screen, has translated to real and very genuine friendships off camera too. They bounce off each other very well and totally naturally. The awesome Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood)hosted a Star Trek Trivia quiz, which of course we knew all the answers to (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) but unfortunately never got picked (damn it! I really wanted the Kirk mug!).

If I’m totally honest with you, I have trouble remembering exactly what was said, as I was too busy hyperventilating with excitement! Urban, well, he just looked really, really, pretty… but Pine revealed that he wants to play bad (mirror universe) Kirk, whilst Quinto explained how Leonard Nimoy’s passing had made his presence even stronger on the set of #StarTrekBeyond, than it was in the previous two movies that he had actually starred in! Which conveniently leads us to…

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…the biggest surprise of the evening, and a total honour, to be present at the unveiling of ‘Leonard Nimoy Way’, on which sit stages 31 and 32. His wife, children and Grandchildren were all present as Quinto gave a truly beautiful and heartfelt speech, about how the Nimoy family had welcomed him and made him feel like one of their own. He explained how Leonard Nimoy had guided him through his journey to becoming the younger Spock, and that with the naming of Leonard Nimoy Way, believed the star would now guide many a young actor on their physical journey around the Paramount Lot. A great metaphor for a great man.

And then for the moment we had all been waiting for… the new trailer! After a personal introduction from Simon Pegg, who sadly couldn’t be at the event due to filming commitments in Budapest (in a movie that features neither aliens nor starships – seriously Pegg, what’s up with that?! Sort it out!!). I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now (if not, why not?!), but let me tell you, all huddled together at the front of Stage 31, seeing it on the big screen totally and utterly blew me away. I am even more super-excited about #StarTrekBeyond than I was before, something that I didn’t think would be possible?!

Justin Lin introduced two unseen, totally raw scenes that he’d been working on, which, #nospoilers, if they’re included in the final cut, will totally silence the haters. This is Star Trek back going back to its roots, at its finest and I LOVE it!! Let’s just say, I think Pegg had a huge influence on the direction of this film…

The curtain dropped, and then it was time to PAR-TAY!!!

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A wonderful selection of original costumes, props and set pieces were on display, t-shirt printing was available (although we sadly left it too late to have ours personalized), the DJ blasted out the tunes, there was a free bar (someone must have told them the TrekkieGirls were in town?!), and they just kept trying to feed us – the food was amazing, and it just… kept… coming…

We all got goody bags which included a bag and poster exclusive to “Fan Event” attendees, a Tribble, Vulcan ears, and TICKETS TO THE WORLD PREMIERE OF #STARTREKBEYOND IN SAN DIEGO ON JULY 20TH!!!!

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For me, ashamedly THIS was the highlight of my evening…

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But I have two regrets. Firstly, being that close to OMG CHRIS PINE and not being brave enough to ask him to take a photo with us, and secondly, in all the madness, trying to keep you guys updated, whilst not missing anything, I accidently deleted a video I had of Zachary Quinto literally walking by us as we filmed – DOH! So, lessons learned: there’s no harm in asking, if you don’t ask you won’t get; and NEVER permanently delete things in a hurry. Still, I have my memories. Next time Mr Pine, next time…

As you would expect, we were amongst the last few people to be literally kicked out of the party, and were extremely lucky to be treated to the “scenic route” out of the Lot, guided by the all-Trek-knowing Larry, who talked us through the various streets and buildings – that place is seriously like a little town all of its own! At one point we thought we were about to get chucked out, when a security guard wondered up to us! “Go home Larry” he called, exasperated. It turned out to be none other than Steve D’Errico, seasoned  Star Trek set security and occasional Enterprise extra, who proceeded to join us for over an hour, telling us amazing stories about everything from an AWOL Vulcan; just how naughty Ethan Phillips could be; the quality of the actors in DS9 (all v. good); and confirmed what we all suspected – that Marina Sirtis is an absolute diamond! A real laugh and totally fun to hang out with! Having worked at Paramount for 18 years, on Voyager, Insurrection and Enterprise, if that guy ever rights his memoirs, trust me, you’ll want to read that book! Thank you Larry and Steve for really making our night. (Being the truest Trekkie of us all, this was Sam’s favourite part of the evening!)

So, that was just the “Star Trek” part of my amazing trip to LA. A huge thank you to @StarTrekMovie for picking my video as worthy of winning Grand Prize – the prize was amazing and truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me! Thank you to my TrekkieGirls – Sam, for agreeing to be my +1 and hiring a nanny for baby Hugh just so she could come, and Carole, for using up all of her Airmiles to join us! This experience would not have been the same without you girlies, I love you both!

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And a massive thank you to “Larry and friends” (seriously, I am going to Copyright that!?), and to Steve D’Errico for all the stories, oh the stories!!

Things like this never happen to me…

“We HAVE to enter this competition” Sam said.

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“Yeah, sure! I’ll record a video, making a complete TiT of myself (see what I did there?!), and upload it to tinterweb for the whole wide world to see…” – the things we do for our friends huh?!

Truthfully, I have a reputation for being a little bit of a flake. I 100% MEAN to do these things, but then life gets in the way, or I forget, or I just never get around to doing them. However, I also HATE letting people down, and this meant a lot to Sam, so I WAS going to do it for her!

Never in a million years did I think I’d WIN the bloomin’ thing!!! And a “Grand Prize Winner” at that: 2 return flights to LA, hotel accommodation for 2 for two nights, and entry to the “Star Trek Beyond” Fan Event. Talk about jackpot?! I’m still not sure it’s totally sunk in…

Having to choose between my girls as to who to invite as my “+1”, was the single most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. Luckily TrekkieGirl Carole is THE most understanding person in our star system and totally got that because a) I wouldn’t have known anything about the competition; and b) wouldn’t even have had a video, if it weren’t for Sam, she just had to be my first choice. Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of Airmiles, Carole is flying out to LA with us – try as you might, you just can’t tear us TrekkieGirls apart?!

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I feel SO amazingly lucky to have been awarded this once-in-lifetime opportunity, I promise that I won’t take one single moment of it for granted! And I promise to keep you all updated as to our comings and goings over the next few days. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be one hell of an experience?!

So, having totally p*ssed off the BF for not inviting him, and almost losing my job for taking holiday at such short notice whilst one of the bosses is also away, what the heck, we’re off to LA BABY!!! Leaving on a jet plane…

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THE ORIGINAL TIT’S SEASON 4 TNG REVIEW

So, as any good TiTtie will know, I already covered the first episode of Season 4 in Pt 2 of my Season 3 review (it seemed only fitting that TBOBW should have a review all of its very own?!).

The bar was raised extremely high with Season 3, concluding in that EPIC two-part finale! It quite literally blew Seasons 1 & 2 completely out of the water. As a result, I was (ashamed to admit) a little worried that Season 4 may be somewhat of an anti-climax. I mean, how could they possibly top THAT? What if TNG was one of those shows that went on a season or two past its peak? I had faith, because I know there is a lot of love out there for TNG and had it not been a success, it would never have spawned a hugely lucrative movie franchise, as well as subsequent hit series DS9, Voyager, Enterprise and even the (as yet untitled) 2017 project. But still, that little niggle of doubt was there for me personally.

Well, I needn’t have worried, because Season 4 was awesome, possibly my favourite so far!

It’s a bit of a chicken and egg kinda thing I feel. I’ve done some research (get me!) and as you would expect, the viewing figures increased steadily across the seven seasons, but spiked notably with Season 4. Setting budget increases aside, did the show’s popularity increase because the writing was getting (a lot) better, or, because more and more people seemed interested in this thing called “Trek”, they knew they had to up their game and write episodes that would impress their ever-increasing audience? I expect it was really a combination of the two? It scarcely matters now, and whatever the reasons, Star Trek got seriously good at some point during Season 3 and it just kept going! (I am in no doubt that the appointment of the amazing Brannon Braga for Season 4 was at least in part responsible!)

Having ridden the emotional rollercoaster that was TBOBW, I was definitely in need of a hot bath, a strong cup of tea (Earl Grey, hot!) and perhaps something a little more light-hearted, my nerves still frazzled from “The Borg Incident”, and that’s exactly what Family provided. A great little standalone episode where we catch a rare glimpse of a vulnerable and somewhat lost Picard. He is only human after all and it is perfectly natural that he would feel the aftereffects of what had happened to him. I am really pleased that the writer’s chose to incorporate his recovery into the story, rather than just brush over it in a “business as usual” kind of way. Such choices give the series as a whole a great deal more credibility.

One question: why would Picard choosing to go home leave him open to scrutiny? #confusedTiT

You will all know by now how much I love normal setting / off-ship type episodes, so Mon Capitan travelling home, to Earth, to his family, was always going to get a thumbs up from me! That, combined with the introduction of Worf’s “normal” (albeit, slightly eccentric?) parents – you can literally SEE the inner turmoil in him, struggling to cope with conflicting human and Klingon inclinations? The scene where Guinan tells them about his love of prune juice – intentionally hilarious of course – but the advice she gives them… well, I guess that’s just why we love her huh?! And of course, I shed a little tear (or two) as Wesley “met” his father. All in all, a great way to kick off Season 4! Well done guys!

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If I had to sum up Season 4 in one word (besides epic/amazing/stupendous, etc) it would be family, and not just because of the aforementioned episode of the same name. This season had it all, right from the very beginning. Let’s recap…

  • Picard’s journey home / Worf’s parents / Wesley’s Father (Family)
  • Data’s Father/creator and brother (Brothers)
  • Picard being forced to explore his “paternal side” with the human boy raised by a hostile alien father (Suddenly Human)
  • Wesley’s desperate efforts to save his Mother from the static warp bubble (Remember Me)
  • The introduction of Tasha Yar’s sister, Ishara (Legacy)
  • The return (and heart breaking demise) of K’Ehleyr, and the introduction of Worf’s son, Alexander (Reunion)
  • Chief O’Brien’s marriage to Keiko (Data’s Day)
  • The alien offspring (Galaxy’s Child – okay, so stretching it a bit with this one?!)
  • The heart-wrenching “Half A Life” (focused once again around the fabulous Lwaxana Troi!!)
  • Worf’s quest to regain honour for his family (Redemption Pt I)

…Season 4 just had so much darn heart. At this point, I feel like I am really starting to get to know these characters? They have become like friends, I want to learn more about them, their backstories; I seem to have a vested interest in their safety, their happiness. I think that’s what ‘the powers that be’ were aiming to achieve with Season 4. They could have gone all-out, guns blazing, trying to out-do Season 3 with huge storyarcs and special effects (and not that there wasn’t plenty of that type of thing), but I think they were going for something a little more subtle. They’ve got us hooked already for sure, and now it feels like they’re reeling us in, making sure they have us right where they want us – we’re not getting away now!?

This season certainly did not fail to indulge my Data obsession with fantastic episodes like Brothers, Data’s Day and Clues. Huge kudos to Brent Spiner for acting three parts, so very, very, well in Brothers, this episode really got me going at first, wondering whether Data actually had “gone rogue”. I get the feeling there is more to discover about this ‘emotion chip’ and that we haven’t seen the back of Lore just yet?! Does anybody else secretly have a soft spot for the “evil twin”? No? Just me then…

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(Fact: I actually, totally unintentionally, re-watched Data’s Day ON April Fool’s Day! #spooky)

I have to admit though, the jury’s still out somewhat with regard to In Theory, I’m just not sure about that episode? Data having a “girlfriend” creeped me out a little bit, I don’t know why because I loved the friendship he had with Tasha?

The Geordi-centred episodes in this season were amazing! Slow to start admittedly (falling in unrequited love AGAIN in Galaxy’s Child, yawn!), but Levar Burton plays an absolute blinder in Identity Crisis (brilliant episode – LOVED IT!) and The Mind’s Eye. It really got me thinking about something that came up (oh er!) when the TrekkieGirls interviewed Robert Duncan McNeill and Manu Intiraymi at the SFBall 2015 (refresh your memory here). Robert was talking about prosthetics and how difficult it is to act when you can’t hear what your fellow actors are saying, because let’s say for instance, you’re dressed as a giant lizard?! (I’m sure this will all make sense when I reach Voyager?!) Anywho, Manu referenced his half-Borg character Icheb in the new Star Trek Renegades, who has one ear and one eye covered with Borg implants, and how he would find himself stumbling about between takes because two of his senses were effectively 50% impaired. Now, I’m not sure what Levar could actually see behind that visor, it may have in fact been like those pinhole sunglasses you can get (now there’s a future SarahKnowEyes blog post for sure?!), but let’s just say he spent SEVEN seasons acting blind, at the very least not being able to so easily read the visual cues of his peers. With that in mind, HUGE props Mr Burton! Bravo!

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Even the smaller recurrent roles are having their characters expanded. It was great to learn more about one of my absolute favourites, Chief Miles O’Brien; about his past in The Wounded, and seeing him get married in Data’s Day. Y’all know how much I love me a bit of the hashtag…

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Having spent the first two seasons screaming “SHUT UP WESLEY!”, I have to admit that I have actually really, really started to miss the boy genius, there is a hole in my #TNGrevisited experience that is as yet unfilled. Final Mission was a great send-off though – what a cracking little episode?! On the subject of Wesley, Remember Me was brilliant – one of my top three episodes of the season I think! A great story, that also marks the return of The Traveller. Why do I get the feeling we haven’t seen the last of him? Or Wesley for that matter…

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Speaking of things that made me sad… I had absolutely no idea that K’Ehleyr actually dies (Reunion)?! I was genuinely shocked by this. Having witnessed the love for Susie Plaxton at DST3, I assumed she had had a much bigger role than that? Okay, so I know she’s Worf’s mate and mother of his child, but you know what I mean, I thought she recurred more than that?

Interesting theory about who really killed her…

Another disappointment for me is how long it’s taking for Riker and Troi to get together! Anybody that knows me will tell you I’m a hopeless romantic, and I know that these guys get it on eventually! After the likes of Shades of Gray (S2) and Ménage a Troi (S3), I had high hopes, but throughout Season 4 sadly their relationship seems to have cooled somewhat? Come on guys, where is the heat?!

I know, I know, enough with the negativity already! Instead, a big hooray for the return of John De Lancie in QPid – another absolutely fantastic episode! (Even if it did involve the return of Vash! Blergh!!) I always enjoy the light-hearted episodes, perhaps not coincidently because they tend to involve Q, and this, was no exception! On a similar note, seeing Whoopi Goldberg back as the ever-fabulous Guinan is always a pleasure, and when Picard takes her to meet Dixon Hill in Clues – oh yes please!!

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As an admittedly somewhat obsessive compulsive person, continuity is something that I hold in quite high regard, and that’s one of the things I really love about Star Trek (like the ‘hand over’ at the beginning of each new series) and TNG in particular (obvs. because that’s as far as I’ve watched!). Season 4 was a prime example, not only are they (with hindsight) building bridges to the future, but they are also constantly linking back to previous seasons, for instance, with the reappearance of several characters. Guinan, Barclay, lovely to see the memory of Tasha Yar brought back to life in Legacy and the (dare I say?) emotions that this stirs up in Data? And Leah Brahms is back in Galaxy’s Child much to Geordi’s dismay. TNG holds firmly to its roots huh? Me likey :))

Great to see Riker back to his cheeky self in First Contact! Absolutely loved the concept of this episode! We all assume that you’d want to know if there were more to life than just your planet, more “out there” – but what if someone doesn’t? What if they’re genuinely not ready for that kind of knowledge? A very thought provoking episode, and case in point that you should not judge everybody by your own standards. The Prime Directive tested once again, and also in the likes of Suddenly Human, and in Galaxy’s Child to some extent. I relish watching Picard’s inner turmoil in these types of episode, always trying to work out what the right thing to do is?! Oh, and his face when he realises they’ve killed the soon-to-be-revealed-as-pregnant alien *tears*! I love it when ST addresses big issues, Half A Life and The Host in particular, stand out as episodes that really moved me, and somewhat shook up my way of thinking.

Probably the character that had one of the biggest boosts in Season 4 is Worf. I. Am. Loving. Him. From meeting his parents and being reunited with his mate, K’Ehleyr, and learning he is a Father; to seeing how much his discommendation is affecting him in The Drumhead. The fact that the season finale and subsequent Season 5 opener are basically centred around him, is a huge testament to the strength of this character, the audience’s interest in, and love of him, and the amazing job done by Michael Dorn in playing him. I am especially enjoying watching the development of the relationship/friendship between Worf and Picard. The mutual respect forming between them is beautiful to watch. Dare I say that Picard is almost a father figure to him?

This is a somewhat amusing ongoing theme in Season 4, as it’s well established that Picard doesn’t particularly like children – we see him struggle to relate to Jono/Jeremiah in Suddenly Human, yet his fondness of Wesley is obvious in Final Mission. But I digress… I can’t wait to see what Season 5 has in store for my favourite Klingon!!

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Like I’ve already said, I think you can tell that the network knew they had a hit on their hands with Star Trek. The renewed enthusiasm for the franchise, supported by steadily increasing viewing figures, meant that they were able to invest a significant portion of airtime in to forming and continuing storyarcs. Although there are some fantastic standalone episodes in Season 4, such as Future Imperfect, Devil’s Due, and the amazing The Nth Degree (the Psychologist in me is fascinated by the events in Night Terrors), I just can’t shake the feeling that they were beginning to think about the “bigger picture” at this point (1990-91)? It was great to see more of the dastardly Romulans (The Mind’s Eye), and knowing now what I do about the franchise beyond this point, with the introduction of the Cardassians in The Wounded, it is clear to see that they were definitely gearing up for “other things” (namely DS9 – 1993?!). There was the definite early sowing of seeds in Season 4, and this becomes even more apparent in Season 5, when it’s blatantly obvious that there were plans afoot (y’all know what I’m talking about?! #nospoilers, that’s a topic for the next review!).

I’m intrigued to know if anyone watching TNG for the first time, back in the day, felt like they were witnessing the evolution of something special? I worry that my interpretation is somewhat jaded by watching it so far down the line, knowing what comes next?

On the other hand, maybe I worry too much… :op

However, something Dominic Keating said during our interview at the SFBall 2016, that I’d managed to “struggle through” the first few seasons, got me thinking (fingers crossed this interview WILL go live at some point!)…

Now, not that I am in any way berating him for what he said, but it occurred to me that as corny as those first couple of Seasons of TNG were, they were the foundation for what became arguably Gene Roddenberry’s greatest success. It succeeded where TOS had failed in securing a much wider audience, and an extra four series run. It was because of TNG that DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, the Abramsverse and the 2017 series exist. We owe a lot to those first 2 1/2 crappy series of TNG, so maybe we should give them a little more credit? And it is for that reason that they will hold a special place in my heart from here on!

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One last thing. I’m just going to leave these here…

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#24thCenturyfashion #whatwheretheythinking #itsnotgettinganybetter

SFBall 2016

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The weekend 5th-7th February 2016 marked the 22nd SF Ball at the familiar venue of the Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton. Guests of “Trek interest” were Casey Biggs and Vaughn Armstrong of the incredible Enterprise Blues Band, and Dominic Keating and Connor Trinneer of Enterprise fame.

Unfortunately we were a Trekkie Girl down as Sam had been hospitalised with suspected appendicitis! But the show had to go on, so Carole and I hot-footed it over to Southampton!

A beautiful sight to behold, the ever-expanding bridge of the USS Riker’s Beard welcomed us aboard – we even met their Captain – as well as the lovely guys from the Manchester based USS Phoenix.

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As ever the atmosphere was electric, and the costumes were top-notch! In particular the three Daleks were absolutely faultless and quite frankly scared the bejeezus out of me! Clearly Carole didn’t feel the same way…

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The talks as always were fascinating and at times absolutely hilarious. The highlights being Vaughn and Casey serenading us, and Dominic being somewhat heckled for talking about football in front of a crowd of Sci-Fi geeks…

The real “pinch-me” moment came when we entered the Carver Suite to be welcomed by the aforementioned four Trek actors! Connor Trinneer is HOT!!! What followed is probably the most highly unprofessional attempt at an interview ever, that quickly descended in to total madness at the whole TiT/TiTtie explanation – the guys were pretty much lost to us at that point – but I think you’ll agree it’s highly entertaining nonetheless…

(Apologies for the break up and difference in quality at the end, we waffled on for so long, my phone ran out of memory! Thank goodness for Mike, who captured our sign off on his phone?! Although I think the lens was still covered in tea personally…)

(I really must apologise to both Carole and Vaughn as I seem to have whipped them both with my new-movie-Uhura-esq ponytail on more than one occasion?!)

I must take this opportunity once again to say a HUGE thank you to Mike and Jon from Visionary Trek, for all their help and support, we literally couldn’t have done it without you! We love you guys…

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As always, a fantastic job by B, Annie and the whole SFBEvents team! Roll-on SFBall23, the Trekkie Girls will definitely be there, with bells on, and who knows, maybe all three of us will make it next year?!

Jonathan Frakes who…

Look out for the interview coming soon….

(P.S. The Casey Biggs bottomed pinching happened off camera, but I swear to you it totally DID happen, with Carole, Vaughn, Dominic and Connor as my witnesses!)

My Year As A Trekkie In Training

I cannot believe that my first Star Trek convention was a whole year ago today (3rd October 2014)! I feel like I owe it to myself, my TiTties and those gorgeous TrekkieGirls, Sam and Carole, to just take a minute and look back, to reflect upon my year as a “Trekkie In Training” (TiT).

Green Girls

 DST3 was undeniably one of the best experiences of my life. I was really thrown in at the deep end, but vowed to enjoy every single minute of it, and that I did. Even when that meant being painted green and parading around in a bikini all day! I did get to have my photograph taken with the uber gorgeous Karl Urban after all?!

Karl Urban

And I will forever cherish the time I Skyped the one and only, unforgettable Leonard Nimoy! May he rest in peace.

I have met some amazing people in the past year including Tim Russ (twice!), Larry Nemeck, the guys from The Engage Podcast and Star Trek Risa, Mike and Jon from VisionaryTrek, Alan Stuart, to name but a few, and some of whom I am still in contact with. More than that, I even consider them ‘friends’.  

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I attended my first Comic Con (LFCC), and then of course, there was the SF Ball in February, where, sadly a Carole down, Sam and I got to interview the incredible Robert Duncan McNeill and Manu Intiraymi – a fact I still pinch myself of everyday!!

Being a TiT is of course, not all about the away missions, it’s first and foremost about the Star Trek, currently (still) TNG. Although live tweeting sadly means it’s rendered me at an almost impossible distance away from reaching my original goal of having watched every single episode of Star Trek by the 2016 50th anniversary, I now wouldn’t do it any other way. I love the interaction that watching them with you guys brings. We have the funnest of times. And I guess you all must agree, as 1 year on, I have almost topped 500 followers! Wow!! #humbled

A HUGE thank you to every single one of you! But especially to @Captain_Revo, @TheeeRealBigDan, @moonman1970, @laura2215, @TheOnionMaid, @_Seal, @JaffaStar, @Drogun1701, @therealrobcook, @sezduck, @witchyMishi, @CNNbelle and @SpocksUnite, for sticking by me and joining my in almost every #TNGrevisited – it honestly wouldn’t be the same without you guys! THANK YOU!! (SO sorry if I’ve missed anyone!)

I can’t believe how excited I am to reach DS9. It was genuinely a series that never sparked my interest before, but now, over halfway through TNG, the anticipation is definitely building – I need to see what all the fuss is about over the Alexander Siddig guy?!

Bashir

I’m sure the next year is going to bring even more experiences that, believe me, I am truly humbled to be a part of. And no, I’m afraid I don’t know what the big Showmasters announcement is – I’m just as excited as you all are to find out!! The suspense is killing us!! I know there are a lot of Trekkies/Trekkers that would love to be able to experience the things that I have in my relatively short fandom, I don’t take any of it for granted and love sharing them with you!

From assigning me to the “away missions”, to including me in the vlogs, from the very beginning Sam and Carole really made me feel like part of the team, an honorary TrekkieGirl. I love these girls with every fibre of my being, they are the best friends a girl could wish for.

Although I am still and will always be @TheOriginalTiT, I am super excited to announce that Sam and Carole consider me now to be a fully-fledged @TrekkieGirl!! (I’m in the icons and everything!) I hope I have, and continue to, do you all proud! I’m having so much fun, and am blessed to have met some amazing people, both in real life and in the Twittersphere! Long may it last. LLAP x  

Trekkie Girls 3

The Original TiT’s Season 3 TNG Review: Pt 1

Another Season down and I still haven’t learned my lesson! Instead of mentally trying to build a Season review in my head as I watch, and maybe even sensibly jotting a couple of notes down along the way, I still find myself having done neither of these things, and once again face the challenge of trying to remember what’s happened throughout the whole of Season 3! #badTiT

I thought I’d share my thought process with you, as it struck me as being quite funny? Well, you can tell I’m a die-hard Friends fan anyway?! This is how it began…

Episodes Continue reading The Original TiT’s Season 3 TNG Review: Pt 1

The Original TiT’s Season 2 TNG review

So, I embarked on my TNG Season 2 quest with marked trepidation. My head had been filled with somewhat negative thoughts (“Dr Crusher isn’t in it”; “just get through it – it gets WAY better mid-Season 3”), so my expectations admittedly weren’t very high. At least it’s only a short season of just 22 episodes I thought to myself (thanks to a writer’s strike I’m reliably informed). Well, I have to say I was quite pleasantly surprised…

Right, first things first, let’s just get this one out of the way: Pulaski. The Star Trek equivalent of Marmite.

Pulaski

I have to admit, I disliked her immensely from the very beginning (hate is a strong word), and although I had somewhat warmed to her by the time we got to the likes of “Pen Pals” and “Samaritan Snare” (where she had begun to show an iota of compassion), I just couldn’t gel with her. It wasn’t so much that I missed Beverley Crusher, I just really didn’t like the way she treated Data. And as I’m sure you’re all pretty aware of my absolute love for the yellow-eyed one by now, this understandably didn’t sit very well with me.

Pulaski & Data

I read in Larry Nemecek’s TNG Companion that Pulaski was “created somewhat in the image of Bones McCoy, as crusty and transporter wary”. This translated very well, and I guess it made sense, but she just was not my cup of tea.

ThatsnotmyTNGDr#ThatsnotmyTNGDr – thank you @laurah2215

I was under the impression that she actually did fall down a lift shaft (who started that rumour?) and was shamefully a little disappointed when that failed to materialise. She did however score a brownie point or two when she enjoyed ‘Klingon tea’ with Worf in “Up The Long Ladder” – kudos girlfriend, kudos!

On a similar but slightly different note – no longer my least favourite character, Wesley, was SO much less annoying in Season 2? In fact, I’ve actually really rather started to like him. It was great to see him as just a normal hormonal teenage boy in “The Dauphin”. (Perhaps they realised that they totally overplayed the “boy genius” thing in the first season?) I think I would actually go as far as saying he’s turning in to one of my favourite characters (sorry @TheeeRealBigDan, forgive me?!)?

Wesley

Pulaski aside, there were actually some really great additions to the cast in Season 2, like Riker’s beard (= yummy!) and Guinan – I LOVE her!! She’s so all-knowing and mysterious?! I can’t wait to find out more about her, especially the history between her and Picard! And the introduction of the Ten Forward lounge bar was genius! For similar reasons, I loved “The Royale”– seeing the characters in a somewhat “normal” (20th century) and informal setting, makes them seem far more real? I can just imagine walking in and sitting down for a beer with… now there’s a thought – who would you most like to sit down for a drink with in Ten Forward? I think I’d have to choose Geordi – I bet he’s a right laugh after he’s had a few? I could see us getting up to all sorts of mischief…

Geordi

There were also some terrific “character building” episodes in Season 2. I have to admit “The Child” weirded me out a little bit, and seemed a somewhat strange choice for a season opener? Yes, I know that this was a rehashed TOS script due to the aforementioned writer’s strike, so we’ll forgive them, and it was great to see a Troi-centred storyline.

There was plenty of soul-searching from Picard in episodes like “Where the Silence Has Lease” and the positively mind-blowing “Time Squared”, whilst I really enjoyed catching a rare glimpse of vulnerability in him in “Samaritan Snare”. (That, and the most awkward shuttle craft journey EVER with Wesley – LOL!) Fantastic to see Dixon Hill again in “Manhunt”, an episode made all the better with the reappearance of the fabulous Majel Barrett – that woman gets all the best lines?! I literally LOLed out loud when right at the end she casually points out that the fish people are in fact assassins! We don’t see enough of Lwaxana Troi in my opinion!!

Riker somewhat stepped out of Picard’s shadow as a leading character in “A Matter of Honor” and “Peak Performance” and it was great to learn more about his family history in “The Icarus Factor” (forgetting the absolute gross-out fact that Pulaski totes did “it” with his Dad!). It wasn’t long however before he was back to his old sleazeball self – the Riker we all know and love – in “Up The Long Ladder”.

“The Icarus Factor” also provided a great insight in to the character of Worf, where we learnt about his Age of Ascension. In fact, there were some great Klingon/Worf centric episodes in Season 2 – “The Emissary” immediately springs to mind – where of course we meet the gorgeous Suzie Plaxton, aka K’Ehleyr for the very first time (another amazing, albeit brief, addition to the Season 2 cast). I’m really interested in learning more about Worf/Klingons, such a similar and yet starkly different species, relatively new to the Federation’s list of allies. I can’t wait to learn more about them – are there any good books out there about this?

It was awesome to see Geordi take centre-stage for a bit in “Q Who” and “Samaritan Snare”, and although I can’t really put my finger on why, “Loud as a Whisper” was possibly one of my favourite episodes from Season 2 – I really enjoyed it.

As always I really enjoyed the Data-licious episodes, of which there were plenty in Season 2! “Elementary Dear Data”; “The Outrageous Okona”; “The Schizoid Man”; “Contagion”; “Pen Pals”. But O.M.G. “The Measure of a Man” – what a fantastic, thought provoking episode – BRAVO! Very well played by all those involved, particularly Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart – cracking job guys?! When Data talks about Tasha… *grabs a tissue just thinking about it

Data

And I LOVE that we’re seeing more of Colm Meaney!! (IT’S COLM MEANEY!!!)

So, last but certainly by no means least… The Borg. Need I say more?

Well go on then, this is a “season review” after all… They. Are. EPIC. Although their appearance in Season 2 was brief, it was enough to totally scare the bejeezus out of me! They are so frickin’ horrible. I think I mentioned this in my guest spot on The Engage Podcast (thank you guys!!), but I remember TrekkieGirl Sam making us watch First Contact all those years ago, and although I wasn’t really a fan at the time (shock horror!), I can remember being absolutely, genuinely terrified! The thought of walking amongst them, not being seen unless you engage them, just totally freaked me out! To face an enemy that has such a blatant disregard for life, concerned only with the continuation and improvement of its own species – using up what it can and then swiftly moving on? There’s just no escape. Just watching the ship regenerate in front of our very eyes, whilst still giving chase… knowing that it’s only a matter of time before they (we) encounter them again – simply terrifying – I can’t wait to see what happens next! They really hit the nail dead-square on the head with the Borg I feel. Naughty meddling Q though eh?! But great to see John de Lancie back!

Borg* Before the Nerds start screaming at me – apologies if this isn’t the actual Borg from “Q Who”!

One more thing before I go…

I am currently reading “A Stolen Life” by Jaycee Dugard. She was abducted by paedophile Phillip Garrido in 1991 and held captive for 18 years.

Jaycee Dugard

In her book she remembers watching Star Trek:

“I loved the old Star Trek series that was usually on late at night, too. Eventually I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. What I like about Star Trek was that even though there was still crime in the universe, it didn’t exist on earth. I liked that the earth had been cleaned up. I especially liked that future because I felt I didn’t have one.”

That Star Trek was in some way of solace, an escape, to that poor little girl, torn from her family, alone and terrified, subjected to unimaginable depths of abuse and depravity… well, literally brought a tear (or several) to my eye. I was recently asked what “life lessons” I had learned from the Star Trek franchise ? I replied that anything is possible when “we have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions”, and that I strive to live by this motto every day. Anyone that read my Season 1 review will know that this is one of favourite quotes (good TiTties – gold star!). Star Trek makes me want to be a better person, to help others and to right all the wrongs in the world. Okay, admittedly pretty big #lifegoals, but at least I’m aiming in the right direction? And if we all did that, then hey, maybe the world would be a better place…

So, to pose the same question to myself in this blog as I did in the last: did Season 2 leave me hungry for more? Most DEFINITELY!! I cannot wait! My transitioning into a fully-fledged #Trekkie has begun. Bring. It. On.

Oh, and sorry to be controversial but I actually enjoyed “Shades of Gray” – I guess it’s the old romantic in me?! (“Troi and Riker up a tree, K. I. S. S. I. N. G.”)

Troi & Riker