My history with Star Trek-The early years 1982-1985

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My brother was into Star Trek some and I kind of remember seeing an episode or two in the 70’s but couldn’t tell you what it was. In early 1982 I was in sixth grade and the channel that had been showing NFL films shows started showing Star Trek. The first episode I saw was Shore Leave and I was hooked. The characters, the story and all of it just clicked with me. After that was Squire of Gothos which was just as exciting. This channel only had Star Trek for about three months so I saw maybe a dozen episodes before they took it off and stuck on a MLB highlight show once baseball season started. I had just started to like Star Trek but now it was off. However about two and a half months later a UHF channel – channel 5 out of DC advertised they were showing the two part epsiode The menagerie one night. I had to beg my very non-sci-fi friendly parents to let me watch it and eventually they agreed. I still remember how exciting it was watching it that night and even better news was on a commercial during the show they said channel 5 would start showing Star Trek every night starting the beginning of July, yes!. That summer I begin to consume the episodes. At the same time we were going to two different used book stores as well as the library and I checked out and bought several of the epsiode adaption collections from James Blish as well as the animated adaptions by Alan Dean Foster (I had yet to see this series though) and the Spock must die novel also by Blish. I spent much time that summer reading these in the basement. Star Trek 2 came out that summer, but I couldn’t convince my parents to take me to it. Oh,well. I also discovered Starlong magazine that year and would get to buy an issue every so often.  By 1983 I was reading more novels and STTMP came on TV, it was long and slow but I stuck with it and was still glad to see it. My interest in Star Trek grew that year even though other kids were making fun of me for it. I was still trying to see every episode on channel 5 and sometimes the station would not come in well or I would not be out shopping with my parents and miss one so it wasn’t until fall of 1983 that I saw Space Seed which was the last one I needed to see to have seen all of them so I was finally complete and re-watching them. We were going to the library regularly at this point so I was reading every Trek novel or related book I could get my hands on. DC comics started up their Star Trek comic series in late 1983 and I was all over that too. The winter of 1983-84 was all about getting ready for Star Trek 3. I had missed the second film, but had read the novel, the photonovel and the official magazine. Now I was following updates on the third Trek film in Starlog and I was asking and nagging my parents about going to the upcoming film and they were hemming and hawing over it, but I was determnined to get to it. My brother was back from college by this point and the first weekend Star Trek 3 was out he took me to see it. It was at a theater that was just months old although it’s long gone now. We stood in along line and crammed into a theater and I mean it became more crammed as they let people sit in the the middle on the floor to squeeze in everyone who wanted in. It got dark and the film came on and finally I was getting to see Trek on the big screen. I loved it then and although it’s not one of my favorite films now it was a great experience then to see it in the theater. It was a flawed movie but my love of Star Trek was even stronger for the rest of 1984. I was already into trying to draw ships and write stories. Even though I stunk at both Star Trek helped me to try to be creative. What I loved about Trek then was the idea of searching for more and exploring.  Two years into Star Trek and my love for it was stronger than ever. I started high school that fall and I was still into Star Trek and comics despite being teased about it I didn’t care. High school was tougher in subjects, I was lazy and things at home were not easy because my dad’s job was always up in the air between 1982 and 1988 plus my mom had ongoing health problems. I still stuck with Star Trek by reading the comics and the novels although by late 1984 channel 5 had taken it out of their rotation after having it on for over two years. By 1985 I think I was pulling away from Star Trek some due to not getting to see the show. However in the summer of 1985 a friend of mine asked if I wanted to go to a Star Trek convention for a day. I did, it was expensive, crowded and the only time I have ever been to any convention. However the highlight was standing against the wall in a huge packed ballroom listening to Deforest Kelley tell stories and answer questions. That definitely pulled me all the way back int Trek again. So many people were asking him and trying to pull out what was Star Trek 4 was going to be about. Of course he couldn’t say much but assured the fans they were going to like it. After this convention I was back into reading the new novels, comics and drawing ships thinking the new Trek film was over a year away and I couldn’t wait for it come.

*** I will try to write a second part of this maybe on Tuesday and just cover the years 1986-1991 to wrap up the original movie series.

Star Trek V-The Final Frontier

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1989

Who’s in this?

Outside of the regular Enterprise cast we have…

Laurence Luckinbill as Sybok, Spock’s long haired, smiling, God-seeking half-brother. He worked in TV and made for TV movies quite a bit in the 70’s and 80’s.

Out of the rest cast I’d say the ones that deserve being mentioned most are these.

David Warner as St. John Talbot the Federation representitive who gets pulled in by Sybok. Warner was a very accomplished British character actor even by this time. He was in the Omen, the Titanic, From beyond the grave, tons of cartoon voices and he would be back as different character in Star Trek 6 and in STTNG.

Rex Hollman as J’onn the bald, messed up teeth dude who followed Sybok and is in the opening sequence. He was Morgan Earp in the Spectre of the gun episode of the original series. That was no stretch and he was in various episodes of numerous 60’s westerns. He actually clocked in over 100 credits with this one because the last one listed at IMDB.

The Klingon couple Todd Bryant as Klaa and Spice Williams as Vixis had both some experience as stunt people by the time of this film. Both have continued in that field and had steady work as stunt people in films and are both still in that line today.

STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER

Maybe if we shove Shatner out and leave him here he’ll never direct another film.

What’s this about? So check this out. Spock has a half-brother and he wants to go look for God because he thinks God is hanging out on this planet far, far away. The Enterprise is in crap shape and Kirk is wearing a silly t-shirt, but they are still sent to stop Spock’s half brother. Yet they instead let the Enterprise get taken after Uhura lures guys in by being naked, Spock neck pinches a horse creature and Kirk wrestles a cat woman. Oh and there’s this Klingon captain who looks like he’s into weight lifting and 80’s hair metal and like he’s out to make a name for himself by going after Kirk as well. There’s some parts with the big three around a campfire and Kirk saying he knows that when he dies he’ll alone and that theme is sort of throughout the film somewhere between all the crap bits jammed into this thing. Spock’s half brother Sybok can take pain from others and that’s mainly how he gets followers. He’s kind of a rebel for a Vulcan and shows emotions so we can all laugh at Spock acting stiff as he cringes at people knowing about his  hippie brother. Eventually Kirk is pretty much always right in this one as he wins out over the fake God, Sybok’s quest and the pretty boy Klingon gunner/Captain. Roll the credits and put your face in your hands.

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I could shoot you, but maybe I should shoot that Shatner guy for making this movie.

The negatives-The main problem here is the story. It’s kind of like The way to Eden from the sereies which is a bottom five episode with elements of the first Trek movie too. It’s maybe worse here as Sybok’s character seems to get everything going but he’s taken in by what he eventually finds even though we all see it coming a mile aways. The Enterprise crew all seem to fumble more than they ever have and it’s not to all to blame on the troubles the ship is having. In the end this all comes across as a rather cheap, flimsy attempt to fit into the Trek universe. The effects are sub-par too.  I saw this opening weekend in 1989 and walked out thinking oh man they just made something worse than “Spock’s Brain”.

The positives-I kind of like the campfire scenes even if they are a bit too silly. They have Sulu and Checkov hiking which results in another silly joke, but it was nice to see them doing something as friends. It’s also implied that Scotty and Uhura were doing things maybe as friends or maybe as more than friends-either way I liked that it was mentioned. most of this is early on and after this anything positive for the the supporting crew is gone. The parts with Spock coming to terms with Sybok are okay, but don’t totally fit and they fail add a whole to Spock’s character.

This is a terrible film overall, the worst of all the Trek films. Someone needed to take a better look at that script and point out lame it was and how did so much damage the good that previous films had done for these characters. It was a joke and a bad one. The concept of looking for a higher power had been done in Trek and it could have been done here in a better way had they limited the humor, not made Kirk being the only being correct and have the concept of finding God be not so physical. Finding a floating being on an isolated planet seemed really limp and made Sybok look even sillier. Thinking about this film makes me want to quote a character from another scifi show…”oh, the pain, the pain”. Sybok should have taken away the pain I had after I saw this movie.

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Star Trek week continues on Tuesday with a much more upbeat topic-my history with Star Trek although it may only interest me.