Thursday, January 29, 2009

STV: Trek2Chuck 3-D—with Robbie McNeill

You're hearing all the hype about NBC's follow-up to the 3-D Super Bowl: its 3-D episode of Chuck?

Funny how our catch-up chat with Robbie "Tom Paris" McNeill as part of the big Trekland alumni chapter on Chuck—he's a supervising producer and oft-time director—just happened to fall on a December day when he was trying to wrap up the very segments for "Chuck Versus the Third Dimension" that are being ballyhooed on that trailer.

You should try Chuck—like Trek, it has its own universe, just not on a starship!—but you Robbie die-hards out there will enjoy our chat in any case. In fact, Robbie and I make a 3-D moment...sorta kinda. At least, we have the soundtrack for it. I just hope we made Dr. Tounge proud.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Assured Esurance: Where No Marketing Has Gone Before


I just heard the Esurance "Biggest Trekkie" partner promotion advertised on my INTERNET SWING RADIO STATION. Now that's crossing over your demo lines!

Nothing like it since The Motion Picture.

Paramount is promoting the hell out of this sucker. We already know JJ's bunch have delivered a winner, so the biggest jaw-dropper of all may be the marketing penetration and the licensed goodies.

"Erin's Mission to Delta Vega"! Geez. Brilliant joining of the now-mainstream anime aesthetic with Trekland. We'll be waiting ...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Q it up: The Continuum vs. Sweden

No overt sign in the reporting that this is a parental reference to those pesky Continuum dwellers—or even to MI-5's weapons lab chief—but geez, just name him "Kyu" ... or even "Cue" ... or something....

OSTERSUND, Sweden, Jan. 22 (UPI) --The letter Q may not be used as a boy's name, a Swedish administrative appeals court ruled.

The parents of a boy in northwestern Sweden's Jamtland province had argued they'd been calling their son Q since he was born. ... The parents said that since this is what they consider his name, what he considers himself and what he is known as, he should be allowed to keep Q as his name.

However, [a] lower court had ruled the name failed to satisfy basic linguistic requirements. The higher court said Q is a letter of the alphabet not typically used as a first name, so it should not be allowed.

It cited "relevant case law" that holds that letters are not considered appropriate for names if the letters aren't already considered a name.

Yeah, well tell that to Mrs. Q. Or even M.

Trek/Wars Goof: Part 4,747, 047

Hey, let's all take it easy on Bishop T.D. Jakes and his very public flub Tuesday in mixing up Star Trek and Star Wars this week amid all the Inauguration hoopla. The flip came with his use of "May the Force be with you," rather than Scripture, to broaden the age demos in his call to urge President Obama to action—all as Inauguration Day Prayer Service keynoter.

He's hardly the first to ever do it. Remember Anderson Cooper on CNN? (Apparently, neither AC nor Will.I.Am ever saw DS9's "Dr. Bashir, I Presume?," etc.)

Secondly, the bishop must be a great dad—his kid Dexter corrected him immediately!

Most of all—lookit how it got Trekland (and Lucasworld) into the national headlines? Far more than had Jakes just blandly gotten it right. Tons of media outlets and digests picked up the original Dallas Morning News story and ran it.

In fact—how do we know this really wasn't all just part of JJ's masterful viral campaign? Piggybacking the week's Obamapalooza? Hmmmm...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, De

After all the Western meanies, but before Dr. McCoy, there was the first "good doctor" ...

... LAB CHIEF GREENE, the doctor in Gene Roddenberry's unsold 1966 pilot POLICE STORY (no relation to the '70s version). De's little bit of networking and new Kennedy-style hairdo helped win over the suits and got Gene the OK to finally hire him as "Bones" just two years later.

Inaugurations aside, Jan. 20 means only one thing each year—at least in Trekland: the chance to smile, cuss an affectionate "Dammit, Jim," and say hello in our hearts once more to Jackson DeForest Kelley. Each birthday from now on, look forward to Trekland trotting out a new and hopefully rare shot of De in some role or pose. Having passed away a decade ago, De would have been 89 this year... but for many of us he'll always be around. (Insert your own uplifting, hopeful postmortem quotes from ST II here if you like.)

'10 Items' Trekkie show: T'Pol AND Wildman

Well.... it's sorta Wildman.

The late PR word went out that the TBS series 10 Items or Less featured a guest turn by Jolene Blalock this week, playing herself as a guest at a farcical Trek convention organized in the show's main setting, a grocery store...a parody plot played strictly for laughs.

But a hat-tip to my friend and colleague Marc Wade, who got to it before I could watch: our own Nancy Hower—Ensign Samantha Wildman for eight episodes of Voyager, mother of young Naomi—left acting for the production area, and is in her third season as co-creator and executive producer of 10 Items, a TBS sitcom. She also co-wrote and directed the episode this week, "Star Trock" (and no, that is no typo; you'll just have to watch to get it); it reruns Friday, Jan. 23 at 10:55 p.m. (Eastern).

where they are now.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Trek2Chuck Again: And now Dr./Captain/Dad Scott!

No sooner do I jump on the Trek/Chuck people connection and barely get started posting some video chats, than the colony of ex-patriates from Paramount now gathered there grows by yet another body—a very "big" one.

The trades are announcing that Scott Bakula will be appearing in a few (three?) episodes late this season as Chuck's mysterious dad. See what Trekland networking can do for you?

More on this fun turn as we can get it to you ... but having Dr. Beckett/Captain Archer as a father sure explains a lot—if nothing else, Chuck's inherited geekdom gene! (BTW--Chevy Chase has signed on the same 3 shows to play his adversary...)

TV vs. Movie: Think about this

On the heels of my last musings about What Hath ST2009 Wrought... or will ... I thought I better get on the record with this now.

I've said it before and I'll be saying it again:

By any measure, whether this movie sinks or soars—and I'm betting on the latter!—I'm wondering when everyone will wake up and realize it is JUST a movie.

I don't mean the quality ... I mean the fact that's it just two hours of film. Taking two years to produce. And it's another two-year wait for just another two hours.

If this is the safest way back to public respect for Star Trek by the all-knowing mainstream media and the all-funding studio investors, then so be it.

But Star Trek will never again be how we now think and remember it—the fandom, the escalating excitement, the onrush of cool factor—until it returns to television. Not until we return to the days when there's one weekly adventure after another being constantly cranked out, not matter what the format or era or character set (assumig it's top-notch, of course) will we really return to the heady days of the '90s and early Aughts.

We need characters evolving, gadgets a-gleaming and canon deepening more than just two hours every two years.

Sometime around May 15 or 20, a week or two after this movie opens to roaring success, everyone will wake up and suddenly remember that fact.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Two in One Day

No big pontificating today. How do you lose two huge icons like this at once?

Patrick McGoohan has no Trek connection, but we're all talking about him anyway. What an amazing feat--to go from commercial success with "Secret Agent Man" (thank you Johnny Rivers, for the "Secret Asian Man" theme song) to his against-the-grain self-made classic "The Prisoner," which rings so clearly once again in these days of "endless war" and susceptible civil liberties.

And then, to lose Ricardo Montalban as well. I wish I'd gotten to really meet him, although we set up an interview in 2002 after he was so proud when a life-long quest to help aspiring Latino performers and producers finally came to pass when his Nosotros foundation opened the Ricardo Montlaban Theatre in Hollywood. What an indelible career—from Latin lovers to "rrrich Corinthian leather" to the biggest Eugenics Wars devil of them all... and finally good ol' Mr. Rourke. Married to his wife Georgette in 1944 until she passed in 2007. And as far as Khan goes, when it comes to big-screen Trek villainy he's the bar that everyone else aspires to. And still never tops.

"Nick [Meyer] told me that when he went out on the road to promote [The Wrath of Khan], he was so full of all the technicalities of space travel, he became an expert. And he went to all of these interviews and gatherings, and yet he said the most commonly asked question, wherever he went, was 'Was that really Ricardo Montalban's chest?' !"—STC #139, Aug. 2002

As for any sadness today, let's just (CUE ukeleles) and leave it with the guy in the white dinner jacket :

"Smiles, everyone—smiles!"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Majel's memorial: We are all still fans

I thought I was above and beyond it all by now.

When Majel Roddenberry passed Dec. 18 I joined the round of tributes and reflections back then, but thanks to the holidays her public memorial was pushed back til Jan. 4. I thought time and distance meant for me that the day would merely be about observations, like seeing so much of the Trekland family reunited—and musing how much like a true family it is, when the years pass and it sadly takes a funeral to get all the farflung cousins and nieces and nephews back together that you used to take for granted as a kid.

You know: true and telling, but safe observatorial comments.

Until, that is, you get blindsided. It should be the most expected moment of the day—but then your gut betrays you in the blink of an eye. In my case, it was a dewey eye, thanks one single entry in Majel's memorial clip reel—produced by longtime trek editor Bob Lederman: a typical Chapel/McCoy face-off, close-up to close-up, together again in Sickbay (above).

And from out of nowhere, I choked. My eyes leaked. And all I could think was, "Well ... Sickbay is going to be a lot quieter tonight." Ten years later and I still miss De...and now Majel. I'd been "got" by a double whammy. (I mean, you all know how I am about my De and my McCoy.)

Where did that come from? I tried to tamp it down—and then, just as suddenly, I celebrated it. As jaded and weary as "professional" Star Trek folks can be—that tear was a precious thing. There's still room for innocence, there's still a place to be a kid again and not even realize how much these people and this world have you bound up. And with all the hoohaw about ages and demographics, that will be the ultimate bar for J.J.'s movie and anything flowing from it.

Once again, thanks De... and thanks Majel. A shoutout to Gene, and Jimmy, and Bob J. to boot.

We are all still fans. Still.

(BTW—It didn't hurt that the reel's very next clip was De and Majel's infamous boob-grabbing crashabout in the medlab, from the second-season bloopers. What a great way to get the smiles back.)