Saturday, 24 December 2016

FCD Is Number One


It's Christmas Eve and the long awaited star guest announcement for First Contact Day 2017 has been revealed!

We can now announce that none other than Commander William T Riker (or Thomas Riker if you prefer) Jonathan Frakes will be landing in the UK for the three day event running at the Telford International Centre from March 31st to April 2nd 2017.

Seriously, yes, we said it - Jonathan Frakes - Riker; Number One, the guy who defeated the Borg, the man with the most unique style of sitting down in the known universe will be joining fans in Telford during the 30th anniversary year of The Next Generation. But hey, let's get the man to tell you himself...

video


Commented organisers Wil Ross; "FCD Out of the Ashes 2.0 represents our biggest challenge yet.

"After what happened to FCD 2016, we had so much love and support but we also lost a lot of credibility with fans. I'm sure they felt for us but when your talking about people thinking their had lost hard earned money on a postponed event, they would have been questioning our credibility and our ability to actually put on this show.............it's natural because I know I would be if the shoe was on the other foot."

While not quite what they had planned, FCD 2016 was still a great fan event run by fans with guests Claudia Christian, John Carrigan, Aron Eisenberg and JG Hertzler all appearing and helping make a great day.

"What people need to understand is that David [Limburg] and I have personally underwritten about 80% of the total cost of this event." said Wil, "The rest will come from early ticket sales etc. Our job now is to convince people that we really mean business and to that end we have upped our game in terms of guests."

Truly they have with a selection already announced and the "big one" held back for Christmas Eve. 

Continued Wil; "We have a stunning line up from across the sci-fi universe - Aron Eisenberg (Deep Space Nine), John Carrigan (Star Trek: New Voyages and more), Claudia Christian (Babylon Five), Rainbow Sun Francks (Stargate Atlantis), David Blue (Stargate Universe), Robert Picardo (Voyager) and Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon Five, Tron). I mean come on, we couldn't top that surely - but we have!!

"So come on, get your tickets and let's have some fun!!"

The inclusion of actor/director Jonathan Frakes is simply huge and shows the dedication and belief that exists around FCD in that they can attract such big Star Trek alumni. Of course it's nice to have the guy who starred in and directed First Contact to be there for First Contact Day!

Get on over to the FCD 2.0 Out of the Ashes Facebook page now for more information and get your tickets booked - we'll be seeing you there!!!

Looking forward to FCD 2017? Who will you be getting an autograph from?


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Transports and Flagships: The Official Starships Collection Issues 88 and 89


Rare is it for me to laud the brilliance of a Vulcan ship but this month I just have to do that.

That's because the Vulcan Vahklas, the first of this December's dynamic duo, is a great replica. With a silhouette not too distant from Darth Maul's Sith Infiltrator, the transport is one of the chunkier entries into the halls of the Starships Collection but as with Enterprise craft it is well worthy of a spot.

Appearing initially in the opening season's Fusion before popping up again during the Vulcan arc of the fourth season, the ship is immediately recognisable as belonging to Spock's people due to its colouring and those sweeping rear curves if nothing else. 

Surface panelling is fairly plain with a few lifeboat hatches and raised segments breaking up the hull front to stern. It is a beautiful design with some lovely lines that are echoed in the designs of the D'kyr and the Surok classes we've already seen but I believe that this larger model has provided Eaglemoss with a much better chance to showcase the Vulcan craft even though it is (logically) basic and functional to the core.

One thing that is evident at every point and angle is the bleed that comes off the paint job must be deliberate. as it seeps into almost every orifice of the Vahklas and raises the ships lines to a subtlety noticable level and I think without that addition it wouldn't be half as effective not highlight the levels of the bodywork or the panelling. Looking back, the identical colour on the D'kyr and the Surok classes worked fine potentially because of their scaling while here it brings the Vahklas to life.

The upper hull structure is solid metal here while the curved wings, front hull tips (forward translinear sensors) and underside are all plastic. Here the lighter construction material does seem to have the stronger detail finish and carries less of the colour bleed effect. On the underside too there seems to be more depth to the finish and more definition to the hull panels at every point. Just compare the pair of hatches right at the front of the bridge curve to the two pairs dipped into the hull underneath. 

Perhaps one gripe here is that the rear impulse engines are not finished in red rather block coloured the same as the rest of the ship and do seem to have a lot of the paint bleed rolling around their edges. Does seem a little sloppy since they have managed to slip a thin strand of blue edging into the rear curves of the wings to represent the warp engines - surely the painting of the impulse slots would have been an easier task? Saying that we are missing some of the edging venting along those wing curves which has to be down to scale, fit and ability to mass reproduce effectively.

Talking of easy and difficult, you really have to squint to realise that the particle beam emitter - which is recessed into the lower half of the hull and points to the bow - is capped with a small dome of translucent plastic. Given that it's nearly almost always shadowed I'm not certain if this was a necessary move. It looks pretty cool but a dab of white paint might have sufficed and there could have been more attention paid to the accuracy of the impulse engines. White paint I might add that could have been used to blot in the two recessed lights that are evident on the magazine cover just forward of the emitter but not on the model.

To be fair on reflection the back end is a little messy in its execution which is a shame because from the front, above and below the accuracy and transfer from the original CG is mouth-watering and adds another tick to the success of Enterprise within the confines of this collection. The rear also suffers from some recessed detail that seems unfinished and is sadly off-set by fairly obvious join lines too.

Stand positioning here is a good rear grip sliding between the warp "curves" and the main hull. There's very little movement and the stance offers a good way to see the Vahklas from every angle - except that disappointing rear.

Issue 88 tracks the story of the Enterprise episode Fusion in which the Vahklas appeared and gives brief mention to its later and fleeting appearance in season four of the show. The views here just add weight to the fact that there is some detail missing from the finished model such as a few strokes of paint here and there is a rather disappointing and short section on the design of the ship; one sketch, a CG render and a screenshot - which all also make you realise how clean a finish the model has when the ship in the episode looked like it had been battered about over the years.

Rounding out six pages of the magazine we have Vulcans in the 22nd Century which might run as one of the articles I've been least interested in since the start of the collection. It's OK and there's a decent bit of information but it's very much aimed at "beginners" rather than long term fans and does feel as though the writers were pushed to find something to fill the remaining pages. Considering that the model is actually fairly good the magazine here is a bit scrappy in places.

So to the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-J and what must be one of the most anticipated issues of late. After all, it's an Enterprise so it has to be amazing, right?!

Here's the thing for me. It's another Enterprise series ship but technically it's only ever seen on screen as a LCARS display while Archer and Daniels stand in one of its corridors to watch the Battle of Procyon. It might therefore qualify as the most tedious-link entry to the main collection issues because it never really appeared on screen.

Seen in just one episode of Enterprise for a less than fleeting second (Azati Prime), the J is near to the stuff of legend and fanboy dreams. Indeed, fan demand will surely have pushed this to be included and since it does exist within the canon of the Prime Universe I guess it has (begrudgingly) earned its place so let's take a closer look.

The Enterprise-J is one of the most spindly models ever, right up there with the collector's nightmare that is the Bajoran Solar Sailor (and mine recently had to have a repair job). It's also somewhat sketchy in its final render because it's also one of the larger ships that's been scaled down to be included. While the Enterprise-D comes in at 641 metres in length, this Universe Class starship is over five times as long clocking in at 3,219 metres which goes some way to explaining the paint finish that we have on the elliptical primary hull especially in relation to the lit and unlit windows.

It is a beautiful ship to behold and a rare opportunity to get your hands on this evasive craft - in fact I think it is the first time it has ever been produced in model form. Under all those stripes of lights the hull does carry a nicely produced aztec silver paint scheme. You'll also note that the black "off" lights are the ones which are raised in detail on the hull while the white/yellow "on" lights are flush to the surface. Unfortunately the lighting effect is mirrored port to starboard rather than that uneven "lived in" feel you might have wanted. 

The other thing that bugs me is the need to "illuminate" the ship registry with a white/yellow patch right on the nose. It's an ugly mark and points out clearly that there's no "J" attached to the ship which is accurate to the model on which this was designed. The recessed deflector just in front of that is as plain as the one illustrated on the magazine with a simple swipe of orange to colour the dent that is hugged by a hammerhead section arcing out across the front of the hull and seemingly holding the saucer in place.

Rearwards now and the large metal saucer gives way to the fragile back section. There is a bit of structural support here as the underside of the primary hull extends back underneath but the top piece, nacelles and warp engines are all plastic.

The blue dome that signals the top of the warp core is clearly spotted midway along that spine piece and then splits away into the two very fine and bendy warp nacelles. To be fair they aren't that bad and curve precisely and at the same angle to each other up to the horribly delicate warp engines. While the way in which they sit around the pointy pylons looks inaccurate and a bit slapdash it seems to be right even when you compare it to the images in the magazine and online. There aren't too many which give you a good angle on the engines but the blue sections do sit below the pylon while the longer silver section sits above it. 

With such small scale to work with here the matter that Eaglemoss have managed to use translucent sections for the warp coils and the bussard collectors is nothing short of a Scotty-sized miracle. Just whatever you do don't handle her from the back under any circumstances!!!

Getting her out of the stand though is a bit tricky requiring a bend and slight tug to the front - probably a good thing since it means your ship is secure but it means that getting to examine the underside more closely is a bit fiddly. 

You can clearly see the join of the metal primary hull and neck extension to the plastic back end and that bottom continues the port/starboard mirrored lighting pattern and silver aztecing right across the surface. Also look out for the white dots which appear over the hull - they are there to represent the external ship lighting which you can align using the cover of issue 89.

It's a magazine which details all we know of the ship in just two paragraphs before filling a two page spread with un-annotated pictures of the J which do show off a more uneven lighting pattern than is painted on the model. One of the huge benefits of this craft having such little (or read "non-existent") screentime is that all the pictures of it are conceptual and rarely seen. We get a whopping eight pages of art and opinion on the 26th Century incarnation of the USS Enterprise which was created by Doug Drexler who virtually threw away the rulebook to create an iconic craft for another (possible) time period. Now I'm not a huge fan of the ship but it's an exciting take on the classic two hulls and warp nacelles combo that originated from Matt Jefferies and even if you're not over the moon with adding another Enterprise to your shelf, the background information is priceless for any fan. 

What does suffer from the exposure the J gets in its Designing section is the Doug Drexler article itself which deserves to have more than two sparce pages dedicated to the work of one of Star Trek's most influential designers. Could it mean that there will be more on the man in a future volume perhaps?

Another year is done then with the Starships Collection and we close out with two fair Enterprise starships. Good craft this time but whether the Enterprise-J is as good as it should have been is something that should be debated. It's ok but this was an opportunity to really let it shine and perhaps update and finish off the background Drexler design with a little more finesse. Maybe not as disappointing as the Issue Two refit but not a big winner either. As for the Vahklas; easily the best Vulcan craft to date but I reckon when the T'Plana'Hath makes an appearance it'll be given a run for its money.

One final note as well that we now have confirmation that the third "M" series model will be the ISS Defiant from Shattered Mirror in Deep Space Nine's fourth season. Definitely a good shout for the magazine but with these Mirror Universe ships the minor decal tweaks do mean that parting with cash can be a little frustrating. Also can we have the pennants the right way round first time...?

Is the Enterprise-J a winner or a missed chance from Eaglemoss?



Thursday, 15 December 2016

Leading Light for Discovery?


Probably the biggest and most anticipated Star Trek casting news since a certain folically challenged Englishman was announced as Jean-Luc Picard appears to have broken.

Rumour seems to have it on pretty solid ground that The Walking Dead star Sonequa Martin-Green is set to take the lead role in 2017's Star Trek: Discovery

Martin-Green (31) is the first big (current) name to be linked with the return of the franchise to the small screen and one might go so far as to suggest that her character on The Walking Dead, Sasha Williams, is more than likely not going to be making it out of the seventh season which is in mid-season break now - alive. In fact her IMDB listing already has her period on the show listed as 2012-2017. Seems pretty final.

But what else is she known for? Her most high profile appearance pre-The Walking Dead was in Once Upon a Time as a character called Tamara in seven episodes plus a sprinkling of TV episodes and movies including a writer/producer credit for a 2014 short called On the Bridge

Martin-Green's inclusion definitely provides more depth to that multi-cultural crew and provides Discovery with a recognisable name in someone who is part of the biggest show on TV right now. It's a damn clever piece of casting too being that Sonequa is part of such a current high profile series and that may well be a factor the producers are banking on - her appeal on that zombie-filled show could influence her established fan-base to turn over and watch her take lead in something a little different. Question is will they stay with Discovery or turn off. 

Ok, let's also be fair that her part in the show hasn't been one of the "main" characters however she has been elevated up into the title credits since she popped onto the show in 2012. As an aside I'd suggest she avoids wearing red or it might feel that she's back on The Walking Dead all over again.

It's far too early to say if this is going to be any success since not a frame has been filmed nor can we really comment on how good any of the seven cast members revealed so far will be.

One last note in that David Mack now has the first and third acts of the pilot episode novelisation blocked out - apparently act two is proving a little challenging...Wouldn't want to read too much into this...

For all of our coverage and thoughts on Discovery follow this LINK for all the news so far!

What do you think to this latest casting? Is it a good move?

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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Confirmation of a Multi-Ship Series?


A new week and a new set of actors who have committed their careers to the Star Trek franchise.   

However, in a rather interesting twist these are main characters who are NOT based on a Federation starship indeed these my friends are Klingons! 

Three new names are now linked with the Fuller-lite Discovery series in the form of Chris Obi, Shazad Latif and Mary Chieffo. All three will be facing a longer filming day as they will be heading under prosthetics to become members of Star Trek's honourable warrior race. Obi, who includes an appearance in Doctor Who on his CV will be playing Klingon 'leader' T'Kumva who is loo,img to bring order to the Empire. Now why is he referred to as a leader rather than Chancellor? Is this title something he will grow into during the series perhaps? 

Second on that list of newbies is Shazad Latif, most well known for Black Mirror and Penny Dreadful. His role is Kol, a Klingon commander (perhaps their military commander from the way its worded on startrek.com) and protégé to Obi's T'Kumva. I expect that this will bring in a lot of conflict and more background on the Klingon people at a time we know very little about.

Finally Mary Chieffo - not someone I've heard of at all if I'm honest but her inclusion does mean that there will be a strong female Klingon presence in the first season (at least) as she will be playing L'Rell, another Klingon commander. The suggestion within the startrek.com article hints that we will have one specific Klingon ship that will be featured in the first season alongside the Shenzhou and, of course, Discovery.

Having three prominent Klingon characters does cement the notion that Discovery is not going to be just about the voyages of one ship rather that it's the main craft within a circle of events, races and individuals which will make it distinctly different from any previous incarnation.

We are now coming to the end of 2016 and if we were on track we would now be just one month away from premiere date. Due to all sorts of issues - which should actually reassure fans that this project will be right for airing rather than rushed for January - we now still have five months left to wait. Casting announcements will probably be coming thick and fast now and we still seem to have a lot of the major Discovery crew parts left to be revealed including that pivotal lead character. 

Also to date there is no suggestion of any actor who has previously worked on the Star Trek franchise - of course now I've said that the next announcements will all be people who've guest-starred in Voyager. They're also very exciting because they're bringing a lot of new faces to Star Trek and looking to a new generation to carry the torch just as Roddenberry did when he created The Next Generation in 1987 - imagine what would have happened if fans hadn't given that a chance?!

In other side Discovery news author David Mack has just finished writing his latest Titan novel for the franchise and his Facebook page has him noting that the onsale date for the novelisation of the first episode is May 23rd so I'd think that will come out after the pilot airs. Note too that Mack faces the highly daunting challenge of writing a book based on characters that have not yet been fully realised in the TV format they are designed for!

And finally, illustrator and ship creator John Eaves revealed on his Facebook page that he has named a Federation starship in honour of the late astronaut John Glenn for the new show and that it is a vessel in the Mercury Class. He had named the ship before Glenn sadly passed away last week.


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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Movie Anniversaries - 4,6,8


1986, 1991, 1996 - three years, two decades, two different generations of Star Trek, three anniversaries to honour and all within a few weeks.

My memories of first seeing Star Trek IV, VI and First Contact are pretty strong to this very day. I watched The Voyage Home (30 this year) in a cinema in Truro in Cornwall. Not the biggest screen by any stretch of today's imaginations - or reality - but a proper cinema where there was an intermission and you could nip to the loo or get a tub of ice-cream for 50p. Ah - those were the days. I think that place has long since gone but I can still recall seeing the poster for the movie along side one for Superman IV...

With The Undiscovered Country - now celebrating 25 years on December 6th - it was also in a now long-gone cinema turned-pub in Lincoln. Star Trek VI actually sneaked up on me pretty impressively and it was only after it had been released in the US that I knew about its existence.       

Not so with the second of The Next Generation's movies by which time intermissions were a thing of the past and the multiplex had firmly arrived in the UK. I also followed its evolution at every step although news wasn't the easiest thing to come by in those dark pre-(decent) internet days.

It wasn't quite as intimate an experience as viewing The Voyage Home but it was a bigger screen in Lincoln. I think I saw it on opening weekend where as I'd waited a week or so to go to Star Trek IV.

Of course we in the UK got these movies slightly later than our US friends so the official UK anniversary isn't until (wait for it) April 10th 1987 (wow - can you imagine if we had to wait that long now?!), 14th February 1992 for The Undiscovered Country and for First Contact it was a shorter wait until December 13th 1996 (that's TODAY! I was just in the first year of A-Levels).

Being even-numbered installments they are (of course) stronger movies from the series and oddly both are directed by actors in their respective shows (and both played first officer of the Enterprise) but my initial experiences with either are different again because of the time in my life I saw them.

With The Voyage Home I wasn't a huge Star Trek fan at the time and I was only six and a half. I do remember watching it because the lack of a starship kinda confused me. Where was the Enterprise? What were they doing on Earth and what had happened to Spock?  I think I must've caught The Wrath of Khan at some point on TV shortly before Star Trek IV came out so I knew of Spock's death but I had little idea of what had gone on during The Search for Spock (bar the obvious). I enjoyed it a lot, the whole movie was a lot more lighthearted and it's done well to stand the test of time and gives a nice snapshot of 1986. Seeing a Bird of Prey land in San Francisco and the crew rescue a pair of humpback whales was little more than a good plot back then but I do appreciate it in a lot of different ways.      

The Undiscovered Country was the first Star Trek movie I really fell in love with as it entered the cinema. I was there on opening weekend, I had the novel, the magazine, knew lots about behind the scenes - and probably more than usual since this was the 25th anniversary movie. For me it's the second best of the original crew's six outings behind the legendary The Wrath of Khan. It has a real heart and a very determined sense of finality about it. Times have moved on, these guys really are getting old and that story of change and acceptance makes for a brilliant story. Undoubtedly the addition of Christopher Plummer, David Warner and a Bird of Prey that can fire while cloaked were elements that made it even more amazing but for once it's a movie that uses every member of the cast effectively, has elements of humour lurking in there as well as some stellar action sequences. 


This also means that it's 25 years since the monumental Unification which acted as something of a warm tease for the sixth motion picture and while it does have that all important appearance from Spock it's not one of the show's stronger episodes. On the big screen Star Trek VI looked beautiful and sounded just as good; I still get excited by that choral opening theme every time I hear it - it's just that distinct a piece of music. For me though, The Undiscovered Country marks the real beginning of my dedicated following of Star Trek that continues to this day in every sense. From the day that I left that cinema as the credits rolled and the cast signed off for the final time, I was fully onboard. This was my passion.


By the time First Contact came around I had the bug and was thoroughly enraptured.  A more solid entry than Generations it was the peak of The Next Generation's movies in every sense. Equally it's held up just as well as The Voyage Home - perhaps more so because it's a decade younger. It also deals with time travel as a key point to the story in which returning to the past is the key to save the universe. One thing that the earlier movie does disregard is a Big Bad if you will. There is the Probe but it's effects are unintentionally destructive (as Spock notes) and only The Motion Picture otherwise takes this stance with V'Ger. In the case of every other movie from the franchise there is some grand enemy to be vanquished. 

I don't have a huge preference over which one I would rather sit and watch because they come at the franchise from very different angles. The Voyage Home is the conservation hammer, doing the "right thing" and being all environmental and righteous while still retaining that humourous edge. That's probably why I loved it back in the 80's and again when I watched my recorded copy from the TV. It's a much lighter film testing the crew in other ways and backed by a rather tinkly soundtrack which has an awesome closing theme as the new Enterprise is unveiled (which is just the old one with a new sticker).

The Picard-era First Contact is a polar opposite; darker, murkier but with just as much riding on the outcome. It too has a new Enterprise but this one is there from the start and would go through some modifications during Insurrection and Nemesis. It's a film filled with pioneering spirit, determination and utter fan indulgence and at times I do wonder how both this film - and to some extent The Voyage Home are accessible to non-fans since both contain big chunks which will rely on a decent level of knowledge of the shows which bore them. As a newbie to The Voyage Home there was a "previously on..." style intro sequence to hep catch up on two movies worth of plot but First Contact really did cross its fingers that you already knew of the Borg and what they did to Picard. Honestly, I don't know if it was possible to go to this film and not have known about Locutus. 

The Queen might have been a bit of a curve-ball but we all had to deal with that little revelation. What is apparent is that this quality aging is apparent to all because I can probably quote from either of these movies just a little less than I can from The Wrath of Khan (which is nigh on the whole damn script if I'm honest) but there are many times when "I love Italian and so do you..." or "I'm from Iowa I only work in outer space" get thrown into a random conversation. Heck, how many times can you recollect at least muttering Picard's "The line must be drawn..." demand? IV and VI also carry a lot of throwbacks into Star Trek II, perhaps unavoidable since both were co-written by Discovery writer and The Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer. 

The Undiscovered Country certainly plays on the age card that Kirk is tracked with through the second film although his time he is a captain rather than a desk-bound admiral wanting to be out in the stars. IV and VI really connect, hitting much closer to home than III and especially V since they are more focused on character and development rather than action. Looking to First Contact likewise it's a much deeper story than any of its The Next Generation movie counterparts providing real threat, danger and again more than a hint of Meyer within the ton of Moby Dick references that are strewn liberally throughout the story. Perhaps the oddest thing though is that "Eddie Murphy" has been trending on Facebook this week and not for any of the movies he was in. It seems that 30 years after he didn't appear in The Voyage Home it's still big news. Amazing to think that these were two of Paramount's biggest properties at the time and look where they both are now. I guess with the recent release of Altman and Gross' superb 50 Year Mission books there were bound to be a few bits that would pique interest.

Twenty-five years on from The Undiscovered Country (the sixth movie) we have another seven movies on top from two different aspects of the Star Trek universe and there's no sign of it slowing for the time being.  In the last 25 years more episodes and movies have been produced than there were from 1966 to 1991 (just six films, four and a half seasons of The Next Generation and The Original Series) compared to seven movies, two and half seasons of The Next Generation plus all of Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise.  

While right now we might not be in that 1990's 'Golden Age' where there was Star Trek at every corner, it's certainly heading in a better direction. Less perhaps in this instance is more. Certainly the next 25 years are getting a great send off with the arrival of Discovery and the knowledge that there will be a fourth Star Trek movie from the Kelvin Timeline landing in the next few years. However, who is to say what will happen beyond that - nothing is set in stone just yet. Fingers crossed that in 2041 we are looking back to Beyond and Discovery are remembered with just as warmly.

Where did you first see these movies? What's your first memory of watching them?

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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Visualising Star Trek - Podcast Ten


Our tenth podcast arrives this week and with it we're talking lots of modern era Star Trek.

Hop onboard as Clive and Tiff are joined by Visual Effects Supervisor (and I want to call him VFX LEGEND now - Clive) Adam Howard to discuss his career, firing phasers, thoughts on recent Discovery news and castings as well as some artistic meanderings along the way!!!

PS - there are a couple of little teasers about Discovery in here...

As always you can check out the podcast by either heading over to Soundcloud or searching for Some Kind of Star Trek on iTunes.

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Monday, 5 December 2016

Boldly Go Beyond "Beyond" with IDW

Ian Kimmins gives us a look into the latest IDW offering...


Boldly Go kicks off where Star Trek Beyond ended. Sort of!!


Let me explain. Those last few minutes we see of the new Enterprise being built takes place over a few months and it's in these months that Boldly Go starts its run. 

We start off with a long shot of a very familiar looking ship & each new panel brings us closer until we realise- this isn't the Enterprise! We are on board the USS Endeavour - this is Kirk's temporary command and this is one of the most interesting part of this run-Kirk has a whole new crew to deal with as the Enterprise crew have been assigned new roles while the ship is being built. 

Chekov & McCoy do follow Kirk to the Endeavour. Spock and Uhura head to Vulcan. Sulu is assigned to a ship with a familiar face and Scotty has a teaching role at the academy where we get to see some of the characters from the Starfleet Academy series.

One thing that has been a hallmark of the old ongoing series is the character relationships and it seems Mike Johnson is continuing this in Boldly Go

As this issue wraps up one can only wonder what threat is big enough to bring the crew back together? 

As issue two kicks off Kirk is trying to find out what happened to the USS Concord. They only have one clue an audio recording that says "Resistance is futile" Yes; the guys at IDW have brought the Borg to the Kelvin timeline.

The Concord happens to be the ship Sulu is assigned to and its captain is none other than (The Wrath of Khan's) Terrell and it seems the good captain's lot is a bad one regardless of the timeline. 

Sulu naturally survives the Borg attack and the story is told from his point of view. The tension in the story is well played as we switch between Kirk and the rest of his old crew. As we await issue three we are left hanging wondering how this particular threat will be dealt with. 

Mike Johnson and Tony Shasteen are on point with the Boldly Go series. George Caltsoudas' covers are excellent so if you haven't picked up any of the Kelvin Timeline comics, Boldly Go is a good jumping on point. 

You might say Resistance is Futile! 

Reading Boldly Go? Do you think it's a good series? Is the arrival of the Borg a mistake?

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Forming the Team: Discovery Edges Closer


Three names are now confirmed for the return of Star Trek in 2017.

Already we had Michelle Yeoh "accidentally" linked to the project in an apparent slip by Nicholas Meyer and today her character is confirmed as Captain Georgiou of the USS Shenzhou not Han Bo as had been flung around. 

Adding to the list of crew we now have Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru, a science officer and member of a brand new alien race to be introduced in Discovery. Secondly there's Anthony Rapp as astromycologist and science officer Lieutenant Stamets who is reported to be the series' gay character. 

From what we are hearing there are going to be a lot of cast announcements in the next few days including that lead role which is still such a huge secret. I would surmise this news has come off the back of Meyer's slip which might of course have been on purpose so that news would be outed.

As for the new announcements what do we know about our latest cast members? Well Doug Jones is no stranger to the weird and wonderful having starred in Hellboy and the series Falling Skies plus the Silver Surfer in the second Fantastic Four movie and all the imps in Doom. Overall he has over 150 acting credits with a fair chunk still in post or pre-production. This should be a piece of cake in comparison and it seems perfect casting for Jones if this is going to be a particularly odd alien addition. 

I'm not too familiar with Rapp and checking out his back catalogue only Road Trip, A Beautiful Mind and Twister are films I recognise or have seen. That said it is a huge CV of media involvement so I don't think it's a bad move. Certainly with all three castings CBS have aimed for individuals with a lot of experience and from a wide range of genres. Fingers crossed that the inclusion of a gay character doesn't bring about all the issues that the news that Sulu was gay in Beyond opened up. I feel sure that the producers and writers here will deal with that matter respectfully and as part of the show rather than a "selling point" if you will. It should be naturally included and welcomed not turned into some form of media spectacle.

With these three coming all together and with some background of their characters being provided too it does appear that we are very close to filming beginning. I'm frankly quite amazed that in such a media centric world that the powers behind Discovery have only been let down by the mouth of one of their writers and that more hasn't been leaked out online.

Presently we have no real idea of just how big the cast of the show will be since there are intimations that Yeoh's Captain Georgiou might only be there for the first season and who knows how much of that she will manage to stay alive for. Note too that both Rapp and Jones are playing science officers which might indicate one is on Discovery and the other under Yeoh's command on the Shenzhou.

The idea of a new alien race is a big draw since the only hint of alien life in Discovery so far was a makeup test for what seemed to be Andorian antennae so that secret too is yet to be revealed.

Of course it's way too early to tell if all those fancy credentials and experience actually make them good as part of one of the biggest TV franchises of all time but lets give them a chance before we go all out against them huh? I like the prospect of Discovery not being so fresh-faced and having that edge of maturity. Indeed, all three are born in the 60's and 70's. Sure there will be younger characters and actors involved but with these three announced it feels that the show will have some strong onscreen foundations with which to build its initial 13 episode season.

Good luck to the new additions to the Star Trek family and here's to your work in 2017!

Who would you like to see in that key role that's yet to be announced? What are your thoughts on these latest announcements?

Images from CBS publicity on Twitter


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