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  1. As we make our way through the third season of Lower Decks, we thought we'd look back at the first two series and ask you all who your favourite of the main characters is. Obviously, there an absolute plethora of characters to choose from if we expanded the choice (although the correct answer is obviously T'Ana) so we're limiting ourselves to the main four Lower Deckers. First up, Brad Boimler (or Boims to his friends); arguably the POV character for the first season, Boimler is the _ "the laziest, most corner-cutting officer in Starfleet history" _... or is he? Certainly that's how he's remembered in the far far future, but in the show we're shown an incredibly eager and ambitious young man who is also very cautious and only does things to further his career. Secondly, Beckett Mariner. What can we say about Mariner that hasn't been said before? She's a hard-working officer who never cuts corners, always obeys authority and has never deserved any of her promotions. We can say that because it's not true. An incredibly hot mess, Mariner is a fantastic officer with an amazing intuition and drive, but possibly without ambition. Thirdly, D'Vana Tendi, the endlessly optimistic science officer. Someone with boundless optimism, Tendi is "not one of those Orions" and is fiercely devoted to the rest of the group. She adores Rutherford most of all, and their friendship is one of the most wholesome relationships in all of Trek. Arguably the most knowledgeable of the group, she is also the most naïve; refusing to see the corruption of Dog when it's blatantly opposite to everyone else. Finally we have Sam Rutherford - the officer who has flitted from department to department (and settled back at Engineering again). He is a brilliant officer, and his implants give him extraordinary powers (and also dangerous side effects). Like Tendi, he is full of enthusiasm and a massive Trek nerd (building his own Deep Space Nine model) - hence their glorious friendship. Which is your favourite, and why? Let us know in the comments.
  2. We all know that Captain Picard is a lovelorn captain - he manages to find romance in most missions, whether he wants to or not. But which one is your favourite? There's only one correct answer, but I'd like to hear your opinions anyway! Let's start with the problematic one - Kamala. There was a very odd power dynamic with this one, and it's aged like an episode of Friends. Kamala was built to be "the perfect mate" (ew) and fell in love with Picard purely out of him being there and spending time with her. Vash was an archaeologist with her eye on the prize - the Captain of the EnterPrize, as well as all the black market treasure she could sell. Vash was a great character in her own right, turning up in several episodes of TNG and even a DS9. She and JL had a fabulously antagonistic relationship when it came to their conflicting opinions on what to do old relics, until Q came and tempted her away. Q - whilst I don't think it's necessarily a "romantic" relationship, I'm going to include it anyway - Q was _obsessed_ with Picard, and that smacks to me of love - plus the finale of season two of Picard - if that's not love, what is?! Finally, the correct answer is Beverly Crusher. The CMO of the Enterprise, Bev had a will-they-won't-they relationship with our beloved captain. The chemistry between the two was palpable, and if they don't kiss in season 3 of Picard, I will riot. What do you think? Who did I forget? Drop us a line in the comments
  3. With over 800 television episodes and films, an objective ranking of on-screen Star Trek content would be impossible. However, within each series, a consensus has coalesced around a handful of episodes that are often regarded as the finest. "The Measure of a Man," "Improbable Cause/The Die is Cast," and "Deadlock" are particularly good episodes from their respective series' earlier seasons, and symbolise each series coming into its own. Even so, admiration for each series' so-called "best episodes" isn't always universal, and fans' rankings of a series' finest episodes might range as much as their selections for the worst. For ardent Trek fans, evaluating episodes on their merits can be challenging since what we appreciate most about our favourite episodes is frequently impossible to measure. The nostalgia of having grown up with these programmes raises the question of their most acclaimed episodes: “Do we love them because they’re good, or are they good because we love them?” For this month's poll, we chose two episodes from each of the first five series, as well as one TOS feature and one TNG film that are widely regarded as the best of the best. Only series with completed original runs are represented; we'll have to wait for history to weigh in on the series that are currently in production. Choose the episode or film you believe is the worst and tell us why. Is there an episode we missed you believe deserves to be the worst "best" episode? Don’t see what all the fuss was about “The Inner Light,” “The Visitor,” or “Equinox”? Tell us what and why!
  4. For as long as Humans have been domesticating animals, they’ve been keeping certain types of them as companions. Archeological evidence indicates Humans have had pet dogs for at least 12,000 years. Ancient Greeks and Romans openly grieved over the loss of their pets. The emergence of the middle class in 19th century Britain transformed pets from a decorative symbol of status into an integral part of the family. In the 20th and 21st century, pet rocks, virtual keychain pets, and robotic pets have become budget-, space-, and time-friendly companions for many. A ubiquitous part of the Human experience to date, pet ownership is also well represented in the Trek future, with Vulcans, Klingons, Betazoids, Cardassians, and other species known to keep pets. Some of the most familiar pets to Trek fans include Livingston, the lionfish that lived in Jean-Luc Picard’s ready room aboard the Enterprise-D; Porthos, Jonathan Archer’s pet beagle; and Spot, Data’s notoriously untrainable cat. While these three have received by far the most screen time, pet appearances and references can be found all over Trek. When Liam Bilby faced certain death at the hands of the Orion Syndicate, Miles O’Brien promised to care for his cat Chester. Even after four years in the Delta Quadrant, Kathryn Janeway was comforted to learn that her former fiancé had found homes for her Irish Setter Mollie’s entire litter of puppies. Lwaxana Troi held her pet vine in such esteem that she brought it to her daughter’s engagement banquet. And a newlywed General Martok lost his beloved pet targ to the call of Kahless when his bride “accidentally” left the front door open as she moved into his house. While Trek pets are often portrayed as treasured companions, the connotation is not always so benign. Q once derogatorily referred to Neelix as Janeway’s “pet Talaxian,” turning the word into a slur. Jadzia Dax, upon seeing a palukoo for the first time, guessed that Bajoran resistance fighters kept them as pets and sang songs about them around the campfire. Given the desperate circumstances of the Cardassian occupation, Kira Nerys perhaps unsurprisingly shattered Dax’s misconception by correcting, “No, we used to eat them.”
  5. It's April, it's Spring (at least in the northern hemisphere) and it's starting to warm up (again, only for those of us up north). This means only one thing to many people - birth, growth, renewal. All of this can be summed up in the Christian celebration of Easter - the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. To many who celebrate (and a lot of people who, like myself, don't), Easter is symbolised in the form of an Easter egg. Now we could have asked you all about your favourite forms of chocolate (correct answer: all) and maybe we'll do that next year, but instead we thought we'd ask about that other type of Easter egg - the in-joke, the reference, the little nugget of gold that's only there waiting for the fans to leap upon and write about on countless internet forums... And our Discord, of course. Fair Warning: This post contains some spoilers for the new series of Star Trek: Discovery, Picard, and Star Trek: Lower Decks. We have warned you! The most recent, and arguably the greatest Easter egg ever made by anyone ever (because it references my favourite Star Trek film) was the momentary reoccurrence of Kirk Randolph Thatcher in Picard. He originally played the "Punk Dude" who is accosted by Kirk and Spock in the masterpiece film, The Voyage Home, and memorably appears in the Picard episode "Watcher". Another little Easter egg is the delightful appearance of the famous Vasquez Rocks in pretty much every episode of the Original Series, as well as many other appearances in plenty of other Trek series (and a few other non-Trek films and TV shows including the A-Team, the Muppet Movie and the live action Flintstones). The one that cannot go without mentioning is the use of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry as the voice of the computer in almost every series since the Next Generation; for me, when I write my sims I can always hear her responses as the computer. It's like she's still with us every time. Who hasn't simmed their character climbing through the Jefferies tubes on board their ship? Those maintenance crawl spaces have more in common with the nautical vessels, where space is at a premium and tubes are the way forward. These maintenance shafts on board our starships are named Jefferies Tubes, after the Starfleet Engineer W.M. Jefferies, who was named in homage to the real designer of the original Enterprise - Matt Jefferies! And of course, absolutely every episode of Lower Decks features a ridiculous amount of Easter eggs in every scene, and to list them here would take up an entirely new poll! But suffice to say, I'm going to pick my favourite, which is the only canon appearance of the Spock Helmet toy from the 60s in Ensign Mariner's stash of contraband. But what's your favourite? One of the above, or a completely different egg altogether? I'm egg-cited to hear your answers!
  6. The Star Trek franchise has always been known for its amazing make-up and prosthetic work. The franchise is also responsible for some of the most iconic alien races in science fiction. Makeup artists from different series have been nominated for and won different awards for their work. In 2017, the Society of Makeup Artists awarded Nancie Langlois as their Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for her work on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Vanity Fair's Best Star Trek Makeup Artist Award goes to Joel Harlow. He has been nominated for his work on Star Trek: Beyond, Star Trek: Discovery, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. This is the first time the makeup artist has won the award. His work was praised for being "so good that it’s hard to tell where the prosthetic ends and the actor begins." The best makeup artistry in the Star Trek series would have to go to Michael Westmore who has been working on the show since 1987. He has won five Emmy Awards for his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager, as well as an Oscar for his work on James Cameron’s Avatar (2009). The Andorian species in Star Trek: The Original Series is one example of a great makeup job. They have blue skin and antennae which were done in a way that was very believable and realistic for the time period it was made in. This is also true for their eyes which were done in such a way that they looked like they had eyelids. Throw forward to the recent movies, and we find Joel Harlow and Don Lanning sculpting and designing the Reptilicus alien species—looking a little Cardassian—creating the scaled skin and ridges around the face to represent the curl of the ear. They look so life like, with their addition of amber-coloured reptilian eyes and sharpened teeth. We can't really say that there is a single character from any of the Star Trek series that features the best makeup artistry. It would be more accurate to say that all of them have some pretty impressive makeup artists.
  7. It's 2022 (or 2399) and it couldn't get here soon enough! Get outta here 2021, we don't want you anymore! Every time the calendar flips to a new year, we get an opportunity to reflect. It's a natural moment for rekindling optimism and purpose, as well as a reminder that the future has yet to be written. It's only logical to apply this perspective to our science-fiction universe. Each new incarnation of Star Trek is greeted with the same sense of surprise and enthusiasm. We're excited to go on a new adventure, not knowing where we'll finish up, but ready to grab on for dear life through all the twists and turns. The power of a new "Season 1, Episode 1" is that it may set the stage for a whole season. It is a pivot point that establishes the tone of the series. Will it be about exploration and science, or about conflict and danger? As the key characters are introduced in the pilot, we ask ourselves: Is the commanding officer an experienced professional or a newcomer to the game? An opening episode establishes the momentum that will propel the audience into the wide unknown and keep them coming back week after week. "Emissary" from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine emphasized a less sophisticated, more frontier arena than the series that came before it. It introduced creatures that had been shown briefly in TNG but would now play key roles in the stories. What about the opener for Star Trek: Enterprise? The crew of the Enterprise NX-01 was full of hope but had no genuine experience with the perils that lay ahead. The Vulcans were painted in a different light than they had ever been previously. Meanwhile, Star Trek: Lower Decks provided us with a behind-the-scenes peek at the crew that wasn't the greatest but yet got the job done - frequently with frantic antics. But which of these series premieres was the BEST? Don't forget to persuade us in the comments about your pick!
  8. February is Black History Month in America, and as such, we thought we would honour this month by looking to the future! Now, Star Trek has had some absolutely fantastic black actors and characters in their long history on screen, but we would like to know; who would you like to see more of? First up, we have the first African-American Captain in his own series, the brilliant, the sometimes bearded, Benjamin Sisko played by Avery Brooks. One of my personal favourite all-time Trek episodes is The Visitor, a story that focuses on the father-son relationship between Benjamin and his son Jake. This would be a great relationship to come back to - how has the intervening time (and Prophethood) changed them, and the world around them? And can we bring Kasidy Yates back at the same time too, please? Throwing back to the first season of The Next Generation (we know, we know), Tryla Scott wowed the audience as Captain of the USS Renegade. Unfortunately, she suffered an unknown fate at the hands of the parasites, attempting to take over Starfleet Command. As a strong Captain, it would be fantastically interesting to see what happened to her. Maybe we'll see in a new series. The most prolific character/actor in Star Fleet history (please don't @me if I'm wrong) is the brilliant Michael Dorn as Worf, son of Mogh. One of the most requested solo series that I've seen on the web is a chance to see Worf back on our screens. Would you like to see him come back as a Captain, still balancing a Starfleet with his Klingon heritage? And what about my wife's favourite character, the fabulous Tuvok, as played by Tim Russ? Arguably the greatest Vulcan we've seen on screen, Tuvok was the backbone of Voyager who had fantastically different relationships with all the different crewmen of that lost ship. Could he come back? I'd love to see him in the "modern" day; how has Voyager's return changed his life, and does he still see his old friends? There are, of course, lots of other brilliant black characters and actors; far too many to cover here, but perhaps you can let us know in the comments if there are other characters you'd rather see return? Perhaps you'd like to see the continuing adventures of Geordi LeForge or what Daystrom gets up to in his eponymous Institute. Finally, we would be absolutely amiss not to honour three key black characters in the Star Trek universe, all of whom hold a special place in our hearts. First is that of Beckett Mariner, the lead of Lower Decks (possibly one of the most gif'd shows on our Discord), voiced by the incomparable Tawny Newsome. Then we have the first black female captain, Michael Burnham; delightfully played by the great Sonequa Martin-Green. And finally, we have the legend that is Nyota Uhura, played originally by the heinous Nichelle Nichols, and soon to be back on our screens in Strange New Worlds (which I'm very much looking forward to) and to be played by Celia Rose Gooding.
  9. As we enter the final year of the 24th century, we thought it might be fun to examine ways our characters might choose to ring in the New Year. We know from a conversation that Bashir has in Deep Space Nine that people (or at least humans) celebrate the New Year with parties and celebrations, but what might they entail..? And do they change with species and quadrants? Perhaps they would like to hold a massive party in their ship or base's bar (or for the more adventurous, perhaps they even venture into the holodeck?) or there's always doing something a little more... unique? Jo Marshall has threatened to go skinny dipping in the Andorian ocean, but as a doctor all I can say is that it's a sure fire way to give yourself pneumonia. On Star Trek Online, the annual event "Q's Winter Wonderland" has players being taught the Klingon New Year tradition of ice fishing? Perhaps our Klingon characters would care to teach the rest of us this brilliant skill. If not, I have a power drill and a fishing rod and I'm going to try it out myself! What about something less... chilly? Perhaps your character likes to stay in by an open (holo)fire and roast chestnuts/marshmallows (or smores)? This is of course assuming that all planets celebrate their new year celebrations in a season of cold weather, which I'm sure isn't true (it isn't even true on Earth!) so who likes going surfing or bodyboarding on NYE? A BBQ anyone? There's a few options below, but if we haven't covered your answer, then please let us know in the comments!
  10. The Movember Foundation aims to raise awareness of men's health issues including suicide prevention and cancer support. Through fund-raising and charity efforts, they hope to change the face of men's health. One way to show support is to grow a bit of facial fuzz during the month of November. Soul patch? Glorious Klingon beard? Muttonchops, anyone? As we look at the Star Trek universe, there are many examples of facial hair across the galaxy. Each species and, indeed, each individual, has their own preferences. Most Tellarites are seen onscreen with full-length beards. Many Klingons seem to prefer it as well, including our favorite Klingon, Worf. One of the easiest to spot examples of "good-beardedness" is Commander William Riker from The Next Generation series and accompanying movies. Beginning with the second season of TNG, Will sported a beard for over a decade on the small and large screen. He shaved it during Star Trek: Insurrection much to Troi's delight who said "Yuck!" when he kissed her. In the Mirror Universe, Spock wore a mustache and goatee. Actually in the different visits to and from that universe, we see multiple characters with facial hair that their normal counterparts from our reality don't have. Is there something about the forces of evil that push the villainous to wear a beard? Probably not. Most likely its just a visual cue to the audience that this isn't your normal Spock or Bashir. Benjamin Sisko grew a Van [...] beard during his tenure aboard Deep Space Nine. His son, Jake, commented that he liked it. We have to agree! And don't even get us started on Doctor Leonard McCoy! In Star Trek: The Motion Picture he was forced out of retirement and returned to the Enterprise with what looked like an outfit and facial hair straight from the 1970s. To be fair, the movie was released in 1979 - so, yeah, kind of! Join in the fun, let us know who your favorite unshaven character is!
  11. Few would argue that Star Trek is just a TV show or movie franchise. The far-reaching effects of our favorite science fiction universe have been felt within the very fabric of society. It has touched the minds of young and old and inspired pioneers in all fields of human endeavor. October 10th - 16th marks Earth Science Week, an international event organized by the American Geosciences Institute which helps the public gain an appreciation for Earth sciences and encourages responsible stewardship of the planet. It builds understand of fields such as climate change, impact from agriculture and industry, and highlights our responsibility in maintaining the delicate balances of Earth's natural systems. To coincide with this event, let's examine the impact of science fiction on science and technology fact. The most direct influence Star Trek has had would likely be upon the field of astronomy and space exploration. In the 1970s this was felt when NASA received thousands of write-in requests by Star Trek fans to have the prototype space shuttle be christened Enterprise. The campaign eventually succeeded and many of the main cast of The Original Series were even on hand for the unveiling. Many astronauts have credited Star Trek with kindling a desire within them to explore the stars. This week William Shatner, Captain James T. Kirk himself, flew aboard Blue Origen's rocket and became the eldest man to travel to space. Computers, robotics, and artificial intelligence have also benefited from the universe of Trek. From the interactive computer aboard Starfleet vessels to Lieutenant Commander Data - a cybernetic lifeform, we have witnessed advanced intelligences that blur the lines of what life is and how it's defined. Questions about artificial sentience are already being asked in the real world now as well. No one can deny the similarities between the Enterprise computer and the likes of Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. Many individual episodes feature plotlines that deal with real-world environmental issues. It might be something as varied as planet-wide weather control equipment on Risa going on the fritz or a meteor set to impact a planet and the need to disrupt its path. Even Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was a commentary on the effects of mismanagement of Earth's species and resources. Science fiction has provided a medium to explore some of these "what ifs" even before they've happened to shed light on our response as a species.
  12. September is a month where the world remembers those lost to violence: the beginning of World War II in 1939, and the tragic events of September 11th in 2001. In reality, conflict makes up a large part of modern society. Many love to escape into science fiction to forget such realities. But part of what makes Star Trek so visceral is its portrayal of dangerous conflict. Star Trek has not been shy about developing storylines that examine conflict — between individuals, peoples, planets, and empires — and the fallout of such conflict. The Maquis, freedom fighters introduced near the end of the TNG series, played a larger role in DS9 and VOY. Made up of former Starfleet officers and Federation civilians rising against the oppression of the dismissive Cardassians and rule-oriented Federation made many viewers take a hard look at real-life events happening around them. Perhaps it made some uncomfortable because in the right circumstances, they could almost agree with the Maquis and their methods. In the Enterprise series, a Xindi probe carried a devastating attack on Earth out. This precipitated a season-long story arc where Archer and crew had to respond to the attack. In the end, they found the Xindi to be responding (sort of) defensively. As someone misinformed them that the Federation would destroy their planet. Khan Noonien Singh is many times highlighted as one of the top baddies of all of Star Trek. In Star Trek Into Darkness, he causes mayhem and destruction in London and Starfleet Headquarters. However, was he just protecting his brethren from the hands of the manipulative Admiral Marcus? Was he justified in his actions? There are dozens more examples of conflict, some large and others small, that have pierced the hearts of the fans, and we want to know which ones jabbed at your soul the most? One of the above? Was it the duo-chromatic aliens in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" (TOS)? Perhaps it was the attack on Yorktown Station in Star Trek Beyond? Or shadows of the Dominion War in DS9?
  13. Women's Equality Day is celebrated in the United States on August 26th. That is the anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave women the right to vote in elections. That initial step in 1920 has since led to a flurry of civil rights measures that have worked to provide fair and equal access and representation to all. As our eyes fall on the universe of Star Trek as depicted in the television shows and movies, we see a galaxy that increasingly has been represented as a galaxy of equals. It is a place where anyone can attain power and authority based solely on merit. Many women have featured prominently in positions of authority and power - (unfortunately) forward-thinking for our time, but treated as commonplace in the universe of Star Trek. Kathryn Janeway, depicted on-screen by Kate Mulgrew, is a sterling example of a women entrusted with power. She served capably as the commanding officer of the USS Voyager and later was promoted to the admiralty. Janeway was a force to be reckoned with that could stand toe-to-toe with the Borg and managed to return her crew safely from being stranded at the other end of the galaxy. She is a fan favorite which is perhaps why the character is set to return in the upcoming series Star Trek: Prodigy. Doctors Beverly Crusher and Katherine Pulaski, performed by Gates McFadden and Diana Muldaur respectively, provided role models for many youths. You never got the impression that either would fail to speak their mind or act in an assertive manner when needed. Crusher was even tasked with leading Starfleet Medical for a year, a testament to her skill and ability. The long list of other powerful women in Star Trek is extensive. From Admirals Nechayev and Cornwallis to scientist Carol Marcus and the villainous Romulan Sela, we see women filling every role available in the universe - true equals, as they should be. The question posed to you is who's you're favorite?
  14. What with today being Bastille Day, we here at the Poll of the Month have decided to examine the history of France in regards to Star Trek. Where should we begin? Well the most obvious place would be with Jean-Luc Picard, the most English Frenchman to have ever have existed. He's up there in the list of most popular Star Trek characters of all time, is the only one to have his own spin off show (so far, come on Star Trek: My People Have a Saying), and is one of the highest ranking leads. But, without leaning into stereotypes, how much "Frenchness" does Jean-Luc really display? Sure, in both The Next Generation and his own eponymous show, we see plenty of the family chateau and vineyard, but the majority of the literature he engages with tends to be skewed to the English speaking world. Why doesn't he try to teach Data about Moliere in the holodeck rather than Shakespeare, par exemple? Obviously, the out of character reason for this is that you don't cast famed classical actor Patrick Stewart and not get him to whip out his Prospero... So, what other examples are there that flit to mind? For me, the most obvious examples come from Voyager (and I don't just mean Tom PARIS). The first, Chez Sandrine, is the holodeck bar that features fairly heavily in the show, it's almost their Ten-Forward, if you will. The Doctor teaches Seven how to dance there (although she does break that poor man's arm) and the crew are trapped in there when the ship goes all curly-whirly (Twisted), to name but a few. Complete with pool hustlers and slightly dodgy accents, is this a fun representation of France? The other obvious Voyager example is La Coeur de Lion and the Resistance movement from the (frankly brilliant) episodes "The Killing Game, Part One and Two". Complete with Janeway in a white tuxedo and Mademoiselle de Neuf (plus, who isn't a fan of French peasant Neelix, the best Neelix), this cell helps to take down the Nazi Hirogen (subtlety is not necessarily Voyager's strong suit) but this does a really good job of displaying the gallic grit and valour that the Resistance movement showed during the Second World War. As a final aside, the Federation President's office is shown to be in Paris (well, unless they moved the Eiffel Tower) in Deep Space Nine's Homefront. That's fun. So, what's your favourite display of French culture in Trek? Is it one of these, or perhaps another? Let us know in the comments!
  15. It’s June, and quite apart from it being warm and summery (at least in my part of the world) it is also Pride Month! Star Trek has a long history of racial inclusivity, from the earliest series onwards but the first main characters canonically portrayed as being a part of the LGBTQ community are Dr Hugh Culber and Lt. Paul Stamets on Discovery. Not that queerness hasn’t existed within the Star Trek universe before, it has, but portrayals of it are few and far between. But which of those portrayals is your favourite? Let’s start with Culber and Stamets in Discovery; their personal home life is regularly shown in the series (one of my favourite scenes in the whole of Discovery is the one where the two of them are brushing their teeth) and I think we can all agree that they are an excellent example of representation. What about Adira Tal in the latest series of Discovery? They are non-binary and came out to the aforementioned Stamets in one episode, preferring they/them pronouns. I thought this was an outstanding example of embracing the current shifts in thought and representing them on screen. I know it’s passe to mention the JJverse in SB118, but I couldn’t let this poll pass without at least mentioning the existence of Hikaru Sulu’s sexuality in that adaptation. Or at least in Beyond, in which he’s shown happily embracing a same-sex partner (a kiss, however, apparently fell to the cutting room floor). Finally, I will briefly pass over the small instances of LGBT inclusion in the older series. We had the genderless species of the J’Naii in The Outcast episode of The Next Generation. The focus of this episode was on Soren, who felt distinctly female, even admitting an attraction to William Riker (and having an affair with him). You had instances of bisexuality occurring frequently in Trill storylines; Dr Crusher and Odan in The Host, Dax and Kahn in Rejoined to name two, as well as Mirror Kira being romantically involved with Ezri in Deep Space 9. Do you have other instances you’d like to discuss? Are there portrayals that aren’t good portrayals? Let us know what you think!
  16. For once, we’re not going to be asking about relationships, but STARships. One thing Star Trek has done really well in their fifty-plus year history is that almost every show has a completely different style of spaceship on which the stories take place, and in many of them, the ships themselves almost become characters in their own right (certainly I think the Deep Space Nine and the USS Voyager have distinct personalities). So, our question this week is, should a new series be commissioned tomorrow, what kind of spaceship would you like to see our heroes (or villains) flying through the stars? The original Enterprise had the most wonderful colour scheme (why doesn’t anyone else have lavender walls and bright red grilling?) that is very much a product of the time (it’s the 60s! Throw in every colour for new televisions!) and I’m really hoping that when Strange New Worlds starts, the Enterprise looks as mental as it did in the Original Series. The Enterprises D/E had that giant, massive, humongous entire-culture-on-a-ship vibe, which was really interesting (why don’t we ever see anyone else getting their haircut on a ship) and is something that a new series could explore in more detail (Cetacean Ops anyone?), whilst Deep Space Nine had that we-can’t-go-anywhere-so-bring-the-plot-to-us vibe on their immobile space station. Again, a future series could show us a lot more than *one* promenade and half a dozen offices, and an anthology series exploring the different lives of the different people on board could be cool. Then, with Voyager and the Cerritos, you have smaller, more specialised spaceships that perform completely different roles in the fleet. And the less said about Archer’s Enterprise, the better… (jokes). What kind of ship would you like to see focused on in a future instalment of the fleet?
  17. With confirmation that Q, portrayed on-screen by the talented actor John de Lancie, will return in season 2 of Star Trek: Picard, our thoughts turn to the sly jokester. The near omnipotent Q of the Q Continuum has been a thorn in the side of Starfleet for many years. Since his run-in with Picard and crew in the first episode of TNG, Q’s acerbic humor and trickster nature have caused many headaches for our heroes. But it does make for great storytelling! After all, how do you face off against an almost unbeatable (and unbearable) enemy? One of the moral questions that meeting the Q has postulated is, “What if I was given their powers?” This question was explored in the episode “Hide and Q” when the powerful being gave Commander William Riker a taste of the Q’s power. It is said that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Is this always true? Could a lowly human (or Andorian, Tril, Denobulan, etc.) be trusted with the Q’s power? Or would they go mad with power and devolve into the selfish and conceited use of their unthinkable might? Riker struggled with being able to control his use of his newfound powers but, ultimately, he eventually decided to reject Q’s power. In another TNG episode, “True Q”, we meet Amanda Rogers. Initially, we are led to believe that she is a normal human but soon find out that - unbeknownst to her - she is a Q. As she begins to explore her powers with Q’s help, she finds it increasingly difficult to avoid using her abilities. She makes the decision to return with him to the Q Continuum to receive further training in the use of her abilities. So, when faced with the same decision, what would you choose?
  18. The Star Trek franchise is a living thing. Shows have come and gone over the years and each incarnation has added to the rich flavor of our favorite sandbox universe. When a show completes its original run, there are always mixed feelings - a sense of completeness, sadness, nostalgia. Once we've worked our way through the stages of grief and hit acceptance, we move on with our lives. We have little choice to do otherwise. But what if ... The trend has been up-ticking in recent years where studio executives will bring back popular shows for additional episodes - with some successes and some spectacular failures. True, there has been some distance from some of our favorite shows and the present day. Actors have moved on, aged, and we have lost some along the way. Some storylines have not aged well and may not work in the current social environment. So let's change the rules! Imagine a timeline where a Star Trek show from the past got one extra season. Which series is the lucky one to get another chance to wow us? Would you tune in to see Kirk and Spock seek out new life and civilizations during their five-year mission? What about seeing more of the continuing mission with Picard in the center chair of the Enterprise-D? Do you want to see what Kira and the gang are up to on DS9 as they recover from the Dominion War? Should there have been an extra season nestled in among the others that provides more details on Voyager's return home? Did Enterprise end before its time? Maybe you feel that all the series ended just where they should! Take our poll and extra credit to anyone who provides details in the comments on which storylines they want to see from the bonus season!
  19. As part of a new series in the Poll of the Week, we're bringing you into the centre chair. When presented with a situation, how would you react? What would you do? The USS Penda has been sent out on convoy duty - escorting a merchant convoy back towards the Federation core. However, one of the merchants is hijacked in the time it takes you to fight off several pirate ships. Thanks to a nearby Galor-class ship, you were able to defeat most of the attackers, except for two who fled with the hijacked merchant ship. However, the pirates warn you that any attack will result in them killing the captured merchant if you send a team or attack their ship. The Gul is already turning to escort their convoy out of the sector, and will shortly be out of immediate range. Your convoy needs to be escorted to the Starbase at the edge of the sector, and after you send a message to Command, they warn you that the Quick Response Force is already deployed to deal with an issue with one of the colonies in the sector, and cannot come to your rescue. Still.. it seemed the Gul was unhappy with these attacks too, perhaps you could work something out?
  20. Over the many years of Star Trek, we've seen multiple Red Shirt deaths to the point it's one of the most popular memes — if not the most popular — in the fandom. Nothing says "you're about to kick it" like being summoned on an Away Team with all the major characters, and you turn up wearing red. Like a flag to a bull, no matter the direction someone fires their phaser in, somehow it's going to end up slap bang in the middle of the Red Shirt. Synonyms for the redshirt include sacrificial lamb and spear-carrier, so you know what conotations are a given. HOWEVER! Someone did the science! In a recent Star Trek: The Math of Khan talk at the Museum of Mathematics, one determined trekkie, James Grime, discovered out of three seasons of our beloved Original Series, only 25 died out of 239, a stunning 10 percent of deaths. However, out of 55 gold shirts, 10 of them died, resulting in 18 percent. In true defiance of everything we hold dear, if you wanted to cheat death, science came out alive with a staggering 6 percent dead. Perhaps the Scientists and Doctors have it right all along. Wear the blue, avoid the chop. Regardless, in honour of this humble trope, we're asking you this week to choose your favourite red shirt death from the Original Series. You've got a few good ones to choose from, so let us know which plucked at your heart strings the most!
  21. A common trope in Star Trek is time travel. Securely in the realm of science fiction, this process is achieved several times through the series and movies. Whether it is an anti-time anomaly, the interference of powerful aliens, or an unexpected accident, time travel features prominently in the storylines we’ve come to love. Why is time travel such a popular subject? Each of us wishes we could jump to a new time, "putting things right that once went wrong and hoping each time that the next leap will be …" (wait, wrong show). The truth is that the past (and the future) fascinate us. So often we are taught that the past is immutable, and the future is untouchable except abstractly by our present actions. But what if we could directly effect the past or future? What if our decisions could ripple out to change the present instead of the other way around? One of the most popular episodes of TOS was “City on Edge of Forever” which found Kirk and Spock chasing McCoy through an alien time vortex to 1930s Earth. The captain is forced to choose between preserving the timeline and letting a woman he has fallen in love with die. It is these kinds of heavyweight moral decisions that make for great storytelling and time travel is one way to increase the stakes. But time travel adds another layer of complexity because it is a way that we could make the familiar – like Earth – more alien. Imagine being able to visit the Middle Ages, the time of Caesar, or the 60s. Time travel could also allow us to see events that are only mentioned in passing within the Star Trek universe but that could be explored and expanded upon to make the “history” more real. The possibilities are endless.
  22. Now Star Trek has a history of tugging at our heartstrings, from the “his was the most… human” speech at the end of Wrath of Khan, to the death of Data at the end of Nemesis (okay, the rest of the film is kinda trash, but still his sacrifice is pretty emotive). But both of those examples come from the films, which are given two, two and a half hours to make us cry, as well as the weight of seasons go past. However, even in the forty five minutes of a regular episode, there are still some incredibly powerful moments in the Star Trek ouvre. This might be more telling of what makes me cry than is possibly comfortable, but hey here we go! Naturally the first is Inner Light which often tops lists of the best ever episodes of the Star Trek canon. Picard with the flute at the end is guaranteed to break even the stoniest visage into at least the one tear, right? Next one is a bit more of a wild card, but I rewatched it recently and the end is simply heartwrenching. Innocence, a season two episode of Voyager, is the one where Tuvok has to look after the children on that asteroid, and they’re disappearing one by one. Turns out in the end that (questionable biology aside) that the kids are actually the aged members of this society and they are going off to die. Tuvok’s final speech at the end of the episode, reassuring the little girl that death is a natural end, is gorgeous. Another strong contender is of course Deep Space Nine’s The Visitor - who can forget Jake Sisko’s final sacrifice to save his father and undo that timeline? Continuing our DS9 sob-fest, why not Hard Time? That’s the one where most important Starfleet officer of all time, Chief O’Brien, lives in prison for 20 years, and is driven to murder and almost to suicide… Powerful stuff. Finally, we have the absolute classic TOS episode, City On The Edge Of Forever, in which Kirk has to stop McCoy from saving the woman Jim loves in order to save the timeline. Beautiful in its simplicity, this episode will always have a place in my heart. Have another suggestion? Let us know in the comments!
  23. As part of a new series in the Poll of the Week, we're bringing you into the centre chair. When presented with a situation, how would you react? What would you do? The Admiral in charge of this sector has built outposts in all known colonies, and the QRF is being formed. However, this means that all patrols and responses are very delayed and will be until at least some of it is built. While the pirates are a major threat, they are a known threat, and you, the Captain of the USS Ngô Quyền, is being sent in to investigate the unknown threat in the Silent Zone. With all available ships on deployment, they warn you there are no reinforcements, although a Gul in charge of one of the Galor-classes nearby analyzing a nebula has offered assistance should they press you. The initial surveys of known outposts reveal destroyed outposts - usually by kinetic bombardment, with several planets undergoing nuclear winters. It isn't until week 2 of this survey, reaching the northwest edge of the sector, that you see anything of note - and it's a still intact Federation outpost, strangely devoid of people. The away team sent to investigate reported back urgently that there is a bioweapon there, and it is still active. One of them estimates they have only 18 hours left to live. Records show that it somehow can bypass current quarantine protocols, based on some data left in the record. You call an emergency meeting to determine your options. The away team has decided that they are willing to be left behind to save the lives of their crewmates.
  24. Love is in the air since Valentine's Day, every where we look around, and over the vast years since it first aired, this space opera in our hearts has given us plenty of on-screen love to wrap our hearts around. Everyone has their favourite relationship from the series, whether it was Jean-Luc and Beverly who stole your breath away, or you're a niche fan of Archer and Riaan rooting for them, somewhere along the line Star Trek has pulled on your heart strings and warmed you up with the smouldering passions displayed. In First Contact, we're given a glimpse into Data's longing for a relationship with someone who truly understood him, and his capabilities of physically reciprocating love — with the Borg Queen, of all people, so maybe it shouldn't count. She kisses him, he kisses back, disrupting his monologue about the last time he used his advanced bedroom techniques, for the good of all humankind. In Deep Space Nine, a kiss shared between Ben and Jennifer Sisko is a prompt for the Prophets to inquire about corporeal entities, and why Humans seek out physical contact with one another, thus making the Prophets incredibly jealous for the rest of their days... until they kidnap Sisko for smooches, of course. Star Trek has also flirted and courted with controversy over the years, showing on-screen love taboo for the times it aired, and taken their laurel wreaths as pushing those societal boundaries. First aired in 1968, the Original Series episode Plato's Stepchildren included the very first interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura, amidst a turbulent political backdrop in the United States of America. Over fifty years later, this is remembered as a pinnacle moment of television, winging it's way into the books. Years later, in 1995, Deep Space Nine would flirt with the same, introducing the former lover of Curzon Dax into the episode Rejoined, once again clanging that bell with a same-sex kiss, paving the groundwork for the later Trek relationship of Stamets and Culber in Discovery. So, in this month of love, it's good to remember the relationships — and the smooches — which have made Trek what it is today. Science Fiction has long relied on the relationships built between the characters to demonstrate the futility or hope in the world of tomorrow, and Trek has made history doing so. This week, we want to know which of these Star Trek kisses made your heart flutter?
  25. Lieutenant Reginald Barclay aka “Reg” is a fan favorite in Star Trek. Brought to life by the talented actor Dwight Schultz, this character diverged from many others in the cast. He was a character with obvious flaws. He was nervous and unsure of his own abilities. He exhibited phobias and concerns about social situations. We learn a lot about the man when Reg tells LaForge, “I mean I am the guy who writes down things to remember to say when there is a party. And then when he finally gets there, he winds up alone, in the corner, trying to look … comfortable examining a potted plant.” Introduced in the season 3 episode of The Next Generation entitled “Hollow Pursuits”, we find Barclay to be a series of contrasts. His has a fine service record and a recommendation from his previous commanding officer but his actions on the Enterprise-D don’t seem to fit the man. Initially, the crew seems to view him as an outsider and even apply the nickname “Broccoli” to the man. But, over time, he becomes a recurring and beloved secondary character. He even makes the jump to several episodes of Voyager. Whether his is sword fighting holograms of LaForge and the captain on the holodeck, connecting his expanded brain directly to the Enterprise computer, or stammering through a conversation with Counselor Troi, we can be assured that if Reg is around it will be a great episode. What is it that makes Barclay so endearing? Is it that he is flawed? We spend a lot of time throughout the different series focusing on the purely good and righteous qualities of the main cast. We know they will always do the moral and correct thing. Perhaps this makes Reg more believable as a real person. He is just like us with good and bad qualities and habits. Whatever the reason, Barclay’s popularity is assured as he returns for almost a dozen episodes and the movie First Contact.
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