Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

Star Trek (2008) Directed by: J.J. Abrams

I might have mentioned earlier (or maybe not) that my love of Star Trek had a very reluctant and rocky start in my childhood.  As a child in the 80s, there wasn’t an incredible amount of variety on television.  So many a weekend afternoon aired long marathons of Star Trek, Bruce Lee movies, etc.   My father, an avid Star Trek fan, wouldn’t miss a chance to sit and watch the episodes from the original show, and of course he was the one who introduced it to me.  I admit I wasn’t very receptive at first, but in time it grew on me, and I found myself addicted.  I’ve watched all remakes of it including Enterprise (and no, I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as people said it was – it’s actually one of my favorites).

Fast forward to adulthood.  I’m so thrilled that there are new, modern Star Trek movies for kids to see!  In a world that is drowning in Star Wars toys, games, movies, cartoons, etc., finally – FINALLY – they will get introduced to my world.  My husband and son are huge Star Wars fans, and of course, like any true Sci-Fi fan, I love it too.  But Star Trek will always be my favorite, and here’s some of the things you can learn if you watch Star Trek too:

 

1)       Friendly conflict is both normal and perhaps even expected. 

If you’ve ever seen Star Trek, you’ll know that the bickering that occurs between Dr. McCoy and Mr. Spock is never ending.  But when the heat is on and push comes to shove, these two always have each other’s backs.  Always.  They may disagree, but they also recognize there’s a bond between them that they may deny outwardly but would never abandon.  What a perfect example of overcoming our differences when it counts!

 

2)      To be a good leader, sometimes you have to break the rules.

Let’s be honest… if Captain Kirk always followed the rules, life would be boring on the USS Enterprise.  Kirk’s cavalier way of handling things makes the show that much more exciting.  You never know if he’s going to breach protocol when dealing with a new race, or metaphorically spit in the face of his superiors with pure disobedience, but either way, he teaches us a valuable lesson.  Sometimes rules were meant to be broken, sometimes those in power don’t have our best interests in heart.  We need to be able to think outside the box and make our own decisions so we can sleep at night.

 

3)      Too much logic can be a bad thing.

I love Spock!  He’s one of my favorites.  And being only half Vulcan, we know that he does have emotions (even if he won’t admit it).  But while logic has its place – being able to keep a cool head in times of trouble, not adding more emotion to an already heated situation, etc. – it does have a downfall.  Emotions help us to relay how we feel about a particular person or situation.  While they can messy and detrimental at times, they’re needed.  They help us weigh things better.  They help people understand us better; they forge a deeper connection.  They’re a necessary evil, so to speak.

 

4)      Meet new people, make new friends, help those in need.

The main premise of Star Trek is watching the crew visit new worlds and civilizations.  Time and again they’re being exposed to new people, and they learn to communicate and help those who need it.  While we’re pretty earth bound here, we can also take time to meet new people and make new friends.  Even if it’s just being cordial to the woman in back of us in line at the grocery store, we can take a few moments to chit chat.  Might be the only interaction they get that day.  You can also help a neighbor in need.

5)      Don’t wear a red shirt when you go out exploring. (I couldn’t resist!)

All those poor crew members in their red shirts who died without us even knowing their names!  Don’t be like them.  Wear ANY other color before you venture out.

 

What else have you learned from Star Trek?  Comment below, and don’t forget to see the new Star Trek movie!

I was warned not to write this. Someone close to me said that picking a captain other than James T. Kirk as my favorite was sacrilegious. After all, he’s the first – the original – and all other captains are just shadows of his greatness, no?

While I do highly admire Kirk and his leadership skills, he’s not my favorite. Granted, he’s not down on the list by any means; he’s actually a very close second. But there’s another captain whom I think was incredible as leader of the Enterprise.

His name is Jonathan Archer. That’s right – the captain from Star Trek: Enterprise is at the top of my list.

Now before anyone decides to go on the attack because I didn’t chose the ever popular James Kirk, again keep in mind that, in my opinion, both are highly skilled leaders of the Enterprise. However I believe it’s Jonathan Archer that possessed the greatest mastery of skills as captain.

First Contact:

While it’s true that Kirk was the original captain in terms of Star Trek’s television history, in actuality Enterprise was the prequel. So Archer was actually the first captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise (if we want to get really technical here). He was the first to explore deep space via an experimental prototype – the Enterprise NX-01. His ship was a bit smaller than Kirk’s, hence he had only about 80 crew members to aid him. But he made up for that with an earnest desire to explore and meet new civilizations and attempt to defend those who were at the mercy of stronger, more aggressive races. He literally was the initial representative in first contact situations.  There were no predecessors – he was it, and he made the best of every situation he encoutered.

Necessary Force:

Archer demonstrated that he’s more than able to use force when necessary. From the torturing of an Ossarian pirate named Orgoth to get the information he needed, to the withholding of a cure for a dying race to allow evolution to run its course – Archer has proven time and time again that he could handle stressful and morally complicated situations. There was no precedent for him to follow, no pre-established rules and regulations. Everything was a first experience and things were rough for both him and his crew. Yet he always seemed to make it through by doing his best to choose right from wrong.

In his own words, “Someday… my people are going to come up with some sort of a doctrine, something that tells us what we can and can’t do out here, should and shouldn’t do. But until somebody tells me that they’ve drafted that directive… I’m going to have to remind myself every day… that we didn’t come out here to play God.”

Diplomacy:

Having fallen in love with space after being given a copy of “The Cosmos A-Z” for his birthday as a child, Archer always knew he was destined for space travel. Even so, he never could’ve prepared himself for having aliens as part of his crew. His relationship with T’Pol was rocky to say the least, and he and the doctor Phlox had their difficulties at times. It’d be safe to say that his relationships with both aliens and humans were strained at times, but Archer always exercised as much diplomacy as possible – except for when he told T’Pol upon first meeting her, “Volatile? You have no idea how much I’m restraining myself from knocking you on your ass.”

While all of the captains were fully competent to lead the Enterprise, Archer was the most capable. His experiences were the foreground which subsequent Starfleet commanders followed. Being the first doesn’t mean you do it without mistakes; it means that others get to learn from yours. It’s clear that while Archer’s career wasn’t mistake-proof by any means, it gave others a model in which to follow.

Welcome back!  This is the second article in a continuing series where I evaluate sci-fi shows of the past and determine whether or not their technology has made it into today’s society.  Last time we reviewed Babylon 5, a show that’s near and dear to my heart for so many different reasons.

This week though, we’re going to be looking at Star Trek in honor of William Shatner’s The Captains that’s debuting tomorrow in New York City.

Star Trek’s the logical next choice for this column.  When Star Trek first debuted in the 1960s it took countless people by surprise. No one had ever seen a space show quite like this before. They witnessed never-before-seen technology being used in the adventures of the Enterprise, and it definitely left its mark.  

Star Trek has always been ahead of its time and was pure inspiration for the countless other space shows that would emerge years later (yes, even Babylon 5 might not have been if Star Trek hadn’t left its mark).

 Alright, enough with introductions – let’s venture ahead and look at the technology that was used in Star Trek and how it relates to what we’re using today.

Tractor Beam:  The tractor beam was such a crucial piece of equipment to the crew of the Enterprise.  Not only did they use it to tow away disabled ships, but they also utilized it to get themselves out of some serious situations.  It seems like a far-fetched concept but the truth of the matter is that we could be utilizing a similar technology soon ourselves. 

Researchers in China have written recently about certain conditions that would make the creation of a tractor beam plausible.  It’s already quite well known that light can be a source of propulsion (due to radiation pressure).  Well, you might be surprised to learn that in 2010 Japan successfully launched a spacecraft called IKAROS that’s based on solar sail technology, and it made its way past Venus in only six and a half months.  Amazing, isn’t it?

Unfortunately pulling is much harder to accomplish because it presents its own set of challenges.  However, it should be noted that research in this area will no doubt continue so we should continue to see advancements in the future.
 

Communicator:  How many times have you seen these little devices get the crew of the Enterprise out of many difficult situations?   “Beam me up, Scotty” became one of the most familiar lines of the series.  And if there was no way for the communicators to work due to blocked signals, confiscation of their equipment, etc. our favorite starship captain and his crew found themselves in a very difficult scenario.  Do we have these today?  Absolutely.  We call them “smart phones.” 

Many wireless providers now offer “push-to-talk” technology, which in essence, turns our phones into little Star Trek communicators.   While we’d hardly use these to escape from the grasp of hostile Romulans, we still rely on them to help us when we’re in a bind.   Not only can we be in touch with most anyone, but there are a myriad of apps we can use to assist us in our journey (maps to help us plot our next course, banking apps so we can manage our finances on the go, etc).

Universal Translator:  I loved this device, probably because I have a never ending fascination with languages and pick them up quite easily.   This handy piece of equipment helped the crew of the Enterprise communicate with different races that they may never have been able to speak with if they didn’t have it.   Even if the speaker wasn’t a human life form, this device helped translate what they said into English so the crew could determine if they were looking at a possible friend or foe. 

If you ever wanted to know if we’d have this technology today, wonder no more.  We don’t have anything that’s matches what the crew used but we do have our own (somewhat archaic) version.  It’s something our troops use on a regular basis since they’re stationed in parts of the world where English is not the primary spoken language.  It’s called the Voxtec Phraselator P2.  U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Southeast Asia are utilizing this device; it has the ability to translate over 50 different languages into English and then back again into a different tongue.  It knows more than 15,000 common phrases.  Of course it needs to do better than that, but as far as beginnings go, it’s not bad by any means. 

Transporter:  Oh, how I wish we had these!   How many times have you found yourself in this scenario?  You’ve lost track of time and are now subsequently late for a very important appointment.  You’re about to throw your hands up in a state of frustration, or even worse, break out into a complete panic.  That is, until you remember you have a transporter for situations such as these.  Setting your destination, you step into the machine.  A bright light flashes, followed by a slight humming sound.  When the light turns off, you look around and realize you’re exactly where you need to be.  Had it not been for this technology, it might’ve taken you hours to get to where you needed to be.  I know, it seems unlikely we’ll ever have them, but scientists are actually working to make progress in this area.

Claire Moskowitz recently wrote an article about the progress that’s being made in teleportation.  Here’s an excerpt from that story:  “To teleport light, researchers led by Noriyuki Lee of the University of Tokyo had to destroy it in one place, and re-create it in another. This mirrors the teleportation process on Star Trek, where transporters scan a person, atom by atom, and dismantle him, only to rebuild the person by configuring a different set of atoms in exactly the same pattern in another place.”

We’re not at the point where we can teleport people, but no one can say we’re not making advancements in this area, however small they may seem.

Well, there you have it!  With any luck I surprised you with some information on the technology that was used in Star Trek and how it relates to what we currently use.  Be sure to stay tuned for the next article in this series where I take another popular science fiction show and see what we’ve adopted for use in our society.

 

Star Trek fans, unite! If you live anywhere near New York City, you won’t want to miss this!

On July 30 at 7:30 pm at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, you can see a free outdoor screening of The Captains, an EPIX Pictures presentation. Produced and directed by William Shatner, he’ll be there in-person and will give an introduction before the documentary airs.

Need more?  Here it is, right from the mouths of the people from Epix themselves:  In The Captains, William Shatner travels the world to connect with each of the actors who have played Captains over the long life of the Star Trek franchise. Shatner recalls his own experiences in the role that made him a star by interviewing Patrick Stewart, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks and Chris Pine while interweaving clips from their respective shows and movies. Don’t miss it! I’m going to try my best to be there for this event.

Oh, and don’t forget to come donned in your best Star Trek costume! (See Special Bonus section for more info).

When:
Saturday, July 30 – doors open at 7:30 pm and the festivities begin at sundown.

Where:
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
One Intrepid Square 12th Ave and 46th Street
New York, NY 10036

Special Bonus:
Grab you phaser (set to stun of course), strap on your best Klingon armor and get down to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on Saturday evening.

Everyone in attendance wearing Star Trek gear has a chance to win:
* A commemorative The Captains movie poster to the first 1,000 guests arriving in costume
* Limited edition The Captains t-shirts for top costume efforts
* The chance to meet and get a photo taken with William Shatner for the night’s best dressed

Admission:
Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating is limited. Screening is an outdoor event and as such is subject to adverse weather conditions. Alcohol is prohibited from being carried into the museum.

For more information, visit http://www.epixhd.com/the-captains-ny-screening.

Being a fan of the science fiction genre is serious business. I mean, you don’t just flop onto your favorite chair for reruns of your show and then walk away hours later without giving it a second thought. If you’re anything like me, you’ll mull your shows over in your head endlessly while wondering what lessons, if any, could be applied to this reality.

As a young child, I remember waking up on Sundays and wondering which of my cartoons I was going to watch, only to discover (to my horror) that there was a Star Trek marathon on that day.  And since this was WAY before the days of DVRs or even VCRs for that matter, my dad was going to sit and watch the whole thing from start to finish.  I’d hear the cry of anguish in my thoughts, “OH NO…. NOT “STAR TREK”….somebody help me…”  But then I’d realize that I did enjoy it more than “Planet of the Apes” and I suppose watching William Shatner for hours on end wasn’t so bad after all.  

It’s because of this early exposure I went from dreading science fiction shows to actually searching them out on television as I grew older.  And I think because of my early contact with shows from this genre (and “Star Trek” specifically), it really did help me pick up a few important lessons along the way.

All this to say – I couldn’t think of a better show to start off this column than “Star Trek.” With decades of space exploration under their belt coupled with the varying conflicts and the many humorous situations they’ve found themselves in along the way, “Star Trek” offers much in terms of what we need to know to maneuver through life.

So for a little fun I’ve decided to go over all the things I’ve learned from watching endless hours of “Star Trek” and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

• Shoot for the stars! Seek out new life and new civilizations.

• Respect all life – keep your phaser set to stun.

• Ask questions first; shoot later.

• Humans are highly illogical creatures; attempting to understand them is futile.

• There’s nothing Scotty can’t fix.

• Enemies aren’t always in the open for you to see – cloaking devices offer much in terms of surprise attack.

• Don’t put all of your officers in one shuttle.  It could prove to be disastrous.

• Live long and prosper, and allow others to do the same.

• A little diplomacy can go a long way in avoiding confrontation.

• Attempting to provoke an emotional response from a highly logical Vulcan is equivalent to trying to squeeze blood from a rock. It’s just not going to happen.

• Tribbles are similar to Earth’s rabbits; they’re BIG trouble due to their ability to procreate effortlessly.  The best solution is to own only one rabbit and absolutely no tribbles.

• If the Captain ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

• There’s always another way around a tough situation. If you can’t figure it out yourself, ask your closest confidantes for input.

• Know who to go to based on what you’re facing. If you’re looking for emotional support, don’t go seeking it from your logic driven friend.

• Leave your mark in history! “Go boldly where no one has gone before.”