Today is the birthday of Elizabeth I. I suppose I could write a massive post about Elizabeth I in fiction, but I’m too tired to think about it right now, so maybe another time.
Today is another anniversary: the first showing of Star Trek. Not Star Trek: TOS, or even Classic Trek as it was called for a while, but Star Trek. Who would have thought, way back then, that this series which was cancelled after only three seasons, would become so huge? I confess to having lost track of it. There are entire Trek spin-offs that I haven’t ever seen and probably never will. Others, such as Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks I have seen large chunks of and enjoyed, but just had no time to catch up with.
But I fell in love with it as a teenager. My first episode was “Mudd’s Women” in which the con artist Harry Mudd is taking three women to get husbands. (One of the three was in an episode of Get Smart!) I quickly grew addicted to it. My favourite character was, of course, Mr Spock. My first piece of fan fiction, written for English(the teacher gave us the task of writing a fan fic)was about how Kirk overturns the umpteenth matriarchy and is not appreciated by anyone.
I wrote quite a few fan fics over the years until I started to be paid for my writing. I know a lot of pro writers still do fan fiction under pen names, but I just couldn’t do both.
For those of you who don’t know the details, Gene Roddenberry created the series and pitched it as “Wagon Train To The Stars.” The original pilot, “The Cage” didn’t sell, though bits of it were later used in an episode called “The menagerie”, and he was told to get rid of the female second in command and the Vulcan. He got rid of Number One, the female second in command, for the second pilot, but the actress came back as Nurse Chapel and the Enterprise computer voice and did a lot of episodes of STNG and Deep Space Nine as Lwxana Troi, the likeable, cheeky and strong mother of Deanna Troi, ship’s Counsellor. And Number One turned up again in Strange New Worlds, aboard Captain Christopher Pike’s Enterprise. Times have changed, for the better, since the 1960s Enterprise set off on its five year mission.
Despite all that and although I adore the spin-offs I’ve seen, and the films, the 1960s show has always been my Trek, the Star Trek of my heart. When the first film came out, my friends and I decided to dress beautifully for an opening night, not in costume. That may have been the last time there were no costumed fans in the audience, but it was a very special night for us.
I have been enjoying the bits I have seen of the spin-offs recently, though, “Strange New Worlds” especially. We see a young Nyota Uhura, a cadet learning the ropes, absolutely not saying “Hailing frequencies open”. She speaks thirty-seven languages, among other things. We see a young Spock, played by the grandson of Gregory Peck, who has some of his grandfather’s mannerisms, but he is Spock. He has managed to get Leonard Nimoy’s voice right. He and T’Pring, the woman we saw rejecting him for another man in the original series, are lovers. Dr M’Benga, who appeared in two episodes of the original series, has a back story and replaces Dr Boyce, the comfortable middle aged ship’s doctor of “The Cage”.
Picard is another show I liked, and was originally written by Michael Chabon, author of a novel I loved, The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Klay. It had Romulan ninja nuns who had raised a young boy and taught him as much as a man was allowed to learn.
Lower Decks is animated and very funny. It’s set aboard a ship that isn’t the top ship in the fleet. The adventures are seen from the viewpoint of a group of Ensigns, not the Captain(one of the Ensigns is her daughter, though, and drives her crazy!)
I thoroughly enjoyed the three films in the Kelvin timeline, about the early years of the original series crew. The role of McCoy was played by Kiwi actor Karl Urban, whom I last saw as Eomer in Lord Of The Rings. He got DeForrest Kelly, the original McCoy, absolutely spot-on. Even the voice was convincing. Zoe Saldana, whom I later saw in the Marvel films as Gamora, adopted daughter of the villain, Thanos, was Uhura and her relationship with Spock was made canon. Well, in the Kelvin timeline, anyway. Zachary Quinto, the villain of Heroes, was a very good Spock.
Chris Hemsworth, whom you probably know best as Thor, appeared briefly as Kirk’s father, killed about ten minutes into the film…
Kirk, p.aged by Christopher Pine, grew as a character through the three films, and became the Kirk we know and love from the original series.
Just finishing this with a personal thing involving Mr Pine.
This evening, on X, formerly Twitter, I got a follow from someone who called himself Chris Pine, actor, with a Hollywood address and tweets with photos. Okay, seems to be the real thing, I thought, though puzzled by his small number of followers. I followed back anyway, then got a DM. It was polite enough, but I have had a LOT of DMs immediately after a follow back, and I replied asking him what I ask them, not to DM unless there is something he needs to discuss in private.
Well! Turns out it was him, wanting to have a personal account because his publicity team does the official stuff on his behalf. This was his first go at it - he only joined last year. He was terribly offended! I apologised, explained and we had a brief chat before I said good night.
So, I got a follow from “ Captain Kirk”! Who would think it?