Tag Archives: Star Trek

Creative Star Trek Parodies to Watch for Expanded SFF Month

A star trek ship flying above a frozen moon. A planet that looks like saturn is in the distance. Earlier this year I learned that May is Expanded Science Fiction and Fantasy Month. This challenge is a simple one. Pick any science fiction or fantasy universe and read or watch stories that were set in it but that were not part of the original canon.

To give one example, you could read Star Trek novels that were written as continuations of that universe after The Original Series first aired.

My brain hasn’t been amenable to reading serious, full-length novels recently due to some concerns I’ve had about a friend who has Covid-19, so my first post in response to this challenge will be lighthearted and a little off the beaten path. My hope is to revisit this challenge later on this month with a response that follows the rules more closely.

There are are no spoilers in these videos unless you’re 30+ years behind on Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes and determined not to know anything about what was written about that universe in the 1980s and 1990s.

For everyone else, they’re simply good, clean fun for anyone who is looking for a pick-me-up during these trying times.

Klingon Style 

If you’ve never seen Gangham Style, I recommend watching it first. This Trekkie parody of it never fails to make me smile in large part because actual Klingons would be horrified by the frivolity and silliness of it all.

Make It So

If you enjoy Frozen and Star Trek: The Next Generation, this might be right up your alley. I can oddly see Captain Picard enjoying this tune so long as no one was paying too much attention to his reaction to it. It was a short, cheerful tune that used his favourite catch phrase, after all. What’s not to like about that?

All About That Borg

Fans of Megan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” keep reading.

The Borg would have no use for this song, but I find it amusing. They’re by far the scariest villains in the Star Trek universe to me, so it’s nice to see them on screen without any chance of them assimilating anyone.

(Why do I keep figuring out if Star Trek characters would enjoy the songs about them? I have no idea!)

"The Orville" written in a stylized sans-serif blue font, similar to Star Trek- The Next Generation

The Orville

I saved my best recommendation for last.

Everything else on this list was a short music video. The Orville is a TV show that lovingly parodies Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Mike Henry and J. Lee in The OrvilleNo, it isn’t set in the Star Trek universe, but it’s easy to forget that since it was written by folks who were clearly well-versed in what the storytelling was like at this point in Star Trek history and who were fans of it.

Just like the shows it gently pokes fun at, The Orville follows an ensemble cast of characters who live and work on an exploratory vessel several hundred years in the future. The diverse crew includes officers from a wide array of planets and cultures who work in close quarters a long ways from home.

While I understand the need for recent Star Trek series and films to take darker turns in order to attract new audiences and keep up with the times, one of the things I enjoy the most about The Orville is how optimistic it is.

Life isn’t perfect there by any means, but you can generally count on things to work out well for the characters no matter what problems they face. There is a sense of hope and joy in this universe that permeates almost everything.

Sometimes these near-mandatory happy endings are included in the parody aspects of the plot, but it’s always done with good intentions. There is something comforting about this that makes me look forward to the third season even more earnestly now.

If you’re participating in the challenge, I look forward to reading about which stories or videos you’ve selected for it!

Vintage Science Fiction Month: The Trouble With Tribbles

Vintage Science Fiction Blog Challenge badge. It shows a rocket ship against a red background. There is a bubble city in the background. Vintage Science Fiction month takes place every January, and has a few guidelines:

 – read, watch, listen to, or experience something science fiction / fantasy that was created in 1979 or earlier

 – talk about it online sometime in January

 – have fun

If any of my readers are also interested in participating this month, let Little Red Reviewer know about your posts if you’d like them to be included in her official roundups. 

Today I’m going to be discussing one of my favourite Star Trek: The Original Series episodes, “The Trouble with Tribbles.” It first aired on December 29, 1967 during the second season of this series and does not require any prior knowledge of the Star Trek universe in order to enjoy it.

The last time I blogged about Star Trek, Ruth Feiertag asked me to dedicate entire posts to single Star Trek episodes and to go into much more detail about them in the future. Ruth, I’m following your advice!

Text says The Trouble with Tribbles written by David Gerrold. Image in the background is of the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Original Series. All of the Original series Star Trek episodes are available on Netflix in Canada. I’d recommend watching this episode before checking out the rest of my post unless you don’t mind spoilers from a 50+ year old tv show.

This post is going to mostly consist of a fan talking about something she really liked. There might be a little bit of proper reviewing happening, but definitely not as much as usual.

The Trouble with Tribbles

Episode description:

To protect a space station with a vital grain shipment, Kirk must deal with Federation bureaucrats, a Klingon battle cruiser and a peddler who sells furry, purring, hungry little creatures as pets.

Many Star Trek episodes throughout the years have covered serious, sensitive topics.

And then there are lighthearted episodes that seem to have been written for the sheer fun of it.

Can you guess which category “The Trouble with Tribbles” falls into?

Perhaps showing Uhura cuddling a sweet little tribble will give you another hint.

Nichelle Nichols as Uhura. She's holding a tribble.
Nichelle Nichols as Uhura. She is holding her brand new tribble.

At this point in the series, Uhura and the rest of the crew had faced plenty of dangers. Seeing her cuddle a small, fuzzy, hamster-like creature given to her by a travelling salesman made me smile.

She took her new pet back to the ship and it soon gave birth to a litter of baby tribbles. Thrilled, Uhura gave them away to her coworkers.

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock. He and Uhura are holding tribbles while Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Ensign Freeman (Paul Baxley) look on.
Sharing the tribbles.

At the same time, The Enterprise happened to be carrying a large load of quadrotriticale grain that was bound for a place called Sherman’s Planet.

It seemed to be a perfectly normal journey until the crew realized the tribbles were reproducing much faster than any hamster or other similar creature on Earth.

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock and and Deforest Spark as Dr. McCoy. They are looking over a table filled with tribbles.
Spock and Dr. McCoy looking over a table filled with tribbles.

The question is, what is going to happen if or when the tribbles discover the grain this ship is carrying?

I’ll leave it up to my readers to discover the answer to this question themselves. What I will say is that I loved seeing all of the characters out of their element. Fighting a scaly monster on an alien planet is one thing.

Figuring out how to deal with a small, fuzzy antagonist that reproduces faster than anyone can imagine and will eat just about anything is quite another.

This is one of those Star Trek episodes that has definitely stood the test of time. The humour in it still felt fresh. Tribbles will cause mischief no matter when or where they show up, and this is even more true for people who have no idea what they’re dealing with.

If you’ve never watched Star Trek, this is a fun place to start. The episode will give you all of the information you need. Feel free to dive in.

If you’re already a fan of it, this is the sort of episode that is somehow even funnier on the second or fifth or twentieth rewatch because of all of the little tells the characters give that they have no idea how to react to these creatures and may just have a long list of antagonists they’d prefer to be dealing with instead.

I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Pens Over Swords: the Best Conflict Resolution in Star Trek

This month I’m participating in the Scifi Month challenge that was created by the bloggers at One More. Click on the link in that last sentence for more information or to sign up yourself. There is still time to pick a few of their prompts and join in if you’re interested.

Today’s prompt is “we come in peace.” It was inspired by #WorldHelloDay, a secular holiday that encourages everyone to resolve conflict with good communication instead of by force. As soon as I began researching this holiday, I immediately thought of Star Trek. 

I will only be including references to series in this universe that are no longer releasing new episodes, but there are mild spoilers in this post. It simply wasn’t possible to write this without them.

One of the things I’ve learned from watching various Star Trek series over the years is that a better world is possible. Conflicts can be resolved peacefully. It all starts with learning how to talk about what you want clearly and listening to what other people want, too.

Obviously, I can’t possibly cover every single moment of conflict resolution in Star Trek in this post without turning this into a full-length novel. What I’m hoping to do is highlight my picks for some of the best moments where Star Trek characters used words, whether spoken, written, or sung, to find a solution that worked best for everyone.

Beware of reading anything after this sentence that if you haven’t seen every old Star Trek episode yet and want to catch up without any hints about what is coming at all.

Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Photo is of Avery smiling while wearing Star Trek uniform.

Captain Sisko’s headshot. 

Series, Season, and Episode: Emissary from Season 1, episodes 1-2 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Although, honestly, the entire Deep Space Nine series is an amazing example of how to resolve conflict, create peace, and get along with people who may have been your enemies just a short while ago.

The Conflict: Captain Benjamin Sisko, a single father and recent widower, was dismayed by the poor condition of the space station he has just arrived to command and of the disrespectful attitudes of some of his new crew. To make matters worse, the person who assigned this posting to him was the same man he blamed for the death of his wife. In these episodes he had to decide whether to stay with Starfleet or resign and find a quiet civilian life for him and his young son.

How It Was Resolved: He had deep conversations with others who helped him acknowledge his grief and see the professional challenges lying before him in a new light. I know this is kind of a vague answer, but seeing how Captain Sisko went from despondent to hopeful was incredible. This is something everyone should experience for themselves without knowing too much in advance about how it all worked out.

Tim Russ as Tuvok in Star Trek Voyager. Photo is of him suffering from pon farr. He is grimacing and his face is covered in perspiration.

Tuvok suffering from pon farr.

Series, Season, and Episode: “Body and Soul” from season 7, espisode 7 of Star Trek: Voyager.

The Conflict: Tuvok was suffering from a chemical imbalance called pon farr that was common in among Vulcans. When the medical bay’s first attempt at treatment failed, they had to resort to other ways to help Tuvok before his condition became fatal.

How It Was Resolved: Through an opera song (and then other remedies, of course).

Doctor sings Opera to Tuvok.

 

Screenshot from Star Trek: The Original series episode "The Menagerie Part 1." The Enterprise and a planet are in the background of this shot.

Series, Season, and Episode: “The Menagerie” from season 1, episodes 11 and 12 of Star Trek: The Original Series.

The Conflict: The Enterprise received a distress signal from ship that had been lost eighteen years ago. When they arrived at the planet where that ship had crash landed, several members their crew was kidnapped by the people living there.

How It Was Resolved: A trial, among other creative solutions. This episode won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1967. I don’t want to give away any other plot twists, but I will say it was quite well done.

Brent Spiner as Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He is sitting at table with his fingers laced together.

Data.

Series, Season, and Episode: “The Measure of a Man” from season 1, episode 9 of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The Conflict: A cyberneticist named Commander Maddox wished to disassemble Data in order to understand how his artificial brain functions and reverse-engineer it to produce replicas of him for Star Fleet to use. Data refused to allow this. When he attempted to leave Star Fleet in order to save himself, a court case developed to determine whether androids should be given the same rights as humans.

How It Was Resolved: A trial. There are a lot of Star Trek episodes that involve trials, now that I think about it!

Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard and John de Lancie as Q

Q and Captain Picard.

Series, Season, and Episode: “Q Who” from season 2, episode 16 of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The Conflict: There was once an omnipotent entity named Q who was so tired of seeing humans take good care of themselves that he decided to fling their spaceship 7,000 lightyears away just to see what happened next. The problem was, he threw them straight into the path of an enemy who was too powerful to defeat.

How It Was Resolved: Time travel and a large second helping of mischief. What made this episode especially great in my opinion was how much groundwork it set for future conflicts in the Star Trek universe. That’s all I’ll say about that!

If you’re a fan of Star Trek, what are your favourite scenes or episodes from it?

Characters I’d Never Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner

Pumpkin pie, forks, and a decorative gourd sitting on a Thanksgiving supper tableHappy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian readers!

Last year I wrote about the characters I’d want to invite over for a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner.

Since then, I’ve gotten some hits on my site from people who are wondering which characters shouldn’t be included on a Thanksgiving dinner guest list.

Honestly, I could happily make small talk about how unpredictable the weather can be in October or why pumpkin pie is so delicious with 99.99% of the people and characters out there. There are plenty of ways to gently guide a conversation along to lighthearted topics if you don’t have much in common or know each other well.

It would take a lot for me to refuse to share such a hospitable and inclusive holiday with someone…especially if they don’t have anywhere else to go!

With that being said, even I have my limits. Here are the characters who would never be invited to my house for Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Dolores Umbridge from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. 

Why: She was a violent, cruel person who did a deceptively good job of hiding that part of her personality from authority figures and anyone else who might have stopped her.

2. The Borg from Star Trek

Why: As cool as it might be to have some body parts replaced by machines, I do not want them to assimilate me or the other guests against our will. Former members of The Borg like Seven of Nine who simply want to eat some food and discuss human culture would be welcomed in my home.

3. Heathcliff from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights 

Why: Like Dolores, Heathcliffe was skilled at putting on the facade of being a good person while doing quietly terrible things to his victims behind the scenes. This is something I simply can’t sweep under the rug.

4. President Snow and President Coin from Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy 

Why: Does anyone actually want to spend Thanksgiving with ruthless dictators who have repeatedly sent innocent people to their deaths? If so, I’ve never met such a person.

This list was pretty short, but I felt that I’d be repeating myself if I added anyone else to it. Basically, the behaviours that would make me exclude someone on Thanksgiving are limited to things that would also be bright red flags the other 364 days of the year. The vast majority of people would never behave this way, so my list of folks who could join me for a special holiday meal will always be miles longer than the ones who will have to make other plans that day.

Which characters would you never invite over for Thanksgiving dinner?

How Science Fiction Can Keep You Out of Trouble

Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock

I’ve been thinking about Star Trek a lot lately, especiallyThe Original Series.

The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine were the parts of this universe I grew up watching. It wasn’t I was an adult that I actually sat down and checked out the series that started the Star Trek franchise back in the 1960s.

If you’ve never watched Star Trek before, I would recommend beginning with one of the newer franchises. There were times when The Original Series was quite slow for twenty-first century tastes, and other scenes in it really didn’t age well at all.

Still, I’m glad I saw all of those old episodes. It was interesting to see how this universe has evolved over time and what things have remained constant no matter if you’re watching something from it that was created a few months or fifty years ago.

There is one particular Star Trek episode that keeps popping into my mind. I’m going to try to straddle the line between explaining it’s importance in this universe without giving away spoilers to anyone who  hasn’t seen it or caught the references to it in later series.

The Cage” was originally supposed to be the pilot episode for The Original Series. (Note: that link contains your full daily allowance of spoilers. Avoid it and the rest of this post if you want to remain spoiler-free for a show that was created 50+ years ago).

Talos IV

During this adventure Captain Pike and his crew responded to a distress call on a planet called Talos IV.

Some of the planets the crew visited during the course of The Original Series were dusty, ugly places, but this wasn’t one of them.

Talos IV was a pretty, peaceful place. Captain Pike and the rest of their crew met the Talosians, the friendly humanoids of that planet who offered hospitality without any expectation of reciprocation.

If there could ever be a setting an audience could relax into, this was one of them. Everything was going well.

Captain Pike was then introduced to a pretty, young human woman who had been raised by the Talosians and who wanted him to stay there and have children with her. This was where the plot truly grew interesting, and I wish I could say more about it without giving away all of the spoilers in the entire world to people who are new to the Trekverse.

If I’d seen this story as a kid, it would have blown my mind. As it was, I sensed something was odd as soon as the Talosians began bending over backwards to make their human visitors feel welcomed.

One of the things I enjoy the most about the science fiction genre is the way it can teach its audience to look out for red flags. “The Cage” was a story filled with many different themes. One of them seemed to be about recognizing early signs that someone might not be a person you’ll want to get to know better on a professional, personal, or romantic level.

Red Flag #1: Moving Quickly

The Talosian greeting party

The Talosians barely even knew the names of any of the Enterprise crew members, yet they were already prepared to offer them anything their hearts desired.

Generosity is a wonderful virtue, but there should be healthy limits to it. If someone has just met you and is already offering you the world, there may be something less wholesome going on with them behind the scenes.

Red Flag #2: Not Taking No for an Answer

I can’t go into a lot of detail about this without wandering into spoiler land, but let’s just say that the Talosians offer wasn’t one that was supposed to be refused.

People who run roughshod over small boundaries generally don’t respect the more important ones, either.

Red Flag #3: Deals That Seem too Good to be True

If someone seems too good to be true, there could very well be strings attached to it that haven’t been mentioned yet. By all means get more information, but don’t make any agreements or assumptions until you have all of the details hammered out and they make sense.

I can’t tell you how many times these lessons have given me early warnings about specific situations or interpersonal interactions. It’s one thing to read about red flags in a book, but it’s quite another to see them played out in a story while being asked to come to your own conclusions about how one might apply them to real life.

What life lessons have you learned from science fiction (or your favourite genre in general)? Do you also find that fiction can keep you out of trouble?

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Like to Switch Places With

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl My list this week is going to include several characters from TV shows. All of these shows have had books or graphic novels written about them, though, so they still fit the criteria for Top Ten Tuesday. 1. Biff from Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s… Read More

Science Fiction and Fantasy Shows I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers! I hope you all have a table full of delicious things to eat and plenty of kindred spirits to share this meal with. Today’s post will be something short and sweet. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how happy I am to see the science fiction and fantasy… Read More

10 Things I Love to Read About

On Monday I blogged about the 10 Things I Won’t Read About. It was surprising to see how many of the people who read my posts have similar aversions to those topics. Today I’m talking about 10 things that would make me keen to pick up and read a book. I tried to make this… Read More

18 Science Fiction and Fantasy Shows I Can’t Wait to See in 2018-2019

Last year I blogged about the fourteen science fiction and fantasy series I was looking forward to watching during the 2017-2018 season. Wow, that was a lot of shows! Somehow I managed to continue watching almost all of them, though. Today I’m talking about the shows I’m currently watching or will be watching during the… Read More

Saturday Seven: Library Books I’m Reading

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Based on my mother’s deep love of books, I’m guessing I was a baby the first time she took me to the library. At any rate, I have no memory of life before I knew what a library was or why they’re so special. They always… Read More