Blog Archives

THE STAR TREK WARGAMING AND ROLEPLAYING UNIVERSE(S)

I spent a lotta time in my youth wargaming Star Fleet Battles and playing Star Trek the Roleplaying Game (or at least my own personal modifications of both). Both were superb games.

 

STC7 – EMBRACE THE WINDS

STC – FAIREST OF THEM ALL

 

http://www.startrekcontinues.com

NO, SET PHASERS TO KILL

Disgusting, lawyered-up pusses…

New “Star Trek” Fan Film Guidelines Appear To Take Aim At Several Productions

“The fan production must … not exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.”

Star Trek Continues. Trek Continues

Set phasers on stunned: The vast ecosystem of Star Trek fan productions is about to undergo a radical change after CBS and Paramount Pictures released a set of new fan film guidelines.

According to the 10-point guidelines released on Thursday, Trek fan productions cannot “exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes,” cannot include “Star Trek” in their titles, cannot involve anyone who has worked on Star Trek films or series, and cannot raise more than $50,000 for an individual production. In return for following these and other guidelines, CBS and Paramount state they “will not object to, or take legal action against” any “non-professional and amateur” fan productions.

Most prominently, the guidelines would severely restrict plans for Axanar, the Trek fan film that CBS and Paramount sued for copyright infringement in December, and the production that appears to have sparked the guidelines in the first place. Gary Graham was set to reprise his role from Star Trek: Enterprise as a Vulcan ambassador; the production raised over $1.2 million in crowdfunding campaigns; and creator Alec Peters had planned for Axanar to be a feature-length production well over the 30-minute time limit.

The guidelines also seem to directly affect several of the most popular and well-regarded Trek fan productions over the past two decades, many of which operate as ongoing “series,” including Star Trek Continues and Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II. The former has raised well over $300,000 via several crowdfunding campaigns to support its elaborate recreations of the sets from the original Trek TV series, and the latter has featured episodes guest starring established Trek actors like Walter Koenig and George Takei.

Meanwhile, Star Trek: Voyager star Tim Russ is currently directing and starring in Star Trek Renegades: The Requiem, which co-stars Trek alum like Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Terry Farrell, Robert Picardo, and Robert Beltran. According to the new guidelines, none of these actors would be able to continue with the production.

In response to the guidelines, Star Trek Continues creator and star Vic Mignognanoted in a Facebook post that the production “has the utmost respect for CBS and their right to protect their property as they see fit,” and that he is not yet certain what impact the new guidelines will have on his production. (The other aforementioned productions did not immediately respond to requests to comment, and a spokesperson for CBS said she could not comment on how the guidelines would affect individual fan productions.)

Alec Peters in Prelude to Axanar. Axanar Productions

As BuzzFeed News detailed in a story last week, the lawsuit between Axanar Productions and CBS and Paramount has drawn so much attention that J.J. Abrams — who is producing the latest film, Star Trek Beyond — announced at aTrek fan event in May that due to lobbying from Beyond’s director Justin Lin, the lawsuit would be “going away” in a matter of weeks.

CBS and Paramount subsequentlyannounced in a joint statement that, along with its ongoing settlement negotiations with Axanar Productions, the studios were “working on a set of fan film guidelines.” While those guidelines are now official, however, the suit continues to be litigated by both sides.

In a brief joint statement from CBS and Paramount to BuzzFeed News on Thursday, a spokesperson said that lawsuit talks are still “ongoing,” and that the companies “continue to be hopeful that we will reach a settlement shortly.”

Peters told BuzzFeed News in April that he had specifically asked CBS executives for fan film guidelines in August 2015. “They told me, ‘We can’t tell you what you can do, and we can’t tell you what you can’t do, but we’ll tell you when you’ve crossed the line,’” said Peters. “I kind of was frustrated, because I wanted guidelines.”

In a statement to BuzzFeed News on Thursday, however, Peters made clear that the guidelines CBS and Paramount ultimately created were not what he wanted:

I’m really disappointed that this set of guidelines represents the studios’ best efforts on behalf of fans. These guidelines appear to have been tailor-made to shut down all of the major fan productions and stifle fandom. In no way can that be seen as supportive or encouraging, which is very disheartening.

While CBS and Paramount claim to want to encourage the passion of fans to produce “reasonable fan fiction”, the restrictions presented do just the opposite, willfully ignoring over forty years of fan works that helped buoy the Star Trekfranchise through some very lean years and enthusiastically spread the magic of the franchise in more plentiful times.

Around the franchise’s 50th anniversary, we would have hoped CBS and Paramount would have taken this opportunity to unite with Star Trek fans in celebration of their creativity, not seek to crush it.

UPDATE

This story has been updated with statements regarding the Star Trek fan film guidelines from Axanar creator Alec Peters and Star Trek Continues creator Vic Mignogna. Jun. 23, 2016, at 4:55 p.m.

STAR TREK BRIDGE CREW

You’re in Command with Star Trek: Bridge Crew

StarTrek.com Staff

June 13, 2016

Today at E3 in Los Angeles, Ubisoft announced a fall release for Star Trek: Bridge Crew, a new virtual reality game that will allow players to explore space as a member of the Federation. Supporting the announcement: a cool video featuring LeVar Burton, Jeri Ryan and Karl Urban trying out the game. Playable co-operatively with a crew or solo as Captain, Star Trek: Bridge Crew puts players directly onto the bridge in a Starfleet ship. The game will be available on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Bridge Crew puts a player and their friends in the heart of a brand-new starship, the U.S.S. Aegis, where every action and decision made will determine the fate of the ship and her crew. The overriding mission is as follows: Explore a largely uncharted sector of space known as The Trench, in hopes of locating a suitable new home world for the decimated Vulcan populace — while coming into direct conflict with the vaunted Klingon Empire.
As developed by Red Storm Entertainment, a Ubisoft Studio, Bridge Crew is designed exclusively for VR. It capitalizes on the powerful sense of social presence only possible through virtual reality. Through hand tracking and full-body avatars, including real-time lip-sync, players can experience what it’s like to serve as an officer on the bridge of a Federation starship.
As a crew, players will form a team of four to operate the roles of Captain, Helm, Tactical or Engineer. Each role is crucial to the success of the varied missions players face, and only by working together can the crew complete their objectives. Also playable in solo, players will assume the role of Captain and dispatch orders to their NPC crew mates. The Captain’s strategic decisions will be vital in order to successfully complete missions. In other words, it’s your ship and you’re in command.

Keep an eye on StarTrek.com for additional details about Star Trek: Bridge Crew.

– See more at: http://www.startrek.com/article/youre-in-command-with-star-trek-bridge-crew#sthash.pGLwqy04.dpuf

COME NOT BETWEEN THE DRAGONS – STC

I am really, really looking forward to this. If you haven’t seen Star Trek Continues then you really should. Superb work by everyone involved! It’s one of the best things on the internet. As a matter of fact it should be on TV.

And this episode has a Boarding Action!

I’m all about the boarding actions!

STAR TREK CONTINUES

 

 

Actually, I am finishing up a script for Star Trek Continues right now. Whether they will use it or not I don’t know, but I sure am having a ball writing it. And it’s science heavy and something I’ve always wanted to see in Star Trek.

 

 

GENE RODDENBERRY’S FLOPPIES

How Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s words were freed from old floppy disks

When Gene Roddenberry’s computer died, it took with it the only method of accessing some 200 floppy disks of his unpublished work. Here’s how this tech mystery was solved.

5096 0
While Gene Roddenberry is often associated with the Macintosh, he apparently did far more writing on this unknown-brand computer.

Call the engine room and get Scotty to the bridge: When the long-lost words of Star Trekcreator Gene Roddenberry were found on 5.25-inch floppies—yes, floppy disks—it would take a Starfleet-level engineering effort to recover them.

Roddenberry, who died in 1991, apparently left behind a couple of shoebox-sized containers of those big floppy disks.

The problem? As any techie knows, floppy drives went out off fashion around the turn of the 21st century. Even if you bought a used 5.25-inch floppy drive off of Cyrano Jones on space station K7, you wouldn’t be able to read the files on a modern computer, let alone plug in the drive.

Roddenberry’s estate knew of two possible computers the author had used to write those final words. One had been sold off in a charity auction and the second wouldn’t boot when plugged in.

floppy disk 2009 g1GEORGE CHERNILEVSKY
Most of Gene Roddenberry’s lost work was stored on the 1970s and 1980s era 5.25-inch disk, which here is flanked by the older 8-inch and newer 3.5-inch versions.

The computer’s dead Jim

Rather than accept that no-win scenario, Roddenberry’s estate turned to DriveSavers Data Recovery. The lack of an operative computer was less than ideal, but  Mike Cobb, director of engineering of DriveSavers, was optimistic, considering the company’s ability to recover data from most forms of computer media known today.

According to Cobb, the majority of the disks were 1980s-era 5.25-inch double-density disks capable of storing a whopping 160KB—that’s kilobytes—or about one-tenth the capacity you can get on a $1 USB thumb drive today. Cobb said a few of the disks were formatted in DOS, but most of them were from an older operating system called CP/M.

CP/M, or Control Program for Microcomputers, was a popular operating system of the 1970s and early 1980s that ultimately lost out to Microsoft’s DOS. In the 1970s and 1980s it was the wild west of disk formats and track layouts, Cobb said. The DOS recoveries were easy once a drive was located, but the CP/M disks were far more work.

“The older disks, we had to actually figure out how to physically read them,” Cobb told PCWorld. “The difficult part was CP/M and the file system itself and how it was written.”

As the data recovery firm couldn’t get Roddenberry’s old computer to power on, it had to sleuth the physical layout of the tracks on the disk. That alone took three months to reverse engineer; Cobb credits his own “Scotty,” Jim Wilhelmsen, with figuring it out.

drivesavers star trek recovery 1DRIVERSAVERS DATA RECOVERY
DriverSaver’s Mike Cobb and Jim Wilhelmsen with Gene Roddenberry’s dead computer and a pile of the floppy disks they helped recover.

To make matters worse, about 30 of the disks were damaged, with deep gouges in the magnetic surface. As luck would have it, Cobb said most of the physical damage was over empty portions of the disks and he believes about 95 percent of the data was recovered.

Besides seeking the technical expertise required for the task, the estate also wanted high security, according to Cobb. The estate wasn’t going to just drop all 200 disks in a FedEx box and pray to the shipping gods they wouldn’t get lost. No, only small batches of the disks were doled out at a time,  and each batch was hand-delivered to DriveSavers’ secure facility in Novato beginning in 2012.

Once DriveSavers had recovered the data, the data had to be converted into a format the estate could open. It’s not like you can feed a 1980s-era CP/M word processor format into Microsoft Word, so Cobb personally converted each file to a readable text file.

The big reveal

All told, Cobb said when the operating system files were excluded, about 2-3MB of data was recovered from the 200 floppies. That may seem like a minuscule amount by today’s standards, but in the 1980s, document files were small. Roddenberry’s lost words were substantial.

So what’s actually on the disks? Lost episodes of Star Trek? The secret script for a new show? Or as Popular Science once speculated, a patent for a transporter?

Unfortunately, we don’t know.

Cobb ain’t saying. Understandably, when DriverSavers is contracted to recover data, it’s also bound by rules of confidentiality. PCWorld reached out to the Roddenberry estate but was told it had no comment on the data or its plans for the newly discovered writing of Gene Roddenberry.

drivesavers star trek recovery 2DRIVERSAVERS DATA RECOVERY
For their work in recovering The Great Bird of the Galaxy’s lost writing, DriveSavers received a signed photo of the Star Trek creator in front of his computer from his son.

Related:

TO BOLDLY GO… AGAIN? – DESIGN OF THINGS TO COME

If they just concentrate upon science and exploration, as the original did, and even to some extent as TNG did, then I’m in. Totally in.

Strangely enough, at least from this write-up, that seems like the way they might be going.

But I can’t stomach another “Enterprise” or yet another Jedi-wanna-be science fantasy or life-action anime series. I just can’t stomach that modern pseudo-science and amoral modern crap in my Star Trek anymore. That kinda stuff is for Star Wars, not Star Trek.

 

A totally new Star Trek television series is coming in January 2017! The new series will blast off with a special preview broadcast of the premiere episode on the CBS Television Network, and the premiere episode and all subsequent first-run episodes will then be available exclusively in the United States on CBS All Access.

The brand-new Star Trek will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966.

Alex Kurtzman will serve as executive producer for the series. Kurtzman co-wrote and produced the blockbuster films Star Trek (2009) with Roberto Orci, and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) with Orci and Damon Lindelof. Both films were produced and directed by J.J. Abrams.

The new series will be produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout. Kurtzman and Heather Kadin will serve as executive producers. Kurtzman is also an executive producer for the hit CBS television series Scorpion and Limitless, along with Kadin and Orci, and for Hawaii Five-0 with Orci.

The new program will be the first original series developed specifically for U.S. audiences for CBS All Access, a cross-platform streaming service that brings viewers thousands of episodes from CBS’s current and past seasons on demand, plus the ability to stream their local CBS Television stations live for $5.99 per month. CBS All Access already offers every episode of all previous Star Trek television series.

Sign up for a free trial of CBS All Access and prep for the new show with every episode of the classic Star Trek series available commercial-free!

Star Trek, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016, is one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time. The original Star Trek spawned a dozen feature films and five successful television series. Almost half a century later, the Star Trek television series are licensed on a variety of different platforms in more than 190 countries, and the franchise still generates more than a billion social media impressions every month.

Born from the mind of Gene Roddenberry, the original Star Trek series debuted on Sept. 8, 1966 and aired for three seasons – a short run that belied the influence it would have for generations. The series also broke new ground in storytelling and cultural mores, providing a progressive look at topics including race relations, global politics and the environment.

“There is no better time to give Star Trek fans a new series than on the heels of the original show’s 50th anniversary celebration,” said David Stapf, President, CBS Television Studios. “Everyone here has great respect for this storied franchise, and we’re excited to launch its next television chapter in the creative mind and skilled hands of Alex Kurtzman, someone who knows this world and its audience intimately.”

“This new series will premiere to the national CBS audience, then boldly go where no first-run Star Trek series has gone before – directly to its millions of fans through CBS All Access,” said Marc DeBevoise, Executive Vice President/General Manager – CBS Digital Media. “We’ve experienced terrific growth for CBS All Access, expanding the service across affiliates and devices in a very short time. We now have an incredible opportunity to accelerate this growth with the iconic Star Trek, and its devoted and passionate fan base, as our first original series.”

The next chapter of the Star Trek franchise will also be distributed concurrently for television and multiple platforms around the world by CBS Studios International.

“Every day, an episode of the Star Trek franchise is seen in almost every country in the world,” said Armando Nuñez, President and CEO, CBS Global Distribution Group. “We can’t wait to introduce Star Trek’s next voyage on television to its vast global fan base.”

CBS All Access offers its customers more than 7,500 episodes from the current television season, previous seasons and classic shows on demand nationwide, as well as the ability to stream local CBS stations live in more than 110 markets. Subscribers can use the service online and across devices via CBS.com, the CBS App for iOS, Android and Windows 10, as well as on connected devices such as Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Roku players and Roku TV, with more connected devices to come.

The new television series is not related to the upcoming feature film Star Trek Beyond, which is scheduled to be distributed by Paramount Pictures in summer 2016.

STAR TREK BEYOND – LOST LIBRARY

‘Star Trek: Beyond’ Gets New Release Date

“Star Trek Into Darkness” (Par)

SEPTEMBER 17, 2015 | 04:58PM PT

Paramount has moved “Star Trek: Beyond” back two weeks to July 22.

The studio had originally announced a July 8 release date late last year. It will face Warner Bros.’ “King Arthur” and Fox’s animated “Ice Age: Collision Course” on July 22.

The film will mark the 50-year anniversary of the television launch of the landmark science-fiction series. The TV series debuted on Sept. 8, 1966, on NBC and aired for three seasons.

Justin Lin is directing the third installment in Paramount’s rebooted “Star Trek” franchise with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto in the lead roles. J.J. Abrams directed the first two “Star Trek” reboots in 2009 and 2013.

David Ellison’s Skydance Prods. and Abrams’ Bad Robot are producing. Orci and Abrams are theproducers.

Lin directed the third, fourth, fifth and sixth installments of the “Fast and Furious” franchise.

2013’s “Star Trek Into Darkness” grossed $467 million worldwide, including $229 million domestically.

SPOCK DOCUMENTARY

Leonard Nimoy's Son Is Making A Documentary About Spock image
It’s been a little over a month since the loss of Leonard Nimoy, and the wound still feels quite exposed. The beloved actor and artist touched fans with not only his acting and portrayal of Spock in the Star Trek franchise, but also with his beautiful words of acceptance beyond the screen. It is because of his expansive fan base and inspiration that a documentary about Nimoy’s life and the character whom he brought to life took fruition. And no better person to produce and direct the film than Nimoy’s own son, Adam Nimoy.

The project hopes to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the cult-classic sci-fi franchise which aired for the first time on September 8, 1966. According to Variety, Adam Nimoy announced his plan for the documentary last week to play tribute to the Vulcan hero. Nimoy told Variety:

This will be a tribute to my dad and Spock. We have plenty to work from because my dad loved telling stories and he was very fond of the role.

Young Nimoy’s project is also something that him and his father had previously discussed several months before the actor’s passing. They agreed that it would focus on the enduring nature of Spock and Nimoy’s personal portrayal of the logical Vulcan-human first officer. Adam Nimoy discussed the extensive material they have to take from for the doc including the two books Leonard Nimoy wrote, I Am Not Spock and I Am Spock as well as a number of recordings. The late Nimoy was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but had continued working on this project with his son up until about two days before his death.

Zachary Quinto who has played a newer version of Spock in the last two Star Trek films is signed on to narrate the documentary. And William Shatner, who played captain of the Enterprise, James T. Kirk, and is also a dear friend of Nimoy has agreed to appear in the doc.

As far as those behind the project. David Zappone, the president and owner of 455 films will produce. He has produced a number of Star Trek-related content including The Captains, William Shatner’s Get a Life and Still Kicking. The younger Nimoy has extensive history in the entertainment industry as well, starting as an attorney in entertainment law only to soon become a TV director directing episodes in shows such as NYPD Blue, The Practice, Ally McBeal and Gilmore Girls. He also wrote an autobiography entitled, My Incredibly Wonderful, Miserable Life.

The documentary still seeks financing, and Nimoy said he wouldn’t be opposed to starting a crowdfunding option. If this plans to release around the 50th anniversary though, we can expect it in 2016.

CBS/TV DOES THE FINAL FRONTIER

A government that is a dysfunctional, bloated, complacent mess prompting several other governments to abandon it and led by people who allow Star Fleet to become outdated and ineffective?

Next you’ll be throwing in a treasonous leader making secret deals with the enemy, the desertion of your own men in the field, a corrupt State Dept. (probably led by a Romulan) and a Senate of degenerates and cowards.

Now who could possibly believe in that kinda thing?

By the way there has been talk of this for years now. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Star Trek May Be Heading Back To TV, Get The Details image

A lot of hardcore Star Trek fans have been critical of the rebooted film franchise, and almost every time a story drops about that, there is a minor clamor for the franchise to return to television, where it began almost 50 years ago. According to one new report, that could be closer than we think, and new series may be on the way.

Sources tell Latino Review that CBS is working to bring Star Trek back to your TV sets. They don’t offer much in the way of details, but the biggest tidbit they share is that  X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer has been bandied about as an executive producer through his Bad Hat Harry Productions. We’ll have to wait and see if this news pans out, but there’s definite potential, and Singer is a well-known fan and has a history with the franchise.

Star Trek: Enterprise, the most recent series, went off the air in 2005, and since then there have been a couple of attempts to mount another in its wake. Bryce Zabel (Dark Skies) and Babylon 5’s J. Michael Straczynski worked on a version called Star Trek: Reboot the Universe. There was also another one called Star Trek: Federation, and wouldn’t you know, Singer was one of the main three involved with that project, along with Christopher McQuarrie (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation) and Robert Burnett, with novelist Geoffrey Thorne handling the writing.

Singer is the only name specifically mentioned in LR’s report. There’s no concrete word on whether any of the others are still involved, but Burnett has continued dabbling in that realm, working as a producer on the fan-funded film Star Trek: Axanar, from the people behind Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar. McQuarrie is busy getting Rogue Nation in shape for its release in July, though he is working with Bad Robot on that one, and has mentioned Trek on social media as recently as last December. For his part, Singer is prepping X-Men: Apocalypse, but has sporadically talked about Star Trek over the years. If nothing else, they all still appear to have love for the franchise.

If Singer and/or any of these people are working on a new Star Trek series, it will be interesting to see if it is similar to Federation. That idea didn’t reboot the universe, but instead takes place in the distant future. In this vision, the United Federation of Planets has become bloated and complacent, and Starfleet has become outdated and ineffective. Basically, it imagines a world where the Federation is a dysfunctional mess, causing many worlds to withdraw due to the ineffective way the government responds to an emerging threat called the Scourge. That’s definitely fertile ground for a new series to explore.

Who the hell knows if this will actually amount to anything? Paramount is still working to get Star Trek 3 together, though there appears to be movement — Simon Pegg has been talking about the script, and Idris Elba is reportedly up for an as-yet-unnamed villain role. The Justin Lin-directed film is scheduled to hit theaters on July 6, 2016, but it would also be pretty cool to have more Star Trek on TV to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Gene Roddenberry’s groundbreaking franchise.

THE VOYAGE HOME

Godspeed Nimoy. And live long and prosper exploring whatever new worlds you eventually find.

Continue reading the main story Video

Play Video|2:29

The Man Who Was Spock

Leonard Nimoy, best known for playing the character Spock in the Star Trek television shows and films, died at 83.

Video by Robin Lindsay on Publish Date February 27, 2015. Photo by NBC, via Photofest.

Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.

His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Nimoy announced that he had the disease last year, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.

His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).

Continue reading the main story Video

Play Video|2:45

Nimoy Explains Origin of Vulcan Greeting

Nimoy Explains Origin of Vulcan Greeting

As part of the Yiddish Book Center Wexler Oral History Project, Leonard Nimoy explains the origin of the Vulcan hand signal used by Spock, his character in the “Star Trek” series.

Video by Yiddish Book Center on Publish Date February 27, 2015. Photo by Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project.

Mr. Nimoy, who was teaching Method acting at his own studio when he was cast in the original “Star Trek” television series in the mid-1960s, relished playing outsiders, and he developed what he later admitted was a mystical identification with Spock, the lone alien on the starship’s bridge.

Yet he also acknowledged ambivalence about being tethered to the character, expressing it most plainly in the titles of two autobiographies: “I Am Not Spock,” published in 1977, and “I Am Spock,” published in 1995.

In the first, he wrote, “In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.”

“Star Trek,” which had its premiere on NBC on Sept. 8, 1966, made Mr. Nimoy a star. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the franchise, called him “the conscience of ‘Star Trek’ ” — an often earnest, sometimes campy show that employed the distant future (as well as some primitive special effects by today’s standards) to take on social issues of the 1960s.

His stardom would endure. Though the series was canceled after three seasons because of low ratings, a cultlike following — the conference-holding, costume-wearing Trekkies, or Trekkers (the designation Mr. Nimoy preferred) — coalesced soon after “Star Trek” went into syndication.

The fans’ devotion only deepened when “Star Trek” was spun off into an animated show, various new series and an uneven parade of movies starring much of the original television cast, including — besides Mr. Nimoy — William Shatner (as Capt. James T. Kirk), DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy), George Takei (the helmsman, Sulu), James Doohan (the chief engineer, Scott), Nichelle Nichols (the chief communications officer, Uhura) and Walter Koenig (the navigator, Chekov).

When the director J. J. Abrams revived the “Star Trek” film franchise in 2009, with an all-new cast — including Zachary Quinto as Spock — he included a cameo part for Mr. Nimoy, as an older version of the same character. Mr. Nimoy also appeared in the 2013 follow-up, “Star Trek Into Darkness.”

His zeal to entertain and enlighten reached beyond “Star Trek” and crossed genres. He had a starring role in the dramatic television series “Mission: Impossible” and frequently performed onstage, notably as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” His poetry was voluminous, and he published books of his photography.

He also directed movies, including two from the “Star Trek” franchise, and television shows. And he made records, singing pop songs as well as original songs about “Star Trek,” and gave spoken-word performances — to the delight of his fans and the bewilderment of critics.

But all that was subsidiary to Mr. Spock, the most complex member of the Enterprise crew, who was both one of the gang and a creature apart engaged at times in a lonely struggle with his warring racial halves.

In one of his most memorable “Star Trek” performances, Mr. Nimoy tried to follow in the tradition of two actors he admired, Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff, who each played a monstrous character — Quasimodo and the Frankenstein monster — who is transformed by love.

In Episode 24, which was first shown on March 2, 1967, Mr. Spock is indeed transformed. Under the influence of aphrodisiacal spores he discovers on the planet Omicron Ceti III, he lets free his human side and announces his love for Leila Kalomi (Jill Ireland), a woman he had once known on Earth. In this episode, Mr. Nimoy brought to Spock’s metamorphosis not only warmth, compassion and playfulness, but also a rarefied concept of alienation.

“I am what I am, Leila,” Mr. Spock declares after the spores’ effect has worn off and his emotions are again in check. “And if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.”

Born in Boston on March 26, 1931, Leonard Simon Nimoy was the second son of Max and Dora Nimoy, Ukrainian immigrants and Orthodox Jews. His father worked as a barber.

From the age of 8, Leonard acted in local productions, winning parts at a community college, where he performed through his high school years. In 1949, after taking a summer course at Boston College, he traveled to Hollywood, though it wasn’t until 1951 that he landed small parts in two movies, “Queen for a Day” and “Rhubarb.”

Continue reading the main story Slide Show

Slide Show|12 Photos

Leonard Nimoy Dies at 83

Leonard Nimoy Dies at 83

CreditJerry Mosey/Associated Press

He continued to be cast in little-known movies, although he did presciently play an alien invader in a cult serial called “Zombies of the Stratosphere,” and in 1961 he had a minor role on an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” His first starring movie role came in 1952 with “Kid Monk Baroni,” in which he played a disfigured Italian street-gang leader who becomes a boxer.

Mr. Nimoy served in the Army for two years, rising to sergeant and spending 18 months at Fort McPherson in Georgia, where he presided over shows for the Army’s Special Services branch. He also directed and starred as Stanley in the Atlanta Theater Guild’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” before receiving his final discharge in November 1955.

He then returned to California, where he worked as a soda jerk, movie usher and cabdriver while studying acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. He achieved wide visibility in the late 1950s and early 1960s on television shows like “Wagon Train,” “Rawhide” and “Perry Mason.” Then came “Star Trek.”

Mr. Nimoy returned to college in his 40s and earned a master’s degree in Spanish from Antioch University Austin, an affiliate of Antioch College in Ohio, in 1978. Antioch University later awarded Mr. Nimoy an honorary doctorate.

Mr. Nimoy directed two of the Star Trek movies, “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984) and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986), which he helped write. In 1991, the same year that he resurrected Mr. Spock on two episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Mr. Nimoy was also the executive producer and a writer of the movie “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”

He then directed the hugely successful comedy “Three Men and a Baby” (1987), a far cry from his science-fiction work, and appeared in made-for-television movies. He received an Emmy nomination for the 1982 movie “A Woman Called Golda,” in which he portrayed the husband of Golda Meir, the prime minister of Israel, who was played by Ingrid Bergman. It was the fourth Emmy nomination of his career — the other three were for his “Star Trek” work — although he never won.

Mr. Nimoy’s marriage to the actress Sandi Zober ended in divorce. Besides his wife, he is survived by his children, Adam and Julie Nimoy; a stepson, Aaron Bay Schuck; and six grandchildren; one great-grandchild, and an older brother, Melvin.

Though his speaking voice was among his chief assets as an actor, the critical consensus was that his music was mortifying. Mr. Nimoy, however, was undaunted, and his fans seemed to enjoy the camp of his covers of songs like “If I Had a Hammer.” (His first album was called “Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.”)

From 1977 to 1982, Mr. Nimoy hosted the syndicated series “In Search Of…,” which explored mysteries like the Loch Ness Monster and UFOs. He also narrated “Ancient Mysteries” on the History Channel from 1995 to 2003 and appeared in commercials, including two with Mr. Shatner for Priceline.com. He provided the voice for animated characters in “Transformers: The Movie,” in 1986, and “The Pagemaster,” in 1994.

In 2001 he voiced the king of Atlantis in the Disney animated movie “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” and in 2005 he furnished voice-overs for the computer game Civilization IV. More recently, he had a recurring role on the science-fiction series “Fringe” and was heard, as the voice of Spock, in an episode of the hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”

Mr. Nimoy was an active supporter of the arts as well. The Thalia, a venerable movie theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, now a multi-use hall that is part of Symphony Space, was renamed the Leonard Nimoy Thalia in 2002.

He also found his voice as a writer. Besides his autobiographies, he published “A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life” in 2002. Typical of Mr. Nimoy’s simple free verse are these lines: “In my heart/Is the seed of the tree/Which will be me.”

In later years, he rediscovered his Jewish heritage, and in 1991 he produced and starred in “Never Forget,” a television movie based on the story of a Holocaust survivor who sued a neo-Nazi organization of Holocaust deniers.

In 2002, having illustrated his books of poetry with his photographs, Mr. Nimoy published “Shekhina,” a book devoted to photography with a Jewish theme, that of the feminine aspect of God. His black-and-white photographs of nude and seminude women struck some Orthodox Jewish leaders as heretical, but Mr. Nimoy asserted that his work was consistent with the teaching of the kabbalah.

His religious upbringing also influenced the characterization of Spock. The character’s split-fingered salute, he often explained, had been his idea: He based it on the kohanic blessing, a manual approximation of the Hebrew letter shin, which is the first letter in Shaddai, one of the Hebrew names for God.

“To this day, I sense Vulcan speech patterns, Vulcan social attitudes and even Vulcan patterns of logic and emotional suppression in my behavior,” Mr. Nimoy wrote years after the original series ended.

But that wasn’t such a bad thing, he discovered. “Given the choice,” he wrote, “if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock.”

Correction: February 27, 2015
An earlier version of this obituary, using information from Antioch College, misstated the name of an institution that award Mr. Nimoy an honorary doctorate. It was Antioch University, not Antioch College.

CANNA YA DO IT SCOTTY? CAN YA BUILD US A NEW SHIP TO THE STARS?

I’ve seen this guy (Pegg) in both films and interviews before. He’s certainly smart enough to do this – but exactly what kind of film will he and his co-writer pen?

I certainly enjoyed both of the first two Star Trek films (the reboots) as films and storylines but the science (and technology) in both films was horrible and specious, especially in the first one. The Star Trek reboot has become ever more science fantasy (like Star Wars) and ever less science fiction, and the series has definitely drifted far, far away from hard science fiction and technology.

We already have far more than enough science fantasy out there (Star Wars) and ridiculous comic book level science fantasy (comic book films), all of which are interesting enough and enjoyable enough as entertainment. That, and only that though.

So I would very much prefer to see the Star Trek series move back towards being about true science fiction. Even hard science fiction. Star Trek inspired many of my own scientific endeavors, Star Wars never did. Star Wars inspired totally different ideals in me. Which is perfectly fine, and as it should be, but we should certainly have a vehicle that inspires young boys and girls towards actual science. A ship to the stars.

Therefore can Scotty save the day regarding that particular mission? I have absolutely no idea.
But we certainly need a writer to do that who is more engineer and explorer than sorcerer and stage magician. And so far it’s been all about the enchantment and the charm, and nothing about the science and exploration.

So good luck Scotty… you’re gonna need it man.

Though if you go there (towards actual science and discovery and exploration) then I for one will follow.

 

 

Simon Pegg Co-Writing ‘Star Trek 3′ With Doug Jung

pegg
 EXCLUSIVE: Simon Pegg has been set to co-write Star Trek 3, the film that just got Fast & Furious director Justin Lin aboard after Roberto Orci exited the helmer chair. He will co-write the script with Doug Jung, creator of the TNT series Dark Blue. Pegg’s already a pivotal player in the JJ Abrams-produced Paramount/Skydance pic; he also will reprise his role as Scotty, the engineering wiz originated by James Doohan in the original 1960s Gene Roddenberry series. Don’t be surprised if Scotty beams up further on the call sheet. Jung also wrote for Bad Robot and Paramount a film called Diamond, which is how he got the gig. They are just getting underway.

Simon-Pegg-Star-TrekPegg certainly has the writing credits to back him up for such a job. With Edgar Wright, he’s scripted the Wright-directed Cornetto trilogy consisting of Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, as well as Run Fatboy Run. Will tell you more when it becomes clear. Pegg is repped by UTA, Dawn Sedgwick Management in the UK and attorney Dan Fox. Jung’s repped by UTA, Circle of Confusion and Adam Kaller.

A FEW THINGS I HAVE LEARNED OVER THE YEARS PLAYING STAR FLEET BATTLES/STAR FLEET COMMAND

A few principles I have learned in playing SFBs, but many are also widely applicable to both numerous other wargames and to Real Life.

Missiles are always the most effective weapons. They track, they force the enemy to consume resources on defensive countermeasures, their range is the effective greatest of any weapon, they consume little power to prepare, and they do not degrade over distance as far as their destructive power. Their only real limitations are speed of movement (in some cases) and interceptability – otherwise they are a near ideal weapon system

Obtain and use the fastest and most powerful missiles even if they cost you far more – they are worth the expense

Save your attacks against enemy tractor beam defenses until after they are damaged – that is to say punch through enemy shields first and let them intercept your missiles then close in and cripple their tractor beams defenses only after they are in missile holding mode

Always use probes to gather better Intel on operating capabilities/conditions and damage to enemy ships

Carefully time your boarding actions but use them freely

Do not deploy your fighters either defensively or offensively until you have sufficiently damaged or crippled the enemy – your fighters are too easy to kill and are wasted in the initial stages of an engagement, but if the enemy is crippled they are truly lethal

Use missiles as a stand-off weapon against multiple enemy ships so they cannot close and flank you all at once

Prepare all counter-measures (such as wild-weasels) at the beginning of an engagement, a counter-measure is useless if it is unprepared

The Gorns are paper tigers, so are the Romulans if you simply stay out of range and time your defenses properly

The Klingons mean business and fight like hell – short of enemies like the Vagr they are your most dangerous opponents

Hydran fighters are extremely dangerous in squadrons, but Hydran weapons are hit and miss at best – Hydran ships can’t take a punch

The Lyrans are knife-fighters, avoid close contact, if you have to get close then kill immediately

You don’t like the Kzin/Kzinti – liquidate on contact with extreme prejudice

Throw combinations, and often

The optimum range for almost all weapons is point-blank – however that’s probably not the optimum range in which to operate

Constantly rotate your shields and your firing arcs – become excellent at coordinating defensive and offensive actions simultaneously

Maneuver is your friend, but you have to earn his friendship

Your ship will be destroyed if you get too close to the enemy as he dies – let the enemy die at a distance

If you can capture an enemy ship then do so, if you have to destroy him then do so, but never let him escape

The unknown works in both directions

Assume every alien/unknown entity is a potential hostile, but do not force them to be such

Unless your ship is specifically designed for stealth operations then Electronic Counter-Measures are far better employed in a defensive fashion

Place transporter bombs where they will do the most damage – place them strategically, because sometimes that’s the whole battle right there

Once your enemy is afire then press your attack

It is better to cripple or destroy enemy systems than to attack hull or kill crew

Do not give the enemy an opportunity to undertake useful damage control efforts

Never hesitate at your own repairs – employ damage control and repairs efforts as needed and immediately

Withdraw whenever necessary

Steal enemy repair goods with your transporters and use them for your own or simply deprive the enemy of necessary resources – he can’t repair what he doesn’t have

Good Intel and proper sensing is a Weapon – short of main weaponry your most effective one

Sensing passively and running silently does not disclose your location – so get good at it

Scan at all times unless there is a very good reason not to

Limit your enemy’s ability to maneuver

Do not Cross Your T’s, rather dog-leg your firing arcs

Become superb at precise targeting

Fire first if you must, and if you must, fire often and with sure aim

Screw the Prime Directivelet the lawyers sweat over that crap

Yellow or Secondary Alert is the most useless nonsense ever invented, don’t ever bother with it, you’re either on real alert or you’re not, so, always be on real alert

Use the environment (planets, asteroids, gravitational fluctuations, nebulae, etc.) to your advantage

Time is part of your environment – at all times use time to your advantage

Never assume an ally will make a smart tactical decisionalways assume your ally will screw up and be prepared accordingly

Develop new technologies constantly

Study enemy capabilities constantly

Always be open to superior ship designs and refits

Speed is better than power, power is better than toughness, especially when you’re talking high-energy weaponry

Don’t be there when the weapon strikes –avoid rather than absorb

Always be ready to take advantage

Have a battle plan prior to engagement

Be fluid and flexible, but mostly be much faster than the other guy

Make all of your decisions before you have to

Imagine you’re going to be crippled and nearly killed – now you’re that much better prepared for it

Each enemy is different, with different capabilities and liabilities, know your enemy

Out-thinking your opponent is the best way to prove your superiority

He who can recover and re-attack fastest will probably win

There is no virtue and no advantage in absorbing attacks

Wait until the proper moment then cut loose with all hell – do not hold back in combat

The enemy has weaknesses – observe and exploit them

An unstable or untrustworthy alliance is a point of leverage

You can beat multiple opponents at once, but you must be prepared with a plan of action and combat

There is no shame in escape, but there is destruction in defeat

Be prepared for the Trap

Be proficient at Setting the Trap

Anticipate, and avoid

Whether your win or lose and whether your crew lives or dies depends entirely upon you

Communications are vital – unless you have a death wish, and in that case do whatever the hell you want, because you’re an idiot anyhow

Sneaky works – be very, very sneaky

Victory is far better than heroics

The fast kill is the best and saves the most lives – by far

Be unpredictable

There are far more ways to kill the ship chasing you than the one approaching you

Always destroy approaching probes and hamper enemy efforts at gaining information on your ship and capabilities

Disinformation and misinformation – disinformation and misinformation – disinformation and misinformation – don’t make me repeat it again

The Federation has, by far, the most well-rounded and multi-capable ships – that gives you a huge overall set of advantages – use them

In-game targeting systems for photon torpedoes suck, what in the hell is the point of having great ordinance you cannot reliably deliver to the target? Think about it

Smarten all of your weapons, and then make them so efficient in operation that even a dumb-ass could use them effectively

Invention is the Mother of (Power) Projection

Constantly train your crew

Constantly train yourself

The last battle is the one you lose, the next battle is the one after you win

%d bloggers like this: