Star Trek Discovery


As some of you know, I’m a huge Star Trek fan. It was probably my first big fandom. So you might be wondering why I haven’t been reviewing Star Trek Discovery. Well, the truth is I’ve found the show to be an disappointing mess. It flouts the liberal humanism and optimistic spirit of Star Trek in favor of modern TV grimdark conventions. The show is filled with plot twists that seem more designed to shock audiences than to open interesting new story possibilities. Frankly, I don’t really have much to say that hasn’t already been said about this show. This LA Times Review of Books explains many of the problems.

Like many Trek fans, I’ve waited years for Star Trek to return to TV. It’s too bad the end product wasn’t worth the wait.

“Star Trek: DS9” & International Development

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star TrekPopMatters is running a series of articles about the franchise. I wrote a piece about Deep Space Nine and the politics of international development. I argue that the show takes a surprisingly nuanced approach to foreign aid. Some of what I discuss is based on my experience working for democratization projects in Southeast Asia. Check it out here!

Star Trek Beyond (part 2)

Star+Trek+Beyond+PosterIn Part 1 of my review, I focused on how Star Trek Beyond handles the characters of Kirk and Spock. In Part 2, I address problems with the villain Krall…

Unfortunately, like its predecessors, Star Trek Beyond struggles when it comes to giving the crew of the Enterprise a worthy adversary. Krall isn’t nearly as offensive to Trek sensibilities as Khan was in Star Trek Into Darkness, but the character is easily the weakest part of the film.

*** SPOILER WARNING: I will discuss some major spoilers, so it is best to watch the film before reading any further. *** Continue reading “Star Trek Beyond (part 2)”

Star Trek Beyond (part 1)


Star Trek Beyond is a sequel to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, but it takes greater effort than either of those two films to root itself in the spirit of The Original SeriesBeyond is first and foremost an action film, yet it’s not afraid to slow down and allow the characters to interact. …

*** SPOILER WARNING: I will discuss some major spoilers, so it is best to watch the film before reading any further. *** Continue reading “Star Trek Beyond (part 1)”

Star Trek Into Darkness

Star_Trek_Into_Darkness_DVD_Region_1_coverStar Trek Into Darkness is a decent enough action film, but it’s not a good “Star Trek” film. On the level of pure spectacle, I probably enjoyed this film more than the 2009 reboot. However, Into Darkness suffers from basic storytelling problems. There are some interesting ideas in the film, but it’s as if the writers didn’t know what to do with them.

SPOILER WARNING: I’ll be discussing spoilers, so tread cautiously if you haven’t seen this movie. One character revelation in particular will probably prove maddening to older Trek fans.

Continue reading “Star Trek Into Darkness”

Star Trek (2009)

Star-Trek-2009J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek is easily the most polished Star Trek movie ever made. It looks great. Abrams moves the story along at such a brisk pace that it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement. The new actors step into the iconic roles of Kirk, Spock, and Uhura with grace and ease. It’s a well produced summer action film.

Yet, that’s part of the problem. The 2009 film was the beginning of a reboot intended to introduce Star Trek to younger audiences. Unfortunately, that meant stripping the franchise of much of what made it “Star Trek.” This was quite deliberate on Paramount’s part. It even ran a marketing campaign boasting that this wasn’t “your father’s Star Trek.” The end result is a somewhat generic film. Continue reading “Star Trek (2009)”

Live Long and Prosper, Spock

SpockAccording to The New York Times, Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Spock in the original Star Trek series, has passed away. Perhaps more than any other single actor, Nimoy helped make Star Trek a global phenomenon. He took on the role of the highly logical Mr. Spock and somehow made him the most human member of the Enterprise crew. For that, and for many other things, he will be missed. Live long and prosper.

Commander Riker to direct the next Star Trek film?

WilRikerRoberto Orci is no loner slated to direct the next Star Trek film. Given that has never directed anything and that his script for Star Trek Into Darkness was abysmal, this is good news for Trek fans.

Now, there is a movement to get Jonathan Frakes to direct the next Trek film. Frakes is best known for playing Commander William Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation. More importantly, he directed my favorite Star Trek film, First Contact.

Frakes himself has said he’s willing and able to helm the franchise. And I say, why not? He seems to understand Star Trek so he might the breath of fresh air the franchise needs as it approaches its 50th anniversary.