Saturday, August 6, 2011

Captain James Kirk

When NBC ordered a second pilot for Gene's Star Trek, the man who played Captain Pike, Jeffery Hunter was unavailable. There then began a search for the man who would be the next Captain of the Enterprise. The actor who eventually took this role was not the first choice, Jack Lord and Lloyd Bridges were Gene's top choices. Instead we got, a young hot shot actor his name... William Shatner. As the leading actor in the series, he took charge while he was on the set.

In "Where no Man Has Gone Before" the second pilot, we were introduced to this epic "Horatio Hornblower" character, who is always on trial with himself. In this story we see his humanity and his willingness sacrifice himself for the greater good of his crew. We also see him struggle with what to do with his friend Gary Mitchell.

"You should have killed me while you could James... Command and compassion is a fool's mixture." ~ Gary Mitchell

Although Mitchell was partially correct, Kirk demonstrates again and again that it is his ability to balance his logic, action and humanity that makes him the Hero that so many people aspire to.
Captain James Kirk, was... correction is a man that many of us fans and geeks wanted to be. The Romantic, Intelligent, Loyal and Action hero. He has had many moments that we like to re-create, for instance his fight with Khan in "Space Seed", seducing Kelinda in "By Any Other Name"... I could go on and on.

Personally, I like to think I am like Jim Kirk. In many ways, I am around my friends here at home. But I find that more and more, as I go off to a Phase II shoot, that I am a Chekov... Always just one of those important cogs in the production of some original Star Trek.

What Shatner brought to the... role. Was... his ability to.... makeeveryscene... very important. With many mannerisms and speech patterns. (wink) And, that is why it would be very hard to try to capture some of that essence, but one man has done that....

Star Trek Phase II
The person that is most like the character he plays in this series, has many other hats on the series as many of others do. Captain Kirk, Executive Producer, Costumer...ect. James Cawley does it all (just about). Everything that this series is about comes from James... he has an intimate knowledge of TOS. And when I mean intimate knowledge of TOS, he and I sat at the studio and he pointed out to me once that Shatner while on the bridge was standing on apple boxes. No it is not a joke, he pointed it out to me.

Before we talk about him as Kirk... he worked on Star Trek The Next Generation, with the man who created the original patterns for Star Trek... William Ware Theiss. He also had a cameo on Star Trek (2009) no... not in red.

Now him as Kirk, now many people may poke fun at his hair or the delivery of his lines... but he is Kirk. Speaking from experience at watching him preform as James Kirk, he knows the character and how to get the right whatever he needs to get it right.

Now as for him "imitating" Shatner... I don't see it. For the exception that in a certain scene that he needs to channel Bill's Kirk it is his take on the character and for others to blindly hate on that is wrong. The mannerisms are Kirk's not Shatner's when you see him having a conversation with Spock or McCoy. Sure many people may not like that he doesn't look like Shatner as Kirk, but come on... Chris Pine, does not look or act like the Jim Kirk that James and Bill represent.

As far as people go... James is one of the kindest people I know, and I am glad to have met him and worked with him on Star Trek Phase II and hope to work on many more episodes from here on out. And if anyone should want to ask what real Star Trek is... I suggest you go to James and the entire Phase II cast and crew.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Episode 27: Errand of Mercy

Season 1
Air date: March 23, 1967
Written by: Gene Coon
Directed By: John Newland
Stardate: 3198.4

Quote of the Episode: "I'm a soldier, not a diplomat. I can only tell you the truth."

From the beginning of the episode, you were at the edge of your seat while the Enterprise was under attack by the Klingons and there was WAR! We are sent to a planet (Organia) which would prove as an excellent base for either the Federation or the Klingon Empire. As soon as Kirk and Spock beam down to the planet and meet with the council of Elders, the Enterprise is intercepted by a Klingon fleet and has to retreat. With the help of the Elders, Kirk clothes himself as an Organian and Spock as a Vulcan trader. It is here that we meet the very first Klingon of the series... Commander Kor. He imposes martial law on Organia, as Kirk and Spock try to convince the council of elders that they should fight back. Of course, the Council is opposed to violence our heros blow up a munitions dump. Kirk and Spock are turned over to Kor, and are jailed before they are sprung by the Organians so they can take their fight to Kor. When they reach him they are stopped by the Organians, not only those in Kor's Office but even the fleets in orbit, we also find that the Organians are non-corporeal life-forms. This leads to the Organian Peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingons.

My Connection to the episode:
Well i would be lying if I said I didn't have a special connection to this episode, this is the first appearance of the Klingons the recurring foe in the Original series and by The Next Generation we have a Klingon on the Bridge. But, as some of you already may know... I have been working on several Star Trek fan films... Starship Saladin's first episode entitled "Invasion" is set on the Enterprise and Saladin during the events of this episode, and I voice several characters in this story. (No I will not ruin the surprise)

The only Enterprise set used in the episode is the Bridge, other then that it is filmed either on location or a different built set.

My Opinion:
A very good episode, well written and acted. I kind of wish that there was more to do with the Enterprise/Starfleet and the Klingon fleet, but it was not essential to the story. It makes my list of top 12 Original Series episodes.

Mr. Spock

Leonard Nimoy's life was completely turned around when he took on the role of the half human/half Vulcan Science officer... Spock. Mr. Spock is the only character to survive both the first and second pilots of the show and made it into the series.

The first pilot: "The Cage", we saw a more emotional Vulcan, even seeing him smiling during the episode, and did not have the notable veneer of logic and control we have noted and seen in the rest of the series. The network ordered another pilot, where the character of "Number One" played by Majel Barrett, who later went on to play Nurse Christine Chapel, was scrapped and the stoic nature of the character was placed into the alien Mr. Spock.

With the second pilot: "Where no Man Has Gone Before", came another Captain... a man that Mr. Spock would have a bond for the rest of the series run. The chemistry between Nimoy and Shatner (Kirk) was un-mistakable. But into the series, another character was added. Part of the drive of the series was due to the interaction of Mr. Spock (Logic) and Dr. McCoy (humanity), and their rather cantankerous friendship.

I think Spock said it best when describing Vulcans to his younger self in "Yesteryear", "What do you do not yet understand, Spock... Is that Vulcans do not lack emotion, it is only that ours is controlled. Logic offers a serenity humans seldom experience in full. We have emotions but we deal with them and do not let them control us."

Spock to many of us Star Trek fans is the most relatable character out of all the main characters. Although many of us want to play Kirk or even Scott, we all have been the outsider at one point or another. Spock is that window into the human condition that many of us have experienced or feel.

Leonard Nimoy has played Spock in every episode of The Original Series and Animated Series, The two-part episode "Unification" of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Trials and Tribble-ations" episode of Deep Space 9, and 7 of the Feature films.

Star Trek: New Voyages
When this fan production started in an undisclosed location, the role of Commander Spock, was portrayed by Jeff Quinn, who also had a cameo in Star Trek (2009) as a Vulcan. Jeff played Spock for 3 episodes and the pilot. He was in his portrayal very true to the portrayal of Spock that Leonard Nimoy. Although many have complained about these actors not looking like Spock, Jeff was a very good successor to the ears. His best performance was in "World Enough and Time", feeling along with Sulu as he mind melded with him

Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase II
The next person to dawn the ears was professional actor, Ben Tolpin. He came to the production and played Spock in the two-part episode "Blood and Fire", he later directed "Enemy: Starfleet!". While he looked like Nimoy some-what, at times he was good. An Example of this is his delivery of the line about the Vulcan death grip.

Star Trek: Phase II
Yeah I know A LOT of Spocks, but the man who dawns the ears now is an amazing person and is great in the role of Spock. James Cawley met his new Spock on the set of Star Trek (2009), where this person was the stand-in for Zachary Quinto who played Spock in that movie. Brandon Stacy, made his debut as Spock for Phase II in "Enemy: Starfleet!", based on this performance, he is the best Spock yet. His candence and his mannerisms are Spock. More of his work as Spock is coming in "The Child", and speaking as someone who has seen him work on the set... these new episodes are something to see in part of Brandon as Spock...

Until next time readers....

Dr. Leonard McCoy

In Memory of DeForest Kelley (1920-1999)

De Kelley was a gentleman, and a great actor. What many people do not know is the De was actually offered the role of Spock, he turned that down and the rest as they say is history. McCoy was not in either of the pilots

McCoy debuted with the series in the episode "The Man Trap", which was a McCoy centric episode. Dr. McCoy was supposed to be like Scott and the rest of the main cast, playing small for Kirk and Spock. However, some chemistry happened when you had Kirk, Spock and McCoy together and as a result the show took off for its 3 season run. Despite the ratings.

"Bones" his nickname given to him by Jim Kirk, is a play on sawbones, which is what they called physicians especially surgeons. As apart of the trio, McCoy was the emotion the human side of the equation. ----By the way, in several episodes you'll notice that not only is McCoy drinking on duty but he has booze everywhere-----

One thing I have always wanted to explore is McCoy's family, as many Star Trek fans know D.C. Fontana wrote "Way to Eden", originally titled "Joanna" to introduce a family member of McCoy's to the Star Trek mythos. It actually was proposed twice once in the Second season and once in the Third.

De Kelley played Dr. Leonard H. McCoy in 76 episodes of the Original Series, all 22 episodes of the Animated Series, A cameo on Star Trek: The Next Generation, 1 episodes of Deep Space Nine and 6 feature films.

Where ever you are: I hope you a blissful.

Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase II

Those of you who have followed Phase 2 know that the man that has been portraying Dr. McCoy is a Doctor in his own right... John Kelley, no relation to DeForest Kelley. Like most of the actors that came to Phase 2, he tried to somewhat emulate De Kelley's performance.

As the episodes rolled on, Doc John as he was referred to on set, found what worked for him in playing McCoy. He Has played the role since the pilot "Come What May", and his best performace was in "Enemy: Starfleet!" both in the briefing room scene and in sickbay talking with Chekov and Peter Kirk.

Personally, I cannot wait to see what the performances are like in future episodes. Because in each finished product it gets better.

Montgomery Scott

In Memory of James Doohan (1920-2005)

This man... James Doohan played many roles on the original series, some you may not think is him but it is... for instance he was the M-5 unit in "The Ultimate Computer"

Scotty is the Second of 4 characters that survived the second pilot. Jimmy Doohan, tried many accents for his role on Star Trek, before coming to the accent we know and love. The reason he chose a Scottish accent was that he thought that they made the best Engineers. Scott's first name was a homage to Doohan's grandfather James Montgomery, something.

I have always enjoyed Scott and how he interacted with the Enterprise and Captain Kirk, especially in one of Scotty's finer moments in "The Trouble with Tribbles" and I would like to point out that Scotty is not a drunk, He'll get into his occasional bar fight and drink a Kelvin under the table but there is one other person who is more deserving of that particular title.

We all have a friend like Scotty always telling us that it will take more time then it will to be a miracle worker. James Doohan as Scotty was in 68 episodes of the Original Series, 21 Animated Series episodes, 1 Next Generation episode, 1 Deep Space Nine episode and 7 feature films. I know I speak for all of us when I say God Speed, Jimmy. We miss you

Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase 2

Well as much as I miss seeing James Doohan as Scotty because of Star Trek (2009), I am thrilled to work with a guy who embodies Scotty in many ways... Charles Root. He was introduced as Scott in the first episode of New Voyages, "In Harm's Way". I know you all who know the series will tell me that he wasn't the first, and you are all right he wasn't the first. Jack Marshall who directed the pilot and first 2 episodes was Scott in the pilot "Come What May".

Anyways, Charles has been exemplary Scott. He has come a long way with lessons from our Sound Designer Ralph Miller, LOL! But, all kidding aside, I think he is better then the Scott in Trek (2009). He comes into the studio with an energy that says "Let's get this show on the road"

His best performance was in "Enemy: Starfleet!" when talking about ruining his engines, I actually forgot that it wasn't James Doohan. And this is a guy that I have known and worked with for 3 years now.

Not only does Mr. Root play our Chief Engineer, but the displays that you see in "Enemy: Starfleet!" on the bridge, he did. So the man is the actual Mr. Scott

Next time... a new episode and maybe one of the big three.

Hikaru Sulu

George Takei famously inhabited the role of Lt. Sulu on the original series. Sulu was to portray all of the Asian continent on the bridge of the Enterprise. George recalled how Sulu got his name, he was in Gene's (Roddenberry) office and Gene looked at a map and said "Ah, the waters of that sea touch all shores" referring to the Sulu sea. He did not want a country specific name, so Thanks to Gene for Sulu

Sulu was one of the four characters that survived the 2nd pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before", in that episode he was an Astro-scientist. Following this he was transferred to the helm where he would spend the rest of the original show and 5 of the feature films. Sulu himself was an expository character, however he did have some moments in TOS, most notably sword fighting in "The Naked Time", his plants in the "The Man Trap" and his affection of antique firearms in "Shore Leave". Unfortunately, because of the dynamic of the show we did not get to see a lot of Sulu's character.

No matter what George Takei has given his best to the role of Hikaru Sulu, so I think it is only fitting that we take about an episode all about that character. "World Enough and Time" (Star Trek: New Voyages) was a Sulu episode where he is aged 30 years after a mission to a Romulan vessel and beamed back on board the Enterprise in actuality 30 seconds after the mission. I personally thought George was great taking on the persona of this "alternate" Sulu, and filled in a little more of that character that we otherwise didn't know a lot about.

Star Trek: New Voyages

Sulu did not appear in the first episode "In Harm's Way", but when he appeared in the vignette "Center Seat", he not only had a promotion to Lieutenant Commander but another actor was portraying him... John Lim. As Sulu he was apart of 2 episodes and the vignette, and did a great job of bringing some of the spirt that Chekov and Sulu had, the first episode "To Serve All My Days" playing off of Walter Koenig, and in "World Enough and Time" off of Andy Bray. Personally would have liked to see him continue on and grow more into the role, but that is as they say is that.

Star Trek: Phase II

Again when we came back with "Blood and Fire, Part 2" there was another Sulu. Now some of you may ask where was he in "Blood and Fire", well if you look before Uhura talks to the crewmen about "Risk is what we do" line, she is talking to the new Sulu (JT Tepnapa). For those of you Hidden Frontier fans, JT was Corey Aster and played opposite of another Phase 2 cast member Bobby Rice.

For his real debut in "Enemy: Starfleet!", he did all the little things that makes Sulu well, but wasn't in enough of the episode so I could give you my final conclusion on his performance. Look for an updated on this post when "The Child" written and directed Jon Povill, which has a bit more Sulu in it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Episode 59: "The Enterprise Incident"

Season 3
Air date: September 27, 1968
Written by: DC Fontana
Directed by: John Meredyth Lucas

Quote of the episode: "It would be illogical to assume all conditions remain stable."

I decided to go with this episode because to me it helped prove that Phase 2 could have a great story without beaming down to a planet, plus it is one of the few Romulan episodes in TOS.

Stardate 5027.3, The Enterprise entered the Romulan Neutral zone and is caught by the Romulans in Klingon vessels (the model of the Romulan Bird of Prey was destroyed, not wanting to make another model they used the D-7 models)
Kirk is held in confinement because Spock "betrayed" him. Dr.McCoy and the Romulan Commander watch as Spock uses the Vulcan Death Grip (no Peter if there is one we won't tell you) on Kirk. We find that this was all a ruse so that Kirk (as a Romulan) could steal the cloaking device. Spock has been distracting the Romulan Commander as they search for the device and Mr. Scott is installing it into the Enterprise's power systems. Of course Kirk, Spock and the Romulan Commander are onboard the Enterprise and escape the Romulans and return to Federation space.

My Thoughts
  1. One of the things that I like about this episode that is rarely done is the whole James Bond, spying thing.
  2. If you hadn't noticed the Romulan vessel interior looks exactly like the Enterprise (Yeah I noticed, its called a bottle show we stayed on a ship the entire time.)
  3. It was really out of character for Kirk and Spock to act as they did during the first two acts, but you had to have some feeling that was going to happen.
  4. And you have to give it to Scotty being that miracle worker in the end.
My Honest Opinion: There is a lot to say about the acting that went on during this episode, but the story like in many of the Great trek episodes is what carries this episode.

Side note: The third season of TOS is usually considered a dud, because of the lack of great story telling, but here is one of the exceptions. It was well written and directed, more importantly it gave more for Spock to do, something that they would later go against later in the season.

If you have ever worked on a shoot for Phase 2, you know that most of the sets you see are re-dresses of some sets. Even in Hollywood they had to cut corners.

Next up I will Talk Scotty and a Mystery Character

Go watch some Phase 2:

To Clarify my Peter comment, those of you have watched "Blood and Fire, Part 2" know what I was talking about

"There is no such thing as a Vulcan Death grip! Is there?" - Peter Kirk

"We are not allowed to tell."- Spock

Nyota Uhura

Lieutenant Uhura, was famously portrayed by the lovely Nichelle Nichols... Uhuru which was the original name of Uhura in Swahili means freedom.

Nichelle brought a grace to her role, as the intelligent and beautiful communications officer.

It should be pointed out that Uhura was portrayed earlier in the series as being another of Spock's protégées, in fact was a foil in the first broadcast episode "The Man Trap".

----Nichelle almost left Star Trek, to go back to her career as a singer and dancer, but a chance meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King kept her at the communications station. In short he told Nichelle that she was a role model, and that a lot of people (color and gender) look up to her. And so she stayed.

* Two of the more well known people to be inspired by Nichelle both had roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation- Dr. Mae Jemison, who is a retired Astronaut. And of course Whoopi Goldberg, who played the role of Guinan... she specifically asked to have a role on TNG to help inspire a future generation as Uhura/Nichelle did way back when.

Nichelle and William Shatner shared a kiss that made some history, from the episode "Plato's Stepchildren", it is popularly called the first inter-racial kiss on Television. However it was the first on-screen kiss between a black female and white male on American television.

Nichelle played Uhura for 68 episodes of Star Trek, 19 of 22 episodes of The Animated Series, 6 feature films, and one professional fan-film "Of Gods and Men".

Star Trek: New Voyages

The first lovely lady to inhabit the uniform of Uhura was Julienne Irons. She played Uhura for 3 episodes (In Harm's Way, To Serve All My Days, and World Enough and Time) and the pilot (Come What May). She did a good job, having the basic things to do and say. She was missed, although I never worked with her.

Star Trek: Phase II

Going into "Blood and Fire", like "Enemy: Starfleet:" for Chekov, we needed a strong Uhura and we got it in Kim Stinger. She has played Uhura for 7 episodes (some of them not released). As a person, this casting was awesome by the production staff. Kim is an amazing person who helps where she can on the set. She also has an elegance that mirrors Nichelle Nichols. As Uhura she is flawless bringing the right amount of energy to each and every scene she is in.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pavel Chekov

I grew up at a time in history where there was always Star Trek. I was born in 1988, the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation was on the air, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier just came out of theaters... So I was never without Star Trek in my life, so I cannot speak to the whole not having Star Trek thing, that many on the crew of Phase 2 remember.

During the run of TOS, the Chekov character was never really fully explored as it was the (Kirk+Spock, later +McCoy) show. So that the characters like Sulu, Uhura and Chekov were just expository characters, something to play off of Shatner (Kirk) and Nimoy (Spock).

Personally I rather enjoyed Walter as Chekov, he was the comic relief when needed and who can forget that He provided one of the biggest mistakes in Continuity in the Movies, I speak of course of the fact that Chekov was not apart of the cast when Khan was introduced during "Space Seed". Of course it is possible that Chekov was on the ship, but we didn't see him until the season 2 episode "Amok Time".

- I should note that one of the things I had to do on the Phase 2 sets was to have people and things in their proper place, so that when the dailies editor or even The Executive Producer cuts the episode together, it flows well and doesn't look funny.

Something that is hardly touched on about Chekov is that he is a genius, forgive me for this comparison but a Wesley Crusher type character. We actually learn that Spock is Chekov's mentor, in "Who Mourns For Adonais", when McCoy comments on the fact that Spock was contaminating Chekov when he was giving Kirk "complete information". He is a lovable character and it is my opinion that he and the other Members of the Crew (Scott, Uhura and Sulu) should have gotten more story lines.

-------------------------------------Star Trek: New Voyages-----------------------------------

Notice that it says New Voyages and not Phase 2.... Well there is a story behind that but that is for a different time.

Alright, now... when Phase 2 started it was actually called Star Trek: New Voyages and had two actors play the role of Chekov, one was in the proof of concept "Come What May" and the other was in 4 episodes before departing. This Second Chekov was Andy Bray, I personally never met him, but I thought his performances especially in "To Serve All My Days" where he played against Walter himself as Chekov was good. He brought all those qualities that we came to know and love about Chekov in his performances.

------------------------------------------Star Trek: Phase 2------------------------------------

Now, I have a personal bias since I have worked with him and am friends with him, but Chekov was both the same and yet different when we hit "Enemy: Starfleet!" the latest Phase 2 episode. The man behind the role is Jonathan Zungre. I have to say he is a special person as is everyone that works on the set of Star Trek: Phase 2, and once he is in uniform----- He IS CHEKOV! Down to the Russian accent.

Without giving away the plot of the episode, Chekov is a part of Peter Kirk's growing up as his mentor and once again brings to the table that he is a genius and extremely unorthodox in his methods... and this is a side of Chekov we have never seen. Because in TOS he was the young and naive officer on the bridge, even in Blood and Fire, we saw that Chekov deferring to Scott and Uhura in the briefing room.

What his strength is as an actor playing an iconic role is that he is able not to do an impression of Walter while trying to act what is on the page.

Jon made the role his own in that appearance, and on subsequent shoots/episodes that you will have to wait and see when they are released

Next time... Lieutenant Uhura

The Beginning

Hey Everyone,

My name is Jaime, you can call me Fez and on my off time I both watch and help make Classic Star Trek. Where do I do this you ask? Well I have been for the last couple of years working on Star Trek: Phase 2, where I have met some of the most amazing and most knowledgeable people on Star Trek.

Here you will get my interpretation on TOS and how we at Phase 2 try to make our episodes look like Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek and not JJ Abrams Star Trek.