50 years ago tonight, the world got an optimistic vision of the future that has delighted millions and millions of people ever since.
For the first time, we saw people we recognized … not just surviving, but thriving in a society 400 years from now.
Here’s my favorite episode from each of the various series that have been broadcast since.
Star Trek: The Original Pilot: The Cage
Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike in “The Cage”
Star Trek: TOS: The City on the Edge of Forever
Kirk and Spock in “The City on the Edge of Forever” by the incomparable Harlan Ellison
Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Inner Light
Picard playing a flute recovered from the ship of a long-dead civilization in “The Inner Light”
Star Trek: DS9: Far Beyond the Stars
Captain Sisko of the Federation? Or a science fiction writer in 1950s New York? Watch “Far Beyond the Stars” and decide
Star Trek: Voyager: Distant Origin
Alleged remains of a human found by a Saurian scientist in “”Distant Origin”
Star Trek: Enterprise: In a Mirror, Darkly
A Tholian, not seen in ST since the original series, from “In a Mirror, Darkly”
What are your favorite episodes?
Reporter Tony Aiello asked me about Trump’s decision to boycott the latest GOP Debate on Fox News.
My response: “If he can’t handle a hostile debate, how’s he going to handle China or Russia or any of the other 1,001 problems that are going to confront the next president of the U.S.?”
What I also told him, which ended up on the cutting room floor, was:
- This gives the real candidates (such as they are) a chance to talk to voters.
- Trump has only a fraction of the number of paid staffers on the ground in Iowa as some of the other candidates. You don’t win a caucus (which is an entirely different animal than a Primary) with robocalls and TV ads. Not that Trump has spent much money on them either.
- There’s a difference between a candidate who is angry
(and there’s certainly enough wrong with our country today to make voters angry) and a candidate who is hateful and downright mean, like Trump. Americans are not going to entrust the nuclear launch codes to someone who is prone to fly off the handle and attack people.
Jessica Jones and Trish Walker
Marvel’s latest TV series, Jessica Jones, tells the story of a former superhero eking out a living as a private investigator in New York City. She’s incredibly strong and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. She also drinks a lot, and is generally a mess.
And rather than give us one strong female superhero, Marvel throws in a version of Patsy Walker (a Marvel character first published in 1944) as Jessica’s foster-sister.
There’s also a third Marvel hero, Luke Cage, Jessica’s on-again, off-again love interest.
And David Tennant is positively creepy as Killgrave, whose mind-controlling power nearly destroyed Jessica once before.
It’s a dark and compelling story. Marvel really ups the ante for superheroes on television with Jessica Jones.
Now available on Netflix, this series exists in the same universe as the Avengers and Marvel’s other Netflix show, Daredevil.
This is the best SF series I’ve read in years. Advance word on the TV adaptation is excellent.
Syfy’s highly-anticipated 10-hour series The Expanse will debut its first episode Monday, November 23 on Syfy On Demand, Syfy.com, Syfy Now, Hulu, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, Playstation, Xbox, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Wikia, IGN, IMDb, Good Reads, Crave Online and Roku.
Wrestling? Sharknado? The Syfy Channel deserves the scorn it got in recent years. But what I saw last night tells me those days are over.
I attended a screening of the first two episodes of Syfy’s six-part adaptation of Childhood’s End, the classic science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The first two episodes, which will be broadcast on December 14th, are solid television science fiction.
Clarke’s novel has been ripped off so many times — both versions of V, and Independence Day are just a few examples that come to mind — but Childhood’s End itself has never been brought to film or television before.
In short, the people of Earth wake up one day and learn that they are not alone in the universe. The aliens are here, and they want to help us. They really want to help us.
This adaptation moves the story from the cold war 1950s to the present, and takes a few other liberties that make sense.
One scene where the aliens encourage the main human character to visit their ship is extraordinary. You’ll love what they do to the human’s house.
Another recurring location aboard the alien ship is eerily reminiscent of the hotel scene at the end of 2001.
And while the special effects are very good, it’s the characters that are center stage here.
Charles Dance — the Lannister patriarch from Game of Thrones — is perfectly cast as Karellen, the new Supervisor for Earth.
And the ending … Syfy executives asked people not to reveal the twist at the end of the second episode. If you’ve read the book, you know what it is. But if you don’t … you’re in for a shock. It will be fun to see how certain communities react to it.