Sunday, January 31, 2010

Trek's Hottest Women

Before engaging in a Top (insert number) list of hottest (insert gender), one must address this question: What is Hot?

Well, I had always been under the impression that like many modern usages, the conflation of "hot" with sexual attraction came from Shakespeare. The Online Etymology Dictionary states that it "dates back to 1500." For my intents and purposes, this is what I mean by it: "Hotness" is that state of being in which the sight or thought of an individual inspires sexual thoughts.

So by that rubric, although I find Captain Janeway and B'Elanna Torres to be lovely women with many admirable qualities, they don't make this list. I have to have experienced the emotional/intellectual state mentioned above in order to put them on a list like this.

And of course, any list like this is quite subjective. You can amend the criterion above, for the purposes of my list, to: "Hotness" is that state of being in which the sight or thought of an individual inspires Matthew's sexual thoughts. And given that this is the criterion for such a list, please excuse me if I dip into some saucier linguistic expression, here.

All right then. Without further ado...

Honorable mentions:

Here are characters who may have reached the threshold of inclusion if it were not for some mitigating circumstance.

Hoshi Sato
played by Linda Park

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why I Love Star Trek, Essay #6: Glenn-Paul Nehlsen

Hi, everyone.  Kevin here.  This next essay in the "Why I Love Star Trek" series is from one of my best friends, Glenn-Paul.  This is another friendship for me created by Star Trek.  When we first met, we happened to get on the topic of Star Trek, and it formed an immediate and long lasting bond.  So without further ado, enjoy the essay.

Why I Love Star Trek
by Glenn-Paul Nehlsen

I am reminded of words spoken at the beginning of another science fiction show that was popular at the time: "We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter."

Friday, January 29, 2010

Has Star Trek's "Padd" finally arrived?

This post on gaming site Kotaku is a fun look at "six padds" the author would actually buy, as opposed to Apple's iPad. Hint: all six are from Star Trek.

In answer to the above post, no, the Padd has not arrived just yet.

For one thing, the main function we see for the PADD of the 24th century is voice recognition with fuzzy logic, as well as predictive text interface buttons similar to court reporting tools (no more crappy touchscreen keyboard!) They seem to have universal compatibility interfaces without physical contact (which would totally make up for the iPad's lack of USB support). They also have a display that seems much closer to the e-ink of current readers, except in color - so they wouldn't be hard on the eyes after long periods of reading.

But mainly, they don't have the stupid "i" prefix appended to them. Ugh, I'm sick of that. So yet again, Star Trek has created a vision of the future which is much better than the present...

The Original Series, Season 1: The Corbomite Maneuver

The Original Series, Season One
"The Corbomite Maneuver"
Airdate: November 10, 1966
3 of 80 produced
10 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on


The Enterprise is stopped by a mysterious buoy in space. Who has left it there, and why can’t the Enterprise get away from it? When our heroes finally meet the buoy’s creators, they are placed in a precarious situation with an apparently superior foe. How will Kirk navigate this treacherous conundrum – with rationality, or with violence?
And will Balok eat our heroes? Raaahr...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Favorite Character, Essay #1: Matthew Weflen

Star Trek is a rich repository of characters. For some, they're the main reason for watching the show. While I'm not in this camp, there are many, many characters I feel a great affinity for. So, here is my essay indicating which characters are my favorites. I'll go by series, then pick an overall favorite for the whole franchise.

The Original Series

Well, there are three obvious choices for "strongest" or most developed. It's hard to pick any of the supporting players, simply due to how screen time was divvied up.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: Dagger of the Mind

The Original Series, Season One
"Dagger of the Mind"
Airdate: November 3, 1966
11 of 80 produced
9 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on


The Enterprise is making a supply run to the penal colony on Tantalus V. An apparently dangerous, violent prisoner manages to stowaway onboard. However, when he is captured, he claims to be one of the colonies administrators and that the chief administrator is performing horrible experiments on the minds of his prisoners.

Suddenly, the office Christmas party doesn't sound so bad...

Fun Links from Wil Wheaton

As I mentioned in my Why I Love Star Trek essay, I am fascinated that Trek actors are so accessible. Perhaps the most accessible of the bunch is Wil Wheaton, who's made a good living from Trek (and from being quite a good writer). Following Wil's twitter feed always makes me feel like I actually know him. Yes, I realize that the 1,636,866 other people (and counting) who follow him probably feel the same way, but it's still fun. Today he managed to make me smile twice by linking to fun photos.

The first is on his blog and proves that he does not take himself too seriously, which I appreciate.

The other picture made me smile and shudder at the same time. You must go look. Matthew and I have talked a lot about raising our future kids with Star Trek, and I would guess that at some point, when the kids are young enough to go along with what we want to do without complaining about it being uncool, we'll probably go to a convention as a family. And we may even go in costume. And someone may take a picture. But I can't imagine that even we will be able to raise teenage children who will want to pose for a studio photograph with their parents in costume. And I'm fairly certain I wouldn't want to do it even if they did!

Speaking of raising kids, we'd love to hear from anyone who has experience raising kids with Trek. Let us know if you'd be interested in writing a guest essay. How do you introduce kids to Trek? What lessons can kids learn from Trek? Are there themes/idea in Trek too dark for young kids?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

Last Friday, I was grabbing dinner after work. I was at restaurant in the Loop, and as I often do when dining alone, I was reading a book. A Star Trek book. Specifically, I was reading "The Never Ending Sacrifice," one of the latest books in the DS9 relaunch. I highly recommend it, and you don't really have to be familiar with any of the other relaunch books to get into it.

Anyway, a lady at the next table, looked over and asked what I was reading. I showed her it was a Star Trek book, and she lit up. She told me that all three of her now grown sons liked Star Trek growing up. I replied that that was evidence she did a good job. She told me how each year for Hanukkah, the present for the eighth night was one of the Hallmark Star Trek ornaments which they would put on their Christmas tree. Having several TOS shuttles and the Captain Janeway ornament, I was delighted at this idea. We chatted for a little while longer while our bills arrived, and I wrote the address for this blog on a napkin for her after explaining what we we're doing here. I sincerely hope she reads this blog and this post. I had a really long day at work and bonding with a total stranger over Star Trek was a wonderful surprise.

Why I Love Star Trek, Essay #5: Kelly Pollock

Why I Love Star Trek
By Kelly Therese Pollock

As has been discussed already, I was tricked into liking Star Trek by my now-husband at an earlier time in our relationship when I still felt the need to make him like me. Yes, that's right, I was tricked into watching every live-action episode (most more than once) and movie (all more than once), spending countless hours discussing Trek minutiae, reading Trek novels, following Trek actors on Twitter, and going to a convention. (It should be said that Matthew also tried to introduce me to plenty of pop culture that I didn't adopt, like Star Wars.)

The perspective I bring to this is that of someone who came to Star Trek as an adult. Unlike most of the people here (and most Trekkies in general), I have no childhood memories of watching Trek; it evokes no feelings of nostalgia in me; and I can't say that a particular series or episode got me through a difficult time in my life. I know I was aware of Star Trek as a kid, that I could recognize the phrases "Beam me up, Scotty" and "Live long and prosper," but they were detached from any real meaning.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Horrendously bad science of Star Trek(2009)

Speaking of Star Trek(2009), it was just cited as a "good science" example on Discover Magazine's list of good and bad science in movies. And to think I used to respect Discover Magazine.

Discover's list had five good and bad mentions apiece from all sorts of films. In my opinion, the "science" in Star Trek (2009) was so bad, I could create a list of 5 (if not more) just to encompass it all.

And here it is!

Star Trek (2009) garners a WGA nomination

The new Star Trek movie, written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, has been nomination for as Best Adapted Screenplay of 2009 by the Writers Guild of America. In the past, WGA wins have often been harbingers of Oscar wins. Before you get too excited (or distraught, if you're Matthew), it's worth noting that the WGA only considers films "written under the WGA’s Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) or under a bona fide collective bargaining agreement of the Australian Writers Guild, Writers Guild of Canada, Writers Guild of Great Britain, Irish Playwrights & Screenwriters Guild or the New Zealand Writers Guild." Such films as Up, Inglorious Basterds, and An Education were ineligible.

Winners will be announced on February 20. Good Luck Orci and Kurtzman!

The Original Series, Season 1: Miri

The Original Series, Season One
Airdate: October 27, 1966
12 of 80 produced
8 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on


The Enterprise enters orbit around an exact replica of Earth – except this Earth has suffered a biological catastrophe. All adults on this world have been killed by a disease, while all the children have been frozen into a centuries long infantile state, only to die as they enter puberty. Can the away team make peace with the planet’s children, and find a cure for the disease, before it’s too late?

Miri realizes that "sharpening Kirk's pencil" wasn't quite what she had hoped...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jean Simmons, 1929-2010

We've just seen over the twitterverse that Jean Simmons, perhaps best known to Trekkies as Rear Admiral Nora Satie (retired), has passed away. I also remember her fondly from her role as Varinia in Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus.

I have always liked that particular TNG episode, thanks in great part to Ms. Simmons' regal, entertaining performance. I think she was a heck of an actress. Condolences to her family and loved ones.

How to Convert a friend into a Trekkie

Richard’s essay on Why He Loves Star Trek mentioned trying with limited success to convert others into Trek fans. Well, it just so happens that this is something I’ve given a fair amount of thought – it has always been a desire of mine to have a significant other who was at least close to my level of fandom. But, I didn’t necessarily want to troll the local conventions for a mate, either. So conversion was the key.

The method I settled on was a sort of bargain with my target. Watch five episodes with me. If, at the end of episode 5, you don’t want to watch any more, you’re free to go (it puts the lotion in the basket…). But if you want to watch episode 6, then you’re stuck, and I have lease to watch a lot more Trek with you over the course of our relationship.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why I Love Star Trek, Essay #4: Kevin Curran

Here's mine. It's a little on the long side, but screw it. Blog author's prerogative.

Why I Love Star Trek
by Kevin Curran

Of all the projects we have contemplated here at Treknonbabble thus far, this has got to be my favorite. It's been a lot of fun reading everyone's reasons for liking Star Trek. I have to say, I agree with and share pretty much all of them. Like Matt, I came to Star Trek during TNG. I actually remember the exact day it happened. It was 1992; I was nine years old. I needed to pick something to watch after dinner but before primetime. The networks ran national news, and that was out. The FOX affiliate ran two Cosby Show reruns from 6-7, and WPWR, the syndication channel that eventually became UPN in Chicago, ran a TNG rerun on weeknights and the new one Saturdays. So, I flipped a coin. Star Trek won. The first episode I watched was "Arsenal of Freedom." I won't say that I was blown away by it, but I wasn't turned off.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The "true story" of MLK and Uhura...

In case you missed it, here is an article about MLK intervening in the career of Nichelle Nichols.

The Original Series, Season 1: What Are Little Girls Made Of?

The Original Series, Season One
"What Are Little Girls Made Of?"
Airdate: October 20, 1966
10 of 80 produced
7 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on


The Enterprise travels to Exo III in search of long lost archaeologist and Nurse Chapel's fiancé, Roger Korby. They are to find that he has made a startling discovery that could alter the course of human development. Exo III was once home to a race that produced sophisticated androids, a project Dr. Korby plans to continue.
Android or not, Andrea can turn my knobs any day...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Why I love Star Trek, Essay #3: Richard Lorenc

Why I Love Star Trek
By Richard “Rocket” Lorenc

Star Trek is different than most science fiction.

Where a vast amount of sci-fi focuses on bleak, desolate, and sometimes post-apocalyptic worlds, Star Trek aims higher. It shows a human race that’s overcome its prejudices, ignorance, and disease, and become a leader in a galaxy filled with other intelligent life.

And, thanks to six TV shows and 11 movies, it’s had nearly 750 hours in which to do it, a record unmatched by any other screen-based story.

At its core, Star Trek is about people at their best, and people who strive to –and can– become better than they are.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: Mudd's Women

"Mudd's Women"
Airdate: October 13, 1966
4 of 80 produced
6 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on

In this episode, the Enterprise risks itself in an asteroid field to save a freighter with four passengers: a con artist and three preternaturally alluring women. The rescue attempt cost the Enterprise valuable ship components which need to be replenished at a nearby mining colony. Once there however, the con man, Harry Mudd, tries to turn a profit for himself by offerings his "cargo" as wives to the lonely miners. However, there is a secret to the women's beauty and when it is revealed it may prevent the Enterprise from getting the repairs it needs to keep from falling out of orbit.

You know...they can't all be winners, but as far the weaker class of episodes go, this one was at least fun to watch, and a hoot to podcast. Matt and I both ended up grudgingly giving it threes, for a total of six. It's a low six to be sure, but Harry Mudd is certainly one of the more enduring guest characters and rightly so. Enjoy the podcast, everyone. It's 56 minutes long and is 51MB in size.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Why I love Star Trek, Essay #2: Elizabeth Calderon

Why I Love Star Trek

By Elizabeth Calderon (nee Weflen)

What started my early (and eventually steep) descent into nerd-dom?

I think it all started with my family sitting down to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation together. We would eat dinner as a family, and then immediately move to the family room and gather around the television to watch the newest episode of TNG. This family tradition started when I was an impressionable eight years old.

This was a television show that a family could enjoy together. There wasn’t anything that parent would have to uncomfortably explain to a child. These were intelligent story lines that addressed issues that otherwise weren’t easy to broach. The show tackled such things as the emotional abuse of women (“Man of the People”), rape (“Violations”), unexpected death (“Skin of Evil”), the stigma attached to disabilities (“Tin Man”), genetic engineering (“Masterpiece Society”), and terrorism (“The High Ground").

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: The Enemy WIthin

The Original Series, Season One
"The Enemy Within"
Airdate: October 6, 1966
5 of 80 aired
5 of 80 produced
Click here to watch on


A transporter accident creates a duplicate of Captain Kirk, but not merely a copy. Two halves of his personality were split: one copy contains all of Captain Kirk's most virtuous qualities and intentions, the other his darkest and most animal impulses. The evil Kirk is dangerous, but the good Kirk is left indecisive. Ultimately, they need each other to survive, but can they be put back together in time?
Shatner reacts to the news that the sets are not actually edible...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why I love Star Trek, Essay #1: Matthew Weflen

Here is the first of a series of essays by the Treknobabble bloggers, guest contributors, and friends, on a very special topic. Look for more of these in the near future. But for now, here's mine:

Why I Love Star Trek
By Matthew Weflen

I was always a thoughtful and sensitive kid. I pondered things like the origin of the cosmos, the problems of a rational economic order, and the dangers of nuclear war, from a young age.

As you might imagine, this had a few quite noticeable effects upon me and my life:

1. The problems of the world, confronting a child under the age of ten, can often seem overwhelming. I spent many a sleepless night worrying about these things. This may have contributed to my “night owl” nature now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Original Series , Season 1: The Naked Time

The Original Series, Season One
"The Naked Time"
Airdate: September 29, 1966
7 of 80 produced
4 of 80 released
Click here to watch on


In “The Naked Time,” the Enterprise is in orbit of Psi 2000, a glacial planet in the final throes of disintegration. The Enterprise is to pick up the crew of a research station, but finds that all hands are dead of a strange disease. Unfortunately, the Enterprise crew also catches the disease, which acts to loosen inhibitions and rationality, somewhat like alcohol. Will the crew regain its senses in time to save itself from a fiery death crashing into the planet?
Sulu threatens to impale Kirk upon his glistening, magnificent, thrusting blade...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

So I've Got Halloween Covered From Now On...

During our last podcast, Kevin and I discussed Star Trek costumes quite a bit. My wife Kelly looked several masks up on

First was the Gorn mask, which is worn on the Mythbusters episode that tackles Arena. But then the masks got weirder and weirder.

The Mugato, from "A Private Little War", seems a natural. It's a lesser-known beast, so you can use it anywhere. But it's also a full-head mask, so you don't look too cheesy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Technobabble on Treknobabble

Although we're not there yet, Kevin and I will be doing a podcast of the classic episode "Arena," in which Kirk goes toe-to-toe with a Gorn.

Well what do you know, someone else is interested in this, too! Mythbusters, a fun cable show on Discovery Channel, recently tackled whether Kirk could actually have created a gunpowder cannon using the materials native to Cestus III (or, if you prefer, Bronson Caynyon, California).

Here is a page with links to video clips of their experiments. The preview vid is priceless, too, in which Mythbuster and fellow Trekkie Grant Imahara does a funny Spock impression.

Friday, January 8, 2010

This is not a paid advertisement for CBS, I swear.

In case some of our readers haven't actually seen The Original Series in a while, I want to give you all a link that will help. has every episode of TOS online for free, except, sadly "The Cage." There's little hulu-style commercials in them, so if you want to use them to listen to a podcast, you'll have to be on the ball and pause the podcast during the breaks. Otherwise, if you are just looking to refamiliarize yourself with the series and have some of our comments make more sense, they are a great resource, and really one of the most Platonic forms of the Internet. Enjoy.

The Original Series, Season 1: Where No Man Has Gone Before

"Where No Man Has Gone Before"
Airdate: September 22, 1966
2 of 80 produced
3 of 80 released
Click here to watch on

This episode was the second pilot shot for the series. The only character to survive to this second pilot was Spock. Several other later characters are still missing or in different positions. In this episode, the Enterprise, again following the signal of a lost civilian craft, travels to the galactic barrier, a mysterious energy field that surrounds the galaxy. Two crew members are struck by a strange discharge and begin to exhibit bizarre and increasingly terrifying powers.

This was another great episode, again earning a five each from the both of us, for another perfect 10. The same qualities that made "The Cage" such a success are evident here. While many of the characters would not make it into the series, they still managed to convey interesting and textured characters in less than an hour. Both pilots did a fantastic job of establishing the series and are easily in the top ranks of the series as a whole. Today's podcast comes in at 1 hour 2 minutes and a file size of 57MB.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mission Update

Hello, fellows nerds. Now that we have a couple of posts under our belts and we have a better feel for some things, I wanted to update everyone on some decisions. First, we're going to be posting a new review once every three days for the time being. If we get a backlog of unpublished stuff or get too far behind, we may alter it, but for now, it's a good balance between frequent updates and the demands of being an adult.

Also, we want to make sure you've had time to properly ruminate on our reviews before busting out another kernel of wisdom on your collective asses.

This cannot be said enough, but we welcome and encourage comments. Agree with us. Disagree with us. This project grew out of our love of discussing both broader thematic elements and extreme technical minutiae for hours at a time. We want to share that with all of you.

This is the internet, however, so a few jackasses are bound to make it through, and neither Matt nor I really have the energy to moderate. That being said, I think Matt will agree with me when I say that Trekkies as a group have a higher ratio of good, decent, intelligent people than a random cross section of the population, so for now, we are going to trust you.

So, until the next review goes live on Friday... live long and comment.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: Charlie X

The Original Series, Season One
"Charlie X"
Airdate: September 15, 1966
8 of 80 produced
2 of 80 released
Click Here to watch on


“Charlie X” presents us with the tale of a young castaway who has been picked up by a Starfleet crew, and is transferred to the Enterprise in a bid to send him to a more populated region. The crew discovers, though, that Charlie is possessed of phenomenal mental powers, giving him the ability to transmute matter at whim. Will his adolescent urges and stunted social sensibilities overwhelm him and lead to the doom of the Enterprise’s crew?
 I only have eyes... for Janice....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: The Man Trap

Welcome to the second review here at Treknonbabble. Matt and I are going to do more podcasts, but since there are more than 700 episodes and movies, a podcast for everything is a little impractical. This is the other kind of review we are going to try. We're going to take turns writing up a review and respond to each other's review. I'm up first with the first Star Trek ever aired, airing September 8, 1966.

The Original Series, Season One
"The Man Trap"
Airdate: September 8, 1966
6 of 80 produced
1 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on

McCoy takes "She'll suck the life out of you" completely the wrong way...