Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: Court Martial

The Original Series, Season One
"Court Martial"
Airdate: February 20, 1967
15 of 80 produced
20 of 80 released
Click here to watch on


Captain Kirk is put on trial on the charge of negligently giving the order that cause the death of one of his crew. His version of events is at odds with the computer record. Complicating matters is the fact the crewman had a past with Captain Kirk. Captain Kirk reported him years ago for a serious lapse that derailed his career, causing deep resentment for his former friend. Is Kirk or the computer correct? Have the stresses of command caused a momentary lapse in judgment? Does Kirk reciprocate his former friend's resentment and did it play a role in his decisions?
Now, I'm no fancy big city space lawyer...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Andrew Koenig, 1968-2010

Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Walter and Judith Koenig, on the death of their son, Andrew. Although best known for his work on Growing Pains, Andrew also appeared in the role of Tumak in the DS9 episode "Sanctuary." Such a tragic loss.

The Original Series, Season 1: Tomorrow Is Yesterday

The Original Series, Season One
"Tomorrow Is Yesterday"
Airdate: January 26, 1967
22 of 80 produced
19 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on


The Enterprise is sent careening through time by a chance astronomical phenomenon. When the crew comes to, they find themselves in a precarious orbit around Earth of the 1960s. How will they avoid detection by the powers of the day, inadvertently changing the past, and how indeed will they return to their own time?
Look out for that solar flare!

The Original Series, Season 1: Arena

The Original Series, Season One
Airdate: January 19, 1967
20 of 80 produced
18 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on


The Enterprise arrives at Cestus III to find the Federation colony there destroyed.  The attackers soon reveal themselves, a new and powerful potential enemy, the reptile-like Gorn.  The Enterprise pursues the fleeing attackers, knowing if they escape, the attack on Cestus will be only the beginning.  However, other, even more powerful forces are at work, and they have their own plans for the crew of the Enterpise.  Kirk eventually finds himself alone and unarmed on a planet, facing off against the captain of the Gorn ship in a fight to the death, with the fate of both their crews in the balance.  Will Kirk and the Enterprise survive this latest danger?

"Graahr! Hissss....."

Matt and I both gave this a 3 for a total of 6.  There are good elements and ideas here, but in the end, everything came out as the good side of average.  It was a good hour of television.  There were explosions, and who doesn't love that?  This is a popular fan episode, and it certainly has enough to justify that position, but while it may be better than average television, it is average Trek.  Enjoy the podcast, everyone.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: The Squire of Gothos

The Original Series, Season One
"The Squire of Gothos"
Airdate: January 12, 1967
19 of 80 produced
17 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on


On their way to deliver supplies to a colony, the Enterprise is accosted by a powerful being with desires for entertainment. Will Kirk be able to outwit his captor and free the Enterprise?
Tally Ho!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: The Galileo Seven

The Original Series, Season One
"The Galileo Seven"
Airdate: January 5, 1967
14 of 80 produced
16 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on


While exploring a the Murasaki quasar, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and four other crewmen become stranded when their shuttle crashes. Spock is forced not only to deal with the hazards of the hostile world they are on, but the resistance of his own crew to his logical command style. Making matters worse is the fact that the Enterprise must leave the area soon to deliver medicine that will save thousands of lives. Will the Enterprise find them before the hostile aliens outside the shuttle or personal hostilities inside the shuttle destroy them?
The locals were not impressed by the park job over there...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: Shore Leave

The Original Series, Season One
"Shore Leave"
Airdate: December 29, 1966
18 of 80 produced
15 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on


The Enterprise finds a planet that seems ideal for a much needed shore leave for the tired crew. But as strange things start happening, the crew must ask: is it everything it's cracked up to be?
Short answer: No. Long Answer: Noooooooooooo.......

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: Balance of Terror

"Balance of Terror"
Airdate: December 15, 1966
9 of 80 produced
14 of 80 released
Click here to watch on


The Enterprise is sent to respond to a series of distress calls from the outposts along the Romulan border.  The Romulan Empire is a power, but mysterious foe.  Little is known about them, not even their appearance.  Captain Kirk and his Romulan counterpart must now engage in a deadly game of cat and mouse, and the fate of Federation hangs in the balance.

Matt and I gave this a combined 10.  It's classic Star Trek and for a very good reason.  Stellar performances and a tight script hold together a wonderful hour of television.  You should download this podcast if only for a reason to sit down and watch this fantastic episode.  Go on.  Go.  We'll wait.  This podcast comes in just under an hour long and 54.5 MB.

The Men of Star Trek

Despite Star Trek being known for its babes, especially The Original Series, the franchise has had more than its fair share of beefcake.  These men are near and dear to my heart, as not only are they attractive, but in some cases, were among the first crushes I ever nursed.  And since we are nerds, nothing makes us happier than a numbered list.

Obviously, this list is highly subjective and personal, so take its universality with a grain of quadrotriticale.

And now here they are, the Top 10 Men of Star Trek....

Matthew started his list with some honorable mentions, as will I.  My honorable mentions all tie together with a theme.  These are the guys I thought were totally cute when I first watched the show as an adolescent/teenager, and as a result, they are all closer to the age I was then than the rest of the men who populate this list.  If Tiger Beat had a Star Trek section, these guys would be in it.  Wesley Crusher, Icheb, and Q Junior.  

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Universal Translator is coming!

Have you ever wondered how the Universal Translator works? I know I have. It always seemed a bit convenient to me that the UT not only can translate almost any language they come across, instantaneously, but it also knows when not to translate something, like a phrase a character mutters in Klingon. And it does all the translating while also making it appear that your lips are speaking English...

Pictured: Combination UT/Hitachi Magic Wand.

One of the things I really enjoyed in Enterprise, even if it wasn't always done well, was the exploration of how the Universal Translator was developed and what happened when it didn't work. And I thought the character of Hoshi Sato, as a kind of human Universal Translator was really interesting. It's a common enough trope in fiction that it must have some basis in truth that there are people who can pick up new languages after hearing just a little of them. Being the kind of person who's studied all sorts of languages and can't remember enough of any of them to even get by conversationally, I find this idea fascinating.

Anyway, on to a little story in The Times. Apparently, Google is trying to create a Universal Translator of sorts. It wouldn't be quite as robust as the Universal Translator on Star Trek because it would be limited to languages in the database (52 at the moment), but it would combine Google Translate with "high-accuracy voice recognition" to create software that allows the user to speak in one language and hear the translation in another language.

Anyone who has used either Google Translate or voice-recognition software knows that the result is likely to be a bunch of gobbledy-gook that may or may not come anywhere near resembling an accurate translation, but it will be a step closer to something resembling the Universal Translator. Now we just need to figure out how to keep it from translating petaQ.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: The Conscience of the King

The Original Series, Season One
"The Conscience of the King"
Airdate: December 8, 1966
13 or 80 produced
13 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on


Captain Kirk thinks he found the infamous Kodos the Executioner living under an assumed identity as an actor in a traveling troupe. Twenty years ago, Kodos seized control of the colony on Tarsus IV. The colony was facing a food crisis threatening its 8,000 residents. Using his own version of eugenics, he selected 4,000 colonists to die so that the other 4,000 might live. When Federation forces eventually retook the colony, they found only a corpse burned beyond recognition. Only 9 of the surviving members of the colony saw Kodos, and they are being killed one by one. The two remaining eye witnesses to the massacre are one of the Enterprise's engineers...and her captain.
You'd think by the 23rd century we'd have an effective spot remover...

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Star Trek Gaming blast from the past

I grew up playing this game on my family's Apple IIc. Now, it's available for all you windows users out there - WinTrek, a free version of the classic space shooter Star Trek sim. Download and enjoy! Try the WinXP link if you're running XP or later. The PDF is available for free, with instructions.

Here's the long and the short of it: You patrol an 8x8 sector grid of Federation space. There are X number of enemies invading. You have starbases to refuel at. The Long Range Sensor window tells you how many enemies, starbases, and stars there are in each sector. It is up to you to eliminate the enemies (no time for diplomacy) within a certain time frame, and without running out of dilithium energy. It's all about time and energy management.

-Impulse takes less time than warp (warping to the next sector consumes a day of time). So if you're right next to an adjacent sector, just do an impulse hop to get there.
-Red stars sometimes allow you to slingshot around them with the "Richochet" command in the computer console. These slingshots will send you a random number of sectors away without consuming fuel or time. A good way to explore the map.
-The "scan" command in the computer will tell you how much energy the enemies have, so you don't waste excess power on phasering them. Use your torpedoes first, anyway, because they consume no power.
-Go into the options and uncheck "one control window." I don't know why this option even exists. But it will irritate you to no end until you uncheck it, as it will make all of your carefully arranged windows disappear each time you do something. Aargh!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: Menagerie Pt. 2

"The Menagerie, Part II"
Airdate: November 4, 1966
17 of 18 produced
12 of 80 released
Click here to watch on


This is the conclusion to last week's cliffhanger.  Spock faces certain death for what he has done, but Kirk still cannot fully understand why.  The answer lies on the forbidden planet that the Enterprise is hurtling towards with the aid of the mysterious aliens who live there.  Out of control of his ship, Kirk can only watch as these aliens continue to tell the story of what happened to Captain Pike and the crew of the Enterprise so long ago.  He can only hope it answers his questions.  Why is Spock sacrificing himself for his former captain, and what is his plan once the Enterprise finally reaches the forbidden Talos IV?

Matt and I both gave this an enthusiastic 5, for a well-deserved total of 10.  Top to bottom, this was a great episode, and a wonderful and novel use of an unaired episode.  The podcast is 1:01:03 long and weighs in at 53MB.  Enjoy

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Making Trek Connections

A funny thing happened yesterday. I was out running an errand at work. It was cold, and I had to go outside to another office, so I threw on my coat. In the pocket of my coat was my new iphone (which I love). In the other office, I got called into an impromptu meeting with two colleagues, one of whom I have never been in a meeting with before. In the middle of the meeting, my phone rang. The odds of this happening are incredibly small. I don't usually have my phone with me at work. When I do, the ringer is usually off. I get very few phone calls on my cell phone in general and almost never during the day. And of the phone calls I get, most of them are from my mother or Matthew, both of whom have their own ringtones on my phone. This call triggered my default ringer. After I silenced the phone and apologized to my coworkers, the one I don't know as well asked me what the ringtone was. I answered sheepishly that the ringtone was the Star Trek: Voyager theme song. My colleague's face lit up, and he said, "Of course! I knew it was Star Trek. Yes, the Voyager theme."

It was a brief moment in my day, and we didn't have time to keep talking about it, but it was such an unexpected discovery that it stuck with me. I'm sure the people I'm close to know that I like Star Trek, but there aren't many ways that the random colleague or classmate or acquaintance would know. And yet, somehow I make these connections, however unlikely they are. We all talked about forming friendships because of Star Trek in our "Why I Love Star Trek" essays, but I'm still not sure how it is that Trekkies find each other. I guess something that important in our lives just finds a way to come out.

How have you discovered other Star Trek fans?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Is Star Trek Left-Wing?

Matthew, Kevin, and Kelly know that I, being a radical free-market libertarian, have more than a couple qualms with Star Trek when it comes to economics and government. They’ve been taunting me for weeks to write a response to the question of whether Star Trek is left-wing/liberal/completely unrealistic when it comes to those issues.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Original Series, Season 1: The Menagerie Pt. I

The Original Series, Season One
Airdate: November 17, 1966
16 of 18 produced


This ground-breaking show featured a clever use of the original, unaired "The Cage" pilot and pioneered a very early prime-time use of serialized stories on television. In this episode, we learn that Spock served under a different captain on the Enterprise before Kirk, and that he has seemingly risked his entire life and career to take that former captain, Christopher Pike, to a mysterious forbidden world. Why would Spock do this? What will be his punishment? Will Kirk's relationship with Spock ever be the same again?

"Beep" or "Beep-Beep?" Who designed this thing?!?!

Matt and I are holding our scores of this one for the exciting conclusion in a few days.  This half of the two parter's podcast is 53 minutes long and 48 MB in size.  Hopefully you will all be able to withstand the suspense until part two is published later in the week.