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Join us for the latest on the best in extraordinary fictional television and film from the past, present and future, and analysis on its cultural impacts.

Find out about the amazing facts in fiction, and discover the truth about what's really going on in the World around us...

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Friday, 22 February 2008 08:11

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Catching lightning in a bottle a second time ...

 

USA - 1987-94 - 178 episodes (60 mins) - colour

Eighteen years on from the demise of the original Star Trek, after the aborted Star Trek: Phase 2 painfully metamorphosed into the series of movies starring the original cast, a new, recognisable series was reborn with Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Set 78 years after the original mission, with a new Enterprise and a new crew boldly going where no one had gone before, Star Trek: The Next Generation was still a hard sell. In America, with no network prepared to commit to more than a pilot and thirteen episodes, the show was sold straight into syndication. Finally on screen, it then had to overcome legions of die-hard fans of the original Star Trek who shared a common belief that a show without Kirk or Spock would never work, and the first year of episodes did little to alter that view, keeping too close to the mythos dictated by creator Gene Roddenberry, with stories reminiscent of, or directly recycled from, the original show.

It took until its third year for The Next Generation to find itself, all the while staying true to the Star Trek ethos, by which time the characters and universe they inhabited was properly defined, and worthy adversaries like John de Lancie's mischievous Q, and the relentless Borg, were established. By the end of its seven year run, overcoming all the odds stacked against it, The Next Generation even succeeded in superseding the original show as the flagship Star Trek series in the eyes of its increasingly loyal fanbase.


REGULAR CAST
Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes as William Riker
Brent Spiner as Data
LeVar Burton as Geordi LaForge
Gates McFadden as Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi
Michael Dorn as Worf
Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
Denise Crosby as Tasha Yar
Diana Muldaur as Katherine Pulaski

 

 

Posted in Series Formats
Friday, 22 February 2008 08:07

Star Trek (The Original Series)

Opening the final frontier ...

 

USA - 1966-69 - 79 episodes (60 mins) - colour

One of the most successful concepts in television history, spawning a franchise that is still alive today with a new big screen movie in pre-production, this is the biggest American Cult TV series of them all.

Devised by Gene Roddenberry, a former LAPD officer and veteran scriptwriter of shows like Dragnet and Naked City while off duty, the pilot episode "The Cage" was rejected by network executives who deemed it too cerebral for the average viewer, and consequently unbroadcastable. Unprecedented at the time, the show was given another chance and, after extensive recasting, a second pilot was filmed, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" with the requisite dose of action added.

Charting the adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise, seeking out new life and new civilizations in the high frontier of outer space, Star Trek used science fiction properly, as a commentary on contemporary social issues and society's ills and gains. Amongst the action and adventure, many of the new worlds discovered in the wide range of thought-provoking stories were skewed reflections of our own world. That said, the triumvirate of charismatic Captain James T Kirk, inspired by C S Forester's Captain Horatio Hornblower, the loyal and coldly logical Vulcan First Officer, Mister Spock, and cantankerous Chief medical Officer Leonard 'Bones' McCoy, supported by their mixed gender, multi-racial crew, never lost touch with the human experience that became central to Star Trek's ongoing identity.


REGULAR CAST
William Shatner as James T Kirk
Leonard Nimoy as Spock
DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy
James Doohan as Montgomery Scott
Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura
George Takei as Hikaru Sulu
Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov
Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel
Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand

 

Posted in Series Formats
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