All posts by roguereviewer

About roguereviewer

Drew Gaska is an author, digital artist, and art director. For over a decade he has served as a freelance consultant for Rockstar Games on such hit titles as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, the Midnight Club series, and all other major releases. He is the founder and creative director of BLAM! Ventures, a guerilla design studio that produces print and digital media for the comic book and science fiction industry. Drew's novel, Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes, and his science fiction graphic novel epic, Critical Millennium, are both published by Archaia Entertainment, and have both been released to critical acclaim. Mr. Gaska is currently writing and directing a Space: 1999 revival graphic novel series, as well as writing reviews and working on other comic and science fiction novel projects. Drew resides beneath a mountain of action figures in New York with his girlfriend and fellow comics creator, Chandra Free and their gluttonous feline, Adrien. Adrien often perches atop this pinnacle of plastic, proclaiming himself 'lord of the figs'. Chandra and Drew humor him. Drew and Chandra will be appearing in 2012 on the Critical Machine Tour, promoting Ms. Free's graphic novel series The God Machine and Mr. Gaska's Critical Millennium, Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes, Space:1999, and more by appearing at conventions and store signings. Visit www.blamventures.com for listings.

Everyone is losing their sh!t over Batman’s penis.

4A01F7CE-72EE-469F-B54D-FF7F893A094A The heft of his ample member weighs heavily on the Dark Knight’s  brooding soul.

Comics, like movies and games, is an ever evolving form of entertainment. As society changes, what is and isn’t considered acceptable changes with it. Sometimes, it seems, people feel things go too far. This isn’t the first time Comics has pushed the envelope, however.

Do you remember in the ‘60s when those amateurs Lee and O’Neil brought drugs into Spider-Man and Green Lantern comics? 

Disgraceful.

And then in the mid ‘80s when Squadron Supreme, Watchmen, and the Dark Knight Returns made politics even more predominate in comics than they already were? Those books even introduced mature themes—and one even showed a blue penis—repeatedly. They were written by some hacks named Gruenwald, Moore, and Miller. 

0B7E3FDA-E236-41E7-A3F2-D3CE986C40D0SJW vs. Far Right shenanigans.

Miller’s book was just the start of the end for Batman. What about that Arkham Asylum graphic novel that came out in 1989, wherein Clayface explains his tortured life by proclaiming he was not born, but instead was “shit into existence?“

1B4A9652-A524-4F62-81E1-832F10CD75C6 Oh, the humanity.

That one was written by some nobody named Morrison who I’m sure never went anywhere. Remember how that mature readers’ book ruined Batman, forever?

Oh, wait.

In this age, everyone has to be outraged about what is being done to their beloved characters (“Not MY Luke Skywalker,” anyone?) Social media helps facilitate this because everyone feels powerful while hiding behind their computer or phone screen. There are no obvious consequences (although that seems to be changing).

Comic and film franchises can and should try new things without violating the old ones. A mature line doesn’t detract from the regular one, and vise versa.

Here’s how it works—you don’t like it, don’t buy it. 

—Andrew E.C. Gaska

P.S.

…and now, the batarang:

6B3CD29E-EFBC-4B5F-A956-E31D53461550Peniacal.

UPDATE: Due to public outcry, DC has neutered the Batman. All reprints will no longer showcase his penis—it has been been erased from existence.

Good job, heroes. I hope you’re happy.

 

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By Your Command—So Say We All

AA95F3F7-DAA4-40E7-9B4B-E5B4A5457AFDYesterday was the 40th Anniversary of Battlestar Galactica. 

More than a sci-fi shoot’ em up in any incarnation, Battlestar Galactica has always been about both the struggle to escape overwhelming odds and a people’s right to survive. It’s about those being persecuted for their race—be it human or Cylon.

Frighteningly, there are still a lot of lessons to be learned from that in today’s world.

Busy with my new job and reflecting on the loss of the ineffable Richard Hatch (from a year and a half ago), I forwent any formal post until now.

This morning, I feel renewed and inspired—so have chosen to post a piece of Battlestar art that is often overlooked—created by the late great Frank Frazetta as concept art for the show some 40 yahrens ago.

Happy Belated, Battlestar.

May we see you continue to spread your message of hope in television and film form, as well as all other media.

Remember, there are always be those who believe.

As Richard would no doubt now say,

Keep the Faith.

Yours,

Andrew E.C. Gaska

Remember that time 19 years ago when the moon blasted out of orbit?

6AC98CBC-5C47-4567-A407-742DC7353C05Sept 13th, 1999:

A nuclear accident on the moon blasts it out of orbit, through a space warp, and careening into the cosmos.

311 brave souls survive on Moonbase Alpha, searching the stars for a new home.

SPACE:1999 was a 1974 Sci-Fi television series starring Martin Landau (of Ed Wood fame) and Barbara Bain (of Mission Impossible, along with Martin).

The show had a lot going for it. The special effects efforts by SFX wizard Brian Johnson led to his work on Star Wars. Along with Landau and Bain, it had the amazing Barry Morse heading up the cast. Joan Collins, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing all guest starred.

It was to be a Star Trek like series with a 2001 asthetic and tone. While the first season contains many gems, the show was too cerebral for most audiences of the time and was transformed into an action adventure format for season two. At first too adult and then too child-like, the series couldn’t find its footing and was cancelled after year two.

My first graphic novel based on the series was released in 2012 and was called Space:1999 – Aftershock and Awe. The second is sold out and getting harder to find every day.

And yes, there is a new series of SPACE:1999 graphic novels by me on the way.

I have limited copies of Aftershock and Awe available at the $25 cover price plus $6 domestic shipping (FB message me for foreign shipping). All books direct from the author are signed. Please remember to include your shipping address and whatever dedication you’d like. You can order by PAYPAL at soniamexcite@paypal.com.

And please, take a moment to celebrate the 44th anniversary of this sci-fi classic, and the 6,935th day since the moon left earth orbit.

Andrew E.C. Gaska

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BUCK ROGERS NOVELLA 2 TEASER

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Life finds a way—to get in the way. As a novelist, sometimes projects get delayed. Sometimes it’s for good reasons, other times it’s not. As Book 2 from my first Buck Rogers trilogy has been delayed again until the end of the summer, I thought it prudent to share the teaser with an anxious audience.  These three novellas take place between the first and second season of the 1979-1981 television series and mark the transition between the vastly different format of each season.

Please enjoy a taste of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: Draconian Fire Book 2—”Who Mourns for Theopolis?”.

Andrew E.C. Gaska

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Pulse cannons flared and disappeared in the inky abyss.
_________Seconds later, there was searing light.
_________The long-range blasts had found their mark—the earth starship Aniello. Balls of fire erupted along her peppered metal body.  Her blemished skin ruptured and exploding atmosphere dashed to the stars.
_________The void blared violence.
_________Defiant, the Aniello wailed.
_________Her hull blistered and boiled under the onslaught. Milium burst and vented both men and ambuquad into space. Still, she would not die alone. Her assailants zigged about the starry battlefield, zagging to and fro. The pale green coppery starfighters were fast—too fast to get a lock on. And the Aniello wasn’t their only prey. Double pontooned Thunder fighters also blossomed in fiery death spasms under the aliens’ assault.
_________Inside, things were no better.
_________Cast in crimson hues, the starship’s bridge was in chaos. Alarms blared and klaxons burned. Aniello’s steadfast captain sat at attention in the command chair, helpless as the battle unraveled before him.  Bridge displays birthed sparks and unconscious crew slumped over their consoles. As medical teams pulled the wounded from their stations, the other craft in his caravan blinked off of his tactical screen one by one.
_________The Aniello would be the last.
_________Reserve batteries destroyed and power conduits crippled, there was no way to bring pulsars back online, raise the shields, or do much of anything. Holding thrusters were at his command, but they would do very little under these circumstances. Listing forward, the Aniello began to shudder.
_________The battle was lost.
_________The ship’s captain depressed a button on his command pad. He rose. Pulling at the sides of his indigo tunic, he straightened his military uniform and brushed any debris from his shoulders. Finding himself presentable, Commodore Efram Asimov squared his shoulders, set his jaw, and prepared himself to deliver one final order to his crew. Two decades earlier, he had made a similar decision. He had been but a young lieutenant, in command of his first squadron of light cruisers. An unfortunate accident had forced his hand then. It was an order he had hoped he would never have to give again.
_________Yet here he was.
_________The channel was open, all he had to do was speak the words.
_________Those words. For the second time in his life. He hoped it was the last.
_________“Now hear this,” he began. “All crew make way to the lifeboats.”
_________Efram drew a deep breath.
_________“Abandon ship.”

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From the back cover:

The year is 1987, and NASA launches the last of America’s deep space probes. In a freak mishap, Ranger 3 and its pilot, Captain William ‘Buck’ Rogers, are blown out of their trajectory into an orbit which freezes his life support systems, and returns Buck Rogers to Earth, 500 years later…

The next chapter of the first original Buck Rogers in the 25th Century® adventure in over three decades! Set in the continuity of the original series, Draconian Fire Part 2: ‘Who Mourns for Theopolis?’ is the second of three novellas that fill in the gap between the first and second seasons of the 1979 disco sci-fi TV show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century®. Join Buck, Wilma, Twiki, Princess Ardala and Commander Kane as they face a threat that will either unite the known systems or instigate all-out war.

 Part of the BLAM! Noir’s Dime Novella line, the three-part Draconian Fire saga sets the stage for BLAM! Ventures’ Buck Rogers in the 25th Century® Season 3! 
BLAM! Noir™ and Retrograde™ release of a Dime Novella™ presentation.

A BLAM! Ventures™ Production. Buck Rogers and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century® © and ® 1979-1981 and 2017 Dille Family Trust and are used under license. Published by BLAM! Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book 1 is available now, and Book 2 and Book 3 are available for pre-order on Amazon.

Oh Captain, my Captain

In Memoriam27858677_1984686931545855_5320544511332479266_n

One year ago, the stars lost a captain, and I lost a good friend.

Richard Hatch
May 21, 1945 – February 7, 2017

This was one of his favorite pieces of art.
This song fills my heart with him.

I jumped in the river and what did I see?
Black-eyed angels swam with me
A moon full of stars and astral cars
All the things I used to see
All my lovers were there with me
All my past and futures
And we all went to heaven in a little row boat
There was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt

There was nothing to fear 
and nothing to doubt 
There was nothing to fear 
and nothing to doubt

Pyramid Song
words by Thom Y.
art by Ralph M.

One year now without you, and it isn’t any easier, my friend.
Safe journeys.

Andrew E.C. Gaska

STAR TREK sequels and prequels: A History of Hate… and Love.

Continuing a series of essays about Star Trek in honor of Discovery’s return this month.Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 8.53.10 PM

“I think of myself as something of a Star Trek purist, assuming there can be such a thing. I consider only the original series, the animated series, and the brilliant ST:TMP Director’s Edition to be pure canon, along with a very few publications such as the wonderful Star Trek Maps. For me, it is these properties that most purely constitute Star Trek. Concerning Paramount… Why the effort to forget or supplant the original series, the show that prompted the entire Star Trek phenomenon? I’m a great fan of the original, and I have not been happy with the way the current “powers that be” have taken such a revisionist stance with the universe the classic series created.”

—Shane Johnson

Author of ‘the Starfleet Uniform Recognition Manual’ (1985), ‘Mr. Scott’s Guide to the Enterprise’ (1986) and ‘Worlds of the Federation’ (1987)

From an interview in 2001.

Not about Star Trek: Enterprise. Not about Discovery.

About the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager era of Trek. The same evocation of emotion the current crop of Canonites feel about Discovery right now.

Many Discovery naysayers are not remembering (or their grandfathers were still in diapers for) the backlash Star Trek: The Next Generation got for its vast differences to the original Trek—differences that included tone, look, and continuity (Yes, continuity. And Enterprise isn’t the only culprit here. there are many instances where the series in the 1987-2005 Trek era referenced things that happened “100 years ago” or “200 years ago” that not only contradict events mentioned in The Original Series but in each other as well).  

“Watered down Trek,” older fans called it.  And there is documented proof of this in the form of newspapers and magazines from the era.

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Star Trek has even tried to warn us about holding on to the past before, in countless episodes and in the films. Even just looking at Star Trek II, III, VI and VIII, they touched upon Khan’s vengeance, Kirk dwelling in the past, Scotty’s bitterness over new technologies, the reluctance of members of the Federation and Klingons to let go of hatred, Picard’s obsession with the Borg, and more.

star-trek-mr-scotts-guide-to-the-enterprise-signed-by-james-doohan-scotty-mint-17501ae3b86a2d06e1dc4ed916078da6Star Trek: The Original Series purists felt the series from The Next Generation onward violated canon—that same canon that is now being touted as one cohesive all-inclusive piece until the arrival of Discovery.

While I disagree with Shane Johnson’s sentiments, his books are admittedly all fantastic and were a formative part of my teen Trek years. I’m sure some of today’s fans will use Mr. Johnson’s quote as justification for their continued Discovery bashing, but that argument only really holds water if they also dismiss everything post Star Trek: The Original Series—where the real deviations began. Otherwise, what’s happening here isn’t all that dissimilar to the past.

The only difference?

The internet.

Gone are the days of complaining via letter campaigns and convention get-togethers. Now fans can grouse in real time.

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Welcome to the same dawn of any new production era of TrekAll this has happened before, and it will all happen again.

Like the Borg before them, today’s fans will adapt.

 Andrew E.C. Gaska

Nondisclosure of Family Matters: The Siblings of Spock and the Spouses of Sarek

Continuing a series of essays about Star Trek in honor of Discovery’s return this month.

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One of the fanboy outcries about Star Trek Discovery relates to series lead Michael Burnham being the hitherto unmentioned sibling of Spock.

“We have never heard of Spock having a human adopted sister before!” goes the cry. “This violates canonThere is no precedent for this!”

An outrage, for certain.

Just like in the second pilot of The Original Series, when it was revealed that Spock had a female ancestor of human descent. But a few episodes later, we found out it wasn’t an ancestor, it was his mother! There, he and Scotty spoke of Spock’s parents in the past tense.

SPOCK: “I regret not having learned more about this Balok. In some manner, he was reminiscent of my father.”

SCOTTY: “Then may heaven have helped your mother.”

SPOCK: “Quite the contrary. She considered herself a very fortunate Earth woman.

Or in 1967, when Spock’s parents, Sarek and Amanda, were shown alive and wellimplying that rather than having passed away happily married, she NO LONGER considered herself very fortunate to be married to Sarek. Also, young Spock had a pet when growing up that his mother equated to a teddy bearalthough Spock did clarify (thanks, Jim Espo):

SPOCK: “On Vulcan the ‘teddy bears’ are alive, and they have six-inch fangs.”

SaavikAnd in 1973, when we found out that Spock’s father Sarek had a cousin named Selek that was actually a time-traveling Spock! And Spock’s living teddy bear? It was actually more of a man-bear-pig… with one six-inch fang and one three-inch half job one.

Or in 1981, when we found out that Spock, Sarek, and Amanda had raised and sponsored a half Vulcan half Romulan orphan girl named Saavik from the Original Series times to the Wrath of Khan (It might not be in the final film, but Saavik’s backstory was in the script, scenes explaining it were shot but cut for pacing, and it was all detailed in the novelization)!

And in 1989 when we found out Spock had a half-brother from Sarek’s previous marriage!

.KIRK: “He’s your ‘brother’ brother? You made that up.”

SPOCK: “I did not.” slide_297725_2455138_free

KIRK: “You did, too. Sybok couldn’t possibly be your brother because I happen to know for a fact that you don’t have a brother.”

SPOCK: “Technically, you are correct. I do not have a brother. I have a half-brother.”

What? Sarek was married before Amanda? To a Vulcan Princess, no less! The outrage! Nevermind that he is married to another human woman named Perrin 100 years later, this is about the 23rd Century, not the 24th.

What did Spock say when he was asked why he never divulged any of this before?

SPOCK: “I was not disposed to discuss matters of a personal nature. For that, I am sorry.”

KIRK: “He’s sorry. See? He’s sorry. That makes everything all right.”

I mean, those things were all established previously in the pilot episode of the Original Series, right?

Oh, wait…

…I guess the Sareks just like to take in strays.

Spock is sorry.

Andrew E.C. Gaska

Spocks-ever-growing-familMissing from this family pic—Baby Saavik. Put some pants on, Kid-Spockyou are embarrassing your creepy-faced stepbrother and ‘not sure if want’-faced adopted sister. Also, your teddy man bear pig is high again.

Parody image created by Jonathan Lane at fanfilmfactor.com

STAR TREK DISCO: TO CANON OR NOT TO CANON? 

The first in a series of essays about Star Trek in honor of Discovery’s return this month.
23844778_1898570000157549_3335419285486940238_nAn open letter to Trek fans about STAR TREK DISCOVERY and its alleged violation of continuity.

Dear Star Trek enthusiasts,

To canon or not to canon? That is the question plaguing the fandom of Star Trek, specifically about Discovery.

On one hand, continuity is what binds a fictional universe together. We are more invested in a show whose legacy we already understand. Violating the rules of that universe is like violating the laws of physics—something Scotty specifically said couldn’t be done, right before a commercial break. Then he went and did it.

On the other, should good story stand still for canon? Should a show that is created now but takes place before a show that was crafted in the 60s have outdated special effects, or look as cutting edge for today’s audiences as that original show did back then for theirs?

Is Star Trek about reminiscing over TV shows past, or showing us our own future?

Excellent fiction can be crafted out of existing canon. It’s what people like Greg CoxDavid Mack and myself do all the time. I personally have been hired by movie studios to keep track of a franchise’s canon—and have made a career of fixing canonical faux pas in my published fiction.

And change for change sake is just as bad as dead storytelling. But change is also necessary for growth to take place.

The thing is, Trek is a strange animal. It has actually contradicted itself in-universe a billion times already. When discussing things that happened in the past, TOS went and violated itself over and over. It took three seasons to decide what to call things.

What planet is Spock from, Vulcan or Vulcanis?

The Vulcan Mind Meld or the Vulcan Mind Fusion?

Did one of Spock’s ancestors marry a human female, or was that his father who did so? Human great great great grandmother or human mother?

Does the Enterprise have warp drive or hyperdrive?

Is it impulse or ‘space normal speed?’ Or would that be thrusters only?

Can we go to warp inside a solar system, or is that some kind of risk? (None of the Treks’ could keep that one straight, even within their own series).

Is the government the UFP or the UESPA? United Federation of Planets or United Earth Space Probe Agency?

Is the Enterprise Starship Class or Constitution class?

If the Enterprise is 20 years old as Morrow said in Star Trek III specifically stated as 15 years after the Enterprise came home from Kirk’s historic 5-year mission (15+5=20… seems legit), how was she captained by Pike 12 years before that? And Robert April before him? Those are things that were established before Star Trek III, during The Original Series and the Animated Series. Wouldn’t all that make her 40?

What’s up with the Klingons’ lobster heads? How about their blood?

Aside from the look of the Klingons changing from TOS To TMP, they have no honor in the films—just look at Kruge and Klaa. Their honor wasn’t developed until TNG. Then their blood was suddenly Pepto Bismol for Star Trek VI while being red for everything before and most after (except for the blood dripping off of Worf’s broken spine, which was dark purple. When Worf and other 24th Century Klingons get cut, it’s always red).

If the Klingon’s don’t take prisoners as per Kirk in Star Trek II, why does Kruge take prisoners in Star Trek III? Or Chang in Star Trek VI? Or Lursa and B’etor in The Next Generation and Generations? 

T’Pol says Klingon ships don’t have escape pods, but then there they are in Enterprise and Deep Space Nine.

Just how big is that Bird of Prey? It changes constantly for dramatic effect in Star Trek III, then starts Star Trek IV at 50m, only to balloon up to 200m when hovering over the whaling boat at the end (again for dramatic effect).

Why is the Bird of Prey’s bridge so different in Star Trek IV than in Star Trek III? It is the same ship, originally under the command of Kruge and commandeered by Admiral Kirk. It wasn’t refitted for Federation use because all the control panels were still in Klingon—and the old bridge looked more Starfleet anyway.

“The center of the galaxy can’t be reached,” says Kirk during Star Trek V. “No ship has ever gone into the Great BarrierNo probe has ever returned.” Then they proceed to go there.  But didn’t the Enterprise go there already during The Animated Series?

Vulcan has no moon? What’s that in the sky during Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek: The Animated Series, buddy? And what the hell is Tuvok talking about in VOY when he says he was born on “the Vulcanis lunar colony?”

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Wait— Spock has a brother? You made that up.

Some people think Spock was the first Vulcan in Starfleet, something never actually stated on screen but was part of the background material for the original series—but the USS Intrepid—a Star Fleet vessel during TOS—has a crew of 400 of them. 400 Vulcans joined up and graduated after Spock during the dozen or so years before that TOS episode? And obvious at least one of them made Captain before Spock? For that matter, what’s T’Pol’s deal, then?

There are dozens more TOS VIOLATING TOS, as well as the other series violating TOS, examples.

Yes, TNG and DS9 seem to have a different timeline than TOS, and VOY and ENT also seem to have their own shared timeline. And all these violate themselves as well.

So Data was Soong’s only android. Wait—there was a prototype, Lore. Got it! Wait… there was a prototype of the prototype named B4? Ok, but their skin couldn’t be made to look or feel alive enough, that’s why they look the way they do. Remember they are machines who will never age—always set apart from living beings. Wait—Data can adjust the pigmentation of his skin and eyes to look Romulan? Data is getting fat and wrinkly… didn’t we know? Soong put in a program to mimic the effects of age. But what about when Data is 3000 years old? What will he look like then? Why burden the bot with thousands of years of decrepitude? Soong made an android of his girlfriend that had proper skin and eyes and ages as well and could pass for human? I thought he only made Data? Well, Data has a sort of milky white blood circulating through his system. Prick him and he will leak. Troi shot him with an arrow and he didn’t leak? And he was shot with bullets in First Contact and didn’t leak?

Why does Data’s coveted and one-of-a-kind emotion chip look different in different episodes/movies?

For that matter, what the hell kind of cat is Spot, anyhow? What sex? Spot seems to be a nexus of realities, forever shifting.

If during Generations, Kirk was presumed dead when he was lost in the Nexus in front of Scotty before the engineer went into suspended animation in the transporter buffer, why does Scott think Kirk came to his rescue when the engineer is revived during TNG?

How did Seven’s family go hunting for the Borg with Federation funding if the Federation didn’t know who the Borg were until Picard and crew met them? Or was it when Archer and crew met them during ENT, 200 years prior? Wait, why didn’t Picard know about the Borg?

How did the Borg go from Daft Punk to the Walking Dead?

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What’s up with the Romulans’ foreheads?

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Why do the Trill in TNG have knobby heads and no spots when Dax has spots and a normal head? Dax violates canon!

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Why do the Tellarites no longer look like Porky Pig?

Gral

What of the Andorians ever-shifting shade of blue or grey or green, and changing foreheads, hairline, antenna—both their location and appearance? Since when do the antenna move?

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Again, there are at least dozens more. Is all this the result of the Temporal Cold War in Star Trek: Enterprise? Was said timeline-altering conflict created to cover these faux pas in the first place?

How do you resolve it?

Well, you have some fine authors craft tie-in materials that make it all make sense for those who care. A lot of this stuff has been covered over the years just like that. And that just what is being done in the Discovery novels right now.

Why are they using 3D hologram communications on Discovery instead of just using the view screen? Turns out the messages contained so much data they were using too much bandwidth, clogging subspace channels and tying up communications. They went back to viewscreens until DS9 times when it was finally perfected, and even then only used sparingly.

Why are Discovery’s uniforms different than those worn by the crew of the Enterprise during the episode “The Cage,” which takes place in the same time period? Star Fleet was trying out new uniforms on the flagship fleet of Constitution class cruisers during this time (I assume it’s because they were leaning towards a time of peaceful exploration and the Klingon War caught them off guard. This delayed full implementation of the classic uniforms until years later).

If you care, buy Star Trek novels and comics. Buy them for all your favorite franchises. You keep reading them, we will keep writing them, and if we are doing our job right, you will get your answers.

If you don’t care, just sit back and enjoy Star Trek on TV and film. Our fandom is lucky enough to have both options.

Other things, such as the spore drive, will straighten themselves out before the series is over. And the Klingons… well, we went 25 years without an official explanation of their change in appearance—don’t expect an explanation for this one for another 25.

Star Trek looks forward to our future, even when telling stories in its fictional past. It gives us just a dash of what we know from before to provide us with a comfort zone. It doesn’t stagnate in nostalgia—that is the purview of the pretenders to the throne (the Orville, anyone? But that’s an open letter for another time).

Just remember that in Trek, continuity is fluid. It’s like that in any franchise that develops over decades. Has to be.

Star Trek: Discovery is in fact no more or less guilty than the Treks that precede it. The minor stuff is always shifting. The story is the key, and the legacy is enduring. Star Trek can survive a little change.

It’s called evolution.

Yours,
Andrew E.C. Gaska

 

Tellarite_screen_test,_The_Deadly_Years (2)Evolution: Something this TOS Tellarite is having a lot of trouble with. Oh, dear…

 

Loving Leia

tumblr_o0i9uy4g8W1v2fnuuo5_1280Our Princess passed one year ago. While she is mostly known for her role in Star Wars, Carrie Fisher was more than that. Outside of her character, she was a survivor. Carrie was a vibrant, witty, troubled woman who was fighting drug addiction and depression her entire life. A woman who pushed past her problems and made something of herself, instead of succumbing to severely crippling psychological disorders.

I met Carrie once, over a decade ago. Carrie was signing at the Big Apple Convention in NYC and was bored out of her mind. She was cranking out assembly line signatures to fans who were too afraid to say anything to her except, “Thank you,” if they even remembered to do that.

Aware of her fun side, when I got to my place in line, I spoke up.

“Hey Carrie, please sign it to Dr. Pornstar, and write something dirty, too.”

Carrie paused.  A smile began to creep over her face.
Her eyes twinkled.
“Mmmmm,” she said, inspiration taking hold.

Below is the result. Thank you, Carrie. Just as you live on in the Last Jedi, you live on in our hearts. You were and still are a beacon of hope.

Andrew E.C. Gaska

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Creative Kiss 101—An Empire of Nuances

CONTINUING A NON-SPOILER LOOK AT STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI VIA ANALYSIS OF OTHER FILMS IN THE FRANCHISE.

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Many times, it’s the little things that push something over the top—for better or for worse. Just as the static and clumsy oversight of an incompetent creator can hinder any fictional endeavor, the subtleties perpetrated by a good director can augment one’s sense of wonder. The tools at any creative director’s disposal include more than the players and crew. Palette, scene composition, dialogue, and character idiosyncrasies are all key to telling a bigger story.

Irvin Kirschner was George Lucas’ film teacher. When George bowed out of directing the eventually titled Episode V, he asked the senior director to pick up the reins for him. What he did not expect was that Kirshner would create a superior product, elevating Star Wars out of Toyland and into film and franchise history. As director of the second Star Wars film, Kirschner jam-packed every shot in the Empire Strikes Back with details not readily noticed on a single viewing. Let’s take a single scene and break it down, shall we?

THE SCENE: LEIA KISSES LUKE TO PISS OFF HAN

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ACTION

The modern viewer is drawn, of course, to the incestuous brother/sister kiss which dominates the scene (Mr. Lucas seems to have glossed over this kiss and Luke and Leia’s awkward romance when he got lazy and decided not to follow the original plan.continue with Episodes VII VIII & IX in the eighties. According to Gary Kurtz, Luke’s actual sister was on the other side of the galaxy. After the Emperor’s death in Episode VI, Palatine’s essence would flee there to corrupt her. Luke would pursue the disembodied Emperor, ultimately finding his sister and encountering a whole new universe of threats. But I digress…)

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THE DEVIL, YOU SAY

It’s all about the details. Let’s take a look at the other particulars of this scene. Chewbacca, obviously, finds the entire affair amusing. Han is… well, look at Captain Solo’s face—obviously, he is disappointed and yearning as he watches Leia kiss her brother, wishing it was he she was kissing instead of Luke.

The best part is Threepio’s double take. He rushes up to see the kiss, then immediately turns to see Han’s reaction. As stupid as Threepio is, he knows.

When Leia pulls away from Luke and looks Han in the face, the smuggler quickly changes his visage to one of awkward nonchalance. He tries in vain to look nonplussed by it all and is unable to meet her eyes for long.

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WHY IT WORKS

Altogether a well-played amusing scene that gets better with subsequent viewings. There is always something new to look at in each revisit. Everyone in this one scene has their own arc to worry about. Each is in character and reacting according to who and what they arethe secondary characters aren’t just there to fill up space, even though they are reacting to something that has nothing to do with them. Compare that to the prequel trilogy, when character and dialogue exist merely to move the thinly contrived plot from point A to B to C. Everyone in Empire is alive.

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CONCLUSION

Irvin Kirschner was a civilized director for a more civilized age, and more modern directors would do well to tip their hats to the man. His attention to detail was something you that you simply don’t see in genre fiction anymore—and something that elevated Empire from a mere sequel ‘strapped to a one-hit wonder’ to art in and of itself. It’s easy to get caught up in the trappings of a galaxy far, far, away. Fans need to remember that just like a good book or anything else, a good film is good regardless of its genre. For all its potential and revelations, the Last Jedi is missing the nuances needed to make it so. That’s right, I made a Trek reference on a Star Wars post. You go and Live Prosper now, alright?

Just as the other films in history’s longest trilogy, it’s devoid of the art of Empire. Does that make the Last Jedi a bad film? Probably not. I did enjoy it. It’s certainly not prequel bad. It’s just no Empire Strikes Back. But then again, what else is? Not much.

Class dismissed.

Andrew E.C. Gaska