There’s an internet meme doing the circuits that beautifully demonstrates the impact that 2016 has had on the many of us. 2016 has been one for the history books in both regards to current affairs and Star Trek.
Let us focus on Trek. The TL;DR is a mixed bag, mostly epic. The year began with the best announcement ever. A new Star Trek series announced, Star Trek Beyond was released, the tragic passing of Anton Yelchin and a global celebration of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary.
For us, our love of Star Trek has taken us to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Birmingham, met more friends, old and new and sparked that feeling of ‘newness’ regarding Star Trek that is reminiscent of the 1990’s.
But Star Trek is all about looking forward.
Here’s what we think will make Star Trek and it’s fandom feel different from it’s previous incarnations;
Star Trek Enterprise ended before Facebook and Twitter went mainstream. Sci-fi fans are all about live streaming, interacting with fans and filling the void between episodes. In recent years the SM team at Star Trek have upp’ed their game, nonetheless we look forward to banter and memes galore!
The crew and cast have an important role to play in this too. For other incarnations we have relied on books and post-production interviews to learn about the goings-on, the gossip and internal insights. Eager fans hang on to every tweet Rick Burman posts to get a further glimpse of what life was like on the set of TNG.
We’ll have this live. Already a twitter storm has blown up with the changes effecting Bryan Fuller’s stewardship. Whilst well managed internally, it’s the friends-in-the-know, associated to the inner circle who often provide the really juicy stuff. A bit like how William Shatner always announces himself as headlining a convention before the official announcement. He doesn’t have to tow the corporate line so much!
Star Trek has a good grip on its merchandising and licensing but looking back over the past few years an area they have locked their targets on is Conventions/Events. This was once the realm of the fans and it was geek privilege to organise them. I can’t find the source but some time ago I read a news article that young actors today are hoping to get a genre role just to get in on the convention circuit. Many actors can make more money in one weekend than they can filming for a week. And large scale convention organisers don’t have it bad either.
Rightly so Star Trek have been charging organisers a license fee to host these events to protect the brand (and the latinum!) It has made sense to contract out the organisation of events to companies with the expertise to do so, but given how immensely popular comic con style events are becoming, we wonder whether networks will begin to look to run these ‘in house’ and cut out the middle man? They already have the PR machine, the studios and most importantly, access to the talent.
Fans finding their niche
There are record high numbers of Star Trek fan blogs and podcasts and this is surely set to boom once Discovery hits our screens. Not everyone is going to listen to 30 different episode reviews each week.
It won’t be long until each outlet finds it’s speciality, whether it be twitter presence, interviews, book reviews, insights, rumour etc.
Which bring us on to the Trekkie Girls!…!!
We have an interesting year ahead and there will be some changes. I (Sam) and my family have decided to go travelling for a year! My husband had enough of corporate life so quit his job and we are taking our 2 year old Jean-Luc on an epic away mission! (We aren’t like 7 of 9’s parents – honest!)
I’ll still be blogging from wherever we are and I’ll be video linking with Carole and Sarah for our vBlogs.
I’ve even got some ‘must go’ locations for Trekkies on my list! So we believe it’s an improved service from us from a more international arena!
What a year 2016 has been for everyone huh? I mean, good and bad. In fact, an awful lot of bad, but it is not the purpose of this post to dwell on those. There have however been highlights, certainly for me personally. I downloaded my Tweet archive today because I was looking for a particular Tweet. I realised that I hadn’t done this since August 2015! You may be wondering what my point is here, but it kind of just sums up my 2016 really. I mean, where the hell did it go?! I know everybody says it, every year, but these past 12 months have literally just flown by. The Tweet archive thing is poignant because I always used to download my Tweets when I did my TNG season reviews, as a means of refreshing my memory. I started Season 5 on the 29th March this year and I’ve only reached episode 11. I may have watched a couple more than that, trying to make an effort, but I certainly haven’t tweeted them. #epicfail
My TiT New Years Resolutions this year were:
Catch up on the #RedShirtDiaries
I had 12 months to do this – a very realisable target I thought to myself.
How many of these have I achieved? Zero. Nil. None. Not one. Not even close.
So what happened? Life. That’s what. Sometimes it just doesn’t go the way you think it’s going to. That’s why I personally think New Year’s Resolutions are a waste of time. Am I sad about not meeting my own expectations? Anybody that knows me will tell you that it absolutely drives me insane. I hate to feel like I’m letting people down and I really, really wanted to do each and every one of those things. But… and it’s a BIG but, I have also had the most insanely amazing year as a TrekkieGirl, and for that I am not sorry.
Let’s just recap…
February 2016 – The SF Ball, Southampton
TrekkieGirl Sam was flat out in sickbay and it was up to Carole and I to represent the team. What an amazing day we had, culminating in interviewing the awesome Connor Trinneer, Dominic Keating, Vaughan Armstrong and Casey Biggs. The video has never been released, but boy did we have fun! Naughty, naughty boys they are…
April 2016 – Larry came to stay!
Yes, in April, THE Larry Nemecek came to the UK, stayed at Sam’s house and we all went out for dinner in a local country pub – *bliss*. Oh, and I got my copy of “The Next Generation Companion” signed… #winning
Also this month, I finished my #TNGSeason3 review and did my first solo Periscope. Nerve-wracking but fun, and thankfully well received!
May 2015 – The chipmunk/chipettes reunion / LA BABY!!
May was the month when Simon, Jamie and Phil of The Engage Podcast came to visit. We had lunch, we podcasted and had a day full of general merriment! Love these guys SO much!!
I was also honoured to be asked to guest star on The Engage Podcast twice more this year – once in February to discuss “Star Trek Troupes” (not bad considering I didn’t know what a “troupe” was until then!) and then in June for our epic TNG Season Two review.
Also in May the most incredible thing happened. My *cringe* video won the #Star Trekcontest competition – a weekend break in LA!
We attended exclusive audience with JJ, Justin Lin, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban; witnessed the dedication of Leonard Nimoy Way at Paramount Studios; saw a brand new trailer for the film; got a close-up view of the costumes and props, and partied like we were the only “English girls” there! Well, actually we were!
Not forgetting of course meeting up with Larry (again!) and his friends for dinner. And listening to Steve D’Errico’s amazing stories!
July 2016 – Movie marathon madness and BEYOND!
Yes, we sat in the cinema for 8 hours to watch Star Trek and Into Darkness, before getting to see the hotly anticipated Beyond for the first time! It did not disappoint.
October 2016 – #DSTE #DST50
What a way to finish off THE best year to be a TrekkieGirl. So many incredible memories from that weekend. Panels. Meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Recruited in to THE William Shatner’s crew for the morning. Marina Sirtis recognising US! Wil Wheaton. Adam Nimoy. And getting to experience all this with two of my bestest friends in the world. Love you girlies so much!!!
So, yeah, I let myself down on the whole TiT front. I got a new job about six months ago and the effect it has had on the amount of “free time” I have has been hard. But by God I’ve made up for it in other ways. It has been an amazing year!
I don’t know what 2017 has in store. I’m sure it will hold its own special set of challenges. One thing is for sure though – that my love of Star Trek has grown exponentially over the course of this year and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. There is so much to look forward to…
So, whilst I won’t promise to do or be better in 2017, I can assure you that my love of Star Trek is here to stay, however that may present itself.
I’m writing this post under my own name as with everything in politics. It’s a personal thing. It’s also collective. And it feels good to share.
I’ve been open about my political leanings. I’ve worked in that battle field. I’ve stood for election many times and served public office for some years. My underlying principles have been always been Liberal and Star Trek was the influence and educator for me.
When I went to bed the night of the US Election, I noted that I felt the same as I did the night of the EU referendum. Smug reassurance that everything was going to be fine and go the way I thought it would… and should.
Watching the results come in that night I felt like the crew of DS9 checking on the weekly casualty reports during the Dominion war.
Whilst Star Trek appeals to Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, the overwhelming majority of us all share it’s core philosophy. That’s why campaigns like ‘Trek Against Trump’ gained such widespread support. And why I have only encountered a handful of a Trump and Brexit supporters – hey we’re all internet friends!
But the next morning as I sat drinking my 4th Diet Coke at 6.30am, with a screaming 2 year old, a vomiting dog, news that a relative had passed away and Trumps face grinning through the TV. I nearly surrendered to the fact that humanity is in the midst of a self destruct phase. Then I heard Captain Picard’s voice calmly speaking.
That’s when I remembered that doing nothing isn’t an option. So I rewatched The Drumhead and in my angry, defeated mindset, Picard reminded me to keep fighting the cause.
You’ll recall a Klingon exchange officer is accused of smuggling information to the Romulans but denies causing an explosion in engineering. This leads to an investigation into the crew which reveals a young officer lied about his Romulan heritage when applying to Starfleet. The Drumhead is one of Star Trek’s finest hour. But Picard’s words to Worf chime true at anytime and during any political climate.
This was the moment for me I realised that Star Trek isn’t just a ‘utopian vision’. It’s a working political model. It is continually tested and challenged. This is where Star Trek can give us hope during these times.
So whether you’re feeling sorry for yourself and the frightening shift away from liberalism, freedom and common sense, Or if you’re conservative and believe in devolving power to the lowest possible level, Here’s five lessons we can take away from the TNG episode The Drumhead. Let me know what you think. Are there any you’d add?
Constantly reevaluate your own beliefs and hold them to account.
I have put this first as I believe it is the most important and key to our development and growth as a person. Picard does this early on in the episode when talking to Admiral Satie. She wants to begin the investigation by limiting Tarses movements based on her Betazoid assistant’s intuition (that Tarses is hiding something). She makes excellent points. She speaks calmly, she’s intelligent and her argument has plenty of merit. You can see Picard considering carefully. When she asks if Picard would act on similar advice from Counsellor Troi, he acknowledges the hypocrisy of his stance and resolves to correct it instead of making excuses for himself. I’ve rarely ever seen a politician .. or person admit this during a confrontation.
2. Let your logic and emotions work together in harmony.
There’s a reason why that guy in your office, who claims ‘he identifies mosts with Vulcans’ because he ‘doesn’t let emotions get in his way’ – is a complete Jerk. This is because unlike Vulcans, he has not completed the Kolinahr and he doesn’t follow the teachings of Surak. When human beings try to suppress their emotions, things go bad. This is where Picard excels and Admiral Satie fails. Picard can sometimes seem cold when in fact he is always congruent with his emotions. Perhaps this is why they don’t always come bursting out (unlike that guy in your office!). He is quick to notice his gut feeling and tells Worf “This doesn’t feel right”.
Admiral Satie on the otherhand seems very ‘in control’ of her emotions, which in our culture is applauded. She is quick to loose control though when her buttons are pushed. There are similarities to Trump here. They both are capable of provoking intense feelings in others – particularly fear. However when Picard used Satie’s fathers words against her and when Alec Baldwin, Cher and every media outlet used Trumps words against him, their fragile inner emotional state can’t cope.
3. Everyone believes they are the goodies and doing what’s best.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that no matter how awful or misguided someone’s beliefs are, Everyone thinks they are doing what’s ‘best’ or ‘necessary’ despite the actual outcome. The same is true with Picard and Satie. In fact they have much more in common than not. They both want the truth, they both want to protect the values of the Federation.
I often had to remind myself of that when I was working with (what I now consider) moderate opposition parties. The difference is in the policy and how you will achieve the goal. Satie believes that the overarching importance is “protection of the Federation” – and any measure however unsavoury is worthwhile for the great of good. However Picard sees the rights of the individual as sovereign. That by protecting the one, you are upholding the values of the Federation which you seek to protect. We see Picard implement a person centred policy many times, e.g. Measure of a Man, The Offspring, Insurrection.
On a side note, I once considered taking an action that was morally questionable but for a good cause. I watched the DS9 episode “In the pale moonlight” where Sisko brings the Romulans into the war. After watching that episode I was convinced it was the necessary thing to do. But after weeks of considering it I thought to myself “Would Picard have done that?”. I thought of the Drumhead and realised that Picard would have found another way. For me and my conundrum, it wasn’t the ‘right’ thing to do.
4. Step up to your duty.
Whether you’re a voter, party member or president-elect. We all have a role and responsibility.
When Picard sees that Tarses will need legal representation he calls on Commander Riker who steps up to protect Tarses without hesitation. When it is suddenly revealed that he is part Romulan, the audience gasps and we’re all thinking he is guilty as hell. Riker may have reacted with a presumption of innocence and jumped to Simons rescue. Or he felt the same as the audience but knew his duty was to protect Simon. Either way. Classy.
Not only is this a reminder on how to treat others but with lots of big news stories hitting out headlines almost daily it’s vital to continually scrutinise, challenge and determine what is actually important.
5. Lecturing other people about their beliefs rarely changes their mind.
Picard eloquently explains his position to Satie, as does she. As she won’t change her mind, Picard needs to remove her power. He does this by enlightening others. He provides evidence so Admiral Henry from Starfleet Security, the rest of the crew and even Satie’s staff can see her for what she really is.
Hateful words spread fear but silencing them can give their cause credibility, as they claim to be repressed. Picard puts the spotlight on Satie and allows her to reveal the full extent of her fanaticism. This allows followers like Worf to re-evaluate their own stance. Picard took a person centred approach again as he is aware that change comes from within and given the full facts, a person can make an informed decision. The draw back is that the person receiving that decision changing information generally has to be well balanced, constantly re-evaluate their own beliefs, has harmonised their emotions with their logic and will step up to do their duty. Which is why it worked so much better in 2367 than in 2016.
If you’re looking for Christmas gifts for a Trekkie than take a look at these winter wonders from Lovarzi. As we state in our vblog review, we are cautious when people ask us to review their products – mostly because we don’t want to be in the awkward position of having to saying anything negative should we believe the product be worthy of disposable by a garbage scow!
Fortunately we were relieved to discover that the Umbrella’s and Scarf’s on offer from Lovarzi were good quality so we were happy to give them an honest review.
Available to buy direct from Lovarzi whilst stock lasts … Perfect for this British weather!