Svengoolie to present original Star Trek pilot episode

Fans of both Star Trek and b-movie horror host Svengoolie will enjoy the show this weekend when MeTV airs the original pilot episode “The Cage” hosted by the Chicago Television legend!

When I heard the news, I reached out to Sven’s alter-ego Rich Koz for comment: “As a longtime Star Trek fan, who watched the shows when they first aired  -yeah, I’m that old- getting to present the original pilot is a real kick for me -especially this remastered, full color version. Still blown away by the scene where Spock finds something amusing and breaks out in a big smile!”

Which begs the question, will the rubber chickens be set to stun?

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From the MeTV YouTube Page:

On Saturday, September 10, 2016 Svengoolie presents the original, unaired ‘Star Trek’ pilot, “The Cage,” at 10PM | 9C. Also, at 9PM | 8C, tune in for the first ‘Star Trek’ episode to air on broadcast television, “The Man Trap.”

Visit the MeTV website for programming info!

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“Trouble with Tribbles” Writer David Gerrold talks about the heritage of Star Trek

With Star Trek marking its 50th anniversary this week, all of fandom has been celebrating the launch of the television series that inspired generations of science fiction lovers and created a lasting legacy.

As part of the celebration, CBS Home Video is releasing a special collector’s edition blu-ray set that gives Star Trek fans a look at the series as they’ve never seen before. (I’ll be posting my review of the set in the coming week. There’s a LOT to check out!) They also had original series writers D.C. Fontana and David Gerrold doing interviews with different media outlets to talk about Trek and the new blu-ray set.

I was able to get a few minutes with Gerrold, who I must admit being a fan of for decades. In addition to writing “The Trouble with Tribbles”– considered one of the most popular Star Trek episodes ever – he’s also written the Hugo and Nebula Award winning novella “The Martian Child.” But I really became a fan when I got hooked on his “War Against the Ch’Torr” series, a tale of alien invasion that this geek discovered in high school after reading an excerpt in “Starlog Magazine.” (Gerrold informs me that he has finished the 5th book and is awaiting edits.)

Gerrold spoke to me by phone as he was on the road doing the Star Trek convention circuit:

Geek To Me: Have you had a chance to look at the set, and if so what do you think about it?

David Gerrold: I’ve looked at some of it. It’s 30 discs, you know, it’s going to take a while to get through the whole thing. But I am so jazzed by the blu-ray remasters. If you have a good TV set – and most of us have 42 inches and up now – you’re actually seeing Star Trek better than it’s ever been presented before.

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I remember we would get the dailies for Star Trek the original series, and it was a 35 millimeter print, the same you would go to the movies (to see). It was crisp, clear, there was no grain, no jumping around, no scratches, and it was on a high quality projector, right?

What you’re seeing on the blu-rays is as if you’re seeing (the dailies) but it may be even better because it’s been digitally remastered. For instance there’s a shot in “The Trouble with Tribbles” where Leonard Nimoy has some coffee on his velour at lunch. And you can see it, the coffee stain. Nobody ever noticed that before.

So, I am so excited to actually have this high-quality version of Star Trek. Because Star Trek is iconic. It’s just one of the very best things that American television has ever created. As a science fiction fan, how can you not be enthralled?

I’m excited, did I say that?

More after the jump!

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Getting paid on the Enterprise: How does money work on Star Trek?

The latest episode of Geek/Countergeek has Keith Conrad and I discussing Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary, the new blu-ray collection, and how money – or more specifically commerce – works in Gene Roddenberry’s utopian future.

Just how much do garbage men make in the United Federation of Planets?

FOLLOW KEITH CONRAD on TWITTER!

FOLLOW GEEK/COUNTERGEEK on TWITTER!

“Opening the Mother Box: Exploring my relationship with comic books, religion and George Lucas”

marrowAbout a month ago, I was invited to speak at “The Marrow“, an event that takes place at The Whistler in Chicago each month. At this event, storytellers are asked to read an essay that gets to “the marrow” of who they are.

As it was the first time I’d ever done something like this, I was rather nervous and wrote a piece that was to be a deep, personal exploration of my self.

It was well-received, but after hearing some of the other storytellers that evening – one spoke about trying to find a rehab facility for his ex-wife on a holiday, another about her estranged relationship with her mother and how it all started the day her mom kicked her father out of the house – I knew that I had just skimmed the surface.

Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll go much deeper. But for now, I’ll share with you the essay that I announced that I’d never read in public again. :::laughs::: I’m so full of it:

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The challenge to writing an essay about oneself, especially one that is supposed to get to the heart of who you are, is that you tend to get all caught up in your own bullshit.

You know, you get sidetracked by trying to turn a clever phrase, or using florid language that makes you sound smarter than you think you are.

You find yourself unconsciously using a verbal sleight of hand, one that distracts your reader from the truth that you don’t want them to see you tucking away in your pocket.

So there won’t be any of that from here on out…

Or will there?

(Continues after the jump!)

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Soldier for The Empire: Peeking Inside “The Imperial Handbook” with Dan Wallace

If you ask me, Dan Wallace is living the dream! As the author of such geek-tastic tomes like The Jedi Path and The Iron Man Manual,” he has gotten to play with some of the most iconic characters in pop culture.

Now, after giving readers a look at what it’s like to become a Jedi Knight (or follow the path to the Dark Side in Book of Sith) he delves into the life of an Imperial recruit in “Star Wars: Imperial Handbook.”

Corresponding via e-mail, Wallace and I discussed what it’s like working in the Star Wars Universe; how Stormtroopers really aren’t clones; and who would win in a face-off between Darth Vader and Iron Man:

Geek To Me: Let’s get some of the basic fanboy stuff out of the way, shall we? How long have you been a Star Wars fan?

NewessentialguidetodroidsDan Wallace: Since forever! I had the toys, memorized lines, the whole deal. I’ve soaked in Star Wars pretty much my whole life, so to have a chance to contribute a tiny piece to it in my own way is just the best.

Geek To Me: Of all the characters in the saga, which one really resonated with you the most?

Dan Wallace: Personality-wise, I’m most like C-3PO. Not particularly heroic, obsessed with minutiae and procedure. But from a favorite character standpoint I’ve always liked Lando Calrissian. He’s like Han Solo but with a lot more suaveness and gambling skills. Lando is 20% James Bond.

Read more after the jump!

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Machinima Prime presents: BATMAN vs DARTH VADER!

“Only a fully trained Jedi Knight with the Force as his ally will conquer Vader and his Emperor.” – Yoda, the Empire Strikes Back

“I want you to remember the one man who beat you.” – Bruce Wayne, The Dark Knight Returns

Fan-films sure have come a long way! Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I clicked on this video from the Machinima Prime YouTube Channel’s  “Super Power Beat Down” series, where they pit The Dark Knight versus the Dark Lord of the Sith.

“Darth Vader taking on Batman!?” you say? “Oh you know this has gotta be good!” And I agree:

(Check out some bonus videos after the jump!)

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This is the darkest timeline…

I’ll never forget the day this happened. To set the scene up: I had been asked by the folks of Wizard World – the convention organizers – to moderate the “Star Trek Captains Reunion” panel at the WW Chicago Comic-Con a couple years ago. It was going to be one of the biggest events I’d ever be a part of at that point in my career as a “geek journo.” The panel included Avery Brooks (Captain Sisko from “Deep Space Nine”), Scott Bakula (Captain Archer on “Enterprise”) and Captain Kirk himself…WILLIAM…EFFING…SHATNER(!)  Now, Shatner had already given me some playful grief backstage, so I guess I should have expected this:

Funny, huh? Thing is, something happened during the panel that kind of paints that whole act of nerd collectible-vandalism in a different light. Something that pretty much goes unnoticed by most if you watch the entire panel on video.

Quite frankly, it was a hard lesson that I learned about dealing with celebrities and interacting with them in these types of scenarios. It was also lesson that I’ll never forget, and that I always keep in mind when I work conventions like C2E2 or Chicago TARDIS.

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Star Trek: Axanar – The Kickstarter Preview

I was alerted to this Kickstarter campaign by David Gerrold – the writer who gave us “The Trouble with Tribbles” – when he wrote about it on his Facebook page. It’s for the production of an indie Star Trek series called “Axanar.”  This is what the series would be about, according to the KS page:

“Axanar” takes place 21 years before the events of “Where no Man Has Gone Before”, the first Kirk episode of the original Star Trek. Axanar is the story of Garth of Izar, the legendary Starfleet captain who is Captain Kirk’s hero. Kirk himself called Garth the model for all future Starfleet Officers. Garth charted more planets than any other Captain and was the hero of the Battle of Axanar, the story of which is required reading at the academy. This is that story.

If you ask me, it’s closer to the spirit of the original Star Trek than the “rebooted” version we currently have:

You can check out the KS campaign by clicking HERE.

What say you? Is it Trek enough for ya’?