Monday, April 27, 2009

Star Trek Newsweek's Cover Story

This week's issue of Newsweek devotes a lot of attention to Star Trek including the inspired cover image of a child flying a toy Enterprise as part of the upcoming release of the movie.

There are three main articles, one of which explore Star Trek: The Next Generation from the writer's perspective. "Vulcans Never, Ever Smile" tells of the difficulty that writers had on the series (155 writers for 198 episodes) as they tended to get fired frequently by the show runners (including Roddenberry) for not meeting whatever standards they wanted at that moment in time (which explains why the series quality jumped around a great deal).
In Hollywood, as in life, the real power rests with the moneymen: the studio, or whoever is financing the enterprise (small "e"), and the network, or whoever is putting it on the screen. That's why one writer-producer I worked with on "Star Trek" always carried a wad of thousands of dollars in his pocket, which he fondled when things got frustrating. "To remind me of why I'm here," he said.
The cover article, "We're All Trekkies Now" summarizes the history of the show and its similarities to today's point in history with a new administration.
There's one more intriguing allegorical overtone to the new "Trek," perhaps completely accidental. With the willfully hegemonic Bush administration now gone, the tenets of Roddenberry's fictional universe feel very much in step with current events. Whether you're happy about it or not, the Obama foreign policy, at least for now, emphasizes cross-cultural exchange and eschews imperialistic swagger. That sounds very much in sync with the Federation's Prime Directive, which stipulates that humanity should observe but never interfere with alien cultures (no Iraq-style invasions, in other words).
Newsweek's website also has a gallery of images from the franchise's history that shows some of the celebrity Trekkies that have been on the show (oddly leaving Whoopi Goldberg out of the mix).

The new issue should be out on newsstands in the next day or two.


  1. Greg Ellis who plays Chief Engineer Olsen in the new Star Trek film. LIVE Tues. 9pET

  2. Leave it to the media, in this case Newsweek, to STILL use every possible means to bash Bush, even the release of a Star Trek movie. God, grow up already.