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Re-Watching Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Screenplay by: Jack B. Sowards
Story by: Harve Bennett and Jack B. Sowards
Produced by: Robert Sallin
Directed by: Nicholas Meyer

Release date: June 4, 1982
Stardate: 8130.3

Mission Summary

The U.S.S. Reliant makes an unexpected discovery on a scientific mission to the Ceti Alpha system: the genetically-engineered superman Khan Noonien Singh and the surviving crew of the S.S. Botany Bay, who has been cooling his heels on the inhospitable fifth planet for the last fifteen years. Khan’s somewhat pissed that his old friend James Kirk never called or wrote since marooning them there, so he takes over Reliant and begins plotting his revenge, which mostly revolves around a) inserting gross, brain-controlling slugs into Captain Terrell and Commander Chekov’s ears, b) stealing the Genesis Device, an experimental probe that can terraform a dead planet within days (what could possibly go wrong?), and b) killing Kirk. A person has to dream big, and galactic overachiever Khan is reaching for the stars.

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Thank you

One year ago today, Torie and I posted our first Star Trek Re-Watch post on this site, “Spock’s Brain.” (Sorry about that.) When we launched The Viewscreen, we weren’t sure if we would even have an audience over here, but we were surprised and pleased that so many readers followed us and faithfully participated in weekly discussions of one of our favorite television series.

We are thrilled that this site has developed such a terrific community of amazing, intelligent people from all over the world and widely different backgrounds, united only by an interest in Star Trek–even if we don’t always agree. (Especially if we don’t always agree.) We appreciate every one of you. As we conclude “season one” of The Viewscreen, Torie and I thank you for your support, for making this site what it is today, and for giving it a future that we can hopefully all explore together.

Live long and prosper.


Re-Watching Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Screenplay by: Harold Livingston
Story by: Alan Dean Foster
Produced by: Gene Roddenberry
Directed by: Robert Wise

Release date: December 7, 1979
Stardate: 7410.2

Mission Summary

A giant space cloud, impervious to conventional weapons but massively destructive, is headed straight for Earth. Naturally the Enterprise, fresh from a renovation, is the only ship in interception range. Admiral Kirk temporarily takes control of the ship from its captain, Captain Decker, and reassembles his old crew–including Spock, who just failed to complete the Kolinahr–to confront the cloud.

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The Re-Watch Adventure Continues…

At last, Torie and I have fully recovered from the Star Trek Animated Series Re-Watch, and have completed or set aside our other pesky obligations, so it’s finally time to launch our rewatch of the Star Trek films!

We’ll start things off where it all began with Star Trek: The Motion Picture this Thursday, October 6, then proceed through the rest of the films on the same schedule for the following five weeks, from planet Genesis and straight through the final frontier to the undiscovered country–with a short detour to 1986 to say hello to some whales and grab a slice of pizza.

We hope you’ll join us for this exciting conclusion to the adventures of the original crew of the starship Enterprise and help give them a fitting sendoff. We’ve enjoyed sharing this series in all its formats with you all for the past two years, and we’ve both been looking forward to talking about the films for a while. Odds are even, it’ll be a good time! And as always, we appreciate it if you would spread the word to encourage an engaging discussion.

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Happy 45th Birthday, Star Trek!

On September 8, 1966, the United Nations first promoted International Literacy Day; Elizabeth II opened the Severn Bridge in the UK; and some TV show about people in space seeking out new life and new civilizations premiered.

Star Trek, I hope 45 years is just the beginning. Happy birthday!


And because it’s not a party without cake, here are some of the best Star Trek cakes I could find.

[Made by DecadentDiva]

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Open Thread: Galaxy Quest

Since there won’t be a substantial post for a little while longer…

Gwen DeMarco: What is this thing? I mean, it serves no useful purpose for there to be a bunch of chompy, crushy things in the middle of a hallway! No, I mean we shouldn’t have to do this, it makes no logical sense, why is it here?!
Jason Nesmith: ‘Cause it’s on the television show.
Gwen DeMarco: Well forget it! I’m not doing it! This episode was badly written!

Open thread, by virtue of being open, is not actually restricted to discussing Galaxy Quest. But who can resist? I missed this movie entirely in theaters and only saw it years later, as part of an Alan Rickman: Beneath His Dignity marathon at my college SF club.  (Just an excuse to watch Prince of Thieves, really. Though I also vaguely remember watching a terrible romantic comedy.) At least half the jokes were lost on me at the time.

What I find so striking now, being a much more hardened Trekkie than I was then, is how well Galaxy Quest (as a parody!) captures the sincerity of the original show and honors it. What destroys the Thermians is the idea that these people who embody virtue and all that is noble and good are lying. Star Trek has always been unapologetic in its idealism. It’s nice to see that aspect of it not ridiculed in the least but held up as a virtue–and as more than that, something sort of sacred.

It’s so hard to pick a favorite line. “That was a hell of a thing!” No, wait. “By Grabthar’s hammer… what a savings.” Or maybe it’s the one about Gilligan’s Island


Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Viewing Party

But he seemed like such a nice boy...

Since we had such a fabulous time watching The Motion Picture, we’ll be doing it again with everyone’s favorite waxed chest, Ricardo Montalban. The viewing will begin on Saturday, August 27th, at 2pm EST. You’ll have to provide your own copy of the film, and as with all of our reviews, we’ll be watching the original theatrical release–no director’s cut, no “remastering,” just the movie as it was presented in 1982.

I’ll be around no later than 1:30pm if you want to test out your microphone and just chat pub-style before the movie starts.

Skype is going to be the utility of choice for voice chat (text wound up too cumbersome, but it’ll be available as an option if there’s enough interest). Skype is free and works on all platforms, so sign up! Iif you don’t have a microphone but do have a regular phone and want to be part of the chat, e-mail me your phone number (torie.atkinson [at] gmail [dot] com) and I will call you so you can join us.

My name on Skype is torie.atkinson and Eugene is e.c.myers. Cover charge is a willingness to shout KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNN!!!!!!!!!.

And for the steel-livered, grab some aged Romulan ale and try The Khan Drinking Game:

Drink every time…

…the camera shakes to indicate a ship has been hit;
…a character feels his or her years;
…there’s a literary reference;

(Do add your own rules in the comments!)

Let us know if we should expect you!


Star Trek Animated Series Re-Watch Wrap-Up

With just 22 episodes, we have come to the end of The Animated Series. Here’s a breakdown of our ratings:

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Star Trek Animated Series Re-Watch: “The Counter-Clock Incident”

The Counter-Clock Incident
Written by John Culver
Directed by Bill Reed

Season 2, Episode 6
Production episode: 22023
Original air date: October 12, 1974
Star date: 6770.3

Mission summary

Enterprise is heading back to the planet of the diplomats, Babel, with another very special guest: her first captain, Commodore Robert April.

APRIL: No matter where I’ve traveled in the galaxy, Jim, this bridge is more like home than anywhere else.
KIRK: Yes, Commodore, I know the feeling.
APRIL: To me she was always like my child. I was there in the San Francisco Navy Yards when her unit components were built.

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Star Trek Animated Series Re-Watch: “How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth”

How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth
Written by Russell Bates and David Wise
Directed by Bill Reed

Season 2, Episode 5
Production episode: 22022
Original air date:  October 5, 1974
Star date: 6063.4

Mission summary

In an ominous beginning, a mysterious space probe takes a scan of Earth’s system and then self-destructs. The Enterprise’s mission is to trace the imploded propulsion system’s destructive matter trail to its origin and find out where it came from and who sent it.

They don’t make it very far before they find a huge “crystalline ceramic” ship twice the size of the Enterprise. It’s pretty far away but they can’t get any closer for inspection–some kind of “globular force field,” firm yet flexible, has entrapped them. As the offending ship becomes more visible they realize it looks like a giant winged snake. Needless to say, it’s not anyone the Federation has had contact with before.

Luckily, this week’s minority helmsmen is Walking Bear, not Sulu, and he recognizes the ship’s design immediately: it looks kind of like the winged serpent Kukulkan.

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