September 2019~ Aron Eisenberg RIP

Star Trek fans across the globe learned today the sad news of the passing of Aron Eisenberg.

Aron and his wife, Malissa

Aron had many roles on TV shows such as ‘The Secret World Of Alex Mack’, ‘Parker Lewis Can’t Lose’ as wells as parts in films and on stage.

The Horror Show (1989)

To Trek fans however, Aron is best known as the young Ferengi, Nog on Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Nog later went on to be the first Ferengi to join Starfleet and sustained a life-altering injury during the Cardassian War at the Siege of AR-558 where he lost part of a leg.

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Aron (as Nog) with legendary actor, James Darren (Vic Fontaine) in Star Trek: Deep Space 9

He also had a part in Star Trek: Voyager as Kar, a young Kazon.

Kar (Star Trek Voyager)

Aron returned to the Trek world as the voice of Nog in the MMORPG Star Trek Online.

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Captain Nog (Star Trek Online)

A convention veteran, Aron was a fan favourite who loved entertaining the attendees. I met Aron through my work as a Team Member with FCD Events. Aron appeared at two events, the second time bringing his wife Malissa along for the ride. He entertained us all with his stories from the set of Deep Space Nine, talked about his battle with his health and recent transplant and showed us all how humble, caring and compassionate he was.

 

 

Aron, together with JG Hertzler (General Martok) were an absolute hit with everyone in attendance at the first event. It was for that reason that they both returned a year or so later along with other actors from Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Stargate.

Aron was also a gifted photographer and was always posting amazing photos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Below are a few of my favourite photos shot by Aron.

 

 

I, along with many Trek fan will miss Aron dearly. His online presence consisted of various social media platforms as well as the 7th Rule podcast which he presented along with fellow DS9 actor Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko). Aron was very interactive with fans and this was always appreciated. This is something that other Trek actors could learn (mentioning no names!!) He was one of the most caring, self-deprecating, humble and loving members of the Star Trek family I have had the pleasure to meet.

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My photo op with Aron

Rest in Peace Aron, you may be at rest now but you and your legacy live on in the work you leave behind and in all the souls you encountered and left a lasting impression on.

 

September 2019~ Badges & Pins

I’ve been absent for a while due to dealing with severe depression and anxiety. This is something I will address in a future post. Suffice to say it is something I have been dealing with my whole life.

Ever since I was very young I have enjoyed collecting a variety of badges and pins. During the 1980s and 90s I had a black bomber jacket covered in them. So many that I used to rattle whilst walking! As long as the badge or pin was nerd related I’d wear it.

In the 90s Paramount began releasing combadges and other pins from Star Trek. Then they starated issuing licenses to other companies and the number of Trek pins went up dramatically!

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As you can see from the photo there were quite a few to choose from. This is only a part of my collection. Now, not all of these are from the 90s. The large Discovery badge in the centre and the TNG combadge to its right are both fairly recent and are made by QMX.

Nowadays I only wear one or two on my coat and it tends to be the Discovery badge. I don’t buy as many pins as I used to.

However, that all changed when I attended Destination Star Trek in Birmingham last October.

I discovered a US based company called FanSets. They produce high quality (enamel I think?) pins based on a number of different TV shows and movies.

The pins are produced in sets. For example there is a set of pins based on season one of Star Trek: Discovery with every episode getting its own pin. There are also character pins as well as special variants, and I must admit they are all amazing. The pin collector in me went a tad crazy and I spent around £100 in pins (about $125). Photo below.

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I’m planning on buying more and intend on posting a short review of each one, starting now.

In the above photo there are 4 episode pins and 4 character pins. I’m a huge fan of Michael Burnham (played by Sonequa Martin-Green) and purchased 6 pins with her on them.

The first is from Episode 1 The Vulcan Hello and shows the meeting between Burnham and the Klingons. Its a great image of Michael in an EVA suit with a new look Klingon next to her. The quality and detail is awesome and its a good weight too! In my opinion these pins are more for collection purposed than for wearing.

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The next pin is from Episode 3 ‘Context is for Kings’. Burnham boards the Discovery and meets Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) for the first time. They’ve captured Michael’s likeness amazingly on this pin, especially her hair.

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Pin 3 is from Episode 6, ‘Lethe’ where we learn more about Michael’s background and her time spent with Amanda and Sarek. Another great episode and once again the likeness is uncanny!

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The final episode pin is from the season one finale, ‘Will you take my hand’. This is my favourite episode pin so far. At the end of the episode, Michael and the crew are all given medals by Starfleet and Burnham makes a very moving speech. This pin is truly amazing. It shows Micheal with her medal and, most importantly, Michael has her commission back. The background to this pin is the UFP logo. This pin IS heavy and I love it.

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I also have 4 character pins:- I have Cadet Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) , Klingon warrior L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) and two Michael Burnham pins. One as Cmdr Burnham and a variant of Specialist Burnham after she has been stripped of her rank. Both pins are awesome and I hope to collect more Burnham ones as time goes by!

 

 

Finally I have this pin which says “We Are Starfleet” on it. This is a quote taken directly from the show itself. This is one that I actually wear from time to time.

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If you are a pin collector and you haven’t heard of FanSets then I suggest you check them out at www.fansets.com where you will find pins from Star Trek, Aliens, Harry Potter and more.I can’t stress enough how awesome these pins are.

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Above photo for size comparison purposes. Once I acquire more pins I will post about those too!

 

 

July 2019~ Star Trek: Picard

It was announced in August 2018 that Sir Patrick Stewart would be returning to the role of Jean-Luc Picard.

More information was given at SDCC. The series is set 20 years after Jean-Luc Picard’s last appearance in Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) and finds him deeply affected by the death of Data, as depicted in Nemesis, as well as by the destruction of Romulus as depicted in the film Star Trek (2009).

The show is set to air in early 2020 on Amazon Prime and stars the following people (blatantly borrowed from Wikipedia!)

Picard

Main cast
Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard: Retired admiral and former captain of the USS Enterprise-D and USS Enterprise-E.

Santiago Cabrera as Cristobal “Chris” Rios. The pilot of Picard’s ship and a skilled thief.

Michelle Hurd as Raffi Musiker: A former intelligence officer struggling with substance abuse

Evan Evagora as Elnor: A Romulan refugee who is an expert in hand-to-hand combat and is fiercely loyal to Picard

Alison Pill as Dr. Agnes Jurati

Harry Treadaway as Narek:A Romulan refugee[10] who joins Picard’s crew in investigating what his people are doing to former Borg drones

Isa Briones as Dahj

De Niro as Number One: Jean-Luc Picard’s dog.

Recurring and returning cast
Brent Spiner as Data
Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
Jonathan Del Arco as Hugh
Jonathan Frakes as William Riker
Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi

October 2018~ Destination Star Trek Birmingham

This was the fourth official Star Trek event run by Showmasters/Media10 and the second to be held at the NEC in Birmingham.

If you read my blog post on the 2016 event you will recall that I was hugely disappointed with the whole thing. From the lack of things to do to the layout and the quality of some of the prop shoots that were available. I bitched, I moaned and with good reason. At one point I even refused to go again up until I had a chat with one of the organisers. That chat, and the temptation of meeting the Discovery cast was enough for me to give them another chance and I’m honestly glad I did. Life is too short to be holding on to grudges and I wanted to have some fun.

Most of the hotels were either fully booked or overpriced so I decided to stay a bit further out at the Travelodge Maypole. The crew of the USS Iceni were also there so I was able to grab a lift in with them.

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Things began on Thursday evening when Larry Nemecek (Trek Oracle and all round nice guy) and The Trekkie Girls organised a “Landing Party” quiz. There were about 10-12 teams, and my team came second. We won a bag of goodies provided by various people.

Friday morning arrived and we headed off to the NEC. Doors would be opening at 2pm but we had to put the finishing touches to the Iceni table. Once that was done I was able to have a look around.

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Hall 5 was bigger than the hall used previously and the layout was far, far better. The photo shoot areas were all along one side which greatly helped. In between each main shoot area you had the museum, the Discovery mirror universe exhibition (which was awesome) and the various green-screen shoot areas. This meant that there was no congestion around these areas and they were all well organised.

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The three stages had a corner each with the main Enterprise stage being right by the Iceni table. There was also a covered screening area with a set programme of episodes being shown over the weekend.

There were a number of prop shoots around such as a transporter, Borg chamber and a Horta with her eggs- I do feel that she could have been positioned better. There were also two bridge sets- the classic Constitution Class bridge from the original series and the Galaxy Class bridge from the next generation. I hope that they eventually make another bridge set. Maybe Voyager or the NX-01 bridge. Finally there was a Klingon captains chair and a replica of Quark’s bar on DS9. Lots to do!

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There were a lot more dealers than in previous years and the quality of the dealers was better too.

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The European Space Agency were also present, doing talks, giving away freebies etc.

Lastly, there were two gaming areas. One for board games and one for console/computer games and pinball machines. I got to have a play before the con opened.

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Matt Irvine, designer and model maker was also on hand with many of his pieces.

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John Eaves, Starship Designer was also present. It was good to talk to him about what influences his art. He was also signing and giving away a limited edition print of the USS Shenzhou from Discovery. He was a pleasure to talk to.

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The event itself ran smoothly. I only managed to get to one talk on props and model making as I was busy having photo shoots. I did however manage to get nearly all my autographs done on the Friday which made Saturday and Sunday even easier. I used my Discovery poster that I was given at the Netflix event last November.

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So in general there was much more to do this time around and the layout was better. Moving forward, I would still like to suggest dedicated seating areas for people as I did see lots of people struggling and not everyone is able to sit on they floor. Also, the fold up chairs that are used are not very comfortable. But that’s a minor gripe. I also think the fan zone needs work with a dedicated coordinator as Zoe was rushed off her feet!

As you can imagine there was lots of cosplay going on with many people making Discovery costumes, both prime and mirror universe.

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I had an absolute blast meeting the Discovery cast, especially my favourite, Sonequa Martin-Green who plays Michael Burnham. She loved my #Bonkers4Burnham shirt, which was inspired by the #Silly4Tilly shirt that Shazad Latif wore to a con. This inspired my friends and I to come up with a range of hashtags and have them printed on shirts. I have promised Doug Jones that I will come up with a suitable one for Saru. Mary Chieffo also liked the #Longing4L’Rell shirt but I didn’t get much of a reaction from Mary Wiseman over the #Krazy4Killy shirt by comparison. Just a “nice shirt!” In her defence, they all looked tired having just flown over from set. I got the impression that I, being a big chap, scared her and Anthony Rapp. I do hope not!

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I also managed to have a good chat with Astronaut Fred Haise who was part of the Apollo 13 mission, and Sandra Lee Gimpel who played a Talosian and a Salt Monster on the original series.

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They have announced a 2019 event for late October. Will you be there? I think I will.

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Showmasters, if you are reading this can we please have Rekha Sharma as a guest? Thank you muchly! I have a hashtag shirt to show her…..

October 2018~ Star Trek Short Treks

BLACK ALERT! SPOILERS FOLLOW….

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It was announced at San Diego Comic Con that CBS would be releasing a series of 4 “Short Treks”- 15 minute long episodes that would begin airing in October, and take us up to the start of Discovery Season 2. Each episode will be centered around a character.

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Now I will freely admit that I had to find an alternative way of watching this as CBS have made it US only. This is a bad move as A)there are fans worldwide like me who pay their Netflix subscription so they can watch Trek and B)it forces us to find other ways to watch as we have no idea if they will ever be seen! Sort it out CBS!

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The first Short Trek, titled ‘Runaway’ is begins with the now-Ensign Sylvia Tilly, played by Mary Wiseman, communicating with her mother, Siobhan Tilly, who is cautioning her over her choice of career path and reminding her to know her limitations.

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Shortly thereafter Tilly is in the Mess Hall when she encounters a young Xahian stowaway named Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po, played by Yadira Guevara-Prip, who is a talented engineer. It is up to Tilly to help her return home in time for her coronation.

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It’s a great episode and definitely worth watching. Mary Wiseman is awesome once again as Tilly.

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The episode also has a couple of the best quotes from Tilly so far. “Hormonal space rabbit” and “quadruple espresso with milk alternative- it’s my best friend” both had me laughing out loud.

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Can’t wait for Season 2!

August 2018~ Star Trek Discovery: Spock casting!

When Star Trek Discovery began in 2017, many Trek fans, myself included,  hoped that they wouldn’t go anywhere near Kirk, Spock and co during the first season. I felt it needed to be accepted on its own merits. Season one was a complete success (for most fans) and it was an amazing sight when the Discovery finally came nose-to-nose with the USS Enterprise…..I must admit a little tear was shed!

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This led many to believe that the Enterprise would somehow play a big part in season two. That was subsequently confirmed by CBS when they announced that actor Anson Mount was cast to play Captain Christopher Pike (Commander of the Enterprise before Kirk), another Trek character to have been played by multiple actors.

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Anson Mount, Jeffery Hunter, Sean Kenney & Bruce Greenwood as Captain Christopher Pike

What little information we do have tells us that Spock has vanished; Pike and the crew of the Discovery, including Spock’s adopted sister Michael Burnham, set out to find him.

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Sarek (Spock’s father) & Michael Burnham

Since the announcement that Spock would somehow play a part in Discovery season 2 there has been a lot of speculation about who would play him if he were to appear.

Many fans were excited at the prospect of a new Spock, whilst others said that to recast would be tantamount to sacrilege as there can be only one- many said that Quinto was bad enough in the JJ Abrahms movies (FYI even though I’m not a fan of the JJ-verse, for me Quinto and Zoe Saldana were perfect casting choices).

Leonard Nimoy

To me, Leonard Nimoy (Grandpa Leonard 🙂 ) will always be the quintessential Spock. However, for Trek to continue, recasting becomes necessary.

I’d like to remind people that to date, 9 people, including Nimoy and Quinto have played Spock:

So there IS a precedent for a new actor playing Spock at a different age and I’m cool with that. I’m sure the new actor will pay homage to Leonard Nimoy- Leonard’s family seem to approve!

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Ethan Peck (Centre) with (L-R) Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax in Star Trek: DS9 and wife of Adam Nimoy), Adam Nimoy, Julie Nimoy & David Knight (Julie’s husband)

So who is the new Spock?

His name is Ethan Peck and he comes from good Hollywood-acting stock; his grandfather was the actor Gregory Peck who I loved in The Omen, The Guns of Navarone, To Kill A Mockingbird and more…..

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Ethan already has a good list of acting credits under his belt and I’m sure he will be a great addition not only to Star Trek Discovery, but to the whole Trek family!

Welcome Ethan!