Thursday, 5 January 2017

The Year Ahead: 2017


Another year has rolled around and thank god we have managed to pull ourselves out of 2016. 

Going back 12 months to our predictions for the year, what did we get right and what didn't quite work out?

Well, Beyond wasn't the runaway success we all hoped it would be. While the script from Doug Jung and Simon Pegg was light years ahead of the the '09 and Into Darkness movies both that and the direction from Justin Lin didn't inspire audiences to head to the cinema in their droves. Rated as one of the "flops" of 2016 it's a big shame since Beyond is a damn fine Star Trek film. How this disappointing result will affect the already announced Star Trek 4 we will probably find out shortly.

In regards to our thoughts on fan series and the like, a certain court case put paid to a lot of those although there were a few final episodes from Continues, New Voyages and the exceptional Horizon movie which premiered back in February. Sadly though there will be no sequel to that project after a quiet word from CBS meant it was canned permanently.

Now the New Year beckons and with it our thoughts on the next 365 days. Let's kick off with the obvious one...

Star Trek: Discovery

First announced in November 2015 we should now be mere days away from the pilot episode however due to what might be a genius move, the show will now launch in May. I reckon this is a sensible step given all the backstage events of the last 12 months. Adding a few more months to production just ensures a stable show and will help iron out the cracks. Along with the assembled writing staff we also know of seven cast members although according to IMDB only a few of those are signed on for the full first season. I'd guess that these won't all be lead characters and there are still more announcements to come. Note too that Sonequa Martin-Green has not yet been officially cast as "Lieutenant Commander Rainwood" which could suggest there are certainly others who are to be added before her confirmation. Without question and be it good or bad, this is the Star Trek event of 2017. Let's hope they sorted that ship out too...

The Next Generation @ 30

Believe it or not, the show which revived Star Trek on TV back in the late 80's is celebrating three decades in 2017. That might mean pulling out that Blu-ray box and watching Encounter at Farpoint one more time but it could indicate some special releases later in the year? Something commemorative perhaps? Would we go so far as to suggest The Next Generation Roddenberry Vault?  I wouldn't be surprised if there's a 30th anniversary novel or trilogy to accompany. Time to dig out the technical manual and that 365 book - think they'll be getting a lot of use this year!

Deep Space Nine Behind the Scenes

Much touted, much wanted and can't come too soon for many fans - a promised documentary on all the goings on from the dark sibling of the Star Trek franchise. When announced this really got Niners excited including myself. For a series that is often sidelined even against Voyager or Enterprise, the news that we would be getting a documentary digging into the very bones of the show was a highlight of 2016. This will be a must see and must own for any fan.

The Future of the Fan Series

Exactly a year ago the fan film sphere was shattered by the news that Paramount and CBS had issued a cease and desist against Axanar. The independent/fan film was set to be the closest thing to Star Trek ever not produced by the licence holders and was backed by one of the most successful crowdfunding projects of all time. Trouble is that there seems to be a lot more to it than that with expenses, studio ownership and "missing" funds being part of something we never wanted to hear about. The case goes to court on January 31 2017 and will without doubt determine what can and can't be done by fans of Star Trek forevermore. One thing is for certain and that's that "fair use" cannot be used as part of the Axanar defence. 

Thing is that already the case has effectively closed down much loved web series such as Continues and New Voyages to name but two. Already it seems that New Voyages has resigned to the fact it's all over and is now offering guided tours of the original plan-accurate sets. The case also forced others to change their name and style just to stay alive - Renegades and Anthology (now The Outer Rim) to point out a couple of instances. If you recall these were a couple of our ones to watch in 2017. Rules are already in place following the 2016 furore but this impending court case might alter the deal even more. 

Eaglemoss

The Official Starships Collection will hit its 100th issue in 2017 with the Daedalus Class marking the occasions. While this year will bring us bigger versions of every Enterprise from The Original Series to Nemesis plus specials focusing on ships from Beyond, the publisher is also branching out into the graphic novels. Following a successful test run in late 2016 this series will soon allow fans to own material from the last 4 decades of Star Trek with some cool gifts along the way. Perhaps not one in too fussed about but I certainly think a lot of fans will be excited by the prospect of this new collection.

First Contact Day 

Out of the Ashes 2.0

In its third year as FCD and after some monumental challenges in 2016, the event run by fans for fans is back and at the Telford International Centre.  With a line up including cast from Babylon 5 and Stargate Atlantis and Universe, the big draws for Star Trek fans in the U.K. will be FCD veterans John Carrigan and Aron Eisenberg plus Voyager's EMH, Robert Picardo and Number One himself, Jonathan Frakes. Really amazing news to hear the team had managed to get these two gents to add to their already superb line up. FCD might not be the arena filler that Destination Star Trek pertains to be but it has more heart and passion than any other event I attend during the year and that goes for things Trek or non-Trek related. Get your tickets. Don't delay.

So what are your highlights and thoughts for the coming 12 months?

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