Wednesday, 29 July 2020

The Wire: In Discussion - Especially the Lies

In association with Star Trek Club Stoke, this time we're digging into Deep Space Nine's second season instalment, The Wire.

This episode focuses on Garak, the Cardassian tailor and possible spy and his unlikely friendship with Doctor Bashir. Garak suffers debilitating pain, which he initially tries to hide until he eventually collapses. Bashir discovers he has been fitted with a device by the Cardassians which is degrading his nervous system (presumably, this is the ‘wire’). Is this some kind of punishment?

As Bashir seeks further information, Garak tells various tales of his fall from favour in the eyes of Obsidian Order overseer Enabran Tain. This in turn caused his exile to Deep Space Nine although each of the explanations turns out to be false and subsequently replaced by new lies as Garak becomes increasingly hostile and deranged. Did he betray his friend Elim or did Elim betray him? Did he murder Bajoran children or save them?

Garak's nuances and frailties would only be covered again through his claustrophobia in In Purgatory's Shadow and this instalment gives Deep Space Nine fans a rare chance to see the chinks in the armour of the most secretive man on the station. You have to wonder if there would be a point at which he would give up anything he was asked but we never quite reach that point. Ironically it's a device implanted to create euphoria and counter torture that has the potential to end Garak's life.

Bashir has to be strong enough to navigate the lies and hostility, eventually tracking down the now retired Tain who seems to retain a fondness for Garak and gives Bashir the information he needs. The episode ends with a now recovered Garak joining Bashir for lunch, telling him that all his stories were true; ‘especially the lies’.

From the outset this appears to be an episode to explore, after two years, the background of Garak even if it all turns out (or doesn't) to be lies. With the benefit of hindsight and a further five years of stories, do we ever really get to a finite answer on this episode? Do we really ever know why he was exiled from his homeworld? Simply, no. The nearest we probably get is his reunion with a dying Tain in By Inferno's Light but that only confirms that Garak might be Tain's biological son as it's not firmly set out in the dialogue, only inferred.

What The Wire actually turns out to be is a coming of age story for Bashir. Initially seen as young and naive especially back in Emissary and any away missions thereafter (note to The Storyteller, Battle Lines...) but here in the latter half of season two there's definite change in the character noticeably from Armageddon Game and here. The arrogant self-belief that he has all the answers has long since dissipated, replaced with a wiser, more open Julian Bashir who, in this case looks as though he might be beaten in a scenario where the patient is a "close friend". 

The discussion on the episode suggested this made him a match for Garak however it may be that by the end of the story he is seen as having more potential than the Cardassian initially believed. Julian has to see past the lies and try and discover what actually happened and how Garak ended up in this state. The weird thing is that by the end titles we're no clearer on anything apart from two things; Garak's first name is Elim and secondly that you can't trust a word that comes out of his mouth. 

It was also suggested that Garak’s cryptic references to his ‘friend’ Elim could support the fan rumours that the Garak character is either gay or bisexual. Indeed, it was pointed out that he had been the one to initiate the relationship with Bashir back in Past Prologue and continues it to the conclusion of the show although nothing is ever made of this directly on screen.

The Wire is a definitive moment in the relationship of the doctor and the tailor, cementing their unusual friendship and exploring both in a new and unexpected way that looks at the way in which they are seen from the outside - and are not quite the same individuals by the end. It's also the first time we get to hear about the Obsidian Order (much more on them over the next few years) plus we're introduced to The Never-Ending Sacrifice and Meditations on a Crimson Shadow - two of the finest pieces of Cardassian literature written.

Thanks to Alan Boughey for his assistance in this discussion summary of The Wire.

Friday, 24 July 2020

On the Way: Nick Series Gets Named

Lockdown hasn't slowed the Trek train with Comic-Con virtual panels bringing us more news from the franchise.

In terms of Lower Decks, the panel highlighted the characters of Boimler and Mariner plus treated us to the first scene from episode one entitled Second Contact. Episodes two, three and four will be Envoys, Temporal Edict and Moist Vessel.

I'm cut to it, I thought the opening scene for Second Contact was fantastic. It kept with the look of the franchise while also dropping that little tint of humour and a rather unexpected conclusion in a matter of minutes. I'm genuinely very excited for this - it's brighter, it's lighter and it's definitely a huge contrast to the gloom and doom that many say has perpetuated Picard and Discovery before it. Even just this first scene manages to get Romulan whisky and a bat'leth into the show and that's less in than two minutes!

The other more interesting news is the unveiling of Prodigy - the 2021 show that will be landing on Nickleodeon. For once using the star of the command emblem rather than the delta shield as part of its logo, Prodigy will follow the adventures of a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it search out adventure, meaning and salvation. 

Sounds a bit heavy for a kids show but the adventure certainly suits the channel. While Lower Decks heads for the adult audience, Prodigy could be the franchise's first real chance at tapping into the younger market and begin to grow the fanbase of tomorrow to ensure Star Trek's longevity into the 2100's even.

What does seem odd is that while we're being told about these two new animated shows - both of which have a minimum two season run confirmed - we've not seen a second trailer for the third year of Discovery nor have we really heard any more about the future of the Michelle Yeoh-led Section 31 show. In fact, we probably know more about Strange New Worlds!

My thoughts would be that with recent pandemic events, the animated arms of the franchise can continue fairly freely but social distancing will have placed serious restraints on physical filming progress for any and all of the live action elements of the universe.

The premiere of Lower Decks itself is set for just over two weeks but for those outside the range of CBS AllAccess, there's still no word on a distributor. Yes, Amazon did step in fairly late to the game with Picard but this would be a big concern at such a late date. Is it Netflix-worthy to sit alongside Rick and Morty for example? What is the plan for the show for the global fan community or are we going to need to find dubious websites to download the ten episodes?

What are your thoughts on Prodigy and the imminent arrival of Lower Decks?

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Friday, 17 July 2020

Lower Decks: The Trailer

The Lower Decks trailer has, expectedly, split the ol' fandom a few more ways.

Whether it's too much comedy, bad animation, cheap gags or...well...whatever, someone somewhere has a complaint goddamit and we should all pay attention/boycott Star Trek/reminisce about the Golden Age.  

Or maaaaaybe we could give it a chance and see what a full episode is like? Logical? 
I openly admit that comedy in Star Trek is an element I have struggled to understand. It could be the American sense of humour washes over me or that it's just not that funny. I, Mudd, anything with Lwaxana Troi...not a glimmer. In fact the only ones that I can say did raise a smile were the Tribbles duo from The Original Series and Deep Space Nine and the inventive The Magnificent Ferengi.

Lower Decks is going to attempt two very alien concepts to the franchise. Firstly that key animated show that has not been seen since the '70's and then splicing that together with a more adult edge humour. The animation already reminds me of Final Space but I hope it's not just retreading that kind of territory.

Featuring the four main cadets - Mariner (Tawny Newsome), Boimler (Jack Quaid), Tendi (Noel Wells) and Rutherford (Eugene Cordero), the trailer also sees a few more angles of the Cerritos confirming further there's definitely no physical way to step between the hulls except through the engines and also, if you're quick to catch it, that there's an Argo stored somewhere aboard as well - could indicate that we're going to see a lot of Easter Eggs in the background to try and catch each week!

The comedy aspect of the show certainly shows through with Biomler interrupted as he recites a fake captain's log in the cupboard and Mariner gets all excited about the new blast shield on the shuttle. Then there's the tasks these guys seem to have to do - the mundane of the mundane including emptying holodeck waste - one of those things that you probably don't consider when you're watching The Next Generation. If Lower Decks hits this right and looks at the bizarre plot holes, bloopers or oddness of some parts that we have taken for granted within the franchise while simultaneously managing not to destroy its credibility (it's a tall order...) then this is destined to be a roaring success. 

But the look, the very aesthetic of Lower Decks looks very close to canon in a bizarre way with a familiar looking bridge set up including three central chairs as well as a Conn and Ops position. Wonder if they'll change the carpet colour each season? Check out some of the background details such as the labelling on the pipes or the look of the ship corridor that echoes the design of the Enterprise-D including wall-mounted LCARS. The detailing on Mariner's PADD for example is equally brilliant and legible - carbon filter maintenance anyone? It is super light on plot details suggesting that each of the ten stories will be independent although there's that moment where we have two of the senior staff are congratulating each other on a "successful second contact" reiterating the Cerritos' less than premier status within Starfleet.

One of the things that fans seem to have latched on to pretty quickly is Rutherford's takedown of a group of cartoon Borg which seem to be viewed through his optical prosthetic. The redesign for Lower Decks has simplified the armour and the detailing there on for the Collective and has managed to keep them instantly identifiable with their glowing eyewear and zombified facial expressions. It may well be that, as we see in the trailer, the background attention to detail is the draw and the big win - even the bridge stations at the rear are labelled Engineering, Environment and Mission Ops.  I have to say that this burst of shots, including some gorgeous teases of a Klingon planet as well as several alien encounters that look to be significantly less than 100% successful given some of the expressions we see here!

The trailer really does lack any cohesive context, instead hinting at humour and the visual aspect of the show rather than attempting to show any definitive storytelling. In comparison to both the Picard and Discovery trailers this is a very distinct shift where both series’ teasers chose to focus on elements of the arcs that were to dominate their seasons. 

This could indicate that Lower Decks is going to be a much easier watch in every respect although i personally feel it would be a detriment to the franchise whole if the characters aren’t fleshed out and fully realised. McMahon’s style is certainly all over this product and lines up with Rick and Morty although you can hope its a bit more family friendly than that series. Will it manage to balance the humour element against the background of a franchise which has avoided such a direct attachment to that genre for decades? It is a risky move but choosing to go into animation rather than live action may pay off and open up the franchise to a new audience in the way that the Kelvin Timeline did in 2009. 

That too was divisive but here we have the franchise’s first real step into the unknown which has already been greenlit for a second series with the first not even on air; that's a lot of confidence in a product that the public have not yet seen.

So whether you think Star Trek has jumped the shark, taken a road it shouldn't travel or are genuinely looking forward to this utterly unique chapter in Star Trek history it's coming...

Excited? Concerned? Done with the franchise? Where do you stand with Lower Decks after seeing the trailer?

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Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Guest Starring: Reflections on Picard

Like so many fans, I came to Star Trek as a child in the mid-90s. Unbeknownst to me, the franchise was in the middle of a renaissance with overlapping series and movies being released at the same time. It truly was the best of times. Trek fans were spoiled, and we didn’t even know it.

At the heart of this new resurgence, of course, lay Gene Roddenberry and his philosophy. After his death in 1991, the onus fell upon Rick Berman who tried his best to create television that Gene would have approved of. It was an approach that Berman himself has, at times, been critical of. Should he have permitted more serialised storytelling on The Next Generation and Voyager? Would darker themes have yielded higher ratings and therefore greater commercial success? Time certainly has been good to Deep Space Nine – once the ugly duckling of the franchise it is now experiencing a long overdue critical re-appraisal.

So, when Star Trek returned to television after more than a decade away, it was clear that many of the tropes of contemporary storytelling would be employed to bring the ageing franchise into the 21st century. The result was 2017’s Star Trek: Discovery.

I’ll admit it – I’ve never warmed to Discovery. It's certainly not for lack of trying (having watched every episode of the two seasons presently available). Sure, I could point to the unlikeable characters or the dour wartime storyline, but the cause of my discomfort lies deeper – it doesn’t feel like Star Trek.

When it was announced that Patrick Stewart would be returning to his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard, I was elated. Not only was I excited to see one of the most beloved characters in all of science fiction return, but it symbolised a return to the 24th century (the first since 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis) and a re-engagement with established canon. As the first season of Star Trek: Picard unfolded, I began to sense a growing unease – not only in myself – but in certain segments of the fandom as well. This wasn’t the show we had hoped for, and it sure as hell didn’t feel like Star Trek

What follows is my personal laundry list of why Star Trek: Picard fell short of my expectations:

Patrick Stewart himself:

Patrick Stewart’s very name is synonymous with thespian excellence. His rich timbre and dedication to his craft have allowed him to create some unforgettable characters both on stage and screen. I’m saddened to say that I was less than impressed with his performance in Star Trek: Picard. His voice – one of his more formidable acting tools – is shot. No one is immune to the passage of time, and, without wanting to appear ageist, I believe he has simply aged out of the role.


Episode five featured the now infamous eye gauging scene – it was the one and only time I have turned my head away from the screen during an episode of Star Trek. It wasn’t just the scene itself that I found distressing, rather the context. The audience watches as a familiar character has his eyeball forcibly extracted as he is restrained on a bloody bed, screaming in agony.

Some in the online fanbase were quick to respond: “Star Trek has always been violent; they were just hindered by network TV censorship standards”. Others cited Harry Kim’s spaghetti-like wound in Scorpion, Part I as precedent, or, better yet, Remmick’s exploding head from Conspiracy. It’s true, Picard is not beholden to the censorship standards of the 90s, but just because they can show gory content, it does not mean they should. 

At this point, I feel the need to qualify my critique by identifying myself as an ardent horror fan. I’m not “against” gore on television, but that kind of imagery is not what I want from Star Trek. 

Swearing & Contemporary dialogue:

Many reviewers have taken umbrage with some of the language used in the show (one foul mouthed Admiral in particular). I personally didn’t care for it, mainly because I feel it was it was used clumsily. Swearing for swearing’s sake. 

It reminded me of the scene between Kirk and Spock on the bus in Star Trek IV. Spock notices that contemporary speech is peppered with profanity. Kirk waves it away as a vernacular artefact of centuries past. In the Star Trek universe, this is the way humans on earth used to speak to each other. Swearing in dialogue and the use of contemporary phrases (like “dude” and “hell yeah”) shatters the illusion that we are in a future time. Which brings me to…

It breaks the reality of Star Trek:

What happened to the post scarcity utopia of the 24th century? It appears to have been supplanted by a much more cynical and nihilistic zeitgeist, almost completely embodied in the character of Raffi. Her entire motivation is driven by the trauma of her losing her “job” and her slow descent into poverty. She even compares her home to Picard’s – making reference to his “heirloom” furniture. The ugly image of a drug addicted black woman living in a trailer seems especially miscalculated given the current wave of social change that minorities around the world are attempting to initiate.

It’s depressing as hell:

Who would have thought that Seven of Nine, upon her return to the alpha quadrant, would  become a cynical, hard drinking murderer? Or that poor, gentle Icheb would be so brutally butchered that he would beg for euthanasia? The world of Star Trek: Picard is a frightening place populated by damaged characters. As the credits rolled on each episode, I was filled with a sinking feeling, disturbed by images of murder, poisonings, suicide, panic attacks, insanity and vivisections.

On social media, many of my criticisms of the show were shouted down or dismissed derisively as “you just want old Star Trek” and “OK Boomer”. Fair enough. The show is different, radically so in places. I accept that. I often try to remember what a shock it must have been like for viewers in 1987 tuning in to see Encounter at Farpoint for the first time. But this iteration of Trek doesn’t feel right.

So, what does Star Trek feel like to me?

It feels like a slice of media that challenges me with bold science fiction ideas. It feels intellectual, and at times, a little high minded. But mostly, it makes me think about the future – a time when all of the resources our planet currently devotes to war and interpersonal division will be funnelled into the exploration of space.

At least, that’s what Star Trek means to me. Here’s hoping season two can offer a less depressing vision of the 24th century.

Thanks to James Patrik for his article taking a look back at the first season of Picard.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

The Blaggers Guide to... The Original Series

You've seen the trailer, you might have even caught up with Beyond when it dropped onto Blu-ray round at a mates house on Netflix but now you're really considering watching Star Trek: Discovery and that other one - Pick a Card or summut...

Thing is, you've shockingly discovered that Star Trek isn't just a trilogy of movies from the guy who did CloverfieldMission: Impossible and a couple of Star Wars movies. That show starring that girl from The Walking Dead and Lucius Malfoy is getting some attention and has been for a couple of years - you're feeling a bit left out. Plus, horrifyingly, it seems there's a whole host of episodes and movies that came before 2009; like a lot.

In fact, it's become clear to you that Star Trek is over 50 goddamn years old. Where did this all come from? How did you miss it? Was it on at the same time as Love Island or Big Brother? What are the 1960's exactly? How are you gonna catch up on that much TV history before a new season of Discovery airs. You'll need to prep so you can hold your own with your friends the morning after a new episode airs. What is to be done? What precisely???  

Fear not because here at Some Kind of Star Trek we like to think we can help with this dilemma and get newcomers out of that difficult situation. So, in the first of a new series we are going to be giving you the essential knowledge and some curve-ball facts that will keep you in the good graces of your Star Trek badge-carrying friends and colleagues. Compacted down into a bite-size chunk, you'll know your Tribble from a Targ in minutes and be able to vomit fact after fact to keep you in the loop. Let us begin, logically, at the beginning. It's 1966...  

The Original Series or, just plain and simple Star Trek ran for three years before it fell off the wagon and was cancelled in 1969 because no-one was really fussed to watch it. The first two series are classics with the third being something of an clusterfuck at times, LSD trip at others and a mish-mash of super-cheap stories to fill a rubbish Friday night US TV time-slot.   

Basic Background

Ok, actually Star Trek first erupted from the mind of Gene Roddenberry in 1964 with the pilot episode The Cage which the network hated, like really hated but still oddly liked - apart from that pointy-earred guy. All of the characters from that episode were binned off except, ironically, the pointy-earred guy (but more on him in a bit) and Gene kept his wife on the payroll in another part because he couldn't have a woman in as senior a role as first officer - I mean, jeez, how would she cope... welcome to the 1960's mentality...!

If you have seen the JJ 2009 movie and Into Darkness then you'll know Christopher Pike who was the captain of the ship in that pilot story and he's probably the best bit about the second season of Discovery so take note and he's getting his own show called Strange New Worlds. He also turns up in a wheelchair after a tragic accident in the only two-part story of The Original Series called The Menagerie. For reference it's the first pilot sandwiched into a trial on the USS Enterprise to save a bit of cash. Always correct people when they say Jeffery Hunter played him in The Menagerie. It was Sean Kenney.

So, for 79 episodes the crew Boldly Go Where No Man ('60's sexism right there again) Has Gone Before on the USS Enterprise. This might turn up in Discovery so remember the name. The design is a classic so don't go slating it in that morning catch up and occasionally drop into conversation something about that gold thing on the front being a deflector dish to stop it getting splatted by debris and planets at warp speed.

Couple of useful nerdy facts for you here, the registry of NCC-1701 was selected because it was easy to distinguish the letters on a TV and the transporter was created because they couldn't work out how to land the ship. The bridge is that lump on the top and the shuttlecraft comes out of the hatch at the back of the middle tube. Weapons on the ship are phasers and photon torpedoes which will change location on the ship dependant on who inks in the animation that day.

Nearly cancelled after its second season, Star Trek would limp through its final year with a cut budget, trimmed scripts and as a result a drop in quality. The series went into syndication and was sold to stations across the US where it would find a new audience in the 1970's...and then guess what happened...drunk students watched it and loved it.


Captain James T Kirk (William Shatner) heads up the multi-racial crew, famously bedding multiple "space babes". You can determine which season of Star Trek you are in by the increase in Kirk's waistline and hair length. Shorter equals season one and near-mullet equals late season three. Delivering lines with. Unpredictable EMPHASIS on. Words and punctuation, Kirk is designed as the lead but has to share the limelight with Mr Spock (Leonard Nimoy), half-Vulcan, emotion-repressing and logical. If ever there's a dramatic moment, you can count on Spock to raise an eyebrow and find the whole thing "Fascinating". Do not refer to him at any time as Doctor Spock. Ever. It will be the last thing you ever say.

Their central trio is completed with the cranky Southern doctor in the shape of Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley). His main reason to exist is to piss off Spock and compare his work as a doctor to a variety of  items including a bricklayer, an escalator and a moon shuttle conductor.

Down in the Engine Room (which wasn't there at the beginning and was altered for season two), was Montgomery "Scotty" Scott (James Doohan). Defying the laws of physics he could be found pushing the engines too hard and occasionally dying (twice) but always super-faithful to the only woman in his life, the Enterprise. At the helm is Lieutenant Sulu. He only gained a first name in Star Trek VI; Hikaru and didn't feature in a chunk of season two because he was off filming The Green Berets with John Wayne. Probably worth mentioning when he was infected with the virus in The Naked Now he ran around with a fencing sword thinking he was D'Artagnan. 

Communications and responsible for "Opening hailing frequencies" was Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nicholls). Generally she'll be found either on the bridge or singing in the rec room. She's underused but is part of the first interracial kiss on TV with William Shatner. However, this is only the case because the pair messed up all the takes where you didn't see the kiss.

Last up is the mop-haired Russian ensign, Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig) who arrives in season two in order to attract youngsters and fans of The Monkees. Some people think he was in season one. He wasn't. Fact; get over it.

Key Episodes in Seconds

The Man Trap - first episode aired and sixth produced. Salt-sucking alien disguises itself as different people to get a square meal. Kirk surprisingly doesn't sleep with it. 

The City on the Edge of Forever - the one with Joan Collins where Kirk has to let her die to reset the universe. "Edith Keeler must die." Knock this one at your peril, it's a frikkin' classic. (pic left)

Amok Time - first episode on Vulcan and includes famous fight music used in parody in a ton of shows. Spock "kills" Kirk with the Vulcan Death Grip. Practice the following melody for dramatic moments: Dah dah dah daa daa dah da da daaaah

The Trouble with Tribbles - see also Deep Space Nine's Trials and Tribbleations. Only decent comedy attempt in The Original Series. Tribbles hate Klingons and are born pregnant (which saves some time). Refer to any real fluffy animal as looking like a Tribble to confirm your fan status.

Spock's Brain - when mentioned, roll eyes and say "Brain? What is brain?!" then laugh and move on sharply to discuss something Way to Eden.

Turnabout Intruder - last one. Super sexist and wouldn't be produced today. Kirk swaps bodies with a former lover. It's not great especially in the current climate. Ingratiate yourself with everyone by commenting how women should never captain starships...or you could actually step into the modern world. 

Use also titles: Where No Man Has Gone Before, The Naked Time, The Doomsday Machine and Plato's Stepchildren

Iconic Aliens and Villains

Klingons - original, sash-wearing, silver vested and moustache-twirling at its '60's best. Appeared first in Errand of Mercy (season one). Lots of macho posturing with these guys and they will be back older and grumpier in Deep Space Nine. Key names to remember - Kor, Koloth and Kang. In fact just make some up and stick a "K" at the beginning and you should get away with it.

Romulans - not as prominent as they were in The Next Generation. Cool ship called the Bird of Prey that can cloak. Budget cuts and a lost model meant they used Klingon ships in later appearances. Gold, purple and shoulder pads essential, helmets optional for prosthetic budget reasons.

Khan - bad superman from the late 20th Century with a killer ponytail. Renowned for the chat up line "Please sit and entertain me". Later spotted on Loveboat and would have questionable memory of Enterprise crew while spouting Shakespeare.

Gorn - green, plastic and the world's slowest fighter. Kirk could have defeated by walking away quickly...or even just ambled. Guy inside the suit is called Bobby Clark. I met him once, he's cool.

There you have it, a condensed and absolutely 100%(!) accurate intro to The Original Series. With this you will be able to go forth and stun (heavy stun) all your newfound Star Trek friends with your spectacular knowledge of the show that started it all. If you want extra points, always end your conversations with the Vulcan hand salute (pictured) and the words "Live Long and Prosper", however don't attempt this at a Star Wars convention.

Next up we'll be tackling the classic movies. There's only six of those so in lesson two we'll have to fill out the article with some other tips and tricks to make you look super Star Trek literate...I'll have a check if there are any behind the TV now...

Thanks for dropping by and reading our first Blaggers Guide - do you have any top tips to get you by on The Original Series

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Thursday, 2 July 2020

Lower Decks: Ship Shot

The characters have been revealed; now we have both a launch date confirmed and our first look at the feature starship. 

Set to debut on August 6th via CBS All Access, Lower Decks will be the first animated Star Trek series since 1975 - we’re not counting the two Short Trek's in there! 

Google Images
Along with that announcement, we know there will be a total of ten episodes with one released weekly and that a second series is already well into production. Along with this, there's also the rumour that we might get to see a few regular characters drop in from time to time - but nothing so far on this has been set in stone. But that's not what’s really causing the rumblings in the forums this week because Lower Decks also gave us the first pass on the California Class USS Cerritos (pictured right on this latest teaser poster)

Used for ‘second contact’, these guys are rarely going where no-one has gone before, more often than not being the follow up team behind the Picard's of the galaxy once communications have been established.  Now what you might not know about the name is that Cerritos is a suburban city in Los Angeles County and is also known as Dairy Valley (hope I got that right). I'm getting the sense that the producers have gone for a very "average" place to reflect the more average and "normal" routine that we can expect from the latest starship to hit the small screen.

Set in 2380 just after Nemesis, the USS Cerritos definitely captures the era with that distinctive oval saucer section and the eye-shaped navigational deflector both reminiscent of the Galaxy Class and the kitbash that came from it, the Nebula Class. 

The California Class however seems to have taken that step further and added a spin on the Oberth Class with there seeming to be no logical way to move from the primary hull to the secondary hull without either a) the use of a transporter or b)a turbolift that would need to be heavily protected from the effects of travelling through a warp engine. Looks like there could be some fun times ahead for the feature group of lower deck ensigns we’re set to meet. 

Google images
Looking at the saucer though there are a few differences to the Galaxy Class - those cut-outs at the edge for one and the quartet of dips just forward of the yellow stripe. Gone too is the captain's yacht, replaced with a darker grey wedge shape that extends to the rim of the saucer. We can also see through the reflection dancing on the surface that there are rings of lifeboats so life preservation has been a consideration in its design!

At this point there's no ship name or registry emblazoned on the hull which is unusual but that number might be something they're holding back a reveal on.

The pylons are of a unique style too, resembling motorway bridge supports , attaching to the warp nacelles just behind the bussard collectors. Rather than being oblongs though, these two engine units seem to be octagonal in shape with the top four sides more elongated. Both the bussard collectors and the warp field grilles are of a totally new design with a lot more luminescence than we've experience in similar ships of the time. 

Now while we have been making a serious note of the choice to have the two hulls separated and seemingly impossible to step between, we may be overthinking this with more automation and the possibility that the secondary "hull" is really just jammed full of sensory equipment meaning the crew have no real need to ever go in there except for repairs. Again, this is just conjecture from myself and not actual scripted fact.

We haven't had a look to the back and top of the Cerritos so there's still a bit of mystery to the design. For one, where's the shuttlebay? Is the bridge the same style  as the Enterprise-D??  

It's a radical departure from the usual collection of bits we saw in The Next Generation especially with those girder-esque pylons but it's got us all talking because it is different, striking and isn't afraid to be different even though there are so many recognisable elements included. 

Whether I'll come to love it I can't say at the present time since there's only this one view to consider and it, as noted, leaves a lot unresolved. However, if the series is as unique as this, it will be an entertaining ten weeks!

In just over a month we'll be able to talk even more about the latest Star Trek series.

But what do you think to the new step in starship design? What's great? What would you want to see altered?

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