A24 via Everett Collection
You can officially count Sofia Coppola among the ranks of directors looking to revamp fairy tales. She's attached to helm a live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. The film will be based on a script that was, at different points, worked on by both Shame's Abi Morgan and Fifty Shades of Grey's Kelly Marcel, which means that audiences can expect a more adult take on Hans Christian Anderson's classic tale. Although Coppola isn't doing final re-writes on the script — that task will fall to Caroline Thompson, who is best known for writing Edward Scissorhands — the project is practically tailor made for her. Seriously.
A story about a young woman who has everything she could possibly ask for but still isn't happy with her life is exactly the kind of tale that Coppola has built her career on. Add in the fact that her pastel-filtered shooting style makes everything look ethereal and dreamy, and the only real surprise here is why it took Coppola so long to rework a fairy tale in the first place. In fact, we think Coppola is so perfect for this film, that we've compiled a list of her directorial trademarks, and how we're expecting them to show up in The Little Mermaid.
We open on a long, dialogue-free establishing sequence, where we meet our protagonist, the titular Little Mermaid...
A Blonde... Coppola loves blondes. Seriously, almost all of the protagonists of her films are blonde, and three fifths of them are Kirsten Dunst. We're going to assume that since this adaptation will be based on the original fairy tale, Coppola will decide to break away from the Disney mold and make her heroine a blonde; since Dunst has stopped playing teenagers, we have a feeling the director will tap her Somewhere star Elle Fanning for the role. She already looks like a fairy tale princess, and Dunst can make another cameo appearance as one of Fanning's older sisters.
Who Is Overcome with Ennui...The only thing that Coppola loves more than a rich blonde is a rich blonde who is overwhelmed by feelings of unhappiness and is unsatisfied by her life. She will spend much of her time staring longingly out of windows — either the windows in her underwater mansion or the portholes of the abandoned ships she hangs out in at night — and waits for something to help her figure out what's missing from her life. Both the characters onscreen and audience watching the film will be unable to understand why she's so unhappy. After all, she's got everything she could possibly want!
Even Though She Is Rich. Like all of the poor little rich girls who came before her, the Little Mermaid will attempt to fill the void in her life with material goods. Her home is filled with gadgets and gizmos a plenty, whosists and whatsists galore, and at least 20 thingamabobs, but whether she bought those objects with her father's credit cards or she stole them from somebody else, she'll still want more. Because it's not truly a Sofia Coppola movie without a message about the emptiness of materialism.
She Spends Her Time Staring at Sun-Dappled Trees...All of Coppola's films feature a transition or establishing shot that highlights the way that sunlight looks when it shines through the leaves of the trees. This time around, we're predicting that shot will come as a way to establish the Little Mermaid's longing for life on land. She and her awkward, dorky guy friend and her ditzy, party animal best friend will sneak out to the surface of the ocean, where they'll look up at the way the sun shines through the leaves and pine for a life on the surface. Alternatively, Coppola could decide to shoot the way sunlight looks shining through the rippling waves, but water just doesn't have that same dreamy-but-lonely effect as trees do.
And People Dancing.Whether you loved or hated the homemade "music video" in the middle of The Bling Ring, it jus wouldn't make sense for one of Coppola's films not to have a scene where people twirl dreamily (or twerk into a webcam). For The Little Mermaid, we're thinking the director should use two separate, shorter ones: one at the beginning, to establish the pretty, pastel-colored world the mermaids inhabit, and one of the mermaid watching people cavort on the legs she so desperately wishes she had. Set them both to mid-tempo, semi-obscure indie rock song and you've got yourself instant exposition.
Somewhere, There's a Veiled Dig at Spike Jonze Okay, so this one only shows up in Lost in Translation, but since Jonze just took home an Oscar for Best Screenplay, we think now is the best time for Coppola to get all of her aggression out onscreen. Maybe the protagonist has an underwater boyfriend who is too focused on his career, and she feels trapped in that relationship. Or maybe the handsome human prince has just won a prestigious award. Maybe he skateboards and hangs around with other humans who perform dangerous stunts and film them for people's entertainment. All we're saying is keep your eyes peeled for any Jonze-ian references buried underneath the surface.
We're going to be the first people in line when this film hits theaters.
Gird your loins, drag lovers! RuPaul revealed on Watch What Happens Live that there will be a second season of RuPaul's Drag Race: All-Stars. So who will be the lucky drag divas to get a second chance at the coveted crown? Last season featured a major twist — the girls play as teams. It’s entertaining but some fan faves get eliminated early while others get to ride the coattails of their more successful teammates. This new season should bring back girls who have major beef and let the fur fly. There is potential to have them work as teams or have to compete in similar challenges. Maybe they both have to make the same type of outfit or play the same role. It’s also a good opportunity to bring back girls who have shady television personas. Do they have a softer side?
Rebecca is the first queen accused of relying on her looks. She was a frontrunner of her season until she managed to alienate all of the remaining girls. She is infamous in Drag Race history and it would be nice to see her after all these years. The queens from Season 1 deserve a crack at the Drag Race that we have come to know and love. It also would be interesting to see how Rebecca does against other fishy queens.
Jade is one of the hottest queens in the show’s history, both in and out of drag. Her dance background makes her a contender for the music and talent challenges. Plus her body is amazing. She is sweet and well liked by the girls on her season. She also has a legendary beef with Rebecca that might make for some Real Housewives-level drama.
Tatianna is one of the fishiest queens of the entire franchise. There is a ton of friction between her and the other queens of her season. She is the first queen to be accused of relying on her looks and gets teased for her love of Britney Spears. She is a stunning performer. She won the first ever Snatch Game challenge and there is a ton of potential growth in the past few years. She also has the sex appeal, humor, and sharp tooth to be a major contender to win.
Morgan is often eclipsed by Raven the Susan Lucci of Drag Race. The two are best friends but Morgan is a majorly polished queen and a real contender to win. Certain missteps in her season kept her from showcasing her humor and amazing looks. She also did seem to be a bit cliquish and picked on queens like Mystique and Tatianna. However, her lip-synching performances off the show are legendary.
PhiPhi is like Helen of Troy. She’s beautiful and has the shade that launched a thousand ships. Her generally combative relationship with the other queens is a major reason behind her not winning her season. She has the distinction of assassinating her career on television. In her defense, she’s cute and young. She deserves a second chance to introduce America to a softer side. If not, she can provide some Omarosa-like tension to the season.
Not to blame PhiPhi for more things, but she is a little responsible for the harsh reply to Roxxxy Andrews. Roxxy has a bit of an edge. Her slightly combative relationship with future winner Jinkx Monsoon echoed the friction between PhiPhi and winner Sharon Needles. Roxxxy is really stunning and was an amazing performer. However, Season 5 did seem to be very performance based and allowed queens like Jinkx and Alaska to slide right into the finale. Roxxxy never had an issue with her outfits and is an accomplished. She is the only queen to take off her wig to reveal another wig! She deserves a chance at the crown without seeming like a bully.
It’s odd that Detox’s off-screen performances outshine her time on the show. She performs amazingly hilarious songs with Willam and Vicky Vox. She showed up to the reunion in black & white realness. She is the least outspoken member of Rulaskatox. Roxxxy is the most polished and Alaska is the funniest. And yet, Detox is the best of both worlds. She can be fabulous or funny.
Alaska has it all. She’s funny, uniquely beautiful, and the perfect blend of polished and punk rock. She has the reputation for auditioning for every season of Drag Race. If she returns to the show she can step out of Sharon Needles shadow and showcase her unique approach to drag. After all, she has her own bow-legged walk. She does have the makings of an all-star.
It’s unclear who will be open to return for All-Stars Season 2. Raven may return to try and get the crown. Ivy Winters is Ms. Congeniality of her season so she is bound to return. Here’s hoping Coco Montrese and Alyssa Edwards skip this season. Their on-again/off-again feud is like a 5-year-old after a day at Disneyland… tired. There is also a whole mess of season six queens who will make an appearance. These are our picks who do you think should be on the next season of All-Stars?
"Homeland: The Musical," a parody from Above Average's Eliot's Sketchpad, lets us laugh at just how ridiculous Showtime's Homeland can be — and just in time for the premiere of Season 3 on Sept. 29. We all know about Claire Danes' crying face, but what about Saul's stink-eye and Brody's vanishing son (what's his name?) who is mysteriously never around?
Above Average, Broadway Video’s newest venture for featuring original short form comedy, has successfully brought to light the humor of the spy/terrorism-drama-turned-love-story. And the description of the character line-up is top-notch: "From Carrie to Brody, Saul to Abu Nazir, the gang's all here — including pouty teenager, Dana." (Can we all just agree that Dana's teen angst sucks?)
Check out some of the songs featured in the video below:
1. "Fugue for Terrorists" with lyrics such as "I've got the guy right here/ His name's Abu Nazir/ And if the bomb goes off/ We'll all commandeer."2. "Carries Lament" with lyrics like "His wife may be smokin' hot/ But he's a fan of what I've got." (Does anyone else think that the woman who plays Carrie totally looks like Topanga from Boy Meets World?)3. (My personal favorite song) "Smile for Me, Dana" with Brody singing "Won't you please smile for me Dana?" and "I may be a decorated jarhead/ Still you look like you're eating a warhead." (Okay, now who thinks the woman playing Dana looks like Natalie Portman? It's like doppelganger heaven over here.)4. "Don't Get Saul Berenson Mad" with the lyrics "When I speak, it's a whisper/ You'll get lost in my whiskers." (Mandy Patinkin's beard is one of the most impressive aspects of the show.)5. "Always In My Heart," a duet with Brody and Carrie with the lyrics "Star-crossed lovers, ships in the night/ We're both kind of nuts, that's what makes it so right."
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Star Trek Into Darkness got solid reviews and banked a healthy, if slightly lukewarm, $226 million at the U.S. box office. But there's one group of fans who are having none of J.J. Abrams' continued retooling of the franchise. Perhaps the most important group of fans, considering that this was a Star Trek film: Trekkies. (Or Trekkers, if you find the term "Trekkie" offensive. Whatever.) This week, legions of fans dressed in 23rd and 24th century costumes assembled in Las Vegas for the Star Trek 2013 Convention, and at one panel they collectively voted to rank all 12 Trek films from best to worst. Guess what film came in dead last? Star Trek Into Darkness.
And you know what? We here at Hollywood.com agree with that. Star Trek Into Darkness is a glossily shallow overhaul of Trek mythos that pays trivial lipservice to fans (ooh, a model of the NX-01 Enterprise? That means J.J. & Co. are just as big fans as we are, right? Wrong!) while striving to become some kind of machine-tooled Bourne knockoff with sci-fi trappings. While other filmmakers, especially those working for one Marvel Studios, increasingly recognize the power of going for a deep cut into geeky mythology that fans will love and bandwagoners will subsequently educate themselves about, Abrams opted for a full-scale whitewash. You get a sense that the filmmakers were so concerned about making Star Trek Into Darkness "cool" that they forgot to make it good. Here are 12 reasons why we agree Star Trek Into Darkness is the all-time worst Trek film.
1. Because The Klingons Have Never Looked Worse — No, I'm not talking about the acting of the thesp who played the Klingon who interrogates Uhura. I'm sure he has skills. I'm talking about the absolutely horrendous makeup job the Star Trek Into Darkness team gave him. Suddely Klingons have forehead ridges that extend around the back of their heads and curl around the ears as if they're cousins of the Ferengi? Abrams' reboot is supposed to rewrite the history from the early 2030s on...not alter the very genetic structure of one of the franchise's most iconic alien species! But that wouldn't even be so bad if the makeup in question didn't look like it was made of plastic.
2. Because Qo'NoS is Just an Irradiated Wasteland — Yeah yeah, I know, Khan only hid out in a part of Qo'NoS that was an irradiated wasteland. But why not show us at least as much of that planet as The Next Generation did 20 years ago? Khan obviously hid out in a dead zone just so Abrams & Co. wouldn't have to engage in any meaningful worldbuilding.
3. Because There Is Absolutely No Reason Why Carol Marcus Should Be in the Film Or Why Alice Eve's Character Should Even Be Carol Marcus — Marcus was established in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as not just one of Kirk's old flames, but someone with whom he felt he could have a child. Not only are there no such sparks between Kirk and Marcus in Into Darkness, she has nothing to do, period. She places herself onboard the Enterprise so that she can investigate the 72 long-range torpedoes her father has installed aboard the ship. We see her scanning them and she helps McCoy disable one, sure. But she's really just there so we can see her in lingerie. I mean, Trek has given us plenty of eye candy before — but rarely so gratuitously and pointlessly. Seven of Nine wears a skin-tight catsuit...but she's also just about the best character on Star Trek: Voyager, the Spock to Capt. Janeway's Kirk, and their relationship defined the heart of that show. What does Alice Eve's Marcus really add?
4. Because Uhura's a Less Progressive Character in 2013 Than She Was in 1966
When Star Trek first aired, Nichelle Nichols' Uhura was a competent professional who was defined by her intelligence, her skills, and the ambition that saw her serve aboard the bridge of a major Federation vessel. By Star Trek Into Darkness, however, Zoe Saldana's Uhura is defined entirely by her romance for Spock. Not to mention that unlike most other incarnations of Trek, Into Darkness doesn't even pass the Bechdel Test.
5. Because Actually All the Characters Are Reduced to SNL-Parody Versions of the Themselves — Bones is an ornery quote machine. Chekov has difficulty with v's. Kirk's a reckless horndog. Screw logic, Spock's really just wanting to slug somebody. These aren't characters anymore. They're types.
6. Because Abrams Felt He Needed a Star Wars-style Canyon chase — We get it, J.J. We really get it. You like Star Wars more than Star Trek.
7. Because, Um, Why Would a Starfleet Admiral Want to Utilize the Skills of a 300-Year-Old Cryosleeper? —The idea of Peter Weller's Admiral Marcus wanting to have Khan build a new generation of ships and weapons for the Federation to fight the Klingons would be like if we decided to revive Horatio Nelson to help us build up our 21st century Navy. Maybe he'd know something about tactics, but he'd definitely need a years-long technological refresher course.
8. Because the Story of an Evil Admiral Betraying the Federation's Values While Pursuing Its Security Has Been Told So Much Better Before — See Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost" two-parter from Deep Space Nine, and the much-maligned, but sorely underrated, Star Trek: Insurrection for better examples.
9. Because the Special Effects Are as Ugly as Gagh — Somehow the epic space battles in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine were the apex of computer-generated special effects and it's all been downhill since. Abrams is trying to go for the handheld, caught-on-the-fly space battle approach of Battlestar Galactica, but he has none of the appreciation for impressionistic action that showrunner Ronald D. Moore brought to that series. (Oh yeah, Ronald D. Moore also served as an EP on Deep Space Nine.) It just makes the effects Abrams does have look cheap and like he's trying to cover them up with slight of hand.
10. Because It Just Becomes a Silly "Greatest Hits" Album of a Movie — You get the sense of little kids reenacting their favorite movie scenes with action figures. This time, though, Kirk has to die, and Spock gets to shout "Khaaaaaan!!!" Except that when Spock died, Kirk had to spend an entire movie to bring him back to life, and sacrifice the Enterprise, his Starfleet career, and his son's life in order to do it. You know, stakes. When Kirk dies there are no stakes, and a Tribble can revive him five minutes later. If Abrams can't take his own movie seriously, why should we?
11. Because San Francisco Is Destroyed and No One Seems To Care — Man of Steel may ultimately have one-upped Into Darkness in terms of destruction porn, but San Francisco still got pummeled pretty bad when Khan crashed the USS Vengeance into Starfleet Headquarters, destroying much of the city with it. Also, though Roberto Orci may claim they didn't want to cast an actor of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent as Khan to avoid stereotyping those regions' ethnic groups, why did they turn Khan into the 23rd century equivalent of a 9/11 hijacker?
12. Because There Is a Fake Khan and There Is a Real Khan — I leave it for you to determine which is which, though there is obviously only one right answer.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
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It's hard to think of any other 1960s TV series with as much staying-power as Star Trek. 47 years after its launch it's spun-off four live-action series, one animated series, dozens of videogames, and 12 movies. The latest, Star Trek Into Darkness, is on track to make $100 million its opening weekend. So why do we still care? Because The Original Series was just that compelling. Even when it was bad — and it could be a bad a lot — it was always interesting. It was always brimming with ideas about the universe and our place within it. Gene Roddenberry had one of the strongest visions ever brought to bear on the small screen. So in honor of the continuing voyages of the Starship Enterprise, we've ranked all 79 episodes of The Original Series from worst to best. We hate to be negative all upfront, but if we get the bad episodes out of the way first, we can spend more time relishing our faves. Guess what tops our list!
79. “Turnabout Intruder” — The very last episode of the original Star Trek series is also its worst, a dispiritingly sexist commentary on gender roles that sees Capt. Kirk switch bodies with a female scientist that makes incredibly bizarre claims: like that women are barred from being starship captains in Starfleet, something that has been disproven by almost everything else we know about Star Trek. Luckily, there’d be 25 seasons of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise to remove the awful taste in our mouths left by the end of The Original Series.
78. “Spock’s Brain” — The third season of The Original Series was a bit like the fourth season of Community. Its original creator, Gene Roddenberry, was marginalized so NBC could make Star Trek almost a parody of itself. That’s clear from the season opener, in which aliens remove Spock’s brain…because they can! Now, there are some good episodes in Season 3. But you’ll find that much of the bottom of this lost also comes from Star Trek’s wildly uneven last year.
77. “The Alternative Factor” — An early foray into the idea of exploring “parallel universes,” the Enterprise crew encounters a man named Lazarus who’s hellbent on tracking down his antimatter double from another dimension. When matter and antimatter collide it’s supposed to explosive, but the drama here certainly isn’t.
76. “Wolf in the Fold” — Scotty is accused of murder on an alien world! The kind of episode where you no he didn’t do it and you know he’ll inevitably be cleared so what’s the point? Stick around, though, for a supporting turn by the great John Fiedler.
75. “The Way to Eden” — Hippies in space! It could be a Muppet Show parody, but yes the Enterprise crew encounters 23rd century versions of the flower power set and have an incredibly reactionary response.
74. “The Paradise Syndrome” — Kirk is brainwashed into thinking he’s a Native American. Seriously.
73. “The Man Trap” — To his credit Roddenberry like to present non-humanoid alien threats as much as he did humanoid ones. But these parasites that leach off of the salt in human bodies (in the very first episode of The Original Series that aired!) are incredibly pointless.
72. “Elaan of Troyius” — Just from the title alone, you know this is going to be a bad episode. Kirk has to escort a spoiled princess through hostile terrain. A spoiled princess who loves to wear barely-there tinfoil jumpsuits.
71. “Mudd’s Women” — Jovial con man Harry Mudd is the kind of nemesis who only could’ve worked in the ‘60s. His introduction in Season 1 has him swindle dilithium miners out of their crystals in exchange for three beautiful women — three women who only appear beautiful when the miners are taking hallucinogens.
NEXT: Numbers 70-61 on our list.
70. “Miri” — Children are the only survivors of a planet-wide calamity. Roddenberry really loved the kiddies (see also: Wesley Crusher on The Next Generation) but he never seemed to know how to integrate them compellingly into the drama.
69. “The Mark of Gideon” — Kirk is abducted by a race of aliens to help them solve their overpopulation problem. Uh, considering his interstellar bedhopping, Kirk is the last person qualified to deal with overpopulation issues. Which is why this episode makes no sense.
68. “Bread and Circuses” — The Enterprise crew encounter a planet that’s patterned itself on ancient Rome. Not the first time they’d discover a planet modeled on a violent period of Earth history, nor the first time they’d be forced to fight in gladiatorial games, “Bread and Circuses” reveals the tremendous capacity of the creators of The Original Series to repeat themselves.
67. “Return to Tomorrow” — Ditto for this Season 3 episode about telepathic aliens taking over Kirk and Spock’s bodies to build stronger, mechanical versions for themselves. Another thing Roddenberry loved over and over again? Non-corporeal aliens that can take over your mind!
66. “The Lights of Zetar” — Probably most notable for introducing the Memory Alpha station that lends its name to the Star Trek wiki. Again, “energy-based” life-forms are the threat.
65. “The Omega Glory” — Kirk faces down both an insane starship captain and a deadly plague while trying to stop an intertribal war. The umpteenth episode about protecting a less-advanced civilization that appears to reside in the rolling hills of Southern California.
64. “Friday’s Child” — Again, the Enterprise crew intervene in a tribal dispute that’s gotten out of hand, this time because of Klingon meddling. Most notable for McCoy’s immortal “I’m a doctor, not an elevator!”
63. “Is There In Truth No Beauty?” — An alien being the Enterprise is transporting must remain inside a black box because its physical form is so hideous. A Twilight Zone-style concept that could’ve been great in the hands of Rod Serling but just didn’t make a thought-provoking jump to the 23rd century.
62. “Plato’s Stepchildren” — So you already know one alien society patterned itself on ancient Rome. Here’s one that patterned itself on ancient Greece! But wait, wait, there’s more…
61. “Patterns of Force” — …Like this episode in which an alien civilization based its culture on Nazi Germany. At least here there’s some interesting commentary on how some ideologies are truly irredeemable, not just an opportunity to see Kirk wearing a swastika.
NEXT: Numbers 60-51 on our list.
60. “Whom Gods Destroy” — There are two frequent career paths for starship captains that you’d do really well to avoid: One is to be endowed with god-like powers and try to take over control of the universe; the other is go insane and think you have god-like powers with which you try to take over control of the universe. The latter is featured here.
59. “The Cage” — The first pilot Gene Roddenberry shot starred Jeffrey Hunter as Capt. Christopher Pike. He commanded the Enterprise before Kirk (much like Bruce Greenwood’s Pike in J.J. Abrams’ movies) but his first officer wasn’t Spock — who then was just relegated solely to science officer — but a woman, Majel Barrett’s “Number One.” By the time it went to series, Roddenberry rewrote the concept to fit more comfortably into the prevailing chauvinism of the era, with Barrett playing Nurse Chapel instead. But “The Cage” is a fascinating experiment in projecting a profoundly progressive view of the future, even if it’s ultimately a bit of an inert non-starter.
58. “Requiem for Methuselah” — Kirk discovers an immortal human living as a hermit. We liked this concept better in “Metamorphosis,” appearing higher on this list.
57. “The Squire of Gothos” — The god-like being Trelane, who patterns himself on an English gentleman from the 1800s, has complete control over the minds and matter of Kirk’s crew. We’d say it’s a whimsical concept, but it’s been done so often in Trek. All of these petty gods are building toward The Next Generation’s Q.
56. “And the Children Shall Lead” — There was an “evil imaginary friend” episode on Next Generation as well, but not nearly as crazy as this one, where a kids’ game of make-believe summons forces greater than Kirk could ever have imagined.
55. “That Which Survives” — A supercomputer is the only survivor of an alien race that succumbed to a deadly plague. It now chooses to represent itself solely as holographic projections of scantily clad women. Because it can!
54. “Obsession” — Kirk gets his Ahab on trying to track down the mysterious entity that killed much of the crew of his previous ship. A rare opportunity to go inside the good captain’s pre-Enterprise history.
53. “The Empath” — The Enterprise landing party are subjected to unfathomable torments to test an alien race’s empathic ability. The whole concept of “empaths” was another thing Roddenberry seemed curiously fixated on — see also the empathic Lt. Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
52. “The Gamesters of Triskelion” — The first and best of the episodes in which the Enterprise crew are forced to participate in gladiatorial games. The stuff Simpsons parodies are made of.
51. “A Private Little War” — Kirk tries to protect primitive aliens from Klingon interference. Not as exciting as “Errand of Mercy” or as unforgettably bizarre as “Friday’s Child” earlier on this list, it’s still really fun to see the Captain tangle with “those Klingon bastards.”
NEXT: Numbers 50-41 on our list.
50. “Catspaw” — Two aliens with “magical powers” wreak havoc with the crew. This sounds like many others we’ve already mentioned, right? Wrong! “Catspaw” was Star Trek’s attempt at a Gothic horror episode to be released near Halloween. Stylish and silly.
49. “For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky” — An asteroid hurtles toward a Federation world and our heroes rush to prevent the collision…only to discover that the interior of the asteroid is inhabited by aliens who are totally oblivious of the universe around them. An engaging Russian nesting doll concept. Also, how could you not love any episode with this title?
48. “The Ultimate Computer” — Federation computer genius Richard Daystrom (he gets a shout-out in Star Trek Into Darkness) tests out a new artificial intelligence onboard the Enterprise. Catastrophe ensues. But it shows just how much Roddenberry was ahead of the curve when it came to operating systems and computer networking — just as he was with cell phones and tablets.
47. “Day of the Dove” — In case you were wondering, this the point in our list where we start getting into the good episodes. An energy-based alien life form that feeds off anger amplifies the tensions between the Klingons and Kirk’s crew, until the two adversaries finally realize what’s happening and turn against their common enemy. An early glimpse of the détente that the Klingons and Federation will one day achieve.
46. “This Side of Paradise” — A Federation colony that should have been wiped out by lethal radiation is actually thriving, its members living in a state of euphoria because of mysterious spores. However, those spores rob those affected of ambition and self-discipline, basically making them an early version of the dream-fulfilling Nexus cloud that’s central to the plot of Star Trek: Generations.
45. “Shore Leave” — One of Trek’s more hallucinatory episodes, “Shore Leave” presents the crew getting a few days of R&R only to find a white rabbit, a sword-wielding samurai, and Don Juan menacing them. Also, we learn Dr. McCoy really loves showgirls who wear rabbit-fur bikinis.
44. “The Savage Curtain” — The third to last episode of The Original Series is actually really thought-provoking as aliens force Kirk and Spock to join forces with figures of good throughout history (Abraham Lincoln, Surak) vs. historical figures of evil (Hitler, Genghis Khan, Col. Green).
43. “Spectre of the Gun” — Aliens force Kirk & Co. to play the losing side in a reenactment of the Gunfight at the OK Corral! Like “The Savage Curtain” it’s a challenging examination of the nature of monstrosity and whether it’s something that’s fated or learned.
42. “The Cloud Minders” — Star Trek created the original Cloud City, 11 years before The Empire Strikes Back. A vicious class disparity plunges a floating mining colony into full-blown civil uprising, all while the Enterprise crew race against the clock to recover resources they need to fight a plague.
41. “Where No Man Has Gone Before” — Roddenberry’s second pilot introduced Shatner’s Kirk and established the idealistic tone of the series: exploration of the universe as discovery of the self. Do you use the accumulation of knowledge for wisdom and self-improvement? Or for vulgar power like Gary Mitchell? Writ large, that choice could determine humanity’s destiny.
NEXT: Numbers 40-31 on our list.
40. “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” — Nurse Chapel sure knows how to pick ‘em! Her fiancé, exobiologist Roger Korby, discovered an alien machine that creates android replicas of living people and uses that machine to replace Kirk with an identical robot and try to take over the Enterprise. Nice going, Christine.
39. “I, Mudd” — What does Harry Mudd do when he has unlimited power? We find out in his second appearance on Star Trek, in which he has now become the king of a planet of androids.
38. “By Any Other Name” — More god-like beings! This time from the Andromeda Galaxy! They’ve taken over the Enterprise and modified it for the long, long journey out of the Milky Way. Shows how, even on The Original Series, Roddenberry and his writers understood the vastness of the universe.
37. “Who Mourns for Adonais?” — So guess what about all those Greek gods from mythology? They were real! Except they weren’t gods, but omnipotent aliens who passed through our solar system during the days of Priam and Achilles and meddled a little too closely in Earth affairs. Kirk & Crew encounter the last survivor of those wanderers, Apollo, who had been worshipped as the sun god. And trust us, it really went to his head.
36. “Operation: Annihilate!” — This is another time we actually delve into Kirk’s personal history. Unlike J.J. Abrams’ reboot, he grew up with his father, George, and brother, Sam. Only in this episode Sam gets killed by flying amoebas at his space colony. Remember what I said about things that like to leach off human bodies for their salt! Always a worry in the 23rd century.
35. “The Immunity Syndrome” — Speaking of space amoebas, the Enterprise almost runs smack into a giant, asteroid-sized paramecium floating in the void. It’s also draining power from the ship and threatening to suck it in, and the only solution is for Spock to try to meld with it. Okay, writing this right now, it sounds like the worst thing ever. But trust me, it’s unquestionably awesome!
34. “The Deadly Years” — Kirk & Crew are afflicted with a disease that causes rapid aging. For my money, if the producers of the current Trek franchise ever want to bring back William Shatner for a movie without a time-travel twist they’d infect Chris Pine’s Kirk with this disease and suddenly it’d be $#*! My Captain Says.
33. “The Changeling” — The Enterprise runs into a 20th century NASA space probe that may have already wiped out a couple worlds deep in the interstellar void. It overcame its crude 20th century programming and developed sophisticated, if psychopathic, artificial intelligence. I know, I know, it’s the plot of The Motion Picture, right?
32. “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” — A powerful allegory for racial discrimination about a race of white-and-black aliens that shun certain members of their species depending on which sad is black and which is white. It may be a little heavy-handed for today’s sensibilities, but it was groundbreaking in 1969.
31. “Dagger of the Mind” — The ninth episode of the series is notable for being the first time Spock ever performs a mind meld. But it’s also a tightly-wound psychological thriller about a madman running an insane asylum.
NEXT: Numbers 30-21 on our list.
30. “Court Martial” — It’s a shame that it aired just a few weeks after an even better courtroom procedural, two-part ep “The Menagerie,” but when Kirk is court martialed for negligence after a crewman was killed during an ion storm it’s still slow-burn pressure cooker.
29. “The Conscience of the King” — Unlike Pine’s Kirk, Shatner’s grew up on the Earth colony at Tarsus IV. A colony that, in his youth, was ruled by a murderous governor who became known as Kodos the Executioner. Decades later in “The Conscience of the King,” Kirk suspects that a Shakespearean actor is actually Kodos in disguise. Also, yes, the name Kodos inspired one-half of the cannibalistic alien duo, Kodos & Kang, on The Simpsons. And just so you know, Kang was also a Kliingon on The Original Series.
28. “The Return of the Archons” — The Enterprise reaches the planet where the USS Archon was reported lost a century earlier and discovers that a society modeled on 19th century Earth civilization has sprung up. Unlike 19th century Earthlings, however, they live in fear of a telepathic being named Landru who wants to absorb them and the Enterprise crew into its collective.
27. “Wink of an Eye” — Invisible aliens that exist on a faster plane of time than we do — you could only glimpse them in the blink of an eye — take over the ship. Even with the limits on their makeup and special effects budget, “Wink of an Eye” shows how Roddenberry’s writers and directors could innovate, such as with the radical slow-motion technique they used once Kirk is on the same temporal wavelength as the aliens. Even a phaser beam is slowed down to the point of being dodge-able.
26. “Metamorphosis” — Kirk discovers the final hideout of Zefram Cochrane, the legendary pioneer who invented warp drive and made first contact with the Vulcans on April 5, 2063. But how could Cochrane (played here by Glenn Corbett and in Star Trek: First Contact by James Cromwell) still be alive 200 years later? Thanks to a glowing energy-based alien, of course, who’s keeping him prisoner while keeping him alive.
25. “Errand of Mercy” — The Klingons made their Star Trek debut with a warlike bang when they invade the peaceful planet Organia, inhabited by peasants who aren’t exactly what they seem. Kor, the leader of the Klingon invasion force, was played by John Colicos who came full-circle by playing the character once again on Deep Space Nine in 1998.
24. “Assignment: Earth” — For the first time, the Enterprise time-travels by slingshot-ing around the sun, something that would enable the events of the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. This time they travel to 1968 Earth, where a time-traveler named Gary Seven (Robert Lansing) has been perceived to be altering history. Roddenberry had hoped “Assignment: Earth” would be the pilot for a Trek spin-off starring Lansing. That didn’t happen. It is notable for featuring one of the earliest appearances of a young Teri Garr.
23. “The Tholian Web” — The USS Defiant goes missing in hostile Tholian territory and the Enterprise is tasked with investigating. Turns out the Defiant is phasing out of our universe and into another dimension, and Kirk is trapped aboard. To make matters worse, the Tholians, screechy, insectoid aliens that fly crystal ships, have caught up with them and are building an impenetrable web around both Starfleet ships to prevent their escape. The best kind of race-against-the-clock thriller on Star Trek.
22. “The Enemy Within” — A transporter accident causes Kirk to be split into his good and evil selves. The former is mild-mannered but lacking initiative and resolve. The latter is undisciplined, aggressive, maybe even murderous. But neither can function on their own and both are necessary for Kirk to be a complete individual. The supposedly “evil” Kirk is strong, commanding, and decisive, qualities needed in a starship captain, along with the compassion and gentleness found in his “good self.” A provocative, value-neutral consideration of the qualities that make greatness.
21. “The Menagerie, Parts 1 & 2” — NBC recycled that old footage from Roddenberry’s first Trek pilot, “The Cage,” and made a much better episode. All the clips from “The Cage” became flashback video footage as Spock tries to explain before a Starfleet court martial why he acted in defiance of orders to help his old friend, and the Enterprise’s former captain, Christopher Pike.
NEXT: Numbers 20-11 on our list.
20. “The Apple” — Is the Federation a benevolent government that seeks to unite like-minded souls in safety and fellowship? Or is it a collective into which individual cultures are absorbed and dissolved? That’s the question at the heart of “The Apple,” wherein Kirk boldly violates the Prime Directive to impose freedom on a primitive people who absolutely don’t want freedom. They’re being ruled over by what appears to be a miniature-golf obstacle, a being named Vaal, and Kirk won’t have it. He’ll see to it that they think for themselves no matter what. But the question is, can you ever force someone to be free?
19. “A Piece of the Action” — The best of the “Alien Civilizations Modeled After Turbulent Periods in Earth History” episodes, “A Piece of the Action” takes us to a world modeled after the gangster culture of 1920s Chicago. But Kirk’s fuzzy fedora steals the show.
18. “The Naked Time” — A virus causes various members of the crew to lose their inhibitions and reveal their true selves: one becomes suicidal with fear and doubt about man’s place in the universe, another thinks he’s descended from Irish kings, and most famously, Sulu goes shirtless, grabs a foil and starts challenging everybody onboard to a duel. That’s because, as Spock puts it, Sulu is at heart “a swashbuckler out of your 18th century.”
17. “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” — An encounter with a black hole sends the ship back to 1960s Earth, in the first time-travel episode Star Trek ever attempted. The question is, can they mingle with 1960s humanity without altering history?
16. “A Taste of Armageddon” — A virtual war, but a brutal one, is being waged between two worlds solely by computer. Every so often members of each society must willingly sacrifice themselves as casualties in order to avoid actual nuclear warfare. The question is: how far are you willing to go prevent full-on war?
15. “All Our Yesterdays” — One of the most emotional Spock episodes, the Vulcan is trapped in the ancient history of a world doomed for destruction. He falls in love with one of its inhabitants before realizing that he has to make the return journey back to his own time.
14. “The Devil in the Dark” — A mysterious creature has been killing Federation miners. What is this menace? Turns out to be a silicon-based lifeform called the Horta and its just trying to protect its young from the miners’ brutish intrusion. Spock’s attempt to mind meld with the Horta is one of the classic moments of the series.
13. “Charlie X” — The second episode ever aired is a bold, primary-colored fantasia of ‘60s pop art. Kirk gives shelter aboard the Enterprise to a 17-year-old named Charlie (Robert Walker, Jr.) who grew up all by himself on an alien planet as the sole survivor of a spaceship crash. He developed psychic powers, however, which he is far from emotionally mature enough to use. And, oh, does he use them when he goes into a tantrum after not getting his way! He causes one Enterprise crewman to lose her face, causes chess pieces to melt, and has a really passive-aggressive workout with a shirtless Kirk.
12. “The Trouble With Tribbles” — A dispute between the Federation and Klingons over colonization rights to a planet get thrown for a wrench with the introduction of Tribbles, furry little pests with voracious appetites and an alarming birth rate. You’ve all seen the famous image of Kirk standing waist-deep in the critters, but the highlight of the episode may not be Tribble-related at all, but rather how easily the Klingons bait Scotty into a fight by calling the Enterprise “a garbage scow.”
11. “The Corbomite Maneuver” — A giant spaceship blocks the path of the Enterprise, its alien crew claiming that the Federation is expanding too quickly and will be halted in its march across the stars. It really looks like this could be the end of our five-year mission. But Kirk does what he does best. He bluffs. He says they’ve got a weapon called a “corbomite deflector” that will rebound all weapons fire directed to the Enterprise back to the firer. That gets the alien crew’s attention, so Kirk & Co. are welcomed aboard only to find it’s a crew of one: Balok, a jovial man-child played by Clint Howard, who resides in Bacchanalian surroundings and spends all day drinking tranya.
NEXT: The Top Ten
10. “The Enterprise Incident” — The Federation wants a cloaking device of their own, so they have Kirk & Spock go undercover aboard a Romulan ship to steal one. It’s a great heist episode, mostly because of how it pulls in a couple directions at once: you want to see our guys beat the Romulans, but at the same time Spock’s seduction of a female Romulan commander is almost unbearably cruel…to the point where you’re not certain who to root for.
9. “The Doomsday Machine” — Kirk & Commodore Decker lead the hunt for a massive ancient weapon that can devour whole planets. For Kirk, it’s still a job. For Decker, it’s become akin to an Ahab-like obsession. The final moments of “The Doomsday Machine,” as Kirk is about to be swallowed by the monster and keeps telling his crew “Gentlemen, I suggest you beam me aboard,” are among the series’ very best.
8. “Journey To Babel” — The first time we ever get to see the founding races of the Federation — humans, Vulcans, Andorians, and Tellarites — in one place, this proposed peace summit becomes an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery. There’s nothing better than a Star Trek whodunit.
7. “Amok Time” — A.K.A. “Spock Gotta Have It.” Our Vulcan friend’s green blood turns hot when he enters the Pon Farr, the uncontrollable urge to mate that overcomes Vulcans every seven years. It can only be cured if the sufferer meditates, fights an opponent to the death, or has sex. The last option should be fine for Spock since he’s betrothed to T’Pring. But T’Pring’s heart turns fickle and she withdraws from their engagement, meaning that Spock has to fight it out — and he does so against Kirk!
6. “The Galileo Seven” — Spock’s away team is trapped on the surface of a planet surrounded by hostile natives, and their shuttlepod is damaged. A claustrophobic waiting game ensues, as the crewmen do everything they can to survive while waiting for rescue. Just about as suspenseful as any Star Trek episode ever.
5. “Space Seed” — Known now and forever as the episode that introduced Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban) as Kirk’s greatest adversary, it’s also a pointed commentary on how far humanity has come even since (or especially since) the 20th century that produced Star Trek. Khan is a 20th century warlord who was genetically engineered with superhuman strength and intellect. But rather than transcend the petty ambitions and power struggles of Earth in that time, he lost himself in them. He’s a relic of a time — still our time in 2013 — when humanity cared more about power, prestige, and riches than enlightenment. Khan throws into relief everything that humanity tends to be…when we don’t strive to be anything more than what we already are.
4. “Balance of Terror” — Enter the Romulans. No hostile alien race in Star Trek, not even the Borg, had a greater debut than Spock’s pointy-eared brothers from another planet. What Khan represents to humanity — an unenlightened part of our history that we’d like to forget but do so at our own peril — the Romulans do to the Vulcans. Not to mention that “Balance of Terror” establishes the submarine-warfare aesthetic of all of Star Trek’s future space battles.
3. “Mirror, Mirror” — Take everything you know about the set-up of Star Trek then turn it on its head. That’s the idea behind the “mirror universe,” which presents doubles of our heroes living on another dimensional plane, doubles of our heroes with polar-opposite values, personalities, and skills. Rather than there being an enlightened Federation, Earth rules its corner of the universe as the barbaric Terran Empire. And we know they’re barbaric because of their incorporation of sashes, daggers, and bikini tops into their uniforms. Also, if you wear a goatee, you’re probably a doppelganger from a mirror universe.
2. “Arena” — The Gorn were only seen once in Star Trek until nearly 40 years later when they finally returned, given a CGI makeover, on Star Trek: Enterprise. But their first appearance, when it’s clear it’s just a dude wearing an unwieldy lizard costume, is their best. Godlike beings force Kirk and the captain of a Gorn ship who just ordered the destruction of a Federation colony to fight it out mano a lizard, to contain the bloodshed. Kirk’s final act is heartbreaking and beautiful.
1. “The City on the Edge of Forever” — Star Trek’s greatest episode has challenged all storytellers since not to use time-travel as a mere gimmick but as a prismatic tool for examining history and why we made certain choices along the way. Kirk & Spock travel back in time to 1930s Earth, looking for a drugged and psychotic McCoy, and meet a charity worker named Edith Keeler (Joan Collins) with whom Kirk quickly falls in love. She’s a forward-thinking 23rd century soul living in the midst of the Great Depression and dreaming of a future that Kirk knows will come true someday. But she’s doomed to die in a car crash within days. And, if Kirk doesn’t let her die, she’ll go on to lead a pacifist movement that will prevent the United States from entering World War II…allowing the Nazis to conquer the world. Edith has to die, so that the world she dreams of can exist. Time-travel has never been so emotional.
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Death catches up to all of us, in the end. Every time, without fail, 100% of the time: in the battle of Life v. Death, Death wins. The task that's left is of the grin-and-bear it variety: die, but not without living first. Times are hard in Westeros these days, and it seems like nobody is getting what they want, because they're losing everything. Arya's lost Gendry, Sansa's lost her gay husband-to-be and a chance to escape, Joffrey's lost control, and Theon's lost all hope. It seems as though nearly everyone is fighting a losing battle — and Jaime isn't the only one in need of a hand. Oh, Game of Thrones, you tricky beast: you're going to try and dull our senses before you destroy them with senseless death and bloodshed, aren't you?
Sunday night's episode, "The Bear and Maiden Fair" was the seventh of the season — meaning, we're nearly finished. Only three episodes remain and the lionshare of shenanigans (in an already packed season) are rumored to take place amongst their final minutes. So for now? Bring on the sex!
By The Skin of Their... —If you were one of those people who lamented the last few episodes for not having nearly enough naked people in it, this week should've done you quite well. Robb and Talisa were the first two to get in on the action, having a quick romp in the tent before the admission that perhaps Robb's direwolf is going to have to rock a baby bassinet one of these days soon: surprise! That's right, Talisa's pregnant and Robb couldn't be more amped on it. A good, naked day for them all around. Clearly this means something terrible is going to happen to them both very soon.We pretty much only saw butts here, though. Butts butts butts — it's fun to say, isn't it? Royal butts abound!
Also gettin' a bit of skin is Theon — though obviously it's not going as bang-a-rang for him. Tonight's episode saw Theon still stuck in (at least as far as the show is concerned) gods-knows-where and being tortured by our mystery psychopath. And, OK, I have to ask: did Theon just lose his d**k? Because he looks like that's what was about to happen. Theon Greyjoy joins the castrati. Oh, I'll be so sad if Theon loses his junk, you guys, because that one's really just a loss for Westeros ginger-lovers everywhere. Talk about paying the iron price: guess that's why these cats aren't all into reaping. Really brings a whole new meaning to the house motto of "We Do Not Sow," if it's true, eh?
But seriously, the brutalization of Theon Greyjoy's been a tough one to watch — he's broken, and this is far ahead of his personal storyline as far as the book this season follows is concerned (book 3 of the George R.R. Martin series). And, given that it is largely un-documented on the page, this means what we saw was essentially the minds of our favorite demented and ruthless showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Which is why Theon's walk towards Castration Way felt extra brutal. He managed in his completely destroyed state to somehow get turned on by the ladies throwing themselves at him, giving him a bit of water, only to have it immediately destroyed. Something tells us blue balls are the least of Theon's problems, and it's only going to get worse.
Someone who isn't worrying about blue balls is Jon Snow, though. America's favorite bastard and his wilding lady Ygritte seem to have found a wedge in Orell, who is desperately trying to keep the two separate. But Orell's warging ways are no match for Jon Snow's oral abilities. Plus, those two crazy kids are just real cute together: her trying to sound like a lady, and him attempting to amp up his dirty-flirty banter that she loves so much. It's all rather precious. I hope — at least for Ygritte's sake — that Orell doesn't have a for-real-real, serious crush on her though, because that sounds like it could end in disaster for everyone involved.
Love, Loss, and What I Wore: The Story of Brienne of Tarth —Poor Brienne. She's done her duty and tried to stay honorable and look where it's gotten her: in a terrible dress, fighting a bear in a pit for a bunch of garbage trolls' enjoyment. Her and Jaime's budding friendship/mutual respect thing is so fascinating because it makes me feel something other than utter disgust for a cocky incest-and-attempted-child murderer knight. Mixed feelings, they are everywhere. But one thing is for certain: Brienne's dress from last week is still here and it is still the worst. It is the Pepto Bismol of dresses. If there is such a thing as dowdy and outdated in the Realm, this is it. Granted, the dress is now completely overshadowed by the bear claw gashes running down her neck, but still: that dress. The worst.
But let's all give a big round of applause to Bart the Bear who really gave us casual, terrifying animalistic realness tonight. Just don't clap too loud or else he might come and maul you to death. I bet he's a real sadistic type of bear: he probably lazily paws around with your foot or something after he does it. For the role, Bart! We mean for the role. We love you, Bart.
Maternal Instincts —The mommy gene was alive and well for many of the gals, not just pregnant Jeyne. Margaery Tyrell has continued to show not only a deft handle of politics, but also compassion and motherly will. In a relationship that could've quickly dissolved following last week's episode, Margaery stood by Sansa Stark in all her silly little teen girl naïveté. She thought that if she just got what she thought she wanted (coming to the Red Keep, getting betrothed to Joffrey) she'd finally be happy.
Oh, girl. Oh honey. This girl has so much learning to do. To which, Margaery remained persistant in her explanations: "women in our position, must make the best of our circumstances," she explained. Plus, Sansa girl: do you know what you're giving up right now? Tyrion may be a dwarf but he's handsome, far and away the nicest Lannister of the bunch, smart, and he loves to please them ladies. Sansa if you keep judging a dude's worth by his purse strings you're going to be majorly unhappy for all of your days. Focus on the good, and what you can do! Be more like Margaery and her wonderfully liberated self. Sure, she might have to still play a typical role, but she's willing to make the most of it. After all, "Sons learn from their mothers — and I plan to teach mine a great deal."
But perhaps having the best Mother's Day ever is Head Khaleesi in Charge, Daenerys Targaryen. Marching into her second slave city of the season — Yunkai. Only the rulers of this town are nowhere near as dumb as that a**hat from Astapor (guess that's why they call them the "Wise Masters" over there). Still, he makes an offer that Dany quickly refuses: ships and gold as long as she lets them keep their slaves. But Dany is still on her "free the slaves" tip, and isn't about to back down all that quickly. So what happens when you're an overprotective baby monster and your mother's just been threatened? You lose your gold and possibly a kingdom — so you better be careful.
Melisandre even gets in on the game, prepping her newest potential smoke-vagina-monster-giver Gendry (I mean, that has to be what's happening here, right?) for his future greatness. Sharing with him, emoting with him — manipulating him into exactly what she wants. By leading him past the Red Keep on their way back to Stannis', she was simultaneously able to teach him not only of his origins (the bastard of King Robert), but also of the importance of his paternity. He may be a bastard, but he’s also an heir. Sometimes I think absentee dads have a bigger influence on kids than ones that stick around. Also the manipulative abilities Melisandre (and her vagina) terrify me. I don't want wee Gendry involved in any of that!
Loose Ends:- Is it just me or is it still really surprising to see a landing strip (and I don't mean for airplanes!) in Westeros? The whole Medieval vibe of the show, coupled with the general unwashed nature of most of the cast always makes me question the pubic hair choices (and abilities!) of the ladies on this show.- Learning about Osha's husband tonight was so sad, but I'm really glad we're getting a bit of character development for someone who while otherwise wonderful, is woefully one dimensional.- Pro-Tip for Wildlings: Comparing a lady to seals and baby pigs is a surefire way to make sure you never get it in. Ever. Take some advice from Jon Snow or if you want to know how to please a lady.- Implementing a new rule: every time we see a lady's vagina we might as well throw a couple weens in there, too. And so it was decreed as law: henceforth and in perpetuity.- Arya's god is death, she declares: does sound really f**king ominous to anyone else?
What did you think of this week's Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments.
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In analyzing the most recent poster for Star Trek Into Darkness, of a structural-integrity-challenged Enterprise falling to Earth, I asked a question that oddly enough not many had considered: exactly what was doing battle with Kirk's ship? One really formidable starship enemy or a whole fleet of attackers? If it's just one ship, it's likely that Benedict Cumberbatch's baddie John Harrison is pulling a Khan and has merely commandeered it. Remember, he's called a Federation "agent," not a captain.
Well, now we know. Paramount has released a third trailer for the movie (out May 17) and it's the most revealing clip we've seen yet. We've got Klingons, we've got space battles, and we've got an answer to my question: Harrison has one, really big, really menacing, black-tinted starship that dwarfs the Enterprise. Which is odd because Star Trek Into Darkness takes place just six months after 2009's Star Trek, and I'm pretty sure at that point the Enterprise was considered to be the most advanced ship in the fleet. Could this be further fuel for my theory that Harrison is actually an "agent" for black-ops, deep-cover Federation intel agency Section 31? Maybe he really is trying to lead some kind of Seven Days in May-style mutiny within Starfleet to push the Federation toward a less exploratory-minded security state?
It would make sense for Section 31 to have a more advanced ship than even Kirk & Co. know about. Shame it wasn't around to fight Nero and the Nerada in the last movie, especially if its black-hull indicates some kind of stealth or cloaking technology that they developed on the sly using Romulan technology. I mean, just look at the size of that thing in the freeze-frame above! It blots out the sky in front of Kirk's ship.
Despite all the rumors about Harrison really being Khan, I'm still not convinced. For one, is J.J. Abrams really going to whitewash a Sikh Indian character to the point where he's played by pasty Englishman Benedict Cumberbatch? I'm sorry, the pastiest Englishman? For two, why would an alternate universe remake of The Wrath of Khan, one pop culture totem that's truly unassailable, be a desirable thing? Aren't you setting up impossibly high expectations? (Then again this is the guy who's directing Star Wars Episode VII.) Maybe Khan will appear. Maybe John Harrison will have undergone genetic resequencing just like Toby Stephens in Die Another Day — exactly what we want to see ! — but there's another explanation, also involving genetic resequencing that I think may explain all. Allow me to introduce the first exhibit in our photo essay below: Klingons!
Yes, if you couldn't already tell from the forehead ridges, those are Klingons. In a deleted scene from his 2009 film J.J. Abrams cast Victor Garber to play a Klingon interrogator who questions Eric Bana's Nero about his time-traveling intent. These are the exact same helmets that the Klingons in that deleted scene wore. Now, some have speculated that John Harrison is trying to provoke war between the Federation and the Klingons. Uh-uh, as far as I'm concerned.
What if Harrison and his Federation conspirators are working with the Klingons. That would explain that freaky black ship. The Klingons have cloaking technology! They could have given it to Harrison and his Section 31 colleagues. The Klingons also got a better look at that 24th century tech Nero brought back in time with him than anybody, since they captured the guy. They could have given that to Harrison as well. But why? Is it, like in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, a plot hatched by the war hawks in both the Federation and the Klingon Empire to wage war against each other for their mutual profit? Or, wait for it, is Harrison a Klingon himself?
You may be thinking right now that I'm crazy. I'd say, yes...but like a targ! In the mid-23rd century, as seen in The Original Series, some Klingons looked really different from the forehead-ridged Klingons we all know and love. The former category of Klingons looked human.
Now we all know that the real reason for them looking little different from Kirk's crew on the '60s TV series is that Desilu Productions had no makeup budget. Most of the aliens on that show look human. But considering how different they've looked ever since Star Trek: The Motion Picture, where they were first given dark skin, forehead ridges, and pointy teeth, the makers of Trek had to come up with an in-universe explanation. It was first hinted at in one of the all-time great episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Trials and Tribble-ations," in which the DS9 crew travel a hundred years back in time to Kirk's Enterprise during the events of the classic "Trouble with Tribbles" episode. Here's what Worf had to say about the Klingons' very different appearance at the time.
Both Dr. Bashir and Chief O'Brien are right. It was genetic engineering... that became a viral mutation. And it was only elaborated to us Trekkers in the fourth season of Star Trek: Enterprise. Some of Khan's fellow genetic supermen were awakened in the mid-22nd century on that show, but without Khan because that show had the good sense to not try to recast Ricardo Montalban. These genetically blessed individuals were the result of experiments in the late 20th century to create individuals who were smarter and stronger than normal humans. Only problem? They were psychotic. I mean, filled with the most insane delusions of grandeur. Khan was their leader, and in the 1990s they waged war against the genetically inferior from their home base in Central Asia. You were probably too busy listening to the Macarena to care, but in 1996, Khan and his Übermenschen followers were defeated, and he was exiled in space aboard the S.S. Botany Bay. Because apparently we exile people to outer space, despite the fact that, even then, with all that sweet Clinton Era funding, NASA was barely functional when it came to manned space flight.
But anyway, fast-forward a couple centuries to the mid-2150s. One of the ships carrying a bunch of the genetic supermen in deep hibernation was discovered. The genetic supermen were reawakened. And a few of them ended up in Klingon hands. The Klingons thought the supermen were part of an Earth plot to weaponize humanity and endow ordinary folks with the sheer burliness required to be an equal opponent to any Klingon warrior. In short, the Empire was threatened. And this is part of why the Klingons and Earth got off to a bad start in their relationship. Scientists in the Empire felt that they needed to close the genetic superman gap and start doing some freaky manipulation to their own genome. The humans had maybe increased their strength. But the Klingons would go for stealth. They would alter their genetic structure by adding in some human DNA. They would then lose their forehead ridges and look exactly like humans... meaning that they could infiltrate Earth as spies and not be noticed. Maybe one or two could even make it into Starfleet and bring down their enemy from the inside.
Unfortunately, these genetic experiments quickly turned into a virus that ended up affecting much of Klingon society. Meaning that most Klingons ended up looking like ordinary human beings. The advantage of surprise would be lost if all Klingons looked like humans. A century later, in the mid-2260s during the events of The Original Series, we see that the Klingons still hadn't solved this problem. They still look like blokes. So what if John Harrison is a Klingon who, rather than just picking barfights with Scotty and letting Tribbles overtake his ship like so many in the Empire in those days, actually is living up to his original directive? What if he in fact has infiltrated the Federation and is leading a mutiny from within, supposedly to save it from its touchy-feely pro-exploration policies? But what if he really just wants to bring it down? Let's look at some more visual evidence from the new trailer.
This is basically a new angle on what we've already seen in previous clips, but its repeated presence goes to show that the Klingons really are going to be a major deal in this movie. A Bird of Prey keeps firing on a shuttlepod piloted by Kirk and Spock, through some kind of urban sprawl. I'm guessing this is Qo'nos, the Klingon homeworld itself.
Now here's the funny thing: Khan could still be in this movie. We know from Star Trek: Enterprise, the one series that was not affected by the timeline changes from the 2009 film because of it being a prequel show, that the Klingons were already interested in genetically engineered humans. What if, then, because of the timeline changes they decided to seek out Khan in the Botany Bay and actually found him? Even in The Wrath of Khan, he displays an affinity for Klingon culture by quoting their old proverb "Revenge is a dish best served cold." Khan could now be working for the Klingons and John Harrison could be his envoy. And we haven't even seen the supervillain yet!
From this photo, you can tell just how massive Harrison's ship is in comparison to the Enterprise. What if Klingon John Harrison infiltrated Section 31, where he fed the Federation organization schematics from Nero's ship, the Nerada, that the Klingons had discovered years earlier so that they could buid their own, comparable vessel? How else to explain what is obviously a ship of some Federation hybrid design that no one else in Starfleet seems to have seen before? It seems unlikely that Abrams would go to the time-travel well again and have this much larger ship be from the future. Some commenters online have already said that it looks like Jean-Luc Picard's Enterprise-E from a century later but those flared warp nacelles look way too much like Kirk's ship to have come from any other time. But I bet it has a cloaking device...
Quick break to feast your eyes on Zoe Saldana's Uhura in a catsuit.
An Aside: 2009's Star Trek featured Uhura in lingerie. An earlier trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness has also shown Alice Eve's Carol Marcus in lingerie. But here's the thing. Star Trek fans, and I'm taking it upon myself to speak for us collectively here, know that sexiness isn't contigent upon baring a lot of skin. In fact, we Trekkers prefer the skin-hugging catsuit look. Exhibit A: Nana Visitor's Kira Nerys on Deep Space Nine. Exhibit B: Jolene Blalock's T'Pol on Enterprise. Exhibit C: Jeri Ryan's Seven of Nine on Voyager. That's why one of the smartest things I've seen from any trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness is that Zoe Saldana's Uhura is in a peel-off, curve-hugging body suit. With a collar! Never underestimate the sexiness of collars. Or the sexiness of zippers! Seven of Nine never had a zipper. How did she ever get out of that skin-tight rig on Voyager? Something worth pondering. End Aside.
More evidence that some Klingon or Romulan technology is at work on Harrison's ship! Its torpedoes leave an exhaust trail, consistent with the plasma torpedoes found on Romulan Warbirds and Klingon Birds of Prey at this time. Federation photon torpedoes don't leave any kind of trail. And what is that weird spherical pod in the center of the frame? Please say it's not those pods from Oblivion.
If I wanted to, I could say that spherical ship looks to be of Suliban design, suggesting that John Harrison is really a Suliban shapeshifter who can assume any form he wants. But I have some sanity left, and I must guard that sanity carefully.
Mark my words: John Harrison is a Klingon, Khan may indeed be lurking on the sidelines, and catsuits are awesome.
What do you think?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
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Carnival Cruise Lines, you've really got to get your s**t together. That's probably a poor choice of words, but come on.
Late Thursday, Carnival announced that their ship the Legend had to cut short its seven-day voyage. Somewhere off the coast of Honduras, the ship suffered a technical problem that made it unable to sail at optimal speed, ABC News reports. The issue forced the ship to skip its final port in Grand Cayman and return to Tampa Bay, Fla.
And this just a day after the Carnival Dream had a mechanical problem with its backup generator, stranding passengers in St. Maarten. According to CNN, over 4,000 passengers will be flown back to Florida. Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen tells ABC News, "Since it is unclear when the Carnival Dream will be departing St. Maarten."
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He adds, "Guests have the option to return to Orlando — the closest air gateway to Port Canaveral, where the voyage began — or their originating city … Guests began disembarking the ship [Thursday] morning to board flights scheduled for today, and will continue to do so throughout the weekend. We are working to try to accommodate special requests from guests, including those who asked to remain on board longer."
And that just days after the Carnival Elation pooped out on its voyage from New Orleans. While Carnival says the ship's passengers were not affected by the problem — food service and facilites services were uninterrupted — a minor issue with the units used to steer and propel the ship did prompt a tugboat escort.
And who can forget the infamous s**t ship, the Carnival Triumph, which lost power and was stuck in the middle of nowhere for five days?
If I were a Carnival Cruise Lines passenger, I'd start looking into whether their free cruise vouchers are cash-redeemable. I mean, come on, the company is one exploded tire away from following in the footsteps of the Fung Wah bus (RIP).
Follow Abbey On Twitter @AbbeyStone
[Photo Credit: Gerald Herbert/AP Photo]
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This week’s of Once Upon a Time was definitely a giant adventure. From beanstalks to pirate ships, from airports to hospitals, our favorite fairy tale characters were all over the place. Catch up on all the mesmerizing details from “Tiny” in one enchanting recap!
Fairytale Land Flashbacks: At the tippy-top of a beanstalk, we met a band of brothers who also just happened to be giants. Lost’s Jorge Garcia was back, reprising his role as Anton, or “Tiny,” as his brothers liked to call him when teasing. Anton was the smallest giant of the bunch and his fascination with the human world and all of their treasures was greatly shunned by all of his brothers.
One brother asked Tiny, “Have you forgotten what the humans did? Why we no longer trade beans with them? They weren’t content merely traveling between the realms. They had to conquer and pillage.” But Anton firmly believed that just because a few humans were bad didn’t mean the entire race was evil. To prove his brothers wrong, Tiny traveled down the beanstalk and ended up in the Enchanted Forest B.C.S. (Before Charming and Snow).
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Over in a royal bedroom, we saw Charming making out with a random brunette who was definitely not Snow White. It only took 2.5 seconds to realize that this look-a-like was James, Charming’s twin brother who was raised to be ruthless and deceitful instead of compassionate and kind. The King interrupted his son's bedroom sesh (awk) with news that a giant was in town and told him that they must find him.
James and his lady found Anton wistfully looking into the window of a pub, but obviously his size prohibited him from being able to enter. James approached Anton with a deceitfully sweet smile and offers him to show him around the kingdom. The girl offered him a bit of a magical mushroom that would temporarily shrink his size. (It was a very Alice in Wonderland moment.) Tiny was extremely grateful to his new friends, and he asked the maiden for her name. She replied with a sly smile, “Jacquelyn, but everyone calls me Jack.” In the pub Jack explained that their kingdom was in great danger and they owed a lot of money to a nearby village. If they did’t pay, their land would be pillaged and burned to the ground. Eager to help out his new friends, Anton traveled back up the beanstalk to gather up treasure and donate it to the kingdom.
However, James and Jack followed Anton up the beanstalk, accompanied by a large army with poisoned swords to attack the giants and steal all of their magic beans. Anton destroyed the crops, but when he returned from his task he saw that all of his brothers were now dead. Just before the last surviving brother took his final breath, he handed Anton a magic bean steam and said that when he finds new land, he should grow more. James abandoned a fatally wounded Jack, and escaped from the beanstalk with a large bag of treasure on his back and a smile on his face.
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First Time Flyer: Rumple returned to collect Emma for their trip and was surprised to see that Henry had packed a suitcase too. Emma explained that with Cora running around, she was not going to leave her son in Storybrooke. If she went, he went. Tension hovered in the air as the three approached the town line on their way to the airport. Rumple's magic shawl was wrapped tightly around his neck as car passed over the line. He did indeed still have his memory, saying, “My name is Rumplestilskin and we’re going to find my son.”
Over in the airport, Henry was bouncing off the walls, asking a million questions, and was excited to get a Cinnabon from the food court. (Note to Emma: Do not give that kid any more sugar. Sheesh!) As the gang prepared to go through airport security, the guard told Rumple to place his cane and shawl in the bin and step forward. Rumple looked truly terrified, exclaiming, “If I let this go, I could forget who I am.” But Emma promised she would’t let that happen.
Rumples took off his scarf and was immediately in a daze, stumbling through the metal detector with shallow breath and unfocused eyes. Emma quickly placed the shawl back on his shoulders, and a shaken but memory-intact Rumple followed her to the gate. He nervously paced back and forth before excusing himself to go to the bathroom. Once locked in the stall, Rumple began punching the sanitary seat dispenser as hard and as fast as he could.
His knuckles were bloody and bruised, but when Rumple tried to use magic to heal them, he found that it wouldn't work. Rumple ended up on the plane with a bandaged hand looking terrified as the flight attendant announced that they would be landing in New York City in less than an hour.
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A Stranger in Storybooke: Snow and Charming began their quest to find Cora, and the first person they looked to question was, of course, Hook. Reluctantly the pirate led them aboard his ship and even though Cora was not there, they did find something very important that she brought on her trip: a pint-sized giant. Cora used her magic to shrink Anton, locked him away in a cage, and brought him on their journey to Storybrooke.
Snow freed Anton and said that they were not here to harm him, but the very second the not-so-giant giant saw Charming, he instantly attacked him, mistaking him for his brother. When he realized that he was outnumbered, Anton fleed the boat and wandered off into the forest. Regina learned of Anton’s disdain for the prince and took his opportunity to present Anton with yet another mushroom, but this one would temporarily makes him huge.
As Anton ravaged through town, Charming and Snow attempted to reason with the giant, explaining that it was actually James who betrayed him. But Anton did not care, claiming that all humans were evil and jumped through the air in hopes of crushing our beloved prince. However, all Anton crushed was a huge hole in the ground before the mushroom wore off.
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Charming and the rest of the town worked to save Anton from the hole and proved that the people of Storybrooke were kind and trustworthy. Anton rewarded them by saying that he would plant his beans in this new land so that they may have the option to travel back home.
Meanwhile, Belle was in the mental hospital — in a yellow gown of course — and it was clear she still had no idea who she was. Ruby sat down beside her friend to bring her “some comforts from home,” which was basically a basket filled with books. Belle demanded that her friend tell her the truth and asked Ruby why there was a man with a ball of fire in his hands on the night of her accident.
Belle got hysterical, claiming she knew what she saw, and the nurse came over to give her a shot of sedatives and take her to her room. Later that night, Craig — the man who drove through town and caused the accident — entered her room. He said he overheard her talking and he also saw a man wielding a ball of fire that night.
What did you think of the adventures in tonight’s Once Upon a Time? Cast your spell in the comments below!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC]
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Three-part special, hosted by Oxford University archaeologist Mensun Bound. Reveals the stories surrounding three sunken ships: an ancient ship full of treasures from the fallen city of Rome, that sank near the coast of Tunisia; the Agamemnon, a British naval ship navigated by the great naval commander Horatio Nelson; and the Graf Spee, the infamous Nazi warship that sank British merchant ships in World War II. Uses computer-animation, underwater footage, historical recreations, archival films and stills.