It won’t be long now before the sixth series of Star Trek hits the TV screens. Annoyingly, the plan is to air Star Trek Discovery behind a ‘pay wall’, namely by sticking on the streaming service Netflix. To be, this goes against the ideals of inclusiveness and openness that Star Trek is all about. Yes, studios want to make money and I get that streaming is big business, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. I’ll not be paying out still more money for the sake of one show, even if Star Trek is wired into my DNA. 

That aside, this post isn’t really a rant about that, but rather, it’s about the ferocious criticisms of a show that hasn’t even aired yet. I’ve seen posts on Twitter that complain this show ‘is made for social justice warriors’ and that they won’t be watching it – for those of you wondering what’s meant by that, their issue is with a black female lead, a Chinese woman as a captain and the inclusion of at least one homosexual character. 

Guys, this is Star Trek, a franchise built upon challenging misconceptions and giving social issues a platform. Anyone who’s seen the original 1960s show will be fully aware of the social commentary on offer, to say nothing of the controversy it generated. Subsequent shows have continued to offer up this sort of thing. It’s what Star Trek does. Besides, the tantrums being thrown on the web at the idea of women in charge only go to show why putting them in charge in necessary. Something needs to push back against this sort of misogyny, and it’s not just misogyny.

Racism plays a part in the objections too. I don’t recall the idea of Captain Janeway – a woman – in Voyager creating nearly as much of a backlash as the casting of Michelle Yeoh as Captain Han Bo and Sonequa Martin as Commander Rainsford. Might it be because Yeoh is Chinese and Martin is black? Are we not only as a fanbase hung up on female leads, but on race as well? 

Come on people. Star Trek was placing black women on the bridge of a starship in the 1960s. Have we made no progress since then? Are we not a fanbase of inclusion? Where are the principles of diversity and equality that the show itself has long practiced? Let’s not shame ourselves by rejecting the core message at the heart of the franchise. We are not sexist, or racist, or homophobic. Let’s be better than that.

Meet Jodie Whittaker. If you’re like me, you’ll be completely unfamiliar with her past work. She’s been in a showed called Broadchurch (alongside a former Doctor as it happens), but I’ve never seen it. I cannot therefore pass judgment on her acting ability. I can talk about the kerfuffle that’s erupted over her reveal as the 13th Doctor.

The issue? Previous actors to play the Time Lord from Gallifrey in Doctor Who have been men. This is the first time a woman has been cast in the role (though not the first time we’ve had a Time Lord change from male to female). Doctor Who has been subtly (or not so subtly, depending upon your point of view) preparing the audience for this possibility for a few years – but for some sections of the fandom, this is a bridge too far. 

If you’re on Twitter, the hashtags #13thDoctor and #Doctor13 are already providing a huge volume of misogynistic, sexist tweets. I am not at all surprised. However, there has also been a huge outpouring of support for Jodie. 

My own view? The same as always – I will judge the show on the acting and the writing. I don’t care if the Doctor is a woman – it makes no difference to me. What will make a difference is whether or not the stories are a little more energetic next season. We’ll have to wait and see!

After several delays, we finally got our first proper look at the next installment of the Star Trek saga today, with glimpses of new characters, the ship herself, new-look Klingons and some of the settings. So, being a huge Trekkie, what are my thoughts?

It’s Star Trek, which is in my DNA. The overriding message from the franchise has always been a message of inclusion and diversity. There’s always the theme of striving for a better future for humanity, and of leaving behind our racism, sexism and bigotry, in favour of working together to build a better world. It’s my hope that Discovery will continue to promote the ideas that ultimately turned the original show into the iconic series it is remembered as being. My one gripe? The new show is going to be Netflix, or in other words, behind a paywall. This is sort of understandable from the perspective of the studio – they are, first and foremost, looking to make a profit on their investment – but Star Trek has always been available to everyone (that’s important), and for some of us, waiting for it to become available on regular TV means waiting a long time. There’s also the danger that Discovery won’t encourage people to subscribe to Netflix, and therefore won’t be considered profitable enough for a second season. 

We shall see. I think the trailer does a good job of teasing the show, and eases a few concerns I had. As more news filters out, I can form a more solid opinion.

It’s probably clear to everyone who follows my blog that I am a huge Trekkie. I have all sorts of merchandise from the shows and films. Some of my proudest possessions are Star Trek books and models. On my left arm is a Star Trek tattoo. This epic sci-fi series is second to none in my eyes, and I have my mother to thank for this – she is a first generation Trekkie who would one day get her son hooked on The Next Generation, and I haven’t looked back since. 

Star Trek continues to be relevant in today’s world in profound ways. The idealism of Star Trek, whilst unquestionably lofty and difficult to achieve in the realities of our modern world, is nevertheless something to aspire to. Racial equality, gender equality, individual rights, religion, politics, euthanasia, drug abuse… These are all themes Star Trek has dealt with, along with the wider idea of bettering one’s self, and treating differences not as things to be feared, but as opportunities to learn and develop. Star Trek has taught me so much in this vein, and being surrounded by thousands of like-minded people over the weekend filled me with a huge sense of pride and togetherness. Fans of all different creeds came together to pay their respects to their heroes, and to Star Trek as a whole. 

It’s amazing to see the depth of love for Star Trek. My wife and I donned uniforms – some fans made uniforms, or got made up, and patiently posed for pictures with other fans. Others had overcome challenging physical disabilities to be here – and no one was treated with anything other than respect and dignity. This made me feel very proud. Fans had flown in from all over the world to be a part of this – but here, nationality didn’t matter. We all belonged to Star Trek. 

Philosophy aside, what was the weekend like? Let’s get the bad out of the way first. This can be summed up in one word – organisation. It’s a famous fact that Britons love to queue, but this would have tested even the Queen’s patience. We arrived at 1pm on Friday and didn’t get into the venue until gone 3pm. Needless to say, standing in a never-ending queue, which would split and merge with other queues, was a confusing and painful experience, and over the course of the weekend things didn’t really improve. Everything was running late – I know i know, this will happen at big events, but the extent of this problem meant a knock-on effect on everything else, including clashes with other plans. Sorry NEC, but for me at least, the ExCel Centre in London did a better job as hosts. 

The actual talks were fascinating, emotional and eye-opening. There were poignant moments with the Deep Space Nine crew, in particular with Terry Farrell (aka Jadzia Dax), who gave her side of the story of her exit from the show, and Robert O’Reilly (Gowron) recalled some gruelling filming experiences. Marina Sirtis (if you ever read this, you are amazing!) spoke of difficult producers and Will Wheaton gave us a story of his regret at leaving Star Trek too soon, and how he came to terms with that. Everyone was friendly, especially George Takei, who shook my hand! It’s been an incredible weekend, and I won’t forget the memories forged here. Please check out a few of the photos from the weekend! 

Myself with the marvellous George Takei! 

The magnificent Marina Sirtis signs my photo with her!

Thank you Terry Farrell, for some amazing discussions and your autograph! 

Even Time Lords appreciate Star Trek! 

Great Scott! It’s Christopher Lloyd! 

What does the (Star Trek) fox say?!

Even teddies are welcome! 

Favourite scary TV show… Hmm… 

The only show to trigger an actual nightmare would be Z Nation, which is pretty ironic given it’s a tongue-in-cheek take on the zombie apocalypse idea. It’s a fun, entertaining show but not really scary. 

To be honest, there aren’t that many TV shows out there I regard as scary. supernatural has had one or two moments but has gone quite stale, The Walking Dead is less about the scare and more about the struggle, and The Strain is more action-based in my view. I therefore can’t answer this one. 

Every now and then I’ll say something like ‘I don’t like The Office‘ (the English version) and that I don’t find Ricky Gervais funny. When I do that, I tend to attract this:










What can I say? I just don’t find his type of comedy amusing. His Brent character is annoying, not funny, and Gervais himself is overrated. There, I said it.


So we’ve arrived at the finale! It is fitting then, that the final challenge is favourite season finale!

The very final episode of Deep Space Nine was and is a moment for me that felt pretty powerful. DS9 was the most thought-provoking of all the Treks, and the final episode brought us the conclusion to the Dominon War, as well as the final showdown between Sisko and Dukat. It also wrapped up a number of other character arcs, and felt like a definite ending (unlike TNG, as it was well known films about that crew were on their way).

Quantum Leap managed to give us a powerful ending too. Al was finally reunited with the woman he loved, but shockingly, we learned Sam never made it home. That was a real gut punch.

The Shield ended on a note both satisfying and disappointing. Vic Mackey was forced behind a desk, something he found demeaning, but he escaped the harsher fates that befell his colleagues, and so in many ways, got off lightly.

Spartacus pulled no punches with a finale that was true to history. It was a sad, bleak ending, but it was honest.

I suppose if I must make a choice, then due to nostalgia, I choose Deep Space Nine.


Saddest character death.

I’m going to spring a surprise or two with this one. First up is the young king everyone loves to hate, Joffrey from Game of Thrones.

His death isn’t sad because you mourn the passing of the character. It’s sad because as he passes away, you are reminded that for all her faults, his mother Cersi is losing a child, which is the worst, most unimaginably painful experience anyone can face.

This brings me to the saddest character death I can think of, one that still feels like a punch to the gut whenever I think of it. The end of season 2 of Spartacus features Lucretia forcibly takes Ilithyia’s baby, and then ‘joins’ her dead husband, by stepping back off a sheer drop, with the baby still in her arms.

If I said that scene brought tears to my arms, it would be an understatement.


After yesterday’s best cliffhanger, comes worst cliffhanger.

This is much more difficult. I suppose ‘worst’ might be when the outcome is pretty obvious as to what comes next. VOY’s season 5 finale Equinox featured an apparent moment of peril for Captain Janeway, but she was never likely to die. The destruction of a ship in SG1’s season 9 finale never actually set up the possibility of main characters dying.

I think the worst cliffhanger I can think of recently would be any one of a number from Supernatural. They strike me as being pretty contrived a lot of the time, especially when you know nothing will permanently happen to the main cast.