Category Archives: Star Trek

Star Trek II: “Inside Regula I” (1982)

One doesn’t normally associate the horror genre with Star Trek in any way, shape or form (though the infamous “Genesis” episode in Star Trek: The Next Generation comes awfully close in my opinion), and yet there is a scene midway through Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that could be straight out of a horror film.

“Aboard Regula One” (beginning to 1:35)

The Enterprise is diverted from a routine training mission by an emergency call from space station Regula One and along the way are ambushed by Khan Noonien Singh, who seeks revenge against Admiral Kirk for stranding him and his followers on Ceti Alpha V fifteen years previously. Barely surviving this attack, the Enterprise limps to the space station, knowing Khan has been there and gone, not sure what they’ll find. Kirk, McCoy and Lieutenant Saavik beam over to see what, if anything, remains on the space station.

From the moment they transport down, the music is like something straight out of a horror film. The space station appears totally abandoned, and the music is dark and ominous. Even though Khan has left, there’s still no way of knowing if he’s left any “surprises” for Kirk and his crew.

Kirk, Saavik and McCoy walk through the empty corridors of the station, and the air is thick with tension. But it isn’t until we go back to a last shot of McCoy that we get the big “horror film” moment. He’s about to cross into a new section when he’s suddenly startled by a rat (because of course there are rats on space stations). And just when he thinks it is safe to keep going….WHAM!! He walks headfirst into the arms of a dead crew member, hanging upside down from a balcony.

It’s a truly horrifying moment, and one that I think is slightly underrated, due to the space battle that happens before and after this segment of the film. But this music is beautiful foretaste of what will come when Horner scores Aliens a few years after this film. I hope you enjoy a look at the scene “Inside Regula One.”


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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country “Main Theme” (1991)


After Star Trek V: The Final Frontier went FLOP at the box office, it was very nearly the end of the Star Trek films. But the studio managed to persevere and plans were laid to make a sixth film. Initially, Star Trek VI was going to be a prequel, featuring Kirk and co. at the Academy (which later became the basic plot of Star Trek (2009)), but that was scrapped in favor of a final adventure with the original Enterprise crew.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country “Main Theme” (1991)

Now when it came to scoring Star Trek VI, director Nicholas Meyer had some trouble finding a composer. Jerry Goldsmith was so disappointed after Star Trek V that he currently wanted nothing to do with the project. James Horner felt that his career had advanced beyond Star Trek, so he declined as well. With no other alternatives, Meyer looked to a pile of demo tapes sent in by other composers wishing to work on the project and he ultimately selected a tape sent in by composer Cliff Eidelman, as he felt his music best captured the “spirit of Star Trek”.

Eidelman’s music is a big part of why I love The Undiscovered Country so much. It’s dark, occasionally eerie, and chock full of tension at all the right moments. And the main theme is a perfect introduction to this score. The music plays over the opening credits before the story proper begins and instantly lets you know that this isn’t like the other Star Trek films. Jerry Goldsmith’s bright fanfare is absent, Horner’s beautiful strings aren’t there. What we have instead is a dark motif that will recur throughout the film.

As the credits move on towards the end, the music becomes more and more tense, and it will later come out that what we are hearing is the music from the final battle between Captain Kirk and General Chang. The tension builds higher and higher, until finally the music ends on almost a literal cliffhanger, as the music cuts off just before a huge explosion fills the screen (talk about starting a story off with a bang!)

I really enjoy the main theme of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, it is an underrated gem in the musical canon of Star Trek. I hope you enjoy listening to this theme as well.

For more live action soundtracks, see here

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The Music of Star Trek: The Best of Both Worlds (1990)

This post is part of The Music of Star Trek Blogathon hosted by Film Music Central (me!!!)

You don’t often think of television episodes having great musical scores, but such is the case with “The Best of Both Worlds”, a two-parter that consists of the season 3 finale and the season 4 premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The events of these episodes form the basis of Star Trek: First Contact (1996) and had huge ramifications for the Star Trek universe. Given the massive size of this story, I am actually going to focus on Part 1 for this blogathon (I’ll cover the conclusion at a later date)


At the start, the Enterprise is dispatched to a Federation colony that had reported they were under attack. The Enterprise arrives only to find that the entire colony has been wiped off the face of the planet (leaving only a huge crater in the ground). Everyone immediately suspects the Borg, an alien species first encountered in the season 2 episode “Q Who?” The Borg could easily be considered the most dangerous foe ever encountered by the Federation. Unlike other alien species, that might give up after a show of resistance, the Borg never stop. They will come on relentlessly until they reach their goal of assimilating any and all cultures they come into contact with into their “collective.” That’s the other thing about the Borg, they  function as a group mind. There is no individuality, no freedom of expression, nothing. There isn’t even the concept of “I”. If the Borg were to ever reach Earth, it would be disastrous, so the Enterprise is dispatched to engage and stop them.


“We have engaged the Borg”

Now I mentioned that this two-parter has a great musical score and it really comes into play once the Enterprise locates the Borg ship (a massive cube structure). The music here has an almost cinematic quality to it (a rare thing in television these days). Composer Ron Jones gave an ominous theme to the Borg (mostly consisting of synthesized choral voices), to emphasize the fact that the Enterprise is up against a very dangerous opponent.

“We Have Engaged the Borg”

How dangerous? Well, after an initial attack leaves the Enterprise locked in a tractor beam (that they barely manage to break away from), the ship spends several hours hiding in a nearby nebula, as a ploy to distract the Borg from going after anyone else. See, the weird thing is, the Borg are demanding Captain Picard be handed over to them, which is weird (even for them) because hitherto the Borg haven’t shown any interest in individual beings. And despite best efforts, the Borg have this way of getting whatever it is they want. Case in point: Picard’s kidnapping scene. The Borg chase the Enterprise out of the nebula and manage to knock their shields back down.


No sooner does this happen then several Borg begin beaming over to the bridge of the Enterprise. Note the music when this happens, it becomes very mechanical and rigid (and somewhat repetitive). This is symbolic of the unrelenting nature of the Borg. Despite the fact that they are cyborgs (part human/machine), they firmly reject the parts of themselves that were once human.

Picard is kidnapped by the Borg

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “resistance is futile” THIS is where that comes from. Actually, to hear the Borg tell it, anything other than immediate acquiesence to their demands is futile. Even DEATH is irrelevant (which is kind of a scary thought when you think about it). Picard is determined to resist his captors anyway, but he doesn’t really have a choice in the matter. This is the last we see of Picard until the end of the episode (more on that after while).

“Strength is irrelevant, resistance is futile”

The Enterprise has a really big problem on their hands (even bigger than Picard being kidnapped): the Borg cube has set a direct course for Earth (also known as Sector 001, the Terran System). Under no circumstances can that cube reach Earth, so while the Federation fleet gathers at Wolf 359 (which is a real star by the way), the Enterprise sets about delaying the Borg ship at any cost, not just to give the fleet more time to prepare, but also so they can try to rescue Captain Picard (before they’re forced to try and destroy the Borg ship).


Inside the Borg ship

Beaming aboard, the away team encounters no resistance at first (the Borg typically ignore lifeforms if they don’t think they’re a threat), but when Dr. Crusher hits on the idea to take out an increasing number of power stations (to force the ship to slow down and repair itself), the Borg take action. Borg begin attacking from every direction, and they have a distinct advantage. There’s one more detail about this species I forgot to mention: they have the ability to analyze and adapt themselves against any attack. What does that mean? Well, in Star Trek you generally attack with phasers, right? With the Borg’s adaptability, you MIGHT get off two or three shots before the Borg (collectively) learn how to shield themselves from the blast. In other words, if you can’t destroy them before they adapt, you’re screwed. The away team has reached the point where all the Borg are adapting, meaning they need to leave ASAP, but then Dr. Crusher sees someone familiar…it’s Captain Picard…or is it?

“Captain Borg” (Soundtrack only, reveal of Picard as Borg)

The “Captain Borg” cue (link above) is the reason why I chose this episode to share with you. The pivotal moment when Picard faces the camera to reveal the Borg implants on his face is haunting, shocking and remains one of the pivotal moments in all of Star Trek history!!! The part I really want you to hear begins at 0:54. First you hear the synthesized ominous Borg theme, followed by a twisted rendition of the Enterprise theme (in the full scene “Part 1 Cliffhanger”, this comes right after Worf yells “Captain!” and is approx. 1:15 in the soundtrack version). The message couldn’t be more clear: Captain Picard has been “corrupted” by the Borg (hence the mutated Enterprise theme). The crew is unable to rescue Picard at this time because he’s surrounded by a force field and they are subsequently forced to withdraw.


“I am Locutus of Borg”

“Part 1 Cliffhanger”

The shocked team returns to inform Commander Riker that Picard himself is now a Borg. At the same time, a report comes in that a new weapon capable of destroying the Borg cube is ready to fire. Doing so would kill Picard, but at the same time save the Earth before the Borg cube is able to resume the journey to the Solar System. Arguments are made as to why they should or should NOT use the weapon, but just as Riker makes up his mind, the Borg ship hails the Enterprise with a message….and so begins one of the most enduring, iconic scenes in all of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Borg Picard steps forward and addresses his own crew:

“I Am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is Futile. Your life, as it has been, is OVER. From this time forward, you will service US.”

Cue shocked faces from everyone on the bridge!!!!!!

The music here is practically exploding with tension, but it’s about to get worse. As the camera turns to zoom in on Riker’s face, the music rapidly builds to a fever pitch as he utters the command: “Mr. Worf, fire.”

And what happens next??? Oh, I can’t tell you that, the cliffhanger does a much better job (so make sure to watch “Part 1 Cliffhanger”, it had me screaming at the TV by the end).

It almost goes without saying that THIS was the episode that finally got Star Trek: The Next Generation over with the original Trekkies. Before this, Star Trek: TNG was still considered something of a red-headed step-child, it was alright, but it could never live up to the original series. And then THIS episode happened, and “all hell broke loose.” Fans everywhere were hooked, begging to know what would happen next. The funny thing is, even the writers didn’t know at this point, as they’d literally written themselves into a corner and had no idea how to get out of it.

In part 2 (which will come out sometime in the remainder of this month), I’ll explain exactly how they resolved this tense situation.

Hope you enjoyed this look at my favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation episode (the full episode is readily available on Hulu and Netflix). Have a good weekend! -Becky

The Music of Star Trek Blogathon is HERE!! Day One

At last! After months of planning, The Music of Star Trek Blogathon is finally here!!!! I can’t wait to see what everyone has come up with. One last note, don’t forget to include a line at the top of your post that says “This post is part of The Music of Star Trek Blogathon hosted by Film Music Central” and include a link back to my blog page, that way anyone reading it knows that it is part of the blogathon 🙂

Anything posted today will be a part of the recap below, so let me know when your posts are up!! Have a good weekend 🙂 -Becky

Thoughts All Sorts shares some thoughts on the music in Star Trek (2009): Some Musical Thoughts- Star Trek (2009)

MovieRob examines the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation “Encounter at Farpoint” : Star Trek: The Next Generation “Encounter at Farpoint” (1987)

Plain, Simple Tom examines the now-iconic music in “Amok Time” : “Amok Time”

The Temp Track provides a ranking of every Star Trek film score there is: Scoring the Final Frontier: Celebrating 50 Years of Trek Tracks

The Temp Track also takes a look at the themes of Star Trek VI: Only Kirk Could Go To Qo’noS: Cold War Allegory and the Title Theme for Star Trek VI

50 Years of Star Trek (1966-2016)

On this day, 50 long years ago, “The Man Trap,” the very first episode of Star Trek, was broadcast on NBC. The show aired on a Thursday night in the 8:30 slot and was received with mixed reviews: some reviewers liked the show, while Variety insisted that the concept “wouldn’t work.” Against all odds, the show became popular, and would go on for three seasons (out of a conceived five, as the Enterprise was meant to be on a “five-year mission” and presumably one season corresponded to one year in space).

The show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, had conceived of Star Trek as “Wagon Train to the stars” (Wagon Train being a Western tv show that ran in the late 50s to the early 60s). In the show’s first pilot “The Cage,” the show looked rather different. While Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is present, his character is not as refined as it would be in later episodes. The Enterprise here is commanded by Captain Christopher Pike (Jeffrey Hunter), with a female Number One (Majel Barrett, who would later play Nurse Chapel and voice the computer in later Star Trek series as well as play Lwoxana Troi) as second in command. NBC rejected this pilot and called it “too cerebral.” But amazingly, Roddenberry was given the go-ahead to create a second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” (though this was a pilot episode, it was ultimately broadcast third on September 22nd). This pilot was approved and the show was off and running.

I have literally been watching Star Trek for as long as I can remember. I have dim memories of watching the last few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation as they broadcast (I was 5 when the show went off the air) and even stronger memories of watching reruns of the original series on TVLand and the SyFy channel. I was easily caught up in the world of the 23rd century, where people could transport from ship to planet in a flash of light, and visiting other planets and various alien races was a common thing. I remember being shocked that the original series only ran for three seasons (I was sure there had to be more than that) and feeling delighted when I was introduced to the Star Trek movies.

Of the Star Trek series, my favorites (by a mile) are Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation. As my parents tried (and did not like) Deep Space Nine (or Voyager for that matter), I didn’t discover either until both had long since ended their television runs. I actually watched a large chunk of Deep Space Nine several years ago during my first year of graduate school and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it (“The Trouble With Tribbles” DS9 episode is something everyone needs to see, just saying!!) Voyager has its moments as well, it’s just not my favorite. And as for Enterprise….I really tried to get into that show, I really did, it just didn’t work for me.

More random thoughts

My favorite Next Generation villain is The Borg (which makes my favorite episode “The Best of Both Worlds”)

I love any Next Generation episode that has Q in it

I love any Next Generation episode that features a guest appearance by an Original Series cast member (“Relics” with James Doohan is a lot of fun)

“The Squire of Gothos” remains one of my favorite Original Series episodes, but my ultimate favorite from that series is “The Trouble With Tribbles.”

The WORST Star Trek episode I ever saw was “Genesis” from season 7 of Next Generation. The premise: the entire crew (minus Data and Captain Picard) de-evolve into less primitive forms of life and the non-affected pair must race to find a cure before it’s too late. How an episode with THAT premise got into the SEVENTH season, I don’t know, but it reeks of something they might have done all the way back in season 1.

Except for the last five minutes, I actually don’t care for the series finale of Next Generation (it involves Picard skipping between three timelines, past, present and future). The changes were so random (and generated so many awkward moments for Picard) that I can hardly bear to watch it unfold.

I ignore the existence of Star Trek: Generations (1994), just as I generally ignore (tolerate at best) the existence of the Kelvin Timeline.

And I’m eagerly waiting to see if Star Trek: Discovery will be any good. I certainly hope so, but if not, I’ve got every season of the original series and four of the seven seasons of Next Generation in my collection 🙂

Here’s to another 50 years of awesome Star Trek (I hope!!!!!) -Becky

Ranking the Star Trek films (1979-2002)

So as you can see from the dates, I’m not including the “Kelvin Timeline” films in this ranking. Since they’re set in a totally separate timeline (and look/act nothing like the first ten), it’s simply not fair to include them. So I’m sticking with the first ten Star Trek films, from The Motion Picture to Nemesis.

  1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

This should come as a surprise to no one, as my love for this film (and the soundtrack) is well known. While The Motion Picture fell somewhat flat, The Wrath of Khan set the standard for how the Star Trek universe would look on the big screen. It also brought back one of the most iconic villains from The Original Series: Khan Noonien Singh, with Ricardo Montalban reprising his role as the genetically engineered warlord, now bent on seeking revenge for the death of his wife. James Horner’s immortal score only heightens an already amazing film and it is with good reason that this film remains a favorite among cinephiles.

See also: Remembering James Horner: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

2. Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

If The Wrath of Khan is the greatest Star Trek film overall, than Star Trek: First Contact should be second, as it is (for me), the greatest film featuring the Next Generation cast. Like The Wrath of Khan, First Contact picks up the threads from a pair of television episodes, in this case “The Best of Both Worlds Parts 1 and 2” (the season closer/opener for seasons 3 & 4 respectively). In those episodes, Captain Picard was kidnapped and forcibly assimilated into the Borg collective, acting as their representive “Locutus of Borg.” While the crew of the Enterprise eventually rescued him and restored his humanity, the memory of helping the Borg destroy the fleet continued to haunt him and plays a big part when the Borg again launch an attack against Earth.

3. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

This film picks up where The Wrath of Khan leaves off and is centered (obviously) on the quest to save Spock, who is actually alive, though not whole. Through a series of events, Spock’s consciousness is actually lodged in McCoy’s mind, while his regenerating body is located on the unstable Genesis planet (created at the conclusion of the previous film). With Starfleet denying Kirk permission to visit the area, Kirk and company proceed to steal the Enterprise and head towards the Genesis planet, with plans to leave for Vulcan immediately after retrieving Spock’s body. However, it’s not going to be that simple: a rogue Klingon warlord is also interested in the Genesis planet, and the two are on a collision course that will end in the death of someone very close to Kirk. I rank this film as high as I have because it concludes the story begun in The Wrath of Khan and it contains another superior score from James Horner.

4. Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

I know many people won’t agree with this, but I don’t care, Insurrection is an amazing film, with a great (if heavy-handed) message. Picard and company intervene when they catch wind of a plot to forcibly re-locate the Ba’ku people from their home (a planet whose rings have certain properties that render the inhabitants functionally immortal). Allegedly, this is being done for the greater good of the Federation, but Picard suspects the motives of the So’Nah (who are working with the Federation Admiral in charge of the project) are less than pure, and he doesn’t know how right he is.

I have to add that I get slightly irritated at times when people call this film “a glorified Next Generation episode.” It bothers me because I grew up watching the Next Generation television series and I can tell you that this film is NOTHING like those (Generations is a whole different matter though, see my thoughts below on the subject).

5. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

To be honest, I almost put this film in the #4 slot, but it’s still worthy of being in the Top 5 either way. As the final film to feature the entire Original Series cast, there is something special about The Undiscovered Country that I can’t quite name, but it  makes the film extremely enjoyable. By this stage, everyone knows their roles inside and out and you can feel the camaraderie in this last go-round with the Enterprise A. The story was heavily influenced by the recent fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War and the immense change that wrought on the world order. Kirk has to grapple with the fact that Klingons aren’t the enemy anymore and that the world he’s known for so many years is changing quickly. Christopher Plummer makes a terrific Klingon as General Chang, and it’s just great to see the original cast one last time.

6. Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

No, I do not consider Nemesis to be the worst Star Trek film ever made. It may be among the weakest of the Next Generation films, but there are worse films in the franchise than this one. For my part, I enjoyed this film, I liked the revelation of a secret Picard clone and I personally thought Tom Hardy nailed the role of Shinzon. Ron Perlman was excellent (as always) as the viceroy and Jerry Goldsmith contributing one final score to Star Trek makes this film very special. At the time of release, there weren’t going to be any more Star Trek films after this one, so I took in every detail and savored it, because this was going to be the end. I seriously hope this film’s reputation gets re-evaluated as more time passes, because the films that remain ARE worse than this one.

See also: A Random Thought on “Star Trek: Nemesis”

7. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

If I were ranking these films based on music alone, The Motion Picture would be a lot higher. Goldsmith’s score is enchanting and is the only thing that saves this film from being a complete disaster. Let’s face it, the pacing of this film is all wrong, scenes run-on endlessly, and the “exploration of V’Ger” takes WAY too long. But I still get a feeling of what they were going for, and so every once in a while I can sit down and watch this film (and enjoy it).

8. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

I don’t like this movie, I have never liked the time travel episodes of Star Trek. I’m not sure why, I just don’t like them, and so to have an entire film set in the ‘past’ of the 1980s, I just don’t like it. Yes it’s cool that a pair of humpback whales saved the planet and Kirk and company saved the species from extinction, but still…definitely not one of my favorites (I avoid it whenever possible).

9. Star Trek: Generations (1994)

If you’re looking for the “glorified” television episode, look no further! You’ve found it! First of all, this film was shot at the same time as the series finale “All Good Things…” Second, the film uses the EXACT same sets from the television series. Third, the music *facepalms at the thought* was composed by a person who wrote music for the television series, so it even SOUNDS like one of the episodes. Really, they only made this film as an excuse to put Kirk and Picard on screen at the same time. And it’s cool that they meet…sort of anyways. The thing is, the original cast already had their big send-off in The Undiscovered Country. Re-introducing Kirk (and subsequently killing him) kind of spoils all that. You’ll notice that McCoy and Spock are conspiciously absent at the christening of the Enterprise B (that’s because when Nimoy and Kelley were asked to reprise their roles, they flat out refused). Malcolm McDowell is a decent villain, but he’s one of the few bright spots in a film whose existence I generally choose to ignore.

10. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

It goes without saying that Star Trek V deserves to be at the bottom of ANY ranking of Star Trek films, because it is without a doubt the worst film of the bunch. To be fair, the concept of finding God (or some equivalent) at the center of the galaxy is not a bad one, it’s just that they executed it all wrong. And giving Spock a half-brother out of nowhere didn’t make much sense either. Sybok IS an interesting character, I will say that, but I don’t see why he had to be Spock’s brother to be relevant; I think he could’ve easily been just a rogue Vulcan and that would’ve worked as well. I will watch this film once in a blue moon (maybe just to remind myself how bad it is), but Goldsmith’s music for this film IS excellent. It’s a shame the film is so awful.

And that’s how I would rank the ten Star Trek films set in the prime universe (once I see Star Trek Beyond sometime in the future I’ll make a list for the three Kelvin Timeline films). What do you think of my rankings? Do you agree? Disagree? I hadn’t really given it much thought in the past, but this is order makes sense to me. -Becky

You can find more of my thoughts on Star Trek here

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