Around Trek In 80 Seconds

By Fred Shedian
Posted at May 6, 2001 - 9:09 PM GMT

The past several weeks have provided for some interesting material for me to write about. Since starting this column close to three years ago, very rarely have so many items caught my eye in just a couple of weeks. Therefore, this edition of A Take On Trek is going to be just that...a total take on several items in Trek. Ahead of time, I do apologize for those who are looking for me to dive deep into an issue. Although normally I do so, today I'd like to try to cover as many "topics" as one can within the confines of this webspace. Therefor, fasten your seat belts, please keep all hands and arms in the car until the ride comes to a complete stop and get out your open mind.

First stop...Voyager Season 7. As we approach, we find much of this theme park seems to be closing down. Only a few areas appear to remain open, which might be a good thing. Overall, writers have continued to impress me with the story telling displayed in this season. "Author, Author" provides a common Trek theme...but adds a very comical tone to it. In addition, I believe this episode holds a B-plot...for one of the first times, Voyager encounters what their "ship in a bottle" society is vs the society of "home." The Doctor's status is a perfect example, and I do hope this aspect of the show is dealt with before it's conclusion.

"Friendship One" is something of a mystery to me. A week or so after watching this episode, I'm still confused about the timeline this story presents. A 22nd century space probe is still operational two hundred years later? Even the Enterprise-E will have to refuel for more matter/antimatter after a couple of years...and this is late 24th Century technology. If the probe had crashed, looking more like a piece of space debris than anything else, then maybe this issue would have been solved. Removing this nagging issue from the equation, the episode presents a picture about the importance of the Prime Directive in Federation society and the possible repercussions to seemingly "harmless" actions. I only hope the storage batteries on Voyager I won't cause some alien civilization to blow themselves up.

Finally, we come to the episode which had many people screaming murder. "Natural Law" was rumored to present a Seven and Chakotay romance, which caused some to hold high aspirations for this adventure. Much to my surprise, the writers didn't peruse to obvious avenue. If there was a romance present in this episode, I must put my taped version in rewind. Overall, despite some comical moments, I found this adventure to be a dud. Janeway's request that Tom Paris conduct flying lessons to get a permit for the sector seemed completely out of character. A better plot could have been forcing Paris to refrain from flying for the next week, perhaps locking him in his quarters. I would agree with many who say this episode is one of the worst presented in Season 7. It had the backbone of a good adventure, but went off course.

Changing gears, I'd like to briefly discuss "Strange New Worlds." This book series is an impressive one, giving amateur writers the opportunity I believe they should get more often. However, I think the book series has run it's course. Perhaps making a new series of novels "Stranger Old Worlds" would be better. I would say that Pocket Books has higher standards than to let some of the stories in the book be published. Canon exists for a specific reason and is at the root of any Trek novel, rather it be TOS or DS9. Publishing work that clearly violates TV canon, not to mention many famous Trek works, does nothing but to discredit the publisher and make the amateur author look silly. With another edition due out within a year, I sincerely hope better safeguards are in place.

Finally, I come to Series V. With any luck, May 17th will present the announcement we have all been waiting for. However, with Trek fan's luck, it probably won't come until July. Speculation aside, this show has some serious hopes riding on it. As I have said previously, in order for the Trek franchise to regain it's "former glory" and to remain competitive with other science-fiction shows, Series V must have the ability to appeal to both "old timers" of the show and the fans who find the "darker" version seen in DS9/VOY appealing. You can have action while not compromising solid writing and character development. Given what the rumors say, I partially hope they are true. The rumored Series V sounds like a gold mine to me, clearly giving Paramount the ability to bring back long time fans who left after Star Trek VI with something they would very much find interesting while still presenting an atmosphere common to those familiar only with Voyager. The rumored Series V plot has the potential to help show how "modern day society" is changed into the "Trek society" presented in the 23rd Century. Who knows, perhaps some will finally determine that holodecks didn't exist aboard the NCC-1701.

Finally, I would like to give a hats off to Activision and Raven Software for producing a followup to their successful first shooter "Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force." With a plot I personally thought was worthy of a two part episode on the show, I am pleased to see a company respond to fan requests. This is such a rarity in the capitalistic world we live in, especially in the area of computer games. Simply look at Interplay's cancellation of DeForest Kelley's last work (via voice-overs) "Star Trek: The Secret of Vulcan Fury" six months before it was due to be released. Indeed a shame.

As always, I would love to hear from you. Although over the next several months I will be doing some substantial traveling, please feel free to send e-mail to Be sure to include your name and the title of the column you are referring to. If you would like to send me a belated Christmas gift...wait...did I say that? Hum...disregard.

Until next time...

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Fred Shedian Produces the long running TrekNation column "A Take On Trek." For a complete catalog of Fred Shedian's columns, please click here to visit the Take On Trek website.