A Look Back on the Star Trek Pilots and the Future of Trek


I want to end the “Star Trek Pilot Episodes Series/Star Trek Pilot Series,” with a reflection on the episodes and what I see in the future of Star Trek.  Star Trek at it’s best deals with issues of justice and dilemmas in modern day while giving us the hope for the future…the hope that we can be more and better. Each of the series barring much of “Voyager,” and nearly all of “Enterprise,” understood this and that was why they are so popular.

I still remember my first Star Trek convention, I was in Middle School living in Michigan at the time and I got to meet Vaughn Armstrong, who has played multiple characters on Star Trek as well as Roxann Dawson who played B’Elanna Torres on “Voyager,” in Middle School and High School was what motivated me to write sci. fi. My first sci. fi. idea ever was a Star Trek crew run by the outsiders or enemies of the Federation (Cardassian, Borg, Romulan and Ferengi were who I had in mind), and that motivated me to write my own stories post Middle School.

Before I get into the future of Trek I’m going to do one last recap of the Pilots…from best to worst with a summary.


1st) Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Pilot – “Emissary Parts 1 and 2”

This pilot knew what it wanted to be and lived that fully, keeping the tone and dilemmas true throughout the entire series. It dealt with war, post-war and post-occupation and all the consequences on the species involved. Captain Sisko is my favorite of the Captains and the fact that it was an ensemble cast served the story…we got to see the Cardassian perspectives through Damar, Dukat and Garak, to Bajor with Kira and Kai Winn, to the Ferengi and even an extra named Morn got his own episode. The series showed the consequences of war and abuse of power and provided actual dilemmas. I was never bored watching the series and enjoy following certain arcs (especially the “Dominion War Arc”) to this day. I look forward to reviewing more episodes and that arc.


9 / 10


2nd) Star Trek: The Original Series Pilot – “The Man Trap”

This pilot captured the wonders and dangers of space travel the best out of all the pilots. Where “Deep Space Nine,” looked big TOS started small. We get introduced to a new species that is the last of it’s kind and are forced to face the dilemma to kill it in “Kill or be Killed,” and we get to see most of the crew being active. TOS at it’s best used all of it’s crew members and captured the wonder and dangers of exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life and new civilizations.


8 / 10

The Cage

3rd) Star Trek Original Pilot: The Cage

The original pilot was really the Pike and Spock story. Most of the other characters don’t even have names and are so replaceable they are basically Proto-Red Shirts. What drives this story and elevates it over it’s problems of sexism (the aliens capture two crew members who are women so Pike can choose a mate in the cage they’ve created). What elevates it is that it deals with an actual alien species (Talosians) who are nearly extinct. We see the dilemma that is faced and Pike and the aliens come to an understanding. This episode captures the essence of “New Life and New Civilizations,” really well.


6.5 / 10


4th) Star Trek: The Next Generation – “Encounter At Farpoint Part 1 and 2”

“The Next Generation,” began with a very rocky start. It was trying to be “The Original Series,” when it clearly was not. This brought down the episode as well as the fact that besides Patrick Stewart and John De Lancie, no one else was any good as an actor. It captures the essence of Trek with exploration, it just doesn’t fully achieve it since it wastes the potential of Q and Farpoint Station (and the aliens are ideas, not actual interesting species).


6 / 10

Caretaker part 1 and 2

5th) Star Trek: Voyager – “Caretaker Part 1 and 2”

This is the point where there are a lot of interesting ideas but very poor execution. Maquis and Federation are pulled across the galaxy to the Delta Quadrant…but after they just get along. There is no conflict and Janeway is just assumed to be Captain even though the Maquis had a captain too. The species are poorly explored as well with Kazon as weaker versions (both physically and in writing) of Klingons and the Ocampa are poorly realized Space Elves. The whole getting stranded in the Delta Quadrant because of Janeway’s choice is never addressed either. In the end, it was average Star Trek.


5 / 10

Broken Bow

6th) Star Trek: Enterprise – “Broken Bow Part 1 and 2”

How do you miss the point of Star Trek? You do what Enterprise did. You write people as needlessly antagonistic, not very smart, objectify them sexually and create enemies who are mysterious for the sake of being mysterious and than do nothing with it…oh, and also forget all about all pre-established Canon in the Star Treks that came before. This was the series that killed Star Trek, and this pilot fully captures the reasons why. If your characters are useless and unlikable, your story goes nowhere and the only things you seem to care about are sex and violence…you’ve missed the entire point of Star Trek and your series deserves to die.


1 / 10

With Abrams new “Star Trek” movies I have seen new fans being created of this series. This gives me hope that we’ll be seeing another Star Trek series sometime in my lifetime. There has already been talk of “Star Trek: Captain Worf,” which would be awesome (http://www.blastr.com/2013-8-20/michael-dorn-reveals-his-capt-worf-star-trek-tv-series-not-dead-yet) since he was part of what made “The Next Generation,” and “Deep Space Nine,” so interesting and Netflix has been talking about doing a series too (http://uproxx.com/gammasquad/2014/06/netflix-wants-to-make-a-new-star-trek-series-happen/). I am down for either of these or a different one, since I think the mistakes of “Nemesis,” and “Enterprise,” have been learned from. This universe is rich with stories that can be applied to our own and help us to grow, understand and appreciate one another…for it is in those great stories of Trek that we have the chance to think deeper about ideas and in that Universe being offered as a good possibility, it gives us a future worth striving for and to boldly go where we haven’t gone before.


Star Trek: Voyager Pilot – Caretaker Part 1 and 2 – Lost in Space

Caretaker part 1 and 2

The fourth week of the Star Trek Pilot Series brings us to “Star Trek: Voyager,” a series that had an interesting premise that it failed to realize. The premise is that a Starfleet vessel and Maquis (Ex-Federation citizens fighting against the Cardassians) having to work together in a new area of the galaxy (the Delta Quadrant) and far away from home. The name Caretaker comes from the entity who pulls them to the Delta Quadrant.

Here is the assessment of the two part pilot:

Pros: Tom Paris – Is an interesting character, he is an ex-convict, former Maquis.

The Doctor – Is funny and fantastic. You see him rising up to the challenge of being the only medical personnel on the vessel too.

Okay: The story – the idea of a powerful entity pulling a federation and Maquis vessel to an unexplored Quadrant is pretty cool. How they execute this is okay…A Maquis (Torres) and Federation (Hary Kim) officer are taken by the Ocampa to help the Caretaker find a mate so there will be someone to look over the Ocampa. They escape and the Caretaker dies telling them the Kazon must not get the array. You’ll find my thoughts on the Kazon further down…but no third option is explored. There is no explanation why in this instance the Federation should get involved in these politics or for the Maquis to care at all. It is contrived but not bad…making the story of the episode okay…

Captain Janeway – We never see her have to fully face the consequences of leaving them in the Delta Quadrant…she is right because she is the captain. This hurt a potentially awesome character. Not to mention her being a scientist remains unexplored in this episode in every sense.

Chakotay – Same issue as Janeway. He just forgets he’s a Maquis and becomes a Starfleet Officer, we see none of the survivalist mentality of a rebel group leader…and we never see him confront Janeway about her choice. Okay, but unrealized potential.

Torres – The Half-Klingon crew member is briefly explored in that her anger comes from her Klingon half and who she is conflicted over that. But you never see why she joined the Maquis, we don’t get her motivations at all. Though that goes for the majority of the characters too.

Kes – The Ocampa who left her people. What an awesome idea…sadly she is with Neelix which I don’t understand. This guy exploited his allies and nearly got Kes killed by turning the Voyager crew into hostages of the Kazon. He is more dangerous than the Kazon cause he thinks he knows what he is doing.

The Caretaker – An interesting idea that is never fully realized. An advanced species taking care of a species they hurt is a cool idea…but we never know it fully. He worse than Q at “Encounter at Farpoint,” as far as how see him showing us those motivations.

Ocampa – Interesting species that isn’t fully realized. I don’t think the writers knew what to do with them.

The Special Effects – Are decent but not great. There are some great moments though like the space battles.

Cons: Neelix – He  exploits the crew, lies to them and is annoying. I don’t know why he was added to this series.

Kazon – Are weaker versions of Klingons…they have a unique look, but were never threatening in the episode.

Execution of Premise – For two very different ideologies there is no conflict (Maquis vs Federation)…the Maquis just join Voyager…there is no tension and Chakotay submits to Janeway really fast. After seeing Eddington and Sisko in DS9 this just feels false.

In High School I enjoyed watching Voyager when it was on…but that as mostly the later seasons. When I went back to earlier seasons I couldn’t get through them. Like Early TNG trying to be TOS, much of Voyager was trying to be TNG and this hurt the almost Battlestar Galacticaesquepremise. This is would stay true through the series. Magic reset buttons and playing it safe…there was hardly any conflict, hard choices and survivalism…it was just exploration and holodecks when it could have been so much more. It was average Star Trek and rarely elevated it…just like It’s pilot.

5 / 10, an average Star Trek episode, and not the worst of the Pilot Series…It isn’t bad, it just doesn’t confront us with any dilemmas or capture the essence of Star Trek anyway beyond travel and being stuck somewhere new.

The Star Trek Pilot Episodes Series


Today is going to be the first day of my first weekly series. Every week around Thursday or Friday I will be reviewing a Star Trek Pilot Episode or Episodes in each Star Trek Series. In the case of the Original Series I’ll be reviewing “The Cage” for the first time Star Trek was seen on television and later “The Man Trap,” the series that represented the first time the Original Series that is known was introduced.

Next week will be Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Encounter at Farpoint Part 1 and 2,” (the rockiest start of the Treks) the week after Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s “Emissary Part 1 and 2,” (The best of the pilots) the following week Star Trek: Voyager’s “Caretaker Part 1 and 2” (Where the series began to go downhill) and to end it Star Trek Enterprise’s (As much as I want to deny it being part of Star Trek) “Broken Bow Part 1 and 2.”

I am a Trekkie. Much of my inspiration for my creative writing both science fiction and otherwise arose out of some of the best stories in these science fiction series. As the reviews of the pilots continues weekly you’ll find more glimpses of why the majority of the Star Trek series are series that I look on with fond memories and inspiration to this day.