Tagged: Alexander Courage

Mindy Newell: Star Trek – Beyond Tribute and Redemption


Kirk: We make a good team

Spock: Yes, we do.

Bones: We could be mauled to death by an interstellar monster!

Kirk: That’s the spirit, Bones.

Considering today is Monday the 25th and Star Trek: Beyond came out only three days ago, how much can I tell you about it without doing the dreaded HERE THERE BE SPOILERS dance? Hmmm…let’s see….

Did I like it?


Did I luvvvvvvvv it?

Well, that’s hard to say. If you had asked me that last night as I was walking out of the theatre, I would have said, “No, I didn’t luvvvvvvvv it.”

Meaning that I didn’t want to turn around and immediately buy another ticket, ‘cause I’m too honest to just stay in my seat and wait for the next show, and besides, with my luck, I would have gotten caught by that one guy or gal in the whole wide world who has the thankless job of cleaning up after all us movie slobs between showings and who takes his or her job seriously enough to throw me out or hand me over to the theater manager. The way I wanted to do when I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark or the original Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back or, come to think about it, the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot back in 2009.

However, as I was talking about the movie while playing and cavorting in the pool this afternoon with grandson Meyer, daughter Alix, and son-in-law Jeff, I realized that while I didn’t luvvvvvvvv this third entry of the rebooted Trek universe, I definitely do want to see it again, because:

1) Chris Pine is simply becoming more and more handsome. In fact, before sitting down to write this I watched the Wonder Woman trailer – the one unveiled at this year’s San Diego Comic Con – just to feast my eyes on those amazing blue eyes.

Ahem No, not really. Let me try that again.

1) Chris Pine is inhabiting the character of James Tiberius Kirk more thoroughly with each film, allowing us to follow and appreciate the growing maturity of the young(est) captain who sits in the command chair of the Federation’s premier starship, all while never losing the charm of the boy inside;

2) Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban, as Spock and Leonard “Bones” McCoy respectively, still frankly fucking amaze me with their dead-on interpretations of the First Officer and the Chief Medical Officer of the starship Enterprise as we knew and loved them in the “before” time. It’s not only in their acting skills that totally get the quirks and mannerisms of the Vulcan-Terran hybrid and the “old country doctor,” but also in their spoken intonations and, yes, the very sound and timbre of their voices. How do they do that?

3) Speaking of the Euclidian – or is that Isosceles? – triangle that is Kirk, Spock, and McCoy…it’s all there. The wrangling, the bemusement, the annoyance, the loyalty, the friendship.

4) And with regards to that triangle… two sides, Spock and McCoy, are more cantankerously and crabbily thrown together than ever before, giving us the chance to revel in their ornery, and yet loving relationship.

5) Yes! Finally! Hurray!!!! The women of Star Trek get their due!!!!! Communications Officer Lt. Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) has more screen time than ever, and she kicks ass, not only physically but also emotionally and with smarts. Not to mention Melissa Roxburgh as Ensign Syl. Yeah, she may be a “red shirt,” but she’s not simply disposable. And then there is Sofia Boutella as Jaylah, the woman who becomes the crew’s ally. Yeah, she kicks ass, too. But here’s a word that I haven’t seen in any of the media review. She’s adorable. As in, I adored her relationship with “Montgomery Scotty,” which lead me to…

6) Simon Pegg, as the Chief Engineer, is once again simply wonderful. (And by the way, he co-wrote the Star Trek: Beyond with his writing partner, Doug Jung, ably Robert Orci, Patrick McKay, and John D. Payne.)

7) Although I do have to say that John Cho, as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, does get a bit shortchanged this time around, in what I thought was a great addition to the character (not to mention to the franchise), it’s established that not only is Sulu gay but that he and his beloved are parents to a little girl. I also think it’s an absolutely wonderful tribute to George Takei, who has been in the forefront of gay rights since he first came out; Mr. Takei was one of the first to marry his partner when California finally voted in the legality of same-sex marriage. The funny thing is, Mr. Takei objected to this “change” in Sulu’s character. That seems odd to me…

As for the reasons I didn’t luvvvvvvvv STB, well it comes down to…

1) Idris Elba.

No. Not the actor. He was, as usual, pretty damn fantastic, especially – nope, not gonna go there. Not going to get all SPOILERY.

In fact, I can’t really get into why Mr. Elba, or, rather, and more specifically, his character, bothered me without getting all SPOILERY.

So I’m just going to have to drop it for now, until (I assume) Art Tebbel and/or Vinnie Bartilucci or someone here at ComicMix gives a more, uh, thorough review.

Until then, live long and prosper.


One thing I did truly luvvvvvvvv, immediately luvvvvvvvved: The honor and respect and love given to Leonard Nimoy, both within the movie itself and in the credits. And the saddest thing about Star Trek: Beyond is the passing of Anton Yelchin. Stay for the credits. You’ll see what I mean, and you’ll “hate” it, too.


Alexander Courage’s theme gets me every time!

Ed Catto: Film Noir — Without the Film


Even though police procedurals are all the rage on TV right now, I’ve always preferred detective shows and Film Noir movies. This week, let’s take a walk down some mean streets as I tell you about an outstanding Film Noir thriller. You’ll have to listen closely, as there’s no film at all.

Christmas Eve of 1953, 78th St & 3rd Ave. New York, NYBroadway Is My Beat is a crime drama from the Golden Age of Radio. Originally broadcast in the late 40’s and early 50’s, this show follows the homicide caseload of Lt. Danny Clover, a cop assigned to the “Broadway Precinct” of New York City.

Each week Lt. Clover must solve a murder. And it’s all done Ellery Queen/“fair play” style, so the listener can figure out whodunit as well. These stories are pretty clever. It’s always a race for the listener to keep up with the police lieutenant and discover what really happened before it’s revealed.

The writers played fast and loose with the geographical boundaries of the precinct, so Broadway Is My Beat also becomes a travel log of a New York City that’s long gone. Any given episode might take you to Times Square’s Dance Halls, or to a seedy apartment building or to an ethnic neighborhood that simply no longer exists.

chandler_pgs_22And as an audio drama, you’ll have to use your imagination for everything. I always tend to conjure up long dark shadows for most scenes and pretend it’s filmed in black and white. Of course, if I’ve recently read an Ed Brubaker comic, I tend to imagine Sean Phillips’ art (below). But if you envision Steranko, in full Chandler-mode, you can’t go wrong either.

These adventures offer a fascinating mix of purple prose and hard-boiled dialogue. Lt. Clover typically offers over-the-top narration for the reader, often speaking directly to you’ But when the characters talk, it’s a time capsule of New York, with loads of sass and moxie.

Here’s a great example of pulpy-but-poetic opening narration. This from a 1952 episode called The Eve Hunter Murder Case, written by Morton S. Fine:

1953, New York, NYThe pallor of the long day ebbs finally from Broadway,

What had been sallow and gray is a sudden scarlet.

Where drabness was, where surfaces were drained of color,

There’s a glitter that’s now silvery – darted through with splinters of neon light.

And at this edge of twilight the shock gathers … waits for the revelers.

The sighing wind draws them into it one by one,

From the long corridors, from hall bedrooms, from the embrace of solitude.

They drift, they run, they whirl to the dancing of the wind

And shock waits..and shock comes!

The talent on this production is top notch. The best episodes of Broadway Is My Beat were directed by one of the most talented guys in the radio industry: Elliot Lewis. He was an important producer and a visionary with some of the later shows he created. He was also a very gifted comedian, appearing as guitar player Frankie Remley in the long-running Phil Harris – Alice Faye Show.

Larry Thor played the lead with an urgent, world-weary staccato for most of the show’s run. In fact, in so many episodes you can hear his impatience and frustration from constantly wading through death’s aftermath. Quite often, the police characters in the series will have to pause and apologize because they’ve just been too short or too rude to one another.

When the show hit its stride, Alexander Courage was in charge of the music. You probably remember him for his best-known work: the Star Trek Theme.

You can find episodes of Broadway Is My Beat at Radio Spirits, one of the premiere companies selling old time radio shows. You can also discover many episodes on the web, and Radio Archives has a great online collection.

We’ll end this week’s column the way Lt. Danny Clover ended each episode:

Broadway is my beat, from Times Square to Columbus Circle, the gaudiest, the most violent, the lonesomest mile in the world.  fadeout06_4

Mindy Newell: These Are The Voyages…


“Don’t screw this up.”

Admiral Maxwell Forrest, Starfleet Command, to Captain Jonathan Archer • “Broken Bow” • Episode 1, Season 1, Enterprise

As I mentioned in last week’s column (Oh Boy), Scott Bakula also starred as Captain Jonathan Archer on Enterprise, which ran on the UPN network from September 2001 to May 2005, a total of four years. That’s one more year than TOS’s run, but three years shorter than its successful progenitors, Next Gen, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager.

UPN claimed that poor ratings caused Enterprise’s downfall; according to Wikipedia, it never rose above the Top 100 rank in the Neilson ratings system, debuting at #115, and continuing to sink until its final season, where it landed at #148. It’s generally perceived as a failure, and has been blamed for the lack of any Star Trek on either television or movie screens until J.J. Abrams’s 2009 film reboot of the franchise.

Set in the year 2015, about 100 years before the time of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 and ending ten years later with the birth of the United Federation of Planets, I think the show had a lot of promise and so I’ve never understood exactly why Enterprise never took off. I’ve been rewatching it courtesy of Amazon Prime, and, yes, Bakula did exhibit some stiffness as Captain Archer in the first year, but certainly no less than Patrick Stewart did in the first season of Next Generation or Avery Brooks in Deep Space Nine.

As for the rest of the cast – Jolene Blalock as the Vulcan observer and science officer Sub-Commander T’Pol, Connor Trineer as Chief Engineer Charles “Trip” Tucker III, Lieutenant Commander Hoshi Sato at Communications, Dominic Keating as tactical and security officer Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, Anthony Montgomery as helmsman Ensign Travis Mayweather, and John Billingsley as the Denobulan Doctor Phlox – im-not-so-ho, from the first they all seemed to have a more complete handle on their characters than, again, any of the regular cast members Next Gen. And certainly better than most of Voyager’s crew (with the exception of Kate Mulgrew, Robert Duncan McNeill and Tim Russ) or Deep Space Nine’s regulars (with the exception of Colm Meany, who had the advantage of reprising the Miles O’Brien character, who originated on Next Gen.)

So what happened?

Well, first off, and again im-not-so-ho, Rick Berman and Brannon Braga made some big mistakes. The first in not using Alexander Courage’s opening riff and the introductory words:

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

C’mon, are you fucking kidding me? This is a show about the beginning of humanity’s journey into deep space, about the beginning and founding of the United Federation of Planets, and you don’t use these words? Words hallowed in every fan’s heart and soul, and, I bet, quite a number of people who wouldn’t actually claim to be Trekkers but who have been inspired by that phrase. I understand not using them in Voyager and Deep Space Nine, those shows’s premises were not, ostensibly, about discovering “what’s out there.” But Enterprise? Its premise is in the very name of the show!

Rather than incorporating Courage’s music into the new show’s theme, Berman and Braga chose some to ignore it completely, instead choosing to use Diane Warren’s “Faith of the Heart” which was the original theme to the movie “Patch Adams.” Now perhaps if the orchestration had been different, without the Rod Stewart-ish (and I like Rod Stewart – and, btw, Stewart did sing the song on the soundtrack to “Patch Adams”) vocalization from Russell Watson, and if it hadn’t sounded like something played on a soft-rock radio station, and if they had incorporated Courage’s opening riff into it, it might have worked… but I doubt it. The show needed something not only inspiring, something that tempted you to look up at the stars, to dream of the day we would push beyond our solar system into that final frontier. But with that song? Change the channel… please! (I’ll give you a foot massage if you do it.)

And what was with not naming the show Star Trek: Enterprise? Yeah, yeah, I know, they did add “Star Trek” to the title in the third season, but will someone please tell me why they avoided it in the first place? What did you say, Mr. Berman?

 “Well, you know, if you think about it, since The Next Generation, we’ve had so many Star Trek entities that were called “Star Trek”-colon-something […] Our feeling was, in trying to make this show dramatically different, which we are trying to do, that it might be fun not to have a divided main title like that. And I think that if there’s any one word that says Star Trek without actually saying Star Trek, it’s the word ‘Enterprise’.”
Yeah, well, if you ask me, no matter what he or Mr. Braga might say, I think it’s all bullshit. I think they both just wanted to separate themselves from the ghost – or the floating ashes in orbit around Earth – of Gene Roddenberry. Y’ know… an ego thing.

Btw, I’m neither criticizing nor defending Mr. Roddenberry. His is the mind from which ultimately Star Trek was born. It was his baby, and he did what he needed to do to get the show on the air. But from what I’ve read and from what I’ve been told by some in the know, he was not exactly the “Great Bird of the Galaxy” – except maybe in his own mind. According to Marc Cushman (author of the massive trilogy “These Are The Voyages: TOS – Season One, Two and Three), the real hero of Star Trek was Gene L. Coon, the “forgotten Gene,” who invented the Prime Directive, the Klingons, the development of the personal dynamics between the Kirk, Spock, and McCoy (especially Spock and McCoy), and so much more of the ST mythos we know and love.

So, anyway, why did Enterprise fail?

I think a lot of people, including fans, I’m sorry to say, never really gave it a chance.

Not very Star Trek of them, was it?