After NBC canceled Star Trek in 1969, the show immediately went to syndication to stations across the country. In Hampton Roads, the NBC affiliate WAVY TV obtained the syndication rights, and I happily greedily lovingly worshipfully watched every episode ad infinitum for at least the next four years, usually broadcast at 4:00 pm, and followed by repeats of The Wild Wild West at 5:00 pm. That schedule would change every other year, basically, with Wild Wild West at 4 and Trek at 5, and then vice versa.
During that time period—and the forty plus years since that halcyon era—there was only one episode that I have seen only once. Considering that, during a period of 1045 weekdays, every single one of Trek‘s 79 episodes would have been broadcast thirteen separate times, I should have seen that one episode at least twice, perhaps even five or six times, or more.
But I only saw “Spock’s Brain” once.
I have no proof to offer; only educated conjecture. But I suggest that “Spock’s Brain” was shown very infrequently in syndication back in the day because the episode was so bad it was embarrassing. This episode is roundly remembered as the single worst episode of the original Star Trek ever produced—the writer, classic Trek producer/writer Gene L. Coon, even used his pseudonym of Lee Cronin for the writing credit.
I saw the episode again for the first time in almost fifty years just last Saturday, after we watched War of the Colossal Beast on Svengoolie . . . which contained no war and only a borderline beast. It’s good for a few laughs—but if you’d like a different take on “Spock’s Brain,” read this by Trek novelist Keith R.A. DeCandido.
Yeah, sorry. I’ll even take “The Omega Glory” over this embarrassment. Shatner’s greatest Kirk speech makes that episode a classic of Trekkie cheese. More, please!
In November 2011, artist Juan Ortiz “felt as though the year had been a waste, creatively.” After working for Disney, Warner Bros., Disney a second time, and Cartoon Network, Ortiz “wanted to end the year with work that I could call my own, without any other person’s vision.” He got the idea to design a movie-style poster for TV’s Lost in Space . . .
. . . and then one for Star Wars (sorry, I can’t find an image to share), and then he turned to the original Star Trek series, and decided to create a poster for the second season episode “Amok Time.” He had so much fun that he made two more posters based on two other episodes, and he decided to keep going on, with a goal of finishing a poster a day during December 2011. Ortiz ended up creating 33, and now Titan Books has come out with the complete collection of his unique Trek posters, covering every episode of Star Trek‘s 3-year span.
In Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz, Ortiz took inspiration from many sources:retro-’60s, ’80s eastern European movie design, even drawing inspiration from covers of the ’60s Dell Star Trek comic book.
The introduction details how Ortiz starts the creative process with simple pencil sketches and doodles. When he decides which design to use, he moves to Illustrator and completes the piece with text and coloring. My favorite part: he adds in faux creases to show that the posters have been previously folded, just like movie posters were shipped up until the ’80s.
Some posters share themes, while many are unique. “Miri” resembles a horror movie poster from the late ‘60s. “Mirror Mirror” is based on USSR design work. The Ripper-inspired episode “Wolf in the Fold” is represented by a thriller-type movie poster from the ‘40s. “Tomorrow is Yesterday” has a hybrid look of a ‘40s pulp magazine and Action Comics, while “The Trouble with Tribbles” and “Who Mourns for Adonis?” appear based on Jack Kirby/Stan Lee Marvel comics from the early ‘60s, especially Fantastic Four.
This is a fun book that deserves more exposure. Even more, I hope it inspires others to create art from shows, movies–whatever–that moves them. This book is a great example of how the fantastic in the arts has positively influenced our popular culture, and we need more. Go here and see for yourself how good even fan-created Trek art can be.
Star Trek + incredible art and design = an instant collectible.