Part 270: Star Trek vs. Star Wars

Dedicated to David “Homer”


RECORD STORE TALES Part 270:  Star Trek vs. Star Wars

I took my fair share of ribbing for being a Star Trek fan at the record store.  I’ve been a Star Trek fan since I was a little kid – I had a kid’s size Scotty uniform shirt.  The first episode I can remember seeing was Operation: Annihilate!  It terrified and excited me at the same time, and I couldn’t believe the heroism of Mr. Spock.  He was my favourite character by far.  Kirk was always getting distracted by girls.

ART OFI witnessed some amazing moments in Trek-history during my time at the store (1994-2006).  Generations came out a few months after I started, and I remember watching a City TV Generations special on the little screen in our store one night.  It was a quiet evening in the mall and there was nothing to do but clean.  The TV was usually on Much, so I switched it to the Trek special.    That was a fun night for me.

Shortly after that, Voyager debuted and I raced home from work to catch the pilot episode which I was recording.  I missed the first 20 minutes and in the pre-PVR days you couldn’t just rewind and watch a show that you were recording “live”.  Yes, it was an exciting time to be a Trekkie.  My co-workers teased me about it, but Christmas ’95 my boss bought me a thoughtful Art of Star Trek book that I still have.  That was pretty cool of him.  He knew nothing about Trek but he picked a cool book with a Generations special in the back.  He was relieved that I liked it.

As a Trekkie (I dislike the term “Trekker”), I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a pretty hit-and-miss affair, being a fan.  For every great movie like First Contact, there was a shite movie like Nemesis.  By the late 90’s, being a Trek fan was a lot less exciting.  Especially when George Lucas started cranking up the Star Wars machine again with the Special Editions, in theaters.

The last time that I was really excited about Star Trek (before the recent reboot) was Star Trek: Insurrection. On December  11, 1998 I was working the night shift with a new guy, a class act named Dave “Homer”.   It was a Friday night, and the new guy said that he and his roommate were going to catch the new Trek movie on opening night.  Was I interested in joining them?  Of course I was.

INSURRECTIONIn addition to Dec 11 being opening night for Star Trek: Insurrection (joke name – Star Trek: Big Erection), it was also opening night for the brand new movie theater in town.  Then known as Silver City, it’s now called Gateway Cineplex 10.  Added bonus:  Silver City was a mere hop-skip-and-jump away from the record store.  If we cashed out quickly, we would have absolutely no problem catching the late show and still have time to get drinks, corn and a bar.

Homer was somewhat new in town and  didn’t know the way.  I did, so I led the car convoy.  We were pleased to see that it wasn’t too busy at all.  His buddy Ollie (who briefly worked for us later on) joined us, and we got our seats.  Silver City was the latest, most modern theater.  The stadium seating was awesome, we never had anything like this in town before.  I couldn’t imagine a better setting for a new Star Trek movie!

Oh, it got better.

I always enjoy the previews.  First up was a cool looking movie called Rushmore.  Not having a clue what we were seeing, it looked interesting and Homer and I made mental notes.  (Long story short – I love Rushmore.)

Second trailer though…


Yes, the Star Wars Episode I trailer had fans buzzing.  You have to remember that nobody had a clue yet what a useless piece of shit Young Anakin would be.  (I feel bad for the actor Jake Lloyd, nobody could have played that fucking character.) We didn’t expect Jar Jar to be even worse than the worst Ewok, with so much screen time.  None of these flaws could be discerned from that first trailer, which was a collage of pure bad-assery and cool imagery.  What were those beasts emerging from the fog?  What planet is this?  Holy shit Tattooine.  What’s that silver ship? Why did C3P0 have no coverings?  And who the fuck is that evil looking dude with the double lightsaber?!

I’d seen a choppy, small version of the trailer online.  To see it on the big screen, in surround sound, in front of a new Star Trek movie?  My mind was blown before the opening credits!

It was hard for a whole Star Trek movie to top that one trailer for Star Wars.  I think for us it was pretty equal – we left enthused about both.  Insurrection was good, but we all felt that it was much like an “extended episode”.  It wasn’t bad, it was certainly better than 1994’s Generations, but it lacked the weight of 1996’s First Contact.  As Trekkies, we were satisfied and excited to see where the franchise would go next.  As a money paying audience, we knew the movie was simply not up to the high bar set by First Contact.  As long as it didn’t get worse from there…

It got worse from there.  We had no idea that Paramount would flush it all down the shitter with Star Trek: Nemesis (2001).  Just as we had no idea that George Lucas had a massive clusterfuck of sewer sauce in the pipeline for Star Wars Episode I.  Instead, we choose to focus on the rush of that evening, the excitement of the experience.  In fact it is best summed up by Mr. Spock himself:

“After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing,
after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.”

– Mr. Spock, Star Trek, Amok Time

Every Star Wars DVD or Blur-ray that I own.

Every Star Wars DVD or Blu-ray that I own.



  1. Rushmore, great film! You wouldn’t get heckled too much these days for liking Star Trek, both of the new films were solid. I didn’t see any of the old ones to compare but Simon Pegg rarely disappoints, no exception as Scotty!


      1. I wish I could say I have!

        Most of my knowledge of William Shatner’s character comes from early family guy episodes. And Search for Spock was referenced on a Seinfeld when George’s fiancee Susan died.

        But otherwise I’m afraid I’m woefully under-educated. Which Star Trek series is the best of the bunch? Or is it an unfair question, like picking a favourite child?!


        1. Yeah it can be. Some younger fans think Next Generation with Patrick Stewart was the best because, well, PATRICK STEWART! Right? I’m old school and I believe the original series was the best.

          But you’re halfway there — you have seen the new movies. What I suggest is viewing one episode and one movie — Star Trek episode “Space Seed” starring Ricardo Montalban as KAHN and then Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn. You will see how similar events to the new movie unfolded in the alternative universe. It’s quite essential I’m afraid!


    1. I will say this about Simon Pegg — his accent is way better than Jimmy Doohan’s was (RIP). However his Scotty is less serious, I feel. The original Scotty joked around but not so much, particularly in the series. Later on in the movies he was comedy relief but in the early series he was often left in command of the Enterprise while Spock and Kirk beamed down to the planet below. Inevitably the transporters would fail and communications would go down. Scotty often had to make difficult choices on his own, sometimes even breaking standing orders to save the crew.

      Later on he had his comedic moments. The best known one was The Trouble With Tribbles, in which he hit a Klingon for calling the Enterprise a “garbage scow” and setting off a rumble in the middle of a space bar.


        1. Thanks Scott. Well played. Funny, but ditzy. The early Scotty would have been serious and played by regulation.

          I’m impressed that the guy had a mouse in 1986 — we didn’t. We HAD to use the keyboard. How quaint.


  2. If Kirk had been in Star Wars it would have been over in 10 mins. He’d have beaten Vader to death with a spanner and then ran off with Leia (wearing THAT costume) over his shoulder to show her some “Earth Love”. Han would try to object, of course, but would be reduced to rubble with a witty retort from James T… something along the lines of “well, double dumb-ass on you”. All in a days work for The Shat.

    Meanwhile, Spock looks on with a raised eyebrow and Bones says he’s “a doctor, not a bricklayer”.

    Star Trek > Star Wars


        1. There’s nothing wrong with that my friend. I find that there is enough overlap between the two, that may find eventually that you like both. Without Trek there could have been no Wars.

          Here, watch this…


  3. Wow, this was an awesome installment!

    I can still remember evolving from a Star Wars fan to Star Trek fan. As a very young kid, I was all about Star Wars figures and the comics. I think I was about 11 or 12 when I first discovered Star Trek and Doctor Who. DW I took to immediately, but it took a year or so of watching Trek re-runs with my Mom in the afternoon before getting hooked on that and eventually my uncle passed down to me all of his Mego Trek figures (along with the Planet of the Apes stuff). I can still remember how excited my Mom and I were for The Next Generation when it aired… The premier of that was a HUGE event in our household.

    I’ve seen every Trek movie in the theater, but oddly enough the one that sticks out the most in my mind was The Motion Picture. God, I must have been about 8 years old and I remember my parents took my brother and I to McDonald’s first and got us Star Trek Happy Meals! I had no idea what was going on in the movie at that age, but I remember liking the Klingons (as briefly as they appeared) and marveling at the special effects.


    1. Well FFZ, I too have strong memories of The Motion Picture. My dad bought me two model kits from the film — the Vulcan shuttle, and the Klingon cruiser. The Klingon cruiser was a bitch to build and never looked good. It ended up thrown out of a window to see if it could fly. The Vulcan shuttle was cooler, it had a removable pod to dock with an imaginary giant Enterprise, if you recall that scene from the movie.

      We didn’t see the movie until it came out on VHS. Then we’d rent a VCR and 5 movies for a weekend. We’d watch the movie two to three times to get our money’s worth! So we sat there struggling to understand the movie (the wormhole scene in particular). We liked a few of Bones’ lines — “Your baby is throwing a tantrum Mr. Spock!” We didn’t like Ilia, we didn’t like Decker, we didn’t like the skin-tight uniforms, but we did like the new-look ship which even today is still a gorgeous masterpiece of design.


        1. Get this — I had a kid’s pop up book for Star Trek the Motion Picture. The transporter accident scene is IN THE FIGGIN’ CHILDREN’S POP UP BOOK! I don’t remember it graphically describing the scene but I do remember it being in there. You had to pull the tab to scramble the people or something.

          I also remember my favourite panel — raise Mr. Spock’s eyebrows.


  4. I can’t get into Trek too much because both my parents are massive Trekkies – Hell, my mum tried to learn Klingon! Rejecting Trek was my rebellion.


        1. I loved the old Marvel comics, at the time — Droid World was a really special issue for me. I want to re-buy that. We had the Story of Star Wars records since there was no other way to enjoy the story at home!


  5. I’ve always loved the Star Trek movies, but I’ve recently been watching the original series and can’t say I care too much for it. I’m hoping to get around to The Next Generation and all the other ones eventually.
    The best thing about Star Trek over Star Wars is that there’s soooo much more stuff out there. Of course, that could also be the worst thing.


    1. Is the original series too dated for you? There’s a great series of remastered episodes with new digital effects that I think are just great. They’re not too much, they maintain the look of the show.

      With Star Wars in a lot of ways I think there is more stuff out there. Certainly more in terms of action figures, not in terms of television and movie hours. Although Star Wars will catch up with Disney at the help. You’ll see spinoff movies and TV shows.


      1. I wasn’t thinking of action figures and bed sheets with regards to what’s out there. I was thinking of screen time which I’m pretty sure Star Trek has more of.
        I’m not sure why I don’t care for the original series. I enjoy other stuff from that era, I just haven’t been able to get into it. I haven’t given up yet though. I’ll keep on the look out for the remastered stuff.


        1. Yeah without a doubt there is more Trek screen time out there. But I think that will change in the next 10 years. Now Trek is only making 2 hours every 2-3 years and Star Wars is about to crank up the machine big time. Clone Wars is still on TV and Rebels will be debuting soon not to mention the new movies and Boba Fett spinoff series.


  6. In our house it was Star Wars. My Dad was the Trekkie. But we never had any ill will towards Star Trek, we were just too busy recreating Hoth in the backyard during winter (passing cars were tie fighters, and snow plows were star destoyers)… It was later when I went back and saw some of the original stuff. And we watched most of the Next Gen during high school. It was on right before supper, perfect.

    I dunno, I never compared the two. They were separate, in my mind and I suppose it’ll stay that way. I don’t understand people who say you can like both but can only love one. Then again, lots of people still think the Labatt vs Molson, or Ford vs Chevy, or Coke vs Pepsi battles mean something (they don’t). To each their own. But if it helps at all, I own all of the Star Wars movies, but only 3 of the old Star Treks, and I only bought those recently (Lebrain will recall). I don’t even think I’ve seen them before.

    Live long and use the force, I say!


    1. Great stories. I remember Next Gen being on right before supper. Usually right after supper, too! New episodes were shown on Saturday night, and I was never much for going out, so I stayed home with my dad most weekends and caught the new episodes of Next Gen. We lost that when the show ended, he didn’t like DS9 and the tradition died. My mom did watch Voyager with me for a while, but I was the one who didn’t like that show.


  7. I am a trekkie fan – TNG. I didn’t watch Star anything growing up because, well, being raised in a house full of baptist women…sci fi was not on the radar at all. I watched Star Wars in my 20s for the first time. And I like the movies, just not as much at Star Trek.


    1. Nice to have someone who is a TNG fan — a show that lasted 7 years and definitely had some of the highlights of the entire franchise. The Borg saga that closed season 3 was awesome.


        1. You know what? If you ever care to spend the $10 or $15 bucks it cost, there’s a GREAT DVD set out there called Star Trek: Borg. All the best Borg episodes from all the series. About 12-15 episodes total. Well worth the money.


  8. Mike, I remember watching Voyager with you. I really liked that show. I never likes DS9 as well as you. My favourite Star Trek movie is the one with Christopher Plummer. I thought he was the best villain ever!!! I love the eye patch.


    1. DS9 was tougher to take, for sure. Those Ferengi or Fungi or whatever they called them… meh.

      Christopher Plummer’s awesome! Rare is the film in which he’s not excellent. We saw him as Prospero in The Tempest at Stratford a couple of years ago. Just awesome. Of course, he was totally milking it during the soliloquy at the end, but you know what? Let him. He completely rocked that role (perfect line for Mike’s site, eh? Rock that roll…).


      1. Ferengi, but they really grew in DS9. On TNG they were supposed to be “the new villain” but nobody could take them seriously. On DS9 they were used for comedy and intrigue which suited their businesslike culture.,\


      2. I saw him in the Tempest as well at Stratford. He was awesome indeed. Also saw him in Barrymore and A Word or Two. I am a great admirer of Christopher Plummer!


        1. Oh you’re so lucky! I wanted so badly to go back and see his other performances but we could only do the one!

          I am also excited that we have tickets for May 24 weekend to go back to Stratford and see Colm Feore as King Lear. It’ll be our first trip back since seeing The Tempest. Can’t wait!


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