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Star Trek: Phase II (1978) – Kitumba, Parts I & II (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the episodes with some additional materials – mainly novels and comics and films. This is one such entry.

Sins of the Father represented Star Trek‘s first venture to the Klingon home world, and the franchise’s first truly in-depth exploration of Klingon culture and values. Of course, there was precedent for this. John Ford’s rather wonderful novel, The Final Reflection, offered a glimpse into Klingon heritage and tradition in 1984. However, it’s interesting to think that we may have been offered an on-screen exploration of the Klingon Empire much earlier, had the planned Star Trek: Phase II ever gone to air.

Written by John Meredyth Lucas, a veteran of the classic Star Trek show, Kitumba would have aired as a two-part adventure in the first season of the aborted Star Trek: Phase II series. Not only were thirteen episodes plotted and outlined, most were also scripted – allowing a glimpse at what might have been. An early look at the workings of Klingon culture, Kitumba is obviously radically different from the version of Klingon society that developed and evolved on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

However, it remains a fascinating look at what might have been.


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Watch! Hardy Bucks Trailer!

It’s always nice to see an Irish success story. I can be quite tough on Irish television when the occasion calls for it. Any system that makes it easier to pitch a show like Father Ted or Moone Boy to a British broadcaster must be flawed in a significant way. Despite that, I’ll readily concede we do a lot of things quite well. Apparently Love/Hate is doing quite well abroad, and I’ve always been proud of our current affairs coverage. It’s also nice to see one of our shows making the leap to the big screen. Hardy Bucks has been one of the great success stories of Irish television. It was found during the 2009 Storyland competition and ended up going from strength-to-strength on Irish television. While it’s not quite my own cup of tea, it’s hard not to admire the charm and energy put into it – as well as the fact that it has managed to make quite an impact on Irish pop culture.

So the move to the big screen is certainly an interesting development, and I hope the show’s success continues. More popular comedy and diversity in Irish television is inherently a good thing. The trailer is a little bit too much at points – seeing a cheesily earnest American voice-over applied to an “Irish men behaving badly in Europe” comedy feels a little… dissonant – but the trick isn’t so much in the concept as the execution. I’m curious to see how it pays off. It’ll be opening here in February next year.