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Friday, August 26, 2016

Star Trek Turns 50

Written by Jon Williams

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.

Those now-familiar words were first heard on September 8, 1956, when the very first episode of the original Star Trek television show made its debut. In the fifty years since, Star Trek has become a true touchstone, with phrases like “live long and prosper” and “beam me up, Scotty” making their way into the cultural lexicon. The show made stars of its primary cast members (William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, and Walter Koenig), and has spawned numerous spinoffs, a movie franchise (including a reboot), and much more.

It seems hard to believe now, but that first Star Trek show ran for just three seasons, as it didn’t become a true hit until it was syndicated and shown in reruns. At that point, the original 79 episodes just weren’t quite enough, so, in 1973, the show was revived for an animated series that brought back all the original actors to voice their roles. Although it was also short-lived (spanning 22 episodes), it was well-received, even winning a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Series.

As the animated series wound down, Star Trek was at something of a crossroads. There was a demand for more, but it was unclear exactly what form it would take. Plans went into motion for a new television series, to be titled Phase II, but numerous problems eventually forced those plans to be scrapped. Instead, encouraged by the success that science fiction films were finding at the box office, Star Trek producers instead revived earlier plans to bring the Enterprise crew to the big screen. Those efforts paid off with 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, again reuniting all the original cast members in their familiar roles.

The success of that movie spawned a franchise that would run for five more films featuring the beloved original cast. They were: The Wrath of Khan (1982), The Search for Spock (1984), The Voyage Home (1986), The Final Frontier (1989), and The Undiscovered Country (1991). It was with this last movie that Captain Kirk’s iconic line of “where no man has gone before” was updated to “where no one has gone before,” eliminating the gender-biased and (in a galaxy filled with aliens) species-biased language in keeping with the franchise’s ideals of equality.

That was when Captain Kirk first spoke those words, but it was not the first time Star Trek fans had heard them that way. In September of 1987, Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered on television, set 100 years after the adventures of the original series and bringing a new cast (Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Denise Crosby, and Wil Wheaton) to the bridge of the Enterprise. Highly popular, this series ran for seven seasons and made its own eventual jump to the big screen. 1994’s Generations bridged the gap, starring the entire Next Generation cast and featuring several members of the original cast as well, in a story that saw Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard team up with William Shatner’s Captain Kirk. The Next Generation cast then stayed in theaters for three more movies on their own: First Contact (1996), Insurrection (1998), and Nemesis (2002).

The final season of The Next Generation aired in 1994, but that was far from the end of Star Trek on television. Before it ended, in 1993, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine featured an ensemble cast as the crew of a space station in a contested region. Then, beginning in 1995, came Star Trek: Voyager, which followed a new ship and crew helmed by Kate Mulgrew’s Captain Janeway, trying to make their way home to Earth after being stranded on the other side of the galaxy. Like The Next Generation, both of these series ran for seven seasons. In 2001, after Voyager’s conclusion, Star Trek: Enterprise made its debut, starring Scott Bakula as the captain of the very first Federation starship to be named Enterprise, in a prequel to everything that had some before.

And of course there is the new movie series. In 2009, after a 7-year absence from theaters following Nemesis, Star Trek returned to the big screen in a reboot from J.J. Abrams starring a new cast (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, John Cho, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, and the late Anton Yelchin) in the roles of the original crew, with Leonard Nimoy appearing as an older Spock in a nod to the alternate timelines the different casts now occupy. That was followed up in 2013 with Star Trek Into Darkness, and earlier this year with Star Trek Beyond.

All of this, and still Star Trek fans have plenty to look forward to. In addition to a fourth film with the new cast, there is also a new TV series in the works. Slated to debut in January, Star Trek: Discovery will detail the adventures of a new ship and crew in the ten years previous to the events of the original series. And of course, the TV series and movies are just a part of what the Star Trek franchise has to offer. SmartBrowse on our website for music scores and audiobooks, and you can also direct patrons to hoopla digital for Star Trek comics, audiobooks, and other novelties. Also, keep an eye out for a special Star Trek 50th anniversary flyer along with our September catalog mailing.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hot This Week: August 22

A new outing for perennial favorite Tom Hanks is this week's top movie debut. The soundtrack from the DC Comics hit movie Suicide Squad takes over the music chart. Colson Whitehead jumps up to #1 in fiction, just ahead of the latest thriller from Catherine Coulter, while last week's non-fiction titles just undergo some reordering.

  1. Mother's Day
  2. Criminal
  3. Meet the Blacks
  4. A Hologram for the King
  5. London Has Fallen
  6. Kung Fu Panda 3
  7. Miracles from Heaven
  8. Zootopia
  9. Allegiant
  10. Fathers and Daughters
  1. Suicide Squad: The Album 
  2. Drake, Views
  3. Skillet, Unleashed
  4. Blake Shelton, If I'm Honest
  5. NOW That's What I Call Music 59
  6. Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface
  7. DJ Khaled, Major Key
  8. DJ Snake, Encore
  9. Rihanna, ANTI
  10. Adele, 25
  1. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead 
  2. Insidious, Catherine Coulter
  3. Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty
  4. Bullseye, James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  5. Three Sisters, Three Queens, Philippa Gregory
  6. The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware
  7. Sweet Tomorrows, Debbie Macomber
  8. The Black Widow, Daniel Silva
  9. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  10. The Girls, Emma Cline
  1. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
  2. When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
  3. Armageddon, Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
  4. Hillary's America, Dinesh D'Souza
  5. Crisis of Character, Gary J. Byrne
  6. Liars, Glenn Beck
  7. Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
  8. Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  9. Grit, Angela Duckworth
  10. American Heiress, Jeffrey Toobin

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Magic Never Fades

Written by Jon Williams

Recently, the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End to rave reviews. Written by veteran playwright Jack Thorne based on a story idea he developed with director John Tiffany as well as Harry Potter creator and author J.K. Rowling, the play continues Harry’s story starting from the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which sees Harry sending his son Albus to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the first time. The plot then follows young Albus as he struggles to forge his own identity in the wake of his father’s heroic legacy.

Published in book form, the play’s script has already sold well over three million copies, fanning the flames of a Potter fever that never went entirely dormant. However, if you didn’t already have copies of the movies on your shelves, you (and your patrons) have been out of luck for quite some time. Until now, that is! Starting today, all eight Harry Potter movies are available for pre-order in a 2-disc Special Edition format on both DVD and Blu-ray. These new editions will release on October 4, just in time for the lead-up to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the spin-off movie coming to theaters on November 18.

As hard as it may be to believe, the Harry Potter craze has been ongoing for nearly twenty years. It was June of 1997 when the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in the U.K. It came to the U.S. over a year later, in September of 1998, as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The next two books, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban, were both published in the U.S. in 1999. With the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which came out in July of 2000, the publication schedule was finally standardized internationally. From there, it was three years until the next book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, came in 2005. The events of that novel whipped fans into a frenzy, which paid off when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out in 2007, one of the biggest publishing events of all time.

It was after Goblet of Fire, with the books’ plots growing in complexity and length to match the increasing maturity of their protagonists and readers, that the time in between their publication increased. However, this is also when the movie series began. In 2001, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released into theaters, starring Daniel Radcliffe in the title role, with Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as his faithful friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. That film, along with the second, was directed by Chris Columbus; he stepped down for the third film in favor of Alfonso Cuaron. Mike Newell took over for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and then David Yates stepped in to direct the final four films: Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows, which was split into two installments in order to maintain all the action and drama of the final book.

It’s at the end of that book that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child picks up, carrying the story into a new generation of witches and wizards as it adds to the lore for a new generation of fans. Make sure you have all the magic on your shelves for patrons who can’t get enough of all things Potter. You can use the links above to find the audiobooks and new Special Edition DVDs and Blu-rays, and don’t forget to SmartBrowse ‘Harry Potter’ on our website to find the movie scores and a wealth of other supplemental material.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hot This Week: August 15

Beloved director Garry Marshall's final feature, Mother's Day, takes over this week's movie listing less than a month after his passing. Four new albums make the music chart, headlined by the star-studded effort from DJ Khaled, who nudges Drake from his long-held spot at #1. It's an even bigger week for new titles in fiction with five, including the latest entry in Oprah's book club, Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad. In non-fiction, new titles from Glenn Beck and Jeffrey Toobin make their debuts.

  1. Mother's Day
  2. Criminal
  3. Meet the Blacks
  4. London Has Fallen
  5. Kung Fu Panda 3
  6. Miracles from Heaven
  7. The Trust
  8. Allegiant
  9. Zootopia
  10. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
  1. DJ Khaled, Major Key
  2. Drake, Views
  3. Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface
  4. Jake Owen, American Love
  5. Rihanna, ANTI
  6. Fantasia, The Definition Of...
  7. Hillary Scott & the Scott Family, Love Remains
  8. Adele, 25
  9. Blake Shelton, If I'm Honest
  10. Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Soundtrack
  1. Bullseye, James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  2. Sweet Tomorrows, Debbie Macomber
  3. Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty
  4. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
  5. The Black Widow, Daniel Silva
  6. The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware
  7. The Girls, Emma Cline
  8. Smooth Operator, Stuart Woods and Parnell Hall
  9. Dark Carousel, Christine Feehan
  10. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  1. Hillary's America, Dinesh D'Souza
  2. Liars, Glenn Beck
  3. Crisis of Character, Gary J. Byrne
  4. Armageddon, Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
  5. Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
  6. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
  7. When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
  8. Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  9. American Heiress, Jeffrey Toobin
  10. Grit, Angela Duckworth

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hot This Week: August 8

The star-studded thriller Criminal debuts at the top of this week's movie listing, joined down the list by fellow newcomer I Am Wrath, starring John Travolta. Gucci Mane's new disc lands at #2 on the music chart, with Drake standing strong at #1. The new novel of suspense from author Liane Moriarty takes over the fiction list, while J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy is the week's only debut in non-fiction.

  1. Criminal
  2. London Has Fallen
  3. Miracles from Heaven
  4. Kung Fu Panda 3
  5. Allegiant
  6. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
  7. Zootopia
  8. I Am Wrath
  9. Deadpool
  10. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
  1. Drake, Views
  2. Gucci Mane, Everybody Looking
  3. Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface
  4. Rihanna, ANTI
  5. Sia, This Is Acting
  6. Adele, 25
  7. Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Soundtrack
  8. Beyonce, Lemonade
  9. Meghan Trainor, Thank You
  10. Ariana Grande, Dangerous Woman
  1. Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty
  2. The Black Widow, Daniel Silva
  3. The Girls, Emma Cline
  4. The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware
  5. First Comes Love, Emily Giffin
  6. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah
  7. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  8. Heroes of the Frontier, Dave Eggers
  9. Magic, Danielle Steel
  10. End of Watch, Stephen King
  1. Crisis of Character, Gary J. Byrne
  2. Hillary's America, Dinesh D'Souza 
  3. Armageddon, Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
  4. Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
  5. When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
  6. Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  7. Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Patriots, David Fisher
  8. Grit, Angela Duckworth
  9. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
  10. White Trash, Nancy Isenberg