One thing that sets Star Trek apart from a great many other entertainment properties is the franchise’s lack of seasonal specials. Look, for example, at the great tradition of British sitcoms, which usually involve a festive episode, some – as an old cliche would have it – seeing cast and crew decamping to foreign climes, like Only Fools And Horses’ ‘Miami Twice’, or One Foot In The Grave’s ‘One Foot In The Algarve’.
Other series wrap themselves in tinsel and baubles for that Christmassy feel, like Doctor Who between 2005 and 2017 (before – perhaps somewhat inexplicably – regenerating as New Year’s Day specials instead). Even Star Wars – which in the case of some members of Joe Public gets confused with Gene Roddenberry’s similarly space-based creation – had a rather ill-fated Holiday Special for Thanksgiving 1978, and in more recent times LEGO-centric one-offs for Christmas, Summer vacations, and Halloween.
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Yet, despite running for nearly 60 years now, Star Trek has managed to firmly resist having any similarly themed one-offs outside their standard seasons. This may be in part due to the famously atheistic vision of the future, with humanity having moved away from religion (although it appears that Christmas has survived until at least the 24th Century, if the vision as experienced by Picard in Star Trek Generations is anything to go by, as we see a tree, decorations and all of the traditional trimmings to boot).
Another obvious candidate would be All Hallow’s Eve, or so you might think, as this has been quite the annual staple of The Simpsons, with their ‘Treehouse Of Horror’ tales. There have been nods to the spooky event – such as mentions in Strange New Worlds of Boimler from Lower Decks dressing up as Christopher Pike as his Halloween costume one year, as well as the episode ‘Catspaw’ leaning into it very heavily and being the closest to a dedicated Halloween special which we have seen so far in the history of Trek.
However, despite having done its fair share of spooky tales over the years, featuring ghoulies, ghosties, and things that go bump in the night (or, if you count Beverly Crusher’s best forgotten dalliance with a spirit in ‘Sub Rosa’, perhaps going hump in the night would be rather more appropriate, not to mention getting a dose of the willies), there is so little in the way of dedicated Halloween-specific Trek material to speak of. With an opening in the market like that, step forward the team from IDW, who have used the opportunity to add yet a further title to their slate of Star Trek comics.
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In Star Trek: Holo-Ween, writer Chris Sequeira and artist Joe Eisma boldly go where no creatives have gone before, and in the process deliver us the first dedicated Halloween-themed Star Trek special. With the crew of the Enterprise-D having been through a short period of great anxiety, Counsellor Troi suggests lightening the mood somewhat by holding a party themed around the old Earth custom of Halloween. As with the best laid plans, however, Troi’s take an unexpected turn, as an entity interfaces with the ship, and takes control of the Holodecks to unleash its own brand of horrors…
To say anything more here about exactly who or what is the architect of the Enterprise-D’s living nightmares would be a monumental spoiler, and the discovery is best left either to be worked out by the clued-up reader, or to just wait for the delicious reveal. With Holodeck malfunctions having given us some of the more memorable diversions from Star Trek: The Next Generation and its contemporaries, Holo-Ween is certainly getting into the spirit of things, by giving us a very literal ‘ghost in the machine’ here, and the end results could be quite spook-tacular.
Star Trek: Holo-Ween #1 is out on 4th October from IDW Publishing.