One more year in review

It’s the 30th of November, and that means it’s Trekking with Dennis’s third anniversary! I published my first article at the end of November 2019, kick-starting the project that would eventually become this website, and I think it’s worth taking a moment to both mark the occasion and look back at the past twelve months. No, this isn’t my “end of year” article looking at some of my favourite films, games, and television shows (that’ll come around New Year), but rather this is a more personal reflection on the events of the past twelve months.

Back in April, Trekking with Dennis passed 100,000 hits, which is a pretty huge milestone! And – touch wood – we’re on track to make 2022 the most successful year so far in terms of visitors, which is also fantastic news. Although visitor numbers and traffic aren’t my main focus, and I’d still be writing about these subjects even if no one was tuning in, it’s still a rewarding feeling to know that so many people have been interested in my take on some of these topics.

Check back in January for a more detailed look at stats and numbers!

But the past twelve months have also been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. This time last year I was posting at least one article every other day, and that carried on until the spring. But as we headed into the summer I found it difficult to keep up that schedule – I began to lose motivation and suffer from a case of writer’s block. By the time the September rolled around I was only managing a few posts a month, and I ended up taking an eight-week break from late September through to early November.

That break is the longest I’ve taken since starting the website, and truth be told I probably needed it. I’d begun to feel that I was writing some articles (and especially some Star Trek episode reviews) less for enjoyment and more out of a sense of obligation, and I think that comes across in at least some of the pieces I published this past summer and autumn. I’m not sure that those articles and reviews represent my best work, and they’re nowhere near the bar that I aim to reach.

Some of the reviews I wrote this year aren’t as good as I’d want them to be.

So if that’s what happened, what should the takeaway be? What lesson should I be learning from that period of burnout and of writing to deadlines out of a sense of obligation? I guess “don’t do that” is a pretty basic one! Perhaps I’d become a little too interested in sticking to my “every other day” writing schedule, and perhaps I’d lost focus on what this website was supposed to be achieving for me.

When I created Trekking with Dennis, what I wanted was a space on the internet where I could discuss the topics that I was interested in at my own pace. I could choose what I wanted to comment on, which films or television programmes I wanted to review, and talk about them in an open-ended way without word limits. Earlier this year, perhaps fuelled in part by a couple of posts that picked up a lot of attention, I started to forget that, and trying to chase the next big “viral” article became a distraction.

I need to remember why I like writing here!

Speaking of distractions, regular readers may recall that I recently jumped out of the toxic mess that is Twitter. I have an article that goes into more detail about why I thought it was the right time to bring an end to my two-year experiment with the platform, and I’d encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already. But suffice to say that I don’t feel Twitter was a good fit for me, I wasn’t really getting out of it what I’d hoped in terms of traffic to the website, and the general atmosphere on Twitter is one of division, toxicity, and embarrassingly childish behaviour. Dumping the platform has been good for my mental health – even though I occasionally find myself composing a pithy Twitter post in my head and now have nowhere to put it!

Earlier this year I stepped outside of my comfort zone and built myself a PC for the first time ever! As I said at the time, it’s increasingly rare to find wholly new experiences these days, so it was definitely an interesting project. The PC that I built back in March is working great, and it’s my hope that it will continue to serve as my main device for years to come! Constructing it wasn’t a completely smooth experience, but if nothing else that just gave me even more of a sense of accomplishment; tracking down a particularly troublesome issue and figuring out a solution was the icing on the cake of an interesting and fun experience… even if it didn’t necessarily feel that way at the time!

Building my own PC for the first time was a new and interesting project.

In housekeeping news, the website’s old URL is finally going offline. By the end of the year, only the current URL (trekkingwithdennis.com) will be functional, so if any of you still haven’t updated your bookmarks, now is the time! One unexpected consequence of last year’s decision to change the website’s name is that many links within posts and articles didn’t update – and I couldn’t figure out a way to change that! As a result, I’ve had to go back into basically 90% of all the pieces I’ve ever published here – more than 600 of them – and manually edit or remove URLs that are about to become outdated. What a hassle!

Naturally, doing that took a long time! But it was actually interesting to step back and re-read some of the articles and columns from the earliest days of the website. I don’t regularly re-read things that I wrote two or three years ago, so it was fun in a way to take a nostalgic trip back in time! Doing so also gave me the opportunity to fix a few issues with some of those older posts. Some of the earliest pieces that I wrote here didn’t have images, or if they did the images were low-quality, misaligned, or cropped poorly. I took the opportunity to update some of them while fixing the URL issue, and I have a short list of a few other pieces that need improved header images or other corrections.

Manually changing hundreds of links was an annoyance in some ways, but provided an interesting look back in others.

As we take a moment to look back to that day in 2019 and reflect on how far the website has come, it’s genuinely interesting to me to catch a glimpse of that pre-covid world. The pandemic has turned so many things upside down, and looking back to 2019, it feels like there was a brief window of optimism that came in between a decade that had been dominated by austerity and Brexit and the pandemic that was about to bowl us over. That moment coincided with the creation of Trekking with Dennis; it now occupies a strange space as we look ahead to a “winter of discontent” that could see blackouts, food shortages, and even a general strike!

This past year has seen a lot of Star Trek! In fact, there hasn’t been much of a break from Star Trek at all, although my enjoyment of it has been hampered by Paramount’s poor scheduling – putting two episodes on the same day for several weeks running makes no sense. And that’s before we get to the awful decisions Paramount has made that have denied new Star Trek shows to millions of fans around the world.

A lot of Star Trek episodes have been broadcast over the past twelve months.

Star Trek being cut off from much of its international fanbase has damaged the brand immeasurably, and as Paramount Plus continues its painfully constipated rollout, that damage isn’t going away. Looking at the big picture and considering how these decisions have impacted the brand and the fan community are things we’ll have to consider in a future article I think, but on a purely personal level, I felt deeply disappointed in Paramount this year. The Discovery Season 4 catastrophe last November rumbled on for a while, and then came the lack of a broadcast for Strange New Worlds.

Paramount Plus finally arrived here in the UK earlier this year, but having already seen most of Strange New Worlds – and with the series running weeks behind on the UK edition of Paramount Plus – I didn’t bother to sign up. It’s something I will consider in the new year, depending on how things go, but it’s by no means a given. Money is tight and getting tighter – I had to cancel my plans to pre-order Starlink (Elon Musk’s satellite internet service) because it was unaffordable given inflation and other price hikes, and that’s just one example. I don’t have a lot of other expenses that I can see myself cutting back on, so Paramount Plus may not win a new subscriber any time soon.

Paramount Plus is now available in the UK.

The sad thing with the Paramount and Star Trek situation is just how good much of Star Trek has been this year. There were issues with Picard Season 2 and some of the sub-plots in Discovery’s fourth season, but by and large it’s been a good year for the franchise. Strange New Worlds was thoroughly excellent – who knew that making an episodic, exploration-oriented Star Trek series might be a good idea?

Star Trek has continued to be the main topic here on the website over the past twelve months, accounting for roughly two-thirds of the pieces that I’ve published. But there have been some other interesting films and television shows that I’ve checked out, some of which I encountered in the process of doing research for the website. As I said last year, Trekking with Dennis continues to broaden my experiences of media! Television shows like 1899 and Five Days At Memorial, films like The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and Morbius, and games like Stray and Sniper Elite 5 all came onto my radar as a result of seeking out new and different things. While I haven’t found time to write a full review of all of them, I have included some on lists and as parts of other projects. In a general sense, I find myself thinking more about what kind of films, games, and television shows I want to check out, and sometimes trying out something quite different, all because I have Trekking with Dennis and I’m on the lookout for things to write about and discuss.

There have been some… interesting films this year!

I’ve added a few items to my Greatest Hits page, but fewer pieces made the cut over the past twelve months than in previous years. Partly that’s because of the burnout I talked about earlier; writing fewer pieces, and some of them being of noticeably lower quality, has meant that there haven’t been as many that I would consider to be among my best work.

However, I’m quite proud of my breakdown of Et in Arcadia Ego, my analysis of the Short Treks series and its potential, my review of The Matrix Resurrections, and my two-part look at being a Star Trek fan that I wrote back in February. I also added to the Greatest Hits page my “Kirk versus Picard” tongue-in-cheek debate, and stepping back to years past, I added one piece from 2020 about the survival prospects for brick-and-mortar video game shops as the medium goes increasingly digital. You can check out all of those by visiting the Greatest Hits page.

Whose side are you on?

So I suppose that’s it for now. The website’s third year in operation has been one of ups and downs in some respects. I didn’t plan on taking any time out, let alone being gone for almost two months, but that’s the way it goes sometimes! As I’ve said before, this is a project for fun, not something that I view as a serious job, so I try to pace myself and not overdo it. There are definitely things that I haven’t written about that I feel I should have – reviews of the second half of Lower Decks’ third season being first and foremost in my mind at the moment. However, my current attitude is one of “I’ll get around to it when I feel like it,” and it’s in that spirit that the website will operate in the immediate term!

If you’re a regular reader, thank you for sticking around. Some of the pieces I’ve written over the past twelve months have really taken off and done some impressive numbers (by my standards, at least) and I’m grateful to everyone for tuning in, clicking on my posts, and checking out this old Trekkie’s takes on Star Trek, gaming, and the broader world of geeky entertainment. I have no immediate plans to go back on hiatus, nor to change in any major way what I do here. You can expect more Star Trek reviews and theories, re-watches of older episodes, analysis of the video games industry, and discussion of television shows, films, and games. If you’re new around here, I hope you’ll stick around – or at least check back from time to time to see what’s new!

Here’s to another year. Cheers!

– Dennis
Wednesday, 30th November 2022

All properties mentioned above are the copyright of their respective broadcaster, studio, developer, distributor, company, etc. Some stock images may be courtesy of Pixabay. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.

Another year in review

This isn’t my end of year article summing up some of the highs and lows of 2021. It irks me no end to see people writing those pieces long before Christmas! If you’ve been a regular reader for a while, you might recall that the 30th of November is the website’s anniversary – it has been two years to the day since I published my first article at the end of November 2019. How time flies, eh?

Last year I commemorated the occasion by writing about the website’s first year in operation, and this time I wanted to do something similar. I’ve had two full years of talking about Star Trek and other entertainment subjects now, and it’s always helpful to step back and take a moment to reflect.

It’s been an interesting twelve months!

The biggest change for the website itself came just a few weeks ago. At the beginning of November I changed the name to Trekking with Dennis, ditching the old name and establishing a new identity for the website. This is something I’d been thinking about a lot for several months, and finally being able to pull the trigger and get it done has been incredibly cathartic.

The website’s name changed a few weeks ago.

There have been some immediate repercussions for the name change, though. Traffic to the website took a nose-dive in November, significantly down on where it had been for much of the rest of the year. I’m putting two and two together and assuming that the change in name, branding, and most importantly the website’s URL is responsible for the drop in readership. I’m optimistic that in the longer term, however, that decline will be reversed. Even if not, I don’t write here because it’s my job or because I’m chasing “internet points” and high numbers of clicks! This is my hobby, I do it for fun, and I’d still do it even if readership dropped to absolute zero!

Conversely, twice in the past year I’ve had articles go “viral” – or at least as close to viral as I’m ever likely to get!

The first article was one I’d written in early December, listing Five things to watch at New Year (instead of fireworks). The list is fairly self-explanatory; I put together a handful of New Year-themed films and shows that could’ve made for entertaining New Year’s Eve viewing in lieu of the usual fireworks shows and parties – many of which are usually televised but which were cancelled in 2020. This list was responsible for a massive spike in views which began on the 30th of December, then ran all the way through the 31st and into the early hours of the 1st of January.

This post got a lot of attention around New Year, which was neat to see.

The second article began getting huge numbers of clicks in late May, then in June absolutely rocketed up to become the most-read post I’ve ever written. More people read that one article than read everything I wrote in all of 2020 combined. And I think it’s possible that many of them came away disappointed!

The article in question was titled Mass Effect: Legendary Edition – What’s the best ending? and it was an examination of the three-and-a-half endings to Mass Effect 3, looking at the pros and cons of each. However, I think that the title may have been unintentionally misleading, judging by the search engine traffic! I think folks may have come upon the article while looking for a guide to achieving the “best” outcome to Mass Effect: Legendary Edition – namely the version of the “destroy” ending in which Shepard is implied to have survived. I talk about this in the article, but it isn’t what the focus of the piece was.

This article has become the most-read ever!

I didn’t expect that article to get so many hits when I wrote it. My Mass Effect commentary in general did quite well, though, and I think that’s because I managed to get out several pieces about the series around the time of Legendary Edition’s launch – which is when there was significant interest in the games. Being timely brings rewards, it seems!

This year I’ve made significant improvements to the images used across the website. Some of the images used even as recently as March or April now feel incredibly amateurish and low-quality in comparison. I’ve been doing more with paint.net – a freeware image editor that has become my go-to for any and all image work – and I’ve learned how to do things like add a shadow or outline to text. That has allowed me to make huge improvements to the header images/banners at the top of articles, giving them a more modern, professional look.

The website’s main banner – a core part of the site’s identity – has also been massively improved. Firstly, now that I have significantly more web storage I’ve felt more comfortable using higher-resolution images. Beginning earlier in the year the expanded storage allowed me to use larger, more detailed images for article and page headers, something I feel makes the website as a whole look a lot more modern and professional than it did even at the beginning of the year. The new banner was added earlier this month as part of the aforementioned change of name, but earlier in the year I tried out a variety of different banners with different sci-fi and fantasy-themed backgrounds.

The website’s main banner.

I’ve also added quite a few different “spoiler warning” images – most of which are based on the Star Trek franchise! Again, the quality of these has improved a lot as I’ve become more comfortable with my image editing software, and I think some of the recent spoiler warnings look pretty great! I like to err on the side of caution when it comes to spoilers, so I use spoiler warnings a lot at the beginning of articles and reviews.

Filling time over the past twelve months has led me to research and learn about shows, films, and games I’d never have heard of otherwise. I reviewed titles like Space Jam: A New Legacy, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and even The Falcon and the Winter Soldier after learning about them in the course of researching topics for the website. Trekking with Dennis has, to a certain extent anyway, broadened my experiences of media this year.

I’ve seen (and reviewed) several different films and television shows over the past twelve months.

I’ve also finally got around to playing a couple of games that had been on my ever-growing list: Control and Red Dead Redemption II. I’ve written up my first impressions of Red Dead Redemption II already, and in the days ahead I’ll hopefully be writing up my final thoughts as I’m close to finishing my playthrough of the game.

Speaking of playthroughs, I didn’t get around to doing another complete “Let’s Play” series of articles. Though I’ve had a number of ideas for games I could choose, I just haven’t committed to one nor kicked off a playthrough in the way I did with Jedi: Fallen Order last year. It’s still an idea that I’d like to revisit in future, so… watch this space, I guess.

I’ve been playing Red Dead Redemption II – but I didn’t write up the whole experience.

During the website’s first year in operation, I’d post articles and columns somewhat haphazardly. Sometimes I’d post daily for a couple of weeks, and at other points I’d take almost an entire week off while writing nothing. Over the last twelve months, however, that has changed. Going back to November 2020 I’ve been posting at least every other day – so there hasn’t been a long gap in between posts in more than a year. Occasionally that schedule has felt challenging, but I’ve been proud of the fact that I haven’t had any significant posting gaps for an entire twelve-month period.

April saw my most intensive posting schedule to date, as I wrote a post every single day for an entire calendar month for the first time. It wasn’t exactly planned, but once I got about halfway into April and I noticed I hadn’t skipped a day, I made it my mission to complete the month! I can keep up that kind of schedule for a while, but not indefinitely. I need occasional breaks, and being able to write articles in advance and schedule them has meant I have actually been able to take breaks across the year without interrupting my posting streak.

In April I published an article every single day.

In December 2020 I joined Twitter. I did so at first because I was having a hard time keeping track of the various franchises and their social media pages, and as I’ve never had a personal Twitter account I couldn’t follow them that way. In February I made a very tentative first post, and across the year I’d sent out a handful of Tweets to promote newly-published reviews and other articles. But as I said last year, social media isn’t really my major focus.

This should absolutely be the subject of a longer essay sometime, but Twitter in particular is a very difficult platform for me to navigate. I’m sure you’ve noticed, but I have a particularly long-winded writing style! Condensing an argument, article, or even just a fan theory into 280 characters or fewer is difficult for me. I also find that, partly as a consequence of the abbreviated posts, the conversation on Twitter can lack nuance. It’s very hard to articulate a complex thought or position on the platform because such short posts don’t easily allow for shades of grey – you can either be on one side of a debate or the other. For someone who occasionally likes to straddle the fence and acknowledge the merits and demerits of both sides of a discussion, or just to explore different interpretations and points of view, Twitter isn’t the best place for me sometimes!

No, not that kind of Shades of Gray

That being said, I’ve recently stepped up my Twitter use. It’s been an interesting world to step into for the first time, and I’ve found it quite fun and occasionally exciting to be able to engage directly with brands and companies – or at least their social media teams. Toward the end of my time working with a large video games company, social media was just beginning to take off as a marketing tool. I had some involvement with social media campaigns in the late 2000s and early 2010s at companies I worked for or was freelancing for, so it’s been interesting in a way to be on the other side of the screen for the first time!

If you don’t follow me on Twitter I don’t just post links to articles and columns that I write here on the website. I do post other occasional Tweets, mostly about Star Trek and the other subjects I cover. I don’t get political, so don’t expect any of that, but if you want to follow me on Twitter you’re more than welcome to do so.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @TrekkingwDennis is my Twitter handle.

But Twitter wasn’t the only social media platform that I found myself involved with over the past twelve months. Beginning in July I planned to record audio versions of some of the articles here on the website, using YouTube and Spotify to host these audio files. I later expanded my audio offerings to include what might generously be called a “podcast.” However, I wasn’t very happy with the quality of both the audio recordings themselves, as I lack the technical know-how to make decent-sounding audio, and also, to be blunt, my own vocal performance. Upon re-listening to several audio versions of articles I sounded very wooden and stilted; the kind of performances I’d give 1/10 to if I were to rate them.

So after a sum total of four podcast episodes and about ten audio articles I scrapped the project – at least for the time being. It’s a fun idea, and a concept I’d certainly like to revisit one day, but between the audio quality, my own poor performance, and the rebranding of the website making all of the audio clips and YouTube videos out of date, I think it’s for the best that I shelve the project for now.

Audio recording isn’t my strong suit.

That being said, I did enjoy the podcasting format. Having the opportunity to talk about smaller news stories and topics that wouldn’t necessarily make for a good standalone article was fun, and it certainly broadened the range of things I discuss here on the website. Revisiting the podcast concept is something I might consider in 2022.

It was in June this year – Pride Month – that I first discussed my sexuality and gender identity. Those twin posts were among the most difficult I’ve written over the past twelve months, not because they were technically challenging but because of how personal they were. When I created the website two years ago I intended to remain wholly anonymous, with details of my personal life kept to a bare minimum. By this time last year I’d changed my mind and I’d decided I wanted to openly discuss my asexuality and my struggles with my gender identity – but it took months before I’d be able to finish writing those pieces and feel brave enough to publish them.

In June I finally felt able to discuss my sexuality and gender identity for the first time.

I now proudly display the asexual and non-binary pride flags in the upper-right corner of the website. These symbols are present no matter what page or post someone clicks on, even if the piece has nothing at all to do with asexuality or being non-binary.

Writing these pieces, though incredibly difficult at times, was deeply satisfying and cathartic. Only a few people in my offline life knew these things about me, so having a space where I could openly discuss things that I’d struggled with for decades was a truly incredible experience. It gave me the confidence to be more open in my offline life too. I don’t have a lot of friends or surviving close relatives, but I’ve been able to direct a couple of people to the website where they were able to read my words to gain more of an insight into my personal life. I’ve said before that I’m better at writing than I am at speaking – having these pieces to direct folks to is so much easier than having to explain out loud what it means to be asexual or non-binary.

It’s been a difficult process, but I finally feel comfortable referring to myself as non-binary.

I haven’t added as many articles to the Greatest Hits page this year as I did in the previous twelve months. I think that’s partly because I had some article/essay ideas in mind when I started the website and I slowly worked my way through them over the course of that first year. While I’ve had plenty to write about this year, I guess I’ve just written fewer of those long-form essays.

That being said, my essay on Star Trek: Discovery’s Season 3 Burn storyline is one of the best things I’ve written all year, and I’m happy to show off that one! I’m also proud of my character study of The Next Generation’s Dr Pulaski, and my examination of Luke Skywalker’s characterisation in The Last Jedi that I wrote back in December. I’m sure I’m forgetting or overlooking a few others as well, but those are three of the essays that come to mind when I think back over the past twelve months.

This is one of the best essays I’ve written in the last twelve months. Give it a read if you haven’t already!

So I think that’s enough self-congratulation for this year! As I look ahead to the next twelve months, I can’t really say that I have any major plans or changes in mind for the website or the kind of pieces I write here. I’d like to do another playthrough series at some point, and I’m certainly open to more creative projects in addition to my reviews, theories, discussion topics, list articles, and the rest. But watch this space, I suppose!

The website is very different now compared to twelve months ago. I like to think that, for the most part, these changes have been improvements – and certainly from a purely visual point of view I think the website has never looked better! As we move into the holiday season and 2022 I’m looking forward to keeping up with my regular posting schedule and writing about the subjects I’m most interested in: Star Trek, gaming, and the wide world of geeky entertainment.

Thank you for your support over the past twelve months.

-Dennis
Tuesday, 30th November 2021

All properties mentioned above are the copyright of their respective broadcaster, studio, developer, distributor, company, etc. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.

Some stats and numbers for 2020!

As we look forward to some of the entertainment highlights of 2021, I wanted to take a moment to look back and reflect on how the website did over the last year. 2020 was my first full year of running the website, and thanks to both my platform and Google analytics I have a lot of data about the site and how it’s been performing.

First, I thought it could be fun to run down my top five most-read articles of 2020. Obviously I’m excluding the home page and any other non-post pages. Let’s start the countdown!

Number 5:
Cyberpunk 2077 and the dangers of hype

At time of publication this article did alright, but wasn’t exactly lighting up the board. As the release of Cyberpunk 2077 edged closer, however, I began to see an uptick in views. In the article I argued that, while Cyberpunk 2077 may ultimately be a good game, the ridiculously inflated hype bubble was likely to leave at least some players underwhelmed. Because this was published before the game’s release, the controversy the game ultimately generated was not yet known. Despite that, however, I’ve been around the games industry long enough to know an over-hyped title when I see one!

Standout line: “There will be things players can’t do, limits to customisation, and perhaps even the odd bug or glitch that snuck through testing or couldn’t be patched before launch.”

Number 4:
In defence of Luke Skywalker

I was pleasantly surprised to see such a big response to my essay about Luke Skywalker. I didn’t expect to see it in the top five most-read posts considering it was only published at the beginning of December, but I guess that says a lot about how folks responded to it. When I first began working on the website, this was one of the pieces I had in mind. I made several attempts to begin writing it earlier in the year, but I couldn’t get the words out the way I wanted and it ended up being re-written several times before I was happy with it. I know that The Last Jedi remains controversial, but I hope this essay at the very least presents a different side of the argument.

Standout line: “I absolutely see Luke’s characterisation as a mental health story, and not only that, but one of the better cinematic attempts to depict mental health in recent years.”

Number 3:
Could Voyager’s Doctor appear in Star Trek: Discovery?

You guys loved this idea, apparently! With one episode left (at time of publication) it’s still technically possible – and would be an interesting way for the season to end! I had speculated that the Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager – or rather, a backup copy of him from the fourth season episode Living Witness – could still be active in the 32nd Century. Bringing Robert Picardo back would have been fun, and would have tied Discovery to the 24th Century Star Trek shows. We did see some connections this season, but there aren’t many characters who could easily cross over. I didn’t necessarily expect this to happen, but there’s no denying it would’ve been cool!

Standout line: “If I were writing it, the way I’d see him involved would be working alongside Burnham, Saru, and the crew of Discovery to restore the Federation.”

Number 2:
Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 theory – warp drive

This is the second of two of my standalone Discovery theories that apparently people responded to! The odd thing about this one, though, is how many folks were reading it weeks after the season premiered. We knew as early as the first episode that this theory – in which I postulated that warp drive may not work at all – was not true. Yet this piece continues to get clicks, perhaps from folks who haven’t begun watching the season.

Standout line: “In order to understand this theory, we need a basic refresher course in how warp drive works in Star Trek!”

Number 1:
It’s time for Deep Space Nine and Voyager to get the HD treatment

Out of everything I wrote in 2020, this article was the runaway winner in terms of readership – more than three times as many people read this as read any other piece on the website. In this article, which was published back in March, I argued that Star Trek having a new home on CBS All Access (soon to be rebranded as Paramount Plus) should be the catalyst for Deep Space Nine and Voyager being remastered in HD. And the fact that so many of you have been reading and clicking on this post seems to validate that! I plan to follow this up and discuss options for upscaling or remastering older Star Trek episodes at some point this year, so stay tuned for that.

Standout line: “From a branding point of view, it isn’t a great look for CBS All Access to be offering some of its content for its flagship franchise in DVD quality. Netflix doesn’t do that, Amazon Prime Video doesn’t do that, and Disney+ certainly doesn’t do that.”

So those were the top five most-read articles and columns – out of a total of 226. When I started the website I had a few ideas for articles that I wanted to write – some of which have still not been published – but I had no idea I’d end up writing so many pieces on a range of subjects over the course of a year.

Not all of them performed as well as those above, though, so now let’s count down the five least-read posts!

Number 5:
VE Day – marking the 75th anniversary with documentaries

I love a good documentary, and in this relatively short piece to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day (the end of World War II in Europe) I highlighted a couple. On the day it was published it did okay, but only picked up a handful of views. Looking back, if I were writing it now I’d make sure to give it a better header image which might’ve inspired a few more clicks; as it is now it doesn’t look very professional! But even in May I was still getting to grips with the site and how images worked. I will continue to highlight documentaries that I like – and I note that my piece on the Netflix documentary series Pandemic: How To Prevent An Outbreak did much better.

Standout line: “I’m going to look at two documentaries in this article, one British and one American. They both look at the same conflict from the same side, but with very different perspectives.”

Number 4:
An amazing tech demo

This piece looked at an Unreal Engine tech demo, one which I felt was as close to photorealism as I’d ever seen in a “game.” Even on my PC, which is several years old and is by no means a powerful gaming rig, Mýrdalssandur, Iceland looks outstanding, and it’s not always possible to tell you’re playing a game, such is the level of detail. I thought it was a great preview of how games could look in the years ahead. But I’m a geekdom and gaming writer, not a tech writer, and perhaps this piece just didn’t find favour with this website’s audience – even though I maintain its subject matter is interesting!

Standout line: “The imagery would fit right in with CGI created for the big screen – and looks a heck of a lot better than many of the CGI environments present in films from just a few years ago.”

Number 3:
Children of Mars – a review

At the time I felt that my review of Children of Mars did okay, and it did – by the standards of how many hits the website was getting then. For a short while it was even the most-read piece on the whole site! But this was January 2020, and the number of hits I was getting at that time is much smaller than I’m lucky enough to see a year later. So it’s not a big surprise to see it as one of the least-read pieces. I didn’t like Children of Mars on the whole, its overly-artistic, music-heavy style just wasn’t my thing.

Standout line: “The sequence where Mars comes under attack is worth watching for anyone intent on tuning in for Star Trek: Picard, but as I said it’s barely a minute long, and the rest of the episode, while interesting in concept, ends up being little more than fluff.”

Number 2:
Star Trek: Picard has red carpet premieres

Picture credit: StarTrek.com

As above, this was an article I wrote back in early January 2020 which likewise did okay by the standards of the website at the time, but has been eclipsed by other pieces written since. It’s also very topical, even more so than episode reviews, as it took a look at the premiere of Star Trek: Picard. This article was also a short one, which may be another reason why it was quickly forgotten.

Standout line: “When I’ve said in the past that it’s an absolutely amazing time to be a Star Trek fan, some people will have shrugged. But with such a huge amount of content coming, there really should be something for everyone…”

Number 1:
How football is handling the pandemic

So we come to the least-read article of 2020. And it’s one in which I stepped away from the usual output of the website – entertainment and geekdom – and turned to the world of professional sport. It was also a piece that was topical, dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and for both of those reasons perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that hardly anyone read it! Despite that, I don’t feel that the website needs to be confined to a single topic or series of topics. There’s room for me to talk about other things – and as I’ve said before, I don’t do this for clicks, I do it because I enjoy it. So while this piece about football was the worst-performing of the year, it may yet be a topic I revisit in future… if I have something to say!

Standout line: “But this situation is not only unprecedented, it’s one which the Premier League and the Football Association seem to have had no contingency plans for.”

So those were the top five least-read articles. Or the bottom five, if you prefer to think about it that way!

Let’s talk numbers. In 2020, over 14,000 of you visited the website. That’s an absolutely insane number of people! When I started writing I had no idea that my articles and columns would be read literally all over the world, but I’ve had readers from every continent except Antarctica! I’ve also seen the website’s readership grow month by month, such that December was the most successful month of the year in terms of hits.

In the first couple of hours on the 1st of January 2021, I’d surpassed the total number of clicks for all of January 2020, and by midday all the views for January and February. When I first started putting together the bare bones of this article I was planning to tell you that the best day for the website was back in October; I saw a big spike in views around the time Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 premiered, with folks checking in with a couple of my big pre-season theories. But to my surprise, December 31st blitzed right past that and became the site’s best day of the year – and best day ever. That was caused by a lot of people reading my article on what to watch at New Year, but that piece was a couple of weeks old so I was surprised to see it take off!

This piece about New Year did very well in the final hours of 2020.

Just going purely by categories, gaming is the most-discussed subject on the website. But adding up all of the various Star Trek categories, the Star Trek franchise beats gaming handily! I added eighteen posts to my “greatest hits” page in 2020 – a couple of which may not stay there forever! But those are the pieces I’m most proud of, and I’d encourage you to take a look at some of those articles and essays if you have time.

Across the 226 articles from 2020, I wrote a staggering 718,796 words.

To put that into context, I wrote more words on this website in 2020 than: Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Atlas Shrugged, Gone With The Wind, East of Eden, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit combined, or Moby-Dick.

Now I’m not saying that what I’ve written is objectively better than all of those famous works of literature. But… if someone wanted to read the most words possible, and didn’t care what those words were about, my website offers more to read than any of them. Just sayin’!

So that was a self-congratulatory look back at last year. I’m astonished at the positive response to my website and the pieces I’ve written here, and all I can really say is thank you. I’ll keep working on the site moving forward, discussing the topics I’m interested in, remaining positive wherever possible but also criticising where I feel it’s deserved, and hopefully continuing to have fun along the way!

Thank you for your support in 2020, and I hope you’ll check back regularly across 2021 and beyond.

– Dennis
Thursday, 7th January 2021

All properties mentioned above are the copyright of their respective studio, developer, distributor, company, etc. Some stock images courtesy of Unsplash. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.

Making a few changes… please bear with me.

Just a very quick update today. I’m in the process of making a few changes and alterations to the website. Hopefully nothing will be deleted and none of the content will change, but I want to get a slightly different and more modern look going forward, especially on the homepage.

Previously every blog post was just represented with a title and a short quotation, but I’m looking at adding images too. At the moment these images aren’t displaying exactly how I’d like – you might have noticed a huge image at the top of this post and other more recent articles. Fixing that is a work in progress!

So please bear with me while I make these changes and updates over the next few days, and if things look janky for a while please know that I’m planning to fix it – just as soon as I figure out how!