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According to Star Trek: 'Astoria. On Earth's Oregon Coast. It's Heaven'

Published 04/14/22 at 8:22 PM PST
By Andre' GW Hagestedt

According to Star Trek: 'Astoria. On Earth's Oregon Coast. It's Heaven'

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(Oregon Coast) – You're casually watching an episode of the latest season of Star Trek: Discovery. Things are getting rather intense on the bridge, everything is shaking, and the starship Discovery is heading through the “galactic barrier” and getting ripped apart (yeah, like that's real science). In the midst of it, two characters are talking about where they'd love to visit when this chaos is all over.

When the conversation comes around to Lt. Commander Eva Nilsson, she blurts out “Astoria. On Earth's Oregon coast. It's heaven.”

Who didn't cheer with glee at that remark and hoist a joyful arm into the air? For those familiar with the Oregon coast, this was right up there with the Discovery crew meeting the Guardian of Forever in the last season – that unforgettable, mysterious AI character from the original series.

It's the 32nd century, keep in mind. What the heck would Astoria be like then? A good one thousand years into the future and I'm guessing all the original wood is gone. But I digress.

In any case, the random moment of TV fame brought a little buzz to the north Oregon coast. Sure, it's not as fame-inducing as Goonies being filmed there, but to us Trekkies in Oregon it was a big deal.

This moment happens about 41 minutes into the episode

We here at Oregon Coast Beach Connection tried to get an interview with the writer of the episode (episode ten of season four), but to no avail. We wanted to know why screenwriter Anne Cofell Saunders popped our favorite spot at the tip of Oregon into the dialogue. If it is was, in fact, her. It could've been someone else on staff who inserted Astoria.

Saunders is also known for penning some scripts for the esteemed Battlestar Galactica, Timeless, 24 and Smallville. Nice.

As to Lt. Nilsson, she was played by Canadian actress Sara Mitich, also is known for that rather trippy role of Gia in The Expanse. Mitich also looks a bit like this girl who works at the coffee shop near me, who's actually studying to be a pilot. Maybe space is in her future? Cool.....

This is the first I've seen the Oregon coast ever mentioned in any Star Trek, although DS9 slipped in that Sisko had a sister in Portland – but we don't know which Ptown that was.

Liz Cole in DS9

Yet it's not the first I've personally encountered something Star Trek on the Oregon coast. I'll never forget, somewhere around 2007 or so, walking out of a grocery store in Manzanita and I heard a unique voice I instantly recognized: a voice from the “Susie” episode of Seinfeld. I whirled around to look, and sure enough: there was the grayish lady who was a germaphobe from a few episodes of the '90s mega hit. It turned out, the lady had also done at least two episodes of Star Trek: one in Next Generation and the other near the finale of DS9.

Liz Cole was her name, and she still lives in the north Oregon coast region. I've talked to her a couple of times, and she's very gracious, even to a manic Trek fan like me. I think she dug the brief hero worship. Liz sometimes goes by Megan Cole on stage as well, and periodically she gives performances in the Manzanita area.

Oceanside, before the arch fell

Then there is, of course, the spot in Oceanside nicknamed "Star Trek Beach," at least it was in the '90s and early 2000s. Part of the reason was the arch there that looked just a bit like the Guardian of Forever, from that famous time travel episde "City on the Edge of Forever," written by Harlan Ellison and DC Fontana. Sadly, the arch fell apart in the early 2000s but the nickname remains for some.

The Oregon coast has popped on TV and movie sci-fi in other unique ways as well, not including filming locations. It was either directly referenced or tacitly referred to in LOST, X-Files, Stargate and others. See Curious Moments Oregon Coast Showed Up in TV, Sort Of.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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