Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today, it’s using Deepfake to swap the Original Series actors into 2009+ Star Trek.
Another day; another Star Trek film. For an intellectual property that prides itself on continuity, there are a hell of a lot of logical errors in their scripts. Remember, I can criticize the things I love.
“For Gene Roddenberry” 😦
So, Sulu finally gets his command. I’d like to believe he hand-picked Janice Rand for her assignment, but I know that probably isn’t true. She was already assigned as of Star Trek III. However, according to the novelization for Star Trek III, Sulu was getting ready to take command of the Excelsior, so he may have picked that entire bridge crew.
I’d assume that they would have made a more durable form of teacup by now in much the same way they replaced polymers with transparent aluminum.
How many times are these guys going to come out of retirement.
None of this makes sense. The destruction of a single planet, even the home world, shouldn’t destroy a planetary government. Even assuming the Klingons fall in line, mothballing Starfleet would leave the Federation vulnerable to numerous other enemies.
Am I the only one that interprets Spock’s approach to Valeris as, “Boy, if I were only 20 years younger”?
I still love the Klingon D-7 ship design.
Why is the Chancellor in a single, unescorted ship? Doesn’t that seem suspicious? There must be some (other) cloaked ships nearby.
Chang is an unusual name for a Klingon.
The objection to “inalienable rights” was stupid, and the universal translator should have assured that the correct meaning of “alien” was translated.
McCoy should understand Klingon anatomy.
Seeing the Romulan ambassador ran a sore point into the ground. The Romulans were always my favorite Star Trek villains, and they were conspicuously left out of this entire series of Original Series movies, cloaking Klingon ships and references to Romulan ale notwithstanding. That’s such a shame.
That Klingon proposed attacking the Federation while the Federation President’s communication line was still open.
Christopher Plummer was great.
Klingon rules of evidence really suck. For example, if someone speculates, you’re not allowed to offer an alternative possibility because that would be unlawful speculation. What? That’s dumb.
If they throw people out of Rura Penthe from the main gate, and it’s cold enough to kill you in a minute or so, then there should be a lot of preserved bodies lying around.
Why is there a store of phasers in the kitchen?
So, all bats from Tiberia are vampiric? I didn’t know that.
That’s a strange place for genitals, but even if it makes sense, every species develops an instinct to protect them. This guy practically led with his knees. He might as well have had a “kick me” sign on them.
That’s right. Keep Christian Slater in the dark.
Is that a smile on Valeris’s face when she pins the gravity boot to the locker door?
Kirk was still wearing a “veridian patch” that allowed him to be tracked by Spock. Did they not search him before putting him in prison? Where are his prison clothes?
“I can’t believe I kissed you.” “Must’ve been your lifelong ambition.”
Bravo, Shatner, for being able to make fun of yourself.
This is the first time I noticed that there was no segregation between men and women in crew’s quarters.
A forced mind meld raises all sorts of ethical issues. Those issues have been raised in Star Trek on a few occasions. Here, it seemed a trivial choice, though some seemed to appreciate the ethical dilemma as it unfolded.
More self-awareness from Shatner, but in character. He appreciates how his approach (rushing in) was too extreme and was well-balanced by Spock’s opposing approach (logic). The strength of society is that we are not homogeneous. I wish more of us understood that, as much as we frustrate each other, we need each other.
A lot of people are sweating profusely, both in space and on the ground.
All that Shakespeare is fitting for Christopher Plummer but overdone for General Chang.
It’s fitting that the dining room was blown to bits by one of Chang’s torpedoes.
For a missile focusing in on a stationary target, that torpedo sure took a weird route to get there.
The explosion of Chang’s ship is used again for the explosion of Lursa and B’etor’s ship in Star Trek Generations. As Kessel Junkie referenced yesterday, Generations was the last Star Trek film where they recycled footage from prior films.
They took the ridiculous slow clap and somehow made it even more ridiculous. John Shuck and those freaky, yellow aliens had weird ways of clapping.
It didn’t take long for the new Enterprise to be decommissioned.
Again, Spock understands colorful metaphors. Because this is essentially the end of the original crew’s tenure in the Star Trek universe, they ended with the casts’ signatures. Avengers: Endgame would later borrow that idea (along with all the others they borrowed).
I’m taking a break from this series (unless tomorrow’s post counts) to do some other things. I’ll get to the Next Generation era films soon enough.
Back to Hulu I go, and this time I’m doing something really different. This is my first audio blog post, and I’m joined by my cousin, Kessel Junkie, who I give so much grief on this blog. This is our running commentary on a movie that’s certainly a guilty pleasure for both of us. No one else seems to like it, but we both love it.
Cue up the movie when instructed if you want to watch it with us. Kessel has clearly done his research on this movie, which is unsurprising considering 1) his love of the movie, and 2) the fact that he has a degree in theater. As a Star Trek nut that was raised on the theater (Arena Stage), I should be just as knowledgeable about this movie, but I’m lazy.
Just one note. There’s a point where Kessel Junkie changes the subject on me, and I don’t quite pick up on it, so we wind up talking past one another. I get his point. There’s an apparent canon violation between an episode of the Animated Series and this movie. Both have the Enterprise visiting a planet at or near the center of the galaxy. Fortunately, he’s wrong. The Enterprise was thrown into an alternate universe, so the fact that “God” wasn’t there isn’t a canon violation. Interestingly enough, “Lucien” was originally supposed to be God, but the network nixed that. Enough about that. Enjoy the listen.
Click here for the audio file. Note: This is just over two hours long, and if you pause it, note where you paused. Pausing it often requires you to refresh the page before continuing.
To date, the films I’ve watched in this series were on Hulu. Now I must jump to CBS All-Access for the Voyage Home. They went all in on trying to make this comedic without losing the importance of what makes Star Trek Star Trek. Whether they succeeded is for each of us to decide. Don’t ask my opinion; I’m a Star Trek apologist.
John Schuck played the Klingon ambassador. The first time I saw him was in a sitcom in the 70s, Holmes and Yoyo. He played a cop that was secretly an android. He occasionally malfunctioned, which was funny to a kid in elementary school but didn’t last long. If I recall correctly, it aired about a year after a show with the same premise started, only that show was a drama. Schuck has been a solid actor since 1969.
As I said before, I want to see V’Ger fight the whale probe. Both movies have the same basic premise. Human activity results in an alien probe coming to destroy the planet. Let’s see which of them
I always found it silly that cameras would make it appear as if a disabled ship was titling. Orientation is always relative to a reference point, and there’s no such point in deep space. But yeah, there are humans watching this movie, so I guess they must do that.
I think the pandemic has finally given me an understanding as to how Amanda Grayson must have felt living on Vulcan. I can’t hug, or even shake hands with, anyone. Neither could she.
I never liked time travel in movies. It always created stupid paradoxes. Avengers: Endgame did it right but raised the problem of multiple timelines that I also don’t like. It’s a burden to be me.
It took three seasons and four movies before we knew that Sulu was born in San Francisco. I’ve noted before that this is a good thing.
“It’s a miracle that these people got out of the 20th century.” Well, we did. Whether we can get out of the next century remains to be seen. I’m sure that’s a sentiment shared by every generation in every century.
“I’ll give you . . . $100.” “Is that a lot?”
To a high school kid in 1986, yes, but not now; not even to a kindergartner.
Just what is the future? / The things we’ve done and said? / Let’s just push the button / We’d be better off dead / ‘Cause I hate you / And I berate you / And I can’t wait to get to you / The sins of all the fathers / Being dumped on us, the sons / The only choice we’re given is / “How many megatons?” / And I eschew you / And I say screw you! / And I hope you’re blue too / We’re all bloody worthless. . .
I miss my boombox. Not really, though.
If he could mind meld with the Horta, he could mind meld with a humpback whale.
Spock’s the only one that can get the colorful metaphors right. Kirk’s so bad at it that he thinks Spock isn’t.
“I have a photographic memory. I see words.” This is probably the dumbest line in all of Star Trek, and that’s a high bar to clear.
I think there’s a script continuity error here. Spock agrees to Italian food but doesn’t go to dinner.
According to the novelization, Dr. Nichols, the one that’s given the formula for transparent aluminum by Scotty, is the one that supposedly discovered it in the Star Trek timeline. Temporal paradox resolved! “How do we know he didn’t invent the thing?” Paradox restored.
Poor Madeline. She did nothing wrong.
Now I want pizza.
Kirk seems confused. I guess they don’t have beer in the 23rd century. They have various forms of liquor, so maybe he simply doesn’t like it.
I don’t think two whales could repopulate the species.
My uncle, also an avid Star Trek fan, had recently served on the USS Saratoga when this movie came out. The Enterprise in the movie was the USS Forrestal, which is of the same type as the Saratoga. This gave my uncle a nerdgasm.
Kirk got the entire pizza that Gillian paid for. Smooth move, Captain.
“Of course, he’s a Ruskie, but he’s a retard or something.” Even a movie like this doesn’t age well. There’s always something that will send people into a frenzy.
There was a painted sign on the wall of the ship during Chekov’s escape. It said, “Escape route,” and had an arrow pointing the way. I shit you not.
Wouldn’t the cloak bleed over into anything nearby? It wouldn’t be a perfect cloak outlining the ship.
Finally, those lessons in miming paid off!
Wouldn’t it be funny if they just flew right into the sun? Everyone dies, Earth is destroyed, and we won’t have to deal with Star Trek: Insurrection. Everyone wins!
I know it’s not real, but I don’t see how the Klingon Bird of Prey could possibly be expected to float.
The scene where Kirk attempts to save the whales is the first scene where I started holding my breath while watching a movie. I wanted to see if I could do what they did. It’s an unfair test due to the scene jumps, but I try anyway. It’s safe to say that most of the time these scenes are bullshit, especially considering how much physical exertion is involved. The first time I was able to do it was recent: The second Kingsmen movie. For the first time, I came close on this one watching it this time. I still drowned though.
Again with the orientation thing. Why would the probe go vertical when speaking to the whales? There’s no vertical up there, and its communication can clearly reach anyplace in line-of-sight regardless of orientation.
Ironically, filming these scenes was probably tough on the whales.
So, now we’re left with a nagging question: What happens when George and Gracie die? That probe will do another U-Turn, and Picard’s going to have a bad day. They better figure out how to meaningfully duplicate the whale’s language.
Reading of the charges: Nichelle Nichols doesn’t seem to give a shit.
Mark Lenard was as good at playing a Vulcan as Leonard Nimoy was.
I mentioned something similar in the Star Trek III post. How the hell did they not know exactly what ship they were getting? How would you even hide the creation of the 1701-A? I know; I know. Drama.
The score is nonstandard for Star Trek, but I liked it. Kessel Junkie? Not so much.
Tune in tomorrow when Kessel Junkie joins me for my first audio blog, which discusses Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.That’s where the real fun begins.
This is an important movie to me. As always, I’m going to be vague about why. There was a time when, for better or worse (worse, really, but necessary), I asserted my “independence.” This movie was part of that in a strange way. I will say that this is the first movie I saw in the theaters because I got on a bus, rode up to the (now closed) Aspen Hill movie theater, and bought a ticket with my own money. Twice. So, this movie is really important to me for reasons that don’t apply to any of you. Nevertheless, based on everything I’ve heard, I couldn’t believe how good its numbers are. Though I’m not sure how “scientific” Rotten Tomatoes is, I’m certain our personal experiences are even less so, so I shouldn’t be too surprised. Here are my viewing notes.
This movie starts with such high hopes, having us relive the most heartbreaking loss in Star Trek history.
That cadet that wanted a ceremony was a dingbat.
Christopher Lloyd was awesome as Kruge, and as with the Reliant, it was cool to see a new type of Klingon ship.
Are the Klingons still using 8-track tapes?
Why would anyone deal with the Klingons knowing they kill anyone working with them? Oh, wait I know why. Because the script says so.
The existence of Spacedock was also a no-brainer, but it was still cool to see it. The Excelsior was even better. As I said in yesterday’s Wrath of Khan post (and just above), it was neat to see other ship designs that we know must exist. The Excelsior represented the future as far as we knew; same-but-different. Who cares if Scotty liked it? The FASA Star Trek RPG really scratched that itch, but there’s nothing like seeing it on the big screen.
Scotty learning of his new assignment wasn’t the last time Starfleet told personnel their new assignments in casual conversation.
Was Maltz once a prosecutor for the Klingon Empire?
And here’s another one: The USS Grissom. Another same-but-different design.
David’s hatred for Kirk was intense in the novelization, but in the movie, his brief interaction was polite. None of his thoughts on the matter were explored because there wasn’t any time to do so. The same can be said for David’s romantic relationship with Saavik, which wasn’t even hinted at in this movie. I remember a scene where they were criticized for taking the risky move of holding hands while being transported. Even more, Saavik’s Romulan side came out in the book. She was ferocious when provoked.
As I mentioned yesterday, the novelization of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan didn’t have the “remember” scene in it.
Admiral Morrow was a dope. How can he not understand “Vulcan mysticism”? He must have witnessed neck pinches and, more importantly, mind melds. Plus, his mustache sucks, though it could be worse.
“How many fingers do I have up.” “It’s his revenge for all those arguments he lost.” “Up your shaft.”
I remember an interview with Nichelle Nichols. She was initially disappointed in the size of her role. She thought it was too small but eventually was happy with it considering how important it was. The novelization went into her role much more deeply.
I hoped we’d see James B. Sikking again. The reason we didn’t is because Sulu took over as captain of the Excelsior. In fact, in the novel, he was already assigned to do so. As they were stealing the Enterprise, Sulu reflected on how he was throwing away that opportunity. This also explains why This brings up an anecdote. George Takei lobbied heavily for Sulu to become captain of his own ship. I remember Howard Stern making fun of him for it, saying, “You realize that Sulu becoming captain of another ship means you’re out of a job, right?” Takei stood firm. I guess it worked out. By the time he got the Excelsior, it was this crew’s final movie.
So, they find a young Spock. That raises an issue for me. When Spock’s consciousness goes back into his body, what happens to the personality of the new Spock. However briefly he existed, he’s a separate person. Is the new Spock wiped out, or are the two personalities merged? What are the ethical ramifications either way?
That Klingon dog was ridiculous.
“Range, 5,000 killicams.” Why? Why are they speaking entirely in English but use a Klingon unit of measurement? They’re speaking Klingon, of course, and we’re hearing what we would assuming there was a universal translator present. Wouldn’t the universal translator also translate the range into units we’d understand?
The conversation between Kirk and his son, David, was the most cordial David was regarding Kirk in the novel. Then David dies, and Saavik says, “Admiral, David is dead.” After that, she goes nuts and attacks the Klingons. This is what I was referring to when I said she was ferocious.
I was hoping Kirk would say, “No tricks once on board.” That would have been a good call out to the Original Series episode, Day of the Dove. That reminds me: Kang is currently running around somewhere in the Klingon Empire.
Beaming down to a dying planet was a risky plan.
Klingons are like the Drow in D&D. Their society and psyche could never work in the real world, but we overlook that because they’re cool. That is, if Klingon captains are so eager to die, you won’t have many qualified captains running around. Deep Space Nine pulled back on that a little bit, but perhaps not enough. They are cool though.
You know, Kirk left the remaining Klingons on the planet knowing they’d die.
The refusion scene had me thinking about Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Boy did that drag even though it really wasn’t that long. They wanted to give you the feeling that it took hours, but the verisimilitude was broken because no one left to pee. The same could be said about Spock wandering around in a confused state (except the peeing part). Overall, though, a good ending.
Continuing my revisit of all the Star Trek movies brings me to the gold standard of sci-fi movies, liked by virtually everyone that saw it. This entry is a little shorter than the last, not so much because the movie is shorter, but because I kept getting distracted. I wanted to watch the movie itself.
In an early version of the script, the opening scene took place in the middle of the movie, so it wasn’t a surprise. I’m glad it didn’t stay there.
Everyone I’ve ever heard say the name of the Kobayashi Maru pronounces it ma-RU. I do so myself. It’s actually pronounced MA-ru. Aren’t we all stupid?
If one photon torpedo can take out your helmsman, your ship’s design sucks. Depending on whom you ask, ordinary cars of today make the driver’s seat the safest place in a car.
Saavik seems irritated. So illogical. Of course, in the novelization it’s revealed that she’s half Romulan.
Shatner is such a wonderfully shitty actor.
The Reliant was wonderful. Not only was it a cool design in general, but it was also the first starship design we saw that wasn’t a Constitution or Enterprise class. Sometimes all it takes is a single piece of data to inspire your imagination to run wild and fill in the gaps they don’t have time to provide. The FASA Star Trek RPG helped me in that regard.
The Reliant’s scanners suck. Weather notwithstanding, how did they think that a bunch of humanoids and cargo carriers were just a single “particle of pre-animate matter”? Their computers must also have sucked. How did they not know that there was a colony of genetic supermen living on the planet next door? When Terrell and Chekov saw the cargo carriers, they should have figured it out. *sigh* The things we tolerate for drama. And yes, I know Chekov never met Khan, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t know the story. He served on the Enterprise for years after that incident, which was a matter of Starfleet record. That part was not a continuity error.
Now that’s what I call an earwig.
When I was a kid watching this in 1983 (when it hit TV), I was confused by Spock referring to Saavik as “Mr. Saavik.” I thought, “Wait, is that a dude?” I should have figured it out. My favorite episode of any Star Trek series is Balance of Terror, and in it an officer refers to a female subordinate as “mister.” The subordinate happens to be his fiancee. The FASA Star Trek RPG taught me the generic use of that term. Never underestimate the educational value of RPGs.
Piloting a ship out of space dock? I never thought the buildup was worth the payoff. I’m sure I could do it. All Saavik did was say, “Hey, you guys, do your jobs,” and everyone else did all the work. Managers think way too much of themselves.
Khan’s followers know how to talk to him: Appeal to his inflated ego.
I never forgot an interview that Ricardo Montalban did on the character. A specific part always stayed with me: Basing his approach to the character on this overwhelming rage that built up over 15 years or so.
A jump scene (bloody arms) immediately after a fake jump scene (door opening to Kirk’s face)? Not scary.
“But he was late. He had to get back to Reliant in time to blow you to bits.”
Was that supposed to be a joke? It wasn’t funny. It didn’t even appear to be an attempt at funny. What an odd line.
The worm thing continued to scream even after it was liquified by Kirk’s phaser. Duh.
I was annoyed about a scene in the 2009 Star Trek reboot. In Kirk’s talk about his cheat on the Kobayashi Maru (yeah, I just said that in my head as ma-RU), he mentions that he received a commendation for original thinking. The fact that the universe was rebooted doesn’t explain why Star Fleet would swing 180° and place him on suspension.
“Explain it to them.”
Yeah, okay, since you’re threatening to kill us, we’ll stop going into the nebula. We’ll stay out here so that you can kill us more easily. Not much of a threat, huh?
Kirk also knows how to talk to Khan: Appeal to his inflated ego.
The way Kirk beat Khan was perfect. Exploit the fact that he’s from the 21st century, and thus doesn’t think three-dimensionally. (We’re all assuming there are no aircraft pilots among Khan’s bridge crew.)
After seeing Star Trek III and reading the novelization, I went back to the novelization of this movie. It confirmed my recollection: The “remember” wasn’t in the book. How could a book not have something important that the movie did?
As a kid, I was disappointed that Khan didn’t see Kirk get away. Then I grew up and shed such prideful notions.
Spock’s death was heartbreaking, especially for a kid watching it.
On a final note, I think it’s appropriate to provide this visual.
It’s time to revisit all the Star Trek movies. It’s my favorite intellectual property, but don’t expect me to act the apologist. As my friends will attest, I’m happy to criticize the things I love, but there’s a lot to love here as well. The things we tolerate for drama. *sigh* This post doubles as an entry in my Guilty Pleasures; it wasn’t well received by anyone. It isn’t the first Star Trek movie to be in that category, and it won’t be the last. Here are my viewing notes.
Nice theme music. I remember getting into a mild argument with my uncle. I claimed that they reused it for the Star Trek: the Next Generation series. Guess who won that argument.
“I’m so offended they changed the Klingons! How can we explain this in canon?!” The FASA Star Trek RPG did so brilliantly (which they adapted from John M. Ford‘s work), and the canon explanation from Star Trek: Enterprise wasn’t bad either.
Trivia: Mark Lenard was the first actor to play three different species in the Star Trek universe. In my favorite Star Trek episode, Balance of Terror, he played a Romulan commander. In Journey to Babel, he played Sarek, Spock’s Vulcan father. In this movie, he was the Klingon commander. If I’m not mistaken, it wasn’t until Jeffrey Combs played Shran that someone else accomplished the feat. I’m not entirely sure about that though. It could have been Tony Todd or Joseph Ruskin. I’m too lazy to look it up.
I’m not even three minutes into the substantive content, and we’re already getting a scene with unnecessarily long exterior views of things that don’t matter. We get it. The space station is big. Really big.
Ooooo, a backwards-firing photon torpedo. We’ve never seen that before. Wait. Why not? How stupid were the designers of these ships?
I don’t think the movie ever explained that the voice calling out to Spock was Kirk’s, not V’Ger. I seem to remember from the novelization that it was Kirk. I read the novelizations of the first five Star Trek movies. Yeah, that includes the Final Frontier. That book was pretty good. Sybok could have been the best villain ever.
Poor Sonak. He didn’t realize what was in store for him, but he almost deserves it. You’re not Spock, Sonak. Don’t raise your eyebrow like that. It’s a Spock thing, not a Vulcan thing. (It became a Vulcan thing, but it shouldn’t have been.)
Why is the Enterprise the only ship in range to intercept? They’re on Earth, which is the center of government for the Federation. Shouldn’t there be at least a few ships nearby? This isn’t the only time this nonsense was used as a plot device.
And here’s the unnecessarily long exterior view that everyone talks about. I really should fast forward through this one, but writing these notes is distraction enough to make it bearable.
The engineer on the floating disk is probably violating OSHA regulations.
All these actors are amazing. I actually believe they’re happy to see William Shatner arrive.
The other person in that transporter malfunction had a pretty decent treatment in the novel. Here, she wasn’t even named.
The crowd of crewmen included a lot of diversity. The rest of the movie? Not so much.
Chekov’s smile when Ilia enters is classic. Sulu tried and failed.
McCoy should have kept the beard for the entire movie.
I don’t think wormholes work that way, but I’ve never been in one. From a dramatic perspective, the scene wore out its welcome not even halfway through it. It had the same effect as any of those external shots.
Kirk needs a ready room.
I’m sorry. That you left Delta IV? Or that you didn’t say goodbye? If I had, would you have been able to say it?
Now picture me rolling my eyes so hard they fall out.
I made a simple ST:TMP game on my Commodore Vic-20. There wasn’t a lot of memory to do anything impressive, but it was a good way to connect with the movie.
More external shots. Yes, we know. This thing is even bigger.
“This is how I define unwarranted!” How did Decker make Captain? Space travel is risky business. If you can’t handle it, don’t do it. They’re trying to save Earth. There are billions of lives at stake. You must take risks.
Spock is a seer. He can see the future.
The computer’s assessment of what’s going on
Why is the Ilia probe wearing clothes? This isn’t wishful thinking. She was created in the shower without clothes, and then they were added before it exposed itself.
My memory of the novel tells me that it went into a ton of detail about the scan of the probe. It was . . . . fascinating.
Why didn’t the door open for the Ilia probe? She shouldn’t have had to break through it. They’re automatic. We already know it’s extremely strong.
In one of his posts, Kessel Junkie claimed that this ship. . .
Spock getting emotional over a handshake. It’s as if millions of Vulcan voices cried out in terror.
I want to see V’Ger fight the whale probe.
Nimoy was wearing a lot of makeup.
“Mr. Chekov, when do those probes reach their final destination?” “Fifty-seven minutes.”
What? That means that there’s got to be 57 minutes left in this show for the ending to have a close call! Oh, there’s only 20 minutes left. Phew!
“Captain, I’d like to go along.”
Of course, you would, Commander Decker. Someone’s got to die.
In 1979, I was 11, so the big reveal (i.e., “VOYAGER”) surprised the hell out of me.
Couldn’t they just hit Voyager with a phaser? That’s the whole ship’s brain.
“Jim, I want this. As much as you wanted the Enterprise, I want this.”
Again, how did this idiot become Captain (of the flagship, no less)? It must have been nepotism.
In a sense, this was the perfect Star Trek movie. Lots of human drama, and a “villain” that represents the unknown of space, while representing a cautionary tale for humanity itself: Our actions will always have consequences. But that doesn’t resonate well with non-Star Trek nerds. It didn’t have the face-to-face villain that everyone craves. That’s because the first movie is always about the protagonists, with the sequel about the villain. Maybe the next movie will fare better with the masses. 😊
Last night, my cousin, Kessel Junkie, and I had our monthly (or so) outing at Buffalo Wing Factory. As always, we talk about all things both political and nerdical. Of all the things we discussed, there was one point made that was wholly mine, rather than a consensus between our two views. It’s not that Kessel Junkie hadn’t heard the argument before and accepted it in the context of Star Trek, but I took it to a larger level.
For all it’s bells and whistles, all of the new iterations of Star Trek will never (apparently) have what the Original Series had: character development. At first, this seems like a ridiculous argument, but I’m serious. It’s not that TNG, DS9, and the rest don’t have character development; the problem is that they spread that development too thinly across too many characters.
The Triumverate of Nerd
TOS had three characters: Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Everyone else was secondary. Can any of the newer series or movies say that? No, they can’t. They’ve all moved from being about “the main characters” to being about “the ensemble,” and the result is that none of the characters mean anywhere’s near as much as the original three. As I’ve pointed out before, we know the year that O’Brien’s mother-in-law was born. That’s a bit crazy. If you’re filling in that level of detail about the most minor of characters, you’re not spending time on who matters most. Granted, TOS lasted less years than any of the other series, so inevitably we would have known more about the minor characters as future seasons were released, but it still would have been about the big three.
It’s Not Just Star Trek
I pointed out to Kessel Junkie, a rabid Star Wars fan (seriously, check out his blog), that this isn’t just Star Trek. The original Star Wars trilogy was about Luke, Leia, and Han. Is Obi-Won Kenobi getting too important? Cut the bastard in half … or into thin air. Whatever. Same with Yoda. Bring them back as ghosts occasionally, but get them out of the action.
The Star Wars prequels became about the ensemble. While it should have been about Anakin, Obi-Won, and Padme, it wasn’t. Mace Windu, Yoda, and a freaking astromech droid were just as important. They got a ton of action independent of the main characters.
A Larger Trend
I haven’t done any serious math here, but this appears to be a larger trend, especially in light of the success of comic book movies. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It allows screenwriters to tell a different set of good stories. It’s also no longer “progressive” to just stick a minority on screen, make her a secretary, tell everyone she’s good at math, and rarely let her speak words other than, “I’m frightened.” I can understand a need to continue our social evolution, but it has its drawbacks with respect to the development of characters with whom the audience can relate. If we had the Avengers but didn’t have the benefit of two Iron Man movies, a Captain America movie, a Thor movie, and two Hulk movies, you wouldn’t care as much for those characters as you did (unless you had decades of development through reading their comics, which I do not have).
And this is why Picard will never have shit on original Kirk. Get over it and get off my lawn, you rotten kids.