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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Trek Prefs

Given how much I loved Next Generation when it came out and hated Enterprise when it came out I must say, in retrospect, with a longer run I'm pretty sure Enterprise would have accumulated as many tolerable and even good episodes as Next Generation. Enterprise seemed at first a craven capitulation of Trek to a W. ethos profoundly antithetical to it and I couldn't forgive it that -- it was only the Battlestar Galactica reboot that seemed to read what American science fiction needed to be doing in W.'s America.

Anyway, now that Bush isn't the raw wound he remained for six years or so I find I can enjoy Enterprise the way I would Dark Matter or Killjoys now, as an entertaining show with occasionally interesting conceits and engaging character developments. Definitely Enterprise was a show that got better with each season. Although I will admit the casting for the show endlessly annoyed me (I essentially only really liked Phlox, T'Pol, and Hoshi in an abiding way), the early temporal war and  terrorism plots were clumsy, the dramatic story of the supplanting of an earlier human spacer culture was neglected, and the show deferred for no good reason the much more gripping story (especially to diehard fans) filling in details and dwelling in the dramatic politics of the birth of the Federation from the perspective of a comparatively backward eventually indispensable bit player, Earth, in that tale.

Of course, a new and different hopelessness has now gripped the land... Time for another Trek series: Here's hoping Discovery sticks to the Trek ethos and acts as resistance and alternative to Trumpism as it should. (Or must we rely on The Expanse?) My wish for a non-Star Fleet human-minority series on a Federation cruise ship (to Risa?) sfnal-melodrama-sexfarce directed by Pedro Almodovar will probably not be fulfilled. 

Take what I say with a grain of salt, of course. Voyager and Deep Space Nine are my favorite Star Treks, which I understand is an unpopular opinion, and I for one find the original series still compulsively watchable but Next Generation mostly unwatchable now. Essentially if it's Will episode I am grossed out, if it's a Barclay episode I am creeped out, if it's a Data episode I am rolling my eyes already, and if it's a Wesley episode I want to slap somebody. If it weren't for Picard, Guinin, Q, Beverly, and Ensign Ro, Next Generation would be a near complete bust for me, with a handful of standout episodes. As it is, Next Generation is the only Trek I don't have on DVD.

The original series actually seems more interesting from an sfnal point of view, it is an aesthetically unmatched show (none of the subsequent series has come close to the beauty and iconicity of its art direction, all the more astonishing given the limitations the first series was working with), and nothing comes close to the camp pleasures of the original series when it... goes there.

All that said, love the original series though I do, I must say the boy-man "badassery" of Captain Kirk the fanboys claim to love so much has been replaced in my own DVDs of the series with a diplomatic and rather sensitive if emotionally dramatic Kirk who avoids stupid fights and illiberal opinions. It's funny, Kirk seems far more like Picard than like Janeway, who in the stress of being torn from the Federation often finds she must actually behave rather more as the fanboys pretend Kirk behaved in order to fulfill her responsibilities as Captain. Of course, the fanboys who love Kirk for who he wasn't don't always also seem to love Janeway for who she was. And be all that as it may, Sisko is the craziest badass in the Federation.

1 comment:

Lorraine said...

That goes for me too, DS9 and/or Voyager. A little partial to DS9 as Voyager stretches the suspension of disbelief a bit due to USS Voyager's rather astounding self-repair capabilities.

I think it's very safe that there will never ever ever ever be another Star Trek series on broadcast TV. What could be more a Newspeak name than "CBS All Access?"