...stay tuned for "Amok Time".
August 21, 2009 4:57 PM   Subscribe

Star Trek... the first 29 episodes. These are the findings of the website tor.com. Its several week mission: to watch every episode; to summarize, rate and analyze; to watch with fresh eyes what many geeks have watched before.
posted by Artw (73 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Index of all seasons
posted by Artw at 5:03 PM on August 21, 2009


Let's see: Ellison, Cameron's Avatar, Scalzi, and now Star Trek (with highly rated episodes written by Ellison), all in one day? ScienceFictionFilter? Or SciFiFi?
posted by effbot at 5:12 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whoa, I've watching these with my kids. I haven't seen them in almost 20 years (the episodes, not the kids). They really are amazing. Seriously. An incredible profusion of skin colors and beliefs, even if you limit yourself to just the humans on the Enterprise.

On the down side, the tropes are even more limited and repeated than I remember.
posted by DU at 5:17 PM on August 21, 2009


I started watching this for the first time as an adult a couple months ago, when disposable income suddenly collided with a movie-related sale on Amazon and some free time. I gotta say, I mostly love that first season. But I just...can't...get through the second one. It started strong, and then there was "I, Mudd," and that shit just fucking killed the sweet relationship '60s Star Trek and I had been developing stone dead. The couple episodes before that were pretty weak, too, but that was the one that pushed me over the edge. I started watching Eastbound & Down instead, and I never looked back.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:18 PM on August 21, 2009


kittens, if you have season 2 you must at least watch The Trouble with Tribbles.
posted by localroger at 5:50 PM on August 21, 2009


No love for Mirror, Mirror or The Doomsday Machine?
posted by Artw at 5:56 PM on August 21, 2009


The SciFi HD channel replays one in HD every week. They look awesome. Waiting geekily for STTNG to be recomposited in HD (maybe they could just community-source the effort?)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:58 PM on August 21, 2009


Early TNG has really not aged well.
posted by Artw at 5:59 PM on August 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


That's not a great landing page to link to. Before I discovered that the titles were links themselves I thought, "Huh... two people I have never heard of rating episodes on an unknown scale and offering a sentence or two about each. Well, at least they concur that 'City on the Edge of Forever' was a 6."

Anyway, those interested in this might enjoy Zack Handlen doing the same sort of thing at the Onion AV Club.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:59 PM on August 21, 2009


I've been watching them, finally, since somehow I missed out on watching them as a child. I'm just about through the first season, finished Errand of Mercy. I must say, it's quite interesting watching it concurrently with Boston Legal, and seeing Shatner's progression as an *ahem* actor.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:04 PM on August 21, 2009


I, Mudd is awesome! The androids! The logic bomb! OMG!
posted by DU at 6:11 PM on August 21, 2009


kittens, if you have season 2 you must at least watch The Trouble with Tribbles.

I know...*sigh*...I know...

No love for Mirror, Mirror or The Doomsday Machine?

Actually, I love both of those, but the disc set I have has (I believe; there's no helpful on-paper index to the disc set, and it's been some weeks since I left off watching it) the episodes in a slightly different order than what appears on the Tor site -- the original production order vs. the broadcast order, maybe? So I think the last three I saw were "The Apple," "Catspaw" and "I, Mudd." And just...dear God. There had been some duds to that point, and make no mistake, and two of them directly preceding it, but "I, Mudd" was just the most grueling forty-five minutes of TV I'd seen since...I wanna say those two episodes of Dollhouse I watched, but that seems really harsh, although it's probably the truth. I mean, I fully intend to come back to Star Trek at some point, but that was just agony.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:16 PM on August 21, 2009


I, Mudd is awesome! The androids! The logic bomb! OMG!

No. No.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:17 PM on August 21, 2009


Are ye here for the Festeeval?

What? Yes. The Festival.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:23 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are ye here for the Festeeval?

What? Yes. The Festival.


it's almost the Red Hour!
posted by Artw at 6:31 PM on August 21, 2009


(And now I'm gonna be a total loser and spend my Friday night dominating the Star Trek thread -- this is me procrastinating on writing and on having a life all at the same time -- but I should say w/r/t "The Doomsday Machine" in particular that the sets I purchased are those with the "enhanced" digital effects, and...you know what? It's been too long since I've seen the originals to have any basis for comparison, but these shows are gorgeous. I know it's probably totally sacrilegious and all that, but considering that 90% of the new effects are really, really good CGI shots that replace inserts of spaceship models, they're mostly pretty seamless, and -- I can only imagine -- improve the episodes quite a lot. I have a feeling "The Doomsday Machine" is not quite as effective in its original form, because...man, that thing is scary here in a way I just can't see a big ball of papier mache or whatever being. I'm the last person to endorse the Lucasifying of old movies, generally speaking, but I'm more than willing to make an exception in this case.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:31 PM on August 21, 2009


"FESTIVALLL!!!" was a common battle cry with me & my running buddies back in my drinking days. I love that episode.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:33 PM on August 21, 2009


They're not all winners but I'll take TOS over those later series any day.

Flame on!
posted by cazoo at 6:44 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is your training harness! Put it on!


My prepubescent self had no idea what that script was winking at.
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:49 PM on August 21, 2009


TNG didn't age well at the time. Far too condescending, both scientifically and politico-morally (or whatever you want to call it).
posted by DU at 6:58 PM on August 21, 2009


My prepubescent self had no idea what that script was winking at.

I think I must still not get it.
posted by DU at 7:00 PM on August 21, 2009


They're not all winners but I'll take TOS over those later series any day.

Mr. cazoo... Your agonizer, please.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:04 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Blogging Star Trek Dot Net isn't updated often but it's a favorite of mine.
posted by Simon! at 7:31 PM on August 21, 2009


though I've never seen an episode of any flavor of star trek, I've been on the internet for 16 years -- I'm guessing if I ever sat down and watched one, it would be one long "So THAT'S where that comes from!!"
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:33 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have a feeling "The Doomsday Machine" is not quite as effective in its original form, because...man, that thing is scary here in a way I just can't see a big ball of papier mache or whatever being.

I love that ep, but yeah...the original Constellation was one of the commercial-kit models sold in department stores. They took a cigarette lighter to it to simulate battle damage.
posted by txvtchick at 7:35 PM on August 21, 2009


Kittens f.b., here are some caps from the non-remastered version. I can't compare these to the new version, haven't seen it and apparently (may the force at the edge of the galaxy bless the nerds, every one) a fan-based remaster of that episode has absorbed all the Google juice.

http://mikelynchcartoons.blogspot.com/2006/08/star-trek-doomsday-machine-enhanced.html
posted by mwhybark at 7:38 PM on August 21, 2009


I recently re-watched most of the original series on cbs.com. There were a few I'd never seen—among them, The Devil in the Dark.

Which is a really, really good episode. I enjoyed most of the others, but in a half-campy way—because, let's face it, there's a lot to laugh at in Star Trek, and TOS doubly so. But I watched this episode with the same rapt fascination the series provoked in me as a child. I seem to remember reading that it was one of Roddenberry's favorites, or something.
posted by ixohoxi at 7:42 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer!
posted by Artw at 7:48 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


stupidsexyFlanders, that kind of blows my mind. I mean, I'd totally understand if you said you didn't care for Star Trek, but you've honestly never seen it?

I mean, there have been probably over a thousand television episodes across the various series (and I'm ashamed to say I've seen almost all of them), and over a dozen movies, and it's one of the most iconic franchises in sci-fi and in film and television in general.

I can't promise that it would be your cup of tea if you did see it—it's probably one of those things you have to be introduced to at a young and impressionable age. But, seriously? Have you deliberately avoided it or something? I mean, that's fine if you have, but seriously?

Oh my God. I'm being a butthurt fanboy, aren't I? I...I need to step away from the computer for a moment.
posted by ixohoxi at 7:51 PM on August 21, 2009


SciFiFi beats SyFyFi every time.

And if you want to read a less-than-reverent review of the first season of TNG, blogboy Wil Wheaton is publishing one soonish.
posted by wendell at 8:05 PM on August 21, 2009


stupidsexyFlanders, I also have never seen an episode of Star Trek and I have come to similar conclusions.

Growing up, I wasn't allowed to watch Star Trek because it was too "progressive".
posted by signalnine at 8:06 PM on August 21, 2009


stupidsexyFlanders: though I've never seen an episode of any flavor of star trek, I've been on the internet for 16 years...

You are the last of the pure.

Don't think for a moment that your unique stature will prevent those of us amongst the initiated from binding you hand and foot and forcing you to watch episode after episode until you are as jaded as we.
posted by koeselitz at 8:09 PM on August 21, 2009


though I've never seen an episode of any flavor of star trek, I've been on the internet for 16 years -- I'm guessing if I ever sat down and watched one, it would be one long "So THAT'S where that comes from!!"

I've actually never seen an episode either. I was the same way with The Twilight Zone until I bought the box set for my ladyfriend. Watching them with her has been more or less exactly like this.

"OH! I FINALLY GET IT! HE BROKE HIS GLASSES AND EVERYONE IS DEAD!"
posted by MidAtlantic at 8:27 PM on August 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


koeselitz: "...until you are as jaded as we."

Oh, I dunno, I think one of the primary pleasures of watching TOS is just how unjaded the experience remains, for me anyway. Usually, watching a movie or a TV show, I have a constant critical chatter in my head, disassembling the entertainment, analyzing it and critiquing it. Among the very first shows I every honed this on was TOS. Now when I watch the old episodes, I rarely pause to analyze or experience in interior critical monologue - I'm just in the storyspace. It's a pretty pure experience, somehow childlike, and I find it both comforting and hopeful.

Then LOST comes on and I'm all, "COME ON, a pirate ship in a tree? What, is this Aguirre Week?"
posted by mwhybark at 8:29 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


MidAtlantic: "I've actually never seen an episode either."

(plus plus plus)

You guys should start a club or summink.
posted by mwhybark at 8:31 PM on August 21, 2009


Have you deliberately avoided it or something?

I like sci-fi OK but don't like space. So I've seen a lot of twilight zone, but none of the star treks or star wars things. And yeah koeslitz, at this point (48yo) there's also the whole purity thing.

//cut to me in 40 years choking on my broth while the nurses in the TV lounge cue up ST
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:31 PM on August 21, 2009


Short version: Eugene is usually correct, Tori scores about a point too low.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:31 PM on August 21, 2009


ChurchHatesTucker: "Short version: Eugene is usually correct, Tori scores about a point too low."

Ima point out here that ChurchHatesTucker is a MeFite who has self-pickled in old Trek on at least one demonstrable occasion involving video editing. I would listen closely to observations offered by CHT on this topic.
posted by mwhybark at 9:20 PM on August 21, 2009


I like sci-fi OK but don't like space.

If it helps, about every other Star Trek episode is set on a planet that is somehow exactly like an earlier version of earth, including Quakers, the OK Corral, the Roaring 20s, Nazi Germany, the ACTUAL 1930s on earth, the Roman Empire, and, in one episode, Abraham Lincoln is a character.

From what I remember, almost all the other episodes are about psychic children who have been abandoned on other planets or destructive robots that can be short-circuited by behaving weirdly. Oh, and once in a while Kirk will swap genders and somebody will steal Spock's brain.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:29 PM on August 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it's kind of hilarious how often the writers found excuses to use the Western lot or the swords & sandals lot or the World War II lot at the TV studio. Never really noticed it until my aforementioned recent rewatching.
posted by ixohoxi at 9:42 PM on August 21, 2009


Personally one of my favorite episodes is the very-much-space-based Balance of Terror.
posted by Artw at 10:01 PM on August 21, 2009


Ex-wife: "Who wants meatballs?"
Me & stepson: "Meatballs? That is our worship word!"

/big ol' dork
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:47 PM on August 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


WALTER KOENIG: And when we woke up, we had these bodies.

FRY: Say it in Russian!

WALTER KOENIG: [sigh] Ven ve voke up, ve had these wodies.

FRY: Eeeee! Now say "nuclear wessels"!

WALTER KOENIG: No.


Oh, god, "The Omega Glory". Now, I love Star Trek, but I distinctly remember being about six years old, and throwing a Rocksteady action figure at the TV when they started reading the Preamble to the US Constitution. Absolutely ridiculous. Still, it was better than "Spock's Brain".

Of course, nothing in TOS comes close to the unwatchable horror of "Shades of Gray", officially the Worst Star Trek Episode Ever.
posted by maqsarian at 2:49 AM on August 22, 2009


and over a dozen movies
posted by ixohoxi at 3:51 AM on August 22 [+] [!]

Nope, not quite. Just eleven so far:
posted by kaemaril at 4:34 AM on August 22, 2009


Of course, nothing in TOS comes close to the unwatchable horror of "Shades of Gray", officially the Worst Star Trek Episode Ever.

Are we forgetting the Voyager episode when Janeway and Tom go SO FAST they EVOLVE into LIZARDS and then HAVE BABIES?

Cause even my TV-Addled ten year odl self thought that was stupid and fucked-up.
posted by The Whelk at 7:52 AM on August 22, 2009


Pff. No mere clips episode can match the horror of an episodes worth of Captain Janeway falling in love with a holodeck Oirishman.
posted by Artw at 8:02 AM on August 22, 2009


FRY: Eeeee! Now say "nuclear wessels"!

There's a guy at my work with a Russian accent. One time he had to give a talk and the first thing he said was "OK, let's get this out of the way first: Where do you keep your nuclear wessels. Also, moose and squirrel."
posted by DU at 8:33 AM on August 22, 2009 [15 favorites]


I have a feeling "The Doomsday Machine" is not quite as effective in its original form, because...man, that thing is scary here in a way I just can't see a big ball of papier mache or whatever being.

.... When Decker tells Kirk his crew is "on the third planet," and Kirk says there is no third planet, Decker's anguished cry of " -- Don't you think I know that?" sells the concept better than either a fiberglass cigar or something out of a render farm ever could.
posted by webmutant at 9:32 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


.... When Decker tells Kirk his crew is "on the third planet," and Kirk says there is no third planet, Decker's anguished cry of " -- Don't you think I know that?" sells the concept better than either a fiberglass cigar or something out of a render farm ever could.

I'd agree with that; I'm not sure this is an episode I ever saw when I was a kid (I was never a huge Star Trek guy, and my only prolonged exposure to the '60s series came when a UHF station was rerunning it on Saturdays when I was in around the eighth grade), but when I watched it a month or so ago, I got so wrapped up in it that I'm pretty sure I applauded when it got to the end. (I won't spoil it for anyone who, like me, either hasn't seen it or hasn't seen it in so long it'll be brand new.) And that really is a testament to the script, acting and direction...but man, have you seen this thing? Because I know that if I were Norman Spinrad (the scripter) and I saw it after forty years or so of accepting that what I wrote was translated into a chunk of burning prop or whatever (which I'm sure was the very best they could do with the money and materials on hand), I would look at that fucker and weep tears of pure joy.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:00 AM on August 22, 2009


Did you know that there's a Peter David novel that's Doomsday Machine versus Borg?

Actually it's 80% Riker and Troi smooching, but hey, Doomsday Machine! Borg!
posted by Artw at 10:18 AM on August 22, 2009


And, er, yes, having read such a thing means I've crossed some kind of nerd line.
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Early TNG has really not aged well.

Season 1 had aged badly by the time Season 2 debuted. It's all just plain wrong: Riker is clean-shaven, Troi looks like a hooker, Worf is wearing red and his hair is awful, Wesley had that weird Cosby sweater, there was that Tasha Yar "just say no" speech...
posted by Sys Rq at 11:38 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


This strikes me as such a forced meme. One that has been done before, if not as thoroughly documented. At least if they were doing this with Space: 1999 it would be more original. Even Perfect Strangers would give them more of a challenge - explain how that show ran for eight seasons.
posted by geekyguy at 2:32 PM on August 22, 2009


It's like you discovered a previously uncharted nerd line and crossed it. You're like some sort of nerdy Columbus discovering a New World of nerdiness.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:35 PM on August 22, 2009


Did you know that there's a Peter David novel that's Doomsday Machine versus Borg?

Actually it's 80% Riker and Troi smooching, but hey, Doomsday Machine! Borg!
posted by Artw at 6:18 PM on August 22 [+] [!]

It's not as good as that other Peter David classic Trek novel, Q-in-Law. Lwaxana Troi, Q, and Wesley Crusher being tortured. What's not to love? :)
posted by kaemaril at 7:09 PM on August 22, 2009


Wow, he really knows his fanwank. I guess Neelix wasn't around then...

Of course, I suppose he tries to make you feel sorry for them, and that they get away in the end.
posted by Artw at 7:47 PM on August 22, 2009


There's a season/episode list and full-episode videos online free at IMDb.
posted by radagast at 12:54 AM on August 23, 2009


Wow, he really knows his fanwank. I guess Neelix wasn't around then...

Of course, I suppose he tries to make you feel sorry for them, and that they get away in the end.
posted by Artw at 3:47 AM on August 23 [+] [!]


Not exactly ...
The Enterprise officers looked at each other. 'She's (Lwaxana Troi) really beating the stuffing out of him (Q),' observed Riker. 'What do you think we should do?'
'Sell tickets,' rumbled Worf.

posted by kaemaril at 3:58 AM on August 23, 2009


OH MY GOD TRY USING "SAID" FOR ONCE YOU DORKS IT WOULDN'T KILL Y

....I'm sorry.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:00 AM on August 23, 2009


...exclaimed kittens for breakfast.
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on August 23, 2009


Seconded posted The Whelk
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on August 23, 2009


Sys Rq: Season 1 had aged badly by the time Season 2 debuted. It's all just plain wrong: Riker is clean-shaven, Troi looks like a hooker, Worf is wearing red and his hair is awful, Wesley had that weird Cosby sweater, there was that Tasha Yar "just say no" speech...

Indeed. Season 1 was so bad that it almost sank to the level of the next six seasons.
posted by koeselitz at 4:11 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


...rumbled koeselitz, pining for Qo'noS.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:02 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Harlan Ellison (that pompous boor) once said that the old Star Trek had just one plot line, repeated for every episode: Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise meet an alien, who turns out to be a god, a child, or both. I think that's a fair description of it to a certain degree, although of course Ellison's statement was a self-serving pointer to City On The Edge Of Forever since that is one episode which doesn't obviously follow that plotline. (Nor do Amok Time or a lot of other episodes, for that matter, but it is a common archetype in the series.) That show at the very least was almost always about approaching the strange and new with human dignity and bravery; that leans toward the overwrought, but the show was tempered by a mild humor. In the end, I think what carried it, really, was the Kirk-Spock-McCoy relationship & the sense that these were apparently intended as a representation of three different, complementary ways of approaching the unknown, three ways which had varying success in varying circumstances but which nonetheless could function in tandem.

Spock, for one, happens to be one of my favorite fictional characters in any medium. People don't appreciate just how rare he is: a coherent, thoughtful critique of humanity that's given all the dignity that a critique of humanity deserves. People tend to remember the moments at an episode's end when Kirk wryly make some crack about Spock being more human than he'd like to admit, but what's easy to miss in those moments is that they're intended to signify a kind of comraderie and that Spock never becomes a parody or a caricature of the non-human. A significant part of the series, however, concerns Spocks very understandable objections to humanity; one of the more interesting episodes on this point is the sixteenth of the first series, The Galileo Seven, where it's often difficult to tell whether it's Spock or the humans who are being critiqued; at the very least, however, Spock is shown here, as he often is, to be superior to human beings in his lack of erratic emotional thinking and impulsive behavior. (The fact that they didn't try to improve the ridiculously stupid aliens in this episode, which probably would win a contest for stupidest Star Trek alien given that they're apparently just big fat guys in fur suits, is a pretty sure sign that the revision of the show didn't go too far.) To put it a bit more plainly, when it wasn't succumbing to a gradually increasing tendency to romanticize by making Spock more and more sentimental and 'human,' the first three seasons presented him as a character who demonstrated that rational thinking can be more humane, more gently, more noble and more just and that that strange disregard for sentiment, while it can seem utterly alien to us, is quite often more truly kind and loving than the sentiments which we generally see as "loving." The fact that Star Trek made rationality a hero like that made it at once more truly scientific than most of the 'science fiction' bandied about then and now. The insight represented by the fact that Spock's rationality would never be accepted by the crew and would never in fact accept the crew's silly whims (as Spock pointedly states in The Galileo Seven, "I am not interested in the opinion of the majority") seems to me a rare and profound one.

But Spock wasn't the sole character in this trinity; the three characters worked with each other, complementing and balancing out. And again, in general the show seemed to be about humankind's confrontation of the unknown and what tenor of character humans needed to make that confrontation successful.

The reimagining of the show in The Next Generation, on the other hand, was framed as being about humanity on trial, about the question of whether humanity had proven itself worthy of its place in the world. As The Next Generation had it, this question was apparently novel and hard for us to answer; and an emphasis was placed on the frailties and weaknesses of the species. The tight set of three central characters of the first three seasons was replaced by a larger, looser set of personalities - Picard and Riker apparently representing two generations, the second officer Data having a detached (though increasingly coherent) relationship with the rest of the crew (and frankly the Data character devolved into silliness far too often for my taste), Troi, and Worf being the most consistent of characters, although Dr Crusher came to be more of a regular later on (when they 'unfired' her and brought her back after the, what was it, second season?). These characters just aren't as compelling to me; The Next Generation does however represent a fine example of the giddy thrill of contentment of the 1990s in this country. Remember when everything from the use of (gasp!) electronic mail to sexual preferences previously thought disgusting (like, say, letting another guy stick his penis in your butt) was accepted with a shrug and the saying: it's the 90s ? I don't say that all prejudice and inequality was conquered in that decade, but what was very common, it seems to me, was the excited sense that it all soon would be.

The Next Generation is in fact probably the most insistent and forceful embodiment of that hope, I think. Remember, the old series didn't say all too much about Starfleet, Earth, and human society in the future—you had to get away from all that to experience the excitement of discovery, that was the whole point—but The Next Generation, with an almost adamant naivete, insisted that human society would be perfected in the future, in a society very similar to the one we know and love now, if only given the chance. Over and over again The Next Generation tells us that in the future we will do away with war, with poverty, with all kinds of intolerance; this idealism was at the core of some of the most noble bits of it. The other day I got to watch (for the first time since I saw every episode when I was a child) the episode The Outcast, the one wherein Riker falls in love with the woman from the planet where sexuality of any kind is illegal and taboo; that episode was, I think, a good illustration of just what social statements The Next Generation was capable of - though, of course, a social statement doesn't necessarily make for an interesting or worthwhile TV episode.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that that wasn't really enough, and when it comes down I feel like seven seasons of The Next Generation produced four or maybe five episodes that I'd show to somebody who'd never seen the show as great examples of science fiction; the rest, as comforting as the heady idealism and somewhat childish simplicity of the setting may have been (and, yes, the tight uniforms were fun to look at), really amounted to little more than a fun diversion, if you ask me. The only time when any subsequent series that I've seen (who can have time to watch them all?) has risen to a level of quality worth taking note of was the latter years of Deep Space Nine, I think; it was in many ways moving beyond the so-called 'Star Trek universe' in that Rick Berman was dealing with themes that Roddenberry might not have, but I think it was far more interesting than lockstep exploration of a set 'universe' that the fans would all love.

And if anybody reads the posts down here, a propos of nothing you should check out one of the classics of early punk rock, a 1978 tune by the fantastic little English group Spizz Energi entitled "Where's Captain Kirk?" John Peel really liked it; so do I. It's fuckin' catchy. Their follow-up single from two years later (although by then the band was called Athletico Spizz 80) entitled "Spock's Missing" was good, too.
posted by koeselitz at 6:07 PM on August 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


You know, it just occurred to me that Dr Crusher and Geordi LaForge only really exist to explain what the fuck is going on vis-à-vis this week's case of the wobblies, with their near-constant bouts of armtricorder-waving and scientifical mumbo-jumbo. That's kinda lame. Of course, the show probably wouldn't work at all without all that exposition.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:48 PM on August 27, 2009


Well, Sys Rq, I seem to remember faintly an episode of Reading Rainbow (loved that shit back then) where Levar Burton took viewers on a tour of the Star Trek sets and studios; the thing that stuck in my mind for some reason was them having a whole team of writers whose job was to take near-finished scripts and add sciencey-sounding words to them. Made sense when I was a kid, but more and more I think back on that and find it mildly hilarious. "Um, okay, so this part where there's a big boxy part of the ship that won't do stuff so they can leave the planet? How about we make that a dilithium converter in the port nacell..."
posted by koeselitz at 7:09 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Geordi's character has always seemed like a strange amalgam to me, actually; lots of times he seems to be intended as a representation of the classic socially-inept tech geek, for example the two or three episodes where he recreates that one warp-drive scientist in the holodeck and then promptly falls in love with the computer-generated simulation or the numerous episodes that portray him as romantically inept. But other times he seems pretty savvy, and the fact that he's apparently supposed to be an insular nerd makes it sort of ridiculous every time he's presented, as Data's friend, rolling his eyes (figuratively, of course) at Data's complete lack of social grace and trying desperately to show him how to behave like a normal person. At least it heightens Data's goofiness a few more notches. Look, Data, you're behaving so insanely that even this geeky dude who walks around with an electronic visor on his face and apparently can't get a date to save his life thinks you're a bumbling idiot.

Also, there are a number of The Next Generation episodes that now annoy the living fuck out of me. The other day I saw that one where the silly, flighty chick who's just gotten dumped tries to date Data because she thinks he's 'so sweet' and spends the whole hour trying to teach him things like "you should say nice things to your girlfriend" and "you should bring your girlfriend flowers" and "when your girlfriend comes into the room, you should put down whatever you're doing and come over and talk to her"—good lord, I had to restrain myself to keep from throwing the remote across the room in frustration. (That's probably because I've had girlfriends like that.) And the worst part is, they give up the one chance they have of ending the whole thing in a satisfying way by having her finally dump him when she realizes "we're not right for each other." Fuck that&em;Data should've woken up one morning and turned to her and said, "I have calculated the total happiness that can be had if we remain partners, and it is my conclusion that it would be unwise to do so. I regret to say it, but I believe we should end our relationship." Would've been awesome to see Data have the balls to do something like that.

I think what annoys me so much about Data is that he's like an inversion of Spock. Spock was a representation of what humans were capable of if they surpassed their emotional limitations; Data was a parody designed to show how silly and ridiculous a truly emotionless and rational person would be.
posted by koeselitz at 7:28 PM on August 27, 2009


You know, I think that's what I love about Data. It's also what I love about the Romulans; the Vulcan schtick is "Oh man our emotions are just SO overwhelming, we have to suppress them in order to progress as a society," but the Romulans, who are essentially the same as the Vulcans, seem to do just fine with their emotions informing their logic.

As far as the Data-dating-that-chick episode, I thought it was remarkably good at portraying the character as he is, not as we'd like him to be. The woman's like, "Let's date!" and Data's all, "okay," and then she's like "Let's break up!" and Data's all, "okay."

As far as Geordi, I think the weirdly amorphous quality of his personality can be chalked up to the writers trying their damnedest not to be racist, and sort of getting hamstrung by that. There's some moment in one of the DVD bonus interviews when Levar Burton says something along the lines of, "Everyone got a love interest in some successful way. Even the damn KLINGON gets to have a girlfriend. But the second the writers tried to deal with the sexuality of a black man, they failed miserably."

I think Geordi's the product of a weird little moment in the late-80s/early-90s when well-meaning writers were trying to show that they could make the black guy the really smart one, not just the physically-adroit athlete or cool-ass jive-talker. And in trying to break from that, they were kind of at a loss for how to handle the fact that Geordi-as-played-by-Levar is actually a tremendously level-headed, pleasant, intelligent guy, so they ham-fistedly tried to convince the audience that the dude was somehow bad at dealing with women -- presumably because they felt Geordi needed some kind of broad-stroke "weakness" to make him more interesting (along the lines of "Riker is too sexful," "Worf is too angry," "Data is too emotionless," "Wesley's dick is caught in a drawer," etc)
posted by Greg Nog at 5:40 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


The weird thing about Data is that he's this emotionless android, right, and yet he constantly yearns for human emotion. Is yearning not an emotion?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:37 PM on August 28, 2009


Greg Nog: ... presumably because they felt Geordi needed some kind of broad-stroke "weakness" to make him more interesting (along the lines of "Riker is too sexful," "Worf is too angry," "Data is too emotionless," "Wesley's dick is caught in a drawer," etc)

I think that was actually the theme of the whole new series - human frailty; which ended up turning everything on its head, in its way. In the old series, Klingons are scary, they're unknown, they're brutal; in the new series, the Klingon has a kid that keeps getting in trouble at school.
posted by koeselitz at 5:00 PM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh god, and what a fucking awful kid. There is nothing as sweet as watching Alexander get his ass handed to him in DS9.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:13 PM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Amok time!

Di di dee-dee-dee-da da da-da da-daa!
posted by Artw at 12:03 PM on September 1, 2009


And after that it's another Super-dickery in Space one. Maybe kittens for breakfast has a point.

Next week is the V'ger lite of Changeling - I remember that one as being good.
posted by Artw at 3:25 PM on September 8, 2009


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