The War On Terror meets The Final Frontier
June 20, 2016 1:40 PM   Subscribe

"What does God need with a starship?" What started out as an exploration of televangelism mutated into something else via the notoriously troubled production, and some of the allegory was lost. But now, in the modern world, Star Trek V finally makes sense. This is not the film you were warned about. This is not a film where the Enterprise literally goes looking for God. This is one worth seeing for what it is, what it was meant to be, or at least what it has become.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is a scathing commentary on radicalisation, and the rise of Islamic terrorism. It is right wing. Dark. Subversive. Brilliant. When watched in the light that it was intended, it ceases to be a muddling and bizarre action adventure film and instead transcends those boundaries. If you like your sci-fi to shine a light on the real world, to engage your brain and challenge your preconceptions, there is the argument to be made that Star Trek V is not only a worthy film, it is one of the most interesting science fiction films ever made.

Stop laughing. I’m serious.


Trailer
"What does God need with a starship?"
"Row Row Your Boat" (sorry, I couldn't resist)
posted by zooropa (81 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
> But now, in the modern world, Star Trek V finally makes sense.

I'll have what he's smoking.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:53 PM on June 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


Back in the old days they'd encounter a godlike entity every two weeks or so, they all sucked. Finding one in prison and letting it out seems like a really bad idea.

Straight up shooting one in the face must be extremely gratifying though. Well done Mr. Spock.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


If nothing else, worth the read for this:
What does God need with a starship? What does God need with anything? What does an omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient entity need with his own, mundane creation? Why do we exist, if God is all existence.

“What does God need with a starship?”

Has there ever been a more piercing question in cinema? Can you answer it? What does God need with a starship? You don’t know, do you? You can’t, it’s one of those questions like “what is the sound of one hand clapping?”, except without the obvious sound one can make by flapping their hand that sounds a bit like a fist in a jar of mayonnaise.

posted by nubs at 2:08 PM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


...there is the argument to be made that Star Trek V is not only a worthy film, it is one of the most interesting science fiction films ever made.

Whaaaaaaaaat?

It was two hours of dad jokes. Not even good dad jokes. Not even the barely-palatable dad jokes that make you chuckle sheepishly.

No, it was jokes like:
"Please, Captain, not in front of the Klingons."
and
"Captain, I do not believe you realize the gravity of your situation."
and
"I am preparing to toast a marsh melon."

Marsh Melons.

Two Hours of Marsh. Melons.

That felt like twelve. And you can't even blame William Shatner for the entire catastrophe because there were three other writers who worked on that dreck before he got his hands on it.

It was worse than Star Trek: Nemesis, and that's saying something.
posted by zarq at 2:09 PM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


Nerds, we get it, you don't want anyone to take away your distain for Star Trek V because you need your pain.

The reality is that it is a flawed but serviceable film featuring a few scenes that rank among the greatest of any Star Trek film or series. Sorry?

I also like TMP and think Spock's arc that spans all six films is, despite studio efforts, a gem of sci-fi that forms the backbone of the film franchise.

Now let's talk about how TOS isn't as sexist as everyone tells themselves it was ...
posted by seraphine at 2:09 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


I like the way he just keeps repeating "what does God need with a starship?" - as if the mere fact of the question makes his point self-evident - with all the profundity of Insane Clown Posse insisting magnets are incontrovertible proof of the supernatural, or Bill O'Reilly maintaining that the tides are inexplicable.
posted by Naberius at 2:13 PM on June 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


The question of what a god needs with its creation is only interesting if you have never read any theology or aren't an atheist.
posted by Scattercat at 2:14 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


It was an average episode of the original series, comparable to the one where they fight Apollo, but stretched out to double the necessary running time and stripped of whimsy.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:15 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]




I saw that film in the theater. No amount of theory or the passage of time is going to make it a good or interesting movie.

Can you understand the question? To dismiss it out of hand is to dismiss the opportunity to think. Do not turn your brain off.

Nope, there are lots of things that aren't worth pondering. This isn't even an edge case. It's not so much a question of turning your brain off as opposed to turning it somewhere useful or interesting.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:16 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I did kind of enjoy the movie, though, in a sort of "oooooh man what is this even" kind of way.
posted by Scattercat at 2:16 PM on June 20, 2016


That writer's strike is what led to stuff like David Letterman throwing TV sets from the roof, so it was worth it
posted by thelonius at 2:16 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


But now, in the modern world, Star Trek V finally makes sense.

I'm inclined to agree, but this is not a defense of Star Trek V. It is a scathing criticism of the modern world.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:18 PM on June 20, 2016 [27 favorites]


Someone should write a mashup movie about how the creature William Shatner saw on the wing in Nightmare At 20000 Feet turned out to be God in Star Trek V. That would be pretty cool.
posted by mattdidthat at 2:19 PM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


I mean, if the entity in the God prison IS *the God* and it needs to trick it's creations into releasing it then that's downright gnostic.
posted by Artw at 2:19 PM on June 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


I like the way he just keeps repeating "what does God need with a starship?"

There is only one answer to this question: Is it "Ghostbusters II"?
posted by nubs at 2:21 PM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


FWIW I've never for a moment considerd the notion that the film "doesn't make sense", except for maybe everyone forgetting they run into this sort of thing all the damn time. Mainly it just seems a pretty average entry in the late trek-film canon.
posted by Artw at 2:21 PM on June 20, 2016


Scattercat: "The question of what a god needs with its creation is only interesting if you have never read any theology or aren't an atheist."

What about an atheist who has read a great deal of theology, from many religions?
posted by Splunge at 2:21 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I always wanted a marsh melon dispenser of my very own. I imagine it was really a miniature replicator designed for dispensing hot dogs and bite-size snacks on hiking trips.
posted by Soliloquy at 2:23 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Anything you want so long as it's about an inch in diameter.
posted by Artw at 2:24 PM on June 20, 2016


Ghostbusters II

"Ray, if someone asks you what does God need with a starship, you say YES!"
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:37 PM on June 20, 2016 [9 favorites]




featuring a few scenes that rank among the greatest of any Star Trek film or series

Not enough.

I love how the author of this piece starts by saying "superficially star trek V is a mess" -- and somehow that plus the particular details of the mess are supposed to make the rest sound reasonable -- or at least non-obvious. It's a rather expensive piece of art to produce, it's not supposed to be a mess. It's not a particularly deep or interesting film -- the heavy handed islamic radicalism aspect is and was obvious to most people, but so was the shit quality of just about everything in it.

This is like attempting to glean personal meaning from the particular arrangement I chose for the scattered post-its and paperclips on my desk. Or talking about a child's drawing of a pine tree as a statement on ecology. Nope.
posted by smidgen at 2:43 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Mister Plinkett has created a commentary for STV.. He is surprisingly warm to the film.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 2:56 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


The movie is terrible. But the idea of "god" being trapped in the center of the galaxy is kind of cool. It is quite gnostic, as Artw said, and fairly poetic. Imagine this infinitely powerful creature, imprisoned, sending pleas for help out across the wastes for millions of years. Maybe that's why there are so many space-faring species in Star Trek. "God" has been subtly influencing the dreamers, lunatics and prophets like Sybok, urging them to develop space travel and come to the middle of all things so they can let him out.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:57 PM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


The movie is terrible

Yes. At times though, I feel there is a good movie trapped in there, waiting to be let out. That the question isn't "What does God need with a starship?" but "What does a movie do with a scriptwriter?"
posted by nubs at 3:02 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'll say this for The Final Frontier, I haven't watched it for 15 years, but I still have a few moments from it kicking around in my head whereas I've watched The Search for Spock two or three times in that span and still can't remember anything that happens beyond "Spock has pon farr".
posted by Copronymus at 3:03 PM on June 20, 2016


I'll say this for The Final Frontier, I haven't watched it for 15 years, but I still have a few moments from it kicking around in my head whereas I've watched The Search for Spock two or three times in that span and still can't remember anything that happens beyond "Spock has pon farr".

My God, Bones, what have I done?
posted by nubs at 3:04 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


This is amateur hour compared to goon treasure SuperMechaGodzilla's ultraliterate hypertroll around the thesis that the Star Wars prequels are, not good, but fantastic.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:05 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


I like the way he just keeps repeating "what does God need with a starship?" - as if the mere fact of the question makes his point self-evident - with all the profundity of Insane Clown Posse insisting magnets are incontrovertible proof of the supernatural, or Bill O'Reilly maintaining that the tides are inexplicable.

My three-year-old is right in the midst of the "Why?" phase, where she just keeps asking "Why?" until the answers become meaningless because there's no explanation. Why is the car blue? Because it's blue. I've figured out how to evade her, though: you introduce cycles into your answers. Why do I have to take a nap? Because if you don't nap you'll be tired. Why will I be tired? Because you didn't have a nap. (and so on, ad infinitum) She eventually wised up to my tactics, though, so now I have to settle into stable loops with three or four cycles in them.

All of this to say, reading a spirited defense of Star Trek V that keeps circling back to "What does God need with a starship?" evokes in me the exact same feeling I get when I've been asked to clarify why it will hurt if I touch the stove.
posted by Mayor West at 3:09 PM on June 20, 2016


Don't forget the fine special effects by Bran Ferrin and Associates. ILM was unavailable - most of its resources were tied up for that other sterling anti-extremest classic, 'Hook'.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 3:13 PM on June 20, 2016


why it will hurt if I touch the stove.

Well, using the answer that it will hurt because God needs a starship is as good as mine ever were (better on reflection).
posted by twidget at 3:15 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Supplementary SMG link. May be paywalled, apologies if so, here's a sample:

First things first: the narrative structure of the Star Wars film series is ever-shifting. As each film is introduced, the meaning changes.

Three extremely different films were grouped together and are now understood as 'The OT', the story of how Luke Skywalker killed the evil robot Darth Vader and saved his father - Anakin. This killing of the robot ultimately represented the triumph of liberal democracy over the various failed utopian projects of the past. In general, the OT can be summarized as naïvely optimistic.

Subsequently, three films were introduced that called out the OT for its naïveté. The human Anakin, it reveals, was a fascist stooge. The bad robot monster that everyone had rejected was none other than Christ Himself. We were fooled: liberal democracy was the enemy. It was all a sham. We killed Him for plastic toys, and His blood is on our hands. With the addition of these three films, the context of the originals had changed. The entire six-film series became the tale of Darth Vader's crucifixion. It can be summarized as brutally honest.

posted by Sebmojo at 3:17 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


God was played by George Murdock. This was his last screen performance.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 3:22 PM on June 20, 2016


God needs a LOT of spaceships if he's going to stand a chance against Goonfleet.
posted by delfin at 3:30 PM on June 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


They travel to Eden, only to find it resembles Hell. The God they find is actually Satan (the real Satan), who drags Kirk, Spock and McCoy into Hell itself, from where they must escape.

Oddly enough, the Enterprise going to the center of the galaxy only to to find the adversary of the Christian Faith was ground the franchise had already tread in The Animated Series, in the episode The Magicks of Megas-Tu.
posted by radwolf76 at 3:55 PM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


I liked Nemesis. I'll show myself out.
posted by nfalkner at 3:58 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Dude, where's my car?" Has there ever been a more piercing question in cinema? Can you answer it? Where is my car, dude? You don't know, do you? You can't, it’s one of those questions like "does a dog have the Buddha-nature?", except without the obvious answer of "woof."
posted by RogerB at 4:09 PM on June 20, 2016 [15 favorites]


I'm inclined to agree, but this is not a defense of Star Trek V. It is a scathing criticism of the modern world.

I deal with this by never watching Star Trek V. I am also trying to obliterate the modern world, some days more literally than others.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:15 PM on June 20, 2016


The best thing about ST is that it takes the issues that are in the background and subtext of Science Fiction and brings them to the surface. The worst thing about ST is that it often trivializes them. Look at the TOS racism episode with the half-black half-white people that felt like something written by a robot that had some theories about race. Or the TNG episode about drugs that had a sub-after school special understanding of addiction.

"What does God need with a starship?” is a fantastic example of the second variety. It's the kind of dorm-room philosophical question that you're supposed to grow out of in your sophomore year.

Add the terrible pacing, the generally I'm-doing-this-for-the-paycheck acting from most of the cast, and as mentioned the horrible, horrible, horrible jokes, and this is a bad film by any measure.

Great attempt at getting attention with an essay, though. Top notch.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:18 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think the author is smoking too much LDS.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:18 PM on June 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


Captain Kirk is climbing a mountain, why is he climbing a mountain?

The real question is that, when I access the empathy box, why are they throwing rocks at Captain Kirk?
posted by ennui.bz at 4:28 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Captain Kirk is a fake diety, but it does not matter.
posted by Artw at 4:30 PM on June 20, 2016


Captain Kirk is climbing a mountain, why is he climbing a mountain?

This is still the best thing in the entire Star Trek universe. And I say that as someone who really likes Star Trek and much of its universe.
posted by dng at 4:39 PM on June 20, 2016


I like the way he just keeps repeating "what does God need with a starship?"

There is only one answer to this question: Is it "Ghostbusters II"?


These both came out the summer I spent with my cousins in Tahoe. In a cabin with no TV. (the cabin next door did have a tv, but that was for STEP MOMS ONLY). I was about to turn 10, homesick, not outdoorsy at all, and so desperate for pop culture that a trip to the local strip mall ended with the cousins and I staring mutely at golf on the TVs in an electronics store. But once a weekend we got to go to the movies. There was such a rush, pilling in the station wagon and heading into town for popcorn, and the sugary snacks, and the MOVIES.




We saw Star Trek V and Ghostbusters II.
posted by thecjm at 5:06 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


"The question of what a god needs with its creation is only interesting if you have never read any theology or aren't an atheist."

- What about an atheist who has read a great deal of theology, from many religions?


That's what I am, Splunge, and the question is both banal and absurd. It is only deep if one is not familiar with the history of theological inquiry.
posted by Scattercat at 5:16 PM on June 20, 2016


It's deep if some idiots are about to let the Demiurge free on your watch and you're all wait, if it needs physical transport then it's subject to local reality and therefore phaser blasts to the face.
posted by Artw at 5:25 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I always considered it as simply "William Shatner's vanity production (he directed and got a writer's credit)" so what could it possibly be EXCEPT Kirk vs. God?
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:32 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


This film was awful. However, as part of an awful first date (bad pizza, girlfriend gets her period, ST5, friend refuses to go home) that ended up awesome (spoiler: I married the girl) I can't hate it as much as it deserves. I have a warm spot for this awful movie due to circumstances , and probably not a little bit of nostalgia. Please, any of you who haven't seen this completely awful film, don't. Take my word and make your own awesome memories with other awful films.
posted by evilDoug at 5:34 PM on June 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


What a strange article. I wasn't sure if he was being sarcastic, or if he was actually reading all sorts of weird right wing political stuff into a movie that just doesn't support it. Whatever dude.

The movie itself is... awkward. It's got some fun stuff for Trekkies, like the campfire scenes, and a few absolutely cringe-worthy moments. (Oy, that fan dance.) The pacing is really lumpy but it's got some emotionally affecting stuff. It's the weakest of the original cast's movies, but it's not-good in an interesting way. I wish Shatner had gotten to make the film he set out to make, because he had some good ideas there. If he'd been able to complete the climactic scene where Kirk fights a giant rock monster (Test footage here!) it could have been a wonderfully pulpy, old school Trek moment.

It's a fuckton better than the reboot pictures, I'll say that.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:44 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I grew up on Star Trek reruns in syndication. I can give you shockingly detailed synopses of episodes I have not seen since the Carter administration. I have been there opening day for every one of the features (although the imminent BMX and Beastie Boys one I think I will give a pass on). I dressed up as Captain Kirk for Halloween when I was nine. I could fairly be called a fan.

June 9, 1989 I cut out early from work to go see this, in its first showing. That was 9,872 days ago, and I have never seen it from that day to this. A careful perusal of my MeFi comments will reveal that the the only other bit of Trek that I have avoided with such dedication after a single exposure is the theme music from Enterprise. My god, I even saw Insurrection twice in the theatre.

I am all for reexamining pieces of pop culture in a new light. Someone wants to write an essay on how Miller's Crossing is a Roman-à-clef exposé on J. Edgar Hoover's misdeeds at the FBI, I am all over it. Six-part YouTube series on how the career of Rudy Vallee contains eerily accurate forecasts of the US involvement in Afghanistan, I am there. But I cannot bring myself to watch the hoary jokes, muddled philosophizing and dismal special effects of this thing again. Sorry, I just can't.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:50 PM on June 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'd probably watch it again over any Next Gen film,, including First Contact, TBH.
posted by Artw at 6:57 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Captain Kirk is a fake diety, but it does not matter.

I was thinking that Kirk was the Demiurge here and that the deity at the centre of the universe was just reminding Kirk of his forgotten godhead thus unleashing Kirk-Demiurge onto the universe. Generations just completes his spiritual cycle creating the new TNG universe and dying with the classic Trek universe. Or it is just a poorly thought through movie from nearly 3 decades ago.

That being said, I look forward to a time when web journalists are not sifting through the detritus of the misty past in order to give us half-baked contrarian reviews of sporadically remembered decades old media to feed our unending click bait addictions. Now quit hovering on my space lawn!
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:52 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am not terribly surprised to find out that this is from Den of Geek. There's a huge amount of reading stuff into the film that simply isn't there, which is easy because the film has a number of half-baked ideas that never really come together; it's easier to make a movie into something that it's not if it really isn't anything much to begin with.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:12 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


The fact that V is clearly better than both reboots and more rewatchable than any of the next gen movies means that it's the... 5th best Star Trek movie? That's not half bad. Literally.
posted by Glibpaxman at 9:24 PM on June 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Buster Freindly says the rock-man is made of rubber.
posted by Artw at 9:29 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I wish I'd been the lipstick salesman for this piece, because it took a bundle to cover that pig.

It's a fuckton better than the reboot pictures, I'll say that.

Agreed, but this is an awfully low bar.
posted by bryon at 10:11 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Star Trek V falls into a class of movies that I find fascinating because some of the stupid plot points end up making more sense the more I think about them.

I mean rock climbing Kirk is sort of silly, but it is totally the sort of silly I can see midlife crisis Kirk doing.

Sybok's take away your pain stuff is just painfully... ridiculous and doesn't make any sense. But he's a cult leader. With psychic powers. Of course his religious mumbo jumbo makes no sense. Cults don't tend to have nuanced answers, or ones that make a lick of sense if you think about them too hard. And he's probably got Vulcan mindmeld powers that make people do what he wants, even if he doesn't admit it to himself.

And the World of Galactic Peace is exactly the sort of outcome I'd expect from some idealistic initiative between three different powers that hate each other. Something that got too much bureaucratic momentum to kill outright, because that would look bad, but got shoved to the side with no support and resources chosen with the intention that it fail. So of course they get given a worthless planet that no one in their right mind would settle on and use it as a post to dump inconvenient members of their government.

There's a lot of stupidity, but to me some of it just seems so plausible.
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:55 PM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


this is all kind of fascinating. I was working for VH1 when the film was released, and made a 30 minute (okay, 23:30 in running time) "making of" episode of the series FLIX about Star Trek V. I interviewed everyone connected, including Gene Roddenberry, and the Brooklyn librarian who started the first Star Trek fan club after the network television series was canceled, and the Berkley PhD linguist who created the Vulcan and Klingon languages. I don't see it available online, dammit. come on VH1. I'd love for people to see it.
posted by TMezz at 11:14 PM on June 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


When Star Trek V came out I was such a Star Trek nerd. Like, holy smokes, you would not believe the amount of posters on my walls, and all the books, and I kept on watching Star Trek II over and over and over again, and seriously, nerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd.

But we were going camping. So I wouldn't get to see it on opening day.

This was appalling to me. No Star Trek? For a week! What was my dad thinking?

He tried to make it up to me. He bought me the novelisation.

And I devoured it the second I got it. And then read it again, because I had run out of Star Trek books to read (and I was a ridiculously fast reader, especially when it came to Star Trek novels). And when I finally saw the film, I knew everything that was going to happen, but goddamn, I didn't realise how cringeworthy it would be.

But I still loved it. Because it was Star Trek.

I love it a little less now, like I love all the Star Trek a little less now (except for Star Trek II, of course). But I still remember driving along the California coast, stuck in a truck with my dad and my brother, reading Star Trek V.

(Also, later on, this incredibly tiny tenth-rate theater in Lakewood had a double bill of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Star Trek V. There were all of five people in the audience, and the sound system was two large amps in front of the screen. And I was still excited.)
posted by Katemonkey at 4:33 AM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


For a lot of classic Doctor Who I read the books long before I ever saw the shows, and stories like The Power of Kroll were much more impressive that way.
posted by Artw at 6:32 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


You know, I'd pay $9.50 for a matinee screening of JJ Abrams' "Star Trek V" remake.
posted by Nelson at 7:57 AM on June 21, 2016


It's just 90 minutes is just lens flares and an audio loop of Shatner singing "Rocket Man".
posted by nubs at 8:04 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


which might make it the best of the reboots
posted by nubs at 8:05 AM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


"JJ Abrams recreates the youthful excitement of discovering Shatner's Rocket Man for the first time!"
posted by Artw at 8:42 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of stupidity, but to me some of it just seems so plausible.

Sometimes what makes a thing so bad is that it's easily fixable. There are a bunch of possibilities inherent in some of the plot points in STV. One of the things I keep returning to has to do with a TNG episode, "The Chase", which is an oddly ignored episode, given that it centers around one of the big mysteries of the franchise: why are so many of the galaxy's intelligent races mostly or almost completely humanoid, to the point that aliens with wildly different physiologies have children all the time. I mean, we know the real reason--limits in the shows' budgets, and in the earlier years, limits in SFX--but it's been one of those recurring things in fandom, and "The Chase" answers it. But it is an oddly blah episode, in part because it is really a bigger premise than one that fits easily in a 45-minute episode; there are others throughout the franchise that really required more than the allowed time and budget could accommodate. (There's a DS9 episode which features an Klingon award ceremony in which we find out that the Hall of Warriors for a vast interstellar empire would fit comfortably in a small-town high school gymnasium.)

I feel like someone (Rick Berman, say) should have kept a manila folder marked "Movie Premises", so that when someone had an idea for an episode that was of a suitable scale, it would go into that folder, and then the next time they wanted to make a movie, they could look through the folder, instead of ending up doing something that might have made for a decent episode (assuming that it hadn't already been used for one). Thus, STV could have taken the premise of "The Chase" and really made something of it, rather than have a "God" that was taken out with a few blasts from a Bird-of-Prey's disruptors.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:50 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Vague memories of The Chase plot and actress playing our common ancestor made DS9 pretty confusing when I binge watched it later in life and became convinced that the Founders would turn out to be those same progenitors.

But then my first post to the Compuserve Star Trek forum was a theory that V'Ger became the Borg
posted by Molesome at 8:55 AM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm sure there's a Peter David novel out there somewhere where the Doomsday Machine turns out to be a rogue anti-Borg weapon. I don't recall if V'Ger or Nomad get in on the action.
posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


As for The Chase... YeaH, nobody ever talks about the weird dorky Avon Danikem nonsense that got bolted on to Trek in that episode, probably for the best.
posted by Artw at 9:24 AM on June 21, 2016


Um but why is it right wing tho? Do I have to RTFA?
posted by allthinky at 9:40 AM on June 21, 2016


The Chase...ugh. I was going to type up my disgruntlement with TNG episode titles, but oh look, I already did.

Apparently I have Very Strong Opinions about this stuff.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:01 AM on June 21, 2016


I'm OK with the von Däniken-ism of the quasi-panspermia of "The Chase" (as opposed to von Däniken's own writings; he's a convicted con man, and much of his "evidence" in Chariots of the Gods? is simply wrong), because not only was it in evidence in TOS (e.g. the transplanted Native Americans) but in general Trek has been pretty loosey-goosey with science for dramatic and/or budgetary purposes; transporters, for example, which have all sorts of scientific (not to mention existential) problems, were created because the effect was cheaper than filming shuttle landings in the pre-CGI era. It's space opera, not hard SF. And the idea that the various major races of the galaxy might be distant relatives, of a sort, could have worked very well in STV, better than the idea that they all had an Eden myth, which isn't true even for terrestrial religions. You could have even still had "God" as some sort of leftover AI from the ancient humanoids who went crazy after eons of isolation.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:37 AM on June 21, 2016


Um but why is it right wing tho? Do I have to RTFA?

Don't bother, seriously. It's a pretty goofy FA and I'd be glad to get back the time I spent R-ing it.

Apparently Roddenberry once signed off on the idea that Voyager 6 arrived at the Borg homeworld and they turned it into V'Ger. (It's in the "Background information" section.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:07 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure about that idea. It's reminiscent of what some people call "small universe syndrome," where one generation of writers comes up with every wild idea they can think of, and later generations spend considerable time linking all those ideas together, until their fictional world is like a small town where everybody knows everyone else. I think it's cooler to imagine a universe so big there's room for the Borg and for the world of pure AIs that modified V'ger.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:37 PM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


Scattercat: ""The question of what a god needs with its creation is only interesting if you have never read any theology or aren't an atheist."

- What about an atheist who has read a great deal of theology, from many religions?


That's what I am, Splunge, and the question is both banal and absurd. It is only deep if one is not familiar with the history of theological inquiry.
"

That may be true. But in this particular context Kirk is asking the most important question. Why would God, who is omnipotent, ominscient and omnipresent, need a mechanical means of conveyance? Indeed, how did He become trapped? Kirk understands that this being, like many that he has met, is not THE God. It is godlike to a human, but it needs a construct that it should have no need of.

To me, an atheist, the whole concept of God's need of his human creation, is moot. God does not exist. Apologetics, to me, is simply an interestig game. Much like discussing the place of Thor in the Marvel universe. Entertaining but ultimately just a mental game.
posted by Splunge at 5:11 PM on June 21, 2016


Well, yes, the answer to the question within the world of the movie is "God wouldn't need a starship to travel, therefore this thing is not the actual creator of the universe."

But the article was positing the question as some kind of fantastic post-Zen wild philosophical revolution, and it really really isn't. The answer is either, "God isn't real and doesn't need anything" or "God derives some form of personal satisfaction from interacting with his/her/its creation." It's a silly question and only sparks deep thoughts if you haven't ever considered any such question previously.

(I always liked the Terry Pratchett version of gods, in which they feed on faith for power and sustenance, and can use the power they gain to perform miracles which can in turn inspire additional faith and loyalty. That leads to all sorts of interesting character potential, but it's pretty far for mainstream modern theology to find acceptable.)
posted by Scattercat at 6:24 PM on June 21, 2016


True fact: Star Trek V was originally intended as a 6-hour Harry Mudd romp, but after Roger Carmel died they just went with whatever fucking script was at the top of the submissions pile.
posted by duffell at 12:37 PM on June 23, 2016


And the idea that the various major races of the galaxy might be distant relatives, of a sort, could have worked very well

For me, both "The Chase" and "Force of Nature" (where they discover using warp technology is breaking space) are two really weird episodes in the Star Trek canon. I'm used to Star Trek episodes where a particular piece of technology or particle or whathaveyou is deployed to save the day (or to cause the problem of the week), only to never be mentioned again; but these two stand out in my head because they go after aspects of the fundamental mythology of the ST universe; both of them alter both the audience and the character's understanding of the universe in which they operate and then are never mentioned again.

I mean, I guess it could be said that pretty much every episode leads to that alteration, as there are a constant stream of new discoveries and new understandings, so maybe I'm calling out two things that shouldn't be considered exceptional. But during the run of TNG, these two really really stood out for me as moments that should have really changed perceptions and worldviews of the characters going forward and to have them dropped was kind of weird.
posted by nubs at 2:35 PM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


maybe I'm calling out two things that shouldn't be considered exceptional.

No, I agree. Those two are, or should be, big in terms of their effect on the STverse. At least "Force of Nature." As for the common origin of humanoid species revealed in "The Chase," I'm not sure that revelation would have much of a practical effect on interspecies relations. (Darwin suggesting that all life on earth had a common ancestor didn't really change how humans treated other species.) And if you want a third example — although I'm perhaps jumping the gun a bit — the ability to beam across interstellar distances, as in Star Trek Into Darkness, should have a massive effect on galactic society, but I'm guessing that will be completely ignored in Star Trek Beyond.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:09 PM on June 23, 2016


Well, IIRC they did passingly mention the impact of warp travel a few times, following Force of Nature. They'd say something about how they were breaking the rules and going at ludicrous speed just this one time, because of the urgency of this week's plot. But I think after that episode aired they quickly realized the limitations on warp speed were only going to (literally) slow down the action. It wasn't a compelling problem, it was just an annoyance for the characters, so they could just write it out of the scripts. If only it was so easy for us to wish away our own looming environmental catastrophe.

(I suppose they could have really run with it, and had the Federation face a crazy warp drive disaster that was wiping out entire star systems. But that kind of epic destruction would be better suited to a feature budget. And how do you satisfyingly resolve THAT story in a couple of hours, especially if there's no bad guy to blow up with a photon torpedo at the end?)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:49 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Did Voyager basically destroy an entire quadrant all the times it went Warp Plus and Warp Plus Plus?
posted by Artw at 5:45 AM on June 24, 2016


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