Monday, November 9, 2009

Taking up room on the DVR that is my mind

I know, I know. I haven't posted in a long time. I have no good excuses, but here is a little bit of an explanation.
Yes, I work full-time and have gone back to school for a graduate degree (for some reason I think I let TV get more into my head when I am supposed to be concentrating on real things... maybe it is a distraction, maybe it is an escape, I dunno)... But what has probably really gotten in the way of me concentrating on this little tv blog project has been my underestimation of how much of my time and mind would be taken up by, yes, Dancing with the Stars this season.

Let me explain....

A few seasons ago, I started watching DWTS when Marlee Matlin was one of the celebrities. I've taken some classes in American Sign Language, and I've really loved some of Marlee's roles in TV and movies before, so I thought it would be neat to see how she did on DWTS. I got hooked on the show that season (season 6) and was glad to watch it until the end. I had been vaguely aware of the show in the past, perusing some of the recaps on Television without Pity, but hadn't been really interested before. It did not return to my lineup for season 7.

As Season 8 was coming up, though, I had some spare time in my TV viewing schedule, and I'll admit I was initially sucked in by the train wreck that was Steve Wozniak dancing, and making it far too far on that show due to the efforts of his industrious and persistant geek following. I settled in and watched most of Season 8. When it was over, though, again I felt not particular attachment to it.

Ah, but this fall TV season started and I found that instead of wanting to watch House or How I Met Your Mother (which I've completely abandoned this season) or The Big Bang Theory, I was tuning in to DWTS. And then, the show burrowed into my brain, and I found myself thinking about it at random times throughout the day... driving to work, on my lunch-time walks.

Now, in the past I'd tried to imagine what it would be like to take a crash course in Ballroom and Latin dancing the way the "stars" (a term applied pretty liberally on this show, in my opinion) do. I am notorious for being a bad dancer. I took one dance class in college, in which I was the worst student (but got an okay grade due to effort). In high school, I was in a few musicals which required a small amount of not-super-technical dancing, and our chorus did show-choir... but I was not good. In fact, our director seemed to delight in pointing out how awkward I looked when I danced. I became known for making "the face" -- a ridiculous expression I wore when trying to dance that was a combination of "white man's overbite," concentration, and an attempt at nonchalance. My main move now when forced to dance in social settings involves keeping my shoulders and hips locked in-line, kind of rocking back and forth or swaying at the knees, and doing a combination sway/fist-pump with my arms, with my feet planted firmly on the ground about shoulder width apart. If I'm really feeling wild (and especially coordinated), the arms might swing around in circles, and I might do the 80s school-dance "step-touch."

You can imagine why I might fantasize about an intensive, fancy dahhhhhncing bootcamp.

But lately, whenever I'd hear any music, any song on the radio, I'd start wondering, "What dance would they do to this? Samba? Rumba? Is that a good one for a Foxtrot? Tango or Paso Doble?"

Then, while taking my lunch-time walks the past week or so, I started spending the entire half-hour trying to picture DWTS routines to the music on my very, very limited iPhone playlist. And not just the dancing, but the costumes, too. My favorite fantasy DWTS routine (and forgive me, because I didn't watch the earlier seasons, and did not realize until I did some research earlier today and found this song had been done on the show already), was a futuristic Tango to "The Final Countdown" by Europe (uh... yeah, that is on my playlist... shut up), in spacey, silver lame costumes. The woman's dress would be sleek and tight fitting through the bodice, sleeveless, with a high collar, and large cut-outs in the sides, and a flowing skirt that was long in the back and open in the front. The man would wear a tight-fitting, shiny silver shirt with sort of flowy sleeves (or perhaps also sleeveless), black pants probably with some silver detailing and a little flair at the bottom. I debated whether it should be a Paso Doble, but I decided on the Tango because I liked it better with more dancing in hold (I say this as if I know what I'm talking about at all, which I don't, and could be totally wrong but I think what I was picturing was the Tango) but either way, the dance would have a lot of staccato movements, head-snaps, and twirling (in hold). This dance played through my mind a lot.

So, today, I decided to investigate whether the song had already been done, and alas, it had. (insert sad face here).

Take a look at Lisa Rinna paired with pro dancer Louis van Amstel from Season 2 of DWTS.

... I think my version is way better.

(I'm rooting for Kelly Osbourne (also she tweets) this season, and not that I believe in jinxes like that, but just in case, please consider voting for her in case this post is some bad juju.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On hiatus

To my legions (current definition of "legion" = "can be counted on one hand") of readers,

Sorry I was posting fairly reliably at the beginning and then disappeared. Things come up, and stuff.
I'm still really excited about this project, so tune in again to see when we return to our regularly scheduled programming.

As an apology, after the jump I've supplied a photo of me cheesing it up on the Enterprise 1701-D bridge.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Not a lady in a catsuit.
(Not that there aren't plenty of those in Star Trek, too.)
Although, it appears the cat is named Lady.

Zoom in after the jump...

I referred to this drawing in my post on the episode "Breaking the Ice" and then I found it, so here it is.
It is hard to see, and my photo enhancing abilities are approaching nil, but there she is. Very clearly a cat wearing a bubble helmet in space (note the copious stars... and also a heart). You can't read it in this pic, but where my arrow is pointing, I believe I read it onscreen as saying "Lady", so I can only assume that is the space cat's name. Or maybe the feline space program uses ranks with titles like Lord and Lady. Maybe they model it after the Space Ren Faire.

The Vulcan is not labeled by name or gender, and does not have the benefit of a space helmet. He's a Vulcan, so it is hard to tell if he is bothered by that.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Post: Enterprise eps 109 - 112

This time, I've decided to link to the Memory-Alpha pages in the episode titles and use Wikipedia for the synopsis of each episode. Both sources have their virtues. Memory-Alpha has some great nuggets of background information, quotes, and trivia, but Wikipedia has more detailed recaps of each episode, if you've got the time.

Today's post takes the format of brief synopsis borrowed from Wikipedia, links to recap sources, followed by my notes. I think I have more to say about some individual episodes than others, and those are more likely to get longer, individual posts. I'm just winging it, though, so we'll see. Another administrative tidbit: my backspace key stopped working, and it has been driving me insane! But you don't really care about this stuff.

On to the episodes: Civilization, Fortunate Son, Cold Front, and Silent Enemy.

"The Enterprise investigates
a pre-industrial civilization of about 500 million people. They discover that there is another warp-capable species among the unsuspecting inhabitants. After Archer, Trip, Hoshi, and T'Pol arrive, they discover a local scientist believes a local merchant is causing the sickness in the town." (Wikipedia Recap)
  • Ooh, a pre-industrial civilization. Who look almost like humans! Let's dress up like them and secretly make contact!!
  • (It's like a SPACE REN FAIRE!)
  • We've discovered why aliens land in cornfields. Less chance of cultural contamination.
  • Another reference to the foundations of the Prime Directive and regulations which haven't been written by Starfleet yet.
  • Dressed in the pre-industrial alien's clothes and with long hair, T'Pol looks like an elven Angelina Jolie.
  • I think Hoshi senses a thing between Trip and T'Pol when he gestures to T'Pol that her pointy ears are showing. Or else Hoshi's just really tickled to be going on this mission with lots of languages.
  • Yeah, let's not abduct these people and bring them on an alien ship in order to diagnose their illness... bad idea.
  • Lesson from Captain Archer: When the UT fails, sexually assault...err, romantically kiss... the spunky alien you are trying to get to know in order to distract her until you get the UT working again.
  • Ooh, that other alien's face is coming off... to reveal a different kind of alien! No doubt, he is responsible for the strange goings-on and mysterious illness!
  • This alien lady is pretty calm for someone who has just witnessed her first space ships and aliens. At least she wasn't abducted and probed at the time.
  • Aww, it's Archer's first cultural contamination!

Fortunate Son

"Archer is contacted by Admiral Forrest to turn around and lend a helping hand to the ECS Fortunate, a Y-class freighter. Archer, Malcolm, Phlox, and Travis learn from the first officer that the Fortunate was attacked by Nausicans and that the captain was injured. The Enterprise helps repair the Fortunate until sensors show that the 23-member crew has an additional person aboard." (Wikipedia Recap)
  • Why are there so many Earth ships way out there in space already? What's the point of Enterprise being out there? Is it just that these cargo ships have been hanging out relatively close to Earth and Enterprise is so much faster it has already been very far out and can come back to the other ships range? I guess that explains it. But it seems to me this means there are a lot of things the Enterprise crew aren't going to be the first humans to see, for a while, then!
  • Ensign Travis Mayweather makes friends with another space boomer (someone who grows up entirely out in space on a ship), who is now accusing him of abandoning his home and his family.... Backlash against Starfleet? Well, in this episode we get to learn more about Travis' background and boomer culture.
  • Another boob-thrusting T'Pol pose, this time crouching to avoid being fired at with Archer. I notice because, well, it looks awkard. I think I would fall over if I always walked and posed like she does.
  • Yes. Stick it to T'Pol, Travis. Rationality depends on context.
  • Archer: "Just because someone isn't born on Earth doesn't make him any less human." And why they should not abandon their values and humanity and doesn't make it right to engage torture and hostage taking.
  • I want this Matthew Ryan space boomer guy to die, out of principle. Man, talk about arrogant and prideful (how T'Pol described humans refusing Vulcan help in the last episode.)
  • Since the last episode, we have learned: be less stubborn and accept help. And let Starfleet force their help on others, I guess.

Cold Front

"The Enterprise encounters a transport ship, captained by Fraddock, en route to the Great Plume of Aggasoria carrying pilgrims. The Enterprise docks with the transport and the men come aboard to tour the ship and to watch the Plume. When one of the visitors secretly disconnects an anti-matter junction that prevents the possible, and wholly unexpected, destruction of the Enterprise, a member of the crew approaches the captain to warn that one of the visitors may be Silik of the Suliban.This episode marks the real start of the Temporal Cold War." (Wikipedia Recap)
  • Hmm... more Suliban. Being UN-enhanced? Interesting.
  • Ha. People still watch crappy movies instead of reading in the 22nd century.
  • Archer speaks weirdly slowly and loudly when addressing new species. Like he's talking to someone slow and hard of hearing.
  • Uh oh, I think the friendly spiritual dudes have been infiltrated by the bad guy. Taking advantage of Enterprise's hospitality! Its a trap!
  • Archer - still talking funny. Almost Shatner-esque.
  • Hee. Travis is in command. Hoshi is goading him to "take the chair".
  • Trip is talking to the spiritual pilgrims like they are idiots. Busted. One of them is a warp theorist! He should not assume they are technologically inferior. How small minded!
  • Oops, but now that guy is messing around with something in Engineering. He's the bad guy!
  • Hmm... the sabotage backfired! Saved them from the plasma lightning cascade whatever.
  • Crewman Daniels is a time traveler, from 900 years in the future? Temporal observatory = lame.
  • Blah blah temporal cold war time travel laws blah blah blah. What? I know this is supposed to be an ongoing story arc, but I kind of don't care.
  • T'Pol: "there's a difference between keeping an open mind and believing something because you want it to be true" in reference to the time traveling.
  • Wow. Crewman Daniels is a time traveler, AND can walk through walls.
  • So, I think the apparent sabotage in Engineering backfiring was on purpose? Or really wasn't sabotage because it saved the ship from destruction? But to other nefarious ends? I really wasn't paying attention to these details.
  • Another reference to Archer's dog liking cheese. This is a recurrent theme.
  • Yay for cultural exchange. Go Phlox. Way to participate in the space plume pilgrimage.
  • How can Archer dangle on to a piece of scaffolding or catwalk when the cargo bay door or whatever was opened? He can't breathe, but he can stop himself from being sucked into space?
  • So... yeah. Time travel. Temporal cold war. Suliban bad guys. "Crewman" Daniels from 900 years in the future to intervene.

Silent Enemy

"Archer and Hoshi attempt to get to know Malcolm Reed better in order to surprise him on his birthday. Meanwhile, the Enterprise encounters a non-communicative alien ship that fires upon them. The Enterprise is unable to defend itself as it was not fitted with phase cannons before it left spacedock. Trip and Reed insist that they can construct the weaponry as well as the engineering staff at Jupiter Station. Archer orders the Enterprise to return to Earth to have the phase cannon fitted but authorises Trip and Reed to go ahead with creating and fitting their version.
The Enterprise e
ncounters the alien ship again and this time is able to defend itself and defeat the ship. Hoshi discovers that Reed is taking inoculations to enable him to eat pineapple. At the celebration of the defeat of the alien ship, Reed is amazed that the cake is pineapple, as he didn't know that anyone knew his favorite food." (Wikipedia Recap)
  • Ah, in this episode we get to learn more about Lieutenant Malcolm Reed. Will they each get a "getting to know you" episode?
  • We learn from Malcolm's rather stern British parents, speaking with the Captain, that Malcolm is not a complainer. And they are not close. They don't know what he likes to eat.
  • Why does Archer want to do a special dinner for Malcolm's birthday? Is this really a good use of Hoshi's time, tracking down Malcolm's favorite food?
  • Yes, other species motivations may be difficult to understand in human terms. Who knows why that alien ship is ignoring their hails and speeding away? It could be perfectly innocent!
  • Apparently, T'Pol can't use chopsticks. The Captain and Trip are entertained by this. But they only mention it, they don't show it. Kind of call-back to the Vulcan taboo against eating with their hands.
  • Trip has a long distance girlfriend named Natalie in Pensacola. And loves fried catfish.
  • And... the mysterious alien ship is back, and shooting at them! Guess their actions before weren't so innocent!
  • Ooh, need to install the phase cannons, (which were not installed before they left on the mission since they left early), in light of potential hostilities. Trip back to Earth!
  • Heh. Trip and Malcolm are gonna do the work themselves anyway. They don't need to go all the way back to our solar system to get the job done!
  • Malcolm is not easy to get to know. His sister is rather chatty, though.
  • I don't like that the term "spinster aunts" is still in use in the 22nd century.
  • And no one in his family seems to think Malcolm has any food preferences.
  • Why is it on TV that whenever someone invites someone somewhere it implies a sexual relationship? And all Hoshi is doing is trying to figure out what Malcolm like's to eat for the Captain. Like: "Hey, I think we should hang out..." "Sorry, that probably isn't appropriate, since we work together". What?? If that is true in real life, I totally have inappropriately propositioned (and perhaps been unwittingly in relationships with) many men.
  • I just noticed they don't use stardates yet.
  • Malcolm has a lot of allergies. We haven't gotten rid of those by now? Well, at least there are apparently good treatments. And is "need to figure out what to make for a birthday dinner" really a good enough reason, doctor, to reveal this information? Hmm?? At least now Hoshi can reasonably assume Malcolm really likes pineapple with this information.
  • Blah blah blah more skirmishes with the aliens. Must get the phase cannons working!
  • Malcolm and Trip are pretty scruffy from all that work. I bet they smell, so T'Pol better steer clear of them for now.
  • And... victory! They celebrate with beer. And pineapple birthday cake.
  • They should have better cake decorating than that in the 22nd century. Can't Chef do better than that? That is like a generic Stop & Shop bakery cake, or a beginner Wilton cake decorating class at the craft store. (Not exactly a Wreck, but kind of boring, considering I expect more from a chef on a space ship.)
  • And... Malcolm's favorite food IS pineapple. Another victory! The end.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Enterprise Season 1, Eps 106 - 108

Enterprise Season One, the rest of disc 2 (episodes 106, 107, and 108 by production number).

For each of the episodes, I used a different style of recapping, increasing in laziness.

The first, Terra Nova, I linked to an episode recap at the fabulous Memory Alpha site, but did my own recap with observations, too. The second, The Andorian Incident, I linked to the recap but included my own short summary, followed by a list of observations (so, basically, it would make sense to read the full recap via the link to associate the observations better with the plot, since I didn't annotate them much). And the third episode, Breaking the Ice, I copied the three sentence summary from Memory Alpha, with the link, and then followed with my notes.

For alternate episode recaps, it is pretty easy to also go to Wikipedia, too.

On to the eps...

Terra Nova

Enterprise drops by the location of an experimental human colony that disappeared 70 years prior on an M class planet that was 20 light years (a 9 year travel distance at the time) away.

Basically, humans were itching to experiment with deep space colonization, so a ship went out for the 9 year journey to establish this colony, called Terra Nova. The colonists get into a spat with people on Earth and mysteriously are never heard from again. And since it takes so long to get to their location, no one goes to investigate. It is a classic exploration mystery that is well known on Earth. T'Pol claims to not know about it, but I think that is unlikely and just an easy way to get the exposition into the script.

Enterprise is now there and go to the planet to see if they can find out anything from the abandoned settlement.
  • Ha. A welcome mat at the ghost town colony.
  • Real location shooting must have been easier for some of these episodes, as this one and the one in Strange New World are Earth-like planets. No crappy "Planet Hell" sets like on TNG.
They encounter humanoids that are not very welcoming and live underground. They attack them and drag them into the caverns they live in. Its like The Descent, only less violent flesh ripping.
  • I wonder when it necessitates going into the sexy decon gel chamber coming back from an alien planet or ship and when it does not.
They've captured Malcolm and also some of them are sick. The Novans are very distrustful of the humans, claiming they are the source of the destruction of their colony on the surface ("over-side") and the deaths of most of their people 70 years ago, and now they want to take their home from them. They are very bitter and suspicious of "off worlders".

And Phlox discovers that their water is now contaminated with radiation, and soon they will all die off.

Also... surprise! Scans reveal that the Novans are actually human! They don't really believe it at first, but the Captain makes a connection between the photo of a very young girl who was one of the colonists to an elderly Novan lady named Nadet. It turns out an asteroid hit the planet, causing the destruction of their settlement and all the radiation, and the deaths of everyone but some children, who became the Novans. This explains their distrust of humans, since they thought it was people from Earth sent to destroy their colony, and also why their language is kind of a childish version of English.
  • Wouldn't that kind of be a big clue that they were closer to humans than they originally thought, if they are basically speaking the same language except with funny phrases or words for regular English words? For example: Sky ship = star/space ship . Track back = return. Shale = lies (I don't really get that one). Belly hollow = hunger. Overside/Underside = surface/underground. Go-befores = ancestors.
Metaphor alert! Hmm.... force human (American) lifestyle on the Novans to "save" them or preserve Novan culture?

The Novans are reluctant to accept help relocating to a safer part of the planet. The crew contemplates sort of forcibly removing them and bringing them back to Earth.

Nadet eventually comes around and convinces the other Novans to accept the crew's assistance in relocating to the other part of the planet.

Yay. All is well. Novan cultures is preserved, their lives are saved, and they've accepted they really are humans. And the Enterprise crew gets to brag that they've solved one of Earth's great exploration mysteries.

The Andorian Incident

Some Andorians bust into a monastery at a Vulcan outpost. There is a history of discord between Andorians and Vulcans, and the Andorians think the Vulcan monks are up to no good. Meanwhile, the Enterprise crew just decide to drop by to visit the monastery, and oops, they happen upon a hostage situation. The Andorians keep T'Pol, Archer, and Trip as captives, too, but they manage to communicate with Enterprise and engineer an escape. But, oops! It turns out the Vulcans are up to no good and there was a secret spy station hidden in the monastery. The Enterprise crew exposes this, and the Vulcans are in violation of their treaty with the Andorians.

  • Ah, Andorians. The teal aliens with the antennae like things. Why are they busting into a Vulcan temple of some sort?
  • This was when I decided I'd almost had enough of making myself sit through the opening credits and listen to the theme song.
  • Go on, Phlox. School T'Pol on diversity and the mission. (She seems reluctant to be associated with the humans when they drop by to visit the Vulcan monastery.)
  • Protocol for visiting the Vulcan monastery: Don't touch anything. Be quiet. Be respectful Just... don't be Americans. (Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I feel like that is kind of a theme during this season... learning about cultural sensitivity and not being obnoxious.)
  • Trip: "Don't get your antennas in a twist." I like it.
  • Andorian: "Answer me, pink skin!" I want to call people "pink skins" from now on.
  • Why do Vulcan temple statues look like Chinese people?
  • Eww, skeevy Andorian wants to rape T'Pol. "I'll enjoy having you... as a prisoner."
  • Ok. Andorians are suspicious and volatile. And, of course, they are jealous of Vulcans' awesomeness.
  • Those communicators are not very rugged. The Andorians smash them pretty easily. You'd think they'd make them a little more robust.
  • Oh, now the Andorians are going to try to coerce Archer by decapitating Vulcans? Who are they, Al Qaeda?
  • Vulcans are obsessed with how humans smell bad. T'Pol is given a nasal numbing agent to cope with human odor. Did Spock talk about his sensitive sense of smell and how humans stink?
  • Ha. Archer: "I'm all ears. No offense."
  • Trip is right. Vulcans ARE dramatic.
  • Why do alien species all share the same hair cuts among their people. Andorians all have the same hair. Vulcans all have the same hair. What is up with that?
  • Archer and T'Pol = America and allies. Have to convince them sometimes there isn't a peaceful solution and must respond with violence.
  • Gross. Andorians are aggressive and skeevy. Stop talking about Vulcan mating rituals and how T'Pol smells different than the other Vulcans.
  • Wait. Why do Andorians speak English?
  • It IS a sensor array. The vulcans are spies. Some "reliquary". I guess the Andorians aren't as paranoid as we thought.
  • And T'Pol proves her loyalty. And probably is suppresing a bunch of conflicting emotions. The end.

Breaking the Ice

"The Enterprise discovers the biggest comet ever seen by Man or Vulcan and decides to investigate. A Vulcan ship observes, and T'Pol receives an encoded message from them which Tucker intercepts and reads. There are complications, and eventually Captain Archer breaks the Human stereotype Vulcans have for Humans and accepts their help."
  • Aww, cute. Trip's nephew's class sent drawings to the Enterprise. T'Pol: "Crude but surprisingly accurate." Indeed. I actually enjoyed this scene enough to watch this part a few times immediately. I love it!
  • The frankestein-esque Vulcan kid-drawing has a cat in a space suit in the background apparently named "Lady".
  • Ohh, they discovered a comet!
  • Fastforwarding through the song....
  • Something is wrong with T'Pol. What's up?
  • Caffeine has little effect on Vulcans? That's a shame. (That's not the thing that is bothering her, though.)
  • I appreciate that Trip is trying to share Earth culture (well, Pecan Pie) with T'Pol. She's so damn aloof though. Maybe moreso since something is wrong? He noticed.
  • Archer: "If Vanik is the type to like to watch, let him." Gross. Captain Picard would never say that!
  • Awww, transmission back to the kids on Earth! In Ireland! They are answering questions the kids sent it! Adorable.
  • Hoshi - Explaining the Universal Translator. Woo hoo!
  • Trip gets the POOP question: Where the toilet flushes go... heh. Waste reclamation and resequencing. The ultimate recycling.
  • On the comet surface, Travis makes a snow blob man ... Malcolm adds facial features. (and eventually Vulcan ears!)
  • Trip suspects T'Pol is up to something when he notices she receives a secret message from the Vulcans.
  • Oh, what does T'Pol's encrypted message reveal? PERSONAL STUFF. What does it reveal about humans? They are sometimes douchebags. Well, not really. (Well, yeah, but not in this case exactly). They are idiots who make mistakes and sometimes are honest about them, though.
  • Vulcans = smug bores. (Another recurrent theme.)
  • Whoa. T'Pol is confiding in Trip! He suggests other ladies for girl talk. Because it is about an arranged marriage. Ha. Vulcans = super traditional.
  • This comet is way better than the one in Armageddon. Or was that Deep Impact?
  • Pre-tractor beam grappler thing is kind of funny.
  • Saved by the meddling but convenient Vulcans with a tractor beam.
  • I am not as good as Trip. I totally would have gossipped with the Captain about T'Pol's personal business.
  • Oh, T'Pol decided to try pecan pie after all. OMG YOU GUYZ T'POL TOTALLY LOVES TRIP!!!

Also, I did not have to mention boobs or nipples at all in this whole post.... d'oh!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Enterprise Episode 104: Unexpected

"When Trip Tucker assists an alien vessel with repairs, a "friendly" encounter with one of the crew leads to rather unexpected consequences."

Those unexpected consequences? He's "expecting". The dude gets knocked up. Star Trek likes unexpected alien pregnancies. Even funnier if they happen to human males!

So, the episode starts out with Captain Archer in the shower. The see-through shower walls have a zig zag pattern that conveniently covers the Captain's "bathing suit area". I wonder if all the showers have stylish, see-through stall walls, and if the zig zag pattern is tailored to each person, to hide their junk. It seems really unnecessary to have clear shower walls on this ship, anyway. It isn't like you are getting a bunch of natural light in your bathroom in the first place.
But, uh oh, the gravity plating seems to be malfunctioning and suddenly the Captain and the water are floating around in the air. When it comes back online, he crashes hard to the ground. Ouch!

Elsewhere on the ship, more strange things happen. For instance, T'Pol's request for water from the replicator results in some nasty, brown viscous liquid. Already she was complaining about the smell of human food. This can't help. I note that there is a fire, and they have to use fire extinguishers, because there are not force-field based fire suppression devices yet.

Anyway, it turns out that some cloaked ship is hitchhiking on Enterprise's plasma wake or something because their engines are broken. Trip volunteers to go over to help. He goes over alone, not having seen these aliens, which I think is a bad idea. There is some strange acclimation chamber he has to stay in for a few hours, and because the process takes so long, he has to stay over there for three days. When he gets over to the Xyrillian ship, its all very colorful and psychodelic and trippy. He is greeted by the Xyrillian engineer, a slightly lizard-like but attractive alien lady named Ah'len, who is the chief engineer. She is wearing the requisite, form-fitting space suit. I wonder if there is a friction problem on these ships or something that necessitates such tight clothing.

Trip is still having a hard time adjusting to the alien ship, so Ah'len insists he take a nap. Apparently, that fixes everythingt, and Trip is good to go. He works with her to fix the engines. Apparently, also, the best the Xyrillians can do to approximate water for Trip to drink is to make these jello-like water cubes. He seems to like them. What else will this wacky ship have in store?

A holodeck! Ah'len takes Trip into a room with some trippily holographic glittery wallpaper, and it turns out this is their holodeck technology, the first of its kind witnessed by a human. Trip is very impressed. He seems to really like getting to know Ah'len. She plays a "game" with him that involves sticking your hands in a bowl of granules which allow you to read the mind of the other person. That sounds like a boring game to me. Interesting for a minute or two, but I think the novelty would wear off quick.

The repairs seem to be done, and Trip returns to Enterprise and the Xyrillians go on their way. Trip describes his visit, and Malcolm totally gets pervy ideas about the holodeck. Then, Trip notices something odd on his wrist. The doctor checks it out and guess what. IT'S A NIPPLE. Say what? Yes. A nipple. The doctor's scans reveal that Trip is pregnant. I knew not to trust this mind-reading granule game!!

Aside: Jolene Blalock really has that walk/stop/pose thing down. Now, I know they hire model/actresses to be the sexy alien crew members in the catsuits, but sometimes it just looks awkward to me, and I don't really need to be associating, say, Paris Hilton-esque posing with T'Pol.

Okay, so really, Trip is a host and the embryo only contains maternal genetic material. T'Pol gets very judgy and sounds a little jealous that Trip may have been less than gentlemanly on the alien ship, even though he insists he did nothing of the sort except play the granule game. The ship goes on a search for the Xyrillian vessel, and in the meantime, ha ha ha, Trip has morning sickness and becomes weirdly emotional and irrationally preoccupied with safety/baby-proofing (specifically a hand rail on a lift which could hurt someone if they stuck their hands in it, to which the crewman he is yelling at about it replies, basically "Why would anyone stick their hand there?" Ha.) It is kind of ridiculous. Trip also is paranoid and still doesn't trust T'Pol, believing she is spreading the news of his secret pregnancy to the rest of the crew. He also begins to sprout more nipples on his arm. Dude. What is with this show and nipples??

Also, this life form is growing somewhere in Trip's rib area. How does that work? Where will it go when it comes out? The few who seem to know about Trip's situation seem to find it funny. I find it creepy! WTF, crew? Dude is mysteriously carrying an alien embryo! Trip, himself, is surprisingly not particularly angry or defensive about being the man-host of an alien baby. His masculinity seems to be unchallenged by this development.

So they find the Xyrillian ship hitchhiking on a Klingon ship. Immediately, I suspect this was all a scam to spread alien babies to other species and the Klingons are the next victims. But I'm wrong. Turns out the repairs didn't hold. There is a skirmish with the Klingons. The Klingons don't want to cooperate but eventually they go aboard the Xyrillian ship and negotiate to not kill them all in exchange for holodeck technology. Ah'len is surprised that the swapping of genetic material was possible with another species but informs them that the embryo can safely be transferred to another host, Trip gets to go down in history as the first impregnated human male, and they all live happily ever after. Or whatever.

Overall, I found this episode ridiculous and also creepy. It made me uncomfortable! Unexpected alien pregnancies are creepier than they portray them here, don't you think? Especially so early in the mission, don't you think they should have been more worried? Even though it turned out to be an accident, I would think Trip might have felt a little more violated. I don't think they could have been so casual about it if it had been a female crew member who accidentally got knocked up on an alien ship. Of course, there's less comedic potential there, because: men? having babies! HILARIOUS!

There's an episode of TNG ("The Child") where Deanna Troi is impregnated by some alien energy being because it wants to experience being a human, from birth to death, in an accelerated form. She even names the boy after her late father. That episode always made me uncomfortable, too. They did treat it as something, I don't know, kind of special, but I still found it creepy that the crew accept this sort of thing so easily. I'd be pissed off if an alien life form used me in that way, and I think it would be difficult to accept the resulting "child" as my own (particularly since its life was apparently very unnaturally accelerated). Not to get too deep about it or anything, but being forced into birthing an alien life form and used as an experiment seems a little too much like rape to me, even if the motives were benevolent and in the service of understanding other entities.

Other notes:
  • Never thought I'd be googling the phrase "wrist nipple", but I had to find a pic somehow.
  • Found it funny that pics of Tucker Carlson kept coming up when I was searching for "enterprise unexpected Tucker" in Google images. Unexpected, indeed!
  • I wonder if having the word "nipples" in this post is going to introduce new people to this blog. (I'm looking at you, person who got here searching for "T'Pol's boobs").

Monday, August 3, 2009

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Or Do Vulcans purr when they are asleep?

Last night, I think I had my first Enterprise related dream since starting this project.

It took place in my mom's house. I was in a small spare bedroom near the kitchen, engaging in a phase pistol firefight with some unseen bad guys. With me in the room was T'Pol. We strategized and took positions on either side of the doorway. This is when we noticed that we were tethered together by a black cable around our waists, which let us only be about five feet apart at any time. The cable crossed the open doorway like a clothesline, making our hiding positions obvious. You can imagine how much of a handicap that would be whilst engaging in a firefight with unseen alien attackers.

Whatever our strategy was, it must have worked, because the shootout ended. We were tired and hungry. Luckily, there was food and a bed in the other spare room down the hall (my old bedroom). I spilled a bowl of food and rice, which was difficult to clean up from the carpet. As I was doing so, T'Pol fell asleep on the bed. She also was purring, like a cat. I was super annoyed by this, muttering to myself "Stupid Vulcans and their stupid purring!". Also, I was mad because she was asleep across the whole bed, and I needed a place to sleep, too.

Maybe I've been watching too much Star Trek with my cat.

Also pointy-eared and aloof.

Enterprise Season 1, Disc 1

The rest of the first disc of season one contained two episodes: Fight or Flight and Strange New World, which I naturally keep trying to type as "Brave New World".

Fight or Flight

The episode starts off focusing on some space slug, which Hoshi has apparently kidnapped from some planet they just visited on an away mission. Apparently, this slug is their first First Contact since setting out (besides whoever they met during the Broken Bow shenanigans). The slug is not doing well. I am not surprised. Who kidnaps a slug from an alien planet, without knowing anything about the slug or the planet, and expects it to not get sick or at least a bit pissed off? Is that some kind of violation of regulations or something? Oh, wait, they haven't written most of the regulations yet.

The crew comes upon a ship with its inhabitants all killed. They have to figure out what happened, stay out of danger, the usual.

Anyway, this whole episode is to demonstrate how scared and nervous and uncomfortable Hoshi is. It's a mirror of our uncertainty about space exploration, of course! And the slug is a mirror for Hoshi's discomfort, being out of her element, in an environment that doesn't suit her.

Dr. Phlox is far less annoying in this episode. He still is very enthusiastic about living with humans, and he fills the role of observer of human behavior. He speculates about whether certain crew members who seem to be flirting with each other will allow him to witness human mating rituals. As creepy as that sounds, it is overall more charming and less annoying than he was to me in Broken Bow.

Also, it is interesting watching them wrangle with the Universal Translator (UT) still.

Blah blah blah. Hoshi faces her fears and decides to not give up on the Enterprise mission. And hopefully there will be less fretting about it in the future, because while I appreciate the focus on this reaction to space travel, rather than how confident they all are in later series, it is not that entertaining to watch.

Enterprise takes a brief detour, and Hoshi and the doctor drop the slug off on some other planet that is apparently similar to the one they abducted it from. This also seems very unwise to me (introducing an alien slug to some other planet, and also hoping it can fend for its lonely self), but okay.

Strange New World

From the episode list on Wikipedia: "A storm traps an away team on an alien world, while spores cause them to experience psychosis."

That about sums it up.

These are notes from watching this episode:
  • Do the cardinal directions still apply to alien planets? How do you decide which pole is north? Does it matter?
  • I would not let my dog romp ahead of my survey team on an unexplored planet. (Upon disembarking the shuttle pod on this Earth-like planet,Captain Archer lets his dog Porthos the beagle, who he has brought on the mission, roam ahead of them.)
  • Cameras still "click" in the 22nd century. Ahh, 2001... what a quaint time for technology. (Commander Tucker (Charles Tucker III, or Trip) has a camera and cheesily takes pictures like he's on a field trip. Which is exactly what I'd be doing, actually. Who'd've thought way back in 2001 when this episode was made that cameras wouldn't click anymore?)
  • Ooh, paranoia! (It starts off like a campout, complete with ghost stories, as the away team stays overnight on the planet. They get trapped in a storm and must take shelter in a cave, where they start to act super, duper paranoid. This makes Trip accuse T'Pol, who is less paranoid and who he still doesn't trust on account of being a smug Vulcan, of conspiring with invisible aliens that hide in the rocks and want to kill them. There is a standoff, and T'Pol must do some playacting to get Trip and the others to cooperate.)
  • Also, the crew manage to beam back a freaked out member of the landing party in the middle of the storm, but I guess some debris gets mixed in with him in the matter stream. Looks painful, but he ends up okay.
  • Hallucinogenic pollen. That explains everything. (There's a remedy beamed down.)
Moral of the story: "challenge your preconceptions or they'll challenge you" (What Trip's Vulcan science teacher, who he used to be afraid of, taught him).

Wait. So it isn't "beware of hallucinogenic pollen blown down from the mountains by freak windstorms when you set foot on unknown planets"?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Enterprise - Second First Impressions

The Fall that Enterprise began to air, I was a new, full-time graduate student, working a full-time job on the midnight shift, in a new city. I have a slight but specific memory of watching Broken Bow, the Enterprise pilot episode, in my stuffy studio apartment one evening. I realized recently, though, that it might not have been possible that I was watching the episode in that setting, under quite those circumstances. I remembered, correctly, that it was a Wednesday night, and I know I hadn't started my new job yet, but I'm not sure I'd moved into that stuffy, studio apartment in Washington, DC, by September 26th, 2001. Where could I have watched it between couch surfing, sleeping in my car, making the long drive back to Connecticut for the large part of the week that I didn't have classes, and staying in the "hotel" near campus that had old rabbit ear TVs in some rooms? (I remember one night watching a beauty pageant on one of those TVs, but I picture myself in that studio apartment watching Enterprise...)

If my memories of the circumstances around watching the episode are questionable, could I trust my memories of my impression of the show itself?

But then I realized that my memories of the episode itself are... well, basically nonexistent, so I guess it doesn't matter. Whatever I had thought in September 2001 of Enterprise, clearly it did not hook me. I don't think I watched the whole pilot. I may have, out of some sense of duty, tuned in the next week and had the show playing in the background as I tried to get my life in order. Whatever it was, the show did not leave much of an impression on me except a notion of ... well, not digging it. I was vaguely put off by it.

A couple weeks ago, Disc One of the first season of Enterprise arrived from Netflix. Here we go...

The first thing I noticed when Broken Bow began was that it felt weird to have the show start out very Earthbound. "Well, durr, that's the point," I reminded myself. "They haven't even started exploring yet." Also, I initially had thought the title referred to the bow of a ship, not a place in Oklahoma likely named after, you know, an archery bow.

So, the gist of the plot is this: The very opening of the show features a young Jonny Archer, building a model of a ship with his Warp engineer dad, and expressing a dislike for the Vulcans who have been guiding humans move toward deep space travel since the events of First Contact 60 years earlier. Big Brother Vulcans seem to have been holding back baby brother Humans, who they think aren't ready yet to explore the far reaches of space using a Warp 5 vessel, even though in that short time, Earth has become peaceful and prosperous. Like, seriously . In First Contact, people are wearing ratty clothes and living in dusty, makeshift camp colonies built out of scraps, post WWIII. When Enterprise begins, Earth is pretty and green and abundant and boys build models with their engineer dads and everything is good.

Thirty more years later, a Klingon and some other aliens have a little bit of an action adventure chase on some poor guy's farm in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. The Klingon is injured. What to do? The Vulcans, aware of Klingon culture, want to let the Klingon just die, with honor, as is the Klingon way. The humans, of course, want to impose their own ethics on the situation and keep the Klingon alive, insisting that returning him to his home world even a little bit alive would be the better thing to do. Since the Vulcans can't really force the humans to do anything, Captain Jonathan Archer puts together his crew a little bit ahead of schedule and sets off to return the Klingon to Qo'Nos.
  • Here is where I noticed, in her first scene, female Vulcan Subcommander T'Pol's boobs are weirdly accentuated by her Vulcan outfit with its quilted top and jacket thing. Of course they are. She's going to be our resident sexy alien in a skintight space suit. We must meet her and her boobs right away.
  • Also, the Vulcans seem to have a little bit of personality and even express some subtle emotion, in my opinion, in their expressions and inflections. At least, moreso than I expect for a species who are known for suppressing all emotion in favor of logic, which is, to my recollection, too often demonstrated by an annoyingly flat affect. (Although, I'm getting ahead of myself. Most of this assessment is based on the few later Enterprise episodes I'd seen earlier this summer, and it might be a poor sample to judge on.) Anyway, the Vulcans seem smug and annoyed, which challenges my existing concept of Vulcans.
  • Zefram Cochrane is shown giving a speech 60 years after First Contact,and it is really interesting, having just watched that movie, seeing him as the hero the TNG crew idolized, -- a concept which the man himself, a self-interested drunkard during that era, had been reluctant to embrace.
And so, the Enterprise NX-01 sets off prematurely on its first mission out into deep space.
  • People get the first look at the Transporter. Understandably, they find it freaky.
  • Captain Archer sends the Enterprise NX-01 off on her voyage with the command "Let's go", which is much less exciting than "Engage!" or "Punch it!".
  • Dr. Phlox, who was treating the Klingon on Earth, is a Denobulan and is part of some kind of alien doctor exchange program, has come along as the ship's doctor. From the beginning, he is very annoying. "OPTIMISM, CAPTAIN!" he says to Archer, and his voice is far too similar to the goofy head alien Mathesar in the movie Galaxy Quest. Also, they seem to have done some CGI thing to his face to give him this creepy, creepy smile at the end of that scene.
  • Speaking of special effects -- more money and technology allows the crew to do wacky, show-offy things like demonstrate Zero G and fly around uncomfortably.
  • During a meal with the Captain and Chief Engineer Trip Tucker, Subcommander T'Pol, on board as the Science Officer (setting precedent for Spock?) informs us that Vulcans don't eat with their hands, and painfully uses her ability to master eating a crunchy breadstick with a knife and fork as a lesson that "With proper discipline, anything is possible." To which I say "Really? Weak!"
  • T'Pol and Hoshi (the ensign communications officer and genius linguist) are really bitchy to each other on the bridge.
  • Also, they acknowledge they are all speaking English (T'Pol says she was ordered to speak English after Hoshi rudely mutters something to her in Vulcan), instead of pretending there is a fabulously, miraculously effective Universal Translator (UT) properly functioning at all times. And they do refer to it as English, not, I don't know, "Earthican" or something.
So, on the voyage, stuff happens. The aliens (eerily named the Suliban, purportedly named after the Taliban, even before the 9/11 attacks made that a household name in America the very month the show premiered) that were after the Klingon at the beginning sneak aboard the Enterprise with their superior technology and genetic modifications that allow them to be very stealthy, and they steal back the Klingon. T'Pol thinks that since they can't complete their mission, they should go back to Earth, but Captain Archer decides to try to get their Klingon back. This brings them to some outpost on Rigel 10, where they poke around for a bit. They find another Suliban who is sympathetic, and she explains that they are in the midst of a... Temporal Cold War? Yeah... Anyway, more action and adventure ensue as they escape the other, angry Suliban.
  • Upon return from the Rigel 10 trade outpost, T'Pol and Trip apparently have been exposed to some kind of contaminant. They have to spend a bunch of time together in their underwear in this little, sexily blue-lit decon room, rubbing gel all over each other. Really, Enterprise? What is this show rated, with this weirdly sexual gel-rubbing? (Also? Visible nipples are totally distracting.)
  • Early on, they are clearly throwing Trip, the Vulcan-distrusting human, and T'Pol, the smug Vulcan, together.
  • Hoshi embodies the apprehension and anxiety about going on these missions. It is something you don't see in the later crews, of course, who know what they are getting into, and is one of the things that I think is supposed to set this series apart from the others.
T'Pol is able to modify the sensors so they can track the Suliban ship to some crazy Suliban compound at a gas giant planet. Because they don't have Tractor Beams, they use "the Grappler," a giant cable thing that shoots out of the ship and attaches to stuff, (I want to call it "The CLAW!") to nab a Suliban shuttle and get on the compound and get their Klingon back. And they have to use the Transporter for the very first time to save the Captain at the last minute. The crew delivers the Klingon to Qo'Nos, where he is able to deliver his special message about the Temporal Cold War... blah blah blah.

And, because of their success, Starfleet allows the NX-01 to continue on a mission of exploration, and the Vulcans let them keep T'Pol.

What I've learned:
  • Vulcans are patronizing a-holes who don't like to eat with their hands.
  • Humans have a lot to learn about cultural relativism still in 22nd century.
  • Space travel is exciting and scary.
  • Alien microbe decontamination requires slathering gel on each other in our underpants in a dark room (not a special shower, for instance).
  • If I can eat a crunchy breadstick with a fork, I can do anything.*
*Especially if I have Faith of the Heart.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

From Apollo to Enterprise - it takes some Faith of the Heart

A little over a week ago, I started watching the first season of Enterprise. At the beginning, it was simply called Enterprise, because the creators I guess thought there were already enough shows and movies with Star Trek Colon Name of Installment for their titles, and they wanted to distinguish the new show from them. Eventually, the show's title would take on the traditional format, but at the beginning, this was new. Oooh!

Another way this show was being distinguished from the others was by having an earnest, rock-ish theme song with lyrics over the opening credits, rather than a sweeping, orchestral piece. And this, among Trekkers and Trekkies, was controversial. I remember when I first tuned in to Enterprise to give the first episode a shot, I found the theme song a little corny and off-putting. Did I hate it? I don't recall. It didn't feel "right" to me, though. I wonder now if it was a factor in how much I was underwhelmed or put-off by that first episode of Enterprise, and if it contributed to why I didn't tune in for the second episode (truthfully, I'm not even sure I finished watching the first when it aired).

Last month, while visiting the Reverend Seminarian Rachel at Seminary in Philadelphia, we went to the Franklin Institute to see the Star Trek exhibit there. For an additional six bucks each, we bought tickets for a silly little shuttle craft simulator ride. The line for it was unexpectedly slow, giving plenty of time to read the vast Star Trek timeline lining the wall while various Trek theme songs played on a loop. The Enterprise song, "Where My Heart Will Take Me", of course stood out from the others. Our reaction was basically "Meh. Whatever, corny soft rock song with words." It still didn't feel like Star Trek. However, it was surprisingly infectious and it replayed in my mind for days.

When I started watching Enterprise last week, I decided to make myself sit through the entire opening credits and song, at least for the first several episodes. It was, after all, part of the show. Could I get something out of it? Indeed, I did.

Even though it was kind of cheesy, I think I "got" it this time around. I didn't need to listen to all of the lyrics (it was hard not to tune them out, and I still haven't paid close attention to them all while listening) to understand that theme song was an effort to demonstrate what made Enterprise different from other iterations of Star Trek. This was a world before we could become space cowboys in a sweeping space opera. This was a mere 90 years since Zefram Cochrane's first warp flight - less than a lifetime for some - and here we, humans, were about to embark on the exploration of other worlds in outer space. The crew of the Enterprise NX-01 were more like us, the real humans of the 21st century, than any other Star Trek characters in time, culture, and experience. What would be more relateable than a cheesy, earnest rock ballad?
If you've never had the pleasure (or tune it out like I do), here are the lyrics, courtesy of some internet site I got when I just googled for them:
(Theme from TV series Enterprise, also known as Faith Of the Heart) Lyrics by Diane Warren

It's been a long road, getting from there to here. It's been a long time, but my time is finally near. And I can feel the change in the wind right now. Nothing's in my way. And they're not gonna hold me down no more, no they're not gonna hold me down.

Cause I've got faith of the heart. I'm going where my heart will take me. I've got faith to believe. I can do anything. I've got strength of the soul. And no one's gonna bend or break me. I can reach any star. I've got faith, faith of the heart.

It's been a long night. Trying to find my way. Been through the darkness. Now I finally have my day. And I will see my dream come alive at last. I will touch the sky. And they're not gonna hold me down no more, no they're not gonna change my mind.

Cause I've got faith of the heart. I'm going where my heart will take me. I've got faith to believe. I can do anything. I've got strength of the soul. And no one's gonna bend or break me. I can reach any star. I've got faith, faith of the heart.

I've known the wind so cold, I've seen the darkest days. But now the winds I feel, are only winds of change. I've been through the fire and I've been through the rain. But I'll be fine ...

Cause I've got faith of the heart. I'm going where my heart will take me. I've got faith to believe. I can do anything. I've got strength of the soul. And no one's gonna bend or break me. I can reach any star. I've got faith, faith of the heart.

How can we NOT root for the crew of the Enterprise? They've got FAITH. Of the HEART. And Strength of the Soul! And they CAN reach any star!
This week is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, when humans set foot on the moon, and I can't help but think what that must have been like. This was a life-changing event for every man, woman, and child who witnessed it. Forty years ago, children could look out their bedroom windows, families from their back porches, scientists and amateurs alike watching through their telescopes, into the night sky, at the MOON, where some dudes were actually walking around! We, as a society, went from boastful aspirations of breaking the bounds of Earth to setting foot on another celestial body in less than a decade. And you know how? Because we had faith of the heart and strength of the soul and all that stuff in the song. (Also: ego, fear, competitiveness, and many other things not mentioned in the song.)

I imagine, to quote the first line of the song, that when the NX-01 takes flight, it HAS been "a long road, getting from there to here." I think about how, in this fictional universe, less than a lifetime from now we'd be making first contact and setting the events in motion that would bring peace and prosperity to our whole planet and open up the universe for us to explore.

So, this theme song, with its words, can express that at this point, as we confront ambiguity and ambivalence and wonder as we embark on this journey deeper into space, we are still a cheesy soft-rock song. In a few generations, we'll have evolved into a bold, lush, epic orchestration.

Don't get me wrong. I don't love the song. But I can appreciate how it fits into the grander narrative. Maybe that is a function of the sequence in which I'm watching the shows. Maybe I've grown and have had more time to reflect. Maybe I need to justify its existence. Whatever it is, I'm okay with it. And from this point on, several episodes in, I am going to feel free to fast-forward past it.

I do have a lingering objection to it, though. It wasn't even an original song. Maybe it was the right song and they didn't need to write a new one. But this song was previously recorded by Rod Stewart under the title "Faith of the Heart" for the movie Patch Adams. Seriously, Star Trek? Boo.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First Contact

Last Thursday, I began my quest to watch all of the Star Trek movies and TV series in continuity order. I started with First Contact because the majority of the action (everything but the first few minutes) takes place in 2063, when the Enterprise-E crew must intervene to restore the proper course of history after Borg conveniently traveled back in time to do some meddling and assimilating. I thought that would make sense (especially since I'm already familiar with the characters and the general Star Trek historical time line), and I know that they kind of integrate details from this intrusion into the past in episodes of Enterprise, closing the loop between the series. After watching it, though, I sort of feel like it would have been more appropriate to watch it where it would fit into the 24th century portion of the time line, since the point was the PREVENTION of disruption of the history, rather than the establishment of new events. It doesn't really matter, particularly since I'm aware of it all, but it probably would frame the narrative a little differently.

As for the movie? This was I think the TNG movie that I enjoyed the most the first time around. It had the convenient, wackadoo time travel plot (like JJ Abrams' reboot, but without the alternate time line consequences), some effective action and effects, and stayed true to the characters and the Star Trek ideals. What would have made it even better for me? Completely eliminating the gross Borg Queen parts. I remember hating them the first time around, and while the idea that borgifying Data would require incorporating organic elements rather than technological components to make him a cyborg is interesting, the whole rest of that Borg Queen plot line was creepy and unnecessary and made me uncomfortable, and I never liked how the establishment of a Queen in the hive changed my perception of the Borg.

I originally posted this elsewhere, and there were some interesting comments, so I am including them below. If you were an original commenter and do not want yours included, let me know and I will delete it. There are slight edits, and anonymity is preserved.

Commenter 1:

I always had some issues with the Queen portion of the programme as well. Although I ADORED the "add organic, make cyborg" twist to the usual concept.

(also, I hate Data-with-emotions, but that's neither here nor there)


(also, I hate Data-with-emotions, but that's neither here nor there)

Oh, agreed. Data trying to understand emotions = compelling mirror turned on humanity. Data WITH emotions = cheesetastic, in a squirmy way, not an awesome way.

That movie would have been fine (IMO better) without the Borg queen. The whole Trek universe would be better off for it, I think.

Commenter 2:

I always thought the Queen was the results of them messing with Hugh, and Lore messing with the Borg.

Still very weird. The Borg were a lot more menacing as just a faceless voice with billions of soldiers behind it.

I see you decided not to go with Star Trek IV: The One With the Whales as the first in continuity.


Still very weird. The Borg were a lot more menacing as just a faceless voice with billions of soldiers behind it.

It is much harder for us to conceptualize the collective mind as it was. I almost want to call them "mindless" soldiers following that "faceless voice", but what makes it so discomfiting is that they weren't mindless, but were part of that hive mind that we cannot experience. Giving it some weird, central "organizing force" that completely upends that by speaking in the first person and trying to seduce Data and messing around with feelings just didn't work for me.

I see you decided not to go with Star Trek IV: The One With the Whales as the first in continuity

Yeah... that. I saw that one as a kid and of course had less of a problem with it than I anticipate I will upon intentional re-watch (I've caught bits and pieces of it again over the years, but not with any attention being devoted to it)... I sort of arbitrarily decided it was not necessary to watch it first. I thought about it, but for whatever reason just decided to ignore it. It actually bugs me that I am not consistent in my approach!

ETA: Also, I'm on the fence about including the animated series.

Commenter 2:

The animated series is usually regarded as outside canon--I'd put it on the same level as some of the better ST books.

ST:IV is part of a larger story involving ST:II and ST:III, so it makes more sense to watch those three in order.

Yeah, Data with the emotions was a little weird... but I did love the Enterprise-E. That's a great ship.

Commenter 1:

I just mentioned your project to my fellow-nerd coworker, and he REALLY wants you to blog this project as you go through it.

Also, he pointed out an interesting conundrum - if you're starting with First Contact because it contains a lot of content from the past, then wouldn't you have to start the whole shebang with that double episode of TNG set in 1800s San Francisco, with Mark Twain and Guinan? Interesting way to frame it...


Yeah, there are some other continuity/time travel/etc issues through all the series ... It would have been too problematic to take individual episodes out of the various series that do indeed take place in another point in time (forward and back, potentially), I think. Punting First Contact up to the head of my Netflix queue is much easier than isolating those episodes and obtaining the correct disc from the correct season and ordering those.

I really probably should have just left FC where it fell in the 24th century, but oh well. What is done is done!

Commenter 1:

DTA theorized that you'd only have to include episodes that start in the past if you were to organize individual episodes chronologically - that woudl eliminate a lot of time-travel-ep reogranization. As far as we can remember, all the TOS episodes that dealt with time travel started and ended on the ship, in "proper" chronology, and there were only 4-5 eps of TNG and other series that started and ended in the past.

But I can see where the practical logistical issues would outweigh other considerations. ;-)

Commenter 3:

I believe Jack, Kate, Hurley, Locke, Charlie, Claire, Sayid, Sawyer, Sun and Jin are feeling a little hurt that they are not as important as Kirk and Spock and Data and Riker and all those other names I don't know or can't remember! :)

(I kid, I kid)


Hee. I actually did feel guilty about it. This probably wouldn't be happening if I hadn't started watching episodes of Enterprise on Sci Fi last month and then they stopped them! My plan is to really get Enterprise out of my system first, and then really devote myself more to Lost for a while. I thought "Oh, just do Lost first" but I KNOW I'd be distracted thinking about Star Trek.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My name is Amie, and I watch TV

So, last weekend I came up with this insane "project" for myself.

First, some background:
I was a moderately big Star Trek geek in my young teen years. I was primarily pretty attached to TNG, and had little invested in TOS, and when DS9 came along I liked that a lot but for whatever reason my attachment had begun to fade. By the end of season 3 of DS9 I stopped watching entirely. I think it had taken a darker turn than I was ready for in my Trek universe. I watched maybe half of the first season of Voyager. When Enterprise entered the scene, not only was I just not as into the whole Trek thing so much anymore, it was also a time in my life not conducive to embarking on a new television attachment. I think I saw one or two episodes of Enterprise before this summer.

Fast forward to now, when the new Star Trek "reboot" (ugh...) comes along. Until I walked into the theater the afternoon I saw it, I wasn't sure I was going to bother seeing it. I just didn't know how to feel. I appreciated and respected TOS, but it hadn't been what I'd been as attached to. But I was feeling nostalgic for that geekiness and what that universe gave to me. There was a little bit of a hole left where Star Trek had been in my life. I saw the new movie, and really enjoyed it, and saw it again. Then I saw it on IMAX (well, listened, actually, since watching it made me queasy) in Philadelphia while visiting a friend, and attending the Star Trek exhibit at the Franklin Institute. I spent money on silly souvenir photos and a t-shirt.

Sci Fi network was showing Enterprise most days, so I started recording it. I started recording some TNG episodes to have on hand for whenever, too. I was just really getting into Enterprise, when I discovered last week that there were no new episodes recording. I checked the Sci Fi schedule and Enterprise was no where to be found for the next month or so. I was sad.

Well, that's what Netflix was invented for, so I reactivated my temporarily suspended account and added all of Enterprise. Then I started thinking "I never saw a lot of DS9 and Voyager, either. I should add those." Then I started thinking about how Enterprise is at the beginning of the chronology, and how they kind of closed some continuity loops between the events in that series and some of the "later" movies and episodes.

(within the continuity of the universe, that is...)

Well, I looked up some information and did some math and I think it amounts to over 550 hours of Star Trek... so this isn't a summer project. This might take me a couple of years...

In addition to this crazy Star Trek idea, I also am planning on watching all of Lost, leading up to the final upcoming season. I've only seen bits and pieces of an episode or two of Lost, and I've borrowed the first 4 seasons on DVD, the 5th will come out this winter, and my mission is to catch up on all of it before the final season. This will be a different experience than the Star Trek watching project, because while I have a passing familiarity with what Lost is about (I read general TV news and hear conversations here and there), watching it will be an entirely new thing to me. I get to experience all of its wonders and frustrations as new discoveries. With Star Trek, although there are a lot of episodes in the various incarnations I haven't seen, and a lot that I haven't seen in a long time, I have a comfort and familiarity with its universe. One of the reasons I was so disappointed that Enterprise stopped airing on Sci Fi recently was because I was getting kind of a charge out of having that to discover anew as the Trek series I'd never watched before.

So, now, I think, until I get too distracted or eventually, possibly bored with it, my new hobby is going to be watching a ton of Star Trek and Lost.

I mentioned this idea to some friends, and they seemed to think it was crazy enough to be entertaining. That's where this blog comes in. Here's the thing. I like TV. I watch TV. I'm an educated woman who likes to read and do other things, but I like TV and I care about it. I'm not engaging in serious criticism or analysis. But I will post my reflections as I watch hundreds of hours of Star Trek and Lost , and possibly other shows if I'm moved to do so.

Welcome aboard for my 630 hour journey through Star Trek and Lost ... Engage!