Star Trek

All posts tagged Star Trek

We’ve come so far, and got so far, but in the end…it was really, really far. I don’t have a head for lyrics.

We look forward, I talk a bit about ruts versus grooves and Derek speculates on Season Five.

We’re considering a number of changes for when we get back from the hiatus. I’m going to be studying the production stuff more thoroughly than I have been. I’ll be digging a bit deeper on guest stars, and I’ll try to come up with a few more format-disrupting ideas to mix things up.

I think we’ve got a small, but dedicated fan base. Are there any ideas you all have? I’m wide open for pitches. Contact me here, on my twitter @VanVelding, or on any other platform you can find me.

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

Redemption, Part 1

I feel strongly that “Shut up, Toral” should replace “Shut up, Wesley” as one of TNG’s bedrock memes. I get that he’s a victim in all of these power games to some extent and that he has mentors who refuse to help him understand his situation because they’re using him as a means unto an end.

But shut up, Toral.

I’ll try to make fewer “Game of Thrones” jokes in part two, I swear, but while “Redemption” is an oft-overlooked episode, it laid down so much that Deep Space Nine did structurally and canonically.

It’s more than just a prototype for another series, it’s a clever way to tie in several (relatively) long-running plot threads into a conflict that has stakes for our characters and the larger world.

For those of you who don’t know the story about Denise Crosby’s reappearance: clone, doppleganger, or long lost twin? Place your bets!

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

In Theory

I wanted to go deeper on impostor syndrome in relationships, but we covered it well enough. What I can’t get over is the B-plot here.

I’m sorry, “the bullshit plot here.” On the one hand, I’m angry the space/time bubbles aren’t explained better, on the other I’d be furious if they wasted time on doing that. It’s no “garbage scow that’s immune to physics,” but it’s a terrible plotline.

It’s gotta be top ten worst, right?

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

“The Mind’s Eye” is a pretty straightforward episode. There’s not a big idea and or real character moment. Things happen in it, but they’re good things that drive a clear, well-developed plot.

It turns out that triangulation is really complicated. To the point that there’s also a thing called trilateration, which I don’t have time to read the wiki on. I haven’t really read up on them, but I’m willing to believe any number of data points Lieutenant Commander Data needs to find a signal source

I feel like we skipped over how Geordi’s visor is a negative here. I think it’s fair game that the differences of the crew are sometimes drawbacks. Troi losing her telepathy in “The Loss” and Data being controlled in “Brothers” are both instances that spring to mind.

I feel like Derek’s episode pitch for a story where the senior staff is constantly implicated but not investigated for crimes is a lot like TOS’ “The Enemy Within.”

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

The Host

We’re back after a little break with a classic episode.

There’s a lot to unpack with this one, and even if the lesson seems lost on some of the production staff, we try to stay focused on the most culturally relevant takeaway.

Also, it was Tiresias. He was apparently a dick to some mating snakes and Hera made him a woman as punishment.

I’ve made my fair share of Trill jokes, but is it a big deal that the Trill, like the Cardassians, vary a bit from their original introduction? Even Spock added/changed details the Vulcan people as we learned more about him.

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

We lost the tape.

We’ve got so many twists and turns in the reasoning behind this one. Ironically, this was recorded at the height of the fervor over the Mueller Investigation and so there’s a lot to uncover in terms of “what makes an investigation legitimate”? We could have gotten deeper into it, but like most of TNG’s good episodes, there’s a lot to discuss.

I guess, to get a bit political, it is weird how much the warnings about villains appearing to be good people has turned policies intended for the common good are turned into some kind of clandestine, slippery slope conspiracy. Are any of the moral lessons of Star Trek actually useful if they have to have the words, “but be reasonable” appended to them?

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

Qpid

This one got me thinking about Star Trek and fanfiction. I don’t judge Star Trek fanfiction, mainly because I make improvisational Star Trek fanfiction every week with my friend Derek under the presumption it will amuse other people. Also because Star Trek’s ability to inspire people is part of its strength.

And yet…I feel like there’s a transition from when a show is true to its premise and fights hard to establish its characters to when it feels established enough to take itself less seriously.

TNG goes from “Symbiosis” to “Qpid.” Deep Space Nine goes from “If Wishes Were Horses” to “Badda Bing Badda Bang.” Buffy: the Vampire Slayer eventually makes that musical episode.

Even shows that are comedic or tongue in cheek seem to do it. Scrubs went from having a very serious core with humor around it to the sitcom it celebrated not being in “My Life in Four Colors.” Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, already tongue-in-cheek, eventually threw up its hands and recast its entire cast as its own production staff in “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Hercules” and “For Those of You Just Joining Us…”

Maybe I’m cherry-picking. Law and Order is on its billionth, tonally-even season. Firefly seemed to consistently have fun with itself. There are definitely anime series which start light, but buckle down–the one with Vash the Stampede comes to mind.

Who knows? Maybe I’m just finding patterns in the static.

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

It’s another Barclay episode. It’s great to see the range of Dwight Schultz, even if our leads get warped a bit to make it work. Is it necessary for shows to have bad guys and good guys? Is it necessary just for episodic shows like The Next Generation?

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

Last Time, on this comment: Garak has lots of context, but no agency. He is a very big archetype, but he isn’t relatable. He’s fuckin’ consistent, but his character arc only twitches slightly upward in the last scene of the damned series.

And now, the conclusion:

Garak is efficacious, don’t get me wrong, he gets shit done. But given that his motivation is to GET BACK TO CARDASSIA, he’s fucking god-awful at it. Not in that he refuses to shoot people or slit throats to get what he wants–though he’s inconsistent at that (like when he lets the Cardassians go in “Cardassians”). No, this genius, wheels-within-wheels mastermind doesn’t come up with a single fucking plan to get himself back to Cardassia. He lives at the pivot point of the fucking galaxy and sits there hemming trousers while looking across the Promenade at Quark who’s swimming in the opportunities available. The one time he has a chance in hell of getting back into the good graces are after he panics, blows up his shop, and then stumbles ass-first into boss-daddy’s half-baked return to glory.

He does have internal conflicts that he struggles with Garak has a conscience and he fights it. He’s a smart enough man to see the benefits of Federation society and the flaws of Cardassian society. So much so that after a certain point he doth protest too much when he says the opposite. It’s great stuff.

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This is a reddit post that I went all-in on so now it’s also a blog post.

Quality is subject to taste, so “best character” is subjective. Despite a literal interpretation which implies an objective truth, each person’s best character is actually their favorite character. Changing someone’s mind on this isn’t a matter of debating established fact; it’s a matter of contradicting what fundamentally appeals to someone and even if you’re invited, it’s a presumptuous thing to do.

But if we imagine that there’s an objective basis for character quality, we have to separate it from the subjectiveness of writing, acting, and directing, insofar as those things do not affect how effectively the story expresses the character’s qualities.

A quick search around the internet doesn’t reveal much about objective measuring of what makes a good character. This means that the internet hasn’t quite reached ‘peak internet’ yet, but it also means that this discussion requires creating broad versions of what measures do exist and then applying them to Star Trek characters.

Agency versus Context

Characters have agency, a place within the story that drives them to interact with the story. Neelix is considered a flawed character because he doesn’t have a place within Voyager’s overall story. He’s crammed into whatever space fits and suffers because of it. Captain Picard, however, fits into the specific story of “Best of Both Worlds” very well in that he’s a natural choice for the Borg to target and he has goals and the agency to move towards them. Even after he fails and is assimilated, he still fights the Borg, even if that fight is a simple as a single tear.

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