Sylar, live long and prosper.

November 19, 2008

When I was in grade school, I was Captain James T. Kirk. The little girl down the street, of course, was Yeoman Janice Rand. We jumped out her bedroom window to simulate the transporter and matchbox cars served as our Type I phasers and communicators (I had no idea then I’d one day have my very own Motorola flip-top communicator). Star Trek was on every day at 3:00 and I rushed home from school to watch it for many years to come. But I wanted more adventures, and soon Kirk and crew debuted on the big screen wearing pajamas and Klingons wearing bumps (the opener of that first flick with the Klingon cruisers was almost as good as the Star Destroyer opener in Star Wars…almost.). And still more came. Kirk had to face his most feared enemy, Khan Noonian Singh, embarrassed by having to wear his glasses (I’m allergic to retinox5). Reverend Jim converted to a Klingon. Spock got to be hippie and save the Whales. Kirk finally met God and found out, much to his dismay, it wasn’t William Shatner. And we finally got to hear Captain Baron von Trapp’s Klingon descendant recite Shakespeare as it was meant to be heard, “taH baH taH beH!” (I’m sure someone will correct my Klingon). And still more came. We had to start using acronyms to keep it all straight. When TNG premiered, I was so excited for a weekly dose of Trek that I completely overlooked that the melodrama of TOS had just been replaced by cheese. I was sure Trek was ruined when DS9 premiered, but Worf came along and saved it. However, by the time VOY showed up, Trek burnout was starting to settle in. I was so apathetic about Trek when ENT was in prime time, that I couldn’t even find myself caring that the captain of the ship looked liked he was always smelling a bad fart. Not even TNG movies were spared the trend. They started as pleasant as a mild cheddar, but ended up like a stinky old camembert. And so I was ready for Trek to die. Wondered why it didn’t. Thought maybe it should. And then J.J. found Sylar…
'Star Trek' Trailer
‘Star Trek’ Trailer

Whoa, Captain! What a rug!

November 8, 2008

Have you ever seen this book on the physics of Star Trek? Come on! How can you write a book that explains the physical laws of uncreative writing? Listen, I can live with explosions in space, dogfights in space, and spaceships “screaming” through space, the classic mainstays of Space Opera, but they are backdrop not plot devices. I just can’t hear anymore trekno-babble! If you ever get the opportunity to write for Star Trek, forget about wasting your money on that book. Here’s a crash course in Star Trek physics: Make up a cool sounding name for your new “particle”. Connect it with “subspace”. Finally, throw in something about “warp”. For instance, at a particular point in the story where you want to hammer in a plot device, have a character yell, “Our scanners have lost them! Their engines are leaking virtron particles, which have caused subspace fractures that are distorting their warp signature!” It’ll work, trust me.

There was this one episode of the Next Generation where (according to the official web site) a molecular mishap brings Picard and others back as 12-year-old children! The problem: (again according to the official site) they were affected by a molecular reversion field. The Solution: Use the transporter to reverse the effects. How hokey is this? I’ll bet that book doesn’t explain this one, and if it does, I’d hope it could explain a few other mysteries to me as well. For instance, if this field is a molecular reversion field how come their uniforms shrink to fit them? In the future, does cotton shrink in both hot water AND molecular reversion fields? Or maybe someone will authoritatively tell me that in the 24th century clothes are made from biological agents and therefore can be affected by molecular hokeyness? If that were true, then I’d expect the uniforms to revert to a younger version as well, not shrink. I’d expect Picard to materialize wearing an oversized uniform, but in the beautiful mustard-yellow of Captain Kirk’s gray poupon shirt instead. Maybe even with a rip down the chest and a bloody slash for good measure. Ah, it doesn’t matter how hokey it is, because we can just use the transporter to make them old again. For some reason, though, they can’t use the transporter to filter out disease, mend broken bones, remove cataracts, or take the hair off Picard’s back and put it on his head!

Energize! Whoa, Captain! What a rug!

Historical note: yes, I did edit and recycle this post from an old blog I once kept, but it’s dead now and I find my rant too clever not to use again 🙂