Old New Trek

Now I’ve finished watching, here’s what I think…

When I get into a book or movie series, well, I tend to consume it. Right now it’s midnight, and although I am about to pause my second film of the evening, First Contact, and go to bed, I’m realising that I’m going to be watching a few more movies in the next few days…

I used to love the older Star Trek movies, you know, the ones with the original cast/characters – Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scottie, Sulu etc. I loved the characters and their interactions and interplay with eachother. [For the record I have also enjoyed the recent prequels, they’re not quite the same as the original characters, but they capture the spirit of those films admirably. :)]
I just wasn’t interested in the Next Generation films then.

I think I’m appreciating them a bit more now. What I’d seen of Data in a couple of late night episodes I remember finding annoying. After watching the films these past few days (and the first episode of Next Generation), I now find him somewhat charming to watch. He somewhat covers the comic foil and moral voice that Spock filled in the original films.

As for Picard, to answer the question – I don’t know. I like Picard, but I’m not so sure if I like him as much as Kirk. Maybe I liked that Kirk wasn’t as clean cut or moral as Picard, I’m not sure.

—   —   —

On Insurrection, which I wound up renting from Amazon (who knew you could do that?) – I really enjoyed it. I’ve read the criticism of it, and while I’m sure there are lots of plot holes, and “The Federation would never do that” (to which I say maybe they didn’t know the full story), but I really enjoyed it. I can understand the assertion that it’s more of a trumpeted up long episode than an epic movie, because it did have a little bit of that feel, but I still thought it was great. Maybe not as good as First Contact, but maybe a little better than Nemesis, for my liking. Someone, I think in the reviews of the film on Amazon, commented on the ‘bad’ humour, gags about breasts getting firmer, singing Gilbert and Sullivan, and Dada saying “Saddle up. Lock and load.” I quite liked these. I don’t know if the breasts joke really fitted, but I thought I’d misheard, and laughed out loud, partly because I couldn’t believe what had been said. I liked the small sub-plot about Riker and Troi rediscovering some romance too, even if it was a little clunky (remembering that they were married, I was left wondering if they’d split up or something before this film).

One thing that does bug me about the Next Generation cast, though, is it’s lack of diversity. If we look back at the original cast, we can see people of lots of races/ethnicities/nationalities – black, white, Asian, Russian (forgive those terms if they offend). For all I know the actors could all be American (and if so then Chekhov did a great accent), but they depict a multinational crew for a ship representing Earth, and I like that. Having another look at Insurrection, I am seeing some diversity, but it’s entirely in the extras and minor characters – even the alien race the Ba’ku are caucasian. The one exception is the major characters La Forge, who is black/African American, and Worf –  a Klingon (ie not human), and  who these days I don’t think nearly counts as representing diversity nearly as much as Uhura did in the original series back in the 60’s. Particularly given that back then (this was pointed out to me by my mother), there was a Russian character, an Asian character and an African American character on a show created around the time of the Civil Rights movement, a war with largely Asian enemy combatants, with some Russian/communist combatants in the middle of the Cold War. A single non-Caucasian human character in the new cast seems much less diverse or representative of a united Earth in that context. Does one count Picard as American or British? I think American, based on a vaguely recalled reference the character made to San Francisco (I may have that wrong) and lack of a pronounced British accent. 

Before I found that I could get Insurrection online, I watched the first episode of Next Generation. I liked it. Admittedly it was a long or double episode format, at an hour and a half, so I’ll have to see how we go with the shorter episodes, but I may end up watching the series.

I wonder, which of the series/casts/films did you enjoy? Because my mum was talking about it, I might have another try at the original Star Trek TV series, if I get around to it. Has anyone read the novels? I read quite a few Star Wars novels when I was in highschool. Some were better than others, are any of the Star Trek novels worth a look?


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