Star Trek Into Darkness is the latest offering by sci-fi god, J.J. Abrams. To me, the funny thing about Paramount choosing Abrams to reboot the Star Trek franchise is that he seems like a Star Wars guy, not a Star Trek guy. (In case you didn’t know, Abrams is also directing the next Star Wars movie.) I totally believe he’s the right guy for Star Wars, but I never saw Abrams as an obvious choice for Star Trek.Trek is deeper, smarter, and wastes valuable screen time by sitting its main characters around a conference table for hours on end. Star Wars is simplicity itself and focuses on special effects and things going boom. That’s the sort of thing Abrams is good at.
Despite this, I liked the previous Star Trek movie. It could have used some of the smarts that went into the TV shows that came before it, but it was totally enjoyable. And, most importantly, the characters felt right.
Why, some may ask, am I poking fun at sad little Star Trek: Enterprise now? Can’t I just let it die in peace? Well no, as a matter of fact, I can’t! I’m sorry, but it was on for four God-awful years and I can count the number of watchable episodes on one hand! I kept waiting and hoping, but nothing! So I’ve got demons to expel. Besides, I can easily poke fun at anything Star Trek and I’m determined to do just that.
Guys, don’t take my dreams away. Some days, they’re all I have. ::Sniff::
Now let’s talk brass tacks. Why did Star Trek: Enterprise suck so bad? The answer is simple: the characters were awful. They were as bland as your mom’s unsweetened vanilla yogurt. Or your dad’s idea of porn (it’s called Baywatch, not Fuckwatch, Dad!). Yes, it was that bland. Note: that’s on the Star Trek scale of bland!
“But Star Trek is awesome!” some of you will say. “You must be jealous, Geek!”
Sure I am. Feel better? Good. Where was I? Oh, that’s right. Still tearing your favorite franchise a new one! Let the exorcism begin.
Stargate Universe (or SGU) is the latest original offering from Syfy. It takes place in the same universe as Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, two shows I enjoy and complain about. (Not unlike the Star Trek franchise.) For me, SGU's predecessors suffered from a lack of gritty realism, where a team of only four soldiers could defeat an army of aliens who had superior technology. The Stargate series did have plenty of interesting characters and lots of action–two qualities sorely lacking in Star Trek–but the stories felt a bit shallow to me. Still, I'm always hungry for more scifi, so I knew I was going to give Stargate Universe a shot as soon as I had heard about it. My expectations were low … until I heard that this series would be driven by the characters instead of plot. Intrigued, I set my DVR to record the first episode as soon as it appeared on my program guide.
Was it worth the seconds I spent hitting buttons on my remote, or was I shaking an angry fist at Syfy for wasting precious moments of my life?
As those who read some of my earlier Star Trek commentaries already know, the Trek franchise isn’t my favorite in sci-fi land these days. Sorry uber Trek-nerds, but the show is just too sterilized and bland for my tastes. I’ve been hoping for a much needed reimagining (or at least a reboot) ever since Star Trek: Enterprise first hit the airwaves. Then, low and behold, J. J. Abrams came along and made it happen! (Insert a chorus of angels singing here.) I’m sure many hardcore Trekkers began weeping openly when Abrams admitted he wasn’t a big fan of the series, but this only encouraged my dream for a better version. And by “better,” I mean one where humanity still has a long way to go before achieving paradise, or where battles are actually fast paced and (dare I say it?) exciting.
So … did my man J. J. Abrams deliver the goods? Or does the Star Trek reboot need a boot up its ass?
Religions have spent eons honing defenses that keep outside information away from insiders. The innermost ring wall is a set of certainties and associated emotions like anxiety and disgust and righteous indignation that block curiosity. The outer wall is a set of behaviors aimed at insulating believers from contradictory evidence and from heretics who are potential transmitters of dangerous ideas. These behaviors range from memorizing sacred texts to wearing distinctive undergarments to killing infidels. Such defenses worked beautifully during humanity’s infancy. But they weren’t really designed for the current information age.