Thursday, July 31, 2008

Give 'em the Vulcan tusch pinch

Got a link for you: Play it again, Jim...

Yep, you guessed right.

Tell me someone who was there during the days of Project Apollo who didn't watch Trek. I mean, it's horses for courses, and in 1966-69 Trek was hot stuff.

The used to paint near-nekkid chicks bright green. They had aliens of indeterminate gender. They had geniuses who were overwhelmed by the urge to rut like mountain goats. They had great, big spaceships and space battles. And sadistic Klingons mowing 'em down. And slave girls. And a bed-hopping skipper who didn't look too bad at all with his shirt in the laundry hamper. And this dude with the ears and the eyebrows. And a black chick (woah -- black, my gods, I don't believe this!) actually on the crew. And weird drugs. And cloning, and androids. Slave planets, giant intelligent lizards, chicks in glued-on costumes, hunky guest stars with great legs, in skimpy Ancient Greek kilts (!), tribbles, tricorders, time travel, exploding planets, immortality, religion-busters, insane computers, mindgames, empathym telepathy, mind-melds, sadism, masochism, adultery, murder, sabotage, revenge --

It was hot stuff way back when. It's just that four decades takest he spit-shine off of anything, and sooner or later you have to polish it up again, or archive it.

(I had a firsthand taste of this when I went through the NARC books, from the early 1990s, to bring them up to date ... and I'm even yanking AQUAMARINE firmly into the twenty first century: it's in the nuance of the technology. How far in the future is the world of Eric and Russell? In their day, who in hell will be using disks? Yet, 10years ago disks were cutting edge and flashdrives, jumpdrives, ramsticks, where a "Say what?" item. In the universe of Jarrat and Stone, they use "datacubes," which one imagines to be something like a 10 TB flashdrive too small to see, which is housed in something about the size of a die, to make it big enough for blunt human fingers to handle without breaking or dropping and losing.)

It had to happen, sooner or later. You KNEW the adventures of Jim, Bones, Scotty and Spocko would HAVE to be brought back up to spec. All writers do this, if they're given the ghost of a chance, and when you're in possession of a Hollywood franchise like STAR TREK, you don't wait to be given chances, you make your own. (George Lucas paved the way. Can you imaging what he'll be doing for the next update on STAR WARS?)

Of all the TREK series, I do believe I kinda liked ENTERPRISE the best. It had the "down and dirty" look about it, to which I gravitate. The original series is just too quaint now ... sorry, guys. It's the 1960s jingoism, sexism, racism, whatever "ism" you want to look at -- they come through the old scripts loud and clear, and they make 2008 nerves jangle. I say this sadly, because I also know Trek was one of the front runners in the field of equal opportunity ... but they also had an uphill battle with Hollywood producers who were in the business of selling a very expensive product to existing marketplaces. The best the 1966 Trek could do was go out and break trail. They did well, in their day; but that day is long past.

NEXT GENERATION had some excellent ideas and designs, but to me ... well, their universe is so squeaky clean that I have (and have always had) reservations. Don't get me wrong: the show was extremely well done, within its own parameters; but Picard's cosmos doesn't even get dusty. (Compare this scenario with ALIEN RESURRECTION, which is happening in the same approximate, and just as hypothetical, time frame. I can *believe* the ALIEN movie inside and out; I simply enjoy the hell out of the Trek show as an interested onlookers. There's a big difference.)

VOYAGER ... I was traveling when this went to air down here, and I missed most of it. I think there's 3 - 4 seasons I still haven't had the chance to see. (Same story with FARSCAPE, incidentally: nothing personal, just a clash of time, work and place). And DS9 ... I lost track of it about two seasons before the end, so I have no idea how it finished up. It's on the "gotta see one day when I have the time" list.

So, I guess I have more than a nodding aquaintance with Trek, even though I wouldn't say it influenced my own science fiction much at all. (For example, even when I do get into the military aspect, "my" Starfleet and DeepSky Fleet are built on the Air Force, not the Navy. For the life of me, I can't see how the Navy will get itself into space. Sure, by now you (the viewer) are well accustomed to seeing the space-going Air Force model on STARGATE, but (he he he) Keegan got there first! I was doing this stuff in the early 1990s, years ahead of SPACE: ABOVE AND BEYOND, and any of the STARGATE incarnations, including the James Spader and Kurt Russell movie.)

And I, for one (and I'm starting to think I'm just about the only one!) am actually looking forward to seeing the old Trek scenario polished up, dragged into the new millennium, albeit kicking and screaming.

From what I've seen on a Google surf (admittedly not in any obsessive depth), when you get past the official sites, the games, the merchandising, the magazine sites, Hollywood sites, etc., etc., etc., and see what the "hard core Trek fans" are saying ...

Wellllll, here's the part where Keegan gets to play Nostradamus.

Get ready for a big stink in the Old Guard, who are going to hate the new movie with a passion. They're going to take it as a personal insult that Bill Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and our erstwhile heroes have been recast (read: replaced) with new faces. Meanwhile the new movie will score big with the vast "gray area" of the audience which likes Trek well enough but doesn't live and breathe the original show. (For those fans, Shatner, Nimoy and company ARE the show, the characters, the magic; take them away and, they won't know what you've got left, 'but it sure as hell aint Trek.')

But the vast "gray area" in the middle of the audience will like the movie, enough to make it a financial success. Way on the other side of the audience is the Glittery end: folks who are maniacal fans of the the new movie, won't hear a syllable said against it, and will go to e-war with anyone who disagrees ... all of which usually means these new fans have fallen like a tonne of bricks for one or more of the new actors, and the cosmos is revolving (however temporarily) around their (current) magnificent obsession.

Get ready for the Trekker Wars of 2009. I predict blood. They'll make any atrocity committed by the Klingons, Romulans, Borg, Predators, Aliens AND the Go'aould (all cemented together into an alliance focused on hammering the humans into extinction) look like Walter and Grommit.

Meanwhile, Nostrakeeganus, he say, the new movie will be a great financial success; they'll do several more movies which go over nicely at the box office -- quite nicely enough to rationalize doing a TV series, which will premier in the fall of 2015, when the publicity campaign will read, "Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Gene Roddenberry's immortal Star Trek..."

Write this down somewhere, and when it happens -- in 2015 -- I shall officially hang out my shingle and charge $25 per squint into my crystal ball. Because by that time you'll know I'm psychic.

So, give 'em the Vulan tusch pinch, and enjoy the damned movie!

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