After this morning’s grim entry, I’m feeling the need to lighten the mood a little, so here’s a Star Trek-related meme that was recently done by both Jaquandor and SamuraiFrog. Seems I’m always the last one on the block to catch the latest meme these days… sigh.
- What is your favorite Star Trek movie? (not including STXI)?
Hm. Tough choice… The Wrath of Khan has the best action, and is the best in terms of character development and having something to say about the human condition, and of course it’s got the irrepressible awesome that was Ricardo Montalban. Also, I’ve always enjoyed The Search for Spock for capturing the camaraderie of the crew, the affection for one another that runs so deep they’re willing to disobey orders and chuck everything for one of their own. But honestly, in recent years, I’ve really come to appreciate the underrated first entry in the series, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It has its flaws, some of them admittedly pretty major, but it isn’t as far off the mark as most people seem to think. It’s the biggest of the Trek movies in theme and visual scope, and the most purely science-fictional of them all. (By contrast, Khan is basically a submarine movie in space, The Voyage Home is a lighthearted romp with a contemporary environmental message, etc.). ST:TMP was the one and only time throughout the movie series when it felt like the producers were really striving for epic significance, rather than just pleasing the crowd; after the first movie’s relative failure, they would never again deviate from the safe and familiar. (And yes, I’m counting the four movies with the Next Generation cast, too!)
- What is your favorite scene in ST XI?
Star Trek XI? Oh, you mean the J.J. Abrams reboot. Sorry, I don’t consider that one part of the same series as the other ten. (If you want to know just how pedantic I can be about this stuff, I don’t really consider the first six movies — which of course were the ones that featured the original 1960s TV cast — and the four with the Next Gen crew to be the same series either. And for the record, the numbering convention ended with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. None of the films since then has had a number in the title, so calling the reboot “ST XI” is even more confusing…)
Nitpickiness aside, though, my answer is pretty clear: the opening sequence where George Kirk sacrifices himself while his wife, newborn son, and the rest of his crew escape. It was the only moment of emotional resonance for me in a movie I only kinda-sorta liked. Probably because the cognitive dissonance of new actors playing the iconic roles hadn’t set in yet, and I could still imagine the baby growing up to become William Shatner.
- When were you first introduced to the Star Trek franchise?
So long ago, I can’t say for certain. I was still in diapers when the golden age of the original Trek‘s syndication began, and my mom has told me she used to watch the re-runs in the afternoons while she did household chores, so I’d say it must’ve been sometime during my toddler years. My earliest Trek-related memories are around the time I was in kindergarten, so I can at least confirm that I was already a Trekkie by the age of four.
- Is there anything Star Trek around the room in which you’re currently sitting?
Nah, I’m at work. No paraphenalia here.
- Vulcan ears are: A) cute, B) sexy, C) neither, D) both.
Um… I guess that would depend on the Vulcan, wouldn’t it? Generally speaking, though, I have no ear fetish.
- If you could be any other species than human in the Star Trek universe, you would be:
In one of my few concessions to the various spin-offs from the classic series, I’d say a Trill. Because Jadzia Dax and her little leopard-spots did it for me.
- Which pet would you rather have: a sehlat or a tribble?
Well, a teddy bear with six-inch fangs would have its cool aspects, especially if you lived in a rough neighborhood, but I tend to favor the tribbles because they’re so low-maintenance… as long as they don’t eat, that is.
- Who might you cast in the role of reboot Nurse Chapel? Khan? Other reboot character?
See, this is where my curmudgeonly loyalty to the original series shows its wrinkly old head again. I have no ideas for recasting the iconic characters. None. I simply can’t imagine anyone in those roles except the original 1960s cast. While I’ll grant that the kids in the new reboot movie fit their parts pretty well, I never would’ve thought of any of those actors if you’d asked me to come up with a possible casting list before that movie was made. And I am further hampered by not really knowing who the up-and-coming actors are these days anyway.
So, for Nurse Chapel, I will only say that we need a woman who is old enough to convince us she already had a healthy research career before joining Starfleet (unless we’re retconning Chapel’s backstory, which I suppose is probably how it would go, alas) and with enough gravitas to put up with Dr. McCoy’s grouchiness.
As for a rebooted Khan, just don’t do it. Seriously. Don’t even attempt to find a modern-day equivalent to Ricardo Montalban. And anyway wasn’t the whole point of the time-travel, alternate-history crap in Abrams’ Trek to free us from the existing continuity? I say these new movies should not use any guest characters who appeared in the original series. Ever. And no Borg, either. Otherwise, it’s just business as usual and why the hell should I watch your pale video-game lens-flare-y imitation when I have the DVDs of the real version at home?
- Kirk and Spock are:
T’hy’la. Look it up.
Seriously, I think it’s pretty clear that these two men — as well as Dr. McCoy, as Jaquandor so correctly pointed out — are brothers-in-arms who need and complement one another’s essential characteristics. Spock is the intellect, obviously; Kirk, the action, courage, and inspiration; and McCoy, the conscience. Together, they all comprise one fully functional human being.
- If you could give any Star Trek character a chance to be captain of the Enterprise, who would it be?
Everyone else seems to be naming Uhura in the belief that she’s never had the honor, but as I pointed out to Jaquandor, she got her turn in an episode of the animated series from the early ’70s. Granted, it was a lame, sexist scenario — all the men-folk on the ship had been incapacitated by “space sirens” or something, so the women had to assume command because there was no one else available — but Roddenberry himself considered the cartoon to be canon until the ’80s, I believe, so I’m willing to count that occasion.
That means all of the regular characters have occupied the center seat at some point. So let’s move down the list into the semi-regulars. How about Kevin Riley? In spite of the lousy drunken singing and generally bad behavior in “The Naked Time,” he was a good kid who looked up to Captain Kirk. And I liked his policy on ice-cream portions in the mess hall, too…
- BONUS: Think fast! Give one Star Trek quote from memory.
The first thing that comes to mind is actually an exchange between two characters, Sulu and Kirk. This reflects the good-natured esprit de corps of the original series, which none of the spin-offs were ever able to duplicate…
SULU: The word, Admiral?
KIRK: The word is “no.” I am therefore going anyway…
Man, am I a nerd or what?