Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Trek Post ...

... just because it's been a while since I geeked out on Trekkery.  From an email I wrote to Mr. X this week - I won't rewrite it for the blog, just edit as needed.  If I rewrite, it'd never be posted.  Right now, I'm too busy being lost in that comic.

Over the weekend I caught the 3-episode arc of Brent Spiner guesting on “Enterprise” (directed by LeVar no less), as Dr. Noonien Singh.  Though of course there’s no appearance by Khan (Noonien Singh), there’s a serious tip of the hat to Wrath in the costume design and hairdos for the “augments” (genetically enhanced human beings the Dr. is working with/”fathering”).  Nobody wears a fake chest, though, of course.  Well maybe the women ...

Of course the whole thing ends with the doc musing about artificial life forms – “it would take a generation or two, but ... cybernetic life forms ...”

It’s remarkable to me how little of “Enterprise” I have recalled, re-watching that series.  It was still on the air when you and I started dating, and I seem to recall deprioritizing its space in my life for other interests at that time.  But I am having a few “oh yeaaaahh - that!” moments.  It’s a good series, but it is interesting to see the gender roles really thrown back to TOS in a lot of ways.  At first they were clearly having a go at the amorous captain thing, recapturing some Shatner fun, and in season one the whole cast’s prettiness is *much* exploited, but it’s fairly strange watching what they did with, of all characters, the Vulcan science officer.  T'Pol ends up reduced to breathy chick status an awful lot of the time as the series goes on.  They even went so far as to explicitly weaken her and make her a drug addict, so as to put her together with another cast member (because, in Trek, outside of DS9, a woman owning her own carnal interests is still impossible to countenance).  The only other female officer, the token Asian, and the one African American man on the crew, have been all but abandoned as I cruise through season 4.  Very subtly, too, the design has slowly crept backward in sophistication from the cinematic look which was so popular at the time production began, as the show swings focus back onto The White Guys (and one horny Vulcan chick).

I recently read, and have been meaning to refer/respond to, an interesting essay about how gender progressive Voyager was, but in a lot of ways (revisiting this series as well) I’m not sure I’m persuaded of that premise.  On the surface, I see the points – female captain, strong focus on female characters who aren’t a bunch of pansies – but my recollection of frothing fanboy-dom over the super sexy avatar of abuse survivorship, Seven of Nine, is still bothersome.  That’s what men remember about that show; if there was a real message about the evolution of women in/and power, it is not what stuck with a significant portion of the audience.  Not to mention, I’ve seen one too many eps of Janeway pining to disappear into the Victorian era – and just watched one where ensign Harry Kim is kidnapped by a planet of women right on the heels of The Lorelai Signal, which doesn’t exactly speak much for the evolution of Trek’s writing/enlightenment over a THIRTY year period.

That post will probably still come; I want to address the points of the essay just to deal with them myself.  For now, this quick infusion of Trek is the offering of the day.

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