To Boldly Go - all things Trek

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To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Dave Webb on Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:19 am

Prompted by a sudden discussion of the merits of Early Trek in the Roots and Echoes thread.

It would be incredibly trite to start a Trek thread with the word "Engage", so I won't. But I was seriously tempted.

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Zoltar on Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:36 am

Dave Webb wrote:Prompted by a sudden discussion of the merits of Early Trek in the Roots and Echoes thread.

It would be incredibly trite to start a Trek thread with the word "Engage", so I won't. But I was seriously tempted.
Logical. Flawlessly logical.

This Trek thing, I may have seen an episode or two.

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Dave Webb on Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:23 am

Zoltar wrote:This Trek thing, I may have seen an episode or two.

Me too. It's actually quite hard to be alive in the Western part of the world at any time since about 1966 and not have seen some Trek. It's very Borglike in that regard.

What prompted the thread was a brief digression in the Roots and Echoes thread which looked like we were going to start comparing Trek with Who. As Any Fule Kno, Doctor Who is better (in almost every regard) than Trek. Except for Trial of a Time Lord, obviously, but Original Trek has season 3 (Spock's Brain! Catspaw!) and very nearly all of Enterprise, and quite a lot of Voyager to be embarrased about, so that would put Doctor Who firmly in the lead.

What amuses me is that the two shows say far more about the cultures which spawned them than people perhaps realise.

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Zoltar on Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:57 am

Dave Webb wrote:Me too. It's actually quite hard to be alive in the Western part of the world at any time since about 1966 and not have seen some Trek. It's very Borglike in that regard.
Indeed. There was a time when you could see an episode just about daily of some incarnation or other of the series. I don't know if that's still the case.

Dave Webb wrote:What prompted the thread was a brief digression in the Roots and Echoes thread which looked like we were going to start comparing Trek with Who. As Any Fule Kno, Doctor Who is better (in almost every regard) than Trek. Except for Trial of a Time Lord, obviously, but Original Trek has season 3 (Spock's Brain! Catspaw!) and very nearly all of Enterprise, and quite a lot of Voyager to be embarrased about, so that would put Doctor Who firmly in the lead.
Aw, didn't like the Halloween episode? For myself, I'd nominate Spock's Brain, And the Children Shall Lead and Attack of the Space Hippies (possibly not the real title) as some particularly potent stinkers.

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Nick Barlow on Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:15 am

You still can see it every day over here - Virgin1 has episodes of TNG, Voyager and DS9 every afternoon.

My main question after watching any tends to be 'just how did organisations as fundamentally incompetent as Star Fleet and the Federation get to grow so large?' However, given how useless and one-dimensional almost every other species they encounter turns out to be, it could just be that they're the least incompetent.

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Patrick on Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:20 am

Zoltar wrote:For myself, I'd nominate Spock's Brain, And the Children Shall Lead and Attack of the Space Hippies (possibly not the real title) as some particularly potent stinkers.

I believe the hippy episode was called "The Way To Eden."

I still have fond memories of the first time I watched "Miri." I mean, what other show could feature dialogue like "Bonk! Bonk! On the head!"
Laughing

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Zoltar on Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:54 am

Patrick wrote:I believe the hippy episode was called "The Way To Eden."
Right you are. I prefer my title. Very Happy

Patrick wrote:I still have fond memories of the first time I watched "Miri." I mean, what other show could feature dialogue like "Bonk! Bonk! On the head!"
Laughing
No blah blah blah!

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Patrick on Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:58 am

Zoltar wrote:
Patrick wrote:I still have fond memories of the first time I watched "Miri." I mean, what other show could feature dialogue like "Bonk! Bonk! On the head!"
Laughing
No blah blah blah!

It seems to me "no blah-blah-blah!" is supposed to be Kirk's line, in response to the kid's chanting "blah-blah-blah" at him. You can't skip over important moments of dialogue like that, Zoltar. Laughing

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Zoltar on Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:00 am

Patrick wrote:It seems to me "no blah-blah-blah!" is supposed to be Kirk's line, in response to the kid's chanting "blah-blah-blah" at him. You can't skip over important moments of dialogue like that, Zoltar. Laughing
You're saying the blah blah blah loses its dramatic punch when out of context? Razz

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Patrick on Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:46 am

Zoltar wrote:
Patrick wrote:It seems to me "no blah-blah-blah!" is supposed to be Kirk's line, in response to the kid's chanting "blah-blah-blah" at him. You can't skip over important moments of dialogue like that, Zoltar. Laughing
You're saying the blah blah blah loses its dramatic punch when out of context? Razz

No.
I'm saying "blah-blah-blah" loses its dramatic "bonk! bonk! on the head!" when it's out of context.
lol!

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Dave Webb on Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:57 am

Nick Barlow wrote:
My main question after watching any tends to be 'just how did organisations as fundamentally incompetent as Star Fleet and the Federation get to grow so large?' However, given how useless and one-dimensional almost every other species they encounter turns out to be, it could just be that they're the least incompetent.

They aren't incompetent. Well, not until you need to show how heroic a small group of people are by having them succeed where a larger organisation has already failed. Then they're pants-on-head useless.

The same holds true for every other species. It's like the poor Klingons, who were a fearsome empire of bad-assery until they ran into Captain Kirk. Post-Kirk they were retconned into being misunderstood Honourable Warriors, and not thinly disguised Communists after all. I was just surprised that they weren't further shown to be Living In Harmony with Nature too, which they might still be. If your definition of "living in harmony with nature" includes braining it with sticks and eating it while it's still moving.

The problem every fictional group has is that if you want to tell your story about a small number of people and then want to have Epic Stories, you have to make the smaller group be really really good or the large organisation be institutionally incapable.

That sort of thing is taken care of in DS9 when they have Sisko booted up the food chain so he can't personally win the Dominion War (even though he still sort of does). Arguably more satisfying solutions exist in B5 (where the struggle has more of a real cost and moves out of the realms of small group vs universe and into politics) and Firefly/Serenity, where the story concerns the efforts of a small group who aren't necessarily supercompetent and who want to actively avoid the attentions of a large organisation.

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Zoltar on Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:37 pm

Dave Webb wrote:If your definition of "living in harmony with nature" includes braining it with sticks and eating it while it's still moving.
Which does sound like the universal Klingon philosophy.

Dave Webb wrote:The problem every fictional group has is that if you want to tell your story about a small number of people and then want to have Epic Stories, you have to make the smaller group be really really good or the large organisation be institutionally incapable.
Ah, Stupid Admiral/Commodore Syndrome. I think this is the real reason Kirk couldn't stay an Admiral in the films, he was in danger of becoming infected by this.

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Patrick on Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:04 pm

Zoltar wrote:
Dave Webb wrote:The problem every fictional group has is that if you want to tell your story about a small number of people and then want to have Epic Stories, you have to make the smaller group be really really good or the large organisation be institutionally incapable.
Ah, Stupid Admiral/Commodore Syndrome. I think this is the real reason Kirk couldn't stay an Admiral in the films, he was in danger of becoming infected by this.

Hmm. I seem to remember Kirk was infected by the tear of a rather petulant woman while still captain. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just sayin', if the theme was being affected by something that "de-evolved" humanity, Kirk wasn't entirely immune to that.

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Dave Webb on Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:12 pm

Zoltar wrote:Ah, Stupid Admiral/Commodore Syndrome. I think this is the real reason Kirk couldn't stay an Admiral in the films, he was in danger of becoming infected by this.

Sort of.

TOS has a value system that is keyed to the individual. It's all about the Frontier - something that is supposed to be a big part of the American psyche: that there's a new stretch of land to be discovered and tamed, that one person can make all the difference, and that the real test of what it is to be a man and/or human only comes on the edge of civilisation. That's Kirk and his starship, always moving on because it gets boring when people start putting up towns.

It's also interesting to note how anti-Enlightenment the show is. Intellect is portrayed as being flawed, always needing to be tempered by emotion (McCoy, as the heart) and the Ego (because what else is Kirk?). Of course, Kirk is nowhere near as effective without Spock...but curiously they both seem to manage without McCoy.

So if we're going with the frontier spirit and with a bit of rugged individualism then you can't have an effective and useful Big Government looking over everyone's shoulders. Which is why Kirk loves it out amongst the stars and well out of the way of Starfleet. He's almost as opposed to Big Government as a Regan era Republican.

Doctor Who, on the other hand, says that it's perfectly fine to drop out and wander around other people's cultures just sort of dabbling in stuff. It says that science is brilliant but you don't want to put all your faith in technology. It says that reason, and the application of same, is the best way to solve problems and no one needs to be thumped, or snogged, to get things done properly.

And it also says that at the end of the day, if you really need something done, it's perfectly alright to reqwire someone's culture so they'll do your fighting for you.

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Zoltar on Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:45 pm

Patrick wrote:Hmm. I seem to remember Kirk was infected by the tear of a rather petulant woman while still captain. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just sayin', if the theme was being affected by something that "de-evolved" humanity, Kirk wasn't entirely immune to that.
Bit of a different sort of infection than Stupid Admiral Syndrome, that was the illness of becoming a dope when you outranked whomever the Captain was of the TV series in question. Besides, Kirk overcame those tears by apparently already having promised his heart to his spaceship didn't he? Interesting cure, that. Smile

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Zoltar on Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:00 pm

Dave Webb wrote:Sort of.

TOS has a value system that is keyed to the individual. It's all about the Frontier - something that is supposed to be a big part of the American psyche: that there's a new stretch of land to be discovered and tamed, that one person can make all the difference, and that the real test of what it is to be a man and/or human only comes on the edge of civilisation. That's Kirk and his starship, always moving on because it gets boring when people start putting up towns.
Yes, that was very Kirk.

Dave Webb wrote:It's also interesting to note how anti-Enlightenment the show is. Intellect is portrayed as being flawed, always needing to be tempered by emotion (McCoy, as the heart) and the Ego (because what else is Kirk?). Of course, Kirk is nowhere near as effective without Spock...but curiously they both seem to manage without McCoy.
I don't know whether that was intentional or merely down to the popularity of Kirk and Spock. Also, Kelley seemed the sort to not demand his character always be a part of the action.

Dave Webb wrote:So if we're going with the frontier spirit and with a bit of rugged individualism then you can't have an effective and useful Big Government looking over everyone's shoulders. Which is why Kirk loves it out amongst the stars and well out of the way of Starfleet. He's almost as opposed to Big Government as a Regan era Republican.

Doctor Who, on the other hand, says that it's perfectly fine to drop out and wander around other people's cultures just sort of dabbling in stuff. It says that science is brilliant but you don't want to put all your faith in technology. It says that reason, and the application of same, is the best way to solve problems and no one needs to be thumped, or snogged, to get things done properly.

And it also says that at the end of the day, if you really need something done, it's perfectly alright to reqwire someone's culture so they'll do your fighting for you.
Well, for all his experience, Kirk is just a man. The Doctor, by his own nature, sees a much bigger picture than a mortal man does.

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Dave Webb on Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:27 am

Zoltar wrote:
I don't know whether that was intentional or merely down to the popularity of Kirk and Spock. Also, Kelley seemed the sort to not demand his character always be a part of the action.

To be honest, I don't know either. I think you might be right. Bill Shatner was Leading Man material through and through, Leonard Nimoy slightly less so, but DeForest Kelley seemed to have been considered a Character Actor even though on those occasions where McCoy takes centre stage Kelley acts up a storm.

As does Nimoy, hence his subsequent difficulty in divorcing himself from the character he played.

Zoltar wrote:Well, for all his experience, Kirk is just a man. The Doctor, by his own nature, sees a much bigger picture than a mortal man does.

I don't agree. The Doctor says he does, but we know (Long Game/Boomtown/Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways) that he doesn't know everything or see everything. We also know that he's got a very human tendency to fits of pique (Father's Day/The Waters of Mars/Any Troughton or Hartnell story where he can't get his own way).

Also, I think Kirk would baulk at being called "just" a man (and there are probably dozens of ladies galaxy wide who he'd sincerely hope would back him up on that score). I also think that Kirk would point out he's a bit of a champion of free will and that he'll happily defy gods - lonely or otherwise - in order to preserve his self determination.

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Re: To Boldly Go - all things Trek

Post by Zoltar on Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:33 am

Dave Webb wrote:I don't agree. The Doctor says he does, but we know (Long Game/Boomtown/Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways) that he doesn't know everything or see everything. We also know that he's got a very human tendency to fits of pique (Father's Day/The Waters of Mars/Any Troughton or Hartnell story where he can't get his own way).
Oh, I never said he sees everything - just a bigger picture. A hero who sees and knows all would be boring.

Dave Webb wrote:Also, I think Kirk would baulk at being called "just" a man (and there are probably dozens of ladies galaxy wide who he'd sincerely hope would back him up on that score). I also think that Kirk would point out he's a bit of a champion of free will and that he'll happily defy gods - lonely or otherwise - in order to preserve his self determination.
Well, of course he'd scoff at me for saying that, he's James T. Kirk. I'd expect no less. But even so, he is a man moving in linear time (usually) and living out just one lifetime, which is all my dubbing him "mortal" was meant to suggest.

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