Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

It’s time to reboot Star Trek

November 20, 2006

I had the good fortune to see an episode of the original Battlestar Galactica recently. I’d always heard it was pretty bad and wasn’t expecting much – but I was still struck by just how terrible it was. The Battlestar Galactica currently in its third season bares little resemblence to that poor scifi of decades past. The new one is brilliant more often than not – the writing is tight and socially relevant, the actors bring the characters alive, and the drama is gripping. The old one was just cheesy.

This contrast made me think about the original Star Trek, although this was a case where the reverse is true. The original series, while having no shortage of cheese, still managed to be charming. It’s the follow-ups that have progressively gotten worse, to the point that the franchise is now effectively dead. It’s been run into the ground by mishandling, poor writing, and cheese. It long ago abandoned the elements that made the original so charming, and instead lost itself in technobabble and incoherent plotlines. Especially after Voyager and Enterprise (not to mention the last few movies), salvaging any part of the morass that is Star Trek seems impossible even for the most skilled of writers. Perhaps more depressingly, it doesn’t even seem worth the effort.

Unless we were to give it a Battlestar Galactica style makeover.

So let’s reboot it. Go back to a clean slate. Re-imagine Roddenberry’s vision from the ground up and start over from the beginning. Let’s take that part of Star Trek that fans have loved for over forty years and make

Re-cast Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, etc. Maybe even shake up the bridge crew with a different character or two. Fans will bitch, but if it serves the story, then so be it. Make sure every one of those characters a thorough backstory. In the original Star Trek, they were memorable for their personalities, but all the characters were pretty much flat and one dimensional. Let’s see how they got to be where they are, or at least tell a story that’s self-consistent. Let’s have characters that evolve over time and are changed by their experiences.

Re-think the universe. Star Trek aliens always suffered from a monoculture, where entire races would have one personality shared between them. Let’s get away from that and flesh out some of these civilizations – or minimally, that of the Klingons and Vulcans. Both of them should have a culture and history at least as diverse as Earth’s. Their politics, and the politics of the Federation, should be at least as complex as ours. And while the show doesn’t have to embody hard sf, it should at least have internally consistent physics – it should decide on how warp drives, transporters, and replicators work and stick to that.

I could continue, but I’m sure you get the idea. Battlestar Galactica shows what can be done when a concept is given the treatment is deserves. Don’t you think it’s about time Star Trek got the same?


Yoda Rap!

July 21, 2006

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They’re heroes in a half shell, and they’re green!

July 20, 2006

Let’s just face it. The last time anyone had a good idea for a kid’s show was the 1980’s. On the bright side, those were some freaking sweet shows back then – and it’s nice to see them still get tribute.

The only real question in my mind now; will Vanilla Ice be doing the soundtrack of the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Turle Power!

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The Flintstones… brought to you by Winston Cigarettes

July 16, 2006

This is kind of amazing. Tpday we think of The Flintstones as a kid’s show, but when it launched it was actually targetted at adults – which really shows how far our culture has moved in the last 40 years (It was actually the first series to show a man and his wife sharing a bed). It’s interesting then, that although TV content was so tightly regulated in the 60’s, this is the kind of advertising that supported it:

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What’s the sexiest thing ever created?

July 13, 2006

If you said anything other than “Princess Leia’s Metal Bikini”, you’re wrong.

There’s no doubt that the sight of Carrie Fisher in the gold sci-fi swimsuit was burned into the sweaty subconscious of a generation of fanboys hitting puberty in the spring of 1983. But, remarkably, it’s women for whom the costume holds the most enduring meaning today.

“I saw the movie when I was seven and I was absolutely thrilled by Leia — what a wonderful character,” says Amira Sa’id, a dancer who has used a Leia bikini in her performances. “Jabba put her into the outfit to humiliate her, but Leia was such a strong character, her will made the costume empowering.”

The website, Leia’s Metal Bikini, features over a hundred female fans who model the costume, ranging from some who could almost pass for Fisher, to others who look nothing like the actress. Many weren’t even born when the movie came out. Another site offers instructions on making your own costume, which involves finding a “Leia-shaped person” and plastering her torso with modeling clay.

Hell’s yeah.

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Monty Python meets Star Wars

June 27, 2006

Simply Brilliant.

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When Politicians talk about video games

June 27, 2006

Jon Stewart does what he does best, point out what jackasses they are. And it’s so well deserved.

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Is Jon Stewart killing democracy?

June 23, 2006

From a short blurb in the Washington Post:

Two political scientists found that young people who watch Stewart’s faux news program, “The Daily Show,” develop cynical views about politics and politicians that could lead them to just say no to voting.

The results showed that the participants rated both candidates more negatively after watching Stewart’s program. Participants also expressed less trust in the electoral system and more cynical views of the news media, according to the researchers’ article, in the latest issue of American Politics Research.

I’m just going to go out on a limb here and suggest that rather than blame Jon Stewart for fostering cynism, we should maybe blame the damn politicians that give Stewart so much fodder?

Let’s face it, if people are cynical about politics it’s because there’s a lot to be cynical about, Jon Stewart just points it out to us.

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Good News Everyone!

June 23, 2006

“Futurama” gets new life on Comedy Central

“Futurama” has a future.

Comedy Central has resurrected the former Fox animated series from “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. At least 13 new episodes will be produced — the first since the series’ original run from 1999-2003.

The new batch is part of a deal the cable network made with 20th Century Fox Television last year to pick up syndicated rights to the existing “Futurama” library of 72 episodes. Comedy Central also had an option to air any new episodes produced.

New and old episodes will begin airing in 2008 on Comedy Central. Actors Billy West, Katey Sagal and John DiMaggio have agreed to return as voices for “Futurama.”

Screw you Fox – Futurama lives! Hooray!

Network President: “Greetings gentlemen. You already know my execubots. Executive Alpha, programmed to like things it has seen before.”
Executive Alpha: “Hey, hey, hey.”
Network President: “Executive Beta, programmed to roll dice to determine the fall schedule.”
Executive Beta: (rolls dice) “More reality shows!”
Network President: And Executive Gamma, programmed to underestimate middle America.”
Executive Gamma: “It’s funny, but is it going to get them off their tractors?”

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The age old question is finally answered

June 10, 2006

Who would win in a fight, the Enterprise or a Star Destroyer?

Well it’s an age old question if you’re a geek anyway. The editing could be a little smoother, but you have to appreciate the effort.

(First shot at embedding a YouTube video here, hope it works)

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