Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, February 17, 2014

Season 1 Overview

This show isn't awful. In fact, there are times when it's great. But there are a hell of a lot of times when it's just okay or downright lousy, and those parts are the most fun to mock. I can see where the show is appealing - if you like action, you have the Adventures of Ripped-Shirt Kirk. If you like philosophical ideas that spark discussions between yourself and the Trek fandom, you're in luck there, too. If you like cheap sets and cheesy costumes, hooray! This your show!



I was hesitant to watch TOS initially. It was in syndication, and it would play sometimes in reruns, and I'd watch a few minutes, hoping that it would grow on me. But it didn't until this past summer, when I was facing months of unemployment, fresh art degree in hand, and I needed something to do. I had also been reading Full House Reviewed for years, and it seemed like a creative, straight-forward project that I could duplicate. It forced me to stretch my over-worked creativity muscles, and provided on-going deadlines to keep me on track. What's more, many other readers of that now-famous blog had set up their own reviews of tv shows, and it seemed like a do-able project (unlike Drawing A Day, which I keep starting and stopping). Eventually, I realized that I liked this show best when I could mock it a bit. Examination in that way meant that I could mull over the philosophical elements, but still laugh at Kirk for being a dipshit.

Characters


It took me a while to realize to figure out why I don't hate Kirk. Really, I should. Dude drives me nuts. He leaps without looking, he walks all over protocol meant to keep everyone safe, and I'm fairly certain that he likes to jack it in the engine room while talking to the computer. (Mmmm, Kikerprise. Sex-ay.) I finally determined that he's a lovable doofus. Not like a goofy sidekick "lovable doofus", but the kind of friend who posts drunk photos of himself on Facebook when he's supposed to be working. Despite the fact that he constantly breaks rules and receives pats on the back for it, I feel like he's got a good heart, and that he's a good and loyal friend.
Kirk is connected to two other fictional captains: Horatio Hornblower (from the book series and subsequent films), and Zapp Brannigan from the show Futurama. James T Kirk is based on the Napoleonic sailor Hornblower. In wanting to be as Hermione as possible about this project, I actually read part of the first Hornblower novel. Within the first 25 pages, the 17-year-old Hornblower has been assigned to a ship where he doesn't have any friends and doesn't enjoy his job. He is suicidal in a casual, Holden Caulfield kind of way, and when he is accused of cheating at cards by an older, drunk sailor, he demands a duel to restore his name. He figures he will be pleased with either outcome, as the man he has challenged is a dick, and if that man dies, then Hornblower won't have to deal with him. If Hornblower dies, that's okay too, as the dickish CO will have done the job for him, and he won't have to kill himself. The twist is that their captain has ordered the quartermaster to not load either gun, so everybody just goes back to work. Okay, I see it. Kirk is the Horatio Hornblower of the stars.


Kirk actually inspired the character of Zapp Brannigan, who wears no pants, orders around a hapless underling, and screws everything that moves. Zapp thinks he's a suave motherfucker, and though he's a caricature, and we haven't seen too much of Kirk's bedroom eyes this season, we still have two more seasons to go (plus possibly that animated series and a crapton of terrible films).

Let's go with "sometimes"...

Spock. Spock is the fucking shit. I am also a logically-based creature, and nine times out of ten, his suggestions to Kirk are the ones that I would go with because they typically make more fucking sense than whatever crap Kirk comes up with to fix a bad situation. He seems to actually enjoy the company of his friends, and I don't think he could ever be driven to be disloyal to them. The only times I have a problem with Spock is when some alien with a more-advanced culture tells the humans that they are inferior creatures, and Spock agrees sanctimoniously. Then I'd like to bitch-slap him through the screen. I mean, come on. If humans are so inferior, then why does he spend so much time in their company? Does he consider himself to be the only scientist on a ship full of white mice? Get over yourself, dude.


I love Bones McCoy. I do, in fact, love the aging curmudgeon (Lemon-Matthau FTW, y'all). Bones is a good doctor, with a bit of an ego, but he's funny as hell. A little unprofessional at times (why does he keep Saurian brandy in his office?), he often trades racist remarks with Spock. I know, it's a bro thing. They're busting each other's chops. Still, I get a bit irritated when Kirk is off doing some dumbshit thing and gets lost or captured or something, and something else on the ship takes precedence, and he yells at whoever is in charge, because they're not saving Kirk. I'm waiting for the moment when one of those people turns to him and yells "OMFG, McCoy! I have other shit to do, and dumbass got himself into this mess! I know you're in love with him, but sit your ass down!"


Uhura the Ship Goddess. She's competent, does her job, and only flirts on her downtime. Plus, she's talented and she always looks good. I hope to see more of her in seasons two and three. She only got to go on one away mission, and you don't get to see her do much there. More than that, Nichelle Nichols helped pave the way for People of Color on television. And through her, we learned that MLK was a Trekkie! Yes!


Dude, who doesn't love Sulu? He and Uhura are the most competent bridge officers, plus bonus points: he's played by George Fucking Takei. He doesn't get very many lines or scenes, but when he does, he makes that shit memorable.

Next season we get Chekov, and I'm hoping that means more screen time for my boy Sulu, because who doesn't need more Sulu in their lives?


I almost forgot to add in Scotty, because frankly, he got very little screen time. Most of his scenes consist of assuring Kirk that he can get a job done, but that it'll take far longer to complete then they have time. A lot of his appearances ended up being in conjunction with the drama-creating "Disable the Ship" convention.



Rand. Motherfucking Yeoman Janice Rand. I hate her so much... so fucking, fucking much. It started with the hair. She came onscreen with that hair, and I think I said out loud, "What the hell is that?" It's a half-up, half-down beehive with a basket weave on the front. That hair is inconceivable. It defies gravity, and it makes you wonder, when the hell does she get up in the morning? If her shift starts at nine, does she start weaving at 3 am? It feels like Starfleet would put the kibosh on that because it's so ridiculously unrealistic to do that to one's hair every day. The problem was, it didn't stop with the hair. She was bitchy, too. And whiny. And she shipped herself with Kirk, who couldn't decide if he actually liked her or not. I kept hoping that the scene would come along where she would move awkwardly, and tracker jackers would swarm from her hair and sting her to death. At least she's gone after this season. From what I've encountered online, I'll be seeing her again in TOS films, though thankfully not with that hair. Because the wig was stolen from the set.





And now it's time for some awards:

Worst Dressed: Lenore Karidian from "Conscience of the King"
Girlfriend changed like 6 times over the course of a 50-minute show. Only one dress didn't suck. The others were awful, but nothing tops this fur muff dress with kid gloves, sparkly tights, and Lucite stripper heels. This is fugly. Don't dress like this unless you want random strangers on the internet to mock you.

This is Rand's WTF Face. If  Rand thinks you look ridiculous, you do.
Runners Up: Ruth (Kirk's old love interest) and those Playboy Bunny things, both from "Shore Leave".
Bottom Line: Most of the costumes for this show consist of a weird conglomeration of sixties psychedelia and "futuristic". Definitely not to be considered timeless by any stretch of the imagination, the men were mostly clothed in jumpsuits, and the women were frequently wearing something that showed sideboob, or were oddly shapeless. Plus, with few exceptions, the women all had the same hairstyle:


Funniest Villain: Trelane from "The Squire of Gothos"
An over-enthusiastic collector turns out to be a kid playing with his "toys". Awesome.


Lamest Villain: Dr Adams from "Dagger of the Mind"
Dude was erasing the minds of prisoners for no reason. What the hell was this guy's motivation? Was he trying to impress his super-creepy assistant? Points for dying by his own contraption, though.


Most WTF Episode: "This Side of Paradise"
Spock gets high and bangs a blonde. No. Just no. I guess maybe they wanted to show how drugs can change your personality, but he instantly became this... anti-Spock. I'd like to slap the writer of this episode.



Alien That Looks Most Like a Live-Action Ninja Turtle: The Gorn from Arena
He just does.


Best Use of Budget: The Menagerie, parts 1 and 2
You don't need me to write another paragraph on how I ship myself with this double-parter. We all know it was genius.





Episodes I'd Be Okay With Never Watching Again:


Shore Leave: *waits for episode to get interesting*
*still waiting*
*credits roll*
*sigh*


Space Seed: Khan was the creepiest creep who ever creeped, and I'm grossed out by the fact that they devoted an entire film to this abusive fuck. Not looking forward to seeing him again. Also, slightly weirded out that they picked Dumbledore Cabbagepatch to play him in the new film. I like Dumbledore Cabbagepatch. Khan makes my skin crawl.



The City on the Edge of Forever: All the feels. All of them.

First appearances of enemy races:

Though the Gorn doesn't appear in TOS outside of the episode "Arena", they continue to play a part in the Star Trek universe.

We got to see not only the Romulans, but also the inside of their ship in "Balance of Power".

Klingons, man. Klingons are fucking awesome. They played alien of the week in "Errand of Mercy".





He's dead, Jim: A Death Toll

Total number of Reds killed this season: 4 (Seriously?)

Total number of Blues killed this season: 4

Total number of Golds killed this season: 5


Total number of Mystery-Colors killed this season (no way to tell color): 3


Total number of Enterprise crewmen killed: 16

Total number of civilians killed: 16

(Technically, Gary Mitchell was Lackey Tan, but further research revealed that had they been going with the gold-blue-red combo of the later episodes, dude would have been dressed in Command Gold. We also lost two ships this season: the Antares from "Charlie X", and the Romulan war bird from "Balance of Terror". I didn't include those in the numbers, because I couldn't be sure of the head count. I also omitted civilian numbers where we didn't see those deaths, ie the deaths on the starbase in "Arena", and the "war casualties" in "A Taste of Armageddon". Basically, I only counted civilians when we see their deaths specifically.)

Bottom Line:

There were far fewer Red deaths than I assumed there would be, and far more civvie deaths than I anticipated. Also, Kirk did not attempt to seduce as many women as I'd heard. There were more awesome philosophical ideas discussed, and which were not always concluded by episode's end, making for nice post-episode discussions with other viewers. However, much to my glee, there was also plenty of crap, fake science and God-awful costumes for me to mock.
I may actually miss Rand a tiny bit.

...though probably not.

*******
My friend posted a link to his Facebook page that gave instructions for cereal tea. It sounded horrendous. I decided to try out for you, friends. In the name of science. So you won't have to. You're welcome.
Basically, you crush cereal bits and put them in a tea bag, then steep it in steamed milk. I thought about using a tea strainer, but there's no way in fucking hell that I'm clogging my brand-new TARDIS tea strainer with soggy cereal bits. 


Not gonna lie. This is not my idea of a tasty beverage. I'm not the sort to drink cereal milk. I selected Fruity Pebbles because Raisin Bran tea sounded vomit-inducing.


I think it's kind of fun/funny that part of the project was to use the cereal box to make a new tag. According to my tag, my tea is gluten-free and also contains 11 essential vitamins and minerals, though sadly, I am not certain how my tea is part of a balanced breakfast.


It tasted about how I expected, like warm cereal milk. Or a Fruity Pebble latte. But the taste was very faint, because you aren't supposed to use too much of the crushed cereal in the bag. I imagine that using Cocoa Pebbles or the like would give you something akin to a subtle hot chocolate.
If you get all nostalgic over cereal milk, go for it. The project is kind of a cute one. But I'm switching back to actual tea, thanks.





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