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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekly Geeking

This week’s theme was suggested by Renay. She says, “I thought it would be cool to ask people to talk about other forms of story-telling.”

This week’s theme is once again one you could approach several ways. You might want to tell about the forms of storytelling (aside from books) you love. Maybe you enjoy TV shows, movies, music, narrative poetry, or Renay’s favorite, fanfiction. You could give us an overview of a type of storytelling, such as listing your favorite movies. Or you might pick a more specific story, one particular favorite. I just finished watching an episode of Lost, for example, so I could tell why I enjoy that series, or I could get more specific and focus on one character’s personal story. Some people might post youtubes of the songs whose stories they find brilliant, or some might share family bedtime stories.

I like movies. I watch a lot of movies these days, thanks to no cable, but plentiful netflix movies. Actually my sneaky reason for getting netflix at all was to watch Star Trek. From the time I watched The Next Generation with my mom as a child, I have been a Trekkie. I can't possibly afford to buy all of the seasons of all of the series, and even renting them from a movie store (supposing the movie store even has all of the title available) is also cost-prohibitive. But thanks to the beauty of netflix, my husband and I have watched the majority of the movies, the majority of The Original Series, and we are now on season 3 of The Next Generation.

Granted, our viewing has been interspersed with many other movies, but we do watch a lot of Trek. I'm not going to lie. The concept has its flaws. The humans in the series are so perfect at times, they seem completely unrealistic. Plotlines get recycled (and in the case of TOS, costumes, sets, and props as well). The science is fuzzy. But even time I get annoyed at weak story-telling, an episode comes along that makes me love the series all over again.

Turnabout Intruder, where Kirk is forced to switch bodies with a woman and experience the frailties that go along with it. The Trouble With Tribbles, that classic of camp, where tiny fuzzball creatures that are born pregnant, multiply like crazy, coo when petted and hiss when close to Klingons, expose a Klingon plot to carry out dastardly deeds. (Best line ever: Kirk: well, where are the tribbles, Mr. Scott? Scotty: Oh, I beamed them onto the Klingon ship, where they'll be no tribble at all.)

My favorite character on Next Generation was always Data, hands down. Data is an android, who like Pinocchio and the Tin Man before him, just wants to be human. I think some of the most powerful episodes are about his quest to be more human. His first real test was in Measure of a Man, when an ambitious scientist wants to declare Data property, and then experiment on Data in order to create more androids. Data, with Picard's impassioned assistance, wins the fight, but when he creates a daughter, Lal (The Offspring), the Federation scientists are back again, trying to take away Lal in order to study her. Data insists she is his child, and that he cannot give her up. The ending of that episode makes me cry every time I see it.

There are plenty of other wonderful subplots, delightful heroes, villians and assorted characters I deeply love in this series, but can't possibly mention in the interest of not writing an entire thesis at 12:30 in the morning. I like Star Trek because it is optimistic about the future and humanity's ability to overcome present-day troubles. It imagines that one day racism, classism, in fact the need to use money will be things of the past. I like it, because Star Trek is really examining present-day issues from a science fiction perspective. When Kirk encounters two aliens that hate each other so much they've been hunting each other for thousands of years, long after their respective species have died, because one is black on the left side, white on the right side, and the other has the opposite coloring, we are looking at the futility of hating others based on their skin color. When Riker falls in love with an androgynous alien who confesses that although her culture forbids it, she identifies as female and loves him back, what we are really exploring is the nature of gender, love, and those who deviate from the "norm".

Ahem. Let me get back to my normal every day NON-GEEK rants. And case you were wondering, no I haven't gone to a convention in Star Fleet regalia. Although I did dress up as a Vulcan one year for Halloween. Yeah I know I looked hott as a Vulcan. Thanks for saying so.


Becky said...

I grew up watching Star Trek the Next Generation and was very frustrated when it stopped airing as reruns on regular tv. (I don't have cable either.) Luckily, I picked up the series used. :) I haven't watched all three seasons of the Original Series, but I have seen *most* of the three seasons. (Dad owns those.) And we've only got a few discs left. Good fun all around :) Though my least favorite episode is the one where Spock sings.

Kim L said...

becky-I used to watch Next Generation reruns on regular TV all the time! Those were the best. They are a lot of fun, despite some of the really campy episodes. Oh well, its part of the fun :-)

Stephanie said...

LOVE the picture!! But I'm afraid to admit I'm not much of a Star Trek fan.

I love Netflix! I was a bit skeptical at first, but it's turned out to be a wonderful service!

Trish said...

I love it! Love the eyebrows especially. :) I tried to tell my sister a few years ago that she spelled "hott" wrong--she said, "Oh Trish, when did you get so old!" I was probably 24 at the time. Now I see hott everywhere. Sheesh!

Never seen Star Trek (other than bits and pieces).

Melody said...

Love the pic, Kim! Like Stephanie, I'm not much of a Star Trek fan. Maybe Star Wars? ;P

Nymeth said...

lol, you do look great as a Vulcan!

Heather Johnson said...

Hello from a fellow Trekkie! Great post. ;) By the way, have you watched the movie TREKKIES? It is absolutely hysterical. I think my favorite part was the dentist who decorated his office like Star Trek and had his employees where the outfits to work (or was that in Trekkies II)?

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

My family and I loved, loved, loved to watch Star Trek Next Generation. Even the dog knew when the commercials were based on the music, because he would always jump up. Watching Star Trek was a ritual in our family. Although, I've never gone so far to dress up, although we went to a convention once. Unfortunately, my husband hates it, so I'll be lucky if I get the chance to watch these again.

Debra D said...

The Next Generation was the best! In part because of Patrick Stewart. *swoon* (Wow I'm feeling old).

I guess I'm officially an ex-Trekker now (recovering?). I have fond memories though, and keep my communicator badge in my jewelry box.

Kim L said...

stephanie-netflix is a miracle, isn't it? I would be very much lost without it.

trish-I love the eyebrows. I have light eyebrows to start out with, so lots of makeup made them pointy.

melody-thanks. I'm a fan of Star Wars as well, although I have never dressed up as any of the characters.

nymeth- :-)

heather johnson-I have not seen Trekkies, but it is actually in my Star Trek queue. I'm sure I will like it. I loved Galaxy Quest, another thinly veiled spoof of Star Trek.

natasha-that is too funny about your dog! And if you get netflix, then you have a good reason to see Star Trek again, right? Right!

debra d-I love Patrick Stewart. And I totally have (somewhere still I bet) a Starfleet Academy pin.

Maree said...

Great pic! I wouldn't call myself a Trekkie, but I do like a good dose of Star Trek. My favourite episode of TNG was from series five _ Darmok. I loved the use of language and metaphor in that episode. Now, that was storytelling!

Susan said...

Yaay! A fellow trekkie, and *sigh* of the original series, too!! yaay again! The Trouble with Tribbles :-) one of my the picture of you, you hottie Vulcan! wow. great post, and also - your book arrived, thank you! Safe and sound, now on my 1% challenge pile to read later this year.

Alice Teh said...

Love that pic, Kim! I used to watch Star Trek and was a big fan. I can only do that finger thing with my left hand. Still practicing with my right. LOL.

Kim L said...

maree-that was an excellent episode! I think Star Trek, while there were definitely less than stellar episodes, had quite a few stand out episodes!

susan-heehee. I would have never imagined at the time that I would be willing to post that picture online, but it fits the post so well. I'm glad to hear your book arrived! Even better that it fits with a challenge.

alice-its amazing how hard it can be to do the Vulcan hand thing. I have trouble with it with my left hand.