Posts tagged ‘Star Trek’

Dystopia, again.

Star Trek is, on some level, deeply disturbing.

Sure it is a utopian dream, mankind stands united, there’s equality for everyone, and peace.

But there are dark undertones, that shouldn’t be dismissed.

Transporters for one are murder machines. You’re scanned, atom per atom, subatomic particle per subatomic particle, all thought patterns included. Then a copy of you is materialised someplace else, and the original you is destroyed.

The fact that this also opens the door of manipulating your very thought patterns also exists here.

But we aren’t there yet.

Gladly.

The computer on the Enterprise (1701 and onward), Voyager, Defiant, DS9, etc. IS ALWAYS LISTENING.

You just start an inquiry at the computer with “Computer,” followed by what ever you need or want.

That in itself seems benign, until you consider, that the computer is listening to everything you say.

All day, every day, eaves dropping on every conversation, judging whether you are addressing it, or just mention the word “Computer”. (As in, for example “The computer erased all my mewe porn.” “Again?” “Yeah, have to tell the computer to stay out of my holodeck library.”)

It would be rather easy to write a program into that computer, designed to report anything that opposes certain dogmas. (As in, for example “We have to eliminate every last trace of the borg, these oppressive totalitarian techno freaks need to die!” “Dude, they’re a species, you can’t genocide them!” “Well, if you’re so for equality, get assimilated then!” “But that would mean losing my individuality!” “Did anyone ask the already assimilated drones whether they wanted to become borg? No? Then let the Borg die!” – one of them is getting auto reported for genocidal thought, or the other one for having a too lax attitude against the enemy)

Doctor Patient confidentiality is virtually nonexistent here. Sure, the doctor isn’t going to tell the captain about the rash of space herpes coming from lieutenant Dickins, but the computer is ALWAYS EAVES DROPPING!

We are here.

People put Alexas and other such devices in their homes, and essentially bugged their homes.

It doesn’t need to go as far as being reported for wrong think (and it doesn’t matter whether you’re left or right in that scenario). But there is a corporation listening in on everything that goes on, collecting data, selling it. So you can be better advertised to, so pharmaceutical companies can target your everyday ailments, so authorities can better keep track of you, so you become a thoroughly transparent being.

A revenue source.

A pawn.

If I lived in Star Trek, I’d hack into the computer and disable all listening hardware in my quarters by frying them with a nice jolt from the EPS conduits. Oh and, the communicator would stay in a soundproof box at the door.

Take care, and throw that Alexa shit out the window,

A.

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Reboots…

Normally when you talk about a “reboot”, you would assume someone tells you to turn off your computer and turn it back on.
Usually that advice is given if something has gone awry.

So why on earth do you reboot things then that hadn’t gone horribly wrong?

There is another saying in the tech-community: NEVER TOUCH A RUNNING SYSTEM.

This applies to the kind of reboot I want to adress here.

Movies / Series.

Let’s go to my favorite domain here: Star Trek.
Star Trek, the original Series, was doing perfectly fine (now)! Three seasons, one animated series and six movies. (If you take away the slowMotion Picture it’s still five)

It didn’t need a reboot!

I saw Star Trek (2009) and I must say I’m torn. As a movie, all by itself, it’s wonderful. Great characters, nice (dull) story, a shitload of action and CGI.
Nicely done, great acting.
But as a Star Trek movie – FAIL

I’m not going to examine the fails on a Star Trek level, just watch TOS, TAS and the original movies (again, let’s exlude the Motion Picture; Start with what I call the “Trilogy”: Star Trek II, III and IV, as they build up on one another), and then compare the new movies with them.
Suffice it to say, I didn’t watch Star Trek 2 Into Darkness. (or Dorkness) And I don’t miss it.

They made a “prequel” to the Alien franchise, and it sucks ass in that context. It’s nice (with a crapzillion questions left open) as a standlone film, but put into sequence/context with the Alien franchise – yuck.

Now they’re going to reboot Stargate (as a trilogy, annoyingly enough)

It makes me sigh.
I’m again torn.
I don’t want to let my hopes and excitement carry me away, just to leave me utterly disappointed (and thusly devastated) like Star Trek 2009 and the Star Wars Prequels.
Can it succeed?
Maybe.
Maybe it will succeed at the Box Office, raking in viewers from all over the place, and leave true fans in a torn position.
Will it stay true to the source material, or will it be a watered down, stale, faded copy of it? (on sparkly photopaper)

Here’s my problem with yet another reboot:
1. – DON’T YOU JERKOFF’S HAVE ANY NEW, ORIGINAL IDEAS??
2. – There will probably be silly youngsters, annoying love subplots (other than the already established Daniel-Sha’ri).
3. – LENSFLARES! Silly explosions.
4. – Another trilogy is unnecessarily forced down our throats. (LotR should’ve been a series of 6 movies, the hobbit a single film. The prequels shouldn’t exist, the original trilogy was fine, Star Trek II-IV was fine)
5. – What ever will be done, someone will be pissed. “History” of a pre-established “universe” is rewritten. Again. Frak.

The problem is, Stargate was perfectly fine, as was Star Trek, but they rebooted it. They ruined a running system. Streamlined it to appeal to ALL audiences. No violence, no sexuality, no uber-nerdiness (sadly), etc.
It’ll be topical to a degree (“current” music; “current” brands like that idiotic Nokia phone 2009 Star Trek; current political issues thinly coated with a SciFi element [talking 9/11 and it’s consequences here] the movie/s will be dated five years down the road).
The original elements of the material’s soul will be faded, or gone completely.

Why?
Because the system has trouble. Not the system “Hollywood” which is broekn. Not the system “Stargate” (or “Star Trek”) which is (are) doing fine.
But the system “SciFi”.
Observing the trends in recent years – SciFi is dying.
Here’s the thing: If something is dying, you can’t revive it with the same thing. Extend the lifetime – maybe. But not revive it.

SciFi is dying, why? Look around you. We have technology that was far beyond SciFi writers/creators imaginations. Cellphones more powerfull then the imagined computer of the old Enterprise (NCC1701, no letter added, and no crappy CGI. Just a fraking model against a black backdrop!).

Are we communicating with Aliens? Alternate Universes or opening timetunnels or beaming? NOPE! We download pictures of pussy (sometimes the feline kind)  and talk to each other about trivial shit (“It’s raining here. – well here it isn’t.”)

Our technology partially caught up with our imagination (Google Glass) and fails to deliver! We’re not interested in the future anymore, since it is here and it isn’t anywhere as cool and shiny as “Star Trek” imagined, not anywhere as gritty and cruel as “Aliens” threatened (with the promise of a dangerous but cool HR Giger Alien race), there is no Sandworm to be ridden, no Cylons (see below) to be fraked (by) and no Centauri to give us Hyperspace gates (Babylon 5 reference FYI).

It’s not enabling us to go to different stars, not in any way at all.

Not even Mars. OUR FRIGGIN NEIGHBOR PLANET INSIDE THE SOLARSYSTEM!
The future is here and in someway it sucks ass. People are disappointed in SciFi and we’re redirecting our attention elsewhere to live our dreams: Fantasy.
Enter LotR & Friends. Unattainable dreams and fantasies – there are NO Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Orcs, etc. WE KNOW, and because we know, we can believe. But when you are strikken with uncertainty “Maybe we can find a way to travel the galaxy, and MAYBE there ARE aliens, friendly or not…” but all the while we’re thrown back in obtaining the goal – SciFi as a dream container for our subconscious is in itself “Unobtainium”, fading away into nothingness.
Stop trying to fix SciFi by watering it down, let it descend into the corners of nerd dominated niche’s of society media, and move on.

No reboots.
No prequels.
(Exception: Rebooting the Star Wars Prequels!)

All these reboots do in a grand scheme is water down original material to attract a wider audience, and shine a bright light at the original and how good it was for the true fans of the genre.

Sorry for the long post. Take a cup of tea for the inconvenience.
LLAP
A.

Tea

Star Trek #1

First off, let me tell ypou that I’m a huge Star Trek Fan! I got a lot of the toys as a kid, action figures, phasers and tricorders, models, disruptors, ships – and as you might recall, the original show was giving me plenty of role models as a kid and teen!

You might think if someone said anything negative about Star Trek, I’d get (a little) pissed?
Wrong.
The inconsitencies of these god awful TNG Movies aside (see redlettermedia.com – Plinkett Reviews – Star Trek Reviews, for more on that) there is something that bugged me.

TOS – coming from a cold war mindset, Kirk was at the frontier between Russians Klingons on one side and Chinese/Japanese Romulans/Vulcans on the other.
Good.
He was a hero, he called the shots, he made the policies and politics, and all things aside, next episode was reset to the static line up of the first episode.
Great.

TNG – it was a lot more realistic. Picard followed orders and conscience, more the orders though. It was not as static, there were recurring characters and story archs. He didn’t make policy. He didn’t make politics.
Great..ish. The admiralty and rulers of the federation called the shots and made politics.

DS9 – almost back to form. Sisko and his crew made the politics that influenced both Alpha and Gamma quadrants. Not alone, there was still a lot of admiralty and hirarchy, but it was getting closer to the original.

Voyager – thank you Captain Janeway.
For everything.
There was no admiral, little political hickhack or spy stuff. Just plain and simple Kirkesque policy making.
I loved it. Still do.

But here comes my problem. And I ain’t referring to the failure that was “Enterprise”, no it’s DS9 and VOY.
Did the admiralty and Sisko and his merry men (and women) ever consider the consequences for the Delta Quadrant that would follow the destruction of the dominion?
I picture renegade Jemhadar(sorry if misspelled) forming “micro nations” ruled with guns and violence. Other factions rising from the ashes of the Dominion stranglehold and fighting for power, wielding weapons left behind by the dominion, that were unrevealed and/or dangerous for everybody!?
Holy shit, it’s the fall of the Soviet Union all over, just bigger and way more dangerous!! The power vacuum left by the Dominion could be an entire new series, let’s call it “Star Trek – We fucked up” (ST-WFU).

Still not done, still not done.

The Borg know, by the process of assimiliating Federation personell and ships, about the Dominion, and by extention, of the founders/changelings.
Isn’t anyone, ever concerned they might show up in the Gamma Quadrant, caputre at least one Changeling and “add his biological distinctiveness to their own”?
They could invade every corner of the universe, look like who- or whatever lived there, assimiliate them (technology is stored inside the “Changeling units”) and become the most dominant thing in the entire fraking universe!
The Game is over!
Let’s call this show “Star Trek – We are Fucked” (ST-WRF)
Don’t give me that crap about “the changeling could evade teh assimilation, by forming around the injected nanites!!11oneone” – I’m looking at you nerds, I’m one of you, stop it. Think for a moment.
Capture a changeling, (or) wait for 18 hours until he HAS to rest, drop a bunch of nanites in the sludge and wait for the magic to happen! It would be the T-1000 of the Star Trek Universe that stands up from that jar afterwards.

There are plenty of other instances that made me raise an eyebrow and scratch my head.
But those two are the major problems I struggle with. For now at least (Hence the “#1” at the end of the post title.)

To end this, all I can say is:

Live long and prosper!

Young Adult crap…

…I kow I’m going to make anything but friends with this, but I need to get this out of my system…publicly.

Enough with this “Young Adult” garbage!

Enough with the mostly terrible books, and the almost entirely unstandable film adaptations. Yes, I’m looking at you Twilight crowd, and you Hunger-Games people.

First off, there is NO such thing as a young adult. There are teenagers (Kids basically) and then there are twens (adults). The former are anything BUT adults, and the other are not “young” per se. These movies are made for the tiny margin of people between 18 and 21. Kids who achieved adulthood by not dying, and who aren’t old enough to drink hard liqor in some backwater countries around the globe.

In short, a group of people in desperate need of rolemodels.

I’m all in favor of empowering women, and giving teenagers in general a healthy attitude, but these books and films are (mostly) crap! When I was a kid and a teen and a “young adult”, I was watching MacGyver, Star Trek and James Bond. Those were my rolemodels. Not a teen my age who had more experience than Bond, more brains than MacGyver and Spock combined and more chicks / guys lusting after them than Captain Kirk!

Not only are these characters two dimensional superhero cutouts, empowered with the might and knowledge of an adult writer, in most cases the premise of the scenarios themselves are crap too! Yes. Here comes the Hunger Games Crowd: A society that has the technology and resources to create these idiotic games and setups and surveilance and traps, has the technology/power to FEED FRAKING EVERYONE and have enough for exports! The whole premise is not dystopian but idiotic.

Kids, get GROWN rolemodels. I admit there is a certain lack of adequate female rolemodels out there (at least im comparison with MacGyver, Kirk and Bond), but still, girls, look to WOMEN for guidance, not girls.

You don’t want to be a sixteen year old (that sounds like a fourty something wrote his dialogue) – sixteen is a stupid age. With sixteen you’re full of shit and you have no idea that you are. (If you are in that age range and you disagree, wait ten years and then come talking to me.) As an adult you are full of shit, and you are painfully aware of it. Which makes you a complete person.

If boys wanted to be boys, and girls wanted to be girls, when would they transform into adults? Right, never. At least if they had any say in it. Boys become men, girls become women.
Adjust your rolemodels and ditch the idiotic “Young Adult” concepts.

It is, amongst other things, these crappy “Young Adult” nonsense flicks that distort young people’s view on the world. They feel that they are entitled to stuff. Which they aren’t.

Bring back coming of age flicks, in which a full-of-shit-and-unaware-of-it character slowly realises the ugly truth about him/herself and of the world. Bring (back) adult rolemodels for boys and girls, by showing them men and women who are all they want (and need) to be.

In that respect, take care, especially you young reader, especially you.
A.

Bust this…

Yeah, just another casual nostalgia post.

I recently talked with a colleague about this. It all started with her saying “I used a line my grandma used to say some years ago in reference to her old cheesy movies. They just don’t make movies like this anymore.” she was then revealing that she was referring herself to Ghostbusters.

And I dare say, she is right.

Imagine our beloved Childhood/Youth classic being made (from scratch) today.
It’d be a CGI Frakfest. Think the god-awful Transformers movies, times ten. Just the scene in the library. The register cards blowing out. It was a practical trick, one they’d do it in CGI today. And you’d see it in the expressions on the actors faces. “Look at the register, there are cards blowing out of it. (We’ll add that on the computer)” And the expression would be like “Oh, I am SO surprised. Wow. Such chaos. Such fright.” (insert Doge Meme here)

They just don’t make them like that anymore. You see that with Star Trek.
A CGI-Lensflare-JumpCut-Frakfest. That’d be Ghostbusters 2013/-14. “Peter, look a Ghost!” [jumpcut] [CGI Creep] [Jumpcut] [Lensflare] Peter.

Sickening.

Other movies from that era that were our childhood/youth – deto.

If it would be a more serious topic I’d weep for today’s children. But gladly it is just movies. So I can sit back, pop in a DVD and view good ol’ movies that were GOOD. Focused on story, cheesy effects, practical effects and lot’s of REAL acting. Just look at the (Star Wars) Prequels. Puppet Yoda replaced by CGI in Episode 2 & 3 in ALL shots (in action shots, okay, but also in slow moving ones??) – crap. No “on location” sets, almost everything filmed against a blue screen – dull, boring movements, a lot of standing around, a lot of sitting. When Anakin informed Mace Windu that Palpatine might be Darth Sidious – I would’Ve grabbed a bunch of JEdi and soldiers standing around there in the hangar and RAN to the fucker. But no, because it is all in a studio with limited space and all bluescreen garbage – slowly paced walking.
BORING!

Filming everything againsta blue screen is okay for low budget Fan-made movies/series (like some great Star Trek fan series out there), but for big productions? GET SOME SETS! Real stuff, tangible stuff, interactive stuff. Ghostbuster 2014 would be shot in a blue-/greenscreen set in a studio, the ghosts would look more fake than they did in the 80s and the acting would therefore suck.
There’d be lensflares and jumpcuts to give the illusion of fast pace, but it would leave behind a stale, shallow feeling.

I’m glad that the films were made in 80s and not today. So, take some popcorn, a coke (the softdrink not the white stuff) and enjoy the recordings or DVDs. 😉

A.

The old-friend terror.

I got contacted by an old friend today. It wasn’t about something desperate or really severe, just bland, good, old life. Some chit chat and nostalgic feelings, wanting to meet and catch up.

Now, I live in terror.

Having grown up with Star Trek the original series, MacGyver and Little House, I can’t otherwise! If James T. Kirk, Angus MacGyver or Charles Ingalls and his family, bump into an old friend of theirs – shit hits the fan.
For said friend!
I don’t wish my old friend to be befallen by any ill luck, but I don’t want to be the old friend either…

We all, each and everyone of us, are the protagonists in an individual, life long story. So I AM the old friend! I just hope my old friend isn’t in the least bit like Captain Kirk, MacGyver or Ingalls.

Just to be on the safe side though, I’ll avoid wearing red shirts in the near future…

Give stars a chance…

we all run around all our lives trying to figure out what’s what. From cradle to barge.
You can youse all sorts of access, religion, spirituality, hardcore science, and so on. Of course colorful mixtures of this as well.
You can find the answers you seek in holy scriptures, books, scrolls, or pseudo wise tidbits spewn out be a blogging author of not that well written stories.

Or in SciFi.
Yeah, that’s where the Stars come from. Not some of my weird minded stuff flung in your face. But Science Fiction!

Science Fiction has the unique opportunity to play around. It can’t only tell you what’s what, but also what’s not. It opens unique looks on the world, as SciFi is and always had been, and for the most part always will be, a mirror for the society it originated in.

Take Star Trek for example. Black people, asians, a russian, an obvious american and a scottsman working together!
This is breaking up the restrictions that the 60s had, it took a mirror and distorted the image. Mankind, all of mankind, was united! Facing the wonders of space. That the romulans were a metaphor for the Japanese (and/or Chinese) is and was obvious, but it projected that which the western world didn’t understand outwards into space, keeping mankind united. Klingons replaced soviet russians, projected and maintained the integrity.
Although Kirk didn’t always use the fine art of diplomacy at its full potential, he still avoided all out war with the klingons, and the romulans. Even the gorn.
Star Trek even taught us to expect life where we wouldn’t, and to treat it with respect. (Horta)
All in all, the original series was a mirror, and a reminder that although we might have differences we can still work it out.
In the next generation stakes were even higher, but it was almost always brought to a conclusion with diplomacy. There wasn’t as much punching, jumpkicking and shirtripping involved.
Coming from a time in which more and more nations had a button at their desks for nukes, this message was important to us. There was sacrifice, loss, and also gain. NEw threats emerged on the horizon and were dealt with. The rise of the borg foreshadowed the technological craze we experience these days. If apple came up with a chip that connects you to the “iCollective” – the hipsters out there would run and get assimiliated.
On the other hand it builds up a trust to technology, a hopeful trust that we will find ways to integrate technology into our lives in ameaningful and productive way. People living in the big city, with close to no green areas around them would murder for a holodec.
I know I would. Grab your gear and go skiing in mid July, far away from any mountains.
No problem!
The rest of the Star Trek series is also building up on societal issues. Deep Space Nine is one big culture clash in the beginning and also resolving a great conflict with the largely unknown out there. You can see the changelings als metaphor for these brown nosed weasels out there who turn their allegiance with the wind. Whilst Voyage continues the battle with the technocrazed fools, and needs to find their way home, from a place we didn’t want to got – and at times we all feel amiss in the times we’re finding ourselves in. Back to the good ol’ days? In a way, I see Voayger as the most true to the original as possible.
Plus I’d serve under Janeway every day. 😉

The same goes for other scifi shows. Babylon 5 is trying to coarse us all into a peaceful together, rather than a powerful but conflicted “we rule them all” way. The spiritual component of the show might sometimes be distracting, or for some people out right crap, but it is again an attempt to sho us different views on our own life, our own world. The transformations of the characters, especially Londo and G’Kar, are outstanding, but yet feel natural, they take you along and uplift you along with them. The underlying tone is that you have to prevail in the face of difficulty. And that no matter how important you think you are to the greater good, there is always someone filling the gap should you fall. Takes some pressure off ones chest. 😉

Battlestar Galactica (the new SciFi Channel Version) is a great warning about the dangers of over technologizing our society, while it has its merrits, it has its dangers. This show has everything you might want or look for in ANY TV Show. A story arch, politics, action, threat, love, sex, violence, a baby, spirituality and in the end even a monotheistic victory, great hope and chance. The characters are likeable, and understandable. There is trouble, and no hero is the shining piece of gold you think s/he is, we all have a bright, and a dark side. This show more than any other before shine the cold and unforgiving light into the face of society reflected in the mirror. We might differ in our religious beliefs, but at the core, no one is just a hero, but a troubled human being, even if you aren’t a human being. So stop over diefying your war heroes and see them for what they are – heroic, yes, but still just human. That aside it teaches us that racial, xenophobic hatred is a sure path to destruction as even humans and cylons need to learn to get along, and even mingle.
With all the layers and sub layers in this show it is hard to explain, just watch the show in awareness of real world events (of the time it was written and produced), and you see the reflection of reality, and how you, I and everyone else, have to overcome certain problems we as a people and society have.

Although Stargate is the least inspiring one in my list, it is still a wonderful, wonderful mirror of the world we live in! Mirroring the rightousness a certain global superpower displays when dealing with threats and how it slowly but definitely drifts off into an international think-tank, how we can overcome threats on global scales with ways other than total war, as displayed by many nations currewntly. It even dares to touch down on holy wars, trying to combat that particular threat with science, rather than all out war, eventhough the religous nuts in the series try to drag everyone into such an all out war.
Mirroring the petty politics that are going on – despite of greater things at risk. For small, unimportant in the grand scheme, political or financial advantages, some people risk the fate of the world.

Sure, this list lacked Star Wars so far, but only because you’d have to make the distinction between the old trilogy (Episode 4-6) and the new one (1-3). in the old you see ancient beliefs that carefully introduce you to a different world view than what is given at the beginning of the trilogy, the fight between Obiwan and Darth Vader is slower paced and in many ways more epic than the one in the new trilogy, for the simple fact that it should display the ancient weight of the Jedi belief, and both men have aged. Yoda never uses a lightsaber, but educates Luke to use his mind and the force, rather than actual violence and weaponry. Comradery and Friendship overcome obstacles.
The new triology falls short of this. But together with the new Star Trek Films it is a perfect mirror of our times. Sloppy written, fast paced, action packed and perfect for everyone with ADHD. But the badly written films are still a perfect mirror, not only does it serve the need of people who have attentionspans shorter than the duration of subliminal advertising, it also showcases the general confusion we as a society suffer. The fast paced action does as well.
All the time we are bombarded with information, images, sounds, smells, we take our work mentally home with us, bills in the mail, more advertising in the mail, flickering screens in our pockets, on our desks and then theres TV and the movies. Bombarded, distracted and confused – just as these movies. For the sake of the informational clusterfuck I’ll even add Transfoermers here. Bad dialogue, bad plot, bad movie, fast paced, one dimensional characters…thats reality in the mirror, folks!

I’m not firm with Dr. Who, as the episode I saw were bugging me more than they satisfied. But on a certain level they resonated, but I haven’t found the time to get into it.

So all in all, I only can say – give Stars a chance. Watch some series, movies, with the word “Star” in the title. Or other SciFi shows. My explanations on why these things matter so much, at least in my opinion, are by far not complete. But it would exceed my time, blog-space and my will to extend them further. By watching these shows, at least a few episodes, you’ll catch my drift. Sometimes you need an entertaining mirror to see the current condition of the world. Which is partly why I am immensely sad that true SciFi is dead these days.
Remember Blood & Chrome the Battlestar prequel? Cancelled before it hit the air, because SciFi is dead. The SciFi channel even renamed itself into SyFy in demonstration of that fact. But SciFi isn’t pure escapism, since, after all, it is a mirror of the world as it is/was at the time it was created.

Until the next time: may the force be with you, live long and prosper, the corps is mother – the corps is father, so say we all!

A.