Star Trek, Again
Posted by deckard47 on May 7, 2009
So I lied. Like James Kirk! The NYT also has a review up of the new Trek movie, and although it’s not a great review, it does one thing right. It doesn’t spend a lot of time bemoaning the loss of Star Trek‘s vaunted “liberalism” and penchant for “discussing deep stuff.” Most places that have reviewed it so far have been talking about the lack of this quality. Really?
Were we watching the same series, guys? Because I remember a series full of sexism, racism, and general stupidity, a series that was the blandest, most inoffensive kind of TV/LA liberalism. TNG and DS9 (let’s not talk about Voyager, ok?) both kicked the “sensitive” part of Star Trek up a notch (and hey, I love listening to Patrick Stewart rave about the Prime Directive as much as anybody, but that show was “liberal” only because it couldn’t be bothered to be too conservative), and DS9 actually had some cool ideas about government, war, revenge and other things (thank you, late-series Ron Moore episodes).
BUT. Star Trek has never been a place where I go to for my social commentary or liberal escapism. I might go there for those things, if I was Senator Joseph McCarthy or something. It’s a joke, and a bad one, to pretend that however “deep” or “liberal” the new film is or isn’t, it’s a fall from previous heights. Go back and watch the original series: it’s awful, awful stuff, and people who say it was good either haven’t seen it (often a lot of media types, who realize that they have to pretend that Star Trek was good, because it is now a part of ancient, respected pop culture), or are involved, forgiving nerds, like me. And trust me, it sucks a lot. Except when it’s used as a long, hilarious Bill and Ted reference. Go back and watch TNG, there is an episode where they actually happen upon a planet full of primitive black people, I think. Look at all of Star Trek: 7 of 9, andbody? This was a show liberal in that compared to horrible racist stuff, it was only middlingly offensive.
And I am so excited to see the movie! I want to see Karl Urban not play a murderous angry angry man, for once. It will be strange. Also, John Cho swordfighting? Yes!