Day 29 - If you could tell Gene Roddenberry one thing, Star Trek related or not, what would it be?

I have an aversion against this type of question, because it seems to be aiming at two possible extremes: adulation and deconstruction. Now I don't have an urge to lecture a dead man I didn't know, and whose creations I enjoyed a lot, about various of his 'isms - that feels presumptuous to me. And the urge to praise someone dead for their efforts is something I get in the case of, say, Van Gogh - the episode Vincent and the Doctor is one archetypical wish fulfillment in that regard - i.e. an artist who died without knowing his creations ever amounted to something. Whereas Gene Roddenberry got all the praise he could have wanted while still alive to enjoy it, and then some, so there's no need.

As this is the last day of the meme, though, and I had to tell the man something, I shall resort the a classic: Live long, and prosper. And he did.


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Day 28 - Your favourite friendship in Star Trek?

I have to separate this into incarnations again.

TOS: the trio, inevitably. And I do mean all three, not Kirk/Spock plus McCoy, but Kirk-McCoy-Spock, with Kirk's friendship with McCoy and McCoy's bickering friendship with Spock as important as the one between Kirk and Spock. Together with the good ship Kirk/Enterprise, this three way friendship is the emotional heart of the show, and the reason it survived that long.

TNG: I was certainly most intrigued by Picard & Guinan. We never got an episode that was all about them, but there were enough scenes to show the depth of the relationship - Picard's complete trust in Guinan's judgment in Yesterday's Enterprise, the way he confides in her in Measure of a Man, while there were also lighthearted scenes (Guinan's wry reaction to Picard's archaelogical geeking out at the start of Rascals). And of course there was the mysterious origin of that relationship. (Shame Time's Arrow, which showed how it started from Guinan's pov, wasn't a good two parter, but they never showed Picard's first encounter with Guinan from his timeline, so that's left free for the imagination.)

DS9: Quark & Dax, and I've written the fanfiction to prove it. Jadzia was the first among the regulars to hang out with Quark socially, not because she was a customer at his bar, and to unabashedly enjoy his company. (This, btw, was when her character clicked for me. The first season had played Dax serene and wise, while the second introduced the Dax who had a flippant sense of humor, loved playing Tongo with Ferengi and flirted with aliens that had open skulls. Not surprisingly, the later version was the one who stuck around.) But it wasn't all having good times together, there was a line to be crossed, which came when he did the weapons of mass destruction dealings with Cousin Gaila, and her reaction was key to giving Quark the courage to go up against Gaila and his psycho client.

Voyager: Janeway & Seven of Nine. This made me from a lukewarm Voyager watcher into, for a while, an avidly interested one. It was a prickly relationship with a great paradox at its start - Janeway forcing individualism on Seven who didn't want it (but whether or not Seven was in a state to make such a decision immediately after being cut off from the Collective was an unanswerable question) -, and their frequent clashes kept me as hooked as their moments of understanding.

Reboot: Kirk & Pike. Reboot!Pike pushed just about every fatherly mentor button I have, and whether he was supportive or chewing Kirk out, he just knew how to handle Jim K., and became apparantly the first person whose opinion really mattered to young Kirk; his inspiration, too. (I'll never fail to regret the reboot wasn't radical and had Christopher Pike remain Captain, with Kirk and Spock serving as his officers.


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Day 27 - What would you cross over with Star Trek?

Somewhat late, because I was away from any internet yesterday until late at night, but here we go. Well, considering I've already written the crossovers in question, obviously I would cross over Star Trek with Torchwood and Doctor Who, just Doctor Who, Babylon 5, Farscape, Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars.

The advantage with Doctor Who especially is that between all the various Doctors and companions on the one hand, and all the various incarnations of Star Trek on the other, you have such a rich, infinite variety of combinations for encounters to choose from, so the two DW crossovers certainly won't be my last. It's also the crossover that's currently do-able on screen, technically (if the BBC and whoever owns Paramount now - Sony? - could ever come to licence terms), and I dimly seem to recall that there was a fannish rumor in the RTD era that a plan for such a crossover existed.

But an on screen encounter would probably not include the character interaction I'm interested in, so never mind that, and let's stay hypothetical and fanfiction minded entirely. Since time travel exists in the Star Trek universe, you can even cross it over with historical fandoms. (Fandoms with immortal characters can bring these into the ST future, of course.) So basically there's no fandom I wouldn't cross over with Star Trek. Infinite variety in infinite combinations, after all.

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Day 26 - Lots of Star Trek Parodies out there. Which do you dig?

The sinister Federation in Blake's 7 just happens to have the same insignia as the one in Star Trek, turned sideways, and in the s3 episode Deathwatch there's even a direct parody of the "space...the final frontier..." speech. More than one B7 fan has speculated that Star Trek is simply government propaganda produced by the Blake's 7 Federation. As amusing as this is, it makes it only just that my (and probably most people's) favourite Star Trek parody makes fun of B7 as well. By Graphtar's Hammer, what a parody!

Yes, of course I dig Galaxy Quest most. Both because it's hilarious and because it's made with such obvious love for the subject. It laughs with, not about the fans. Which is why it rules.

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Day 25 - How has Star Trek changed you?

It taught me the ways of fandom, pure and simple. The only reason why I don't phrase this as "it made me into a fan" is that I fell in love with fictional worlds before Star Trek came along. But it was the first fandom where I actively participated in - as in, discussed the characters and stories, discovered fanfiction, sought out fanfiction (writing fanfic happened in another fandom first, though). Checking out other projects by actors and writers involved with something I'd loved, that was an ST thing first. That sensation that C.S. Lewis describes both in his memoirs and his essay on friendship - the first time you discover more than a common interest, a common joy, one's eyes lighting up at the thought of "you like this, too?" - that was definitely something Star Trek did for me, too.


It also changed me from a "there must only be this one version of a story, and there shall never be another" person to someone who learned that a fictional universe got richer, not poorer, through various additions, even if not all were to my taste. (On both an in-universe level - i.e. several shows - and thinking of fanfiction.)

It was the first fictional 'verse that made me feel protective; I had never felt called to defend anything else I liked before, but come the mid 90s, just about every nonTrek Sci Fi show as labelled "the anti Star Trek" when the reviewers wanted to praise it, and thus it went on for the next decade, and then some. Falling in love with a couple of those other shows as well, I had the constant urge to snarl "no, it's not all reset button and technobabble, and if you'd actually watched, you'd know!", and kept trying to phrase that more politely.

And it definitely shaped me as a fan who, while appreciating dark scenarios and shades of grey, definitely prefers to have a silver lining on that horizon somewhere . In conclusion, it shaped the [personal profile] selenak you know.

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Day 24 - Is there anything about Star Trek that has disappointed you?

Pfff. I don't think the phrasing of the question can get an accurate answer. Or rather: of course there are individual episodes in every single show which I found dissapointing. Or entire storylines. Or lack of storylines and representation (see yesterday). Or movies. But even the movies I didn't like usually have some scenes I enjoyed (the wedding at the start of Nemesis was fine...). Even the storylines I wish they hadn't done (Dukat becomes one dimensional mustache twirling crazy) at times have aspects that spoke to me. (Dukat/Winn; especially the scene where he's temporarily blind and she kicks him out with the pointed reminder of how merciful the Bajorans are).

So has Star Trek, that vast, vast amalgan of so many different creative efforts disappointed me? Not really. Individual aspects, yes, but there was so much more which gave me something, captivated me, spoke to me, that the occasional disappointment was very much outbalanced.


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Day 23 - Is there anything you'd want to change about Star Trek? Why?

Very apropos current news: LGBT representation. TNG tried to do it once metaphorically, and it misfired badly (The Outcast), and there was the probably unintended misfire that was the end of the Beverly/Odan affair in another episode. Neither of which would have been a problem at all if, say, we'd have had a recurring character like O'Brien or Ro with same sex preferences, or the occasional crew member showing handholding or embracing someone of the same sex, etc. (First Contact had the redshirt bridge officer who was meant to be gay - the novelization still has Picard notifying his husband - but guess which dialogue didn't make it on screen?) DS9 did somewhat better with Reunion because while we still got the metaphorical approach via the reassociation taboo, we also got nobody blinking at the fact that both Jadzia and Lenare were female. Indeed Dax has probably the claim of being the first ST on screen, not subtext but textual bi character. (Well, positive character. The Intendant over the Mirrorverse was on screen bi as well, but evil alter egos being other than straight isn't exactly an improvement in the representation department.) But otherwise: zilch. I don't recall anyone from Voyager, either, but then I didn't watch all the episodes. The reboot movie Into Darkness has a bridge officer sitting next to Sulu (when Chekov is doing Scotty's job) who looks like he or she could be meant to be a trans or intergender person (very "masculine" body build but pronounced breasts), and the character doesn't die, so I'm cautiously optimistic in assuming they were going for something other than cis with this crew member.

But still. All the way back when, in the 60s, the fact that the Enterprise had bridge crew members like Sulu (Asian), Chekov (Russian, i.e. from the 1960s American tv audience pov the Cold War enemy) and Uhura (black) was supposed to signal humanity being less prejudiced and more equal in the future. It's a few decades later, and ST spaceships and space stations are still lacking in openly acknowledged LGBT characters in the future, while in the present in the country where ST was/is produced has just become advanced enough that the Supreme Court has decided same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. In other words, the present got there first. And it could easily have been the other way around, if only the production people had shown more initiative and courage in that direction.





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Day 22 - Which Star Trek world would you want to visit at least once?

Well, let's find out by filtering out the non-candidates. Not a planet, but the Q Continuum is canonically a plane of existence which is such a bore that it it drove at least one Q to suicide. ("We've all done the scarecrow!") Ferenginar, which is a planet. has the a lot of rain (the Ferengi evidently don't believe in wasting gold pressed latinum on climate control technology) and isn't good for female visitors anyway (at least until Rom's become Grand Nagus). Vulcan has a lot of deserts (duh), which may be gorgeous to look at but would definitely demand my tourist self trains some more before going on a hike. In my current shape, I'm up for mountains but not weeks in the desert.

Planets in the "maybe yes, maybe no" category: Cardiassia Prime, according to Gul Madred and Jean-Luc Picard, has some archaeologically impressive beautiful ruins along with its current neostalinist architecture. However, if I go there before DS9 ends, I might say the wrong thing to the wrong person and end up interrogated by an Obsidian Order expert, which is no fun. If I go after the end of the show, that wouldn't be a problem, but otoh given all the devastation as a result of the Dominion War would make me feel a disaster tourist. Romulus has a similar problem. A kinder environment than Vulcan but the whole "say the wrong thing, and..." problem during the TOS, TNG, DS9 and Voy era. And then the planet explodes. I'd have to time a visit carefully, but the Romuilans are space Romans and I have a thing for Romans, so I might risk it.

Definitely holiday worthy: Risa is canonically THE holiday planet, but it doesn't seem to offer anything a Club Med on Earth hasn't already in the late 20th century/early 21st one, and, well, been there, done that. Can't do it for a longer time, anyway: I need to do some sight seeing along with my gorgeous nature and spa treatments. Betazed seems to have some nice scenery, definitely has history and has no hang-ups about the human body, but living in the early 21st century has made me paranoid re: privacy due to the NSA already, and I'm not sure whether I'd relax all that much in a planet full of telepaths and empaths. Bajor has great architecture, lots of history, and beautiful scenery, and while at times it comes uncomfortably close to a theocracy, it usually has a civilian government and freedom of speech if we're talking show era. I'd have to avoid the eras where it's either brutally occupied or just recovering from being brutally occupied (that disaster tourism thing again), but ca. season 4 or 5 of DS9 era Bajor would be on my visiting list.

...yes, all in all, Bajor it is!



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Day 21 - Which Star Trek food would you want to try at least once?

Not Klingon Gagh, that's for sure. Bajoran Hasperat, otoh, sounds delicous. Bring it on!


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Day 19 - How did the Star Trek reboot affect you?

It sent me on my most recent (as in, several years ago) TNG, DS9 and Voy rewatch binge. Which sounds as if I didn't like it, but actually I did. Not without complains, but that's certainly true for any ST incarnation. I enjoyed the first movie, and while I had some problems with the second, I didn't hate it the way a lot of vocal online fandom seems to have done. (My original reviews of the reboot movies, each written before I read anyone else's review, are here and here. ) I like the new cast, and since ST is an old hand in going for the multiverse concept of time lines - i.e. there isn't just one - when Nero and Spock Prime arrive in the past, a new time line starts, but the old one still exists, and isn't blotted out of existence - , I thought the reboot concept as done in ST IX was a clever way of on the one hand avoiding the decades of continuity burden for new watchers without, on the other, insulting old ones by declaring the stories they've been following and are attached to don't exist anymore.

However, one thing the reboot movies reminded me of and clarified for me was that Star Trek, as a concept, simply works best on tv, and isn't really made for the cinema. A tv series doesn't have to end in a big space battle or a hero/villain showdown of another type in every single episode. In a movie, unfortunately, producers seem to believe this has to be the case. (With the glorious exception of ST IV: The Voyage Home, where the big dramatics at the end are they save the Earth by having saved the whales.) In a tv show, you can give the spotlight to different characters in different episodes. You can switch between dark episodes and comedy episodes, and in a 90s onwards series, you can do long term character development, not within two hours but within many more. There are some villains show show up for dramatic showdowns, yes, but recurring ones don't have to be defeated in a final way 90 minutes after they've shown up, and you can even investigate their pov thoroughly. All of this is quintessential Star Trek to me.

The movies - and here I'm not just talking about the reboot movies -, otoh, are going for the big Defeat The Bad Guy/Save The Planet/Federation formula in every installment, with the above mentioned exception (oh, and also ST: TMP). The reboots are reasonably good in giving all ensemble members something to do at different points (just compare how poor Beverly Crusher fares in the TNG movies!), but there won't be a Chekov and Sulu centric reboot movie. There can't be. There'll never be a movie equivalent to a "day in the life" episode like Data's Day, or a "breath of air before the storm/feel good" episode like In the Cards. What's more, the demand for dramatic combat scenes at least in executive minds has grown rather than lessened, so I doubt something as charming yet utterly ST like as whale saving will be on the agenda of any Reboot movie any time soon. And then there's the part where the production team all have a Star Wars complex: Star Trek is different from Star Wars, and should be. (There is room for both franchises.)

All this being said? The first reboot movie got a lot of people watching who never were into Star Trek before, and this in turn led to a lot new fanfiction. It revitalized some old school fanfiction writers, too. And I loved reading a lot of those stories - one about Uhura and Gaila, Lunch and other Obsceneties, immediately became one of my favourite ST stories. And, as mentioned earlier, the reboot inspired a massive rewatch on my part, which led to posts on various episodes, which led to discussions with other fans. So as a fan, I definitely benefited from the reboot in various ways.




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Day 18 - If you could be any species in the Star Trek universe, what would you be?

Boringly, I'd be a human. Not because humanity is so great, but because it seems to offer excellent possibilities for the average citizen. The money problem has been solved somehow, so you can travel through the galaxy for free, meet all kinds of fascinating people, and enjoy a comfortable life at home. (Where the environment has been saved as well.) Vulcans, Cardassians, Romulans etc. are wonderful to watch, but being one? Nah. I like my creature comforts and my freedom to speak my mind and to travel. I'm staying human.



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Day 17 - Have you read any of the books? If so, which ones?

In the 80s and early 90s, I actually used to read a lot of them. This being before I discovered fanfiction. It started with Vonda McIntyre's movie novelizations, which were fully fledged out novels, adding a lot; her Wrath of Khan novelization on the one hand introduced Saavik's half Romulan background and mentor/protegé relationship with Spock, which Carolyn Cowles later fleshed out in what is still my favourite TOS novel, The Pandora Principle, but on the other also added an affair with David Marcus, which, no. Other novels from that time which stuck with me were Margaret Bonnano's Strangers from the Sky, and of course the big Vulcan novel, Spock's World.

Later on, TNG novels started to get published, and I remember liking those of Peter David best - Q Squared, Imzadi, etc. I probably would read them differently now, not least because I got jaded about some of David's writing quirks, not to mention that there's a scene in Q Squared in which character A taunts character B with how a woman A used to be with and B is now in love with smells and "the little noises she makes" during sex which shows up again in the David written B5 episode Soul Mates. (It happens to us all. Last year [personal profile] londonkds made me realise I have a fanfiction habit of letting the Master (Doctor Who edition) end up in the wrong bodies and get outwitted by people he thinks he manipulates. Until he commented on it, I truly hadn't realised I'd done this repeateadly.) However, back then I certainly loved those novels.

DS9, alas, did not produce memorable tie in novels early on, and by then I'd gotten into fanfiction which had the advantage of not being restrained by editorial fiat to stick to certain tabus. Also, this was still the era when no novel was allowed to be a sequel to another. Currently, the DS9 novels are all i none continuity, but alas I tried a few of the post show series (two or three) and didn't care much for them, so I didn't continue. However, I did read The Never-Ending Sacrifice by Una McCormack, which is basically a Cardassian I, Claudius starring Rugal (from the season 2 episode Cardassians), and a splendid one, too. I also read the Dax anthology (liked it, some stories more than others) and a couple of the others.

Let's see, what else? I treid a few Voyager novels but none stuck with me, and haven't read an Enterprise or Reboot novel at all.


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Day 16 - Are you involved with Star Trek fandom?

Irregularly. It's been many years since my last convention. Or even my last rewatch. (Which was when the fist reboot movie was released. For some reason, that made me rewatch not TOS, but DS9, TNG and some Voyager.) Or my last episode discussion. But every now and then, I come across a meme like this one. Or I take part in a fanfiction challenge, and one of the offered/asked for fandoms is a Stark Trek one, which results in a ST story from me. Or someone is wrong on the internet about something Trek related. Or someone squees on the internet about something Trek related!

It's a pattern for all my old fandoms. There are always stretches in which I don't do anything actively, but I never stop loving them, and sometimes it only takes a small thing to be active again.

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Day 15 - How did you get into Star Trek?

As a child in the 70s, I watched tv. And liked the original series a lot. Then I became a sci fi obsessed teenager in the 80s and an equally sci fi and fantasy fond adult in the 90s, and around the time TNG was in its third season, I discovered fandom. As a child, I didn't have conversations about Star Trek, nor did I feel the urge to. And wile I was sad at the end of Wrath of Khan, I didn't try to to find out whether there would be another movie, or if Spock would be back. It simply didn't occur to me. Therefore, despite my affection for TOS, I see TNG as the series which got me into Star Trek in the sense of making me a fan who sought out other fans, tried to get their hands on English language original episodes which hadn't been broadcast in Germany yet, discovered there was such a thing as fanfiction and went to their very first convention. When I had my very first Kirk versus Picard debate, I knew I was done for. :)


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Day 14 - What's your favorite Star Trek quote?

Welll, now. There are certain Trek phrases that have stuck with me - the obvious ("Live long and prosper", "infinite variety in infinite combinations"), my fondness for Quark means I know a lot of the Rules of Aquisition ("treat people in your debt like family - exploit them", "home is where the heart is, but the stars are made of latinum", and I have been known to mutter "red alert" in critical situations. Also, Picard's "a lie of omission is still a lie" from The First Duty came in handy more than once. So did Garak's "the truth is usually ust an excuse for a lack of imagination". :)

Then there's the dialogue that lives from context yet can be altered for appropriation, like Picard's reply in Tapestry to Q's "Welcome to the afterlife, Jean-Luc. You're dead, and I'm God!" , which was: No. I am not dead. Because I refuse to believe that the afterlife is run by you. The universe is not so badly designed!

"The universe is not that badly designed" has become my optimistic (despite dire counter examples) assertion to a great many absurd or bizarre situations.

But really, the designation "favourite quote" has to go to the Quark and Garak exchange from my icon again, which takes place in The Way of the Warrior. To quote the scene in full:

[Garak takes a drink of root beer]
Quark: What do you think?
Garak: It's vile.
Quark: I know. It's so bubbly and cloying and happy.
Garak: Just like the Federation.
Quark: And you know what's really frightening? If you drink enough of it, you begin to like it.
Garak: It's insidious.
Quark: Just like the Federation.
[pause]
Garak: Do you think they can save us?
Quark: I hope so.


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Day 13 - What's your favorite dramatic moment?

A bit easier to answer, but only a bit, and separately for each incarnation.

TOS + TOS movies: "I am, and always will be, your friend." There's just no beating that for emotional impact, even knowing it'll be undone by the next movie. It's the culmination of decades of friendship on a Watsonian level, and on a Doylist one for the audience (the first time one anyway) watching that friendship. (You have to earn something like Spock's goodbye to Kirk when he's dying, you really can't goo there early on in your story, she growls.) I can make fun of William Shatner's acting style with the rest of the world, but for that particular scene, it wasn't just Nimoy who was in the zone, acting-wise. It's intense and sublime and if you disagree, I just don't want to know.


TNG: upon first time watching, the end of Best of Both Worlds, part I. If you get there unspoiled and see Locutus for the first time, absorb what this means, and then Riker gives his order, you know what I mean. However, while it's still a tense moment during rewatch, and so my choice is another scene. It's the very end of Chain of Command, part II, when Picard admits to Deanna Troi he did see five lights. Before that, I thought the George Orwell rip-off in the torture scenes was well done but flinched from one of the biggest Orwell points - that anyone can be broken, that Winston Smith in 1984 really did see as many fingers as O'Brien wanted him to see at the end. I thought substituting Picard saying "there are four lights" to Gul Madred after his rescue arrives was basically bowlderizing and making something look heroic which shouldn't be glamourized by heroism because it's so real life awful. And then we got to this quiet aftermath scene, and my feelings completely changed. And remained changed during rewatch. For all that TNG gets accused of being sanitized sci fi, not "gritty" the way later shows were, there is this scene in its stark honesty, and it reaffirmed and even strengthened my Picard love. He's the hero of the show AND he's no more invulnerable, in body and spirit, than anyone subjected to such horrors. Also? That he trusts Troi with this information is a good way to show, not tell the importance of her job as counsellor on the Enterprise.

DS9: one of the best is certainly also a quiet scene - Sisko's final statement in In the Pale Moonlight - "I can live with it" (if you've watched the episode, you know why this epitomizes the moral grey of DS9) -, but it's not my favourite. My favourite, depending on my mood, is either Bashir taking Garak's hand in The Wire - "I forgive you, whatever it is you've done" (which, yes, presumptous, but very Julian and very what Garak needed to hear at this moment), or Kira at the end of Duet, learning that the guy who killed Marritza didn't even know who Marritza was (either the pretend identity or the real one), it was enough that M. was a Cardassian. The expression of Kira's face will always stay with me.


Voy: Janeway and Seven in the holding cell in The Gift, when an only recently cut from the Collective Seven faces the new and (to her at this point) terrible reality of being an individual again and tells Janeway she's forcing this on her, countering Janeways pro free will speech with the question that if she, as a free individual, would want to return to the Collective, would Janeway let her? This was when I thought "this idea of having an ex drone on board is actually turning into something interesting that hadn't been done on TNG before, and was riveted.


Reboot: for all my growling about a certain imitiation earlier, the reboot did offer more than one dramatic scene I loved. For my favourite, again depending on my mood, I choose either Spock's showdown with the Vulcan Academy (this had been one of the most speculated about scenes of Trek fan lore, and I do love this version, including Quinto managing to make "live long and prosper" sound like "up yours"), or Pike's scene with beaten up young Kirk in the bar, which managed to make reboot Pike into one of my favourite Starship Captains and was just the right mixture of fatherly and no-nonsense to drag reboot Kirk into a future.


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Day 12 - What's your favorite funny moment?

This is so hard to answer that I must list seperately for each incarnation.

TOS: Two I already named - the Tribble on Kirk's head is competing with Iman!Shapeshifter turning into William Shatner and delivering his/her line re: Kirk's secret wish. Runner-up: Mad swashbuckler Sulu in The Naked Time adressing Uhura as "fair maiden" and Uhura retorting "sorry, neither", and also the scene in Charlie X where Uhura is teasing Spock via song and he gamely plays along. Can't decide between these four.

TNG: "What can I do to convince you people?" "Die." (Deja Q, Q is trying to assure the Enterprise crew this isn't another game, he really did turn human, and Worf giving his succint answer. I mean, I love Q, but that was perfect.) On that note, I'm also fond of another Worf moment, from the Robin Hood episode: "I am not a merry man!". But if I have to choose, it must stay behind such gems as Deanna's tipsy First Contact (the movie, not the episode) rant - "this is not the time to argue about time!", or "Jean-Luc, Jean-Luc, sometimes I think the only reason I come here is to listen to those wonderful speeches of yours" (Q in True Q, after Picard has just delivered an impassioned defense of humanity (again)).

DS9: One runner-up: "If you're above money, you certainly don't need mine." (Nog to Jake in In the Cards - In The Cards is full of hilarity, of course, but here Nog strikes a blow against the mystery that is Federation economics and moral lectures to Ferengi on same) competing with "we don't talk about it to outsiders" (Worf's non-explanation for the change of looks for Klingons from the TOS era to the movieverse, TNG and after era in Trials and Tribble-ations). And then there's Quark's deadpan reply in Little Green Men when Odo shows up at the 11th hour and one of the humans asks who this is: "My hero." (It's funny because it's true.*g*) But really, the crown has to go to Garak's and Quark's immortal rootbeer/Federation exchange from my icon.

Voyager: Janeway as Arachnia in Captain Proton is certainly up there, as is the Doctor in Seven of Nine's body experiencing food and drink, but my favourite funny Voyager moment is a daydream the Doctor has, involving Tuvok and... you'll see. Ignore the rubbish he says about La Donna é mobile at the start of this sequence (no, Doctor, this aria isn't sung by a poor student about his heartless mistress, it's sung by a ruthless lothario of a Duke about to pounce on his latest victim), and just bask in what follows:




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Day 11 - What's your least favorite species? (See question 9 about species.)

I was going to say "pass" on this one because I don't like kicking someone who is down, and complaining about, say, the Pakled or the Kazon would amount to that. Also I know someone is going to name the Ferengi as a reply to this one and that I will mind because I like them a lot, sexist trolls (tm Kira) that they are.

But then I remembered one of my few big pet peeves in Star Trek: THE PROPHETS. And there was inner rejoicing. I will never feel guilty about complaining re: Prophets. Never. To repeat myself from earlier rants: Originally, I wasn't wild about them but the whole "people who don't experience time in a linear way" was satisfyingly alien, plus the show very very rarely used them. But in the later seasons, they not only graduated to literal dei ex machina, but we were also supposed to accept the Prophets versus Pagh Wraiths scenario as good versus evil, when the Prophets' actions included long term rape (and didn't include them doing anything good for anyone unless Sisko begged them to). Even without the misfortune this storyline had in inviting a direct comparison to the simultanously running Babylon 5's Vorlons versus Shadows - which culminated in both being rejected, as the Vorlons had shown themselves no less ruthless with lives than the Shadows - it would have amounted to an awful show versus tell.

Now the Pagh Wraiths are equally irritating (and together they're responsible for the part of the DS9 finale that prevents it from being great, to wit, something finale spoilery ) but I name the Prophets because of the presumption of virtue on the part of the narrative. The Pagh Wraiths are supposed to suck. Upon repeat watchings, I'm rooting for them to kill the Prophets in their Celestial Temple during The Assignment anyway. That's how much of a Prophets resenter I am.



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Day 10 - What's your favorite species? (Humans are a species as well.)

Cardassians. They benefit of having a lot of interesting representatives. The only Cardassian I felt was a dissapointment, writing wise, was Seska on Voyager. She started out well, with her initial episode making her a real version of Iliana. (DS9 watchers know whom I mean.) The show could have done such a lot with her years undercover, loyalty and identity conflicts galore, but no, after the episode that established her as a character she was written as a one dimensional evil overlady, additionally burdened with the Kazon as allies, who, as villains go... well.

All other Cardassians, though, be they one shot (Gul Madred in TNG's Chain of Command), Marritza (in DS9's Duet), Rugal (in DS9's Cardassians), showing up in only a few episodes (Enabran Tain!), or recurring throughout many a season (Garak, Dukat, Damar, also Ziyal) - most episodes with them were excellent, and the characters really got my attention every time. Cardassia as a fascist/totalitarian society with various elements struggling against each other (not necessarily because one of them was better than the other - the conflict between the Cardassian military and the Obsidian Order comes to mind) was for once convincing, as opposed to many a space Nazi in many a show, Trek or not, elsewhere. The aftermath of a brutal occupation both on the occupied and the occupiers was one of DS9's most fascinating storylines, and if the Cardassians had solely been presented as evil caricatures, it would not have worked as well as it did. Oh, and I really liked that scaly reptialian look.

I'm never quite sure whether I want the reboot movies to tackle Cardassians. On the one hand: they haven't been done in the movies before, and they offer such a rich storytelling mine. On the other: I doubt the movie scriptwriters could do justice to them. We'd probably end up with Waltz rather than Duet, is what I mean. And there's no Kira in the movies, not just in the sense of Kira Nerys, but in the sense of "character to whom Cardassians have a visceral, deeply personal meaning". So all in all, it's probably best they remain in the tv verse.


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Day 9 - What's your favorite episode?

Another fiendishly difficult question, since it's not about compiling a "best of" list. I will try to answer for each show.

TOS: It depends on my mood. If seriously inclined, either City on the Edge of Forever (first time travel episode, arguably still one of the best, and Edith Keeler is a three dimensional female guest character) or Journey to Babel (because of Sarek and Amanda). If in the mood to smile, Trouble of Tribbles, of course. The Tribble landing on Kirk's head will never not be funny. Especially now that we know Dax threw it.

TNG: Arrgggh. I love so many for different reasons! Darmok because it's TNG-Style Trek at its best, Measure of a Man (first fan written script becoming canon!) for doing the trial concept with genuine suspense (Riker's counter demonstration, despite the fact he hated every minute of it, was grimly efficient), including one of the best Picard and Guinan scene (with a discussion about what slavery is, no less) and turning what was originally played as a gag moment (the Tasha/Data encounter in The Naked Now) into something with meaning when we saw Data still had Tasha's goodbye message, Family for being a groundbreaking ST episode (first time one episode's trauma wasn't over in the next episode) with great scenes for Picard and a lovely subplot about Worf's parents, Face of the Enemy for being the best Troi episode and offering a Le Carré like ambiguity (the Romulan commander is an honorable woman, Deanna Troi's ally, otoh, is decidely shady) in spying... but really, I have to go with the very last episode(s), All Good Things.... Which has it all: great ensemble use and emphasis on character growth, good use of the three different time zones concept, bringing various themes full circle, Picard/Q sparring (and Data observing Q has a thing for Picard), and an ending that was full of hope for the future. Very fitting for this show, and still the best ST finale.

DS9: see, if I were asked about "best" I'd go for In the Pale Moonlight, no question about it, but I have to be in the right mood for that one. Most loved, well, different episodes for different characters. The Wire for Garak/Bashir, obviously, House of Quark for the Klingon/Ferengi culture clash, and Quark resolving a moral dilemma in a very Quark way, Necessary Evil for Terok Nor and Odo as noir detective, The Visitor for Jake Sisko breaking my heart, Blood Oath for Jadzia Dax and her three Klingon Musketeers, Duet for being the first and still one of the best episode to discover the magic that comes from Kira + a Cardassian combinations complete with for the first time Star Trek tackling a Third Reich theme without Operetta Nazis and therefore much more harrowingly, Indiscretion because Kira and Dukat were terrific on screen together and the first Ziyal was still the best.... and Our Man Bashir for being the funniest Holosuite episode ever with great ooc roles for almost the entire ensemble (other than Bashir and Garak), also providing a far more entertaining take on James Bond than the Bond movies did at the time (this was the Pierce Brosnan era), and still managing to include one great character scene (Bashir shooting Garak to stop him from ending the program). I can't choose between them, don't make me!

Voyager: Someone to Watch Over Me, without question. Also my favourites among all ST show's attempts to do romantic comedy.The Doctor tutoring Seven in social skills had been an ongoing storyline (and continues to be beyond this episode), but here the writers borrow a page from Shaw's Pygmalion, only with a reverse emotional outcome. The Doctor making a bet with Tom Paris that he can teach Seven how to date, and well enough so she can show up at the social function of the week with said date without alienating everyone is following precedent, but in Pygmalion (and its musical adaption My Fair Lady), it's the student, Eliza, who falls in love with Higgins through this (how much Higgins is affected depends on whether you believe Shaw or Lerner), while in the Voyager episode it's the teacher, the Doctor. In both cases, the turning point is when the student after succesfully accomplishing the original task discovers the bet the teacher made and leaves in indignation. Someone to Watch Over Me has a bittersweet graceful ending note when Seven and the Doctor reconcile, but he decides not to tell her how he feels. In between, we get some pricelessly funny scenes (one of my favourite details is Seven's appalled look when during her trial run date with another crewman, the crewman orders lobster, and she looks from the lobster to her own exsoskeleton) and a great duet exploiting the fact both Robert Picardo and Jeri Ryan can sing. The subplot with Neelix having to chaperone an ambassador cracks me up as well, as do the asides about Paris/Torres ("How do you know when we're having intimate relations?" "There is no one on deck 12, subsection 5 who doesn't know when you're having intimate relations").


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