Blood and Fire would have been the first Star Trek (Next Generation) episode to include a positive portrayal of openly gay characters. Paramount lost its nerve, never produced it, and still hasn’t given us a positive portrayal of gays in the 22nd, 23rd, or 24th centuries. The racial and cultural integration of The Original Series bridge crew was groundbreaking for its time, and subsequent productions have tackled plenty of other current social issues–just not this one particular issue.
The crew over at Star Trek: New Voyages has teamed up with the original author, David Gerrold, and turned it into a two-part episode set in the last two years of Kirk’s five-year mission. The gay story line here is vastly expanded and includes Kirk’s nephew. The teaser for Part 1 opens with the Enterprise fighting a Klingon battlecruiser:
Star Trek: New Voyages Download Page– Everything is available as parts on YouTube, but I recommend visiting their downloads page to grab the H.264 files form BitTorrent, especially the teaser.
Approach NV understanding it’s a work by and of the fans; they’re learning, evolving with every new release. This episode in particular benefits from Gerrold’s rewriting and directing. Loving attention to detail and the fondness for the material shines through the sometimes awkward moments of an amateur production.
Pause for a brief nerdgasm here. The Klingon K’t’inga class, also known as the D7 in Star Fleet Battles, it my absolute favorite ship design from the entire Trek universe. I loved the combat scene with amazing FX quality for a fan production. NV also pushed my ship-combat-FX geek buttons with an earlier episode featuring The Doomsday Machine. Be still my geeky heart! BTW, You also must see the remastered version of that TOS episode.
Good — A reasonable Plan B pick if you’re at the store and nothing else grabs your attention
Next is one of the better exploitation movies based–very loosely–on the pillaged name and works of Phillip K. Dick (PKD). I usually have a special whip set aside for this particular sin. It’s an assault on an author I respect and my favorite movie of all time, Blade Runner, which actually surpasses the very good PKD novel that inspired it.
What makes Next tolerable is how far removed it is from PKD’s short story, The Golden Man; it’s really just a regular action/chase film with a psychic twist. Nick Cage can see two minutes into the future and tries to live in obscurity with his Vegas magic act until FBI agent Julianne Moore decides she needs his help to stop a nuclear terrorist attack. She’s not the love interest: We get the not-from-Flashdance Jessica Biel as the damsel in distress. Meh. I was more excited to see Peter Falk shuffle through a scene. Some entertaining moments and understated special effects give this otherwise fair affair a leg up to good.
Cage is tolerable in the film, but Moore needs to say no to any more FBI agent roles. She made a lackluster Clarice Starling and similarly just doesn’t fit into this undemanding character’s shoes. She’s no Kyle MacLachlan: He had a run of FBI agent roles that produced some real entertainment like Twin Peaks and The Hidden before it.
Actually, grab The Hidden if you’re heading to the store or updating your queue. 100% cult classic alien cop body snatcher buddy chase flick. If it’s not there, consider Next if you don’t feel like trying to catch it on basic cable.
It leaves out some important details from the original cartoon. I’m not usually a fan of flickr, and the items in this pool are hit-and-miss. However, I’m subscribing to the pool as an RSS feed just in case somebody reenacts other favorites like the python in the pet shop.
Although I did not reproduce the original cartoon directly for copyright reasons, many others feel no such restriction. A Google image search of Far Side cartoons turns up plenty for the young/curious or the ancient/nostalgic. Alas, I didn’t find the particular pet shop cartoon I loved so much and had such a formative impact on my sense of humor.
The last year has been one bumpy night, so let’s hope 2009 won’t also require seat belts, airbags, parachutes, or trauma units. I wouldn’t mind using the fire-fighting bazooka though. May it also bring more Internet nonsense like this insane Star Trek/Doctor Who mash-up:
Yes, it’s 4am. I have plenty of better things to do than blog–like sleep. However, this video just needs to be seen. It’s the Big Shiny Candy-Like Red Button of experiments with appliances gone awry. MUST RESIST BUYING LIGHTERS!
Obama’s choice of Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the presidential inauguration is another slick political move on Obama’s part and another slap in the face to GLBT Americans.
Warren leads one of the nation’s largest megachurches, Saddleback Church in California, and was a major backer of Proposition 8. Aside from opposing equal rights for gays, he is a strident Creationist who opposes teaching Evolution. The guy’s creative though; he claims that homosexuality disproves Evolution. That’s taking scapegoat to a new high.
My long-running fear during the 2008 campaign was that the increasing religious rhetoric from the Democratic party would lead to blatant pandering on issues like equal rights for gays. The Democratic Party is our only safe harbor in American politics, and we may lose it if this trend continues.
I’m sure the GOP leaders back in the 70’s didn’t plan on having their party hijacked by the Evangelist rubes they thought they could manipulate. Religious Fundamentalism became a disease of the American Body Politic because of its fearful, hateful virulence and resistance to cure by Reason or empathy. Now the Democratic Party may succumb with Obama and his pitch-perfect religious rhetoric as their Typhoid Mary.
Somebody please give these guys their vaccinations before the new administration gets into office.