And now, a few words about fans calling each other “haters.” Just cut that out right now. You can disagree with each other all day long; it’s not like I haven’t had years-long arguments with people about the most ridiculous minutiae of Star Trek lore, myself. I’d make the argument that that is a defining characteristic of fans of anything, but Trek Nation certainly has honed the trait. So many conversations about how warp drive works, why the Connies all have their own insignia, impassioned retorts about if this or that is “canon” and what actually canon means. It’s all great.
But recently Trekkies have been short-handing people disagreeing with them as “haters” and it makes me want to burn the whole thing down. You dumb bastards. Insulting fellow fans is the same exact thing as civilians labelling you as a “Trekkie” with just as much vitriol and disdain for “the other” that Star Trek doesn’t do and is what drew your misfit, escapism-loving ass to the show in the first place. A place where you fit in to a crew, where you wore the same uniform as everybody else (with you know, a different insignia to provide a visual bit of storytelling so people could clearly see your individual rank and affiliation), and your differences were not just tolerated but celebrated. And now you call other fans “haters”? You should be ashamed of yourselves. They love the show as much as you do and probably more. They’re Star Trek lovers: they just love different things than you. They wouldn’t be so disappointed in the perceived failings of the show if they didn’t love it.
Anyway, this week’s episode. This still isn’t a unique take on Star Trek but at least the first two stories of Season Three have been entertaining, now. Still too soon to tell if new show runner Michelle Paradise is turning the ship around, and it just be a coincidence, but hope springs eternal when you’re a Trekkie, doesn’t it? Lower Decks is crushing it, seemingly effortlessly, so it’d be an embarrassment if the live-action was just average, wouldn’t it? I mean, at least they’re calling everybody by name, now, even if they’re all so cookie-cutter I can’t keep their names straight in my head. I mean, I’m sure they’ll all stick, eventually, but the bridge crew specifically, is just all so beige. They cast them for visual interest and, no knock on the actors themselves, but it’s been three years and there’s Black Panther’s bodyguard at navigation and Shaved Head Texas Instruments fan at the helm; Asian Guy, and African American guy. Nobody’s been given anything to do. Lady Robocop was awesome and the first thing they did when giving her an actual script to play was kill her. I don’t even think you could do anything to flesh these guys out at this point because whenever they show up, I’m just annoyed. Everybody cool has been brought on to do something, and they’re great. Nahn had crap glued to her head that’s functional, in-story. But that’s ancillary because in two seconds we note that she’s Pike’s engineer trapped on the Disco. Tig Notaro plays another engineer from the Hiawatha, also another ship’s crew trapped on the Disco. Apparently everybody awesome on the crew has come from somewhere else. Also-also, her character’s name is Jett Reno, which I remember because it’s an awesome Star Trek name. None of the bridge crew have awesome Star Trek names. If they did, I’d remember them, QED.
I’m of the age where I had a kid, and my friends are having kids, and everybody talks about the importance of giving your kid a good name. A name that will echo in Valhalla. My theory is you should name your kid as if he was going to grow up and be awesome, and the most awesome thing there can be is to grow up to command a starship. He commands not just a spaceship, Proconsul, but a starship. A very special vessel and crew. Right? So “This is Captain James T. Kirk, of the starship Enterprise” rings down through pop culture history. You can recognize a Star Trek name even if you don’t really know anything about Star Trek. We name our kids “This is Captain Lincoln Scott, of the starship Antares,” “This is Captain Nick Schoeneman, of the starship Washington,” “This is Captain Walker Young, of the starship Chicken Gumbo,” Right? Fans can do it without trying, how come professional TV writers drop that ball?
Either way, I got more hope than disdain for this season, so far. Paradise has been able to do something they haven’t done yet: put two entertaining episodes on in a row, so that’s good. Right?