From Q&A to The Cage

Including Short Treks episodes in a chronological rewatch means that the very recently produced Short Treks episode “Q&A”, dealing with Spock’s first day on the Enterprise, comes just before the original pilot for TOS, “The Cage” (and then the first two seasons of DIS before going into TOS proper).

Interestingly, I didn’t find this nearly as jarring as one might think, and while there are absolutely aspects I have problems with (like the external shots of the turbolifts that look like roller coasters surrounded by an absolutely ludicrous amount of open space), I do think it says good things about the care that the modern crew is taking with bringing TOS-era stories into the modern age.

Turbolifts aside, while the DIS version of the Enterprise is absolutely a modern interpretation, it is such a respectful interpretation that it works well for me, even when going from that to the very early ‘60s set from The Cage.

Part of Peck’s DIS interpretation of Spock, of course, was intended to act as a bridge between the more emotional version seen in The Cage and the more reserved version seen in the rest of TOS, and the events of Q&A tie directly into this. Romijn’s Number One is enjoyable, brining a little more warmth to Barret’s, and Mount’s Pike is quite simply an incredible match for Hunter, and it’s even more striking when watching them back-to-back like this.

So yes, as expected, there are differences. How could one expect otherwise, with five decades between the two productions? But even so, it’s quite impressive how well they mesh — at least, in my opinion. I may not agree with every choice the current stewards of Trek are making, but I think it’s clear that they have a lot of love and respect for the universe.

Short Treks E10: “Children of Mars”: A curious and moody prequel that sets up a bit of backstory, but mostly won’t really fall into place until Picard starts. Guessing that “synths” might be androids based on Romulan experiments with Borg technology? 🖖

The Newest Short Treks Offer a Bright Hope for Star Trek’s Animated Future: “These two tales, on their own, may not be the grandest Star Trek stories ever told—but they don’t have to be. They prove there is space for Star Trek, on the precipice on an unprecedented level of saturation, to tell tales which are both reflective of nostalgic charms and push the boundaries of how the core themes of wanderlust, understanding, and exploration that define Star Trek’s heart can move into styles of storytelling that play with fantasy and comedy as much as they do science fiction and serious character drama.”

Short Treks E07: “Ask Not”: A bit predictable — I figured out what was going on long before the reveal — but still enjoyable, and better than the last two. About those views of Engineering, though…how is there room for all that with all the empty space around the turbolifts? 🖖

Short Treks E06: “The Trouble with Edward” Okay…yes, it’s funny (and be sure to watch all of it). I laughed quite a few times. But wow, are they playing fast and loose with canon and biology. Hard to say much more without spoilers, but…I’m very torn on what to think. 🖖

Short Treks E05 “Q&A”: Cute, and nice to see Spock and Una playing against each other. Really dislike the Discovery-style “exterior” views of turbolifts, though; it makes no sense, and is as visually jarring as the Budweiser version of engineering from the Abramsverse. 🖖

Linkdump for October 2nd through November 9th

Sometime between October 2nd and November 9th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

Bringing Optimism Back to Star Trek

This quote from Michael Chabon, writer of the just-released Short Treks episode Calypso, about his work on the in-development Picard series, gives me a lot of hope for that series:

Now that I’m working on the show and now that I’m part of Star Trek, I feel like it’s my responsibility to make sure that the current model is true to the ideals of the original show, the ideas of tolerance and egalitarianism. Obviously, you look at the way women are represented on The Original Series, and that show fell far short of its stated ideals of egalitarianism, although at least they did have women in some positions of responsibility. But I think we have this responsibility to continue to articulate a hopeful, positive vision of the future. I think if anything that’s more important now than it was when The Original Series came out. It was really important then, and it had a profound impact, socially, with Lieutenant Uhura on the bridge of the Enterprise, and this message that we can think our way out of our most primitive violent instincts.

To me, dystopia has lost its bite. A, we’re living in it, and B, it’s such a complete crushing series of cliches at this point. The tropes have all been worked and reworked so many times. There was a period where a positive, optimistic, techno-future where mankind learns to live in harmony and goes out into the stars just to discover and not to conquer, that was an overworked trope. But that is no longer the case. A positive vision of the future articulated through principles of tolerance and egalitarianism and optimism and the quest for scientific knowledge, to me that’s feels fresh nowadays.

The first Short Trek, focusing on Tilly, was cute and funny, but had too many plot holes to really stand up. But this month’s, Calypso, is much better. Plus, as its writer, Michael Chabon, is part of the team behind the in-development Picard series, I’m more optimistic about that one when it appears.