I've never had an interest in Star Trek before (never seen one of the movies or an episode of any of the different series), but recently I started sleeping with a guy who's a big fan of the TV shows. He strongly urged me to start watching and told me I'd be sure to love it if I gave it a chance.
I'm not much of a sci-fi guy, but I thought the X-Files was awesome and like the original three Star Wars movies, plus this guy is really cute so why not?
Well I started watching The Next Generation (Patrick Stewart is genuinely great actor, so it gave me hope that he was in this) and I can't believe how bad it is AND how much I'm liking it.
I've only seen a handful of episodes, but it's a total campfest. Everything is super 80s and it's hard to tell if the acting or writing is worse most of the time. The special effects are embarrassing too. Still I'm having some fun with it and assume it gets better?
So what does the ever-opinionated DL think about Star Trek, especially the TV series? No spoilers please, but are there gay characters? Do the storylines and the caliber of acting improve? Does Star Trek even have a lot of gay fans? None of my friends watch or know anyone who does.
[quote]Everything is super 80s
What do you mean by this exactly?
R1 The women in particular look like they walked off the set of Dynasty, minus the designer outfits. The hair is big and frizzy, the makeup is 80s, and the shoulder pads are huge!
I know it was filmed in '87, and I'm impressed that most of the instruments on the ship are touchscreen, but some of the fashions are hopelessly not futuristic. The guest stars get the worst brunt of the bad fashion.
OP I could have you EJECTED into SPACE!
OP, I hear you. I think Star Trek falls into that category of 'I watched this when I was young and had no critical faculties, therefore I love it unconditionally'. I'm like that with Star Wars - I can recognise that it's very flawed but it's still fun. Star Trek, though, just seems heavy and over the top. There are supposedly quite a few gay fans, for what it's worth.
The original series from the 60s is even worse (or better, depending on how you look at it!).
Do the plotlines begin to stretch out over multiple episodes or is does episode have a self-contained story?
The only character I'm really hating with a passion right now is the boy Wesley. He is a bad actor and the character is super annoying. Plus he insists on wearing Bill Cosby sweaters in every episode! Now they've made him an officer?
Are the other series (Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise) different from Next Generation? My fuck buddy says he loves them all, ha.
DS9, while more difficult to get into, begins story-arc type episodes which makes it more engaging (no pun!). Not sure which season this begins in. I, too, was the victim of a BF fan of the show and while I liked the next gen for Stewart, most episodes are stand alone and forgettable (I started enjoying the show around season 4 or 5). I didn't expect to like DS9 at all and ended up having that be my fave.
Voyage, on the other hand, I really wanted to like. The season AFTER they introduce 7 of 9 and give geri Ryan more bits is when Voyager becomes good and more arc related.
Avery Brooks is a TERRIBLE actor. There's nary a scene in DS9 that he didn't chew.
He hasn't worked in anything since that series ended.
The movies and TV series (plural) suck.
The trick with next generation is to get past the first season. The actors and stories got so much better once they became comfortable in the roles
Wesley. Forget about it. Boring though thankfully moves to occasional role later.
I loved enterprise. Most hot men in tight underwear of all series. Also I enjoyed the story arc about the xindi.
I desperately wanted a Lt. Uhura action figure as a child.
I agree with R10. The first season has Rodenberry all over it. Once he stepped back you will sea a vast improvement in season 2 and beyond.
It really is a very good show outside of season 1.
Thanks R10 and R12. I like Stewart and am intrigued enough to stick it out till season 2 and make up my mind then.
I think TNG becomes better starting season 3 and takes off season 4. But you see improvement in season 2 already when they change the look and costumes a lot. Always liked Diana Muldaur as Dr. Pulaski. I'm only one of few but I thought she added much needed edge to the show.
DS9 was my favorite too. The characters are a lot more interesting, so not everything depends on the Sisko character. Season 1 still tried to figure things out, but season 2 had a lot of interesting story archs already. The show changed directions in season 3 when de-emphasizing on religion. The religion angle didn't bother me, but a lot of people didn't care for it. The show became all war and politics starting season 3, with very compelling character driven stories.
Expect a "punch and delete" from your boyfriend if you do not take his love for Star Trek seriously.
I never got into the newer versions but still watch the original series.
OP, the first season of TNG was horrible. The second season wasn't much better (some would argue worse).
But it comes into its own with the third season, and gets a lot better from there on out.
It's a sort of "stay with it" thing.
Wesley disappears at some point in the series run.
The other shows... DS9 has continuing plot arcs in a way none of the other series did. It was a rough first season or two (like TNG) but I understood it got a lot better. I dunno, I bailed after season two.
Enterprise was, imho, horrid.
Voyage was, imho, bad. I watched three seasons and can't recommend any of it.
But TNG was pretty good and had some really good episodes, once you got past the first two seasons and Wesley Crusher.
I really love the original show. Yes, there are some real stinkers in there, but over-all the show is amazing especially given its time. "City on the Edge of Forever" is masterful sci-fi story-telling.
I do recommend the original show to gay geeks.
As the show went on, it became increasingly obvious that Spock was in love with Capt. Kirk, and didn't know how to handle his feelings.
That's funny R19 and R20. My fuck bud said the original show is his least favorite of five series.
Judging from what I know of him though, I don't think he has much affinity for camp. He actually watches because of loves the characters and stories. Sees all the "philosophical" stuff in them. (So far I've found the morals of the stories to be extremely heavy-handed myself)
I've always been a Trekker.
ST: TOS = Fun, excitement, adventure
ST: TNG = Taking what you hav learned in life and making the best of it, not just for you, but for all around you.
ST: DS9 = Careful where you tread when you think you're grown enough to go it alone.
ST: VOY = ST: TOS Reboot with combinations to all previous series.
ST: ENT = Ok, we're too heavy handed with the other shows, let's take it back a bit...but still make it the same, only with more bulges from the men and women.
I love the ST canon. It really is amazing to see a cultural phenomena of its caliber. I'm starting over, in chronological sequence, and watching them all.
OP, may you enjoy them, but, if you don't, please be honest with your partner and let him continue to enjoy them as his guilty pleasure. Or allow him to enjoy them as a quirky thing in your eyes, and smile when he's wrapped up in an episode he's seen multiple times.
TNG = Great television from season 3 on... Troi is the best and most fun character. "Face of the Enemy" is the ultimate in great camp and one-liners. Data will annoy the fuck out of you.
DS9 = THE best Trek show (aside from TOS). Character development, everyone is given equal time to shine (unlike TNG), really suspenseful in later episodes, top notch guest stars.
VOY = Touch and go. When it was good, it was REALLY good ("Year of Hell"). When it was bad...well it was pure shit (that Flotter episode with Neelix & Naomi Wildman). Campy but not at all fun camp (7 of 9 wrestles The Rock???). The Doctor is the new Data! If you catch my drift.
ENT = Completely unwatchable.
[quote]Wil Wheaton @wilw It's me and my space mom, @gates_mcfadden!
Dr. Crusher still looks good.
I cannot recommend ENT either; there was so much done wrong right from the start. For a StarTrek captain I found Scott Bakula to be a big snooze. However, in my opinion the last, fourth, season was outstanding. Handing the show over to Manny Cotto made a huge difference. And cutting the budget forced them to do multi-episode stories that had quite some depth. They had some of the best Star Trek episodes of the whole franchise in that season. Of course with that series finale they also had the worst episode. So stop watching right before the end.
Avery Brooks was good as Sisko.
OP, Star Trek The Next Generation usually sincerely tried to carry Roddenberry's themes of universal peace and mutual understanding forward. Meaning that it was creepily moralistic and embarrassingly earnest. Yes, the effects are outdated, some of the acting is inept, and much of the scripting is trite.
And yet Stewart and Frakes usually were quite good and had the gravitas to hold the other members of the cast together. Burton also was not bad at all. I like Gates McFadden, too; at least she acted like she was capable of a sex life, even if her range was limited. And any time The Widow Roddenberry (Majel Barrett) was on for her campfest, you got a sense that intentional silliness was a big part of the proceedings.
And Deanna Troi's cameltoe!
Hang in there. Some of the episodes actually are thought-provoking and interesting. Some. Wesley leaves, there is some relationship friction, and occasionally Data is not a complete irritant.
I really like the series closer ("All Good Things").
And when you get to "The Inner Light," the Borg episodes, "Yesterday's Enterprise," some of the Holodeck pieces - there's a lot of quality. "The Inner Light" even won a Hugo Award.
OP, R22 is a genuine Trekker and so am I. If you're not, you will know it, so don't bother trying.
I remember 45-46 years ago, television room in the dorm was jammed with early geeks, and even the real crapfests were "awesome" every week.
"Brain and brain, what is brain?"
When TOS was good, it was very very good, and when it was bad it was a screaming campfest!
Four-Hundred Quatloos on the new-comer!!
R22 - excellent summary
We must drink. This is tranya. I hope you relish it as much as I.
I always loved the original series the best. I hear a lot of people who prefer The Next Generation call the original series "Cheesy" or "Campy." Only a handful of episodes of the original show were cheesy or campy. Most were brilliant. I think it holds up very well. Especially on the blu-rays with the re-created CGI special effects.
The Next Generation was also awesome. After the second season, anyway. The first two seasons were mostly dreadful.
Deep Space Nine and Voyager each had a few magical moments, but they were a notch or two below the first two series.
Enterprise totally shit the bed. Horrid. I knew when I heard that corn-ball themesong that it was doomed.
Tribble up my ass
The thing sabout "Face of the Enemy" that was so great was that on one hand it was the campiest episode of all STAR TREK: TNG, but on another level it's a genuinely great episode. It's very exciting and suspenseful, and the wonderful Carolyn Seymour (who also gave probably the best supporting performance ever in a TNG stand-alone episode, "First Contact") is excellent as the conflicted Romulan commander.
So it's genuinely worth watching even beyond the fact it gave us such unforgettably cheesy lines as "THIS gives me the authority!" (accompanied by karate-chop-like pointing gesture to collar insignia) and "I've tasted better viirine on prison ships!"
Thanks, R28 and R31. I wish I knew some other real Trekkers in life, but most people give "that look" when it's first mentioned. Doesn't bother me at all though; I just smile and point out all the things they use in their lives that were based upon Gene's vision of the future. That look goes away, and they really seem to understand it more.
BTW, have you seen the documentary his son made about being the son of GR and MBR? If not, I think you might like it. His interview with George Lucas was a great addition.
I remember my philosophy 101 class professor spent some time on ST being created out of Plato's theories. It was interesting stuff.
There was an episode called Plato's Stepchildren
OP here. I'm still watching and over halfway through the first season of TNG now. I find it oddly addictive and can't wait to put on the next episode. I'm a pretty stick-with-it type guy, and love long term things like making my way through the whole canon of a long running franchise.
Thanks for all the great responses.
Hey, OP, how's your Star TREK going?
I like the original series best because its so cheesy. The sets, especially when they beam down to some alien planet are so low-rent, its hysterical. But it also sort of forces you to use your imagination and "fill in the blanks" if you will. TNG is too slick, too over produced. And I'm with R4. I LOVE Star Wars, but yes, it is flawed, especially with the dialogue. Its sort of hard for me to watch it with a straight face sometimes. How many times do we hear Han say, "I have a bad feeling about this"? Why does Carrie Fisher's accent alternate between American English and British English? Why do they use Earth based units to measure time and distance?
[quote]The only character I'm really hating with a passion right now is the boy Wesley.
You are far from alone. I still remember when it first aired 25 (!!) years ago; I was in high school then, and all of my friends (who all watched the show - yes, we were nerds) DESPISED Wesley. The basic thinking was (and still is) that he hasn't "earned" a spot on the vaunted Enterprise, unlike young (but not *that* young) Jim Kirk, the brilliant captain given the helm before the age of 30, a first for Starfleet. The producers took the hint and finally ousted him after season 3 or so.
Agreed with everyone else that the first season sucked and the computer FX look horribly, horribly dated now (unlike, say, "Star Wars," which was thankfully made before computer effects existed). I've seen every episode, however, and the only other ST series I've also watched in whole is "Voyager." (And I'm sure this will cause controversy, but I think the "Voyager" finale is the single-best episode in the entire ST television canon.)
I tried watching "Enterprise," but couldn't make it past the first season (and I also had to hit mute whenever the theme song, possibly the worst of all time, came on).
Anyway ... yes, the storylines get better, particularly once the Borg arrive. (The Borg are also featured in the only good TNG-based film, "Star Trek: First Contact.") No, there are no gays in the ST world (OBVIOUSLY excluding TOS Sulu!); the closest they came was on one TNG episode where they had some sort of "omnisexual" creature. As far as the films go: II is the best, but at the same time had the most controversial ending in cinematic history, requiring literally the entire next film to repair. IV somehow manages to be amazing even though virtually all of it takes place in modern-day (1980s, that is) San Francisco. Skip ahead to "First Contact" and then to the recent reboot otherwise.
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Is anyone in touch with the fandom, and fan-fiction trends? If so, has the fandom decided that Sulu (the character) is gay, and have they given him a romantic life?
OP here. I'm almost done with the first season of TNG. It's a lot more fun than I thought it would be and I'm starting to get attached to the characters. I'm excited to get through the rest of this season and start seeing the episodes where everyone says it gets good.
If possible I'm going to try to get through all the different series. My fuck bud loves talking to me about it too, ha.
If you get through the series and feel you are interested in a gay character, there is "Star Trek: Odyssey" on youtube. It's a fanfilm, but not THAT bad. Yes, the dialogue is cheesy, and it's primarily shot with green screen, but for a low budget, and all things considered, I think it's a pretty good beginning.
The married gay character ultimately becomes the commanding officer of the ship.
OP again and I just finished "Deja Q" (Season 3, Episode 13) and I really loved it. Season 2 was better, but the quality has markedly increased in Season 3.
I've grown very attached to the characters and am having a lot of fun watching this. I can't wait to see what happens next!
All episodes with Q (except for the one that introduced the Borg) were uniformly awful--John de Lancie was the nelliest annoying queen ever. Other than that (and the awful time travel shows--always the bane of star trek in all its incarnations), the show was mostly excellent by the third season, and the characters may not have been deep ones but they were fun and familiar.
R48 I'm with you. I never understood the appeal of Q. That character was awful. I remember all of my co-workers back in the day would be so excited that Q was going to be back in the next new episode. I hated his character. Total camp. I thought he ruined the "Encounter at Farpoint" episode.
It was sort of amusing that San Francisco is the capital of the Federation. Confusing that no gay men seem to have survived there into the 24th century.
I didn't mind Q. The masterbatory episodes designed to show Brent Spiner's acting "talent" (usually in the Holodeck) grate on me the most.
TNG did have a very 80s feel to it. Very post Cold War, hopeful and utopian. You wouldn't have a counsellor on the main bridge in any other decade.
I might have to give DS9 another go. At the time I didn't like how they didn't move around on a starship exploring new planets etc.