Yay! It’s finally Star Trek Blogfest day.
Sorry I didn’t post earlier, had a lot of running around to do – where’s the transporter room when you really need one? But I’m ready to share my favorites now, and then I’ll do the rounds as soon as I can get the warp drive up and humming.
My five favorite installments of Star Trek:
Original Series: Mirror, Mirror. The original mirror universe storyline in Star Trek – always fun and memorable.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Best of the movies, in my opinion, and the best ‘contemporary time travel’ story that’s even been told in the Trek franchise. The bit in the setup about the search for whales sounds a little corny when you try to explain it to somebody who’s never seen the movie, but it always worked for me when I was watching, and the story knows how and when to be funny, and when to be more serious. Catherine Hicks turns in a great supporting performance as Dr Gillian Taylor.
The Next Generation: Remember me. Another installment that shows how Trek can bring the funny. I’m not a huge Doctor Crusher fan, but she pulls off this episode quite well, including the sense of surrealism when Jean-Luc is the only one left and sees absolutely nothing unusual about the idea of the two of them warping around the galaxy in this giant starship, and of course the discussions with the computer. The twist to the episode’s puzzle is a nice one as well, with Crusher worrying about where everybody else in her life is disappearing to – only to realize at the end that she’s the one who’s dropped out of everybody else’s world.
Deep Space Nine: Call to Arms. This was the first episode that I knew had to make the list – one of my favorite episodes of television ever. From the first subtle foreshadowings of the Federation ‘losing the peace’, Sisko telling the Bajorans to sign a pact with the Dominion because the Federation can’t protect them, through the desperate last stand to protect the Defiant long enough to seal the minefield, the Federation abandoning the station to be re-taken by Cardassians, and Sisko blowing up Ops – it has all the elements you need for epic drama, and it delivers on that. There’s even a god living amongst mortals – at least, that’s how the Dominion see him.
Voyager: Message in a bottle. Again, I have to go back to a funny episode, with Andy Dick shining as a stuffier and more arrogant ‘Mark Two’ medical hologram, playing wonderfully off Robert Picardo as they try to manage on an experimental Starfleet ship taken over by Romulan agents. I always love the moment in the fight scene, after the two doctors have been struggling with the flight and tactical controls, when they realize that they’ve accidentally turned on a voice-response targeting autopilot. “Specify Target?” “ROMULANS!!”
Honorable mention to “The Andorian Incident”, Star Trek Enterprise.
My five favorite characters:
Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Really, there’s not enough space in this post for me to go into all the reasons I love Picard. In some ways, when you rhyme off his character traits, he seems like a ‘too good to be true’ character – a brilliant strategist and tough warrior when he absolutely needs to fight, but a diplomat and peacemaker by training and inclination. A command prodigy who rose to sufficient rank to command a starship at an early age, a renowned archaeologist and scientist in several other disciplines, and so on…
Part of what I like most about Picard is that despite all of that, he’s clearly a fallible human being as well, from his irrational awkardness with children aboard ship, to the deep pain and grief he occasionally shows over the death of his family and his experiences with the Borg.
Jake Sisko: Many of my favorite characters are not the uber-competent senior officer types like Picard, but ingenuous younger people who often serve a secondary role as a proxy for the viewer. We can see what happens on a starship, or space station, through their eyes, and understand it a little better.
Jake is such a character for Deep Space Nine. He started off as a fairly flat character, just the captain’s son who was always underfoot and usually complaining, but developed as the series went on, cultivating an interest in writing and journalism, and eventually stayed on DS9 during the war as a correspondent, and secretly, a friend of the Bajoran underground. You’ve gotta respect that.
The Doctor: I almost put Harry Kim on the list, but then realized that he was nearly the same young male ingenue ‘type’ as Jake, so I’ll swap him out, and give props to the Doctor, wonderfully acted by Robert Picardo. Once again, this is a character who grew considerably from the start of his character arc, which is considerably more surprising, considering that the Doctor is a computer program and never designed for that capacity to change.
My favorite moments with the Doctor was when he needed to struggle with morals or courage in a way that his original programming hadn’t prepared him for – like ‘Message in a Bottle’, mentioned above.
Hoshi Sato. Like Jake, Hoshi is a bit of an outsider – though she’s an officer on the ship and a part of Starfleet, Hoshi never really expected to be visiting distant stars – but she loved language, knew that she had a gift for linguistics, and when Archer came to her and pointed out how many new tongue she could discover on a warp drive ship, she couldn’t turn that opportunity down. At first, she was certainly not ready for the level of excitement and adventure that being on ‘Enterprise’ brought to her life, and tried to get transferred off, which I can relate to.
Leeta. Another character who had an interesting growth arc over her series, Leeta started off as literally just part of the scenery at Quark’s bar, but quickly showed that she had a much richer personality, and ended up part of an unexpected and touching happy-ever-after love story with the nebbish Ferengi engineer Rom.
So – what do you think of my choices? All hailing frequencies standing by.