I'm a terrible geek living in sunny Brighton on the Sussex coast in England. I enjoy writing about TV, comics, movies, LGBTQ issues and science.
Movie Trek 4: There Be Whales Here!
Star Trek IV is the most atypical of the Trek films, and yet, easily the most popular, at least until its crown was challenged by the 2009 Abrams movie. Completing the “Spock trilogy,” it continues the ongoing storyline of the films. The film opens on Vulcan, a few months after the end of The Search for Spock, with our gallant crew still on the run from Starfleet (who can't have been looking for them particularly hard, given that they've been hiding out on what is practically the Federation's second capital world). We have some time with Spock, his family and civilisation; it's wonderful for the fans to see Jane Wyatt back as Spock's mum Amanda Grayson.The newly resurrected Spock is still learning to be himself, having the relearn not only his everyday skills but the emotional epiphany he achieved way back in The Motion Picture. The film references its two immediate predecessors heavily in its opening scene, although it does commit a major sin by parking Saavik, robbing us of the trilogy's strongest new character. (Fan lore and allegedly the early drafts have it that Saavik remains on Vulcan because she is pregnant with Spock's child, a fascinating avenue for storytelling which unfortunately is nowhere on screen.) Saavik is unceremoniously dropped from the crew, staying behind on Vulcan without any consideration of how the previous film's events may have affected her.
Movie Trek 3: Re-Genesis
We come to the third movie in our Trek watch-a-thon. The Search for Spock formed the middle part of a linked trilogy that charted the lengths that Kirk and Spock would go for each other. While it's considered the weak link in the trilogy by some - suffering from the supposed curse of the odd numbers - to my mind it's a fine adventure with real heart.
Movie Trek 2: Chilled Revenge
The Wrath of Khan pretty much saved Star Trek. The Motion Picture had been a very successful failure. It had made a lot of money in the box office, but had cost an enormous amount to make, badly affecting the profits. Paramount were eager to make more Star Trek films but wanted to avoid the mistakes of the first movie, and above all, wanted to keep costs under control. Gene Roddenberry was sidelined, to the chagrin of some members of the cast, and the indifference of others. Various people worked on the script, with Nicholas Meyer fulfilling the final version, without accepting a writer's credit. The Wrath of Khan has a glowing reputation among fans, and while it's not the flawless classic some see it as, it's a good candidate for the strongest of the original run of Star Trek films. It's a very different beast to The Motion Picture, ditching much of the high concept philosophical science fiction in favour of a personal story of vengeance in a military setting.
Movie Trek 1: Impossible Vistas, Impractical Pyjamas
Periodically, the missus and I settle down for a rewatch of the Star Trek movies. That's thirteen films released over a 37-year period, so in theory gives us plenty of variety in terms of content and style. With a fourteenth film announced for summer 2023 (although don't hold your breath for them actually sticking to that date) it seemed like a good time to start the run over, and while we're at it, why not a proper write-up? However, when we do this run-through, we do often cheat a bit, and skip The Motion Picture. Not this time.
Supergirl: "Reality Bytes"
The Supergirl TV series has been a champion for the underrepresented since it started. Primarily, it's been about feminism and immigration; it's main character is, after all, a woman who arrived on Earth as a refugee. The series has used extraterrestrials as a stand-in for earthly immigrants (what the American authorities call aliens) throughout, and has an exceptional array of strong female characters. Over the course of its run so far, the series has tackled racism, far right extremism, sexuality and corporate greed.
Trek, Trill and Trans
CBS has revealed that two new actors are to join the cast of Star Trek: Discovery for its third season, and their inclusion is a big deal for LGBT fans. Blu del Barrio has been announced as playing Adira, while Ian Alexander plays Gray. Both actors are gender non-conforming, marking a significant milestone for Trek's representation.
TNG: "The Outcast"
In 1992, Star Trek: The Next Generation featured an episode that was designed to finally explore LGBT issues through Star Trek's allegorical lens, something which had been virtually unexplored in all the seasons of Trek before. Well-intentioned as it was, "The Outcast" missed its mark and muddled its message, but in the process, managed to become something else that was ahead of its time.
Star Trek's Bisexuality Problem
As a bisexual man, I take notice when a bisexual character appears on film or TV. Bisexual characters are still uncommon, male ones particularly. It's something I've looked at in other articles lately, and there has been some positive bi-representation in recent years, but it's still a rarity. When a bisexual person appears on our screens, more often than not, their sexuality is presented as an indication that there's something wrong with them. Bi characters are more often than not villains, creeps and weirdos, in sf media especially. Frank N. Furter is, although a pop culture icon, a corrupting alien force. Sharon Stone plays a cruel, manipulative bisexual in Basic Instinct. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy's relationship is portrayed as positive, but they're still a pair of murderous villains. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow progressed from straight relationships to exclusive lesbianism, but only her evil vampire parallel universe counterpart was bi (of course, prime Willow went evil for a bit as well, so I guess she was just bi enough).