Friday, May 20, 2022

Strange New Hell Yeah!

Discovery and Picard both tried to give us Star Trek with modern sensibilities. They didn't really succeed at either. The first part came off as self-indulgent and insincere. The second part came off more like parody than representation. Strange New Worlds gets it right.

I thought Star Trek -- any kind of Star Trek I cared about, anyway -- was gone for good. Strange New Worlds is proving me wrong. 

Let's start with the look. The original Star Trek was strikingly colorful. It wasn't just the uniforms; they'd splash walls in the background with bright colors. It looked like a comic book. You can say it was just to cover the cheap sets, but you'd be missing the point. Intent is beside the point. If you think it matters, you don't understand art at all. The point is that the original series had a unique style which has largely been abandoned. Until now. Strange New Worlds doesn't do what the original series did with the lights; modern audiences, myself included, would think that was silly. What it does do, though, is give us a delicious rainbow of bright candy colors. I could watch it in Hungarian and still sigh at the beauty of it.

And it's an episodic sci-fi show! FINALLY! Much as I loved Deep Space Nine, I don't need another long story-arc show. Even DS9 started out episodic, anyway. If arcs develop, and they probably will, I'll take them as they come. I'm just happy that we're starting out with fun, interesting science fiction stories that start, develop, and are resolved in one hour. 

And let's talk about those stories. So far we've had The First Contact story, The Godlike Alien story, and The Outbreak story. Classic sci-fi stuff when you boil it down to basic elements, but each one of those stories is its own original story. It's not like when The Next Generation copied the original series episode where everybody gets drunk and all they added was robot sex and a slightly different explanation. 

What we're getting in Strange New Worlds are new stories. As with any story, someone has written the log line before, but it's not the idea that matters; it's what you do with it. I was especially impressed by the most recent one, in which we're left wondering if maybe a cherished Star Trek law is actually a kind of bigotry. And they didn't do this in a "you liked that show because you're an idiot" way. They did it the way artists do it; by letting the details work themselves out. And they resolved the legal dilemmas in the Star Trek spirit, with humanity and mercy over reflexive judgement.

I'm not going to go into detail on the way the characters are written, but I love it.

So yeah, go watch Strange New Worlds. If you don't wanna subscribe, maybe wait until the season's over and pay for one month to binge it or something. I don't know. Do whatever works for you. If you like Star Trek, though, I think you'll really like this. 

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Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Words, Words, Words

People say writers love words, but I think it's more that writers are driven to understand words, because we know they're inadequate, and we have to use all their quirks and ambiguities to say things that nobody else knows how to say.

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