Everyone should stand up on Romulan ships and they should be horny.
The ghost is Lee Meriwether wearing pink-and-green eye makeup. She disappears by flattening into a line that compresses into a dot, zoop! It's a pretty good effect for the poverty-budget last season of the show
"That Which Survives" has one of those scripts that uses the Star Trek technical soup properly, as mundane workplace language in contrast to the real problem that no one can explain. That gives you the fun normal-turns-creepy exchanges you'd expect from a script that's a collaborative effort between the show's longest-working story editor and a co-producer/writer for The Fugitive, with none of the snide quips or flat-soda sarcasm you'd expect from pop genre TV nowadays:
WATKINS: You know all about me. I've never seen you before.
LOSIRA: Show me this unit. I wish to learn.
WATKINS: This is the matter-antimatter integrator control. That's the cut off switch.
LOSIRA: Not correct. That is the emergency overload bypass, which engages almost instantaneously. A wise precaution, considering it takes the antimatter longer to explode once the magnetic flow fails. I am for you, Mister Watkins.
then he screams off camera & they find him dead at his post... so yeah... pretty good.
I watched Star Trek "That Which Survives" again,
this synopsis sounds like Solaris meets American Pie
It's interesting who the ghost turns out to be, especially since the script was written from an original story by Fontana, whose credits on the show did a common thing for the 1960s and listed her as "D.C." instead of "Dorothy". (This is the same person I wrote about earlier in the thread who was the head of the writers' room until she wrote an episode criticizing the United States for the Pueblo Incident and quit rather than rewrite it to be pro-U.S.)
The planet in "That Which Survives" was artificially created as an outpost by an ancient people, but as a side effect of constructing an ecosystem from scratch, the project created an unintended life form, a disease, that killed everyone there. The ghost is the image of the last survivor. As her final duty, she activated a preexisting defense program that would kill any visitors to the planet who weren't of the same race as its creators, and the system running it mined her farewell recording (which explained to her people why everyone died and said to avoid the planet at all costs) to pick the killer phantom's image.
She didn't feel great about any of that, and the system did too good a job of copying her personality from its knowledge of her, so the killer replicas of her start saying miserably that they know what they're doing is wrong, that they don't want to kill anyone but have to do it against their will, and they seem to be trying to resist their programming.
The interesting part is that the killer ghost is effective at her job, saying "I am for you" and trying to touch her victims, in large part because all the guy characters on the Enterprise are horny for her. McCoy's even horny for her in the final scene where they watch her last recording and realize she's been dead for a long time.
But within the story, the killer isn't a Lee-Meriwether-looking woman because the system decided that seduction was the best way to kill intruders, but because it grabbed the image from the final recording left by the last person who survived from among those who created the planet. And whatever the system knew about her, it caused the computer to summon up a phantom so strong-willed that it started to feel bad about what it was doing, which delays it enough for the heroes to find the control room and shut it down.
So while McCoy's like DAMN SHES HOT in the last scene, Kirk instead says that it was the woman's "remarkable" psyche that bled into the phantom and allowed them to destroy the system before it killed them, and Spock says that she must have been "highly intelligent" to have that effect. It's intriguing because instead of making her a computer-calculated femme fatale to justify the commercial decision to have an attractive '60s starlet guest-star, the story instead makes her Hollywood looks into a red herring. Further, it implies that there was a real reason she was picked, but it wasn't because of how she looked. It was because, while those who built the outpost all died for their hubris, her resoluteness and intelligence allowed her to outlive everyone else. The system didn't know that, but it's why she was the one to make the final recording, and that's why the killer ghost is created in her likeness.
What Meriwether said is especially interesting to me because a number of women in '60s Hollywood, people who would go on to do much more recognizable roles, played these one-episode midriff-baring woman characters on Star Trek and would do the convention circuit for years and years off a single episode of the show, signing autographs and so on. Probably some of them thought it was a little silly that so many of the original breed of obsessive nerd fans were lusting after them decades after they played one role for an hour episode of television. But some of those characters, like Losira in "That Which Survives", Louise Sorel's Rayna Kapec in "Requiem for Methuselah" or even, kind of, Barbara Bouchet's character in that giant-monsters-live-in-human-bodies episode I described earlier, come off pretty well in the actual episodes. The plot turns on their desire to make decisions for themselves overcoming what they're supposed to be doing, leading them to rebel. They certainly come across better than, say, Counselor Troi often did on Star Trek: The Next Generation as a main-cast character twenty years later.
That trend is probably at least a small part of why there was such a vocal contingent of women among the original Star Trek show's fans and supporters. Some of them were at the forefront of the campaign that kept the show on the air for its third and final season, and that's a big reason why "That Which Survives" exists at all.
It is a little like Solaris in certain ways.
wash out your god damned mouth
all of them suck but solaris sucks the most
wank for NEETs
trek:neocolonialism :: starwars:colonialism
Not sure star wars can support ideology beyond toy sales but I will admit the truth and accept forums justice: i have NOT read the novels.
trek is still the harry potter of space
imo that's Lost in Space right down to the implied pedophile looming over the pseudo-Christ-child. Again though, never read the novels so you may have many hours or possibly years of advantage over me there.
imo that's Lost in Space right down to the implied pedophile looming over the pseudo-Christ-child.
i was thinking about broader cultural context and the arrested imagination of fans, but that's a good take too
Good things in it include: Armin Shimerman playing out his character reaching his moral limits; Armin Shimerman conveying existential anguish effectively through five pounds of face prosthetics; Rene Auberjonois conveying effectively that his character cares more about watching Shimerman’s character suffer than he does about the lives of the other characters, through five pounds of face prosthetics; Bashir thinks it’s a dream, so he tries to wake up by screaming real loud; Kira’s mega angry face as she plays hopscotch because she spent her childhood building bombs; James Lashly as the redneck gunning for Odo’s job as head fash; Joel Brooks’s character trying to get Quark to play for alien chopsticks by implying they are either drugs or sex; every single other moment Joel Brooks is on screen; how they’re all fine at the end and the aliens just peace out because everyone gets mad at Quark. 3 out of four Star Treks for this Star Trek.
Then Rayna dies because the millennia-old super-genius who built her could program her to calculate faster-than-light travel and hit a four-bank shot at the table—there's an inversion of the scene where a man shows a woman how to do Man Stuff by draping his body over her, but it's Rayna wrapping herself around Kirk to try to teach him the shot, which he fails at anyway—but for some reason the lonely single nerd who built her, who's apparently responsible for all nerd shit in the history of planet earth, couldn't code for dealing with an internal emotional life.
In almost every case, an episode where Kirk kisses a woman is not at all about Kirk being a playboy. It usually falls into one of two categories: 1) Kirk is offering his body up to try to save his crew, in the manner of a faux-seductive girl-Friday from another sort of '60s show who's going to stamp on the big mook's foot and grab the key off the table, 2) Kirk has fallen in love in the space of a syndication-primed episode and is about to get his heart ripped out & stepped on because the fictional world he lives in cannot abide Kirk loving anyone except the Enterprise and the weekly-episode format of its TV show. Case #1 can get weird when the show tries to balance its appeal with its story in the manner of a pulp novel, like, in a later episode, Kirk apparently gets raped at gunpoint but the show still plays it like a sex fantasy for the men in the audience.
In this episode, though, it's Case #2, where Kirk falls in love and the show destroys him for it. Kirk is so broken up over Rayna that instead of ending with the normal scene where Kirk, Spock and McCoy stand around and crack a joke even though like two dozen of their people probably died that episode, it ends with Spock sucking the memories of Rayna out of Kirk's head so Kirk can be the weekly TV-show captain again instead of succumbing to his in-progress complete mental and emotional breakdown over accidentally semi-contributing to the conditions under which she died. I could write a damn book!!
All this dork crap wouldn't matter much at all if the afterimage of Captain Kirk weren't such a huge influence on pop-culture genre heroes and through that, on the way kids all over the world learning to be adults in the age of superhero movies model themselves, a character treated as the embodiment of what a manly-man character should be or what a genre hero should avoid being to prevent it from becoming "toxic". Meanwhile, Kirk in the 1960s offered lessons, if in a cheesy and unsubtle way, such as, "Men aren't owed the affections of women they desire, everyone has to deal with rejection, so get over it and don't be a creep", and "Men and women are human beings facing a hostile universe, and any man who promises a woman he'll make her into a goddess in that universe is somewhere between a liar and a serial killer," while, occasionally, learning lessons such as, "If you go into a foreign country and start blowing things up because you think it will help the simple backwards types find their inner United States guy, they may grab hold of your outer one and body slam you until you cry uncle, and that's on you."
The article makes the point that the model Kirk is supposed to have followed is an anachronism, projected backwards onto the character from both the more rebellious Kirk in the go-rogue-to-save-my-best-friend movies and an idea of men as Hollywood action heroes that didn't arrive in force until the mid-1980s, in part because members of both the old guard and the new capitalized on a higher profile for women and gay people in Hollywood, and in ain't-California-weird political news, with pandering gay-panic paranoia in how men were written in genre movies and on TV. Broken hearts, caring friendships with other men and open admiration for women became suspect attributes in ways they genuinely weren't before then. The piece also talks about something that has come to define the part of YouTube that isn't helpful tips on carpentry or cooking or makeup, where viewers are cultivated by presenting them with what they already believe to be the case and giving them a handy for continuing to agree with themselves, for spotting all the Easter eggs and knowing what few else know and the powers-that-be don't want them to know, that is, the same pseudo-knowledge the powers-that-be are selling to them every day. For obvious reasons, there was always little daylight between Kirk as a pure commercial product and Kirk as a TV character, but what little there is has a had a crowbar wedged in it that's split the two almost completely apart.
It's not played up as much in that article, but one other reason why the '60s Kirk can come as such as a shock is that when Star Trek came out, there hadn't been a Star Trek yet. Science fiction was still seen as a suspect, low-class place where at least slightly radical weirdos, Gerrolds and Fontanas and Mathesons and Ellisons, worked uncomfortably around and underneath Heinleins and de Camps (and Ellisons), with self-aggrandizing "forward thinkers" such as Roddenberry mediating between them and usually deferring to ad money above all else. There were as many oddballs on either side of the camera in those days, because that was understood to be how sci-fi worked, the faces representing the awkward loons who took the stuff seriously enough to argue over spaceships and ray guns as plot elements. (Deep Space Nine has an episode all about that real-world era in science fiction; if you've seen a decent amount of the show and don't know who directed it, you can probably guess.)
Compare Star Trek: The Next Generation, where the pressure was mainly coming from the actors, because Star Trek and its piece of the pie were known exploitables, which made slimeballs like Rick Berman into dictators rather than Roddenberry-style wranglers. The old show had Takei in the closet and Nichols working past a hushed-up affair with Roddenberry that ended right around when the show began, it had Shatner alienating his co-stars by throwing tantrums when Spock became the break-out character and demanding everyone's lines be given to Kirk, while Next Generation had Roddenberry's homophobic lawyer vetting scripts for two seasons and a cast that hung out with each other over the summer, Patrick Stewart telling the showrunners they should introduce a gay couple and Frakes arguing that if they really believed in their story about his character falling for a hermaphroditic alien, they wouldn't specify a woman on the casting call. Berman and others were just as lecherous as Roddenberry and twice as hostile to the careers of the women on the cast, because they saw Star Trek as a meal ticket even when it looked like it might get cancelled. After all, there'd been four big-budget movies already, there'd surely be more, and they were the gatekeepers for who on the show got a red carpet and who got bought out.
Over on Deep Space Nine, you had actors that, with the exception of Shimerman and Robinson's friendship and Visitor and Siddig's eventual marriage, were supposedly not exactly Next Generation-style super-pals off the set. But you also had the lower-ratings outlet for all the writers whose interest in more complex characters tended to override their lamest impulses and square establishment backgrounds, Rene Echevarria and Ron Moore and so on, people who turned out to have a better idea of what viewers would want from genre TV in years to come.
From writers whose scripts demanded buy-in from actors who would be called upon to sell stories and angles on their characters that lasted longer than an episode or two, you got a lot of cross-fertilization between the actors and the people in the back rooms. You got episodes like "Rejoined", written by Moore and Echevarria and directed by Avery Brooks. When Entertainment Tonight caught wind that Terry Farrell and Susanna Thompson were going to kiss on Star Trek, they wanted to visit the set on the day they filmed the scene, take their own video of the kiss, get some interviews, it's a positive thing, you know, people will be talking, you want to get the right message out there, yeah...? It's the sort of soft strong-arm that would have gotten Roddenberry expensing dinners and bragging for the rest of his life. Brooks, in his normal working mode of "very intense", instead said something along the lines of, No, you are banned from our set on that day, because whatever you think of our show, it is where we work, and we are going to let people react to the finished product, not your "site of the sexy smooch" reporting over a few grainy seconds of Terry and Susanna from a stalker's angle. That decision stuck, as you can imagine it would if you've seen any interviews with Brooks.
The result was decent ratings but next to no press coverage, relatively speaking, in a decade when Ellen was on every magazine cover in and out of the entertainment business, a decade that managed to support three seven-season Star Trek TV shows and four Star Trek major motion pictures. This was to the degree that clickbait stories a few years ago about the gay couple on Discovery were packed with Did You Know Thats about "Rejoined", because most people interested in the new show, even Next Generation fans, didn't realize it had happened. It was as though when Ellen DeGeneres got her talk show, Entertainment Weekly had run a sidebar explaining that "Alexandra Hedison" was not a typo for Alexander. The other result was a good episode of television, one that defies simple-minded analogies and the ultra-fan folk-wisdom that Farrell was a weak link in the cast, or that she ever had to be, anyway.
As far as that on-camera/off-camera split goes, I imagine that Brooks got a good performance out of Farrell for "Rejoined", as other directors did at other times, in part because her enthusiasm for her role likely waxed and waned with how often she had to hear criticism about the size of her breasts on a given day. Berman, always a class act, treated bust measurements as the top-priority issue for a character whose defining physical attribute was a polymath worm purported to dwell in Farrell's gut, worrying not only Farrell but the costume department about his obsession until Farrell quit for the less hostile working environment of blackface-era Ted Danson. I'm just guessing here, but if Brooks told prime-time publicity to fuck off because he considered it suspect, he probably wasn't inviting Rick to trundle on down and lecture him about the proper angles to shoot Farrell's chest.
me and the boys heading to the plenary session to elect some new mods
RIP to odo