Saturday, July 26, 2008

Recent ramblings about Star Trek

Here Down Under, we've recently had a rush of William Shatner print media interviews. I originally thought it was just Sydney, but my mother sent me several clippings from Perth newspapers and magazines, all covering the same information. Almost every newspaper, in several states, has carried a variation of his press release about his new autobiography ("Up Till Now") - and every local journalist covering the story for their paper has added mention of the new JJ Abrams "Star Trek" movie, and how Shatner had been a little disgruntled that Nimoy would be reprising Elder Spock alongside a new cast, but at least Shatner was doing well with his TV career, writing career, and his online selling. None of the articles I read were anti-Trek.

Paramount can't buy this kind of publicity. It percolates along - and they haven't even started their own campaign yet.

TrekBBS posters are perhaps overly concerned about public perceptions of the forthcoming movie. They seem to think that Internet complaining and whining about any changes JJ Abrams has forced upon the accepted "Star Trek canon" (what has gone before in decades of aired live-action Star Trek) may scare away the general cinema-going public.

Not a chance. There'll always be Star Trek fans who complain the loudest, but will still turn up on opening weekend, so they can blog about how much they hated it, or how well they boycotted/lied about it.

The "concern" is nothing new. It is precisely what happened with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and "ST IV: The Voyage Home". While both films made huge amounts of money, both films angered some fans. A lot. The character interrelationships were supposedly "missing" from TMP, and many complained that ST IV's comedy and science had been "dumbed down" for the masses. But both films received sufficient buzz to draw in the curious general public.

Ditto "First Contact", which polarized many TOS and "The Next Generation" fans (action Picard, supposed mis-portrayal of Zefram Cochrane, too scary for kids, etc) but was still a critical and box office success.

Many Trek fans seem to feel that the general public always thinks that "Star Trek is for basement-dwelling 'dweebs' with no social skills". Well, it didn't stop the general public associating with nerds to see TMP, ST IV or "First Contact".

You know, in my life, none of my non-ST friends, neighbours, work colleagues, kids I teach, or blog readers, think that I'm a basement-dwelling deeb. If they do, it must always be behind my back, and done so well that I never catch them insulting me. I never hide that I'm a ST fan, and I've fielded many curious questions as people have started hearing that there's "a new movie" on its way. Maybe jocks think I'm a "dweeb", a "nerd" or a "droob", but I can't say that I choose to hang around too many jocks, so we don't really know each other.

That the general public hate nerds but love and respect jocks is a crock. I would think that most cinema-goers would prefer to associate with polite nerds (when sitting in the darkened theatre with a group of strangers) than with those who'd rather be off being... active. (Mind you, whoever said that jocks have to hate Star Trek?)

On another Star Trek track...

The final issue of IDW Publishing's "Star Trek: New Frontier" comic (#5) turned up on Thursday. Some fun stuff, as usual, and a little more Arex action, but online fans are complaining that the ending kinda fizzled. I didn't mind this issue, but the art and pace of #4 was probably the best. Perhaps author Peter David was setting up for the next "New Frontier" text-based stories..., or the next IDW comic mini-series?

While I got plenty of NF bangs for my bucks with "Turnaround". My only main concern was imagining how anyone who had no familiarity with PAD's recent NF books understanding what was going on. While I personally enjoyed seeing Morgan Primus, Arex and M'Ress - and a Mirror Universe incarnation of superbeing Mark McHenry - these characters must have presented new readers with many "WTF" moments, if you'll pardon their expression

I guess for those unsure about ordering future NF comic issues, they could wait to hear some amazingly positive reviews of the next NF mini-series, and then there's always Volume 2 of the inevitable IDW trade reprint...

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