Modern Roddenberry vs NewBy Fred Shedian
Posted at October 8, 2000 - 12:56 AM GMT
During my last edition of A Take On Trek, I had mentioned the desire to discuss a number of Star Trek related game titles that have been released in recent times. After some review, I have decided to postpone that topic for another time. The primary purpose is to await the release of two upcoming titles and to await final results regarding the release of the new Activision title "Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force." I do apologize for the change in the event you were looking forward to this topic.
Today, I wish to discuss an interesting topic...one I previously didn't feel comfortable discussing. "Modern Roddenberry vs New Roddenberry" is a battle which I believe will soon be fought in the ratings game. It has been decades since a solid "space centered" science-fiction adventure was published by the late Gene Roddenberry. Therefor, to begin, I will talk about the "modern" version of Gene Roddenberry's adventures...Star Trek: Voyager and give remarks about "Unimatrix Zero - Part II." In addition, I will discuss the "new", and very refreshing, view of Gene Roddenberry's universe...one I hope all Star Trek fans investigate..."Andromeda."
To begin, despite remarks by other personalities, I found "Unimatrix Zero - Part I" to be an entertaining episode. Although I do not believe it had the emotional punch the writers were looking for, in part because this type of situation has "already been done", the material was an excellent cliffhanger. Several quality subplots were introduced and there was a large amount of room for some unique endings. Coming to early October, I had very high hopes for the conclusion of this story.
Regretfully, I must fall in line with many other personalities. "Unimatrix Zero - Part II" was a total disappointment. Originally, I had planned to record "The West Wing" two hour premiere and watch this opening adventure into Season Seven. However, after the first thirty minutes, I found myself changing to recording Voyager to watch later and observing the conclusion of assassination plot against President Bartlett. I must honestly tell you, for the first time in a long time, I was counting on an excellent adventure from the Star Trek writing team. I cannot express in words how deeply puzzled and saddened I am.
To begin, the systematic destruction of the Borg Collective continued during this adventure. In this episode, more than any other, the collective held an attitude equal to that of a first grader. This is supposed to be a collection of minds, all working together to accomplish the goals set forth by the Borg Queen. You mean to tell me that the Borg assimilation methods would not detect a neural stimulant and the nano-probes wouldn't promptly remove it? These questions were the first that entered my head...soon followed by another. The Borg Queen is aware that three officers were assimilated, wouldn't she be questioning why she couldn't hear them as soon as the assimilation process was complete? Why does she only notice this fact once Tuvok loses mental control for a brief second?
The last twenty minutes of the episode were good. It was indeed an ending I did not expect. However, I believe the critical situation of retrieving the three Voyager officers was not handled in a realistic way. Until the last time a situation existed, there was no rescue. Instead, the audience was made to believe that the Borg were complete and utter morons, incapable of simple deductive reasoning. Although looking towards the future, I do hope to discover what happens to the Borg, I sincerely hope the writers give the collective some credit during their next appearance. I believe this episode is the crowning achievement for in regard to how the Borg have been spoiled. Although I do still hold hope for Season Seven, in part due to unique story concepts, I am once again worried that writers are rushing adventures instead of trying to make sure all of the bases are covered. We will have to wait and see what the future holds.
Switching gears, I would like to talk about a new addition to the world of science-fiction. Tonight, my local television station aired the premiere of Gene Roddenberry's "Andromeda." After watching twenty minutes, my reaction was "Wow." After forty minutes, it was "Amazing." By the time the adventure was over, I found myself wishing this had been put in place of Voyager.
If the writing quality that was shown in the first half of the premiere continues, I sincerely hope every Star Trek fan will take a moment to watch. Initially, I thought the show would be somewhat "corny," as I didn't see Kevin Sorbo in sci-fi. However, he fits the role perfectly...making me think he's probably the 21st Century's TV version of James T. Kirk. Removing the very funny pun which I hope many caught about the Andromeda Captain looking like a "Greek God," Gene Roddenberry's touch, attitude and flavor can be seen all over this show. Being a fan of the Star Trek franchise for many years, I can certainly see some striking similarities in the flavor this show offers compared to that of TOS and TNG.
For the first time in a long time, I find myself awaiting the next episode of this show. I think Star Trek could learn a few lessons from these writers. The story itself is an old one, but portrayed in such a unique way my jaw was open most of the show. I only hope that "Series V" is as good as "Andromeda," as if it's not...we may be witness to the end of the Star Trek Franchise and the beginning of the Andromeda Franchise.
As always, I would love to hear your comments and remarks. A mailbag should be posted towards the beginning of November. I would also love to hear your take on "Unimatrix Zero" and "Andromeda." As always, please send a self addressed stamped e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include your name.
Thank you for reading this edition of A Take On Trek."
Until next time....
Fred Shedian writes a weekly 'A Take On Trek' column for the Trek Nation.