Tag Archives: star

Okay, So…

3 Dec

Evil?

…a lot’s been going on in my world lately. I’m sure a lot’s been happening on your end as well. Things are shifting, changing. People are calling this a “very exciting time.” I think every time is that way. Think about it, when has there been a time in history that wasn’t reallyokay, maybe there were a few years that weren’t so great. But we pushed on because we new something would come out of it, we knew our strength would be rewarded. Oh, crap, not another speech. All right, let me give you a little something for being a good listener/reader. I’ve been writing a lot for this website and I’ve got an article coming out on it soon. It’s about Star Trek: The Next Generation. I know the crowd over there will enjoy it, but…

…YOU GET TO READ IT, FIRST!

So, I won’t keep you any longer. The piece is just below. Read, and enjoy. Unless you hate The Next Generation, in which case…

…nope. Nothing clever.

(Beware, this isn’t fully edited, so it may contain mispalliegnerignerigniaengs.)

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The First Year

“Space, the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

                                          —Captain Jean-Luc Picard

I avoided watching this show for far too long. After finishing the first season, two words come to mind: no regrets.

Right away, I was hooked. I’m not going to beat around the bush, I’m just telling you how I felt, and how I currently feel. I knew there would be “Talky and Techy” stuff, the warp core discussions and dilithium crystals, some political intrigue and conspiracies, the Prime Directive being tested, probably broken even, and a little action. What came out of left field, for me at least, was the spirituality, the love (not romance, love), and even the series’ fascinating sense of life. Every character is well crafted and valuable, and every episode—every episode—is not only entertaining, but memorable. It’s something you have to see to experience, so, for those who haven’t, head over to Netflix (as of December, 2013) and start watching.

I’ve got more to say, but this is mostly for those who’ve already seen it. And remember, I’ve only watched Season One, so don’t post a bunch of spoilers in the comments.

A New Beginning

Immediately, one of the biggest things that caught me off guard, in terms of character development, was that Captain Picard wasn’t just some calm, precise, flawless leader who had all the answers when problems came his way. Picard made mistakes, was often too forceful, too aggressive even and, most notably, wasn’t very good with children and more  “lax” adults. He had to evolve over time, and I saw his evolution occur in a natural, believable way. This process was simultaneous with the growth of Wesley Crusher, who I personally feel is a severely under-appreciated character. Yeah, he isn’t perfect, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’ve seen the first episode of Season Two, and there’s this scene with Wesley in it that had me absolutely riveted (a conversation he has with Guinan). It’s great, and it might change a few people’s minds about him, if viewed a second time.

(I honestly think a lot of the “Wesley hate” comes from the fact that he isn’t cynical, aggresive and rude, as teenage boys often are, and some people think that’s unrealistic. I personally think he’s an ideal to be looked upon, right, curious and creative. If that annoys some people, I guess they just don’t like that sort of character.)

Riker is great, especially after having played the Mass Effect series as much as I have (male Shepard’s personality seems to be based loosely on Riker and Captain Kirk from the original Star Trek series). He’s the one with the sharpest eyes, the cleanest hits and the boldest tactics, acting often as a model for Picard. I expected it to be the other way around, the young first officer learning from his captain. And, while that does happen, it’s definitely very balanced, having the captain and Riker acting as both teacher and student, back and forth. I like that, as it shows that everyone can learn and change from one another, and not just the many from the few.

Us, the Crew

The entire cast has this amazing synergy, and the writing doesn’t hurt. Yeah, in the beginning some characters were a little melodramatic, even forced at times emotionally, but by last two thirds of the season, they all stick with you, since they all have moments that make you go, “Damn, they even—*sniff*—got me to—*sniff*—TASHA!” (For anyone who cares, I’m among the few who think Natasha Yar’s death was perfectly appropriate. Not everyone has a glamorous demise. In real life, some people just get offed and that’s that, no slow motion, no sad piano music, nothing. The briefness of Tasha’s death is offset by her touching funeral, which got me right in the gut. This scene’s impact was only helped, not hurt by the fact that she died so quickly and in such a non-romantic fashion.)

Of all the crew, I think my favorites have got to be Data and Worf. They’re just so funny, and yet have some of the more dramatic episodes dedicated to them (“Datalore” and “Heart of Glory” are great episodes; do not skip them). They’re attitudes match and contrast their physical/species personas very well. Data is just as much a calculator (match) as he is a curious youth (contrast), and Worf is just as much a beast (match) as he is disciplined, loyal member of Starfleet (contrast). Again, it all comes back to the writing. The characters have received such praise, as well as the cast that brought them to life, but someone had to conceive them, someone had to have the idea, “Let’s have him see in a way we can’t, a way that may be even better than our normal vision,” and give birth to Geordi, and Dr. Crusher, and Troi.

The writer creates the foundation. Without a story, there is no show.

Beware What Awaits You!

The Next Generation doesn’t just have great characters. it also has intriguing worlds to visit. From a planet where the mildest of crimes can mean the death penalty, to one where the physical manifestation of Evil waits for its next victim, there’s plenty to see and plenty to do. The governments and societies vary widely and, because of this, have to be interacted with carefully. When dealing with a civilization that’s women are superior to its men, who will be selected to discuss diplomacy? A woman, for her strength, or a man, for his ability to seduce the alien race’s leaders? How about species so close to extinction they need to steal the children of your ship’s crew? Do you give them what they want? Is there a substitute? Why do they need the children so badly? What’s causing them to die out as they do? These are the situations that make this show so interesting.

One in particular, “Coming of Age,” was one of the better character related episodes, addressing the overall growth of the crew, as well as their loyalty to Picard, who has improved as a leader. It examines the danger of witch-hunts and how easy it is to simply say, “Something must be wrong here, because it’s bad everywhere else.” And this seems like a “simple” lesson, but complexity isn’t necessarily depth. See, we can have a uncomplicated idea with many levels. Isn’t that how life works? “All men can do great things.” Really? Can they? Why? What gives them this ability? Is it innate? Is it given to them by those around them? Is it necessary? Are these questions even necessary? Do they matter? Does any of this matter? Do “great things” matter? See, that’s a simple concept with depth, and Star Trek: The Next Generation appears to have mastered this in its clever writing (again, it all starts with the pen).

The slow introduction to the universe gives new people like myself time to adjust to everything that’s going on, while also giving veteran fans something to chew on as they look back at old episodes (I know, I watched the show with someone who has seen every episode of it multiple times). It didn’t take me long to understand the relationship between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, the importance of the Romulans, the reason for the Prime Directive, etc. Everything was accessible, without sacrificing the attention to detail that Star Trek as a franchise is known for. Great work on the part of the writers and directors, the latter having a just as difficult job, if not more difficult, than the writers (bringing all this to life must have been a daunting task).

Q

One thing I’m really glad about is that the Q aren’t overused as a race. Their power would be way too much of a deus ex machina in some of Season One’s scenarios. If you’re going to make God (or something very close) one of your characters, better not have him abuse His powers in a story about human beings. He might take away some of the fun if he appears too many times. Now, that is not to say I’m against the use of spirituality in writing, quite the contrary. The spiritual side of Star Trek: The Next Generation is one of the things that kept me going. The creative use of the soul and other incorporeal forms as storytelling tools and devices blew me away, and I can’t wait to see what they do next with it.

All in all, Star Trek: The Next Generation was a blast to watch. It’s something I think every up and coming writer/director of science fiction, or even an actor in sci-fi television and movies, should take a look at, if only to see where many concepts in the genre came from. It’s fun, original, intelligent, thought-provoking, and powerful. It has a few rough spots, but get through them, because every geode has a pile of crystals.

Until next time, this is D. Alexander wishing you a happy It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year Day!

Trek Holiday

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That’s all, folks! Thanks for reading, and thanks for giving me good things to read, too! I love you guys, really.

~D.

And We Keep Going

15 Sep

Yeah, it's back.

Okay, so I just felt like updating you on everything that’s going on. Things have been moving in the right direction for me. I can imagine it’s been the same for you. If not, cheer up. It’ll be okay. Yeah, yeah, “It’s just getting worse and worse. I can’t take it anymore. To hell with the mortgage.” I know, I get it, trust me. But if you keep thinking about the Prequel Trilogy, the Originals are going to pass you by (to those who didn’t understand that, here you go).

Anyhow, this is pretty cool, or something. No, but really, I’m psyched for what’s coming. Working with Pendulum in Action is a blast and an honor, and I’m looking forward to continuing this relationship. Also, Michael Drew and Roy H. Williams are geniuses. They offer profound and practical social and cultural insight, which you should all take advantage of.

Last but not least, I’ve updated the Here Lies KNOWLEDGE page. You should take a look at it. I know you’ve read it already a million times, but just do it again, because you can.

A’ight, that’s everything. I’ve got a train to catch. Be seeing you.

 

~D.

Building a Better Story: Characters

21 Aug

Poison and cheer!

Building a character and building a person are, relatively speaking, the same thing. Just go ahead and start designing the character, and then, at intervals throughout their creation, ask yourself, “Is this what a real person under these circumstances would do? Is this how they’d act? Would Iact this way in the same situation? Would anyone I know act this way? Is this the kind of character who would even have a ‘human’ reaction to these events?”

Doing the above gives us a sense of reality in relation to the character, regardless of whether they’re a man, a machine, an alien, or whatever. When we can observe the character realistically, no matter how strange they might be, they’ve been designed properly.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE: designing a character purely for interest is not interesting. We’re not interested characters because they’re interesting. We’re interested in characters because they themselves are interested in the world around them, thereby becoming “interesting.” We are interested in the interested.

Realistically Designed Characters: Han Solo, Andrew Detmer, Commissioner Gordon (BEFORE The Dark Knight Rises), Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, President Josiah Edward “Jed” Bartlet.

Characters Designed for Interest Alone: Jar Jar Binks, Mudflap and Skidds (from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), the Catalyst, Gurgi (until the later books that is).

In short, make people, not characters. And don’t force them to be interesting, because that’s not interesting.

~D.

Unique Characters: A Necessity?

11 Aug

Depth

I gave a fellow on Reddit some advice:

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Question: How unique do characters actually need to be?

Answer: There is no degree to which a character MUST be “unique.” Uniqueness isn’t necessarily the problem one faces when creating and developing a character, rather depth. See, when a character has multiple levels, it gives us, the reader, a little game to play: Dig to the Bottom of the Character (or DBC, as most people call it). We want a mystery to solve, a puzzle to reconfigure, a game to win. We want to be involved with who we’re reading about.

Now, that doesn’t mean we should make every character as confusing as possible. Levels can be SIMPLE. Luke Skywalker isn’t just the farm boy who became an intergalactic hero. He’s also a son who’s been lied to by his mentor, betrayed before birth by his father, kept in the dark about his sister, and torn between light and dark paths his whole life. Honestly, Luke has more depth than people give him credit for, but he isn’t COMPLICATED. See the difference?

Uniqueness isn’t something that can be forced. It naturally arises from a character’s depth.

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So yeah, try that out some time.

 

~D.

Doors

16 May

Shut the FUCK up.

Don’t worry, I’m going to post something tomorrow. But first, for those of you who’d like to know, it’s Door Day tomorrow. That’s right, tomorrow Americans everywhere will go about shopping for brand new, state of the art doors from their nearest Home Depots. Why? To celebrate the wonderful opportunities doors bring. Seriously, have you thought about it lately? Without doors, there’d just be walls, barriers, no freedom, no means of passing through the hardened concrete jungles of society. Now, I know what you’re thinking: aren’t there places where there are no doors but people still manage to walk through walls? Well, yes, of course there are! And because of the absence of doors, even MORE freedom is abound in such areas, such as the freedom to break into someone’s house without them having any idea you entered or left. THAT’S THE SHIGGLES RIGHT THERE!

Celebrate Door Day by buying a door. If you can’t buy one, honor the ones you now have, for they’ve earned it. They’re the only thing between you and knife to the prostate in the middle of the night.

~D.

You Never Know How A Post Is Gonna Venereal Diseases

29 Apr

The elves know Madison.

To any of my readers who have venereal diseases: too soon?

The last fictional piece I wrote for the blog that actually had a point and a purpose was rather anti-climactic. So, until I finish a few more shorts, and until I actually finish them, I’ll just be struggling to find something appealing for you guys. How’s about I give you a peak into what’s coming in the future:

STAR WARS: I’ve gotten a ton of requests to do another Star Wars piece. I’ve decided that this blog is just as much yours as it is mine and so I’ll figure something out about writing a “Top 5” or something.

SHORTS: As mentioned previously, I’m working on some short stories. I’ll be able to post them regularly on here soon. They’ll be a lot darker and moodier than my usual material, which is good because, you know, there isn’t enough dark and moody material on the market.

BASKETBALL: I just felt like writing the word; nothing here.

REVIEWS: I’ll be doing movie reviews again! Expect one for Star Trek: Into Darkness. I’m super stoked for that one, you have no idea.

SPOTLIGHTING: I’ll spotlight cool internet related things I find. It’ll give me more to do on here, more to talk with you about other than, you know, me.

I think that’s everything. All right, I’ll be seeing you guys! I’m off to not play TF2 some more (a few of you got that). BYE!

 

~D.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

27 Dec

Hey everybody! I know it’s been an enormously long time since I’ve posted (mostly because I’ve been busy writing), but I’m back for a while with great news: CHRISTMAS WAS AWESOME!

Okay, so first there’s the gifts my siblings got: my little brother got a brand new Toshiba gaming laptop with a slick screen and top of the line graphics card, Fable III Collector’s Edition, some other really cool video games, an ultralight, extremely durable remote controlled helicopter (from yours truly), and a lot of candy!

My younger sister got an incredible amount of toys, an amount way too high to count. I mean, it’s unbelievable how many toys she got, it’s ridiculous. You know that awesome toy you saw the last time you were at Toys ‘R’ Us, that one? Yeah, she has it. Oh, and she also got her first bike!

Then there’s my parents, who got some cool sci-fi books, some cookies, hugs, tools (from sis’, for Dad), cooking supplies (from me, for Mom), and some video games (Mom got Mass Effect 2).

My grandmother received some nice presents as well, one of the key ones (also from me (sorry)) being her Steamboat Willy snow globe, as well as Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (incredible book).

Lastly, there’s me. I got a new Toshiba gaming laptop (awesome), tools (awesome), a new basketball (awesome), Shutter Island and Inception (I’ve reviewed both on the blog, go look for those write-ups), Fallout: New Vegas (decent, so far), an Epic Mickey t-shirt (but not the game), Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II Collector’s Edition (haven’t played yet) and some other stuff that I for some reason can’t remember off the top of my head. Ah well, it doesn’t matter. I’ll have reviews of Killing Floor and New TF2 up soon. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!