Saturday, 11 July 2009

The more things change, the more they stay the same

Oh, what a week. Been very busy, you see. Either watching telly or tweeting about telly or writing about telly or chatting to England about telly. Yes, I have got this Thursday’s ‘Burn Notice’, but no, I’ve not had chance to watch it. I will do as soon as I’ve finished publishing this. Yes, I’ve got parts one to three of the miserably short ‘series three’ of ‘Torchwood’. Likewise, I shall plough through all three hours probably back-to-back tomorrow, Sunday, my one day off. No spoilers, please, or I shall stab you int eye wi fork.

Been catching up on older telly, and have been loving it. Oh, how those two boys make me laugh. One (the one my sister likes) is 6’4 with lovely brown hair, possesses puppy-dog eyes and a stubborn streak a mile wide. The other one (who I like) is shorter, with a pretence at blond hair, a big smile and big arms, and is just a complete shameless stud muffin. You know who I’m talking about, right?

A-haaa! Got you! No, not those two, but these two:

Don’t judge me. I missed the series as I was relocating to new continents while all the hoo-ha was going on. I’ve ripped through all four seasons so fast my head’s been spinning - but I haven’t seen the very last episode of season four, ‘These Are The Voyages…’. There are a few reasons for this.

If I never watch the very last one, the show can never be over. See? I did this with ‘Supernatural’s season two boxed set of DVDs, and I know my lil sis did it with ‘21 Jump Street’. It’s a universally accepted way to prolong the suspension of disbelief. It works for me, as Hunter once said.

It’s shite. Honestly - ask anyone. I have been warned time and time again by well-meaning friends and people who don’t even know me. The cast didn’t even like it. The crew didn’t like it. The bloke who fetched Scott Bakula’s fucking coffee didn’t like it. It was derided, insulted and dismissed as the purest form of arse-gravy ever to drop from some hack’s printer in La-La Land by pretty much the entire planet, regardless of language or country. I thought this was a myth until I actually did a little research. All you have to do is clock the terrifyingly high number of icons scattered over many different fandoms proclaiming that they refuse to believe certain characters have been killed off, others have been screwed over, and still others have been written against type in the very last forty minutes of the show’s history - that really should have been their finest hour. And, love him to bits as I do, not even the guest starring-might of Jonathan Frakes is enough to make me weaken and watch the damn thing. And the funny thing is, a couple of paperbacks were rushed out soon after The End, making up for certain results that the entire fandom (and in fact, even the casual viewer, apparently) rejected as plain stupid and downright insulting. I won’t go into details - oh, alright, I will, cos it rankles me and I haven’t even seen it.

If you don’t want to read the SPOILER BITS, you’ll have to RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! from the following few paragraphs:

(This is a spoiler space.
Not an excuse to use an almost Carry On Enterprisin' type naughty seaside postcard.)

So then, spoilers for the finale that aired about... ooh, four years ago? Which everyone has seen but me? Right then:

They killed Trip Tucker.


I know it was the last episode, but come on, why? What purpose could there have been, when it was the end anyway? Why ruin the dream that a million fanboys and girls were sharing around the globe? That dream being that brave wee Trip would end up going where no Earthboy had gone before by making good on certain obligations to the VHLF* he’d been chasing for two years? And by extension, did this not make him more of an explorer than any other bugger on the ship? Yeah, everyone did their science thing and got on with life, collating and learning and finding out and fighting and eating and shagging and dying and such. But who among them actually put their money where their mouth was in seeing nothing wrong in making friends with, and ultimately Best Friend With Benefit’ing a non-human, on or off the ship? Trip’s constant efforts to make the less than cuddly Vulcan science officer understand what humans were all about, and how Vulcans might be completely different but if there’s once universal constant it’s that people always end up thinking like people, no matter their background, was perhaps the best insight into the human condition since the Prophets turned up on DS9 and went “’Ere, Sisko, what’s this baseball thing all about then? Why play sports at all?

By the time James Tiberius Kirk turns up a hundred years later, it’ll be commonplace for Starfleet officers to screw Orion (slave) girls, go-go dancers on planet Disco, waitresses and pleasure princesses on Risa and pretty much anyone else they like. But back when the Enterprise NX-01 was first sent out, none of the crew had actually left Earth before, and the only aliens anyone had really seen in passing were the Vulcans that taught at the Academy in San Francisco (I doubt Trip would put T’Pol in the same category as Mister Velik, the ‘pointy-eared professor who scared the Hell outta [him]’ at said institution).

But he managed to make her lose that stick up her arse and even enjoy herself a few times. He may or may not have been the cause of her addiction to the substance that helped her unlock deeply suppressed emotions (“I wanted to feel. And I did. I wanted more” - yeah, and we know what of, pet), made her see she didn’t have to marry some barely-familiar bloke back on Vulcan just cos her mam told her to cos it should have been her own personal choice. He didn’t cause a scene or add to her fucking hyowj mountain of problems when she was caged into doing just that three years later, and in fact was her closest friend in this life before and after Kos was a distant memory.

Cliched maybe, but the fact remains that in every mirror universe, time hiccup and intergalactic genetic scandal, they always end up either on top of or right next to each other. More often than not, there are half-human half-Vulcan kids thrown into the story too, just to tease the audience with images of fair-haired, pointy-eared Vulcans with huge, pecan pie-eating grins, or cute little babbies rolling around with pointy ears and tufty hair - babbies that suffer a tragic end at the hands of writers who just don’t know what to do with the monster of a possible story arc they’ve created.

An explorer, then. You can traipse around the entire galaxy and see all there is to see, but at the end of the day, the greatest journey you can make is getting to know someone and daring to trust them. Ask the Doctor, he’s had nine hundred years of the same old shite, and look how often he’s let himself get attached to a Companion before they’ve left, one way or another.

Hence the ‘Trip is not dead’ campaign rampant across Tinternet, and the follow-up books that corrected the history books - he wasn’t dead, and he wasn’t even resting. It was all some Section 31 bollocks about removing all records of Commander Charles ‘Trip’ Tucker III from active duty so they could use him in some Earth Alliance / Romulan cold war. As I’ll probably never read the book, and I know damn well I will never watch the last episode, I’ll just file it under Alternate Universe possibilities while I go back to season one, and start watching the really good episodes all over again. Think I’ll start with ‘Strange New World’. Always a giggle.

Oh! And yes, that was a quote from Quark as this post’s title.

*VHLF = Vulcan he likes to fuck. Yes, that's present tense, folks.

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