Tuesday 19 January 2010

Watching: Star Trek: Phase 2. A fan-made sequel to the original pop-cultural landmark rather than an original continuity of new characters, Phase 2 has some pretty horrendous acting. That's pretty much my main take on it, as it overshadows almost everything else, which is a shame given the effort involved that's yielded a damn fine recreation of the original series' visual aesthetic, right down to the garish studio lighting.

The FX let the side down by being significantly better than what would have appeared on the original series, but alongside the remastered episodes do highlight how little the show really needed retooling for later iterations given both it's recognisability worldwide, its place as a cultural artifact of the mid-20th century, and also as a meta-franchise that now supports an entirely canon alternate-reality retelling as a box-office draw alongside the series itself. This is the route that a new tv series should have taken, if only to spare us Picard's jumpsuited communists wandering the galaxy avoiding fights.

Standout moment among the bad acting and dialogue of latest episode Blood and Fire is probably James Cawley's Kirk noting in passing that his nephew Peter is gay and not being terribly concerned, but that's what we'd expect of Kirk at this stage, as the man has seen more fanny than the gynecologists of seven worlds and has little to prove to anyone, I imagine, though this is still a bit of a coup for the show given it's co-written by Star Trek veteran David Gerrold, and none of the official series ever managed to represent the gay community beyond seedy allusions in the otherwise-great DS9 that reduced homosexuality in the Trek universe(s) to something only indulged by the morally ambiguous or outright evil - though in fairness, you can lay exactly the same allegation at its feet about the portrayal of interracial couples.

Still, it's a great little series if you can get past the shortcomings of the acting and dialogue, but in fairness there are few 'proper' actors among the cast of mostly-fans - though those that are (such as TNG's Denise Crosby) seem to be going the extra mile of recreating the bad acting that surrounds them to the point that it probably helps the view of it all as something mates ran up after putting a few drinks down their neck.

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