Star Trek micro-reviews
So we know we're all on the same page
I'm holding off on writing a review of any consumer electronics while I try to get my head around it, but in the interim, I have been watching a lot of "Star Trek," which I believe qualifies me to write a review of this as well. Border Collie Enterprises, Inc. is pleased to present awards in the following categories:

Most Awesome Starship

This isn't as simple as it looks. Do we go with the original Enterprise, no bloody A, B, C, or D, on the grounds that it started it all? No, because I'm not a sentimentalist. How about the transwarp experiment ship Excelsior? Or the USS Prometheus, with its "multi-vector assault mode"? For that matter, there is something to be said for the Enterprise-D, with its separable saucer and its cetacean tanks.

For my money, I'm going to give this to the Voyager, for four reasons. One, it looked cool; it looked like the sports car of Starfleet exploration vessels. Two, it was a tough little son of a bitch—it took well more than its share of punishment, and with its tricobalt devices, photon torpedo launchers, and infinite supply of shuttles it was capable of dishing out well more than it took. Three, it made it all the way across the Delta Quadrant, getting in more adventures than Kirk and Picard combined, and it got most of its crew home. Four, it could land on a planet! And it did!

Runner-up: the USS Defiant, the tough little ship that proved that Starfleet was, in fact, capable of designing a ship that didn't look like two hot dogs bolted to a pieplate. Plus, phaser cannons and a cloaking device!

Most Awesome Captain — For Starfleet

I was originally just going to call this "most awesome captain," however I realised that there are really two different criteria—the objective one, and the one that tells you wihch captain you'd rather serve with. They aren't exactly the same. The list of captains includes all of those from the five series as well as, hell, let's throw in the new Star Trek movie.

As far as Starfleet is concerned, this can't even be a question. Obviously, it's Jean-Luc Picard, the British-accented Frenchman who was 30% diplomat, 30% strategist, 40% intellectual, and 100% badass. This was the person who faced down Q and came to see him as an ally, and not just an antagonist. This was the person was assimilated by the fucking Borg, and got better. This was the person who took on the Cardassians, the Ferengi, the Romulans, the Klingons, and even those guys who spoke only in metaphor (but not the Pakleds, incidentally), and he did it without breaking a sweat.

Runner-up: college frat-boy douchebag James T Kirk, who mumblemumblelady's man mumblemumblemumble whatever the fuck

Most Awesome Captain — To Serve With

This is an entirely different question than the first. Not infrequently, what is best for any individual crewman and what is best for Starfleet or the Federation as a whole are in conflict. To figure out who you'd rather serve with, ask yourself this question. Suppose, through only vague fault of your own, you trespassed on the culture of an alien world. The punishment of this is death, or possibly indefinite imprisonment. Now ask, what would your captain do? Picard would give you a sanctimonious speech about needing to respect other cultures. Sisko might mention you as a tragic case while staring at his baseball and musing about the impermanence of life.

Kathryn "Mama Bear" Janeway, on the other hand, would smash skulls together until your ass was back on her ship where it damned well belonged. If it took browbeating the Borg, the Breen, and the Klingons into an alliance to do it, you better believe she would. If it took violating the timeline, shit, "temporal prime directive"? That's for pussies. If the only option was pureeing Tarkalian microkittens, Janeway would be stomping those motherfuckers with her bare boots while Picard was dicking around trying to determine if Shakespeare had ever addressed the "will it blend?" quandary.

Runner-up: ... Sisko? Sam Beckett? I... I don't know

Most Completely Retarded Supporting Character

This is a tough one. Originally, I wanted to say Ethan Phillips' Neelix, but he was fairly resourceful and, as far as I can tell, h at least meant well. Wesley Crusher is the standard go-to answer, because although he saved the ship a couple of times, it was pretty irritating that on a crew composed entirely of perfect super-men, some snot-nosed teenager could fix it all up for them. Admittedly this is pretty ridiculous. I'm also trying to keep it to characters that were part of the main cast; otherwise, this would just be the words "Whoopi Goldberg" repeated over and over again.

For my money, anyway, if anybody had to be spaced to save air it would have to be Deanna Troi. Troi, who made her first appearance wearing a thigh-length dress and go-go boots. Troi, who decided she wanted to be a command officer and then used her first command appearance to crash the fucking ship. Troi, with that weird, unplaceable accent she used until she just empathically adopted Marina Sirtis's own voice. Imagine making first contact with the Federation. The viewscreen activates. The captain stands up, performs the Picard manoeuvre, and just as he's about to introduce himself, a streetwalker with Miss Frizzle hair, dressed like a sex robot from a cyberpunk story, leans over and says "captain, I'm sensing... strong emotion... not... sadness, it's... something else." That's right, you'd close the channel and find a race with more dignity. Like the Pakleds.

Runner-up: either Naomi Wildman, the irritating child that the Voyager used instead of Wesley Crusher, or ex-lieutenant Miles O'Brien (on the Enterprise only, not DS9), who was originally a bridge officer and then somehow managed to be demoted all the way back to being an enlisted man and thereafter just ran the fucking transporter, but neither of these people were in the main cast.

Most Compelling Non-Human Emotionless Character There To Teach Us About Being Human And Having Emotions

Every "Star Trek" series has had at least one character whose primary role was to be non-human and emotionless, so that we could learn about how awesome humanity and emotions are. The original series had Spock, TNG had Data, DS9 had Odo, VOY had Tuvok and the Doctor, and ENT had T'pol and maybe Phlox. Now, I really am partial to Odo, and I really like Robert Picardo's Doctor, who managed to steal every episode and scene he was in.

However, I am willing to very narrowly commend Data, but only at certain times. Data is at his best when he is being subtle, not when he is overtly pulling the "I cannot use contractions," "query: why are those two crewmembers putting their mouths on each other," "what does it mean, 'to eat'?" bullshit that looks more like sloppy programming than a genuine non-human. Also, since Brent Spiner is not very good at being subtle, not when Data is trying to convey an emotion. Emotional Data is right out, because the series only ever used it well (as in, not for comic relief) very rarely. However, when Data was being his more normal self, with his wry sense of humour (yes, he had one) and his just-barely-not-quite-right, completely detached, objective self, he was probably the best example in the canon.

Runner-up: the Doctor, who had license both to be serious and to ham it up (see: Emergency Command Hologram).

More categories to come as I think of them. However, I'd like to toss something out there. Famously, speculation has been raised that, Data might not be who we think he is—at the end of the episode "Datalore," which uses Data's inability to use contractions as a plot point, Data says "I'm fine." Is he fine? Or is he Lore?

Presumably, this was just an oversight. I'm going to suggest another one: go watch "Where Silence Has Lease," the episode where the immensely powerful entity Nagilum has the Enterprise in a trap. The ship's autodestruct sequence is ticking down swiftly. The ship calls out "10 seconds," and Picard aborts the sequence. Fifteen or sixteen seconds later, Riker finishes answering the computer when it asks if he concurs with the abortion of the auto-destruct (rather than saying "yes," he says "Yes, I do indeed concur, wholeheartedly").

As the camera pans across, it lingers on Data, who offers a decidedly uncharacteristic smirk. Why? Why would Data smirk? Has all of Star Trek since "Where Silence Has Lease" simply been a massive illusion? Nagilum talks to Picard, after they have left his section of space—how? Did Nagilum have power over the auto-destruct all along? Did he keep them around, toying with them for a couple of episodes, before releasing them without their knowledge?

Why did you have to go and do that, Data?
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