Monday, March 30, 2009

Terilynn's Trek: 3-30-09; DS9's The Visitor - Trek Perfection

It's been a hell of a week. More so for my mother than for me specifically, but it's still been very, very rough. Getting bad news about one's health is always difficult, but when the news is this bad (my mother has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer) it's doubly hard.

I'm most likely still in denial over most of it. I was busy this weekend just trying to make sure the house was as prepared for our needs as they arise over the coming weeks. Grocery shopping and warehouse stores became my focus.

Through it all, The Husband was and is amazingly supportive by taking time out of his work schedule to take my mother to her procedures as I have certain commitments with my job right now that would make time off extraordinarily difficult.

Another thing I've been thankful for has been the fact that DS9 is still a part of the ritual – as much as we have one right now. We finished viewing the third season and have jumped right into the fourth.

People here at TrekUnited and at The Omega Sector (TrekCore's BBS) have all told me that this is when the show really starts to take off.

That's saying something, because some of the shows from the first three seasons are already some of the best Trek I've ever seen. Duet was as striking an episode as I have seen from any Trek, and I utterly adored Family Business. I've have learned how easy it is to loathe Kai Winn - and idolize Louise Fletcher in the process. I like Sisko, adore Jadzia, understand Kira, and root for Nog. I really appreciate that Sisko is a father and that Jake isn't an idiot. Quark is a jewel and Odo crushes me.

The political intrigue however is really becoming more than riveting! This is a huge confession for me…but I wish TNG were more like this show. Allowing a thread of a continuing tale to hold the show together has been great and is only getting better. I likened the current form of DS9 (into disc 2 of Season 4 now) like a curtain rod that holds individual hangers. The thread of the show – the political story line – is the rod that bears the episodes which can all stand and be shown on their own without getting lost in the shuffle of the greater story arc.

This is great television folks.

One episode we just watched almost killed me though. The Visitor is, I think, DS9's answer to TNG's The Inner Light. A pure character study with a story that could only happen in science fiction but whose moral and myth serve to remind you that Trek really is about showing the Human condition. I was crying ten minutes into the show. As much as he tried to hold out – by minute 15 the Kleenex box was sitting in between The Hubby and I. I actually had to recover from that episode.

Maybe a part of that is because of what we're currently enduring with my mother's diagnosis. That's okay. The lessons rang very, very true. If you haven't seen this episode of DS9, do yourself a favor – find it, watch it and listen to it.

It is Trek story-telling perfection.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Terilynn's Trek: 3-23-09; SyFy and Howe. Can They Dig Any Faster?

You know, I have to laugh sometimes. Just when you think that media execs can't shove their feet in their respective mouths in any deeper – they surprise me with a full-court press of their entire leg down their throats. Yep it's about SciFi Channel – soon to be SyFy… *Imagine Greater- she whispers*

Seriously - they should have learned from their own tagline and tried to use their imaginations. Trouble is? They think they actually are.

I feel the need to quote one of my own posts from Trek United from yesterday just so you don't think I don't have a grasp on reality.

I happen to know a lot of women who watch and enjoy science fiction and watch the SciFi Channel. When NBC/U changes the name and has already intimated that they will be changing the programming to lure more typical female viewers - that to me means they will be passing on science fiction content and upping the frequency of fantasy and horror programming to appeal the wider mass audience, including women who DON'T like science fiction.

In essence they're dumping science fiction as a foundation and leaving it for the potential of the wider market - just like most other cable channels have done over the years - it started with MTV and when they stopped showing music videos to pull in the teen market with the appalling crap beginning with Real World. MTV is pointless now IMHO - but I'm definitely NOT the market that would make money for them. And I fear science fiction programming will go the way of the dodo when SyFy begins the shift in programming and science fiction fans will once again be ignored.

It's not that there's no money in sci-fi (NuBSG has proven that) it's that there's not ENOUGH money to satisfy the studios for the potential double digit GROWTH in their GOP they strive to maintain and in this faltering economy - that means having to diversify their product to appeal to the most audience possible - and if that means losing their core audience - oh well, as long as they can maintain more than 10% profit year-over-year they don't care.

It's just a shame really.

Seems as though my reasoning was…well…spot on. Here's a quote taken from a prepared Q&A from SciFi Wire (amazing – they're not afraid of the term) completed by President of SyFy – SciFiChannel *grrr whatever!* Dave Howe:

You say you want your brand to be more female-friendly, but I'm a woman and I like the old name. Don't I count?

Howe: You absolutely count, and we appreciate that you're watching our shows. And we're not saying that no women watch the network. In fact, almost half of our audience is women, thanks to shows such as Ghost Hunters that attract more women than men. But overall, our channel and the sci-fi genre in general tend to skew more male than female, and we want to ensure we remain gender-balanced and continue to bring in new female viewers, who often say they don't like traditional sci-fi.


*scratches head*

How am I supposed to respond to this? With sad resignation that apparently the typical female viewer would rather watch inane people run around dark houses pretending to chase ghosts instead of having her brain challenged by a plotline regarding the potential existence and dilemma caused by a naked singularity? (Besides he admitted that almost half of the current audience is female...sounds pretty balanced to me - he just can't admit that the audience itself isn't big enough to make a decent profit margin.)

Being "gender balanced" in a science-fiction viewing audience is not what sexual equality is all about Mr. Howe. Equality = understanding that you don't need to reduce your fare to appeal to the lowest common denominator regardless of gender – it's acknowledging the equality already inherent in people.

People Mr. Howe – not just your market-poll viewing audience. It's about treating PEOPLE with respect. In an effort to make money and buy a brand that you could trademark to assure that materials marketed would be solely owned by your company, you have decided that bulking up your television programming with shows that are cheaper to make and bring in more of the less-than-discerning viewer would be the best way to assure that those profits remain in the "growth" realms.

Science fiction shows are expensive. Well done fantasy and sci-fi/horror shows are expensive, but "non-scripted" *cough – bullphlox – cough* shows are super cheap! Wrestling is cheap! Ghost Hunters and whatever else you call that paranormal bull you're hawking are truckloads cheaper to make than effects laden science fiction series.

Who cares if you're pandering to idiots? It makes money!

You can try to twist your company's reply by saying you're really just being more sensitive to the female viewer – by being nice to them by bringing on more insipid programming that really will appeal to them so you can even out your viewing audience and make it more female friendly.

In doing so – SyFy has now turned it's back on the core audience of BOTH intelligent men and women who loved watching a channel that at one time actually had more science fiction programming than it did commercialized corporate ratification of superstition and fear mongering.

You and your company shouldn't be surprised by the heat you're feeling from those who make up what was once your core audience. We're a pretty intelligent bunch. We can see through the marketing bull and your weak attempts to put a positive spin on the final disembowelment of a once-fun network.

Ghost Hunters and the ilk are fiction, yes – but you're selling them as non-fiction. And the people who buy that crap are not the people who will ever watch "traditional" science fiction Mr. Howe. So don't insult my intelligence by saying you're being sensitive to the female viewer.

SyFy is not the name you should have selected.

If you truly wanted to represent the fare your network will be offering, you should have just done us all a favor and called it TRASH…at least you couldn't be sued for false advertising.

Can you tell you've never been forgiven for pre-empting the last night of fan favorite TNG episodes for wrestling!?

For all of you who have made it through tonight's rant, I thank you. Here's another article – additional damage control if you will – being offered by Mr. Howe. How many shovels can this man use at one time?

Here he tries to explain that the polls told them the name was okay…really! The polls said everything was all right – that SyFy was the best choice!

Yeah – out of what? The other choices were "SFC" and "Beyond."

*headdesk* Sounds like a wrestling group and a brand name for feminine products - no wonder they didn't do as well as SyFy!

I would love to hear your take on this hilarious SPIN of events!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

3-17-09 SyFy Rant Good for Hinman! Insult to everyone else?!

WOO HOOOO! A chance to RANT!! But it's NOT about STXI! Thank you Wil Wheaton! Thank you Michael Hinman! I've been going through rant withdrawal and your recent posts have opened the floodgates once again!

Wil Wheaton Tweeted the first link above and it lead to the source material listed in the second link that the blog was beefing about.

It's about SciFi Channel. Oops! I should say SyFy.

Over a month ago I, along with everyone else who tries to keep up with the world of science fiction entertainment raised a collective Vulcan eyebrow when Michael Hinman changed the name of his successful website of blogs and articles from SyFy Portal to Airlock Alpha. Along with the name change came a sleek new look and logo.

I understand branding changes and I was happy for Michael and gang. The articles are just as timely and interesting regardless of the name. Personally, I like Airlock Alpha better.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when Michael posts a link to an article on his Facebook page that gave me the REAL reason why the name was changed.

NBC/Universal wanted it and they bought the rights to the name SyFy from Michael. Great for him! Wonderful!

Why did they want the name you ask? So they could change the name of their subsidiary network SciFi Channel to SyFy.

And why is that change required? Because apparently the term "SciFi" is too geeky…too nerdish…to INHUMAN. Well, according to Tim Brooks "television historian" anyway. He thinks geeks aren't human enough. Oh! And get a load of this quote!

"The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular," said TV historian Tim Brooks, who helped launch Sci Fi Channel when he worked at USA Network. ENDQUOTE

Emphasis added.

Oh boy. Can you find another way to insult me Mr. Brooks?

First, I am a woman. Second, I am a geek. Third, last time I checked, I am a human being. Fourth, I'm not offended by the term "SciFi." I use it all the time. I am however, insulted that Brooks and clan think I need to have terms dumbed down to think they're cute enough to warrant my attention.

So what Mr. Brooks and NBC/Universal is saying is that if you're remotely intelligent, you don't deserve to be entertained intelligently. You don't make NBC/Universal enough money – but stupid people bring in gobs of cash.

Oh yeah…don't forget – apparently WOMEN fall into that stupid category! Well – isn't that what you're saying Mr. Brooks? Because I'm still trying to figure out why you think you have to alter your programming and cuten up the name to lure more female viewers. Why not just produce science fiction programming that appeals to we HUMANS that enjoy intelligent programming!

Well – have at it! Misspell the network's name to make it more appealing to the stupid people! Dumb down your fare and mass market it to those who can't fathom being associated with science fiction!

This is one intelligent, female geek who will be here to rail on the new shows and cliché dreck that I know you're gearing up to pump out.

On second thought, maybe I'll just buy more videogames and interact with my family across the country using that technology you just can't seem to fathom that any woman would use and ignore this shiny-new, dumbed-down version of what was once a channel dedicated to some pretty great shows.

Oh and Mr. Brooks? Go phlox yourself.

Friday, March 13, 2009

3-13-09 Terilynn's Trek; DS9 is to be Savored

Hey, guess what! NO RANT! I know! Weird isn't it?

Over the course of the last week I've been nose-down into work and eyes tuned to disc after disc of DS9. What a relief! REAL Star Trek! Great story lines, wonderful acting.

Sure, there've been some real turds – but what version of ST doesn't have its stinkers? (Shades of Grey or Up the Long Ladder anyone?) But having the opportunity to pull myself away from the increasing din of STXI stuff has been a true gift.

I really like Sisko. Still not sure how a 3-pipper got the job when I always understood admiralty commanded space stations – but I've grown used to the idea. He's made some baaaaad decisions granted, like the episode where he lets his Maquis friend go. That ticked me off to no end, but I've learned a lot of patience after watching 4 seasons of Archer make some crappy decisions too.

Yet, I have come to savor each and every episode. They are, for all intent and purposes, new to me. This is all NEW Trek to me and although I still have 7 more season of Voyager to watch after these, they're all just so much fun.

I know we're about to get an influx of Trek that we're not used to - a new imagination of Trek brought to us by people who didn't grow up with the Trek we knew. I can't say it doesn't look it exciting, because it does! I'm the biggest sucker for popcorn flicks that ever lived! But I know it won't be the same.

So with every "new" episode of DS9 that I watch, I feel excitement and yet a little bit of melancholy – because I'm one episode closer to not having any new "real" Trek.

Friday, March 6, 2009

3-6-09: Terilynn's Trek: STXI's New Trailer and Feelings of Betrayal

Just in case you don’t want to know what is happening in the new movie or in the comics or in the novelization of the movie – don’t read my blog. I refuse to litter it with blinding red spoiler tags. Fair warning given.

Holy crap!

What the hell am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to react? How the hell am I supposed to deal with the new Star Trek XI trailer?

I’ve never been so heartbroken and thrilled at the same time. I’ve never wanted to cry so hard and yet scream with joy like this before.

I recently posted something similar to: If I ever meet JJ Abrams I won’t know whether to kiss him or spit in his face.

You see, I hate him. I hate Orci and Kurtzman and Abrams for what they’ve done to the Trek I’ve known and loved my whole life. And yet? I adore what they’ve done in the new trailer. The movie looks beautiful. It looks exciting and it looks fun. (I still think a few of the lines are beyond dreck – the scene where Kirk takes command is lame beyond belief – but it’s possible that out of context within the trailer, it just falls strangely wherein the movie it might play better – one can only hope.)

I have perused the forums and have laughed over the pure orgasmic reactions from most of the fanboys. I’ve handed out towels actually.

But not everyone is happy. Including me. Wait – hear me out.

Recent plot lines have some to light and the release of the cover of the Star Trek novel to go along with the movie reveals that in the original timeline (the timeline where TOS, TNG, DS9 and VOY canon exists) Romulus is destroyed. This is the impetus for Nero’s wrath and his reasons for going back in time for revenge.

So – now that Orci has confirmed that Nero actually creates a new timeline when Nero travels back – we have to assume that Romulus STAYS destroyed in the original timeline. I think that’s beyond screwed up. Everything about the canon I’ve grown to appreciate about Trek has now been left for dead with Romulus. I’m horrified, sickened and angry with this. No one will ever be able to make Trek canon in this timeline again and Orci made sure that it would be almost impossible. It’s just a blow to fans – it’s no different from destroying Qo’Nos or the home planet of any other canon species that faired such a pivotal role. It also is a cheap Trek novel trick – something I have complained about months ago when it seemed like every Pocketbooks novel I read had a planet blowing up. Pathetic. I hope Rommie fans rise up in ire.

But then the third trailer comes out and I actually found my heart starting to pound a little more. The effects are MINDBLOWING. This is visually the most thrilling trailer I have ever seen. I can’t wait to see how all of these amazing effects finally get to reveal themselves! I have a really bad feeling about the acting – but I will wait to see if it improves in the film. It might just be the dialogue writing that seems so cheesy…I hope there’s better lines in this film than this.

So I feel like what I’m left with is a broken heart and the keys to a shiny new car.

I feel like Abrams and Company killed my one-true love with a quick cut of the throat and then had the most gorgeous hunk of man standing in front of me with a smile.

I know I could never love him the way I loved the one they killed…but I won’t say no if he asked me to sleep with him.

I feel so dirty.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

3-4-09 Terilynn's Trek; IDIC - It's Not Just a Symbol

It's a very Trek kind of day, I must say.

The internet is a strange and wonderful place. By reinvigorating my passion for this television show over the course of the last year or so I have "met" people from all over the world, some of them I've even had the extreme pleasure to meet in person.

The one thing I've loved about it is the exposure I have had to people of different beliefs, ideals, backgrounds and philosophies.

On a rare occasion, I've lost budding friendships over the patent differences in some of those opinions. While, in a sense I only have myself to blame – because I was the one who verbalized my own opinion and "put off" the other person – it's hard not to become defensive about it. Maybe I handled things wrong, or maybe the friendship never had a chance – I'll never really know. It's just so disappointing.

While I have a personal need to practice tolerance, sometimes it's really, really hard when I see an opinion posted that so differs with my own it raises ire. An example was my tripping over a recent comment on someone's blog (for those of you who "know" me, I MUST clarify this so you don't think I'm talking about you – this post was NOT on Facebook, nor was it on TrekUnited or The Omega Sector, it was placed somewhere very different and it was NOT a Trek site.) where someone uploaded a video of the most shockingly hateful, racist and gay-bashing opinions that I wanted to vomit. Hate like this terrifies me, especially when it appears from someone that you are just "getting to know" on the internet. Opinions like these are hard if not impossible to change and I know better than to try. It just hurts when you feel you have to disassociate yourself from someone because their opinions are so vastly different from your own that you don't feel comfortable speaking to them anymore.

Someone recently did that to me, and as much as it hurt to see that they felt that way about me, I have to respect their opinion and I still wish them well.

I've never been one to hide my own opinion. If I did, I wouldn't be a blogger. I'm not afraid to be honest about myself either. Sometimes it takes a friend to hold up a mirror to my face to get me to see parts of myself but I really do appreciate when people do. I may not agree with their interpretation of what's seen in that mirror, but hey – that's the beauty of the differing opinion.

I have found that since I've renewed my fandom for Trek, I literally crave that diversity. I love surrounding myself with people from everywhere and talking…learning about our differences and then challenging myself on how to tolerate them.

I use the word tolerate with reason. Tolerance does not mean acceptance. I don't have to change my opinions to be able to tolerate the opinions of others. I don't have to accept those differing opinions as true in order to tolerate them either.

Yesterday I took a huge chance by expressing my opinion, knowing it was very possible that the person might have taken offense purely because my opinion is VASTLY different from theirs.

I prepared for the worst. I prepared myself for the potential that I might have pushed this person away.

But this person saw past it. This person "got it." This person (and I hope this person takes this compliment as it is intended because trust me when I say – it's NOT something I'm saying lightly) practiced what they preached. But what was even better about it, was that I might just have made a few MORE friends because of it!

WHO KNEW! People who want to be friends with people BECAUSE we are different!

Hot damn! How awesome is that?! How freaking Trekkie can you get? How wonderful!

A very good friend of mine who also has opinions that differ wildly from my own once told me "Hey, if Ruth Bader-Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia can be friends, why can't we?"


The one thing that attracted me to Trek fandom has always been that wonderful challenge of learning from those around you…you know…


To my new acquaintances I just want to say…I look forward to the challenge of that exploration with you.

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, yes?

Monday, March 2, 2009

3-2-09 Terilynn's Trek: Recommended Just for You - Cold Medicine

I have the worst cold ever.

I just signed off my computer for work and decided to take a couple of NyQuil just so I could breathe again.

Then I jumped over to Amazon to do a little browsing.

You know, there’s something wholly right with the world when I can confuse something like iTunes or’s “recommendations for you” program.

You know - those programs the sites have that recommend something for you based upon your past purchases or even viewing patterns?

I love these things. I love making them work hard. I would love nothing more than getting a phone call one day from Amazon saying… “Uhmmm…do you mind not shopping with us for awhile until we can put out the fire in our server?”

Hee hee hee.

But what I love more, is being able to shop online…in public places. I can show of my unique recommendations page to total strangers who, upon glancing at that page will be utterly confused by those recommendations and think to themselves…WTH? What a freak!

Today had to be my favorite recommendations page…ever.

Under books, I was recommended Inkdeath (Fantasy); Star Trek: The New Frontier – Treason (Sci-fi of course); Second Chance Pass (Romance); The Waterhole (Childrens); The Best of Gay Erotica (yes…you read that right, GAY EROTICA) and The Tales of Zorro. (I have no clue why…maybe because I bought Zorro: The Gay Blade a few months back.)

Under music, I was recommended the soundtracks for Doubt and The Pledge; The Captain and Me by the Doobie Brothers, The Essential Toto; and 1980s Radio Hits…

…and out of the freaking blue…a 10 inch sharpening steel for knives.

I loved that.

It made me want to write a Mirror Universe parody where Uhura walks into the scene in her two-piece kick-ass MU uniform; she pulls a blade from her right boot then leans down and pulls out a 10-inch sharpening steel from her left and draws her blade against it before plunging the knife into Kirk’s back - who couldn't hear the knife being sharpened because of his horrible head cold.

Don’t know why I thought this was so funny.

I blame the NyQuil.