H.R. Giger's work I find amazing, always have. The levels of depth and detail just draw me in and blow me away. Not surprisingly I'm also a fan of Hieronymus Bosch.
Surprisingly though, I find his work hard to write about. It affects me on such a deep level and many things I can talk about easily, but summing up my love and appreciation of art I find difficult. I just don't have the words.
During our trip to the UK in 1995, I did a three-day detour to his hometown Chur to vist the Giger Bar. It was fabulous and surreal, not the least because it was in the middle of a little collection of shops. More a cafe than a bar, I ate there every day, surrounded by his work. One thing I didn't expect was that the Harkonnen chairs are actually incredibly comfortable. And you can buy the buggers now! Nooooooooo! Me want!
The problem is, you need a room designed around these sorts of things to do them justice. So ain't gunna happen.
Anyway, yes. Love the man's work. Love his art, love his film work.
How passionately can I rant about this? Let's see...
Fuck! What a fucking waste of millions of dollars and seven years!
I was enthusiastic about Voyager. I wanted to believe in it, and give it a chance. The concept, two antagonistic crews flung to a distant part of the galaxy in a single ship, seventy years from home. Oh my God, what a fantastic idea! And it's Star Trek, probably the most powerful television franchise in the world, you can go nuts. Tell really intense stories that you couldn't get away with in a regular show.
And what did they give us?
Well, for a start the two crews integrate with a minimum of fuss, the level of friction between them hardly used to enhance the drama at all. Two temporal anomaly stories within the first four episodes - the first two of which were the pilot. They try to stick rigidly to Starfleet ways of doing things, even though a chunk of the crew isn't Starfleet, it doesn't make sense, then Janeway breaks protocols whenever it suits her anyway.
When you have a great villain, the key is to use that villain well. You shouldn't aim for a story a season, you should aim to include that villain when you have a story worth telling. And so the Borg got watered down, even more than they already had been. And don't forget Species 8472... First appearance they kicked the Borg's arse. Second appearance, one's all lost, alone, and scared and it just wants to go home. Oh dear lord.
When the show came up with ideas that worked, they regularly declawed them. The episode where we discover that there's a traitor onboard. Someone has been trading replicator technology on the sly to get them safe passage. Brilliant! Fantastic! Makes sense. It's a reasonably major character! Marvelous! That character is actually a Cardassian in disguise... What the fuck?! No! Nonononono! You've just destroyed all the drama, in one fell swoop. 'Well of course she's a traitor, she's really a bad guy in disguise. None of the good guys would ever do that.' If Harry Kim had done it, or Tom Paris, or Chakotay, my god it would have been amazing. Let them spend the next several episodes in the brig, finally brought out for a story where they are needed, let them have a slow redemption. Or better yet, a slow burn. Let them get jaded and troublesome. Let them be the voice of the audience every time a stupid decision is made.
Year of Hell parts 1 and 2. Fucking brilliant. One of the best bits of Trek in a long time. Brutal, harsh... and because it's got time travel at the core of the story, they hit the reset button at the end so that nothing ever happened. Couldn't we have just gone back most of the way? Still had some of the small changes?
The ship starts as immaculate, and finishes just the same. Okay, it's a little harder on the networks if they have to show the stories in order, but how cool would it have been to see the gradual running repairs and effects of damage. Dents, scratches, new panels, new technology... The ship that makes it home being some weird mutant thing, barely resembling the original.
About the sticking to Federation guidelines angle. How cool would it have been to have had them slowly and gradually drop this? That over the years there's that many situations they face that they slowly, oh so slowly, drop the guidelines. And then you have it. The story or a run of stories where, because they don't follow the old guidelines, innocents suffer. Seriously suffer. A planet destroyed by technology they've traded for something. The realisation of what they've done, what they've become, the decision to go back to the old guidelines, the struggle to keep to the rules... Gold! Pure gold!
And that's the thing. Voyager with its modern production values and special effects, with the ideas at its core, could have been one of the greatest SF series ever. Not one of the greatest Trek series, one of the great series.
Instead they gave us, not more of the same, but less than the same.