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100 days of Love and Hate - Day 22 [Sep. 21st, 2006|09:04 am]
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[mood |tiredtired]

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.

[User Picture]From: threemonkeys
2006-09-21 02:49 am (UTC)
Anyway, yes. Love the man's work. Love his art, love his film work

I wonder if it is wrong to love his effect on others. I have three Giger posters in a corner of my living room. Whenever somebody new comes in, there is this moment where they notice the posters and go quiet while their brains try to come to grips with what they are seeing. They you see them looking out the corner of their eye at the posters for the rest of the visit.
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[User Picture]From: mistress_wench
2006-09-21 03:14 am (UTC)
I watched all but the last ep of Voyager, cos I reckoned that they sold out with the Borg thing..
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[User Picture]From: cheshirenoir
2006-09-21 03:58 am (UTC)
I have declared many many times, that if I became a CEO of an important company, I'd fit out a "firing room" with a Harkonnen chair on a dais and a stool on the normal floor. With the right backlighting I think I could set up an environment suitable to knock some of the stuffing out of those accursed middle management wasterels.

"Mr Simpkins, I think you KNOW why you have been called into this room..."
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2006-09-21 04:40 am (UTC)
My favourite episode of Voyager to hate is Season 2's "Tuvix", where a transporter accident fuses Tuvok and Neelix into one combined entity.
The crew work out a way to separate the two again.
'Please don't do that,' says Tuvix, 'for I am an independent sentient being now. It's a tragedy that your two crew members died to create me, but it was an accident. If you reverse the process, it's deliberate murder.'
So Janeway has him knocked unconscious and murdered so that Neelix and Tuvok can return, hurrah!

...except she's now a murderer, and the regular cast are complicit, and I can't respect the characters for what they claim to be any more.
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From: bigevilogre
2006-09-21 04:57 am (UTC)
I never got into Voyager either. Or Deep Space 9.
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[User Picture]From: purrdence
2006-09-21 08:42 am (UTC)
I"m a next gen gal myself.
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[User Picture]From: thinarthur
2006-09-21 09:48 am (UTC)
...and "Enterprise" was more of more of the same. I started watching both but gave up after a season or two. You're dead right boy, great concepts but they just wimp out totally, imagine if those guys had made "Blakes 7" !!! No, don't, you'll lose your lunch. Small wonder the franchise has been put on ice.

Thing is, why have they turned out that way? Surely writers like character conflict, was the script editor a dill? At least we have the retro ultrafanfilm series "Starship Exeter" & "ST- New Voyages", you seen them?
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[User Picture]From: willowgypsy
2006-09-21 10:50 am (UTC)
Oh dear.

Voyager was and is my favourite of all the Star Treks (stands by for derision).

I really enjoyed it just for the sheer fun and stupidity and endless futility of it.

Plus! Seven is SOOOOO very hot.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-09-21 10:59 am (UTC)
You're welcome to enjoy it for what it was. I just can't help but mourn what it could/should have been.

I thought Seven looked hottest when she was still all Borg-ed up. Once they got her in the jumpsuit, I kinda lost interest. But loved some of the better stories with her character in the lead.
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[User Picture]From: ghoath
2006-09-21 11:19 am (UTC)
hehe 7 of 9's jump suit! i always wondered about that, such a silly costume. i would've thought she would've got sick of it after a couple of years. i agree she was hottest as borg.

the way janeway breaks protocol when it suits her and then lords protocol over everyone else when she feels like it despite having no federation backup really pisses me off. you get all these voyager fans that go on about how janeway is so cool because she is such a gutsy bitch, but imo it makes her more of a stupid captain.

i'm with you about the crew's integration as well, that was so lame. chakotay decides with his balls, B'Ellana cracks the shits because the engineer's a dikhead, they have one epsiode where all these crewmen have training wih Tuvok to bring them back in line, and then that's it. lame.

having said that, I love watching it.
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[User Picture]From: willowgypsy
2006-09-21 11:44 pm (UTC)


Oh!! And Q!

And Q Junior!

They were always amusing, again in a stupid way. Maybe I just like mt ST to be light-hearted and silly, rather than DS9 which was all angsty and morose.

Plus never knowing whether Harry was going to die THIS time!

Oh, and... (ok, I'll stop)
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From: livelurker
2006-09-22 01:35 pm (UTC)
Aside from the jumpsuits I liked 7 because she always seemed much more rational than Captain Hepburn. If only she'd mutineed and taken over the ship it would have been much more interesting.
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