What have they done to Uhura?

Posted on May 14, 2009. Filed under: SF TV | Tags: , , |

I saw the new Star Trek movie on opening night. Believe it or not, despite what this post ends up saying, I mostly enjoyed the movie.

It was only afterward, once I was back home, that I started thinking … .

If you haven’t seen the new Star Trek movie, you might want to stop reading right here. But …

If you’re a woman, maybe you want to know before you go in. Especially if you’re a Boomer woman. Really especially if you were a pioneer yourself leading women into new professional territory.

Really, if you want to watch the movie and be surprised — stop reading now.

I mean it. Last chance … because …

Uhura is sleeping with her boss.

Not Kirk. Spock.

Who is cute, I admit. But a smart cookie like Uhura would be too professional to play where she works. Especially in a military unit. Despite what Battlestar Gallactica portrayed.

Thank goodness she’s still smart as far as her job is concerned. She’s still the ears of the Universe picking up odd noises and interpreting them like a crackerjack submarine sonar officer.

I’m okay with the fact that she’s a babe. I do wish she’d been given more to do.

I wonder what Nichelle Nichols, the original Uhura, thinks.

Y’all know the famous story. Nichelle was bored out of her skull with her role as a TV space ship switchboard operator. She was about to quit.

Then Martin Luther King Jr. himself stepped up and asked her to please stay, that she was showing a black woman in an important job on a TV show.

Even if not many people then were watching her.

But Dr.  King knew a potential pop culture icon when he saw one.

In those days on the cusp of the woman’s movement, Uhura was a bridge officer on the flagship of the fleet. Smart, good at her job and good in a fight. Every once in a while, she had to act like the flinching pre-ERA woman and say, “Oh, captain, I’m so afraid.”

I think I remember reading where Nichelle had to protest a few of those wimpy throwback moments and remind the producers and directors that Uhura was a soldier.

Apparently, the creator of Alias’s tough Sydney Bristow and Fringe’s capable Olivia Dunham forgot that Uhura is a soldier, too.

But now she’s a space babe in lacy lingerie. Perhaps on a career track to become “The Captain’s Woman???”

It all makes me wonder about what we leading women have wrought.

We embraced the freedom to reproduce when we wanted, not when biology happened. The control that The Pill gave us allowed us to wonder what else we could do now that we weren’t shackled by biology?

Then, we wanted to learn more about our own biology for health reasons. And we took the shame out of acts of love.

We didn’t want our daughters and nieces to feel the same taboo that we used to feel, either.

In the ’90s, fashion designer Donna Karan added sex to the power suit, which had morphed from Joan Crawford’s shoulders to a bow-tied-almost-Mormon-nun thing to attorney Ally McBeal wearing a mini skirt in court.

Hey, Uhura wears a mini on the bridge of the Enterprise. Both Uhuras.

A positive aspect of the new character is that today’s Uhura takes the lead in the relationship. Which makes Spock whipped, even though he’s in a position of authority. I’m not sure that’s a good image for him, either.

One character trait about the original Captain Kirk, who is probably about 15 years older than the new Kirk of the movie, is that he was always a professional with his subordinates.

The military has strict rules against romance in a unit between superiors and subordinates.

Kirk’s behavior on the Enterprise showed that he lived by that code. He knew that, when he was aboard his ship, he would spend his nights/afternoons/spare moments alone. His female yeoman’s blonde beauty weighed heavily on his mind. His hormones must have tormented him greatly.

Granted, this crew is young, their hormones coursing. But they’re still in the military.  And, supposedly, Spock’s hormones only activate every seven years.

So, has the new Star Fleet abolished the military code of conduct?

And I wonder, what would Dr. King say now?

P.S. – Actress Zoe Saldana deserves better.

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Part of a Entertainment Distribution Revolution?

Posted on July 14, 2008. Filed under: SF TV, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , |

Courtesy Mutant Enemy Productions

Courtesy Mutant Enemy Productions

As part of the fallout from the Writers Guild of America strike, some entertainment content producers are using the Internet to reach their viewers directly.

Among them is producer/writer Joss Whedon (of TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly). His upcoming mini-series “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” will be releasing in installments over the Internet. For free.

How are folks getting paid? The freebie installments from July 15-20 are intended to build excitement for downloads and an eventual DVD. Which won’t be for free. But we want artists making a living, right?

All, and then some, is revealed in the “Master Plan” page available at the Dr. Horrible website. Mr. Whedon was so kind to offer desktop resources, like the image above, for us to spread the word in Net-appropriate viral fashion.

(BTW, I wish more content producers would do that, offer us buttons and banners and desktops.)

You’ll see recognizable faces in that poster at the top. Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”) plays the title character “Dr. Horrible” while Nathan Fillion (“Desperate Housewives,” “Firefly”) plays the-less-than-super super-hero out to stop him.

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Good night, Moonlight

Posted on May 15, 2008. Filed under: Cop TV, SF TV, TV | Tags: , |

In one of life’s ironic moments, l learned that CBS cancelled a show about vampires, one of my favorite shows, right before I left for bloodwork. Moonlight promo photo courtesy CBS Photo of lead actors on CBS's

Moonlight, which is still on CBS on Friday nights for the time being, got the network heave-ho. Alex O’Loughlin plays a vampire PI who works with and loves a mortal journalist played by Sophia Myles.

According to an article in the Hollywood Reporter , CBS sees women as the main audience for network TV and that we prefer procedurals and comedies. And, according to the ratings, no one much besides its passionate fan base preferred “Moonlight.”

Hmm. Let’s see – a romantic show starring a handsome charismatic actor exchanging witty banter with an attractive smart woman. And that’s not what women want?

Yeah. CBS called it. We just hate that stuff.

But I don’t see lead Alex O’Loughlin, who played PI Mick St. John, disappearing from entertainment, though. He’s created enough of a buzz to be poised for featured roles in films. He could play a dapper new action hero in a new franchise. Or even move to Wisteria Lane.

Not that I’m “in the know” as far as these things go. I just have a good imagination and like to speculate.

And co-star Sophia Myles is no slouch, either. I could see her cast in a costume epic, a Jane Austen or an Edith Wharton. Or stirring up some saucy 18th century trouble in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.”

Again. I have no insider knowledge, just good wishes for some talented players.

Photo courtesy CBS

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Torchwood – Rhys rules

Posted on February 17, 2008. Filed under: Cop TV, SF TV | Tags: , |

Until the last episode, I considered Rhys a stock character — the cop wife.

You know the type — whiny, jealous, wants the cop-love home for dinner every night. If not estranged already, then an ex2be, complete with unspecified numbered days. The clock’s ticking, dude.
Plus, Gwen and Rhys seemed to be the classic “opposites attract then repel” couple. Their engagement announcement early in this series seemed doomed. If nothing else, we would be doomed to an obligatory wedding episode, complete with alien invasion in the church.

Already a ground-breaking series, Torchwood again breaks new ground. We still may be subjected to a wedding episode complete with aliens or a rip in the fabric of time, but I have hope for these two after all.

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