QUICK CUTS: STAR TREK
With Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, Daniel Keohane, Paul McMahon, and Colleen Wanglund.
MICHAEL ARRUDA: Welcome, everybody, to another edition of QUICK CUTS. With J.J. Abrams’ STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS in theaters now, we’re going to talk some STAR TREK.
Specifically, I want to know if the original STAR TREK has been surpassed by any of the other series. Have Kirk, Spock, and McCoy ever been bested?
Today L.L. Soares and I are joined on our Cinema Knife Fight panel by Daniel Keohane, Paul McMahon, and Colleen Wanglund.
Here’s our first question. Who’s your favorite starship captain? Kirk? Picard? Or someone else?
Ladies first. We’ll start with you, Colleen. Who’s your favorite starship captain?
COLLEEN WANGLUND: I come from the generation that grew up on the original STAR TREK television show, as well as the films. While I did watch THE NEXT GENERATION and love Patrick Stewart, the original is still the best.
When it comes to the Captain of the Starship Enterprise Kirk is hands down the MAN. Shatner’s overacting is rather endearing. And how do you not love a guy who practically had a girl in every inhabited planet of the universe?
ARRUDA: I can’t argue with that line of thinking. (The rest of the panel agrees, except for L.L. SOARES who shakes his head.)
L.L. SOARES: I dunno. While Kirk certainly smooched lots of alien women, I don’t think he had sex with them as often as he should have. He should have taken things to the next level.
ARRUDA: I don’t think Kirk wanted to be responsible for little hybrid alien children following him around on the bridge.
DAN KEOHANE: Though it took a couple of seasons to warm up to him, I have to admit Picard’s character grew on me. Kirk will always have a special place since childhood, and he was a hoot, but Picard brought a Shakespearean charm to the con. So in effect, there’s a tie, Kirk & Picard. The others from the other series were OK, but not to the level of these two.
SOARES: A tie? You never make up your mind, Dan. Be a man! Make a decision! Do you even pick out your own clothes?
KEOHANE: I pick out my own clothes—- eventually. (Dons his best “deer in the headlights” expression.) Blue— or black?
ARRUDA: Well, I’m old school, so my favorite starship captain is Kirk.
While I definitely grew to like Picard a lot, too, I’ve always enjoyed Kirk’s off the cuff thinking, his “no lose” attitude, in which he’ll do whatever it takes to protect his ship and crew, and his constant sparring with Spock and McCoy.
MCMAHON: My favorite captain is Benjamin Sisko from DEEP SPACE NINE.
From the very first episode he doesn’t want the job, he’s put off by the responsibility, but even more than that he can’t stand to shirk his duties when other people need him. Throughout DEEP SPACE NINE he fights as hard as he can against everything that comes up, refusing to quit because that’s what everyone (most of all himself) expects him to do.
SOARES: What the hell is DEEP SPACE NINE?
MCMAHON: Oh come on, you’re not serious are you?
SOARES: Naw, I’m just kidding you.
Look, I grew up on reruns of the original STAR TREK, but it’s not a nostalgia thing. Kirk was the coolest starship captain ever. It’s just a fact. No one could emote like William Shatner. He could break your heart with one of his meaningful speeches. And no captain was as good at using his fists as well as his brain.
ARRUDA: On to our second question. Who’s your favorite starship genius? Spock? Data? Someone else?
KEOHANE: Spock. There can be no comparison.
SOARES: Are you sure it’s not a tie, Dan?
Look, I have to go with Dan on this one. To choose anyone other than Spock is illogical.
ARRUDA: Like Dan and LL, I’m going with Spock here, too.
By far, he’s the most interesting character in the entire STAR TREK universe. His half human/half Vulcan self is the perfect embodiment of what STAR TREK is all about, logic vs. emotion, and which one is more effective when confronting the universe.
MCMAHON: Enough with the Spock coronation.
SOARES: Besides, Kirk is the most interesting character in the entire STAR TREK universe. Spock is just his sidekick!
MCMAHON: My favorite genius is Doctor Bashir. Brilliant, genetically enhanced, there isn’t a disease or a puzzle he can’t figure out. His people skills are undeveloped and immature, though, which leads him to constantly make an ass of himself in social situations. This makes him the most fun to watch.
SOARES: Always gotta be different.
WANGLUND: While I liked Data and his whole search for the meaning of being a human, Spock is my favorite genius—because he actually was a genius. Spock was born that way, while Data is an AI machine. He’s a genius because he was made that way. The guy is a walking computer; Spock was flesh and blood.
ARRUDA: Next question. Who’s your favorite starship doctor? McCoy? Beverly Crusher? The Doctor from VOYAGER? Someone else?
MCMAHON: As brilliant as Bashir is, I’d rather have DeForrest Kelley’s McCoy standing over me should I wake up in sick bay. Of all the many doctors, McCoy is the one I’d trust to tell me the exact specifics of my ailment and not pull punches when he came to the prognosis.
Besides, he seems like he’d be a great drinking buddy.
ARRUDA: Wouldn’t he though?
KEOHANE: I think Scotty would be a better drinking buddy.
WANGLUND: I’d rather have a drink with Jim Kirk.
SOARES: To hell with those guys! If I’m drinking with anyone it’s Dr. Carol Markus from the new movie! And maybe Uhura, too.
ARRUDA: I think I asked the wrong question. I should have asked who on STAR TREK would make the best drinking buddy!
Anyway, my pick for the best doctor is McCoy.
While I absolutely love the Doctor from STAR TREK VOYAGER, McCoy as part of the triumvirate with Kirk and Spock is certainly the most important medical man of the entire STAR TREK universe. He’s also the most entertaining, and often represented the rest of us in those debates with Spock. Of course, he’d disagree. “I’m a doctor, not an entertainer!”
WANGLUND: Do I really need to tell you who my favorite ship’s doctor is? “Jim I’m a doctor not a ……” fill in the blank. The repetition of this line by Bones McCoy is cheesy but brilliant!
SOARES: Who cares who the damn doctor is? I thought you were pushing it by asking who the best “starship genius” was, whatever that means. What are you going to do, Arruda, just go down a list? Who’s your favorite Russian navigator? Who’s your favorite Mechanic Number 5. Who cares? After the captain, everyone else is background noise.
KEOHANE: McCoy is an icon and a great foil to the otherwise uber seriousness of the show, and his lines have always been the best in any episode. So, Bones, hands down.
ARRUDA: And our final question tonight is just for fun. Who’s your least favorite character in the STAR TREK universe?
MCMAHON: My least favorite character in the Star Trek Universe would have to be Deanna Troi.
ARRUDA: I agree with you, there.
MCMAHON: I get that they were trying to break up the perception of an all-male future, but Troi just never worked for me. I was disappointed and left wanting with all her featured episodes, and never surprised myself by liking any of them (although the closest I came was the episode “Thine Own Self,” when she orders Geordi to his death… but then she goes and ruins it by whining to Riker about how hard it was).
ARRUDA: Yeah, she whined a lot.
SOARES: Aww, I think she’s sweet.
KEOHANE: In the final series, ENTERPRISE, among the bad “guys” who formed the cadre of alien baddies planning the destruction of.. something. I forget, the storyline got so bogged down, the thing in the fish tank that would sing like Flipper when he talked. I know this is an obscure one but man, that whole gang of villains were an embarrassment to Trekdom everywhere.
ARRUDA: I think I had stopped watching ENTERPRISE by that point.
KEOHANE: You didn’t miss much.
SOARES: Are you kidding? That fish tank guy was my FAVORITE character in the Star Trek Universe! Him and that little weird guy who follows Scotty around in the movies!
WANGLUND: As for my least favorite character? That would have to be Guinan, played by Whoopi Goldberg. Picard was supposed to be the level-headed man of reason. There was also a ship’s counselor, Deanna Troi, who was an empath. Why have yet another voice of reason? I felt Guinan was redundant.
ARRUDA: Yeah, I can’t say that I liked Guinan either.
However, my least favorite character would have to be Deanna Troi from NEXT GENERATION. I just never really understood the need for a ship’s counselor, and thought her speeches on alien feelings a complete waste of time.
SOARES: My least favorite character was the guy in the red shirt who dies in Episode 42. Aww, who cares? I don’t care enough about the STAR TREK Universe to have a least favorite character. What a bunch of nerds!
But Kirk, that little guy who follows Scotty around in the movies, and Dr. Carol Markus are my favorites.
KEOHANE: Don’t forget the guy in the fish tank.
SOARES: Oh yeah, and him.
ARRUDA: Okay, so we’re done here. It looks like the original series acquitted itself well. It won all the categories, and none of the characters from the original series made it onto our “least favorite” lists.
So, I guess Kirk, Spock, and McCoy haven’t been bested. The original is still the best, at least in terms of tonight’s questions, anyway.
Thanks for joining us everybody! We’ll see you next time on QUICK CUTS!
© Copyright 2013 by Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, Daniel G. Keohane, Paul McMahon and Colleen Wanglund