The superhero genre is slowly expanding its insular universe with Wonder Woman and the highly anticipated Black Panther. Though just a drop in the bucket compared to white male superheroes, such images can significantly impact audiences who have never seen themselves portrayed as (s)heroes. Recently at Comic-Con in San Diego, one Asian American girl, Ashley Keller, teared up when she met Gal Gadot (aka Wonder Woman) in a video that went viral, demonstrating the real-life impact of on-screen role models:
Hell yes. Fellow Trekkies, rejoice. The first-look trailer for the new CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery has dropped, and the latest foray into the final frontier looks pretty damn awesome, not least because of one badass looking starship captain in the form of one Michelle Yeoh. MICHELLE FRICKIN YEOH.
People tell me physical media is a dying format and that everyone gets their movies digitally now. Well, I’m old and set in my ways. One of those ways is buying my favorite movies on blu-ray. Last time there was a new Star Trek movie available on disc, Paramount spread the movie’s bonus features over several different retail outlets, and I was not happy about it. This time, while there are still retail exclusives for Star Trek Beyond, you don’t have to buy five different versions of the same movie to get all of the featurettes in one place.
It is no secret that I love Star Trek. My daughter asked me why. I told her the following: I love it for its aspirational nature, its optimistic outlook for humankind, it’s marrying of science and art, and its borderline Shakespearean drama. I also love it for its horrible effects, its over-emoting, and the sheer high-corniness of most of the story lines. To me, Trek is the epitome of important television1. It entertained me. It made me think. It spurred me to action. Trek and Raiders of the Lost Ark are directly responsible for my pursuing undergraduate and graduate education. I learned things from Star Trek. Our conversation got me thinking about what I have learned from Trek.
Star Trek has meant a lot to me as a fan of pop culture, science-fiction, and television. It also has meant everything to me as a human being.
My grandfather, who was a WWII veteran, likely served in a segregated unit in the war. He returned home to a nation still refusing to deal with Jim Crow and other societal injustice.
When I was a very young, I recall him watching various genre programs like Wild Wild West, Gunsmoke, Rat Patrol, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and countless other series. However, he especially loved Star Trek.
Thanks to CAPE (The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) and AMP (Asian American Media Professionals), I got to attend a small screening of Star Trek Beyond at Paramount studios.
I won’t get into the story itself, but I must say to all my Trekkies: my solid ice cold anti-Trek reboot heart is starting to melt. I understand how this film had a 94% Rotten Tomatoes rating, making it a ripe tomato.
Originally posted at YOMYOMF
A little context before you jump into reading this: I’m a child of immigrants (access: child of immigrant experience) who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago: the not very diverse kind of suburb (access: white suburbia experience).
I’ve been a Trekkie since I was about seven years old when Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) first aired. Up until then, my father and I use to watch some old Star Trek episodes or the films… Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was a favorite of mine. It was great to see George Takei up there, but I really loved seeing Uhura be the strong independent female especially by the time the films came out.
Today CBS/Paramount delivered the most passive aggressive set of guidelines for Star Trek fan films. The first page was this boilerplate thank you to the fans for ticking by the franchise for so many years. They even acknowledged the hard work and creativity of fan filmmakers. Then when you clicked the link to what was and wasn’t allowable for fan films, it was like, “Here are your creative shackles.”
So recently Wil Wheaton won the internet (yet again) when he threw down the gauntlet for all writers (such as yours truly) when he stated that writers deserve to be paid with actual cash.
Truth be told, Wheaton was perhaps my first major crush, with a legendary character known as Wesley Crusher.
In the last few months, there has been plenty of talk about Star Trek. Whether it is the news that Simon Pegg (Star Trek reboot-verse Scotty) has been hired to make the franchise less “Star Trek-y” or Popular Mechanics’ wonderful “8 Things a New Star Trek TV Series Must Have,” or the legion of fan films, or Adam Savage’s construction of the Enterprise’s Captain’s chair, or the frequent talk about how Trek has influenced the real world — all this, but there is no Trek property. No show. No amusement park. No decent toys to speak of. Just speculation, scuttlebutt, and rumor. Yes, there is a new film coming sometime in the future, but do we really need it? Continue reading “Star Trek is a Television Program — Period”