He Said/She Said: Star Trek, Reboots, Discovery and The Final Frontier

Star Trek Discovery

In He Said / She Said, we're too lazy to write things properly, so we interview one another. A bit like a podcast, but with much worse production quality. 

Jared: Star Trek is something we talk about every now and then (including a whole theme week in 2009!), but even then, we've only ever scratched the surface. I mean, there's a lot of Trek: TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise (which I had completely forgotten ever existed), Discovery, a whopping 13 films, and a vast ecosystem of merchandise, books, games and other spin-offs. 

From this whirling mass... which is your Star Trek? When someone (like me) says 'let's talk Star Trek', what comes to mind?

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Funko Pop! Why?

Photo by Carlos Adama

Jared: Every few weeks, the plasticine masterminds at Funko announce new and upcoming Pop! toys. And the news goes everywhere. Every possible outlet for every possible corner of fandom seems to cover this; breathlessly awaiting the news. I suppose our question today is: Why?

Why is a plastic Crow with zero points of articulation newsworthy? Why are we, known skeptics and h8ers, devoting a week to plastic toys? Or, to put it more broadly: why are Funko Pops a thing?

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He Said - She Said: Geek Professions!

On Tuesday we whipped up a short list of the things that we just don't get - genre (and non-genre) trends and fandoms and things and other nouns that mystify us with their appeal. 

It was disturbingly popular.

Today, the shoe is on the other foot. Here are a few things that we love - often with a disturbing passion - but we just can't explain why. As before, please join in - this is a safe place, and no one will judge you (much) for your fondness for Lovecraftian haiku.

Rogue1. Avengers Alliance. The Facebook game. God help me, I can't stop playing it. Anne can't stop playing it. We can't stop talking about it. I think we'd rather farm Command Points than eat. The release of Moon Knight was a capital-S-Significant Event in my life (shame he kind of sucks). I don't know what's happened to us. (Jared)

2. James Bond. Don't even get me started. The politics are regressive; the gender politics are beyond horrifying. The racism, the classism, the sexism. The over-reliance on risible wordplay and stupid gadgets. The 'Bond girls.' Motherfucking Skyfall. Every essential element of the James Bond brand pisses me off. And yet, (Skyfall aside - which, really don't get me started), I love me some James fucking Bond. (Anne)

3. The Emperor's New Groove. Yay! I'm a llama again! No touchy. I dunno. Someone's throwing things. Bring it on. Let me guess... you have a great personality. (Jared)

4. Period Dramas. Any good gender essentialist would find my tastes distressingly masculine. I like explosions and swearing and sex and rage and bad jokes and beer and big dumb stuff. But I also like understated romantic tension of the whale-boned variety. Two comely types staring longingly at each other across the corpse of a loved one/a twenty-seven-course meal/blood-stained battlements, over no fewer than eighteen lovingly-produced episodes set during the second Gladstone premiership/WWII/Black Death, only to have everything end in dementia/unhappy marriages to the wrong people/death? Bring it. (Anne)

5. John D. MacDonald. Ok, in fairness, I'm not the only one - there's this guy, for example. And occasionally I get emails from people who are fellow fans (very, very occasionally). His books, all billion of them, range from the truly dire to the merely issue-laden, but, damn - that dude could write a story. (Jared)

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He Said - She Said: Geek Confessions!

Tuesdays are good for ranting. We've decided to tackle a few thorny topics - and we apologise for advance if this is your last visit to the blog. We believe passionately in everyone's right to enjoy the stuff that they enjoy (hell, that's the core of being a geek), but some of it? We just don't get.

Here are a few things that we just don't get. What about you? Share your geek confessions in the comments. We promise not to judge. [Jared's note: unless someone disrespects The Secret History... oh wait.]

Battlestar-Galactica1. Battlestar Galactica. Now don't get me wrong, I love the board game. But I forced myself through the prequel movie and first season of the show and just didn't love it. And I've never had the smallest urge to start Season 2. Unlike my other tv show confession, I find that my regard for BSG is low in part because I find the writing heavy-handed and the acting often very shaky. (Anne)

2. Doctor Who. It is a little daunting to watch the internet explode with every new preview-teaser-trailer-leak-article-rumor but I think you need to be more British than I am to enjoy this show. Possibly more British than a vault full of scones. Waiting patiently in a queue. Outside Buckingham Palace. Wearing football scarves. Made of tweed. I did enjoy the Russell T. Davies era - the companions were fun, the Doctors were perkier and, even if the plots all resolved with Tinkerbell Jesus, I understood: this was a children's show. Now? No idea what I'm watching. Or why. (So I don't.) (Jared)

3. Donna Tartt's The Secret HistoryI enjoyed reading it, and I enjoyed rereading it, and I've recommended it to others. But I don't love it beyond the telling. I realize we're at the peak of our once-every-decade Donna Tartt mania right now, thanks to the recent publication of The Goldfinch, which I will eventually read and probably also enjoy. But, you know. I just don't think TSH is zomg the best book ever. (Anne)

4. Firefly. I know. It was taken from us by the bastards/gatekeepers/Man/forces-that-don't-appreciate-Whedon's-transcendent-genius. But also, no one was watching it. Don't get me wrong, I like the show, but it got the perfect concluding episode in "Out of Gas" (...then six episodes afterwards that were kind of ok). Against all odds of economics or sense, Firefly even got a movie: one explicitly constructed to wrap up all the meta-plot elements (River, Reavers, etc.) that no one actually liked in the first place. Show: resolved. Characters: resolved. Life: goes on. (Jared)

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We've posed the question of "Romans vs Victorians", with the best answer winning a pretty nifty prize. One of the ongoing arguments at Pornokitsch Towers is who would win this particular smackmatch deathdown. Here's a transcript of the most recent round...


Anne says...Victorians brought the sexxay.  Number of romance novels set in ancient Rome: seventy-three.  Number of romance novels set during the nineteenth century:  nine million, six hundred and twelve.  No, fourteen.  No, twenty-seven.  Look, eight more have been published in the time it took you to read this sentence.  Pay attention, boys:  cravats, top-hats and UST will always always always be nine million times sexier than leather skirts and manky sandals.  No one wants to see your icky toenails.  And as a corollary: where's the gladiatorpunk at, fool?  Oh, that's right.  THERE ISN'T ANY.  All the ladies be busy readin' steampunk.

Jared says...Romans had more fun. ...and not just the orgies. The Victorian idea of fun involved sipping lukewarm tea and perhaps, if the corset allowed, a gentle stroll through a hedge maze. Perhaps Underduke Timothy Piggley-Smythe might steal a look at one's well-turned ankles! Oh, the larks! In ancient Rome, "Piglet" would've been dipped in caviar and thrown to the man-eating jellyfish for being such a limp biscuit. Caligula was batshit crazy and bankrupted the empire, but he did so by providing free entertainment. Not only did he routinely flood a national monument to play wargames, but also he also invented the octopus-wrestling league, the World Cup (which Rome then won 163 times in a row, take that Brazil) and the orgasm. Caligula famously appointed his horse to the Senate just so he'd have more free time to play MMORPGs. (Incitatus never would've cut funding for the arts, by the way.) 

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He Said/She Said: The Cartoon Shows of our Misspent Youfs

He Says: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: It was years before I actually found the original comic books, and I was horrified to discover how completely different they were from my accustomed afterschool viewing. TMNT wasn't just "must-see" viewing, it was "stand outside school, anxiously await one's parent, whine at them to drive quickly all the way home" viewing. My favorite turtle was Raphael, as the nominal outsider (he also had the cute iguana-mutant girlfriend in the cruise episode), but I'd concede that Donatello had his virtues. Leonardo was universally despised. The early episodes were pretty good, but the later seasons, when the TMNT universe had expanded to include Krang, Dimension X and a score of zoological monstrosities - those were brilliant.


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He Said/She Said: Most Annoying Fantasy Characters

Sometimes a bad character just ruins a good book. Here are our picks - 3 each - for the most irritating characters in fantasy.

Chime in with your own pick in the comments (we may even have PRIZES).

HE SAYS: Tom Bombadil is a given on this list. Fellowship is a surprisingly annoying book anyway. Tolkien has a lot for which he should be held accountable, and his addiction to self-indulgent, italicized word-vomit world-building is right up there on the list. Tom Bombadil is this, on legs, dancing a shitty little jig. He's a dull, meandering, action-suck that makes an adequate-if-plodding book into an outright dull one.

Samwise_gamgee_1 SHE SAYS: If Tom Bombadil drags down Fellowship, there's no question in my mind which character drags down the entire trilogy - Samwise Gamgee.  All high fantasy is painfully, anachronistically nostalgic about feudal society, and no author more so than Tolkien, who added a dash of conservative 19th century social rhetoric to the mix with Sam and his forelock-tugging servility.   Peter Jackson did manage to make the character more or less tolerable by turning Sam from Frodo's servant into Frodo's friend, but don't get me started on Sean Astin's appalling accent.  No.  Don't even try.

More from both of us after the jump...

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He Said/She Said: Best Companion

Martha? Rose? Kylie?

Who knows what lies in the hearts of men and Pornokitsch editors?

He says: Whilst the other companions are Micky-like caricatures with no skills whatsoever, Martha is actually useful. She's like that on the show, too. She's not just the Doctor's superego, she's a... doctor. When the world is taken over by the Master, she doesn't cower, she leads a global resistance. In fact, she's such a strong, capable character that I'd levy an accusing glance at Davies for giving her a puppy-dog crush on the Doctor. Else, she'd come close to being his...  gasp... equal. Plus, she's hot.

She says: Rose gets my vote. I love her resourcefulness - for heaven's sake, she once sucked Satan out the windshield of a spaceship!  And I love her complete and categorical refusal to be bossed around by the Doctor. But, beyond that, I'm a sucker for a love story.  And the Doctor/Rose arc was a hell of a love story.

What's your take?

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He Said/She Said: Movies in Need of a 3-D Remake

We've done our latest Top 10 list as a "he said/she said" sort of thing... 5 picks from each of us on the films we'd love to see in 3-D.

Anne says:

1. Clash of the Titans

Forget remaking it with digital effects. Harryhausen's rockingest, sockingest movie deserves - nay, screams out for - the 3D treatment.

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