Fan Wankery Takes Star Trek Into Darkness.

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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26 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    I am including this sentence as a buffer, lest spoilers leak over into the Gifts of Gab section, however temporarily.


    The problem with simple ciphers like rot13 is that your brain eventually starts translating them automatically after some familiarity.Report

  2. MikeSchilling says:

    My opinion of the Star Trek reboot is that it was very, very ….. OK.

    I’m going to see the current one the minute that … someone else wants to see it. Or maybe if I have some free time and there’s nothing more interesting playing.

    That anyone has stronger opinions on the subject bemuses me.Report

    • In terms of a better experience, I’m kind of thinking that the recent theater experience of the remastered Best of Both Worlds at theaters might actually be a superior storytelling experience. Even if it doesn’t have all the flash bang wizardry, well, that’s still one of the best damned episodes of television ever produced.Report

  3. Rogue Economist says:

    You could have saved time by just writing it in Klingon.Report

  4. George Turner says:

    I’m not going to Rot13 the surprise ending of the golf bet between Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto, I’m just not going to reveal it.

    Youtube linkReport

  5. Patrick says:

    You get the feeling that maybe Abrams wasn’t as confident in his story telling ability to retain the interest of Star Trek’s fanbase and decided he needed to pepper the story with fan wankery. It’s complete hog wash and completely unnecessary.

    I kinda think this is JJ’s actual schtick.

    That’s what Lost really was: dribbled bits of maybe-might-turn-out-to-be McGuffins peppered around to see what could interest fans who are into the “shiny details!” nerdery of interacting with their media.

    You know: “I spotted this incredibly arcane detail by watching the HD recording of the show at 1/10th speed all the way through and look, there’s a Dharma Initiative logo on the shark!” (which turns out to mean nothing, whatsoever, to the storyline).

    He’s not a great writer. He’s got a decent eye for action when he tones down his desire to throw too many unnecessary details in the mix. From a mindless-fun-standpoint, he makes movies that are more entertaining than Michael Bay.

    But he thinks of nerdery as ultimately expressed by OCD, so he caters to obsessive detail oriented types of nerds.Report

    • Nob Akimoto in reply to Patrick says:

      I think in this case, it’s actually not so much Abrams pulling a particular schtick, but his inability to rein in Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof. Or perhaps you’re right in that those three took advantage of Abrams’ OCD obsessiveness to play out their fanboy bullshit fantasies involving Khan and Kirk.

      It’s still a pity, because the underlying story has promise. It’s merely a good movie, when it could have been a truly great one. The performances are top notch. Fan wankery ruins it.Report

  6. bluefoot says:

    I’m not sure I would call it “fan wankery.” Fundamentally changing the identity and backstory of Khan is pretty much completely ignoring both the original series and Wrath of Khan. It’s stupid – if you’re going to create a new bad guy, why not just give him/her/it a new name? Doing it the way Abrams is doing it is more likely IMO to piss off fans than give them wank fodder.

    And I won’t even get into the completely offensive whitewashing….

    I think of fan wankery perhaps more along the lines of BBC’s Sherlock. There are a lot of nods to the original stories, from quotes to names of minor characters, to other details (for instance, the name of the coffee place where Watson and Stamford get their coffee in a A Study in Pink) – small things that Conan Doyle fans would recognize, but a casual viewer wouldn’t notice.Report

    • Nob Akimoto in reply to bluefoot says:

      I think you’re more or less spot on here, but I referred to it as fan wankery because it’s misplaced attempts at trying to do fan service and instead doing it completely wrong. I intentionally compared it to These Are the Voyages rather than say the nice little homages to later Trek events you found during the last season of Enterprise, or the little touches of continuity you saw in TNG referencing The Original Series because well, it’s a terrible example of how to do fan service.

      And let’s not even get into the whitewashing. I deliberately stayed out of that (as noted) because it’s another offensive and completely unneeded bit of wankery on behalf of Abrams and co.Report

    • Barry in reply to bluefoot says:

      I disagree with ‘ Shaqnzragnyyl punatvat gur vqragvgl naq onpxfgbel bs Xuna vf cerggl zhpu pbzcyrgryl vtabevat obgu gur bevtvany frevrf naq Jengu bs Xuna. ‘ I thought that it was incredible. The clues were there, but I didn’t realize what was going on for several mintues. It also fed into the number of the film, please recall, and the change in history was an extremely logical outcome of the – well, change in history. And please note that there were several things distributed through the movie – that certain merchant’s ship, that problematically-reproducing pet, and so on.Report

  7. Rod Engelsman says:

    I hate to get all fan nerdy and stuff… but I’m not real crazy about rebooting Star Trek. Rebooting BSG was a fine idea because 1) all the original really consisted of was one series that lasted a few years (plus a single season, IIRC, of BSG ’80), and 2) said series was almost painfully embarrassing to watch, and 3) the concept had a lot of promise in the right hands.

    Canon has always been a huge deal in the ST universe. Tightly controlled in the series and movies to be consistent and books also had to be consistent to the TV and movies although not necessarily with each other. Also a book couldn’t establish canon; the shows and movies could ignore books. Five live action series, a cartoon, hundreds of books and comics…

    … and now this. Vulcan destroyed, Spock and Uhura are best friends with benefits, etc. The only way I can watch the new movies is by telling myself it’s in an alternate timeline. And I don’t know if I’m up for a whole new and improved Star Trek universe. For better or worse it is what it is. This is like some kind of incredibly elaborate fanfic.Report

    • Well it IS an alternate timeline. And yeah, it’s an elaborate fanfic…and Into Darkness doesn’t help.Report

    • Here’s the other thing, right?

      If you want to carve out a portion of your own in the Star Trek universe, it really isn’t that hard to do.

      The same Ronald D. Moore who had to reboot BSG to tell a new story basically got to do more or less what he wanted to do on a spinoff series of Star Trek (Deep Space Nine)that didn’t mess with continuity or invent stupid fan fiction bullshit like Orzi and co. have. And indeed that spinoff is considered by many to be the most consistent and engaging series of the franchise.Report

  8. DBrown says:

    The re-boot was beyond brain dead for so many reasons it is hard to believe anyone but a failing middle school student wrote that terrible of a script!

    Lets see, the ‘evil’ aliens go back in time to destroy the very people that tried to save their world because they failed to save their people – not they had anything at all to do with the destruction; only that they tried and failed. Yet, these same ‘time traveling’ aliens fail to use said time travel to … wait for it … save their own planet, which they do have easily done by doing back in time and warning everyone! Oh, yeah, right – time travel is only for dumb people who fail to remember they can correct the mistake before it happens.

    Lets see, Spock has a wood fire burning on an ice world and worse, is in an ice cave with a huge burning fire; and lets not forget the monstrous creature on this ice world (ignore no vegetation that other animals could maybe eat to support such huge predators) and how this huge predator throws away a really huge meal it just killed so it can then go after Kirk who would be a very tiny morsel.

    Kirk and the engineer teleport on to the Enterprise with one ending up in a vast ‘clear’ pipe system flushing some clear liquid (water?) around for no apparent reason and this huge pumping system just happen to have a large door to ‘open’ allowing both a person who is trapped there and the liquid to empty into the ship.

    The alien’s have a swamp-like pool of water in their ship and it is elevated a number of floors up in a huge “semi” open multi-floor complex – good ship design there – water is so light and well, swamp like pools are important to have in space ships that are high in the ship (relative to the ship’s gravity which makes no sense since people, as well as the water would could fall large distances – besides electronics loves water all around.

    All alien people that are crewmembers blindly follow their captains even if their world is destroyed because they … well, they just do.

    The Federation always gives critical super secret defense codes to all captains because the enemy needs to capture and torture said captains so the victim can suffer a great deal before giving up the super secret information.

    Make the orginal show seem logical.Report

  9. North says:

    Well I for one thought the Harry Mudd callout was worth the price of admission though the Wrath of Khan callouts went waaay over the top in my opinion.Report

  10. Barry says:

    Nob, any chance of putting this into plaintext? It’s a bit irritating having to decrypt half of the comments, and losing the names of the commenters in the process?Report

  11. Barry says:

    “Lets see, the ‘evil’ aliens go back in time to destroy the very people that tried to save their world because they failed to save their people – not they had anything at all to do with the destruction; only that they tried and failed. Yet, these same ‘time traveling’ aliens fail to use said time travel to … wait for it … save their own planet, which they do have easily done by doing back in time and warning everyone! Oh, yeah, right – time travel is only for dumb people who fail to remember they can correct the mistake before it happens.”

    It’s something that people have pointed out before – in the Star Trek universe, time travel with well within the capabilities of (extremely elite) individuals, let alone governments. It makes me understand the reason for the a Time Corps.Report

  12. Barry says:

    Nob, thanks for cleaning up the ROT-13 (I figure by now that if you’re reading stuff like this, you already saw the movie).Report