Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I still wish that little pissant had died trying the Kolvoord Starburst

An interesting thing happens to actors who portray characters on a Star Trek series. They attract legions of rabid, loyal fans, make gads of money, and then disappear off the face of the fucking planet.

With the exceptions of William Shatner and Patrick Stewart (and Alexander Siddig, whose brilliant performances in Kingdom of Heaven and Syriana were promptly ignored by everyone), the second the series finale ends, Star Trek actors waft away like vapor trails. I mean, when was the last time you saw Michael Dorn? Or Nana Visitor? Kate Mulgrew has receded back into whatever swamp wrought her upon us, and Colm Meaney's once-prolific career has dried up almost completely. George Takei gets a recurring role on Heroes because the creators know fanboys will giggle every time he appears, but when have you ever seen Nichelle Nichols without that little metal thing in her ear? Or Gates McFadden without a medical tricorder in her hand? And is Walter Koening even still alive?

(By the way, real Trekkies don't need to ask which characters those actors played. So I'm not gonna tell you.)

So it's always fun to stumble across a Trek actor in the present tense -- even if it's not one of your favorite actors, who didn't portray one of your favorite characters.

I found Wil Wheaton's blog today.

Wil, of course, played the role of Gene Roddenberry's inner child Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, bringing to life a character almost universally loathed and reviled. Here was this kid, all of fifteen, who was somehow smarter than every educated, experienced officer aboard the flagship of the Federation. Even the android.

And, of course, Wesley got to tool around the ship in his dorky "Acting Ensign" uniform, he got to fly the Enterprise, save the ship from certain doom on a regular basis, make out with Ashley Judd, and piss off the viewers nonstop. He was such an obvious surrogate for Gene Roddenberry (the Great Bird of the Galaxy's middle name was Wesley, don'tcha know), such a pathetically written Mary Sue that most viewers of the show hated him with a violent passion.

So there's still that instinct to hate the guy who played him on sight, even though I do remember him from other things -- namely Stand by Me, in which he had the lead role (and did quite well for himself). But I stumbled across Mr. Wheaton's blog today, and it was...interesting.

No, really. 'Cause he's a well-spoken guy. The first post I read actually sounded a lot like something I'd write: it was a rambling, passionate essay on his favorite album, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Which happens to be one of my favorite albums.

So apparently, Wil Wheaton is not that bad a guy. I'm just surprised to see him breathing -- after Next Gen, where'd he go? Some sort of Dharma Initiative deserted island, trapped in the Pearl taking notes? And was Terry Farrell or Nicole de Boer down there with him?


  1. And the character names are, in order, and without the benefit of Memory-Alpha or IMDB, Admiral James Tiberius Kirk, Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, Dr. Julian Bashir, Lt. Cmdr Worf, Lt. Kira Nerys, Capt. Katherine Janeway, Chief Engineer Miles O'Brien, Captain Sulu Hikaru, Token Black Officer Lt. Uhura (shite, forgot her first name...), Dr. Beverly Crusher, and Commander Pavel Chekov.

    Okay, I looked up Uhura's name. She doesn't seem to have a "first name", and she ended up becoming a commander. Curse me.

  2. Well done, sir. Though I thought Uhura never made it past Lt. Commander. Oh well.

    I remember watching the A&E Biography of Gene Roddenberry with my mom. They were giving Gene the hero treatment, and mentioned him creating the role of Uhura, and how it was so revolutionary to create a character of a black woman as someone of "equal standing" to the white men.

    I turned to my mom and said, "Oh, yeah, equal standing. Only black woman in the galaxy, and what is she doing? Answering the phone."

    My mom laughed until she cried.

  3. Star Trek showed the first interracial kiss on television, though.

    Also inter-species, but that's just sci-fi.