Star Trek: The Next Generation was my introduction to the Star Trek universe. I’d fiercely fight for the remote in the afternoon to have my dose of silly aliens, so when we finally gave in and got Netflix I thought : Well, let’s watch again! Rewatching your childhood favourites is inherently fraught with danger, especially when talking about things with special effects and “future technologies”, but also when the racial and sexual politics of the 1990s are measured against 2022.
Star Trek has always been lauded for being progressive, which shows you exactly not just that progress has been made, but also that we still have a long way to go. The bridge crew starts out with a diverse set of people, yet after Tasha gets killed, we’re down to two constant female crew members, both being in caring and nurturing professions. They are amazing characters, but they are also pretty much a 1990s ideal: a professional woman, but not a threat to the men in any way. The same is true for the changing characters in each episode: Unless one of the crew wants to fuck them, there’s a 90% chance that it’s a white guy, and if they are love interests, it’s a 90% chance they’re a white woman. I think I have now arrived at the third white male important scientist with a much younger wife whose job is “wife”. I can still enjoy it, though. It’s at least a piece of media that is sincerely trying (I’m not going to comment on the allegations of the abuse on set, just the product).
Yet, there is one thing I cannot forgive. Remember when I said I watched it first in the 90s? Well, not only was there no possibility to switch to the OV, I wouldn’t have understood it either (I so envy the kids today who have a world of languages at their hands), so my version of Captain Picard is the dubbed version. Watching the OV now, I recognised three things:
- Captain Picard curses like hell
- Captain Picard is easily pissed (it’s amazing how different the tone of voice is in the dubbed vs OV)
- No-fucking-body in the whole universe is able to pronounce Picard, not even Picard