March 8th, 2019

star wars!

All the Star stuff

Over the last week or so I've been trying to recharge my creative batteries by revisiting the science fiction of my childhood--some of the stories that made me want to start writing in the first place. Some thoughts:

  • Good golly is the original Star Wars trilogy gorgeous. I was watching scenes from A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, and they're both staggeringly beautiful at times--to the point where I was physicially bouncing up and down because I just had to do something in reaction.

  • They're also pretty strong in terms of establishing what each character's motivations are--every character has clear reasons for just about each action. There's very few examples of characters doing random things simply for the convenience of the plot, which is not at all something to take for granted. If you'll allow me a brief rant, the lack of this sort of internal coherency is the main thing I find so deeply disappointing about the Disney iterration of the franchise--The Force Awakens had me asking "but why did they do that/how did they get here/how did they know that?' almost constantly. In comparison, the original trilogy (at least the portions revisited last night) is clearly making a point to keep all the dots connected.

  • Amazon Prime has the remastered edition of Star Trek: the Original Series, and I'd forgotten just how much I love this show. Yes, it's very much a product of its time, but there's a definite charm to that, if you're willing to just roll with it.

  • The costumes are often a hoot, but many of the sets are actually quite pleasing, especially the color design. There's an aesthetic coherency to it that I didn't appreciate as a kid, but is rather impressive, especially given the shoe-string budgets they had to work with.

  • When considered in the context that almost everyone's acting was a little over-the-top, because that was the style at the time, Shatner's performance is mostly very impressive. I was especially struck by this in an episode where Kirk is interacting with an android duplicate of himself--who is somehow smarmy as opposed to Kirk's usual charm, but it's so nuanced I couldn't put my finger on just how he'd tweaked his performance to achieve the affect.

  • Watching this has confirmed to me that I am definitely an episodic girl at heart, at least for any story arc that runs for more than three episodes. I really, really like self-contained episodes that can focus entirely on telling a single story and don't have to include elements to support some bigger story. Which still allows for emotional continuity, I think, though Star Trek certainly doesn't display any; a strength and weakness, perhaps. This might explain in part why SPN's season 2 is still my favorite, even 14 years in--there's a lot of emotional continuity across the season, with events in one episode influencing actions or feelings in the next, but not determining them. It feels free-flowing in a way that mirrors much of real life, rather than being fixed on the rails of having to tie every episode into a single narrative arc.

Anyhow, the original Star Trek still holds up pretty well after all these decades, as does the original Star Wars trilogy, and if you too are feeling a little stale, I can definitely recommend visiting both as a way to refresh your mental palatte.