other day I was picking earwax out of my ears
while watching a video of Yellow Submarine and
reading an article on the rise of child
pornographers, when I suddenly found myself
wondering about how Star Trek became so popular.
it made sense at the time!
careful consideration which involved me staring
at a piece of paper under the coffee table, I
decided it was purely due to the presence of
British characters, somewhat predictably. Now, as
you may or may not know, this week marked the 50
year jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, so what
better to commemorate this occasion than one of
my typically offensive Anglo-centric articles.
It's certainly enough for me. I'm supposed to be
TREK FIRST SERIES
the benefit of Americans and other strange and
wonderful creatures, Scotland is NOT an
independent nation. It is one of the slices that
make up the sumptuous pie that is the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Now that we've cleared that up, let's take a look
at the character.
was the chief engineer, which meant he was the
driving force of the ship. Oh sure, you could say
that Captain Kirk was the most important man on
board, but let's face it, an answering machine
with a selection of amusing messages could do his
job (if it had a huge libido and a toupee).
Spock? Hell, you could dress up a monkey in
pointy ears and train it to say 'illogical' every
other word and no-one need know the difference.
But Scotty, his were the hands that knew the
workings of the Enterprise inside and out. If he
ever got commissioned elsewhere you can bet the
Enterprise would blow up or fall apart within a
week. Perhaps Gene Roddenberry cast a Scottish
man in the role deliberately, as he knew a
British character would be the 'driving force' of
of course, Scotty was most famous for complaining
about what the ship could and couldn't take.
Personally, I think when Scotty said 'the engines
cannae tak' it anymore' he was lying through his
teeth and just wanted to go to bed early. You
have to admire that sort of renegade attitude.
ARE THEY NOW? Star Trek is traditionally
unkind to its fellows after its closure, leaving
behind whole hordes of actors who never appear
anywhere else, doomed to 'where are they now'
specials. The actor who played Scotty (whose name
I forget) took several minor roles here and
there, including one in some film Chefelf
reviewed once, before he fell victim to an
ancient Egyptian curse and was tragically eaten
alive by scarab beetles.
TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
so the actor was British but the character was
supposed to be French. A special kind of
twenty-third century French which meant he spoke
in a very broad Shakespearian English accent. He
was the Captain, which of course meant he was the
driving force of the ship. Oh sure, you could say
the chief engineer was the driving force of the
ship, but not when they wear stupid wrap-around
shades and hang around with a plastic man and Wil
Wheaton. Picard guided his ship and crew through
Hell and high water and always prevailed, which
makes him a sort of future Horatio Nelson,
admired throughout history for the massiveness of
his column. And he drank Earl Grey Tea! And we're
still supposed to believe he's French? Christ. He
always admitted people into his room by just
saying "Come", which at the same time
illustrated both his super-efficient English
brain and the cheeky schoolboy sense of humour
within. Oh, how we were lost before Picard took
to the spaceways.
also had a problem with children. I bet he would
have legalized spanking given the chance, so that
makes us kindred spirits.
ARE THEY NOW? Patrick Stewart's story is
perhaps the most tragic of all. After the Next
Generation ended he took a string of roles in
films, including films starring Mel Gibson and
films based on popular comic books. Poor bastard.
TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE
having a name that sounds wonderfully close to
'brassiere', which would make him qualified for
any position in Starfleet I'd have thought,
Bashir was the ship's doctor, which obviously
made him the driving force of the ship. Maybe the
chief engineer kept the place ticking over and
the captain administrated the whole jobby, but
where are you if they both suddenly contract
leprosy? Nowhere, without the ship's doctor! Of
course it was later revealed that Bashir was
genetically engineered to be a better class of
human. And remember, he's British. Am I really
the only one who notices these things? And he
used to have regular meals with the ship's only
Cardassian, which just shows how committed he was
to intergalactic peace and brotherhood. What a
hung around with Chief O'Brien, who was Irish. I
have not included him as a British character
because Ireland is not part of the United
Kingdom. Northern Ireland is, but if Chief
O'Brien was from Northern Ireland he'd have to
wear a ski mask and bomb public places.
ARE THEY NOW? After Star Trek, Siddig El
Fadil (who bizarrely became Alexander Siddig
mid-series) found himself in an awkward position
- a man in Hollywood with an English accent and a
very noticeably foreign name. He took a number of
minor roles here and there before bonding with a
radioactive crystal from another dimension and
acquiring superhuman powers. He now answers to
the name of 'Ultraman' and fights for truth and
I think we've put our finger on why this series
SUCKED, haven't we? Incidentally, while I'm here,
I'd just like to apologise to all Northern Irish
people for that joke in the last entry. Please
don't shoot me.
ARE THEY NOW? I would also like to
apologise for that joke just now where I hinted
that Northern Irish people like shooting people.
That was just inexcusable.
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