Stardate 0012.25: A Very Trekkie Christmas - Mania.com



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Stardate 0012.25: A Very Trekkie Christmas

Plus: Trek Spoilers, Trek News, Trek Comics

By Michelle Erica Green     December 25, 2000

Kate Mulgrew says she wants her character to die. Robert Beltran says he expects his character to die. Garrett Wang says he's afraid his character will die. Now Jeri Ryan has become the latest Star Trek: Voyager star to suggest a gloomy fate for her alter ego.

'I think that Seven is going to be becoming more of a tragic figure as we end the series,' Ryan told a Los Angeles reporter in an interview summarized on the official Star Trek site. She refused to elaborate on what she meant by 'tragic,' but it doesn't sound like whatever happens to Seven is directly related to the question of whether or not Voyager gets home. Ryan claims she doesn't have any idea how the season will end. 'I assume that we'll get backthat's my predictionbut that's with no inside information.'

It sounds as if life won't be boring for Seven no matter what happens. Ryan said the character would continue to develop through the final season, engaging in 'some kind of experiments with her humanity and her sexuality, and trying to re-experience the emotions that she felt for the first time in Unimatrix Zero at the beginning of the season.' Rumors suggest that she may become intimate with a condemned prisoner in 'Repentance.'

Ryan experiences some tough times as well as Valerie in the Wes Craven film Dracula 2000, which opens Friday, Dec. 22. She plays a sexy television reporter who gets bitten and turns into a vampire herself. Ryan expressed gratitude towards both the Voyager and Dracula producers, who accommodated her schedule so she could work on the film. 'It has been very difficult in the four years that I've been on Voyager to incorporate any film work that has come to me because of the schedule,' she admitted.

Though she appeared previously in the critically acclaimed Men Cry Bullets, Dracula 2000 will be Ryan's first film role since Voyager made her famous among genre fans. Vampires weren't even the scariest part of the horror film. Ryan said that before a night shoot on location in a Louisiana swamp, the cast and crew received warnings about what to do if an alligator attacked while they were filming.

Ryan's official Website posted a transcript of an interview with her last week from a student newspaper in which she suggested that after the series ends, she would like to do a sitcom. Ryan told the Los Angeles UPN station that she would like to do more films as well. Given the flair for comedy she showed in this season's Voyager episode 'Body and Soul,' she will probably get her wish.

Trek Spoilers: Shattered Repentance, Workforce Prophecy

The Star Trek Universe site's Michael Iversen (by way of TrekWeb) has put up information about several upcoming Voyager episodes, mostly reiterating news from the official site, but adding a few tantalizing details of the future installments. Most importantly, his detailed summary appears to confirm that the script for 'Shattered' leaked on the net several weeks ago is the real thing, or at least an early draft thereof. Iversen's editorial commentary on Janeway'she decides, as usual, that she is more important than the temporal Prime Directive and says she is going to change everything to prevent them getting trapped in the Delta Quadrant'made me howl. But I realize I am still a fan girl loser because he didn't confirm the one thing I really care about in this episode, namely whether all the alleged Janeway/Chakotay bonding actually takes place onscreen.

In 'Lineage' (formerly known as 'Inner Child'), B'Elanna learns she is pregnant andaccording to Iversenfaces the discovery that her unborn daughter has inherited a spinal disorder that runs in the Torres family. The doctor corrects the problem by resequencing the fetus' genes, but Torres decides she wants to go one step further and remove her Klingon DNA during gestation, to spare her daughter ridicule for her forehead ridges. During flashback sequences, we discover that Torres believes her father left her mother because he couldn't deal with having two Klingon women in his home. Torres fears Paris may leave her as well, and believes changing the fetal genes could prevent future strife. But she comes closer to triggering her worst fears via her unilateral wish to determine their child's future.

Need more Klingons? In 'Prophecy,' as we already knew, Voyager rescues a generational ship of the honor-bound aliens. They come to believe that Torres' unborn baby is their messiah, the Kuvah'Magh. Torres must come to grips once and for all with her Klingon background in order to play along with the Klingon leader, hoping to convince his followers that they can stop wandering around the galaxy looking for the Kuvah'Magh. Iversen states that the Klingons all have a fatal genetic disease stemming from inbreeding, and the disease is somehow passed to Torres and her unborn child, which I don't really understand since genetic diseases usually aren't contagious. Fortunately the Doctor is able to cure it using tissue from the baby, who is then hailed as a true savior by the Klingons. Now they can leave Voyager to settle on a planet. Too bad, because the subplot concerning crewmembers sharing quarters to make room for the Klingons sounds hilarious.

Iversen, who clearly doesn't think like a 'shipper, doesn't comment on the rumors that Seven of Nine has a romance in 'Repentance.' As he explains, the episode sends Voyager to the aid of a prison ship transporting inmates to their executions. A heartless murderer threatens one of the guards and nearly dies when the guard lashes out. The Doctor uses Borg nanoprobes to save the criminal, inadvertently curing him of his sociopathic tendencies as well. Janeway tries to get his life spared, but the relatives of a victim insist that the killer be put to death anyway. Isn't it amazing that Janeway could accord a mass murderer rights she wouldn't grant to her own crewmembers Tuvix and Noah Lessing?

Startrek.com confirmed last week that 'The Void' was originally titled 'Federation.' The official site also reports that Voyager will be 'sucked into a starless spatial anomaly with no visible means of escape.' According to one of my set spies, every time a new ship enters, the ships already trapped inside try to destroy their crews and take their resources. Janeway considers stooping to their level, but decides instead to form an alliance of ships working together to escape. And guess what? They get stuck in there forever. Just kidding! Of course, they free themselves to resume their journey towards the deus ex machina that will take them home.

I've seen only the barest bones of summary for the two-parter 'Workforce,' which begins when Chakotay, Kim and Neelix return from an away mission to discover the ship missing. The crew has been sent to a distant planet where, oblivious to one another and their past lives, they labor as part of a massive industrial work force. If this is the episode in which Janeway gets the romance Bryan Fuller promised for sweeps month, it sounds like she may not even remember it. Gosh, what a pity that would be.

Trek News: Ratings

With November sweeps over, the major networks are making decisions about which series will live and which will die. But UPN has more pressing concernsthe network is deep in negotiations to ensure that the Chris Craft stations recently bought by Rupert Murdoch will still be carrying UPN programming following the expiration of current affiliation agreements in January.

Fox, also owned by Murdoch, hasn't done very well by sci-fi of late. Then again, the network that cancelled Chris Carter's Harsh Realm after less than a month and suspended Freakylinks after five episodes has supported James Cameron's Dark Angel to the degree that Fox chose not to air a presidential debate in order to broadcast an episode of the new series.

The U.S. presidential election and its extended aftermath disrupted sweeps month Nielsens to a degree that none of the networks could have predicted. Voyager's most recent round of reruns appear to have received a boost by Al Gore's concession and George Bush's acceptance speech, which aired on a Wednesday night on the major networks. With NBC, ABC and CBS pre-empting their usual lineups, this left the 'netlets' free from competition with The West Wing. I wonder whether it concerns George W. Bush that Martin Sheen gets better ratings as president than he does?

'Tsunkatse,' the WWF crossover episode in which Jeri Ryan battles The Rock, did quite well in reruns the first week of December. The episode earned a 3.6 overnight rating, making it one of Voyager's strongest reruns of the past year and placing UPN in fifth place for the time slot. The next week, against Gore's concession speech, 'Fury' drew a 3.8 overnight. Still, it finished in sixth place, as The WB's struggling Felicity got its highest rating in years.

But the ratings news from the end of November sweeps isn't as good. According to the Star Trek Nielsen Ratings Database at TrekNation, the much-hyped two-parter 'Flesh and Blood' earned only moderate numbers, bringing in only a 3.4 rating. This is about on par with the season average, but a significant drop from last year's 'Pathfinder,' which earned a 4.0 rating to conclude sweeps month. UPN still placed fifth overall for the night, but Voyager ranked only third among males 18-49. The last two-hour Voyager telefilm, fifth season's 'Dark Frontier,' got a much stronger 4.7 rating.

Trek Comics: Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Killing Shadows

Now that The Killing Shadows mini-series has concluded, I need to take back some of the criticisms I made of the first issue, which is unfortunately the weakest of the four. There's still too much gratuitous violence and oversimplified history of Japanese martial arts, but Picard, Data and Troi in particular all become much more interesting as the story moves forward. Originally I felt that The Killing Shadows could have been about any Starfleet crew confronting invisible telepathic assassins, and I'm still not impressed with the weak Ninja connections.

But the series ultimately reminds the reader of the best qualities of Star Trek: The Next Generation: well-developed characters and relationships, a sense of humor under duress, and an appreciation for radically different cultures without acceptance of values anathema to those of the Federation. Data, whose behavior made little sense in the first book, reveals that he's using his emotion chipwhich not only explains his irrationality but gives the writers a normally non-violent character to expose to the allure of bloodlust. The second book ends with superbly paralleled scenes, on the Enterprise with Riker and Troi and on the planet Nydaris with Picard and Data, in which the separated crewmates come to the same conclusions about their adversaries. The sense of crew unity is palpable.

The cloak-and-dagger plot from the first book of The Killing Shadows turns out to be mere scaffoldingas it turns out, the Bodai Shin aren't all that concerned with stealing improved transporter technology to use as a weapon of mass destruction. They're more interested in the overall strength of humans, and in planting the seeds of belief in The Void...which contrary to Ninja belief is not a place where good and evil are absent, but where amorality leads to mass destruction in its name. The Ninja parallels become extremely weak, but since Federation values are trumpeted as superior, that's an advantage rather than a drawback.

Similarly, the presence of Sela is never explained satisfactorily. It's not clear whether she is working for the Romulans or as a rogue agent, nor how she got her intelligence on the situation since she claims to have been sent by Starfleet. Yet she provides a wonderful foil for Picard and Data, giving the command team a ruthless strategist to suggest tactics they wouldn't even consider otherwise. Picard remains one step ahead of Sela, though she effectively demonstrates why an aggressive image is necessary against this new enemy.

Initially, I thought Ninja fans would like these books but Trek fans might be disappointed. I believe the reverse is true: Ninja fans may be distressed at the superficiality of the discussion of ancient martial arts and by the characterization of the Void, but Next Gen audiences will enjoy watching these characters work together to understand the killing shadows.

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