It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for Captain Kirk this past week. On Thursday, Priceline announced that it would explore strange new worlds in its new ad campaign, which will feature Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker -- the next generation from Shatner, who helped make the company a household name with his quirky ads. Parker's voice can be heard on new animated commercials that began airing this month, though Shatner remains under contract with Priceline through the end of October. Exec Dan Schulman told the Associated Press that Shatner would not be used in commercials during the first quarter of 2001. After that, no decision has been made, Priceline chief executive Dan Schulman said.
Yet despite Priceline's now-plummeting stock value, it has made Shatner an icon once again. He played a parodic version of his own public image in the film Free Enterprise, then an over-the-top beauty pageant host in Miss Congeniality. Now life imitates art: organizers of the Miss USA Pageant announced Tuesday that Shatner will emcee the event live on CBS. Shatner follows Dick Clark and Bob Barker, both of whom hosted the pageant for more than five years. Miss USA will be crowned in Gary, Indiana on March 2. One suspects notorious ladies' man James T. Kirk would be delighted to be asked to perform similar honors.
Guess what? Beltran likes Voyager's seventh season! Yes, you read that right. In an interview for EON's Mothership, Beltran admits that this has turned out to be a good season for his character. 'Shattered,' he says, 'was just good stuff with Kate and I...and that is always fun.' In the upcoming 'Workforce,' which Beltran describes as having 'a very good script,' he got to work with Roxann Dawson as a director and 'I got to do some of the stuff that I enjoy doing, a lot of action and fighting and getting bloodied up, that sort of thing.'
And in 'Human Error,' he reveals, 'Jeri [Ryan] and I...spend a lot of time in her quarters, and we are out of uniform.' So those rumors about Seven smooching a hologram of Chakotay are apparently true. Whatever will Janeway say?
Beltran says he was saddened to hear about Ray Walston's death, as the two had become friendly while shooting 'In the Flesh' and 'The Fight.' 'I'd say that it was one of the great things in my career to be able to say that I worked with him and became friends with him. He had a long, fruitful career. He never stopped working. He was a great role model for me.'
If he were writing the series finale, Beltran joked, he would send Chakotay back to the Maquis. 'I would end it on a cliffhanger with Chakotay going back to start the Maquis rebellion, continuing it, ' he laughs. In fact, he claims to know as little as the rest of the cast about what will happen in the final weeks. This is probably true, because Beltran is notoriously bad about keeping his mouth shut if anything's happening that he doesn't like.
It doesn't rank up there with receiving the OBE or a Tony nod, but Jean-Luc Picard actor Patrick Stewart was nominated for a Blockbuster Award as the favorite actor in a science fiction movie for his performance as Professor X in The X-Men. The film earned six nominations, including nods for Ian
McKellen (favorite villain in a science fiction movie), Anna Paquin
(favorite actress in a science fiction movie), Famke Janssen (and Rebecca Rojim-Stamos (favorite supporting actress in a science fiction movie), and James Marsden (favorite supporting actor in a science fiction movie). The awards will air April 11 on Fox.
The young actress who plays Naomi Wildman will star with Reba McEntire in a not-yet-titled family comedy pilot for the WB. The Hollywood Reporter states that McEntire will star as a Southern mother of three who must deal with her husband's infidelity and her teenage daughter's pregnancy all at once. Freaks and Geeks' Joanna Garcia will play the pregnant daughter; Pomers will play another daughter. Shooting will commence after McEntire's Broadway run in Annie Get Your Gun.
Startrek.com reports that Shimerman has resigned from his position as the co-chair of the Screen Actors Guild Agents Relations Committee, though he will remain co-chair of SAG's Wages and Working Conditions Committee, which will play a significant role in the upcoming talks and possible strike as the union tries to negotiate new contracts for performers. Though Shimerman said he was leaving primarily because he cannot possibly retain both positions during negotiations, he added that he is frustrated with the SAG
board about the union's lack of direction in negotiations with agents.
Official web page Sid City has passed along word that Siddig will appear in the new movie Reign of Fire. The genre film, expected to start shooting in Ireland in February, will also star Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey and will be directed by Rob Bowman, who directed several The Next Generation episodes as well as The X-Files: Fight the
UpcomingMovies.com reports that Reign of Fire will be set in a post-apocalyptic future England, where fire-breathing dragons have emerged to threaten humanity. The film will feature Izabella Scorupco, Siddig's co-star in Vertical Limit, as a love interest for Bale. Siddig was rumored to be in negotiations to produce and star in a television pilot about Queen Boadicea, who led her people against the Romans nearly 2000 years ago, but Sid City reports that that project has been delayed.
Trek This Week: Repentance Plot Summary
Voyager receives a distress call from a small vessel and beams the survivors aboard. A Nygean guard informs Janeway that he and his crew are transporting eight murderers to their home planet for execution. Although Janeway and her senior staff aren't comfortable about delivering the men to their deaths, the captain insists that Voyager has to follow the Prime Directive and wait for a transport to pick up the aliens.
When Nygean guard Yediq beats up vicious killer Iko, Tuvok sends the
prisoner to sickbay for treatment. The Doctor uses some of Seven's
nanoprobes to save him. Once he has been treated, Iko acts like a different person, experiencing guilt and sorrow for the first time. The nanoprobes haven't just healed Iko's head injury; they've rebuilt his brain pathways so that he is now capable of having a conscience. Meanwhile, Neelix befriends Joleg, a prisoner who explains that Benkarans are often sentenced by Nygeans for crimes they didn't commit. Neelix discovers that Benkarans make up just 10 percent of the local population, but take up 80 percent of the space in prisons. Joleg explains that under Nygean law, the family of the victim determines the punishment for a crime. When Neelix says that doesn't seem fair, Joleg asks Neelix to transmit a letter to his brother to let him know what has happened to him.
Iko tells Seven that death is what he deserves; she explains that she hurt thousands of people when she was Borg, but now she is a different person, as is he. Seven admits to Janeway that she wants to give Iko the same opportunity she was given when the captain helped her reclaim her humanity: 'He should be given chance to atone.' Janeway believes it is Seven who feels the need for atonement, because she still feels responsible for crimes she committed as a Borg.
When an unknown assailant tries to beam the Benkaran prisoners off Voyager, Janeway disables the vessel. But the prisoners get loose and Joleg takes Yediq hostage, threatening to kill him. Iko convinces Joleg to turn over the weapon, then gives it to the guard, who convinces the family of Iko's victim to hear his appeal. He tries to explain that he is a different person, but they turn down his plea for mercy. Neelix loses all sympathy for the Benkarans when he learns Joleg's brother used his communiqué as a means to track and attack Voyager. Janeway tries to comfort Seven by saying the younger woman lost 20 years of her life to the Borg, which is punishment enough for any crimes she committed.
Trek Analysis: Dead Men Walking
One of the most heavy-handed 'issue' episodes ever seen on Star Trek, 'Repentance' makes The Next Generation's 'Justice' and 'Angel One' seem subtle by comparison. If Janeway wanted to, she could find a way to save the eight condemned men. Chakotay and Tuvok both get jittery when they hear talk of capital punishment; they'd have backed her if she refused to assist a government in killing its citizens. Janeway saved the Ocampa in clear violation of the Prime Directive (and all power to her). She went berserk trying to save one member of Species 8472 hunted by the Hirogen -- to whom she later gave holographic technology that came back to haunt them all. Yet she threatened to execute Noah Lessing for not turning over Captain
Ransom to her vigilante justice. She did execute Tuvix over the objections of many on her crew.
There would be no Prime Directive violation if Janeway chose to send the guards home on the transport and give the criminals asylum. But she doesn't do that, because these are really nasty criminals, as the episode tries to demonstrate. Sure, the Nygeans might mistreat the Benkarans personally and as a race, but Joleg personally betrays Neelix and then lies to him...that just proves that Joleg deserves to die, doesn't it? No one raises a voice to defend any of the condemned once Joleg gets caught threatening vicious, bullying, abusive Yediq. Janeway's got the perfect opportunity to play dumb and let the prisoners get rescued, yet she takes every possible precaution
to make sure they end up back in their holding cells to await execution.
I'm sure the Voyager writers believe this episode makes a strong case against the death penalty, but the verbal arguments offered by the Doctor are so clichéd and poorly presented that it's hard to get any real sense of the ethical issues involved, and the captain seems absolutely committed to defending a government's right to slaughter minority groups. This would be a problem if this were seriously an episode about capital punishment or unfair criminal justice systems. But it's all about Seven and her guilt, one more chance for her to gush about how Janeway salvaged her humanity. The captain refuses to consider any responsibility towards this mentally damaged criminal who's going to be killed for doing something he was physically incapable of comprehending at the time. There's no serious attempt to parallel Iko's fate with that of mentally retarded or unstable individuals who commit violent crimes and are sentenced to death, because Iko's a fantasy figure, a stargazing innocent whose repentance is absolute and overwhelming. It's as if one cannot have a conscience and still want to survive, like Joleg, who doesn't seem any more deserving of his fate than Iko.