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Old February 23 2014, 12:57 PM   #226
Warped9
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Maurice wrote: View Post
I've said it on TrekMovie: they needn't have hung a lantern on it. Simply having Lolani notice Uhura being treated as an equal and maybe having Uhura give her a dress (it would be in her nature, seeing as how she volunteered her quarters in "Elaan of Troyius") would have sent a message precisely by NOT sending an overt one.
Agreed.
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Old February 23 2014, 07:21 PM   #227
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Maurice wrote: View Post
lurok wrote: View Post
^They really should get you in as a script editor/advisor .
Thanks, but I've stopped banging my head against that particular wall. My experience is that most fanfilm makers who ask for input won't actually implement the notes they're given, especially when the notes aren't glowing. Many of them seem to think they know how to make storytelling decisions just as well as such reviewers, despite having little or no actual experience writing, let alone anything approaching minimal professional standards for same.
Warped9 wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
I've said it on TrekMovie: they needn't have hung a lantern on it. Simply having Lolani notice Uhura being treated as an equal and maybe having Uhura give her a dress (it would be in her nature, seeing as how she volunteered her quarters in "Elaan of Troyius") would have sent a message precisely by NOT sending an overt one.
Agreed.
Agreed on all counts. That was the problem I had with Phase 2's "Blood and Fire". I really felt like Peter Kirk's relationship was portrayed with an extremely heavy hand and the point could have been made with much more subtlety. The product was still quite good in many respects, IMHO and of course everyone's mileage will vary.

I will quibble a bit with you Maurice. Not because I think you're wrong (I've already said I agree with you) about the ability of fan film makers to accept professional help, but from my own experience with a purely audio series I can honestly that time becomes a real factor. At some point you can work so hard to make a script "perfect" that at some you can suffer paralysis by analysis. At some point every show runner on every show has to say "we're hitting the point of diminishing returns we have to start turning out some product."

The other side of the coin is that I see nothing wrong with amateurs giving it a go. (I don't think you do, either, it's just that I also agree some folks who say they want and welcome criticism aren't really able or willing to accept it). I think a lot of it goes back to the standard the producers want to meet: if they just want to have some fun and see what they can do that's fine. If they have higher goals (say like the "Polaris" project) then they need to take it on themselves to put the pieces in place to make a more professional project with broader appeal than family and friends.
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Old February 23 2014, 08:59 PM   #228
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
DarKush wrote: View Post
I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. Another winner for Star Trek Continues. I loved the moral quandary Captain Kirk was placed in and his eventual decision. It was great seeing Lou Ferrigno and Erin Gray and the actress playing Lolani was good. As was McKenna.

It's interesting that some felt Uhura should've sided more with Lolani. I would've liked that. Especially with a show that's an homage to a 60's TV show that commented on the racial politics of that era, it would've been cool to see Uhura take a stand on the side of Lolani and her actions could be rooted in American slavery/segregation and African colonization.
Well, if they just used Uhura for this episode just to make a comment on slavery and African colonization, that would have been BS, imo. A bit troublesome, possibly a bit racist. If they went that route, it would liken the hypothetical 'episode' to one of those cliched television episodes (e.g. 'on a very special episode') where said episode is dedicated to focusing on the black character just to make a statement on racism....then that black character is regulated to the background for the rest of the series.

Star Trek works best when it is not patting itself on its back, or pushing what it thinks equality should be. Or, overall trying to speak for everyone - especially people of color.

Granted, they - the ST:C guys - could make the slavery connection, but I was thinking more of Uhura connecting with Lolani more on a female level and showing Lolani that as a female she doesn't have to adhere to certain conditions.

EDIT: On that same note of female characters, I forgot to mention how I liked the addition of a female security officer. The only female security officer was 'Ensign Wu' from the Star Trek book inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventures - the name which escapes me at this time.
Well, wouldn't connecting with her solely on a female level be considered sexist. if we are going by your way of thinking? This episode was about slavery, among other things, so having Uhura comment on would not be something out of the blue. I agree that Star Trek should not speak for people of color, mainly because it has been white guys who have been making it, but that being said, Trek has been known for social commentary and I think it has had a voice and I would rather they take stands than not at all.

I don't know if you're assuming things about me or inferring things from what I've written but I don't want Uhura to make a statement and go into the background, but I do think it would've been nice if she had had an expanded role in the episode and could talk about her own people's struggles as a way to empathize with and bond with Lolani. I think the conference room discussion could've had more poignancy if Uhura had been in the room and part of the conversation. Also Uhura being part of the dinner. I found it odd that no one mentioned Earth's history of slavery, either the Enterprise crew or the Orion slaver as a retort.

I think it was a missed opportunity to not have Uhura say something. It seems like she would have an emotional or vested interest as a black person and as a female, granted, and with the more assertive take on Uhura courtesy of the new films I could see the Continues folks letting that affect how they depict Uhura to some extent going forward.

One of the cool things-I think-that a series like Continues can do is to expand on characters like Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov that were given short shrift on the original series.
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Old February 23 2014, 10:17 PM   #229
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Gonna have to disagree with you a bit about "paralysis by analysis". In my experience such paralysis only happens when you're first trying to create something. By the time you're a few drafts into a script, good analysis actually accelerates the revision process because it clarifies what is good and bad and allows you to focus on fine tuning.

"Fix it on the page" is almost always the most time efficient solution.

I'm certainly not saying that beginning writers shouldn't give it a go via fanfilms, as one does learn by doing. But it's an uneasy marriage when beginners solicit pro input since they really cannot speaking as peers.

Speaking of learning by doing, I posted a nice short video clip about that subject over on the Fan Filmmaker's Primer topic (link).
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Old February 23 2014, 11:07 PM   #230
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

DarKush wrote: View Post
Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
DarKush wrote: View Post
I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. Another winner for Star Trek Continues. I loved the moral quandary Captain Kirk was placed in and his eventual decision. It was great seeing Lou Ferrigno and Erin Gray and the actress playing Lolani was good. As was McKenna.

It's interesting that some felt Uhura should've sided more with Lolani. I would've liked that. Especially with a show that's an homage to a 60's TV show that commented on the racial politics of that era, it would've been cool to see Uhura take a stand on the side of Lolani and her actions could be rooted in American slavery/segregation and African colonization.
Well, if they just used Uhura for this episode just to make a comment on slavery and African colonization, that would have been BS, imo. A bit troublesome, possibly a bit racist. If they went that route, it would liken the hypothetical 'episode' to one of those cliched television episodes (e.g. 'on a very special episode') where said episode is dedicated to focusing on the black character just to make a statement on racism....then that black character is regulated to the background for the rest of the series.

Star Trek works best when it is not patting itself on its back, or pushing what it thinks equality should be. Or, overall trying to speak for everyone - especially people of color.

Granted, they - the ST:C guys - could make the slavery connection, but I was thinking more of Uhura connecting with Lolani more on a female level and showing Lolani that as a female she doesn't have to adhere to certain conditions.

EDIT: On that same note of female characters, I forgot to mention how I liked the addition of a female security officer. The only female security officer was 'Ensign Wu' from the Star Trek book inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventures - the name which escapes me at this time.
Well, wouldn't connecting with her solely on a female level be considered sexist. if we are going by your way of thinking? This episode was about slavery, among other things, so having Uhura comment on would not be something out of the blue. I agree that Star Trek should not speak for people of color, mainly because it has been white guys who have been making it, but that being said, Trek has been known for social commentary and I think it has had a voice and I would rather they take stands than not at all.

I don't know if you're assuming things about me or inferring things from what I've written but I don't want Uhura to make a statement and go into the background, but I do think it would've been nice if she had had an expanded role in the episode and could talk about her own people's struggles as a way to empathize with and bond with Lolani. I think the conference room discussion could've had more poignancy if Uhura had been in the room and part of the conversation. Also Uhura being part of the dinner. I found it odd that no one mentioned Earth's history of slavery, either the Enterprise crew or the Orion slaver as a retort.

I think it was a missed opportunity to not have Uhura say something. It seems like she would have an emotional or vested interest as a black person and as a female, granted, and with the more assertive take on Uhura courtesy of the new films I could see the Continues folks letting that affect how they depict Uhura to some extent going forward.

One of the cool things-I think-that a series like Continues can do is to expand on characters like Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov that were given short shrift on the original series.
Thank you for expanding on your previous comment, Darkush.

I agree with you that using Uhura on a female level could also come off as sexist if not done right. Yes, I also agree with you that a series could expand on characters like Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov. And yes, I even agree with you on making the connection being Lolani's case and American slave trade - which, again, has to be done right.

Here is what I was thinking:
Instead of the counselor - I forget her name - being the liaison, Uhura is the one who connects with Lolani for the episode. We see not only white female crewmembers, but black female crewmembers, and Asian crewmembers. These females work in various capacities, some directing subordinates who could be male or female. Lolani is obviously surprised by this.
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Old February 24 2014, 10:18 AM   #231
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Maurice wrote: View Post
Gonna have to disagree with you a bit about "paralysis by analysis". In my experience such paralysis only happens when you're first trying to create something. By the time you're a few drafts into a script, good analysis actually accelerates the revision process because it clarifies what is good and bad and allows you to focus on fine tuning.

"Fix it on the page" is almost always the most time efficient solution.

I'm certainly not saying that beginning writers shouldn't give it a go via fanfilms, as one does learn by doing. But it's an uneasy marriage when beginners solicit pro input since they really cannot speaking as peers.

Speaking of learning by doing, I posted a nice short video clip about that subject over on the Fan Filmmaker's Primer topic (link).
Couldn't agree more, esp. BIB.

Apologies for thread detours again, but I think these are interesting sidebars re: further evolution of STC.
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Old February 24 2014, 10:36 PM   #232
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
DarKush wrote: View Post
Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post

Well, if they just used Uhura for this episode just to make a comment on slavery and African colonization, that would have been BS, imo. A bit troublesome, possibly a bit racist. If they went that route, it would liken the hypothetical 'episode' to one of those cliched television episodes (e.g. 'on a very special episode') where said episode is dedicated to focusing on the black character just to make a statement on racism....then that black character is regulated to the background for the rest of the series.

Star Trek works best when it is not patting itself on its back, or pushing what it thinks equality should be. Or, overall trying to speak for everyone - especially people of color.

Granted, they - the ST:C guys - could make the slavery connection, but I was thinking more of Uhura connecting with Lolani more on a female level and showing Lolani that as a female she doesn't have to adhere to certain conditions.

EDIT: On that same note of female characters, I forgot to mention how I liked the addition of a female security officer. The only female security officer was 'Ensign Wu' from the Star Trek book inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventures - the name which escapes me at this time.
Well, wouldn't connecting with her solely on a female level be considered sexist. if we are going by your way of thinking? This episode was about slavery, among other things, so having Uhura comment on would not be something out of the blue. I agree that Star Trek should not speak for people of color, mainly because it has been white guys who have been making it, but that being said, Trek has been known for social commentary and I think it has had a voice and I would rather they take stands than not at all.

I don't know if you're assuming things about me or inferring things from what I've written but I don't want Uhura to make a statement and go into the background, but I do think it would've been nice if she had had an expanded role in the episode and could talk about her own people's struggles as a way to empathize with and bond with Lolani. I think the conference room discussion could've had more poignancy if Uhura had been in the room and part of the conversation. Also Uhura being part of the dinner. I found it odd that no one mentioned Earth's history of slavery, either the Enterprise crew or the Orion slaver as a retort.

I think it was a missed opportunity to not have Uhura say something. It seems like she would have an emotional or vested interest as a black person and as a female, granted, and with the more assertive take on Uhura courtesy of the new films I could see the Continues folks letting that affect how they depict Uhura to some extent going forward.

One of the cool things-I think-that a series like Continues can do is to expand on characters like Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov that were given short shrift on the original series.
Thank you for expanding on your previous comment, Darkush.

I agree with you that using Uhura on a female level could also come off as sexist if not done right. Yes, I also agree with you that a series could expand on characters like Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov. And yes, I even agree with you on making the connection being Lolani's case and American slave trade - which, again, has to be done right.

Here is what I was thinking:
Instead of the counselor - I forget her name - being the liaison, Uhura is the one who connects with Lolani for the episode. We see not only white female crewmembers, but black female crewmembers, and Asian crewmembers. These females work in various capacities, some directing subordinates who could be male or female. Lolani is obviously surprised by this.
Joel_Kirk,

I see what you're saying. And while I do like the counselor I wouldn't have minded if it was Uhura who connected with Lolani. And seeing female crew members of different hues directing male and/or female subordinates could've been a visual way to show Lolani that another way to exist is out there.
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Old February 25 2014, 01:18 AM   #233
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

My Trek TOS credentials are very weak... so I ask this: Wasn't Uhura supposed to be African rather than African-American, and therefore NOT somebody who had the African-American experience of slavery?
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Old February 25 2014, 02:00 AM   #234
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Yes. In fact, in "The Corbomite Maneuver" there's a deleted line where Uhura indicates English is not her first language.
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Old February 25 2014, 02:22 AM   #235
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Maurice wrote: View Post
Yes. In fact, in "The Corbomite Maneuver" there's a deleted line where Uhura indicates English is not her first language.
There's also an episode when Uhura's memory is damaged and she has to be "re-educated." At the beginning of the process, she keeps speaking Swahili. I always inferred that it was her native tongue.
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Old February 25 2014, 02:33 AM   #236
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

RCAM wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
Yes. In fact, in "The Corbomite Maneuver" there's a deleted line where Uhura indicates English is not her first language.
There's also an episode when Uhura's memory is damaged and she has to be "re-educated." At the beginning of the process, she keeps speaking Swahili. I always inferred that it was her native tongue.
Watching that scene made me very bluey.
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Old February 25 2014, 02:47 AM   #237
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

RCAM wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
Yes. In fact, in "The Corbomite Maneuver" there's a deleted line where Uhura indicates English is not her first language.
There's also an episode when Uhura's memory is damaged and she has to be "re-educated." At the beginning of the process, she keeps speaking Swahili. I always inferred that it was her native tongue.
That's what I was thinking.

Automatically inserting a black character, regardless of heritage, into a story about slave trade comes off as a little bit narrow minded to me. Not all black people are necessarily "African American." That label is something that we Americans have been conditioned to apply by a society determined to avoid offending others.

As I understood it, the Uhura character was supposed to represent the rise above all that nonsense. I never saw her as "black." I always saw her as a capable officer, and a damn attractive woman.

Sorry for rambling.
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Old February 25 2014, 03:15 AM   #238
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

I think it's all a matter of execution. Uhura isn't just some random guest character of the week. She's a regular that the audience identifies with. She could easily have stepped into the role McKennah serves in "Lolani" and you wouldn't have to insert anything overt into the discussion. She could merely relate to Lolani on a personal "friendly and sympathetic" face sort of way. The poignant juxtaposition would be in the nonverbal symbolism: Uhura as the symbol for what Lolani and others like her long for.

One quibble I have with Kim Singer as Uhura is she doesn't have Nichelle Nichols' exotic aura for lack a a better term. Uhura was African, not African American, and she spoke English with a touch of accent that added to her aura and distinctiveness. STC's Uhura comes across as American. Now if she thought of it or the STC thought of it, depending on her skill as an actress, maybe Singer could try to evoke a touch of Nichelle Nichols' manner of speech.

Note that JJtrek's Zoe Seldana doesn't have Nichell Nichols' presence either. Nichols gave Uhura grace and poise and something of a feline demeanor. I've no doubt that's actually part of Nichelle Nichols' personality and it's not an easy thing to capture. But it's unmistakably the TOS Uhura.

Of course I'm also thinking that Uhura always deserved a little more screen time, and it would have been a strong message back in the day just to see her up front a bit more. Now a production like STC has that opportunity to do something that should have been done back in the day, but wasn't. In "Lolani's" case I believe Kim Singer was available for only one day of shooting so that might pretty well snuff out more of her involvement in this episode. But I would like to see Uhura given some screen time beyond manning the communications board or singing in the rec-room.
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Old February 25 2014, 06:00 AM   #239
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

urbandefault wrote: View Post

Automatically inserting a black character, regardless of heritage, into a story about slave trade comes off as a little bit narrow minded to me. Not all black people are necessarily "African American." That label is something that we Americans have been conditioned to apply by a society determined to avoid offending others.

As I understood it, the Uhura character was supposed to represent the rise above all that nonsense. I never saw her as "black." I always saw her as a capable officer, and a damn attractive woman.

Sorry for rambling.
Warped9 wrote: View Post
I think it's all a matter of execution. Uhura isn't just some random guest character of the week. She's a regular that the audience identifies with. She could easily have stepped into the role McKennah serves in "Lolani" and you wouldn't have to insert anything overt into the discussion. She could merely relate to Lolani on a personal "friendly and sympathetic" face sort of way. The poignant juxtaposition would be in the nonverbal symbolism: Uhura as the symbol for what Lolani and others like her long for.
As Maurice has said elsewhere, STAR TREK isn't being made for 23rd century people but for us. Literature often uses symbolism to convey ideas without stating them outright. As I've said on Trekmovie, it's about connotation not having Uhura give some speech about slavery or even speak to it. But, as Warped 9 states, it's the juxtaposition, with what Uhura as a character stands for in the context of STAR TREK, how far blacks have come and how they've made it too into the future, countered with Lolani's situation.

Here's how I answered how I thought it could be handled on Trekmovie:

For one, I wouldn’t have dialogue that would hang a lantern on Uhura being black. Simply having her in McKennah’s role would be enough to bring in the historical connotations. Because in story, connotations are sometimes more powerful than denotations.

That being said, I’d have a scene between Uhura and Kirk that brings him to the realization that the Federation is no better than the Roman Empire, that it’s lost sight of its ideas. Wouldn’t necessarily have Uhura state the obvious, “blacks were once denied the same rights that’s being denied to Lolani.” Once again, her being in that role communicates that enough without having to call it out in dialogue. Think more in the lines of the scene in “Measure of Man” where Picard and Guinan discuss creating a race of Datas, where slavery is mentioned but skin color is not. I’d still leave the decision-making to Kirk, after all he is the lead.

Certainly, I’d give Uhura more bite than McKennah and have her be more protective of Lolani, even giving her a change of clothes just shortly after she escorts Lolani to guest quarters. Also, I’d show how women are equal and respected by men and have Uhura have to give some order to a male subordinate in front of Lolani. It’s then that Lolani makes the realization that woman are respected on this ship. As it stands in the episode, we are TOLD that but we AREN’T really shown … well we kinda are with the Kirk-McKenna debate on the bridge.
And after further debate:
256. Dom – February 17, 2014
“Uhura’s a communications officer. McKennah’s a psychologist, trained to deal with this stuff. So, basically, people are saying that a communications officer, untrained in dealing with sexual abuse cases, should be put in charge of a victimised young woman because her African ancestors were slaves nearly a half millennium before (from her perspective.)”

My response to the above quote:
Valid point about McKennah being a psychologist. However, she does little of that in the episode, other than some lip service. She doesn’t asses Lolani’s condition, nor does she quickly protect her in the Sick Bay scene. If she was trained in sexual abuse cases, she would’ve at least covered Lolani immediately with a blanket (as one of my friend suggested) — and chewed out McCoy for not doing so himself. McKennah also should’ve objected to the mind meld, pointing out how traumatic that would be for a recently assaulted woman.

And no one is suggesting that Uhura psychologically treat Lolani. But having a scene or two with Lolani would’ve added some additional layers to the episode, as I’ve spelled out elsewhere. One way is to have Lolani observe Uhura give orders to a male subordinate, and be impressed, stopping to admire her or chat with the communications officer. And I find that Lolani is too trusting of McKennah — feel that she’d be a bit leery of someone trying to psychologically asses her. She might find it easier to feel comfort with a female line officer who is respected for her rank, not her gender. And McKennah seeing that Lolani respects Uhura as an officer could suggest that Uhura could help bring Lolani around to revealing what happened on a Tellarite ship. And I could see Kirk being convinced to go with it as the only option to reach Lolani.
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Old February 25 2014, 06:06 AM   #240
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Re: Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

^^ Very well said.
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