IDW Star Trek Ongoing...

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by serenitytrek1, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Two decent female leads won't make up for a male dominated establishment if there are no decent women in supporting roles. Having seen the cast list, it still looks as though they've introduced even more new male characters than women again and some of the new female characters appear primarily to be mothers and sex objects, exactly the same as the first movie. I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt but I have insufficient evidence to do at this stage.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, Abrams's first two TV series were the very female-centric Felicity and Alias, and he co-created two other series with strong female leads, Fringe and the short-lived Undercovers. And in his Mission: Impossible III, the character who started out as the male lead's love interest ended up being effectively the heroine. As for Kurtzman and Orci, they were briefly showrunners on Xena: Warrior Princess, wrote for Alias, wrote M:I:III, and co-created Fringe. So I think there's plenty of evidence that these creators have no problem putting women in important roles.

    On the other hand, it's possible that there's studio pressure to aim these movies and tie-in comics at the presumed target demographic of young males.
     
  3. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd be interested to see what the expected demographic was for those shows. I'm willing to bet that an awful lot of young men were very happy to watch indeed. :drool:

    I don't think it's a male demographic issue though because that is served by having token cuties running around in short skirts. It always looks like a win/win situation to me - male fans are usually happy to see more women and female fans are happy to see more women. I can only think the lack of supporting women and total lack of older women is subconscious sexism issue on the part of the writers and casting people. I've yet to see any other plausible reason.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Again, I think the writers' actual record proves that they are more than capable of writing women as more than just eye candy. Evidently you haven't seen the shows and movies I referenced: I have, and I guarantee, the female leads were very strong and central to all of them. So you're absolutely wrong to accuse Abrams, Kurtzman, and Orci of sexism.

    And I gave you a plausible reason -- pressure from the studio to conform to the target demographic. Surely you're aware that the creators of film and TV are not given total creative freedom, that they have to conform to the wishes of the studio or network executives. A lot of the decisions that shape films and TV shows are made by the executives whose names we don't see rather than the writers, directors, and producers whose names we do see.
     
  5. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Of course I have seen some of those shows and I do applaud those shows for having female leads. Buffy and Xena weren't the first shows to have female leads but they were among the first modern shows to prove that such shows could be phenomenally popular. I'm guessing here but I also expect that if you were to dig a bir deeper into the recurring cast you would find a ratio of 2:1 male:female. That's not terrible but it's not equality and it's also far, far better than the ratio we have in NuTrek at the moment.

    I think probably Dollhouse and Battlestar Galactica did the best in evening up numbers and prominence of the men and women. Alias had a fairly decent mix too and some fun with its supporting characters as the series progressed but it was a vehicle for the luminous Jennifer Garner and she eclipsed everybody, both male and female - that woman could cry and change wigs in one breath. I wouldn't give Mission Impossible a pass though. The team that was wiped out in the first film was balanced but ever since then we've had no female agents in the implausible second movie, and only one female agent in each of the sequels compared to 3-4 male agents. The male agents have been varying in age, appearance, and skill, while the women are exclusively young and pretty. I freely admit I was gutted when Kristen Scott-Thomas didn't make it into any of the sequels - now that woman could have been an awesome IMF agent.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The first two M:I movies are irrelevant to this discussion because they had no involvement whatsoever from Abrams, Kurtzman, Orci, or any of the other current Star Trek creative team. I was referring specifically to the one film that Abrams did direct and K&O did write, namely M:I:III, whose climactic action
    completely inverted the conventional male-hero and female-in-distress roles, allowing Michelle Monaghan's character to save Tom Cruise's life and defeat the bad guy single-handedly.
     
  7. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think that earlier MI movies are relevant for comparative purposes. The two teams we had were M/F 2/3 and 3/1 in MI1, 2/0 in MI2, and 3/1 in 3 & 4, (I think) with one more man if you count their boss. There has been a consistent imbalance there since the promising start.

    Thunderball had a great female villain, a competent female CIA agent, and a heroine that saves the hero but I would hesitate to say movie espoused modern-day equality overall. Nonetheless, comparatively, taking into account the nature of the franchise and when it was written, it scores far higher than NuTrek.

    The role of women may depend upon the nature of the franchise - I don't expect to see equal numbers of female soldiers in a contemporary army film. When dealing with pure fantasy though, I think more effort should be made to apply higher standards of equality. Not every female character should be strong and up there with the main heroes but the same should be true of the male characters. There should be enough characters to give us a decent mix of both sexes. Too many movie writers seem to believe that being a woman is a defining trait in itself so we end up with one woman and a bunch of men with varying skills. It would be better to decide what characters they need and then ascribe the characters' gender.

    Given their success with franchises featuring female leads 'could do (much) better' springs to mind for NuTrek. Whether pressure is coming from above or not (and I find it hard to believe that producers are saying, 'Use less women') the end result is lacking.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Focusing solely on the team is a very poor basis for analysis in M:I movies, since the first three movies downplayed the team element and focused more on Hunt as a solo protagonist. Ghost Protocol is the only one so far that really plays as an ensemble piece like the original series.

    So you need to look beyond the team and consider all the characters who were important in the movies. And in M:I:III, there are two very important female cast members who are not members of Hunt's official team -- Keri Russell in the first act, and Michelle Monaghan throughout, especially in the final act. I can't believe you're ignoring the complete inversion of traditional gender roles in the climax of the third film!


    I definitely agree with that. I just think the evidence proves that it's unfair to accuse Abrams, Kurtzman, and Orci of sexism, because all of them have a proven record writing stories with strong, central female protagonists. If there is pressure to downplay female characters in the films and comic, it's unlikely to be coming from them, given their record. I'm not saying it doesn't exist or that it's acceptable, I'm just saying, don't blame people who don't deserve to be blamed.


    Why is that hard to believe? Executives have been saying things just like that for generations, meddling in shows and films and comics and forcing them to add or drop or alter characters to fit their views of what the target audience would want to see. Just browse through TV Tropes's pages on Executive Meddling.
     
  9. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I love the team set pieces the most. I could do without the principal hero approach to MI. For my part, a well written standard mission would be more exciting than the oh no everything has gone wrong we have to go up a notch approach that they keep on rolling out. I'm not ignoring the contribution of the women they do have; I'm just saying that a well written smurfette doesn't mean that a movie scores well on the equality front.

    They are capable of writing their principal women quite well. All they need to do is write for more of them in NuTrek. The movie isn't out yet and they are edging towards increasing female involvement by having two (gasp) prominent women. There should be more and indeed there may be more that we don't know about. We'll have to wait and see. I'm willing to bet there is still a ratio of 2:1 in speaking roles and half those women will be primarily wife/mother/girlfriend/sex object roles.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And what I'm hearing is that you've pre-emptively made up your mind that these creators are sexist and will find a way to twist or dismiss any evidence to the contrary, even though there is abundant evidence to the contrary. That's every bit as unfair and prejudiced as the sexism you claim to be protesting. And yes, you absolutely are ignoring the contribution of the women in M:I:III, if you think you can dismiss them with a term like "Smurfette."
     
  11. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Apparently the Smurfette principle is a real thing! It refers to the tendency of movies to have a single high profile female character as a love interest among a sea of men. I do agree that things have improved somewhat but this isn't all or nothing - there are degrees of sexism. The degree of sexism in nuTrek is currently greater than it could be.

    I do try to give credit where it is due and MI isn't as sexist as say the Expendables but in the context of the comics to date, they have fallen into the predictable sexist traps of making far more supporting cast members men to a very noticeable degree. I applaud their use of an all-female security team in one issue but yeah, I still think they can do much much better. I want to see it on screen!

    And it's not that I've made my mind up, it's more that I was so disappointed with their efforts in the first movie that I'd rather keep my expectations low and be pleasantly surprised. ;)
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm not talking about "movies." As I have repeatedly tried to explain, I am talking about three specific individuals named Jeffrey Jacob Abrams, Alexander Hilary Kurtzman, and Roberto Gaston Orci, and what their own specific creative records show about their ability to create strong, central, empowered female characters. You're obsessing on one isolated example of their work and ignoring all the female-led shows they've created or produced -- Felicity, Alias, Fringe, Undercovers, Xena. It is ridiculous to say that the people behind those shows are unwilling or unable to write about women as more than sex objects or set dressing. I don't even know why you want to claim that about those three specific men. There's plenty of actual sexism out there you're welcome to condemn, but why accuse these three people in particular when the evidence overwhelmingly shows the opposite?
     
  13. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In that case, we are talking at cross purposes. I agree that it is ridiculous to say that the people behind those shows are unwilling or unable to write about women as more than sex objects or set dressing. I moan precisely because they ARE capable of doing better. It is true to say that they have not lived up to those standards in this franchise yet.

    But it's also true to say they don't write the comics and the people that do have also not lived up to those standards in this franchise yet.

    As an aside, these stories about the support characters increase the chances of the women getting a bit more airtime. The reason why we've had only one story about one female character is precisely because there is only one female support character of any note so far. We might get a Marcus background story soon, maybe a Rand or Zahra background story, but those are pretty slim pickings when you look at them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, that's just what I've been saying all along.

    Although I still disagree with you about M:I:III. I've rarely seen such a delightful subversion of macho heroic expectations as the final act of that film. (And I want to make it clear that I'm not including the first two M:I films in my praise. In my opinion, only the third and fourth M:I films are any good.)
     
  15. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The latter two movies were better, I agree, although the first one had some great set pieces in the middle of the film. In that vein though, Nancy Travis's heroine in the Vanishing scores more highly for me.
     
  16. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Another problem is that Trek movies are already have overly large casts. With the Abrams series, you have the 7 principal TOS characters (or 8 if you include Pike) plus a villain plus additional "guest stars" (characters like Sarek and Nero's henchman in XI, Carol Marcus and whoever Peter Weller is playing in STID). Just trying to service all the principal characters is difficult enough, hell the TNG movies never really pulled that off. Add into the mix of introducing a villain and developing them, and this becomes quite a juggling act indeed. I'd say story concerns and just trying to appease the actors under contract are the deciding factor here.
     
  17. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes, I agree that part of the problem is the large casts, including the Big 7 but they aren't going to help matters by making Nero a man, by making Robau a man, by making Olsen a man, by making Keenser a male, by featuring a nameless male Vulcan instead of T'Pau, by making Admiral Marcus Carol's dad instead of her mum. I'm not saying that they should all have been female but if they had been, there would still have been more male than female characters. The fact that none of them were really skews the dynamic.
     
  18. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    To be honest, what bothers me more than the lack of women is the over abundance of white people. Aside from the Uhura and Sulu, Captain Robau and a nameless Vulcan with no dialogue were the only non-white characters in Trek XI (excluding the Orion girl, who was played by a white actress anyway), and I can't think of any in STID. In fact, if rumours pan out (and I emphasize if and rumours) than STID has cast a white guy to play an Indian character originally portrayed by a Latino actor.

    In all honesty, whether it's a result of laziness from the production staff or studio meddling, the Abrams Trek movies aren't really aspiring to feature anyone other than white males.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You're forgetting Tyler Perry as the Academy commandant. Plus quite a few nonwhite or mixed-race supporting players -- the Kelvin helmswoman, the alien doctor who delivered baby Jim, the pilot of the medevac shuttle, various Academy cadets and staff, the cameo by Captain Chandra at Kirk's hearing, etc.


    You're forgetting Noel Clarke and Nazneen Contractor as the London couple that Harrison approaches in the teaser footage. And looking over the cast list on IMDb, I see quite a few nonwhite actors listed as supporting or bit players in this film, just as in the last.


    Which is one of the main reasons why I don't find those rumors credible.
     
  20. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Quick question: who is "Admiral Marcus" and how do we know about him? Google isn't actually giving me any sources.