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Children of the Comet ‘has been the modern Star Trek since 1989

There are spoilers for this discussion and review Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode 2, “Children of the Comet”, but it’s also a lot of Michael Piller talking and Voyager allusions. Get up, folks.

When Michael Piller took over Star Trek: The Next Generation in late 1989, franchises were essentially redefined Trek star.

He was first commissioned by his old friend Maurice Hurley to write a few scripts for the third season as a result of troubled results Trek star, which suffered some wear and tear in the writers’ room. However, Piller was soon drawn into the process when new conductor Michael I. Wagner left the series after four episodes. Despite being a newcomer to the series, it did not take long for Piller to steer the ship.

Piller would make a series of major creative decisions that would change the course of the franchise. Trek star. One of the most famous would be the recruitment of Ronald D. Moore and the subsequent opening of the series to submit unsolicited scripts. However, Piller has not only changed the people who wrote the scripts for Star trek. It is no understatement to say that Piller changed the way Star scripts were written. trek.

Piller believed that every episode of it The next one The generation was to be structured in such a way that the episodic episode would reveal something to the audience about a member of the ensemble. They were just episodes. Trek star; These would be “Picard (Patrick Stewart) Episodes” or “Data (Brent Spiner) Episodes” or “Worf (Michael Dorn) episodes” “. The idea was that a week-long provocative episode would provide an insight into the characters with whom the viewer spent time.

There were some exceptions, of course. Occasionally, episodes such as “Hollow Pursuits” could be written about a guest character like Reginald Barclay (Dwight Schultz), but it is noteworthy that Barclay had a special personal meaning for Piller. Even the alien-centered stories were made into character pieces, with “Transfigurations” focused on Geordi (LeVar Burton) or “The High Flight” as a show for Crusher (Gates McFadden).

If this seems like a very straightforward approach to writing a weekly TV series with a great ensemble, it was. In fact, Piller alienated many of the writing team a memorandum in which he defended his philosophy and many veterans were condescending and paternalistic. However, it worked. The IS New generation he improved significantly in his third season, finally coming into his own. Much of Piller’s person – centered approach was in episodic storytelling.

Piller’s approach would establish a template that would inform more than a decade of storytelling. Trek stargoing around The new generation, Deep space Nine, Voyager Y business. But few formulas are strong enough to survive hundreds of variations on the same template over four different shows over more than 20 TV seasons. Times change, and long-running franchises need to be adapted to stay fresh and vital.

When Piller relinquished control Deep space Nine to Ira Steven Behr, the series began to move away from episodic storytelling and towards serialization. Behr even “traded” with producer Rick Berman all the stories the production team wanted to tell. This reflected the changing and changing television landscape. However, Voyager Y business they strictly adhered to Piller’s model, telling episodic stories built around ensemble members.

As the franchise increased in the hundreds and hundreds of hours, it became clear that almost every story that could be told that way had already been told. Voyager repeated on the same points of the characters. Torres (Roxann Dawson) repeatedly confronted his Klingon legacy in episodes such as “Faces,” “Barge of the Dead,” “Prophecy,” and “Lineage,” and wrestled with his emotions in episodes such as “Parallax,” “Extreme Risk” or “Juggernaut”.

Children of the Comet 'has been the modern Star Trek since 1989

If the franchise refused to grow and develop, it would decline and fall. At the turn of the millennium, ten years after Piller revolutionized the franchise narrative model and after experiments Deep space Nineserialization would lead to an evolutionary dead end, the media began to think of the “problem of trekIn the TV landscape most shows like X Files and that he had just arrived as a witness The Sopranosthis model felt outdated.

Strange New Life it’s a return to Piller ‘s model of Trek star. Each of the first five programs focuses on one member of the ensemble, and the perceptual character is helpfully identified by composing log entries. Using Piller’s categorization, “Children of the Comet” would be an episode of Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding).

The decision to take the second episode of it stranger New Worlds around Uhura are fascinating. Of course, Uhura is far from the only established character featured in Strange New. Deep. Even discounting Pike (Anson Mount) and Number One (Rebecca Romijn), the series also features Spock (Ethan Peck), Chapel (Jess Bush) and M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun) from the original series’ recurring cast. Trek starnot to mention Paul Wesley as Samuel (and, next season, James) Kirk.

In many ways, this speaks to the influence of American films. Trek star by JJ Abrams. Although Uhura was a very influential part of the Star trek original, impressing women like Whoopi Goldberg and Mae Jemison, the series did not treat her well. For example, his entire identity was casually destroyed in “The Changeling,” something the series never felt needed to be addressed. Nichelle Nichols told a very anecdote about wanting to leave the series, but Martin Luther King Jr. persuaded her to wait for him because of the symbolic importance of the character.

Children of the Comet 'has been the modern Star Trek since 1989

Uhura would not even have given a canonical name until Zoe Saldana reimagined it in the film. Trek star by JJ Abrams, who turned it into a self-conscious prudent joke. Abrams’ films made a conscious attempt to promote Uhura at the head of the cast, prominently appearing in promotional materials and essentially shifting into the main triptych of the franchise in place of Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban). Strange New Life Kirk, Spock will feature Y Uhura, not McCoy.

“Children of the Comet” uses Uhura as the main character, which is a clever choice for the second episode of a new series of Trek star. As a freshman from the Academy, Uhura is as new to the audience as his audience, and his character arcade is about to begin the world of the series. The idea is that Uhura feels comfortable with his peers, and is also accepted by the public.

However, “Children of the Comet” get into the same problems they had Voyager Y business. It has over 700 episodes Trek star. It is almost impossible to construct an individual story that does not feel very derivative. However, “Children of the Comet” does not give you the feeling that you want to avoid any point of comparison. On the contrary, it seems to be actively pursuing its resemblance to Star Wars episodes. trek Now available on Paramount +.

More than that, “Children of the Comet” feels like one of the late and somewhat tired examples of the Piller model. Yes much ó business and “Children of the Comet”. The idea of ​​inviting crew members to the Captain’s Table is a reminder of how Archer (Scott Bakula) entertained his commanders at meals. The idea that the crew is spellbound by a comet, as well as a space – fitting mission to its surface, is directly reminiscent of first – season episodes. of the Enterprise “Breaking the ice”.

Children of the Comet 'has been the modern Star Trek since 1989

Specifically, the idea is taken that the team communications officer is treated as the character of the rookie attitude and that the first episode after the pilot is taken directly from the business. Hoshi Sato (Linda Park) was the central character of “Fight and Flight” with business. Like Torres i Voyager, The series had a note that kept meeting Sato in stories like “Sleeping Dogs” or “Vanishing Point”. It’s weird to see that Strange New Life being inspired so much and so exactly i business.

Like Sato i the enterprise, Uhura has a crisis of confidence. He reconsiders his position in the crew. “If it’s not your path, you might be thinking of giving way to someone else who wants to walk on it,” Spock warns. Later, she admits, “You should trust someone who is prepared, someone who is really Starfleet.” Of course, like Sato in the enterprisethat character arcade is cleared for one episode, restoring his confidence and securing his place.

There are some nice touches in “Children of the Comet.” Given that Uhura has long been associated with music in and out of a canon, it is fitting that communication through song takes place. There is a good backstory that explains Uhura’s passion for languages, specifically linked to its Kenyan background and the region ‘s many languages. That said, the series may go too far in giving her a family tragedy to become a “stunning and heartbreaking story”.

“Children of the Comet” also plays in the series’ self-awareness of its prequel status set in “Strange New Worlds.” Hemmer (Bruce Horak) is shown to be premeditated. Similarly, Pike’s personal crisis is reflected in the ambiguity as to whether or not the events with the comet arrived exactly as predicted. There is a recurring tension around the question of whether the characters in this story, with their default endings, have any agency about what happens.

The characters of Strange New Life they wonder if they have any future or are defined by decisions made in the past. This is perfect for a series that feels like it’s still telling stories in a way that was innovative in 1989, but retelling stories that felt tired in 2001.

Chuchita

"Apprentice of everything and master of nothing".

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