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Posts Tagged ‘strange new worlds’

I’ve talked about purges before. Be it kitchen gadgets gathering dust at the back of a drawer or the varied detritus accumulated through decades of living, going through and clearing them out has become a habit for my wife and me. Every few years we take a deep dive into areas of our house and our lives, reevaluate what’s there, determine if a thing is being used and (more importantly) if it’s useful and, if we find it lacking, we repurpose, rehome, donate, and toss.

During the recent tumultuous times, we got out of that habit, but this year our commitment to the process has been renewed and, in keeping with our family motto*, it’s a big one. This time we are looking beyond clothing, books, movies, and games, extending the scope to big things like furniture, cars, and even (gasp!) television shows.

We all have shows that we watch simply because we have watched them. But shows change; sometimes they get better, and sometimes (most times) they don’t. Conversely, sometimes it is our tastes that change, while the shows stay true to their original methods. Still, in both cases, we often continue to tune in for each season.

Long ago, my wife and I developed “drop kick” rules, rules designed to provide an exit ramp from an activity that just wasn’t giving us what we wanted. We had the 40-page Drop Kick Rule for books (up to 80 pages, for longer works), and the 20-minute Drop Kick Rule for movies. This year, we added the 2-episode Drop Kick Rule for television series, and we’ve already put it into action. (Well, I have.)

The victim: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

I got myself into a speck of trouble when I mentioned on social media that this new product from the Star Trek franchise failed to pass my 2-ep DK rule. Turns out that, in some sci-fi circles, dissing Star Trek is on par with shooting a puppy in the face, a mortal sin punishable by shunning, humiliation, and digital defenestration. Luckily, I no longer put much stock in the opinions of people I don’t know, so I didn’t suffer much, but the reason for my dissatisfaction with ST:SNW is relevant and it boils down to one thing: my tastes have changed.

My complaint—that I don’t like being preached to, even when I agree with the message—was met with general derision, as my opponent (rightly) pointed out that ST:TOS was totally preachy. Yes, it was; it was progressive, groundbreaking, and preached a message of peace and unity within diversity. And I loved it.

I was also eight. 

Since then, my tastes have changed, but that’s only part of the reason ST:SNW left me cold. The messages preached by ST:TOS were embedded in the world, a foundation that was simply there, and which informed the stories the show presented. Yes, the show had the first interracial kiss on network television, but it also didn’t shine a big old spotlight on it and surround it with neon arrows so we’d be sure to get the point. Each of the first two episodes of ST:SNW were (in my opinion) ham-fisted and distinctly unsubtle in their messaging, each one wrapping up with a little “and here’s what we learned” bow-tying epilogue.

By contrast, we also started watching Star Trek: Discovery (which somehow ran under my radar for its entire existence). This show I love, as it blends episodic storytelling with a longer “meta-plot” and character development arcs, all while incorporating the same progressive foundation as the other Star Trek offerings. This is where my tastes lie now.

My wife still loves Star Trek: Strange New Worlds; she loves seeing the younger iterations of favorite characters, enjoys the strictly episodic storytelling, and can’t get enough of Ethan Peck (my wife was once blessed by Gregory Peck, and has a soft spot for Ethan as he channels his grandfather’s voice on screen). So the show passed her 2-ep DK rule, even though it failed mine.

And that’s the crux of a purge, isn’t it? To eliminate from your rooms, your house, your schedule, and your life the things that you no longer use or that you no longer enjoy. I’m not going to look down on anyone for liking something I don’t any more than I would shame them because they didn’t like salmon or loved brie. Tastes differ, and no one is hurt because you like ST:SNW or because I do not.

Seems to me that this is the main message of Star Trek, anyway.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some boxes of books to prepare for charity.

k

*Numquam in Dimidium Mensurae

 

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