tapping into the Roddenberry box

We can all agree: Kurtzman era Star Trek has been godawful. There was no reason to think that Strange New Worlds would be any different, but then the first episode became available on YouTube. So I thought: “fuck it, I’ll give it a shot.”

Whoever’s running SNW had the right idea: just tap the ball into the hole. Don’t try to do too much.

It’s common to assume that Trek fans are notoriously hard to please . This is false. In fact, they’re a little too easy to please. Furthermore, I’d say that Star Trek is stupidly easy to write: minimize drama between the main characters, the Federation humanistic…almost utopian…ideals always win out, the “alien of the week” is analogous to current events, and everything can be solved using science…even if the science is totally pulled out of your ass.

This is also called the (Gene) “Roddenberry Box.” TNG writers initially struggled with it until Michael Piller turned staying within it into an art. The Next Generation is now considered one of the best shows in the sci-fi genre. It’s also the benchmark for which all other Trek shows are evaluated.

Hollywood writers, especially ones that aren’t familiar with Star Trek, might think they have to do MORE to make the story interesting. But they really don’t. You can “challenge” the box every now and then, but the optimism and science MUST win out.

So using this criteria, based on the first episode, Strange New Worlds is Star Trek…which is more than I can say for Discovery and Picard. Yes, that’s a low bar to hurdle but I guess third time is a charm. Maybe the rest of it will be shit, but as long as the show runners don’t try to do too much, they might have a pretty good show.

Still not paying for Paramount+ tho.

the art of choking

It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year: when America’s favorite bandwagon team, the Green Bay Packers, makes the playoffs and gets promptly bounced out by a lesser team.

To celebrate this event, during the 49ers game, I decided to choke on viagra pills. I collapsed on the floor and my wife stuck her fingers down my throat like a little baby and I threw up all over the carpet. My wife, god bless her, called 911. When the paramedics and firefighters showed up, they laughed in my face for wasting taxpayer money. But it worked because minutes later, Robbie Gould nailed a 45 yard field goal, sending San Francisco to the NFC championship.

This actually happened btw

So in solidarity with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, I too decided to choke during the 4th quarter.

It’s a playoff miracle.

roboCop 2: greatest sequel ever made

First off, thank you to those who continually read this blog. I love all of you like a bastard child I never knew I had. But if we did have a child together, then I don’t know you and please don’t reach out to me.

Now on to the subject at hand:

RoboCop 2

The first RoboCop is one of my favorite movies. Paul Verhoeven really knows how to tell a story from the perspective of the film’s ideology while simultaneously letting you in on the joke.

It’s a tough act to follow, and most claim that RoboCop 2 failed to live up to its predecessor. But I disagree. The reviews on IMDB are all over the place. Many say that it’s not a great movie, but there’s no consensus on why it’s not a great movie.

Yes, certain plot details go nowhere. This is probably the result of studio interference, which is typical for highly anticipated sequels. But my question is: who gives a shit? RoboCop 2 was made in the same vein as another infamous sequel released a week earlier: Gremlins 2: The New Batch and it should be viewed in that light.

Is it a GREAT film? Lol, no. It’s not supposed to be. When you make a sequel, you have two options: do something entirely different or double up on the same shit that was done before. The filmmakers chose the latter (which was the right choice).

Now Verhoeven definitely handled the gratuitous violence much more effectively in the first film, but that’s his specialty. At its heart, RoboCop is a satire on consumerism and corporate culture. The horrific violence and sci-fi aspects, which most people remember it for, was just the vessel to tell the story. RoboCop 2 threw up its arms and said “fuck it, we’re just gonna be satire”.

The villains are much more over-the-top, the commercials are much less subtle, and even RoboCop himself is more exaggerated. Many praised RoboCop for its self-awareness, well the same is true for RoboCop 2. In fact, it’s straight up mocking itself.

I’d say that RoboCop 2, along with Gremlins 2, might be the two most self-aware films ever made.

Does it deserve the 5.8 rating it currently has on IMDB? No.

A 6.8 seems more fitting.