Discussion:
{TNG} I find the Klingon episodes tedious.
(too old to reply)
2008-02-17 02:18:05 UTC
Permalink
I think it's because I find the whole idea of Klingons to be hackneyed and
predictable.

They're always talking about honor and fighting, and they built an entire
interstellar society which rivals that of humans on those ideals.

But at the end of the day (or end of the episode), their whole way of life
is repudiated and found to be fatally flawed. It's always the human way of
doing things, or their influence, that saves the day.

We never see the Klingons kick any ass to any good effect. We never see how
their way of life was ever successful or a viable strategy. We never even
hear of any wars they're engaged in at all, other than counter productive
civil wars which shows nothing but how flawed they are.

I also find it tedious how the only purpose for Worf's suggestions ("we MUST
attack NOW Captain") is to give something for the captain to disagree with,
to show how much more considerate and moral and patient the captain is.
Worf's suggestions are nearly always the exact opposite of what the captain
chooses, and yet somehow Worf remains a 'valued and respected' member of the
team. It's comical.

The Klingons are a self parody that never rise above 'predictable plot
device' unfortunately.
Jaxtraw
2008-02-17 03:03:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by
I think it's because I find the whole idea of Klingons to be
hackneyed and predictable.
They're always talking about honor and fighting, and they built an
entire interstellar society which rivals that of humans on those
ideals.
But at the end of the day (or end of the episode), their whole way of
life is repudiated and found to be fatally flawed. It's always the
human way of doing things, or their influence, that saves the day.
We never see the Klingons kick any ass to any good effect. We never
see how their way of life was ever successful or a viable strategy.
We never even hear of any wars they're engaged in at all, other than
counter productive civil wars which shows nothing but how flawed they
are.
I also find it tedious how the only purpose for Worf's suggestions
("we MUST attack NOW Captain") is to give something for the captain
to disagree with, to show how much more considerate and moral and
patient the captain is. Worf's suggestions are nearly always the
exact opposite of what the captain chooses, and yet somehow Worf
remains a 'valued and respected' member of the team. It's comical.
The Klingons are a self parody that never rise above 'predictable plot
device' unfortunately.
It's because the Klingons were recast in the light of political
correctness/multiculturalist 80s stylee. In TOS (the series, not the movies)
the Klingons were a ruthless military dictatorship. Cruel, expansionist,
totalitarian and disciplined. Kind of particularly nasty imperialist
Spartans. They invaded and subjugated planets (Errand Of Mercy) and even
during a state of cold war were undoubtedly a loathsome enemy (Trouble With
Tribbles). They made sense as an society. They had gained an empire through
disciplined militarism, another analogy perhaps being an imaginary
successful Nazi empire.

By The Search For Spock, something had happened. Now they were being
portrayed as a rabble of undisciplined pirates, roaming the galaxy looking
for plunder. The miltiary empire aspect seemed to have been discarded in all
but name for a bunch of disorganised roaming thugs.

By TNG, the major weakness of which was its infection with confused
californianesque "liberal" values, it was no longer PC to disapprove of a
society with alternative moral values, so they had to be recast as a "proud
warrior race". Suddenly their thuggish brutality is a deep and profound
culture which we must admire and accomodate to. It is not for us to judge.
We must accept their ways. And so on. Which is why they became a joke. With
the ruthless disciplined military dictatorship aspect gone, it suddenly
seemed ludicrous for them to have built an empire let alone designed a
starship, as they tromped around in their Nu-Rock boots and big hair
shouting RARRRRR at each other. The nasty Klingons the young Kirk had faced
were gone.

I'd like to see the "new" Trek put the Klingons back where they were in the
original series, personally, as an empire with a fearsome, disciplined
military.


Ian

--
http://www.jaxtrawstudios.com
sci-fi comics with shagging in
Snake
2008-02-17 03:45:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jaxtraw
It's because the Klingons were recast in the light of political
correctness/multiculturalist 80s stylee. In TOS (the series, not the movies)
the Klingons were a ruthless military dictatorship. Cruel, expansionist,
totalitarian and disciplined. Kind of particularly nasty imperialist
Spartans. They invaded and subjugated planets (Errand Of Mercy) and even
during a state of cold war were undoubtedly a loathsome enemy (Trouble With
Tribbles). They made sense as an society. They had gained an empire through
disciplined militarism, another analogy perhaps being an imaginary
successful Nazi empire.
By The Search For Spock, something had happened. Now they were being
portrayed as a rabble of undisciplined pirates, roaming the galaxy
looking
for plunder. The miltiary empire aspect seemed to have been discarded in all
but name for a bunch of disorganised roaming thugs.
By TNG, the major weakness of which was its infection with confused
californianesque "liberal" values, it was no longer PC to disapprove of a
society with alternative moral values, so they had to be recast as a "proud
warrior race". Suddenly their thuggish brutality is a deep and profound
culture which we must admire and accomodate to. It is not for us to judge.
We must accept their ways. And so on. Which is why they became a joke. With
the ruthless disciplined military dictatorship aspect gone, it suddenly
seemed ludicrous for them to have built an empire let alone designed a
starship, as they tromped around in their Nu-Rock boots and big hair
shouting RARRRRR at each other. The nasty Klingons the young Kirk had faced
were gone.
All that is true...but you forgot to factor in the Organian Peace Treaty.
Once imposed, the Klingon's pattern of oppression in debated star systems
was pretty much squelched. After the OPT, the Klingons were pretty much
"forced" to play by a set of external rules somewhat similar to their hated
rivals - the Federation itself.

So, therefore, it is logical to assume that their military infrastructure
evolved into what we saw by the time of ST:TSFS and ST:TNG - that is, the
pure military fascist dictatorship of satellite star systems becoming
overturned by something closer to the Leninist / Stalinist structure of
strong military state socialism coupled with constitutional dictatorship.

So the Klingons evolved...to mirror the internal evolution of the USSR
itself. And, like the Soviet Socialist Republic - which never truly
achieved its goals of pure socialism and instead got stuck in a downward
spiral caused by a politicomilitary oligarchy - by ST:TUC it is seen as
being torn apart by its own petard.
a
2008-02-17 04:56:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Snake
So the Klingons evolved...to mirror the internal evolution of the USSR
itself. And, like the Soviet Socialist Republic - which never truly
achieved its goals of pure socialism and instead got stuck in a downward
spiral caused by a politicomilitary oligarchy - by ST:TUC it is seen as
being torn apart by its own petard.
But that makes them a profoundly boring species to base sci fi stories on,
unfortunately. Somewhere along the line, the storytellers made some bad
decisions. I think jaxtraw was correct when he blamed California style
political correctness.

The only 'safe' species to make 'truly evil' were the Borg - because they
weren't an organic race, but rather android. That's where they started -
truly evil - and that's where they were at their most interesting and
compelling.

But since they were partially organic, even they have 'good' in them. And
they became less interesting and compelling as a storytelling device as a
result. As soon as the storytellers make a gesture towards anything PC, you
know that's where the whole story will end up. It's not only preachy but
predictably preachy. That is a bad combination. The "Hugh" story arc
undermined the menace of the Borg for me. I haven't watched anything
post-Hugh yet (not even TNG movies) but at this point I have no real desire
to, either.

That 'moral ambiguity' which such 'shades of gray' introduces, seems like a
good thing from some perspectives: ambiguity connotes depth.

But it masks a shallowness in that the more human something is, the more
good it is (for instance, the Q Continuum lacks "human niceness" and is
therefore fundamentally flawed, even though they are *omnipotent*). Viewers
know this and it makes everything predictable.

There really is no depth ..... just the obvious and tedious 'political
correctness' which is the purported "Ultimate Evolution of Sentient Life" in
the Trek universe.

Interestingly, in reality, the most successful species are the most
ruthless - sharks, for instance. Top of the food chain, and completely
amoral killers. Old-Klingon style. But there is no room for such a species
in Trek universe.

There's some interesting ambiguity.
Snake
2008-02-17 05:31:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by a
Post by Snake
So the Klingons evolved...to mirror the internal evolution of the USSR
itself. And, like the Soviet Socialist Republic - which never truly
achieved its goals of pure socialism and instead got stuck in a downward
spiral caused by a politicomilitary oligarchy - by ST:TUC it is seen as
being torn apart by its own petard.
But that makes them a profoundly boring species to base sci fi stories on,
unfortunately. Somewhere along the line, the storytellers made some bad
decisions. I think jaxtraw was correct when he blamed California style
political correctness.
The only 'safe' species to make 'truly evil' were the Borg - because they
weren't an organic race, but rather android. That's where they started -
truly evil - and that's where they were at their most interesting and
compelling.
But since they were partially organic, even they have 'good' in them. And
they became less interesting and compelling as a storytelling device as a
result. As soon as the storytellers make a gesture towards anything PC,
you know that's where the whole story will end up. It's not only preachy
but predictably preachy. That is a bad combination. The "Hugh" story arc
undermined the menace of the Borg for me. I haven't watched anything
post-Hugh yet (not even TNG movies) but at this point I have no real
desire to, either.
That 'moral ambiguity' which such 'shades of gray' introduces, seems like
a good thing from some perspectives: ambiguity connotes depth.
But it masks a shallowness in that the more human something is, the more
good it is (for instance, the Q Continuum lacks "human niceness" and is
therefore fundamentally flawed, even though they are *omnipotent*).
Viewers know this and it makes everything predictable.
There really is no depth ..... just the obvious and tedious 'political
correctness' which is the purported "Ultimate Evolution of Sentient Life"
in the Trek universe.
Interestingly, in reality, the most successful species are the most
ruthless - sharks, for instance. Top of the food chain, and completely
amoral killers. Old-Klingon style. But there is no room for such a
species in Trek universe.
There's some interesting ambiguity.
Because Star Trek is, after all and at its best, a moral play. It is what
the Great Bird wanted Star Trek to be, and the best / longest lasting
stories stuck to that premise.



The Borg were meant to connote homo sapiens dehumanized by technology: a
warning. This might be considered "preachy" but that is the fundamental
basis of the Star Trek universe, the social commentary and moral play. It
is what has truly allowed Star Trek to persevere through 4 decades of social
change and become a cornerstone of popular culture. Without it...it would
have faded into memory long ago.



The Klingons were Star Trek's answer to the USSR, and as the USSR faded into
history as a significant threat to perceived human freedoms...so did the
Klingons. It is by this change that the best of Star Trek endures - it
changes with the times, always seeking relevance. If the Klingons continued
to operate in their original pattern, long after the USSR had itself become
a lesson of the past, Star Trek would be seen as losing its relevance. It
might have become a laughing stock, stuck in a "preachy" non-relevance that
was disconnected from the viewer's real lives.



And, therefore, surely Star Trek would have suffered greatly.



It is a double-edged sword for the writers; they cannot continue to pursue
old themes yet they must maintain a sense of connection with the past. I
must admit to this very difficult task; Star Trek must continuously evolve
to stay alive.



So the Klingons changed, became less hostile and threatening - just as the
old Soviet republics did in real life - and we must...move on.



If anyone in charge of Star Trek were wise, they would be dealing with
today's societal problems: the struggle between radicalism and
fundamentalism, and the seemingly over-reactions and limitations imposed by
individuals on one another in answer to this essential problem. It
is...ironic...that many governments answer what they perceive as "radical
fundamentalism" by removing some of the very liberties that they feel their
enemies are against. The future must hold equality for all individuals, the
freedom to believe as they deem necessary without burden, and for this to be
achieved the rights of the individual must be held high - for everyone,
everywhere.



This is what Star Trek teaches us, and may we hope that one day.it will
come.
a
2008-02-17 06:52:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Snake
This is what Star Trek teaches us, and may we hope that one day.it will
come.
Well, I think Star Trek owes its longevity to a lot of things. Social
relevance certainly plays a part, I agree. I think you make some great
points.

But the cast of characters of TOS, and how they interracted, had no
particular social metaphor... but it worked because they were all likeable
and compelling in their own way. In fact, the characters of TOS are more
compelling, IMO, than the characters of TNG. TNG has a lot of misses
(Riker, Worf, Guinan), some in-between (Beverly, Geordi, Q) and a couple
hits (Picard, Data). But pretty much all the regular cast of TOS was
likeable.

And, Star Trek was amongst the first tries at doing a Sci Fi series on TV.
That is a huge leg up on the competition... and even then it didn't really
do that well in first run. After syndication, which was propelled not only
by the good stories but by a perverse attraction to nostalgiac kitsch... it
got a second wind amongst the public.

The first to try something .. and to surpass a certain threshold of
quality... generally has staying power. Think Lord of the Rings ... it is
not a story which, based on its inherent quality, should deserve its station
in our culture ... but because it was essentially a genre definer, its
stature is secure. Star Trek is a genre definer as well.

But even so they have managed to render the franchise a bit impotent and
irrelevant... I do think they made some bad story telling decisions
somewhere along the line.

Maybe 'morality plays' don't have that much staying power. Morality plays
are, after all, fundamentally predictable.

Sci Fi should have almost limitless staying power...... surely it is one of
the broadest of the creative muses.
Snake
2008-02-17 15:54:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by a
But the cast of characters of TOS, and how they interracted, had no
particular social metaphor... but it worked because they were all likeable
and compelling in their own way. In fact, the characters of TOS are more
compelling, IMO, than the characters of TNG. TNG has a lot of misses
(Riker, Worf, Guinan), some in-between (Beverly, Geordi, Q) and a couple
hits (Picard, Data). But pretty much all the regular cast of TOS was
likeable.
Quite true...but, again, the characters were intentionally designed to be
metaphors for the individual aspects of the human psyche. They became part
of a contiguous whole - a social metaphor in their own right.
Steven L.
2008-02-17 13:15:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Snake
So the Klingons evolved...to mirror the internal evolution of the USSR
itself. And, like the Soviet Socialist Republic - which never truly
achieved its goals of pure socialism and instead got stuck in a downward
spiral caused by a politicomilitary oligarchy - by ST:TUC it is seen as
being torn apart by its own petard.
In fact, the explosion which destroyed the energy production station of
Praxis was an obvious standin for the Chernobyl meltdown. It's now
known that incident had a bigger emotional impact on Gorbachev than he
let on at the time.

Incidentally, the long-term future of Russia is very uncertain. They
may be dying just like the Klingons were portrayed as dying.

Russia has a very low birth rate, even compared to the rest of Europe.
While they're surrounded by former Soviet republics, many of which (the
"stans") are now swarming with Muslims who breed like rats. That's a
very bad strategic position to be in.
--
Steven L.
Email: ***@earthlinkNOSPAM.net
Remove the NOSPAM before replying to me.
Snake
2008-02-17 13:39:57 UTC
Permalink
Incidentally, the long-term future of Russia is very uncertain. They may
be dying just like the Klingons were portrayed as dying.
Russia has a very low birth rate, even compared to the rest of Europe.
While they're surrounded by former Soviet republics, many of which (the
"stans") are now swarming with Muslims who breed like rats. That's a very
bad strategic position to be in.
I know...and I feel terribly for them. They are human beings, like all of
us, and I wish they did not have their current struggle for basic survival.

I wish there was more we could do to help. Maybe, once our current
struggles with religious radicals is over, we can help them join the rest of
the modern world. Like Geordi in "The Masterpiece Society", every single
person has potential and can have a purpose towards bettering the whole.
Steven L.
2008-02-17 15:35:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Snake
Incidentally, the long-term future of Russia is very uncertain. They may
be dying just like the Klingons were portrayed as dying.
Russia has a very low birth rate, even compared to the rest of Europe.
While they're surrounded by former Soviet republics, many of which (the
"stans") are now swarming with Muslims who breed like rats. That's a very
bad strategic position to be in.
I know...and I feel terribly for them. They are human beings, like all of
us, and I wish they did not have their current struggle for basic survival.
Russia is the land of my ancestors too.

These cartograms show what Russia (and America too) is currently up against.

This is a map of the world's nations, weighted by population:

Loading Image...

This is a map of the world's nations, weighted by births:

Loading Image...

This is a map of the world's nations, weighted by Gross Domestic Product
(GDP):

Loading Image...

As you can plainly see, Russia is not going to be a major player in any
of these categories.

In fact, it looks very much like the future belongs to India and China.

There are hundreds of other fascinating cartograms at this website:

http://www.worldmapper.org/thumbnails/mapindex1-12.html
--
Steven L.
Email: ***@earthlinkNOSPAM.net
Remove the NOSPAM before replying to me.
Steven L.
2008-02-17 13:08:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jaxtraw
Post by
I think it's because I find the whole idea of Klingons to be
hackneyed and predictable.
They're always talking about honor and fighting, and they built an
entire interstellar society which rivals that of humans on those
ideals.
But at the end of the day (or end of the episode), their whole way of
life is repudiated and found to be fatally flawed. It's always the
human way of doing things, or their influence, that saves the day.
We never see the Klingons kick any ass to any good effect. We never
see how their way of life was ever successful or a viable strategy.
We never even hear of any wars they're engaged in at all, other than
counter productive civil wars which shows nothing but how flawed they
are.
I also find it tedious how the only purpose for Worf's suggestions
("we MUST attack NOW Captain") is to give something for the captain
to disagree with, to show how much more considerate and moral and
patient the captain is. Worf's suggestions are nearly always the
exact opposite of what the captain chooses, and yet somehow Worf
remains a 'valued and respected' member of the team. It's comical.
The Klingons are a self parody that never rise above 'predictable plot
device' unfortunately.
It's because the Klingons were recast in the light of political
correctness/multiculturalist 80s stylee. In TOS (the series, not the movies)
the Klingons were a ruthless military dictatorship. Cruel, expansionist,
totalitarian and disciplined. Kind of particularly nasty imperialist
Spartans. They invaded and subjugated planets (Errand Of Mercy) and even
during a state of cold war were undoubtedly a loathsome enemy (Trouble With
Tribbles). They made sense as an society. They had gained an empire through
disciplined militarism, another analogy perhaps being an imaginary
successful Nazi empire.
By The Search For Spock, something had happened. Now they were being
portrayed as a rabble of undisciplined pirates, roaming the galaxy looking
for plunder. The miltiary empire aspect seemed to have been discarded in all
but name for a bunch of disorganised roaming thugs.
What happened, of course, was that Roddenberry had to follow through on
his original allegory!

The standoff between the Federation and the Klingons was supposed to be
an allegory of the Cold War between the Free World powers and the Soviet
Empire. You have to remember that at the height of the Cold War in the
1950s and 1960s, the popular view of the Soviets was like the way
Klingons were caricatured: An "evil empire" that "reserves the right to
lie, cheat and steal" their way to world domination, as Ronald Reagan
put it. The whole episode "A Private Little War" was about those "brush
wars" between the superpowers, as Kirk himself said.

Well, then came the late 1980s, and that "evil empire" started losing
the Cold War. And Americans' attitudes about the world started to
shift. The Soviets were no longer as worrisome as, say, the Japanese or
Chinese, whose Hondas and Toyotas and Wal-Marts began to worry Americans
more than the Soviets did.

So in TNG, the new Klingons were portrayed as still difficult to get
along with, but not as fearsome as they used to be. And with peace
treaties, shaky but still holding, between the Federation and the
Klingons. Something like how we regard Putin today.

And the new enemy in TNG, which I believe symbolized the Asians, was the
Ferengi: Short stature. Fiercely paternalistic. Practiced economic
warfare instead of militarism.

And finally, we got the movie ST VI: The Undiscovered Country, which was
an analogy to the end of the Cold War: Praxis = Chernobyl, Gorkon =
Gorbachev, Chang = coup plotters who tried to overthrow Gorbachev, etc.
That ended the Cold War era of TOS and brought us to the post Cold War
erea of TNG.
--
Steven L.
Email: ***@earthlinkNOSPAM.net
Remove the NOSPAM before replying to me.
Benjamin Pavsner
2008-02-17 17:01:35 UTC
Permalink
...and how about those Vulcans? Logic this and logic that. A Vulcan looks at
you in a way that you don't like? It gets explained away by logic. In the
DS9 ep "Field of Fire," what's the Vulcan's explination for murdering his
crewmates? "Why, it was the logical thing to do!" That's it. Not "self
defense" or "they were sleeping with my wife" but he played the logic card.
Post by
I think it's because I find the whole idea of Klingons to be hackneyed and
predictable.
They're always talking about honor and fighting, and they built an entire
interstellar society which rivals that of humans on those ideals.
But at the end of the day (or end of the episode), their whole way of life
is repudiated and found to be fatally flawed. It's always the human way
of doing things, or their influence, that saves the day.
We never see the Klingons kick any ass to any good effect. We never see
how their way of life was ever successful or a viable strategy. We never
even hear of any wars they're engaged in at all, other than counter
productive civil wars which shows nothing but how flawed they are.
I also find it tedious how the only purpose for Worf's suggestions ("we
MUST attack NOW Captain") is to give something for the captain to disagree
with, to show how much more considerate and moral and patient the captain
is. Worf's suggestions are nearly always the exact opposite of what the
captain chooses, and yet somehow Worf remains a 'valued and respected'
member of the team. It's comical.
The Klingons are a self parody that never rise above 'predictable plot
device' unfortunately.
Wouter Valentijn
2008-02-17 18:36:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by
I think it's because I find the whole idea of Klingons to be
hackneyed and predictable.
They're always talking about honor and fighting, and they built an
entire interstellar society which rivals that of humans on those
ideals.
<snip>

Has anyone mentioned Deep Space Nine yet?
"The Way of the Warior" and the episodes that followed it. The parts when
there was a short war between the Federation and the Empire. There were very
dark and grim parts there. Remember how that one Klingon boasted about
killing a Federation captain with his Bath'let and Sisko (in disguise)
ramming him aside. "Don't come between me and my bloodwine!"

But yeah, that darker version of TOS seemed way more evil.
--
www.woutervalentijn.net

www.nksf.scifics.com/nksfseries.html

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