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Musings On The Mystique Of Otherworldliness


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Musings On The Mystique Of Otherworldliness

Beginning with Brian Henley's comments in the

3/20/98 column

From: Joe Griffin

Send reply to:


Subject: Ask the Chief

Kate Mulgrew did in fact portray Major Rayner Fleming in the 1985 film

_Remo Williams:The Adventure Begins_. (The film starred Fred Ward as

Remo and Joel Grey as Chiun.) It's a fun martial-arts parody movie.
Re: Marriage, Family, Trek: One of the myriad reasons I had to despise

TNG was the families aboard the Ent-D. I'm sorry, but it's still a

military vessel. I wouldn't want to be in a dangerous situation in deep

space and have to be distracted from my job wondering if my kids were

okay down on deck 12. And the argument that the NextGen Enterprise was

"more of a research/exploration vessel" doesn't cut it. The original

ship's mission was one of exploration as well (says so in the opening

credits--" out...go."). Kids, it's dangerous out there

where no man has gone before. No matter how nifty-looking your ship is,

you're still venturing into the unknown. Along with completely useless

characters like Troi (how characteristic of the '80s to have a shrink on

the bridge!), this families issue was one of the things that

contributed to the whole "kinder, gentler" atmosphere that made early

TNG a seriously watered-down rehash of TOS.

Original nit: "To boldly go" is a split infinitive.

>>>Why do you think actors consider it so vitally important that they trick us into

>>>believing their fantasy is real?


First off, it's not neccesarily _their_ fantasy; it is more likely the

playwrite's fantasy. (If the question is why a person chooses to be an

actor, there are as many answers as there are actors. But I don't think

that was really the question.) But as a nitpicker, I'm suprised you

would ask that question. Look at what we do here at NitCentral: we pull

apart every little thing that exposes the artifice of television/film

for what it is, whether the perceived problem is in the plot, the sets,

the effects, the acting, the dialogue...(most folks seem to be of the

opinion that the acting on Voyager and DS9 is substandard, and Bab5 has

the worst-looking outer space sequences on TV.) As audience members, we

are demanding a convincing approximation of reality. If the fantasy

world of the play or the movie is not convincing, we're not going to


Some actors I know believe that the audience is there because of the

actors. I think it's the other way around; without an audience, an

actor is out of a job. The audience is the reason the entertainment

industry exists. So I guess the question is, why do _we_ need it to

seem so real?
Andrew Corcoran: Putting "Star Trek" before the title "Deep Space Nine" is almost definitely

to show us that this station is linked in with the Enterprise and Voyager

adventures. What I have found myself doing during DS9 is saying "Stardate

51034.5? Hey, Voyager are saving a penguin around now 75,000 light years

away (or something)!" Because I watch both series religiously, I have found

myself not there purely for the entertainment, but for the history produced

by each episode. Just think, the battle of Wolf 359 is always remembered,

and I was there to watch it on its UK debut. In fact, that was the first

TNG episode I watched all the way through! Picard is scarred by the Borg -

I watched as the Borg stretched and twisted him (mentally) during his

assimilation. Although, I must admit, it didn't seem that dramatic at the

time, we saw the effect it had had on him during episodes such as "Family,"

"I, Borg" and the film "First Contact."
We have all been there. The characters make a reference to a past episode,

linking it in. Only those who watch every episode will understand the nice

touch added in. I am sure there are some nitpickers out there who don't

fully understand how the wormhole came about, or how Voyager got to the

Delta Quadrant.

Many nitpickers are right. Star Trek has changed from being an one-episode

adventure a week to long story arcs and character threads - although they

provide entertainment. Don't forget (if you can even remember it) Murder

One tried one story spanning a whole season. Did Americans like it? It

didn't look like it. Did the British like that? Well, let's just say BBC2

got A LOT of complaints when they stopped Murder One three episodes from

the end to show the Atlanta Olympics, which persuaded them to have an

unofficial "Murder One Night" to finish of the series. The second season

was shown within a couple of months (two or three episodes a week!) so that

BBC2 wouldn't get any more complaints because of the breaks within this

continuity. The end of the first season appeared in papers nationwide - the

jury decides - in a fictitious TV program!

I know I am ranting (as many people do). Maybe I should get to the point.

For the sake of the US fans of Star Trek, maybe the creators should think

whether it is worth continuing excruciatingly long story arcs or whether

they should set about attracting back those Trekkers who stopped watching

due to continuity - but hey! It makes good nitpicking!
And the title of Star Trek..... What was it going to be? Wagon-Way to the

Stars, or something? WTTS: Deep Space Nine. You see, Star Trek means

"Adventures in exploring the stars." Deep Space Nine is about a station, a

war, the families, the characters, and the Gamma Quadrant. It is a whole

lot more than TOS, so does it still deserve the original title? TOS

involved a week-by-week search of new life forms and planets. DS9 searches

out what is in each character and how it is affected by the world around

it, and the present situations on the station. It shows us *life* in the

24th century, not necessarily adventures. Maybe - just maybe - it is time

to give these series and movies a chance to be a bit more independent.

I find I am so un-opinionated! Here I am talking about possibly

separating the series, when at the start I was talking about how I like the

way they are linked! I am definitely making some sort of point, I'm just

not sure what it is! Can you decipher the meaning behind it? These are just

my thoughts on the whole Star Trek series as a whole.

Oh, and I agree that the TV series (both) should be put to rest - no new

ones yet - and let the movies continue on. Star Trek DEFINITELY needs a

rest! The universe is being shook apart, because the creators are doing

everything they can to keep the ratings up! (There, could that be the point

I am making?)

Onwards, and I also agree that the funniest nit is the Stormtrooper losing

a few brain cells! As for a title (good prize, good prize!), if you can't

use the name "Star Wars," how about "A Guide To Nitpicking the Universe of

Lucas," or something? I think "Nitpickers Guide" is a bit obsolete. I mean,

maybe it shows it is your set of books, but I thought, you know, new

frontier in nitpicking, new frontier in titles!

The content..... I don't know how I could get my hands on all the literacy

stuff (you know, the stuff on paper), so if I am to buy this book, please

make sure to angle it towards those who are movie watchers. I don't know

how, but maybe you should mainly focus on links within each book to movies,

or something.

Now, we have also got on to the discussion on acting. Now, as an actor

myself (or a wannabe actor, at least), Although I find mistakes funny (such

as bloopers shows), I can also understand how uncomfortable it can be

seeing a fictitious character, and then suddenly, after a long time putting

the face to this character, you see the actor! I know that after years of

watching a soap with a particular actor in, you get accustomed to their

character, and they appear almost to be real. If you saw them in the street

(the actors), you would recognize them as the character, and not as their

real selves (highlighted in a particular Friends episode where Joey meets a

woman who thinks he is a real doctor, when all that is is the character in

the soap he is in, so Joey plays along for the whole episode, until

everything goes wrong towards the end). Seeing the actor, although it is

trivial, diminishes the fantasy of whatever they were playing. Suddenly you

realise the history of their character is fictitious. I know I may be

sounding weird, and I see only a fictitious world, but once I sit down to

watch an episode of something, I am tuned in to that world, whatever it is.

Take Avery Brooks, for instance. In DS9, he is a hard-hitting captain, who

does his job well, but knows when to have fun, playing baseball with Jake,

or whatever. But mainly he is responsible, and is kind. Now, although this

is my opinion and my limited knowledge of the actor, I see Brooks as quite

different. At a convention I remember reading about, he went around

shouting about peace and tranquillity, kindness to all men, etc. Then he

got all the children up on the stage and said "This is why I live." Is this

right? Now, I respect the man for his feelings, but, in a way, the curtains

have been pulled down. This character, we suddenly realise, is in fact,

quite a unique person, who looks almost sacrificial (he will do anything

for children - no rude comments, please!). I sometimes find myself seeing

on the screen, not Sisko any more, but Brooks. It rather spoils the

universe. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the actors should be

hidden away, just DON'T expect the actors to be like the characters!

Actually, I rather like seeing the actors behind the characters. It is

almost like seeing the puppeteer after seeing the puppet at work, although

I don't think it is a good idea seeing the puppeteer with the puppet (or

Avery Brooks dressed up as Captain Sisko on the set).

So, there are my comments, weak as.. oh, some good simile. It is almost 1AM

here. I am going to bed. I just thought I would let you know my thoughts

for a possible inclusion next week. I would think it would need editing

first, though!

Anyway, goodbye! Hope to write again soon!
I am seeing all kinds of things in the comet dust!

All-time Favorite Nit

Beginning with Matthew Patterson's comments in the

3/20/98 column

Whale Song

Beginning with Alex Otis's comments in the

3/20/98 column

Kate And Remo

Beginning with JoAnna's comments in the

3/20/98 column


Date sent: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 12:42:26 -0500


Subject: Ask the Chief

This is in response to JoAnna's question from this week's


Yes, Kate Mulgrew did play the lead female role in 'Remo

Williams -- The Adventure Begins,' which is an awful, awful

movie. It's a movie that's so bad it's hilarious to watch.

After about a month of training, our hero, Remo (played by Fred

Ward), can run across water and dodge bullets fired at

pointblank range. You get the idea.

Jonathan Carter

From: Joe Griffin

Send reply to:


Subject: Ask the Chief
Kate Mulgrew did in fact portray Major Rayner Fleming in the 1985 film

_Remo Williams:The Adventure Begins_. (The film starred Fred Ward as

Remo and Joel Grey as Chiun.) It's a fun martial-arts parody movie.

From: Patrick Sweeney

Organization: THPDG


Subject: Ask the Chief

In response to "JoAnna"'s comments about seeing Kate Mulgrew in a

non-trek movie, it may have not been her. There is a commercial out now

for a movie, although I can't think of the movie for the life of me,

with an actress that looks and talks just like her, but I think they

said it was like Susan Suranden (sp?), or someone like that. Seems odd,

but right.

Phil, if I see the name of the movie, I will send you an update,

Patrick Sweeney

From: RTChiDC

Date sent: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 16:54:16 EST


Subject: Comment

Ryan Whitney

Evanston, IL

In response to JoAnna's question in the "Ask The Chief" column on 3/20/98:
Yes, that was Kate Mulgrew in "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins". The

year was probably 1985 (plus or minus one year).

In response to Omer Belsky's comments, in the same column:
St. Elsewhere can now be considered in the X-Files universe. In the 3/20/98

episode of Homicide, Alfre Woodard reprises her role from St. Elsewhere.

Date sent: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 19:39:03 -0500 (EST)


From: "Heather B. Smith"

Subject: Ask the Chief

This is in response to JoAnna's question re: Kate Mulgrew in Remo Williams:

The Adventure

Begins. Yes, Kate was the female lead -- a character named Major Rayner

Heather Smith

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

From: "Christopher Pope"

Subject: Ask the Chief: Remo's Star Trek and Star Wars connections

Date sent: Sat, 21 Mar 1998 12:01:59 -0500

I didn't see "Remo Williams," but according to the Internet Movie Database,

this 1985 movie featured Kate Mulgrew as Major Rayner Fleming, and Joel Grey

played Chiun. (Fred Ward had the title role.) You can also see Michael

Pataki (Korax from "The Trouble with Tribbles") as Jim Wilson. I might also

mention that one of the stars was Wilford Brimley, who had a major role in

the Star Wars TV special "Ewoks: The Battle for Endor" that same year.

Hi, Phil! Jim Elek of Sterling Heights, MI here.

I'm sure I'm not the first, but in answer to "JoAnna's" question: Yes,

Kate Mulgrew was in Remo Williams. I suggest that JoAnna check out,+Kate for Kate Mulgrew's filmography on

the Internet Movie Database.

From: MWilso8660

Date sent: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 20:52:09 EST


Subject: a few comments and opinions...
In an answer to JoAnna on the 3/20/98 page, yes that was Kate Mulgrew in "Remo

Williams, the adventure begins"....I saw that movie years ago and when Kate

came to Voyager I knew I had seen her somewhere before.
I also read the letter from Brian Straight and it raised an interesting point

in my mind. In the Trek universe, Earth has no hunger, crime, ho,eless,

etc...and no money! They have stated several times that the use of money or

pursuit of material gain is no longer a driving i really wonder

how all of this "happiness" came along. Remember,there was also a 3rd world

war and the eugenic wars of the nineties that i must have slept through. Its a

nice fantasy, and one we should all be hoping for but its not very realistic.

Unless some profound occurrence takes place we will be who we've always

been...very flawed human beings and we've been fighting, killing and

disagreeing with each other way before recorded history. With the apparent

lack of any earth religion on Trek i find our divine revelation on the show

too hard to swallow...but as I said its only fantasy.

And Fantasy sells on TV mostly because of conflict! Why do people like Star

Wars? The catharthis of watching the death star blow up has got to ring pretty

high on the choices! If the writers of DS9 wanted to tell a story they should

have done a better job with the War with the Dominion. Except for one episode

starrring jake they didn't really show the horror that war is. They could have

made it more than a space shoot 'em up at the end and shown how a war can

strain the emotions and stamina of those that are caught up in it. I could use

this line of reasoning with Voyager also since they don't ever seem

particularly stressed out. it may have been a cheesey show but "Space 1999"

did a better job at showing humans in a really bad situation but striving to

survive. Well, thats just my opinion.

On to the questions, Busy, busy, busy . . .

Date sent: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 22:52:25, -0500


Subject: Ask the Chief...

In some ads for Space: Above and Beyond on the Sci-Fi Channel

recently, there's a guy that looks and sounds a lot like Robert

Duncan McNeil (Tom Paris of Voyager). He's never on screen for more

than a few seconds, so I can't be sure. In one scene he says

something like, "Now the only thing that means a damn to you is life..

." Anyone know if this is really him?

Ashley Flanagan
P.S. And am I the only person who *liked* the last few seasons

of TNG??

From: Lemur-Cat


Subject: Question
There is a commercial airing on a Jacksonville, Florida station about something called

Star-something 1998. It plays DS9 theme music and shows pictures of characters (dress as

your favorite character for $1 off admission), and advertises that Jackson de Ville will be

there. Who's Jackson de Ville?

Regarding Money and the Federation, I remember someone saying that the Federation's not

having money would not work because there would be jobs that no one would want to do. I

suddenly realized the solution last week: holograms! Or droids.

Gina Torgersen

LaCrosse Florida

Date sent: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 13:29:08 -0600

From: Gyarfas Aaron

Organization: University of Southwestern Louisiana


Subject: generations

I believe I know of another of those mysterious missing scenes that wind

up on the cutting room floor or appear only in the original draft of the

screenplay (or solely in the minds of us fans!). I swear I remember

seeing an additional part to the scene in "ST:Generations" (either on

screen or in a magazine or SOMEWHERE) where Soren has Geordi strapped in

the torture chair. In the video version I have, the scene ends with

Soren saying "Tell me everything you know about trilithium" but I

distinctly remember seeing Soren threaten Geordi with a device similar

to the one the Cardassian used on Picard in "Chain of Command" which is

attached to the heart. This would explain Dr. Crusher's curious

statement about removing "the probe" and would correspond to Soren's

snide remark to the Duras sisters after questioning Geordi. They ask him

if he found out anything and he says "NO, his HEART just wasn't in it."
From: "Robert J. Woolley"

Send reply to: "Robert J. Woolley"


Subject: ask the chief

Date sent: Thu, 26 Mar 98 14:15:13 -0600
I missed "Mortal Coil" the first time around, so just saw it yesterday. It

occurred to me that it might be fun to see if we can compile a list of all the

ways Trek creators have come up with to bring somebody back from the dead. I'll

start off with just a few:

Borg nanoprobes restore the function of necrotic cells. (STV: Mortal Coil)
A protomatter device reorganizes one's cellular matter. (ST III)
Q lets you live your life over again. (STTNG: Tapestry)
You jump to an alternative timeline. (STV: Year of Hell; STTNG: Yesterday's


Closely related: The person was only dead in a parallel timeline. (STTNG:


The person wasn't really dead--just faking death. (TOS: "Amok Time")

You immediately give them an antidote to the poison. (STTNG: "A Matter of

The person has redundant vital organs and so only appeared dead. (STTNG:

They're not really dead, just out of phase with the rest of the universe.

(STTNG: "The Next Phase")

You break out of the temporal causality loop that killed you. (STTNG: "Cause and

You run time backward to a point before the death occurred. (STTNG: "Timescape")

Have a great weekend, everybody!

If you would like to submit a question or comment, send it to: with "Ask the Chief" or "Question" in the Subject line. (Remember the legalese:

Everything you submit becomes mine and you grant me the right to use your

name in any future publication by me.)

Copyright 1998 by Phil Farrand. All rights reserved.

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