Friday, March 10, 2017

Today in not so boldly going...

Hey, did you see the casting news about the new Star Trek show? Oh yes, the titular Starship Discovery now has a captain and in a bold move CBS has cast a white male in the role. You'll probably recognize the white guy in question, Jason Isaacs, as Lucious Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies.
Before you roll your eyes at me, I'd like to point out that Commander Sisco didn't get
promoted to captain until the end of season 3. Meanwhile, Janeway, the only woman up
there, managed to get her ship hopelessly lost in the first episode. Read into it what you will.
Also, shit this happened on Enterprise.
In case you wondered why it got cancelled.
On Discovery, Isaacs will play Captain Lorca but that's all we know about his character at this point other than, again, how white and male he is. If I sound hung up on that point it's because the last Star Trek show,  Enterprise, didn't exactly push the envelope when it came to diversity and representation. I like Scott Bakula and I like Enterprise, it's just that for a TV show about a utopian future where race and sex are supposed to be non-issues you'd think they could have cast, I don't know, maybe not another white guy?

But there's still hope for Discovery. The casting announcements so far is pretty diverse and despite Isaacs' fictional rank, he's not Discovery's star. Instead the show is going to focus on Sonequa Martin-Green's character who's neither white nor a male. She's currently on The Walking Dead and while I don't watch it, I understand it to be a super-popular show about trying to guess both which beloved character will die next and how gruesomely. Oh and if you're wondering if she can do both shows, I refer you to the previous sentence.

Yup, three women, six men. At least until
Tasha Yar got killed by an oil monster. No, really.
Ok, great, so finally a Star Trek series is living up to it's own optimistic vision of the future full of humans living and working together in harmony despite our differences, right?, right? Not so fast says Eleanor Tremeer of who points out that despite a racially diverse cast and even Star Trek's first actually for real this time gay character (who isn't alt-universe Sulu), there's still half as many women in the regular cast as men. Half. The exact same ratio Star Trek TNG started with in 1987. You know, thirty years ago?

"Looks that way, huh?"
-The woman most of us voted for
For real? Look, I'm a ridiculous, gullible fan that will watch literally anything they slap 'Star Trek' on but I'm a little preemptively disappointed that they couldn't be just a little more, what's the word? Risk-takey? And should balanced gender casting or a woman in a leadership role even be considered risky in 2017? I'm not like a mathematician, but women are half the population, are we, as a culture seriously not equipped to see women represented in positions of leadership?  

Sigh. Anyway, Jason Isaacs is a good actor and the last time a fifty-something English actor was cast as the Captain it worked out pretty well so I'm still looking forward to Discovery, but it just seems like they might be passing up an opportunity to make Star Trek edgy again. Something it really hasn't been in decades. But I guess we'll find out for sure whenever it gets released-hey, speaking of, how's that coming?
I'm starting to think the actual future might get here before the show.

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