The Original Number One

I just heard the sad news that Majel Barrett Roddenberry passed away this morning — she had leukemia.

The elder Mrs Troi was always one of my favorite characters on Star Trek TNG (and later DS9). Still, I can’t help but imagine the awesomeness that would have been had she been allowed to play the role of Number One on the original Star Trek. For those who don’t know, Star Trek’s original pilot, “The Cage”, was slightly different from the show as it eventually aired. Shatner was not the captain, Spock was all emotional and shit, and the first officer was a woman, played by Majel. I don’t think she ever got a name; the Captain always refered to her as Number One (something Kirk never did to Spock, as far as I know, but what Picard often called Riker). When Roddenberry showed the pilot to CBS, they wanted some changes. Big changes. Apparently they hated both Spock and Number One, and Gene felt he could only fight to keep one of them, so he fought for Spock.

Eventually Majel did get to play Nurse Chapel, but a female first officer did not emerge until DS9.

Though I love Spock, there are times when I wonder how awesome it would have been if he’d chosen to fight for Number One.

Here’s to you, Mrs. Barrett-Roddenberry, the first officer of the Enterprise that should have been.


WikiSurfing — don’t know if that’s an actual term, but that’s what I call it when I look up one thing on Wikipedia that leads me to another, another, and another until it’s 4 hours later.  I was wikisurfing a character from Star Trek when I ended up at the page for a classic Trek episode: Assignment: Earth.  According to the entry, this was meant to be a pseudo-pilot for a new show (of the same name).  It would be about the adventures of Gary Seven, “an Earth human from a far more advanced world. His ancestors are humans taken from Earth over 6,000 years ago and trained to intercede on Earth to help it survive.”

Gary utilizes some very advanced technology, like long-range transporters, talking computers, and a “servo” pen that does whatever he wants it to do when he points it at a person or thing.

It was the servo pen that pinged it for me.

Having not seen the episode itself, maybe my perception is skewed a bit.  But it sounds to me like this was meant to be the American answer to Doctor Who.  (I did note that the wiki article actually compares him to James Bond, and it could be that he has more similarities there.)  It never became its own show, though.

Perhaps this is the fangirl in me, but I think it would have been more awesome, back then, to have the Doctor run into the crew of the Enterprise.  I’m sure this has been done to death in fanfiction.  Still, I can dream.

Patrick Stewart PWNS Newsweek

In the back of the latest Newsweek there’s a Q&A with Patrick Stewart who is doing The Scottish Play on Broadway soon (or now). Mostly Newsweek Q&As are boring and stupid because whoever is asking the Qs (for this one it’s Nicki Gostin) is a really bad interviewer, for one, and is also insipid and dull. Generally the result is that the interviewees give boring, dull answers themselves, but Patrick decided to liven things up.

The funny:

Q: Did you ever get sick of the jumpsuit on “Star Trek”?

A: Sick of it? I came to loathe it. We actually got rid of it after the second season thanks to my chiropractor, who said if they don’t take you out of that costume we are going to slap a lawsuit on paramount for the lasting damage done to your spine.

Q: How does a jumpsuit damage your spine?

A: They were made from Lycra and one size too small. The producers wanted to have a smooth, unwrinkled look. It put a terrible amount of strain on the shoulders, neck, and back.

HAHAHAHAHA What the hell! Lycra and one size too small? This is almost as bad as trying to pretend those things didn’t have zippers. Oh Paramount, you never cease to astound me with your dumb.

Now the pwning:

Q: When you’re onstage, aren’t you worried about weird Trekkie fans in the audience?

A: Oh, come on, that’s just a silly thing to say.

Q: But they are weird.

A: How many do you know personally? You couldn’t be more wrong. Here’s the thing: if you say the fans are weird, that means there’s something essentially weird about the show, and there is nothing weird about it. I’m very passionate when people like you snigger.

Game. Set. Match.

Thank you, Patrick Stewart. I didn’t think I could respect you any more but you blew the ceiling off respect and built a superdome.

Also: fuck you, Newsweek (and Nicki Gostin).

(p.s. check out the comments at the link.)

ETA: Nicki got a bit fed up with the commentary, so provided her own:

Nikki Gostin here. Having read all of your comments regarding my interview with Patrick Stewart, all I can say is this: Get a life, people. If you don’t like my calling you weird, then stop acting weird. I’ve yet to meet a single Star Trek fan who wasn’t incredibly strange and obsessive, and I stand by my characterizatoin [sic]. Mr Stewart will always be Picard in my eyes, and in most people’s eyes, and so that was what I chose to focus on. I have years of experience as a journalist, and those of you taking me to task for how I chose to conduct myself in this particular interview are just jealous because I got to meet your god and you didn’t. If you think I’m at all insulted by any of your words, then you’re even weirder than I originally thought. There is nothing a flabby freak in an ill-fitting poiyester [sic] costume and pointy rubber ears could possibly say that would ever have any affect on me other than to make me laugh hysterically. I can’t believe you all took the time to write such nerdy and embarrassing responses to what was never intended to be more than a fluff piece. I’m a fluff writer. This is a fluff magazine. Hence, it’s a fluff piece–and the fact that none of you recognize this says far more about all of you than it says about me. And the reason my editor never responded to your e-mails is that you don’t rate. Accept it and move on, because I’m still here at Newsweek, and you’re still in your parents’ basements, wearing space pajamas. Peace out.

What a silly idiot she is. Unprofessional, too. Seriously, she’s calling other people out for their behavior when she’s responding like a 12 year old? Pfft. What an ass. (Thanks for the tip and emphasis, Rose!)