Tuesday, May 28, 2013

the tin man

I stated in the previous post that I enjoyed watching the original Star Trek series and The Next Generation.  I like both series equally for different reasons.  The original series had great stories with underlying messages.  Creator Gene Roddenberry's intention for his Wagon Train in space concept for social commentary much like Rod Serling used The Twilight Zone.

The only weakness of the original series is that most of the characters were two dimensional.  Captain James T. Kirk was an action man.  Spock was the one who stood out as the most interesting character of the entire lot.    Spock was half-Vulcan and half-human.  He served aboard the Enterprise as first officer and science officer.  There was more depth to the Spock character over the rest of the crew.  He was a fellow who was dealing with where he came from and who he is.  Though he seemed to always have it together, he was always suppressing his human side.  Kirk was always trying to pull it out of him.  The rest of the crew where who they were, but Spock's character was always in transition.

A couple of decades past and The Next Generation came along introducing us to a cast that the viewer got to know better.  All the officers had a story and a past.  All had personal stories and conflicts. This crew were given more depth by the writers.

I always liked Data (played by Brent Spiner).  Data was an android that served as second officer and chief operations officer aboard the Enterprise.  Unlike Spock, Data was always trying to emulate humanity so perchance he could not just understand it, but acquire it.  Where Spock was a logical detached adult. Data was logical, but with a childlike curiosity.    Both Spock and Data share similarities, but the primary difference is that Spock suppressed the very thing that Data sought. Spock was never in search of Spock, but Data was always searching for a humanness.

Gene Roddenburry told Brent Spiner at the onset of The Next Generation that Data was to evolve over the course of the series, to become more and more human-like.  Spiner said that he used Robbie the Robot from FORBIDDEN PLANET as a role model for the Data character.  Excellent choice because Roddenberry was inspired by the old sci-fi classic for Star Trek.

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