musical interlude

imagine what could be
with all that we see
imagine how
do it now

Star Trek Discovery vs The Orville

This is the new Star Trek Discovery trailer. And as exciting as it is, I’m uneasy about much of the aesthetic choices, most especially the Klingons. Yes, I know the Klingons have changed a few times, but never this drastically, or for seemingly just the heck of it. Some will point out that when he had the money, Roddenberry changed the look of several aliens…well, yes, he did, but he did it to what we know from the ’80s and ’90s, not this new version. I’m not trying to make the case that new aliens and a modern aesthetic are contrary to good storytelling, that judgment will need to wait until the show actually airs. However, what many fans have come to expect from Trek is a certain level of consistency, and this seems to disregard consistency for what I can only assume is renewed interest.

Keeping in mind that this show will air only its pilot on network television, and then reside behind a paywall, CBS is banking on serious interest that this trailer only barely stirs, at least in someone that has watched Star Trek most of his life. I hope that the show will have success, but given the issues they’ve had with the roll-out, delays, budget and personnel, I fear this show may be shorter lived than Enterprise was.

Meanwhile, this is the trailer for a new show on Fox, starring Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, American Dad, and so much more. This show looks to be a lighter look at the future and space exploration, almost refreshing given the numerous dystopian themes running through much of network and cable television. This seems like a bit of a coup for Fox as “The Orville” looks more like Trek than the new Trek. It also, by using humor, might have an edge over a show that seems like it might be focusing a bit to much on the drama of space travel…and doing so in horrible stylistic contrast to its predecessors.

I will admit that I am looking forward to both of these shows, but there is reason to bet on the latter having more success than the former if nothing else but because people might want a healthy dose of funny and interesting rather than space battles galore plus drama. The current political climate might just be the thing that sets the shows against each other.

Play on repeat

Realize that time is meaningless
comfort is timeless
words are only sounds
the body, only pounds

Foc, Rodrigo y Gabriela, en vive

It seems the simplest forms of expression tend to be the most powerful.

Musical interlude

A beautifully melodic and rhythmic song.

“Arrival” (spoilers)


Various coffee stain rings that the audience is meant to accept as actually imparting meaning and nuance.

Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that “Arrival” is about linguistics. Not at all…other than a few mentions of pseudo-linguistic perspectives about how language (and time for that matter) works. I watched with what is commonly referred to as an “open-mind” in the hopes that I would appreciate the lengths the filmmakers went to incorporating linguistics into the story line. I was disappointed. While there is mention of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and some weird attempt at explaining “nonlinear orthography” (not really a thing, by the way), as well as a few examples of Dr. Banks speaking Chinese and understanding Russian, that’s all there is.

Much of the rest of the story is sadly an emotionally driven plot about her deciding to give birth to a daughter that she knows – by way of being able to perceive time like the aliens, in a “nonlinear” way (eye roll) – will eventually die of an incurable form of cancer.

This is silly. And, yes, I mean that in a completely dismissive way. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is debated as much as any other contentious theory and has been studied at length without much evidence to suggest its validity. But, again, this movie only uses linguistic theory as a plot device, relying on it in very much a Sci-Fi trope-ish way, including a healthy dose of “if you could time travel and change stuff, would you?”

Lastly, as someone that has studied virtually every writing system known to have existed, I just want to point out that partial circles that closely resemble coffee stains do not a written language make. If you’re looking for an entertaining movie that has a healthy helping of linguistics, this movie isn’t for you. If, however, you want to have your heart tugged at with the backdrop of science fiction, then, by all means go get some popcorn and enjoy.

On the move

The movement never stops,
the trees and the crops,
they continue to grow,
even with all we know.