Jewish World Review March 28, 2003 / 24 Adar II, 5763

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Space: The Penultimate Frontier | Now that LAW AND ORDER spin-offs occupy all spaces on the teevee dial not occupied by "reality" programs, I confess that I feel a pang of nostalgia for STAR TREK. STAR TREK spin-offs, some of you might recall, used to occupy those spaces on the teevee dial not occupied by stand-up comics wearing sports coats with rolled-up sleeves, telling jokes about bad airplane food. STAR TREK is a relic of the distant past, a mere ghost of its former self.

Some of the STAR TREK spin-offs are still out there, of course, as well as the original, but they are few and far between. The latest knock-off, ENTERPRISE, is a prequel to the rest of them, and doesn't seem to have generated the same heat the others did. Sure, STAR TREK has also spawned movies and merchandise. There is no LAW AND ORDER movie in the works, as far as I know, and no Jerry Orbach action figures. LAW AND ORDER also lacks aliens, especially super-intelligent pointy-eared ones, although I suppose Vincent Donofrio might be said to fill that gap.

If America's non-reality teevee taste runs more towards the antics of forensic pathologists than earnest space people, that could change in a heartbeat. We re fickle, you know. Nothing stays on teevee forever.

That's why I think America not only needs, but would eagerly sit down to watch a combination of LAW AND ORDER and STAR TREK. We could call it, let's see --- how about LAW AND ORDER: STAR TREK? Each show will open with generic crew members wandering around on a previously unexplored planet and talking idly about basketball when they stumble across a dead alien life form or fellow generic crew member, deceased. Then two cops show up, a Vulcan and a Klingon, who figure out who did it for the first half of the show, and then in the second half, two lawyers, a Romulan and a Cardassian or something, who try to convince Federation judges of the suspect's guilt.

I think this is a great idea. There's room for phasers, final arguments, plea-bargains, the Vulcan mind meld as interrogation technique, warp speed trials - Aliens as perps. Lawyers in space! How great is that?

So once, again, Hollywood, send your checks to me. I'll knock out a couple scripts for you, and if the check is fat enough, I'll tell you what to do about the Borg, not just what to do about the Borg, but what to do about the Borg when they demand their phone call. There is nothing in this universe more terrifying than a lawyered-up Borg.

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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.


03/18/03: Hour of the Narc
03/07/03: Home entertainment tips for pinkos --- no joke!
02/28/03: When Anorexia is a good thing
02/21/03: Aussie invasion!
02/11/03: This museum of my dreams would be no accident
02/03/03: Hasn't 'reality TV' always been with us?
01/30/03: Get tougher?
01/21/03: Spinning through the 'newscycle'
01/16/03: "G" for verbal violence?
01/03/03: Farewell to novelty
12/23/02: Neo-frontiers
12/18/02: A nation of hypochondriacs?
12/11/02: Cursed
11/08/02: Good news for skateboarders looking to keep up with world events
11/01/02: "Extreme" annoyance
10/24/02: Snipers are people, too!
10/16/02: Hockey Therapy
10/08/02: Cupid, the parasite
10/03/02: How to have fun in Africa
09/30/02: If you are employed, you're part of the problem
09/25/02: "Up and comers," go away!
09/18/02: Collectibilitized
09/10/02: Monotone felons
08/20/02: Will we soon need a passport to get caviar, duc a la orange, or Polish sausage?
08/14/02: Law and Disorder --- and Starbucks
08/12/02: Rummy's monkey
08/05/02: Time for some real cultural heroes
07/31/02: Yearning for a nostalgic American product that was neither
07/24/02: Voicemail heaven?
07/18/02: At the movies with your friendly neighborhood curmudgeon
07/12/02: King of Kitsch
07/09/02: Musicians' brains
07/01/02: Where's my cow?
06/24/02: Modern record stores can be a scary proposition
06/21/02: Life IS a movie?
06/19/02: Spreading fertilizer on a dictionary to try to raise a novel
06/17/02: Happy cows are really miserable?
06/12/02: Very similar to a rock
06/05/02: Of Humice and Men
05/30/02: Pooches in sharkskin suits and the end of dog tags
05/22/02: We baby boomers used to rule the roost
05/20/02: The Files now Ex
05/14/02: Entangled in Spider-Man's web!?
05/02/02: April Showers May Come Our Yadda Yadda
04/24/02: From child murderer to milk hawker
04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales