Saturday, June 14, 2008

Playing the Dane v. Channeling the Swan; or, Shakespeare and Star Trek—The Enduring Legacy

“The Defector.” By Ronald D. Moore. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, and Michael Dorn. Dir. Robert Scheerer. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 3, episode 10. Syndicated television. 1 January 1990. DVD. Paramount, 2002.

There is a distinct difference between "playing the Dane" (i.e., "jumping the shark") and merely "channeling the Swan."

[Those sound like three different and complicated dives we'll see during the summer olympics this year, but they're meant to indicate ways of incorporating Shakespeare into a television show.]

Star Trek—whether original, next, or miscellaneous—frequently channels the Swan, but I don't think it can be said to play the Dane when it does so.

In the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation , Data and Captain Picard work on a scene from Henry V. Though it's not the best Henry V you'll ever see, it's not too bad. In a later post, I'll show you a Henry V to decry to the ages!

In the meantime, try this scene on for size:

Links: The epidosde at IMDB. The epidosde at Wikipedia.

1 comment:

JennyK said...

I remember liking this episode, and I'm sorry the link doesn't work any more. Would be nice to see it again.

I worked on a production with Patrick Stewart playing Othello. His "photo-negative" production with an all-black cast, he the only white character. Interesting production. Not sure it completely worked the way he intended.

Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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