Monday, November 17, 2008

Shakespeare and Star Trek Week is Here!

“Naked Now.” By J. Michael Bingham and John D.F. Black. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, and Michael Dorn. Dir. Paul Lynch. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 1, episode 2. Syndicated television. 5 October 1987. DVD. Paramount, 2002.

You have been remarkably patient, waiting through many tangential topics and Shakespearean haiku—not to mention other hurly-burly, helter-skelter, pell-mell miscellanea. But it's here at last. Shakespeare and Star Trek week has arrived.

I thought about beginning with the first ever Shakespeare reference in a Star Trek episode / film / spin-off, but I thought it would be better to segue there through a Merchant of Venice-related moment.

I've said that the "Hath not a Jew" speech is almost impossible to play unsympathetically. I wouldn't say that this version is unsympathetic, exactly—it's more humorous than anything—but it could be construed at mocking. However, I think we should take it in the spirit in which it's delivered: funny.

To set the scene, I'll tell you that Data is an android who has aspirations to be truly human. In this episode, a virus is sweeping the ship, making those who are infected with it behave as if they were intoxicated. As an android, Data should be immune, but he starts behaving in the following odd manner:

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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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