In the American TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Borg are a disturbing species of cybernetic organisms whose sole purpose is to increase their alleged perfection by assimilating the intelligence and technology of weaker life forms throughout the galaxy.
Their technology enables them to psychically connect to a collective like a termite colony. Individuality is unknown and the Borg exist in a dark synchrony of de-individualizing amalgamation.
Among other things, they arguably represent the Orwellian extreme of unreflective political, corporate and religious yesmen and yeswomen who do whatever they’re told by authoritarian figures without heeding their own conscience.
The Borg image is particularly effective as it recasts previous Frankenstein and zombie myths within a futuristic scenario of techno-gloom. An interesting and optimistic twist, however, appears with the character Seven of Nine (played by actor Jerry Ryan and introduced in Star Trek: Voyager) who was once abducted by the Borg but is gradually re-humanized among the supportive crew of the Federation starship Voyager.
In the feature film Star Trek: First Contact (1996) we’re introduced to the hideously compelling Borg Queen—again, not unlike the Queen of a termite colony. She’s a frightening but, for some, darkly attractive creature who in the TV series Voyager is jealous of Captain Katherine Janeway, arguably a symbol of American drive and determination. Indeed, heroic Federation starship captains like James T. Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard and Katherine Janeway represent the very opposite of the Borg’s chilling refrain: “Resistance is Futile.”
Related Posts » Nineteen Eighty-Four
- Why Fans of Classic Movies Should Like Star Trek: Voyager (thebestofalexandra.wordpress.com)
- The Voyage Continues With Star Trek Legacy Minimates! (graphicpolicy.com)
- Resistance Is Futile: ‘Star Trek: Next Generation S3′ & ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ (Review) (popmatters.com)
- My Favorite Scene: Star Trek VIII: First Contact (1996) (sleeplessthought.wordpress.com)
- Star Trek: First Contact (thesnorksays.wordpress.com)
- Star Trek Uniform Guide – Costume SuperCenter (costumesupercenter.com)
- “The line must be drawn here!” Star Trek: First Contact (tor.com)
- The Borg (webowers.wordpress.com)
- “Resistance is Futile . . .” (johndrusedum.com)
- Video: Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-ray Reveals The Data on Brent Spiner’s Acting Style (seattlepi.com)
In the ‘original’ (1978) and ‘reimagined’ (2003) versions of the science fiction film and TV program Battlestar Galactica, the Cylons are a mechanical race of beings created by mankind but which have turned on their creator.
In the reimagined TV series, the Cylons may look exactly like human beings. Not unlike the Hal 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Borg and The Matrix, Cylons symbolize the possibility of mankind becoming endangered by machines. And on the sociological level, Cylons could be taken to represent the very real issues of depersonalization, alienation and, as sociologist Max Weber put it, the bureaucratization and rationalization of human beings in contemporary society. Not only that. As the above poster suggests, Cylons could represent hostile spies in otherwise healthy societies.
The background story to the Cylons is pretty complicated. It’s actually quite amazing how thoroughly the Battlestar Galactica writers fleshed out – maybe not the best metaphor in this instance – their identity.¹
The word Cylon, itself, stems from an actual Athenian nobleman.
¹ Especially in the reimagined series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cylon_%28reimagining%29
- [Books] Battlestar Galactica: The Cylon’s Secret (geeky-guide.com)
- WATCH THIS: “Battlestar Galactia: Blood & Chrome” (lezgetreal.com)
- BSG: Blood & Chrome (Ep. 9-10) (storiesbywilliams.com)
- ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome’ Blu-ray Review: Prequel Mocks Pre-9/11 Mindset (breitbart.com)
- Roundtable Review: Battlestar Galactica, “The Long Patrol” (thiswastv.com)
- Intergalactic War-Porn: ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome’ (Review) (popmatters.com)
- After Action Report: Battlestar Galactica RPG (blackcampbell.com)
- Luke Pasqualino and Ben Cotton Talk ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome’ (advocate.com)
- Battlestar Galactica “Twelve Cylon Models Note” Original Backup BSG Prop (ephemera.typepad.com)
- Artificial Intelligence (unrealengine.com)
Star Trek : The Next Generation
This is the first and extremely successful remake of the original Star Trek TV show.
The Next Generation ran for seven seasons from 1987-94.
The captain of the new and beefed up United Federation of Planets starship Enterprise is played by the British character actor Patrick Stewart.
Many new characters and innovations such as a holodeck – where entire environments are created through light imaging – were added. Also noteworthy is the fact that the Klingons are no longer arch enemies of the Federation. In fact, Lt. Commander Worf, a Klingon, serves on the Enterprise.
And when the crew felt unhappy or estranged by its various space adventures, a psychological counselor, Deanna Troi, was now available.
Another memorable character is Lieutenant Commander Data, an android who, like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, wanted to know what it was like to be human. And then there was “Q,” played by actor John de Lancie, who was something akin to a classical Greek god in that he had powers and knowledge extending beyond our normal conception of space and time. Also like the Greek gods, he often abused these powers in childish ways and even challenged the authority of the Q Continuum (the ruling body of the Q, representing its status quo), resulting in his frequent punishment.
Perhaps the most formidable new enemy of the Federation was the Borg, a horrid collective of cyborgs who sucked the life and technological knowledge out of any living creature deemed worthy of its cold malice.
These and other innovations made TNG rival the original Star Trek series in terms of sheer creativity. This isn’t surprising because Gene Roddenberry, the producer of the original show, was directly involved in TNG.
TNG’s immense popularity attracted the film star Whoopi Goldberg, who played the super-intuitive bartender and wise advisor Guinan. Goldberg apparently approached the producers of Star Trek TNG, expressing her desire to be on the show.
Several films based directly on the TV series were released at theatres: Star Trek Generations (1994); Star Trek: First Contact (1996); Star Trek: Insurrection (1998); Star Trek Nemesis (2002).
» Abyss, Angels, Chakotay (Commander), Chekov (Pavol), Data (Commander), Dax, Jadzia, Dreamtime, Janeway (Captain Katherine), Kardasians, Kirk (James T.), Klingons, Odo, Prime Directive, Q, Relations of Production, Roberts (Jane), Roddenberry (Gene),Romulans, Sargon, Science Fiction, Seven of Nine, Sisko (Commander Benjamin), Siva, Spock, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: Voyager, Sulu, Tek War, Temporal Paradox, Third Eye, T’Pol, Trickster, Uhura (Lieutenant), Vulcan, Worf
Add to this, report errors, suggest edits or voice your opinion
Seven of Nine
A female Borg, convincingly played by actor Jeri Ryan in the American TV series, Star Trek: Voyager.
Originally a human, Seven of Nine was transformed into a semi-cybernetic entity when assimilated by the Borg while still a child.
Seven’s humanity was restored, however, when Commander Chakotay stimulated her human memories through a technologically manufactured mind-link.
She joined the crew of the starship Voyager and through trial and error relearned how to interact appropriately with her fellow human beings and the other bipedal life forms that constitute the starship’s crew.
Seven is a fascinating symbol of something gone wrong going right again. She adds a new twist to the fall and resurrection motif so common in mythic stories of old.
» Abyss, Angels, Borg, Chakotay (Commander), Chekov (Pavol), Data (Commander), Dax, Jadzia, Dreamtime, Janeway (Captain Katherine), Kardasians, Kirk (James T.), Klingons, Odo, Prime Directive, Q, Relations of Production, Roberts (Jane), Roddenberry (Gene), Romulans, Sargon, Science Fiction, Siva, Spock, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: Voyager, Sulu, Tek War, Temporal Paradox, Third Eye, T’Pol, Trickster, Uhura (Lieutenant), Vulcan, Worf
Add more, report errors or voice your opinion by commenting
Abyss (Greek, abyssos, Latin abyssus). Myths about an abyss or bottomless pit are found in most cultures.
In Judaism the abyss lies deep within the earth, a place where evil spirits of the dead are banished (Job 32:22, Psalm 6:5, 143:7).
In ancient Greece the majority of the dead retire to a gloomy underworld, an abyss of “shades” where they endure punishment for worldly sins.
The ancient Greek idea of heaven is not well developed. In fact, only a few heroes pass on to the favorable Blessed Isles. After the 5th century BCE the belief that the dead reside among the stars appears. But this still radically differs from the concept of heaven as forwarded by Jesus Christ.
In Hindu lore, a popular version of the Ramayana epic portrays the heroine Sita being consumed by a great opening in the earth.
The Druidic tradition tells of evil foes falling down into bottomless caverns.
The biblical Satan is bound by an angel and cast into a bottomless pit (Rev. 20:3).
Mircea Eliade notes that myths about “binding” evil beings are quite plentiful.
New Testament (NT) accounts of an abyss refer to a hellish region from which a wild beast emerges to temporarily destroy prophets after they have completed their mission.
The Abyss in the NT is likewise described as a prison for evil spirits (Luke 8:31; Rev 9:1-2; 11; 11:7-8).
Interestingly, Victorian Fairy imagery is replete with watery underworlds inhabited by ghoulish beings, amidst which fairies are protected from harm by dwelling, often sleepily, within a sort of magical cocoon.
In the Beowulf myth, an evil water-troll is slain in her underwater lair by use of a magical sword discovered by the hero, deep under the water’s surface.
More recently, the invention of the bathysphere and the submarine opened the door for pulp fiction and numerous Hollywood “B” movies about underwater horrors.
An underwater abyss is also found in the science fiction film, The Abyss.
Sci-fi also depicts the abyss motif in outer space. In several episodes, Star Trek Voyager’s Captain Janeway stands perilously above an almost bottomless cylinder within a Borg ship.
Likewise, Star Wars‘ Luke Skywalker perches on a ledge over an abyss in the evil Emperor’s Death Star. And the more recent Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace is replete with strange subterranean beings.
In psychoanalytic terms, Freudians see the abyss as a symbol of the mother’s womb or the tumultuous forces of the instinctual id.
Jungians tend to regard the abyss as an archetypal image of the collective unconscious.
Regardless of which school one subscribes to, in the most general sense a fear of total destruction seems to coexist with a potential for victory over, and order arising from, the dark chaos of the abyss.
As Rod Serling put it in the close of the 1961 Twilight Zone episode “The Shelter” (pictured above), in which apparently normal American neighbors go beserk during an atomic bomb scare:
For civilization to survive the human race has to remain civilized.
Add to this, report errors, suggest edits or voice your opinion by posting a comment