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T’Pol

English: Jolene Blalock in Cairo

Jolene Blalock in Cairo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

T’Pol is a female Vulcan science officer in the American TV show Star Trek: Enterprise (active 2001-2005). The character is played by Jolene Blalock, who was one of the bright lights of the series. Attractive and chic, she also played the role to perfection.

At a 2002 sci-fi convention Blalock said that following Leonard Nimoy’s example (Mr. Spock) was no easy task but, judging from her popularity, she “must be doing something right.”

However, the initial enthusiasm for Enterprise quickly waned. The series couldn’t hold its audience and was canceled after four seasons. There’s been lots of speculation as to why Enterprise fell out of warp. Even co-creator and Executive Producer Brannon Braga admitted that some of the episodes were not up to the Trek standard.

Some blamed the casting of Scott Bakula. Others blamed the producers or perhaps the writers. And some said times just changed and Enterprise couldn’t keep step.

From a viewer’s perspective it seems the big wheels panicked when ratings began to slide. Enterprise lapsed into the kind of formulaic trash (e.g. extended battle scenes, sexy innuendo) that might have worked with other shows, but not with Star Trek. At its best Star Trek was innovative and progressive—and so much more than the flavor of the month.


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Klingons

Klingon

Klingon originally uploaded by ZoeARP via Flickr

Klingons are a race of nasty aliens in the original Star Trek TV show. They became good aliens by the time of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The fact that their physical appearance changed over time was explained in 2005 with the literary device of ‘retroactive continuity.’¹

In 2002, the Oxford English Dictionary included the word Klingon (along with Jedi from Star Wars) in both its complete and Shorter dictionaries. The following definition is from the OED:

A member of a fictional humanoid alien race featuring in the U.S. television series Star Trek and in subsequent associated series, films, publications, etc.

The OED also rightly points out that Klingon has another meaning, that of an actual language, created for the film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) by Dr Marc Okrand.

Although not in common use, the Klingon language is learned and spoken by die hard Star Trek fans, known as Trekkies. Learning is facilitated via instructional audio tapes such as “Conversational Klingon.”

¹ “A canonical explanation for the change was given in a two-part storyline on Star Trek: Enterprise. The two episodes, “Affliction” and “Divergence“, aired in February 2005.” (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klingon#Explanation_and_theories).

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