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Fiction’s Fearless Females: Star Trek’s Beverly Crusher & Deanna Troi

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, I am concluding our Fiction’s Fearless Females series with two Star Trek friends, Doctor Beverly Crusher and Counselor Deanna Troi. This is the fourth year that Kathleen and I have participated in this series and joining us is Michael of My Comic Relief, Kalie of Just Dread-full, and Jeff of The Imperial Talker.  What is wonderful about this series, is there are no winners, as each woman featured is fabulous and ALL are deserving of praise!

Star Trek is my favorite fandom, as many of the posts on my blog revolve around the movies, television and web series that have been inspired by the original classic. While some of my previous posts were about the iconic Lieutenant Nyota Uhura and the indomitable Captain Janeway, here I picked a duo who were on the series The Next Generation, which is the series that forever cemented me as a Trekkie. Many of our FFF posts this year have centered around female friendships, so these two women aboard the Enterprise-D came immediately to mind.

The Next Generation was the first Star Trek to feature a brand new crew (there had been Star Trek: The Animated Series in the 70s and there had been the movies, but both utilized the original crew) so establishing a new set of characters is a fraught move, as you want everyone to work well together. And while I could wax poetic about my favorite Trek show’s crew, I want to feature the two characters that ended up standing out to me.

Hanging out when off duty

Authentic friendship representation in books, tv shows and movies is scarce. Perhaps you have heard of the Bechdel Test, which is a measure of the representation of women in fiction. It asks whether a work features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. So often the only time you see females interact is because it somehow revolves around a man, or the women are being snarky and undermining one another. I think there is more effort nowadays to represent female friendships, but when this show was on the air from 1987 to 1994 it was still rare.

Doctor Beverly Crusher was introduced as the ship’s doctor, a widowed mother whose teenage son Wesley later became an ensign on the ship. Counselor Deanna Troi was a half-alien empath who gave counsel to Captain Picard and offered much-needed counseling to the crew during their long space journies. The first season was a bit dicey, establishing the tone of the show and fleshing out the characters and how they related to one another. The character of the doctor was off the ship during the second season, but once back on during the third season and onward, Crusher and Troi’s friendship developed in a believable manner.

At this time IRL, I was in high school and college and developing my own female friendships, some of which were fleeting, while others I still have to this day. I have seen females support one another, and others backstab one another, but in this ideal, Crusher and Troi rocked their friendship. Sure there were times that they met to talk about men (the below picture of them meeting to exercise showcased a bawdy conversation between the two that was refreshing to hear) but talking freely and without judgment is a true indicator of the realness of a friendship.

Meeting to exercise and gossip

Another plus with these women is their development in their professional life on the Enterprise. The actresses were hired partly because of their beauty and their potential to be love interests (Crusher with Captain Picard and Troi with Commander Riker) but they were able to grow as officers on the ship. Both characters retained their original jobs, but got command experience and moved up in ranks during their tenure on the Enterprise. And they supported each other as they moved through the ranks.

I have been blessed with some wonderful friendships, many of them lasting for decades, and I realize that it takes time and effort to maintain them. But I truly think watching women who developed a genuine friendship and who supported one another, during a critical time in my life, helped shape my ideas of the worthiness of prioritizing friendships and extending kindness to others.

Crusher was at Troi’s side when she married Riker

Star Trek presents an idealistic and Utopian future, with Earth moving past its racial and cultural differences, and ready to explore space. The tagline was “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!”.  And boldly go it did- the series has given us many iconic friendships (both male and female)- and seeing people look for connections and community in the future is something we can all aspire to.

Live Long and Prosper, my friends.

-Nancy

My post is the last in this year’s series, so make sure you check out the previous entries:

Michael of My Comic Relief- Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy

Kalie of Just Dread-Full- Ellie and Sandie from Last Night in Soho

Kathleen- Black Canary/Birds of Prey

Jeff of The Imperial Talker- Shmi Skywalker

Please give them a follow to catch their posts as all have great content outside of #FFF!

TV series + four movies together!

Free Comic Book Day 2017

 

The library I work at has hosted Free Comic Book Day the last three years (thanks to me!!!) so I was excited to get a sneak peek at the comics before the public did. There were four that I zeroed in on. Quick recaps follow.

I had most been anticipating this comic, as Skottie Young released the cover awhile back and I loved the mash up of Image characters with Gertrude the foul mouthed sociopath from I Hate Fairyland. She encounters and brutally attacks members from The Walking Dead, Saga, Southern Bastards, Black Science, Paper Girls, Invincible, Chew, Revival and The Wicked +The Divine. The ending with the Image partners was a fun shout-out. This comic was definitely a winner for it’s sick humor.

The Next Generation crew is looking pretty bad-ass here. This prequel to an upcoming comic series features Captain Picard, Troi, Data, and Tasha Yar on the Starship I.S.S. Stargazer in a alternate universe in which the Klingon/Cardassians alliance is powerful.  Low ranking crewman Barkley gets a chance to shine in this issue, and reestablishes equilibrium of one person’s fate no matter what universe they belong in. An after note by the authors whets my appetite for further story lines in this Mirror Broken universe.

An appealing prequel to the upcoming movie, this comic gives us a duel narrative of Diana on the island of Themyscira and Steve Trevor in military training. Although both arcs show them with good friends, both seem dissatisfied and yearning for more. My only small criticism is that if this was a prequel to the movie, I was surprised the characters weren’t drawn more similar to the actors that will be portraying them on the screen.

I was most leery of this title, as Marvel has had uneven success with their events, and I’m of very mixed feelings if I want to invest time in the Secret Empire, after being so dissatisfied with Civil War II. Captain America comes out as a secret agent of Hydra, and his former friends and heroes fall in battle against him. This very short introduction to the upcoming series has me torn. I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t sucked in either. Time will tell if I want to continue. The last half of the comic was a fun Spiderman vs The Vulture story. It had some snappy dialogue between the two about “you’re so old that…” and had a tease for future story lines.

All in all, all four of my choices were solid. I plan on continuing with most of the story lines, and isn’t that the intent of the event, to make us want to buy future issues?

-Nancy

My Perfect Star Trek Crew

I was inspired to do this post after reading the post that Hailing Frequencies Open had on what made their own Super Crew. I love the rebooted Kelvin timeline movie series, but I decided to stick to the tv series for this list.

Captain:  Admiral Kathryn Janeway

The perfect captain- Janeway was in ultimate control, yet was relatable. Faced with extraordinary pressures, she united two warring factions and built a unified crew out of former enemies. She survived a year of hell, coming out stronger than ever. I wish Star Trek showcased more female captains- while I like the captain they picked for Discovery, they missed an opportunity to add another female to the line up of leads for the franchise.

First Officer: Commander William T. Riker

He’s my Number One, especially once he grew his beard. Walk on over and sit in this chair, please. Let me see the Riker maneuver.

 Chief Medical Officer: Dr. Beverly Crusher

Dr. Crusher is grace under pressure. Man, was I pissed when the powers that be had her off the ship for season two. Her coming back elevated the series. Smart and capable, she could handle any medical emergency that occurred.

Chief Engineer: Lieutenant Commander Georgi La Forge 

This was a gimmie, for I love LeVar Burton. He is the celebrity I most want to meet- from his portrayal of Kunte Kinte in Roots, to his love of literacy in Reading Rainbow, and then his Star Trek TNG role. But you don’t need to take my word for it!

Ship’s Counselor: Commander Deanna Troi

She is the queen of empathy- and Riker’s gal. It made sense that ships in stressful combat zones would need a mental health expert. I was glad Star Trek addressed that issue. I’d be friends with her in real life.

Operations Officer: Ensign Harry Kim

This guy helped Voyager out of so many jams, and was still an ensign! This infuriated me. It’s called a field promotion people! I am promoting him up a few ranks immediately.

Science Officer: Commander Spock

Leonard Nimoy more than any other actor in the franchise personifies Star Trek. His Vulcan personality was the perfect foil to Captain Kirk, and made the combining of different nationality and alien species on a ship complete. Love the quote “I have been and always shall be your friend”.

Chief of Security: Lieutenant Commander Worf

Worf is the best. He needs no explanation as to his presence on this list.

Tactical Officer: Lieutenant Natasha Yar

The actress Denise Crosby must still be kicking herself that she left the Star Trek series. I liked her character in the first season of TNG, and loved her redemption in Yesterday’s Enterprise, so now I am giving her a chance to live on…

Conn Officer: Commander Nyota Uhura

No one compares to Uhura. Beautiful, smart, ambitious, and an equal to the men- she is the original Star Trek role model. All strong female Star Trek characters owe a debt to her.

Rookie/Kid: Wesley Crusher

While I am a fan of the actor Wil Wheaton, his Wesley portrayal was not a favorite of mine, but I like keeping families together, so he remains on the ship with his mother. Given time, he will mature. And let’s just forget about that Traveler crap.  Had I chosen Captain Benjamin Sisco for another position, his son Jake would have gotten this spot.

Wild Card:  Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax

She is another character I am bringing back from the dead. She will be reunited with Worf, and they will have a happy ending!

Ship: U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D

The ship from my favorite of all the series- The Next Generation. It had a bar with Guinan in it, plus a cool holodeck.

So this supposed quick and easy post took much longer than I anticipated, as I read Memory Alpha articles on many of these characters, which then branched to other characters and episodes. Time suck alert! Still, this was a fun way to imagine a perfect crew.  So many worthy actors and actresses have kept this series as strong as it is. Live Long and Prosper, my friends.

-Nancy

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