As a follow up to my last post about Star Trek: Reckoning, the hot, new, nearly top-secret co-produced ST series from Paramount and Fox, none other than Newt Gingrich has come aboard! It’s very rare for working politicians to take time out to create good television for honest folks in the Midwest and the Plains, but it looks like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich will be on board.
From my insider at Paramount, “The producers had actually wanted an actor, at first. Sarah Palin’s the one who pushed the idea of Newt, saying in effect, that he ‘has the chops’.”
I have to say, it’s an inspired choice. Not an actor, but a politician—those are close, so I can see Paramount going for that. But Gingrich is, shall we say, kind of from another era. Most popular from the 90s and the man who brought us the doomed “Contract with America” and subsequently hijacked the presidency of Bill Clinton. Now, I remember that. But I don’t think most people actually remember Newt Gingrich, so it might not be a problem. They won’t confuse his character with any thing of substance he might have done in the past.
Sometimes actors on Star Trek have such long-standing previous sci-fi characters (I’m looking at you Scott Bakula) that viewers can’t see them as something new. I know this hindered my viewing of ST:Enterprise—kept waiting for Al to pop in (although watching Dean Stockwell in BSG, i completely forget he was ever Al on QL). So, it may be that no one actually remembers anything important that Gingrich did, allowing him to kind of slip into this role and establish himself anew. I mean, did anything he did really amount to much? So that might allow him to start over as a character!
Just to recap: Palin will play Capt. Nalia Fergus of the USS Steadfast; she’s part of a group of rogue commanders who believe the dream prediction of the D’mi, that “the Reckoning” will destroy the Federation. Seeing a Federation President they don’t trust, nor believe he can protect everyone, they form an alliance to counter the Reckoning before it happens.
Gingrich will play the D’mi (unnamed as of April 8) on-board the Steadfast, who lives in two worlds at the same time. One is the dream and one is reality. He is constantly unsure which reality he is living in.
“Which makes Gingrich perfect,” my writer friend at Paramount said, “He has a bit of experience nowadays with living in both fantasy and reality.” He’s referring, of course, to Gingrich’s latest gaffe, putting words in Obama’s mouth that he never said. Gingrich’s character will try to give advice to Capt Fergus (Palin) about how to avoid the Reckoning. But he rarely ever sleeps—sleeping triggers the shift to the other reality–and so when he sleeps in one reality, he awakens in the other.
A great tension that the writers are building in is that he will begin to give information that proves false—about halfway through Season One. He will claim that something Fergus has done has altered the future so that a “certain” event won’t happen the same, but in effect, there’s an idea that he really doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I don’t even think that he knows that he lies; he’s a bit overwhelmed by the attention, by the focus, and by his power to direct Fergus, and the ships that follow her.
I’m excited by this new Series. I asked my friend why Paramount is delaying the formal announcement of Star Trek: Reckoning. I’ve already had several people ask me when there will be more confirmed reports–and several people are searching on google for it.
He says, “They’re testing the market right now, seeing what Red State America thinks about the idea. They’ve never done a conservative focused Star Trek like this before. They don’t know if they’ll have the audience. But they’re basing it off of O’Reilly and Beck, Hannity and Coulter, and the current Tea Party constituency. They figure people are tired of the way things have been done–and in that way, might be tired of Star Trek the old way—and want to see an overthrow, a rebellion—at least in science fiction, if they can’t have it in fact.”
I wonder if TV can play on that desire, that hope, of a people to want change so badly that they will accept the fictionalized version.
“Well, you’ve seen The West Wing? That was a George W. Bush era show–don’t tell me that wasn’t fantasy aimed at folks who wanted change!”
He has a point.
What I’m really interested in is this: if the rogue group actually overthrows the Federation, will they make it more vulnerable to everyone else? Will they make alliances with the Romulans? The Borg? Or will they naively think they can do better? Fergus isn’t a seasoned captain; the D’mi doesn’t know what reality looks like; and they’re following a culture that believes in a bad dream…. they are hyping a monster that doesn’t exist.
…will watching ST: Reckoning be akin to watching a train wreck in slow motion?