Monday, November 23, 2015

Star Trek's Female Pioneers

Communications Officer Lieutenant Uhura

In Star Trek TOS, Nichelle Nichols is known as Lieutenant Uhura on the starship USS Enterprise NCC 1701. Crucial for making first contact with alien worlds by establishing incoming and outgoing communications, Uhura opened hailing frequencies with alien lifeforms right from the beginning, alerting the bridgecrew keeping them up-to speed with all the latest subspace news. Shes 83 in December God bless her.

Dr Beverly Crusher

In Star Trek TNG, Dr Beverly Howard Crusher (Gates McFadden) is the Chief Medical Officer of the Galaxy Class USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D. When Data discovers Crushers secret she nearly flips out. "I don't ever want to be known as the Dancing Doctor again". Every trekker worth their latinium knows Mc Fadden is a real dancer, director, teacher, choreographer and a dynamic healing influence aboard Captain Picard's Federation Flagship.

Captain Kathryn Janeway

In Star Trek's 20th Anniversary Voyager Magazine, the Winter edition states "Women were still rare as leading action characters and the the typical kickass female combined her toughness with youth and a subtext of sexual availability."

So along comes Star Trek Voyager in 1995 with Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) with her "abrasive authority" and squeaky nasal voice. Janeway is strong willed and sound provided she gets her high intake of coffee, black. So was Janeway the first woman to kick butt in Star Trek? 

Seven of Nine

 Seven of Nine is the first female cyborg of note in Star Trek. Its fair to say she makes quite the impression and fainted four times until they got her uniform specs just right. Now that must have been a tough job! Lol -  I've written loads about Jeri Ryan here and here.

1987 Proof: Beverly Crusher was on the scene only feet away
 from Armus, one of the most evil lifeforms in the galaxy.

 So lets rewind to 1987- Star Trek The Next Generation warps onto our TV screens. In the 23rd episode "Skin of Evil" CMO Dr Beverly beams down with the Away Team - Data, Geordi, Riker and Chief of Security Tasha Yar to Vagra II in 2364. Here Beverly is on the front lines and meets a terrifying Armus. -  I mean this dude was BIG and SLIMY and it SPOKE! You can bet all your trekkie autographs, toys and memorabilia the landing party were totally freaked out! Well maybe not Data.

"Data, somethings got me!"  "Touch him and he dies!"

Crushers tricorder scans reveal a very powerful dark creature of limitless pure evil while Commander Riker is dragged screaming into the creatures pool of black goo.

Ship's Counsellor Deanna Troi - "I felt her die".

Meanwhile, the ships Betazoid, Counsellor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) is trapped/held prisoner in her crashed Shuttlecraft by Armus while Yar is instantly killed by a flick of the creatures power.

Chief of Security Lieutenant Tash Yar

In my book, it takes nerves of steel and expertise to cope with hostile lifeforms like Armus. But did Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) cross the line? I remember how shell shocked trekkers were when Yar died. It looked pretty hopeless because lets face it, it was. Yar's death was tragic and meaningless. She even says so herself in Yesterdays Enterprise.

Our good Dr Crusher beams Yar's broken body back to Sickbay and desperately tries to microvolt her brain back to life. Sadly Yar's injuries were too great but what a grand exit. "That thing just sucked the life right out of her." 

Jadzia Dax

Last but not least, Niners will recall Jadzia Dax is killed in "Tears of the Prophets", the finale of the sixth season of Deep Space Nine. When asked how she would like Jadzia Dax to be remembered, Terry Farrell said, "wisely mischievous."

 Which of Star Trek's female trailblazers gets your vote?

Live long and Prosper, Trekkies, Trekkers, Bloggies and Niners.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yar's death was senseless. I wonder if the uproar is what caused her to return in another form in later episodes?
I confess, I'm a sucker. Seven of Nine for sure. Dax a close second.
Nichols will be eighty-three? Wow. She's going to outlive all of the guys.

Spacerguy said...

It sure looks that way Alex. Hail long and Prosper.

Elephant's Child said...

Nichols will be eighty three? How did that happen.
We are sad to have lost so many - she must feel the pain even more.

Bill Nicholls said...

Has to be Seven of Nine for me who now seems to be in a crime drama so still see her on TV

Tony Laplume said...

I think in some ways Janeway was a tough sell because Major Kira had basically already perfected that role, which was all the more extraordinary because she'd managed to perfect the Ensign Ro character already.

Yar's death was perfect for the character. She'd already established a fearlessness to her approach as the chief of security, to the point of recklessness. If the series had spent only a little more time on her character, Yar could easily have been remembered for things other than her hasty exit and being replaced by her own Romulan daughter. She'd be the greatest beneficiary of a TNG revival.

Birgit said...

I go with Uhura because she was a trail blazer-not only African American who is beautiful but a woman in a high rank. When she was close to quitting, Martin Luther King Jnr told her not to and she gave Whoopi Goldberg the feeling she could be more than she was. If it wasn't for her, none of the other ladies would be there. My 2nd is Janeway because, even though her voice is like nails on a blackboard, she was one strong Captain who was a true leader. Seven is bodacious

Susan Kane said...

7 of 9, definitely.
Her uniform amazed us, and how she went into stasis. Well done.

Does Cades McFadden have a twin sister? In one of the Muppet shows/movies, I'd swear there had to be.

G. B. Miller said...

I'm not sure which gets my vote. In this list, you forgot Diane Muldar, who took over for Gates McFadden for a season (I believe). Basically, I never really got into the first, eventually got turned off by the second because of the extreme overkill in re-runs to this day, liked the 3rd but never had time to watch it, and by the time I found time, I discovered I missed an entire season and a half. The rest of them I never really got into.

So.........having said that, I go for Gene Roddenberry's wife, who did the computer voice, and did double duty on two shows.

Father Nature's Corner

Spacerguy said...

Majel Barret was loved at conventions and in the shows, GB. She'll live on in the hearts and minds of fans as the Enterprise voice of onboard computers in several Federation starships in Star Trek and Lwaxanna Troi in TNG not to mention Nurse Chapel in the Classic series. God bless her, she really kicked it all off as Captain Christopher Pikes No1 in the Cage which got canned in favour of Where No man has Gone Before. She also starred in DS9, Voyager, Enterprise and the movies always as the computer voice. What a treasure.

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