Thursday, April 23, 2009


Klingon HamletA lot of things we take for granted in our everyday ordinary twenty-first century lives won't survive to the twenty-third and twenty-fourth century. Famine and poverty on Earth will be wiped on, as will Earth culture's dependence on money (tho' you can count on those wily Ferengi to see a need and fill it with slips of gold-pressed latinum). Gene Roddenberry was insistent that no one smokes in the 23rd century. And apparently by the time of Captain Kirk, slim, multi-purpose cell phones with touchscreens and computing power will be replaced by clunky single-purpose communicators. But we can always count on one constant in the universe of the future: that Starfleet captains are a total bunch of kickass problem solvers who cut through the Gordian knot of galactic problems with machismo (Kirk), diplomacy (Picard), and beagles (Archer). No, wait, make that two constants: as today, as it was in the seventeenth century, so it'll be in the 23rd and 24th: those guys love Shakespeare. Seriously, Harry Potter and Jack Ryan may no longer be read by the age of warp drive, but the Bard survives and is celebrated in that star-trekkin' future. On his 445th birthday (and looking forward to his 700th in the same year James T. Kirk takes command of the U.S.S. Enterprise), let's look at two great tastes that taste great together: Star Trek and William Shakespeare!

1966 preview for the Star Trek (The Original Series) episode "The Conscience of the King"

2006 preview for the remastered version of "The Conscience of the King," featuring 100% more usage of the word "throbbing" in relationship to James T. Kirk

23rd century productions of Macbeth and Hamlet, performed by the Anton Karidian Company, in "The Conscience of the King"

Kirk is no botanist, but he can pitch woo by quoting the Bard, in "By Any Other Name" (1968)

"The Taming of the Space Shrew," aka "Elaan of Troyius," from Star Trek (1968)

What If: Shakespeare Was a Sexy Green Orion Dancing Girl? Marta recites Sonnet 18 in "Whom Gods Destroy" (1969)

McCoy quotes from Hamlet in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

"You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon," from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

Shakespeare (and Sherlock Holmes) quoted in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

Captain Jean-Luc Picard quotes from Henry IV, Part II in Star Trek: The Next Generation "Encounter at Farpoint" (1987)

Q and Picard swap Shakespeare trivia in "Hide & Q" (Star Trek: The Next Generation, 1987)

Picard chews the scenery in "Ménage à Troi" (Star Trek: The Next Generation, 1990)

Picard reads from his Big Spacebook o' Shakespeare in "The Most Toys" (Star Trek: The Next Generation, 1990)

My favorite Shakespeare/Trek scene: Picard and Data in a holodeck version of Henry V (Star Trek: The Next Generation's "The Defector", 1990)

"I've heard you silver-tongued divvils before!" "Pickard" and crew pose as a Shakespearean acting troupe in "Time's Arrow, Part 2" (Star Trek: The Next Generation, 1992)

Doesn't anyone on the Enterprise ever put on Guys and Dolls? Data stages The Tempest and saves on his light bill at the same time! (from Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Emergence," 1994)

Garak doesn't appreciate Shakespeare, in "Improbable Cause" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, 1995)

Evil Phlox and Evil T'Pol discuss Good Shakespeare from Star Trek: Enterprise's "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" (2005)

And finally, the two greatest Trekspeare clips of them all

Shatner raps Julius Caesar, from Free Enterprise (1999)

One of the greatest Shakespeare soliloquies made better with the addition of Patrick Stewart and the letter "B" (from Sesame Street)

Happy birthday, Will. And keep on trekkin'.


Nimbus said...

Verily, never hast there been so many embedded YouTube videos in a single blog post than in the one which I see before me.

Michael Jones said...

Data would quote Lady Macbeth when his cat became a nuisance, "Out, out damned Spot!"

fresca said...

Ah, thanks for this: I was googling to see what's out there on Shakespeare and Star Trek---you have done a bang-up job!