where there's a wil, there's a way
Yesterday I followed a link from FARK to the Web log of Wil Wheaton, the actor who played young Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Specifically, Wheaton posted a long and thoughtful entry on his reaction to the news that his character's scene had been cut from the upcoming Star Trek movie, Nemesis. Wheaton's essay was humble, eloquent, moving and thought-provoking.
When the Great Bird of the Galaxy re-tooled the Star Trek concept for the '80s, he riffed on several of the original series' concepts. For example, rather than casting a half-human alien struggling to supress his human side, he envisioned an android with a fully human appearance but--initially--no real concept of a human soul. Both characters offered the opportunity to do what science fiction does at its best--explore what it means to be human. Rather than have the ship's captain be bold and brash, Rodenberry gave us the more cereberal and reserved Jean-Luc Picard (sparking a never-ending debate on which captain is better), allocating the adventurous role to the new Enterprise's first officer. And just as Chekov was brought on board in the original series as a character young viewers could identify with, the new series features the youthful Wesley Crusher.
Unfortunately, that character was greeted with a wave of general derision. I never got into the new series enough to really share that scorn--by the time I started watching, Wesley's role had been reduced, and he was eventually shipped off to Starfleet Academy--and frankly, there were a lot of other things about the show that annoyed me more. (That's a topic for another time, though--well, the constant hints throught the first couple of seasons that Wesley might be the notorouisly child-phobic Picard's son were one of 'em, but they dropped that angle too.)