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DID YOU READ

Star Trek II: The Wrath of the Allegory.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of the Allegory. (photo)

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As someone who dug the way this year’s “Star Trek” reboot dug up memories from a few years of a wasted youth (let’s not talk about it), I’m none too thrilled at this piece in the LA Times that suggests that for the sequel, J.J. Abrams & co. are considering adding topical political allegory.

Co-writer Robert Orci says that in post-release interviews with “the fans,” a phrase that came up a lot was “Make sure the next one deals with modern-day issues.” Boucher inquired if that meant “Starfleet grappling with the ethics of torture or dealing with a rising terrorist threat or perhaps a painful, politicized war with the Klingons.” Orci: “Well yeah, those are the kind of issues we’re talking about. Wow, you’re good!”

Um, not necessarily. Boucher just knows exactly what kind of “issues” Hollywood feels comfortable shoving into a blockbuster — ones that are at least two years old and for which there’s an easy position to fall back on.

To be sure, Gene Roddenberry’s intentions for the original show were unbelievably grandiose. The crew was multi-racial and male-female to demonstrate the end of racism and sexism in the future. The Vulcan race was there to show us how to end our violent instincts and cultivate peace. The futuristic setting let Roddenberry, in his own words, “make statements about sex, religion, Vietnam, politics, and intercontinental missiles.” And none of these were the reason it became a cult hit and eventual occasional commercial juggernaut. That happened because the show was so detailed and meticulous about creating its own universe (literally) in a way people didn’t get much on ’60s and ’70s TV. It’s no wonder that J.J. “Lost” Abrams dug its potential for a multi-faceted landscape to be explored in detail.

What the new “Star Trek” did so nicely was ignore all the idealist garbage and concentrate on the basics: characters with hard-earned, long-forged camaraderie battling through a hostile, surprising universe. “Star Trek” can stand next to “Spider-Man 2” as a rare example of intelligently crafted blockbuster life in the 21st century. So why, pray tell, ship the Klingons off to the camps or make them Islamic extremists? Summer blockbusters don’t do subtlety well, which means that any allegory about the present global climate rendered in “Star Trek” terms will be clunky and leaden and will just slow stuff down.

The “Trek” fanbase will always believe there’s no more sophisticated way to address geopolitical problems than via prosthetics, green make-up and didactic speeches, but everyone else will throw their hands up, and rightfully so. Orci and Abrams? You did good. Now please don’t do this.

[Photo: Classic “Trek,” Paramount, 1966]

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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