where the writers are
Star Trek - What Character Depth Can Do
10% of profits from sales of Paranoia will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org). For more information, visit www.jebraun.com

Okay..I'm going to do this. Seriously, every day for a week I've been saying, "No politics today, John. Take a break, get your heart rate down, there's other things going on in the world."

Then the government goes and does something to remind me what a bunch of ass-clowns we really have running this country.

That's right, I said it. Ass-clowns.

No, I don't know what the hell an ass-clown is, but it sure as hell makes me feel better to say it, so I'm going with it.

What, though, is there to talk about, if not the government's vast injection of themselves into our way of life? Well, obviously, Star Trek.

Let me start here: I was not a big fan of the original. Sure, I used to watch reruns on Saturday nights when I was young, waiting for my dad to come home from work. I even watched most of the movies...but I gave up by the time they were saving a whale in some hippie save the planet crap (Superman underwent a similar treatment in the far-from-classic Superman IV - The Quest for Peace...you know, the one where he has to fight that nuclear guy and I think dismantle the entire arsenal of nuclear weapons on earth, oh, you DON'T know? - yes, it's hard to believe it actually got WORSE than bringing Richard Pryor into the movie). Holy shit, did Al Gore spend a few years writing movies?

Anyway, I wasn't excited about a new Star Trek until I saw that J.J. Abrams was producing it - the same J.J. Abrams that brought us Lost. Then I find out Abrams wasn't a fan of Star Trek, either! He was a Star Wars fan..NOW we're talking. That's where it was at for me - Star Wars, though Lucas managed to screw the new ones up, the original trilogy was incredible. Oh, and V - which by the way is being redone and will be on ABC in the fall, well, mid-season actually. So Star Wars and V. Oh, and She-Ra. The way she held aloft that magic sword and said...uh..um...ok..just Star Wars and V.

So, for an early Father's Day present, my brother and I took my father out to dinner, then to see Star Trek.

It was incredible. The special effects? Awesome, but that's to be expected in this day and age. For a change it didn't look like Kirk was fighting a reject mascot from a fast food chain, while sleeping with a woman in bad body paint, and firing guns that look like they were the first things pulled from a garbage can.

The action, acting, and casting were all excellent. Sequences were fast paced, edge of your seat scenes, some serious, some funny. The new cast looked and sounded so much like the old cast it was spooky at times. Yet, they didn't rely on a slew of inside jokes with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge to the audience (much).

What I liked most about the movie, though, was that it did something for me that the originals failed to do - it took what were, for a long time, fairly two-dimensional characters and made them real. We, for the first time, learned the origin of Captain Kirk - and he became real: brave yet flawed. Spock, though half-human, could have been full Vulcan with his lack of emotion in the old version - but in this one, you get to see the struggle between his human and Vulcan halves. See, this is where J.J. Abrams shines. Anybody who watches Lost knows that a big part of the reason it is so successful is not just the plot, but the development of the characters, their backstories, their future-stories (if you don't watch it, it's much more than can be explained here).

Character building is so important - and, as a writer, I truly understand this. If you read a book and don't give a damn about the characters, the plot can be amazing - it will still fall flat. This new Star Trek is going to breathe life into a franchise on life support and I look forward to another installment. God-willing, my brother and I will be taking Dad to see that one, too. Happy early Father's Day, Dad.

J.E. Braun is the author of Paranoia, a 9/11 survivor's tale. 10% of profits from sales of Paranoia will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org). For more information, visit www.jebraun.com.