Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Character Insight No. 152: Minuet

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here 

Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we take a look at another notable holodeck recurring character, this one being Minuet from The Next Generation. 

(One iteration of the sultry Minuet, courtesy memory-alpha.org)

Although holodeck episodes became stale over the course of TNG and Voyager, the character of Minuet added for the first time an additional adaptability and sentience to holographic characters. Indeed, Minuet was the basis for other memorable characters like Vic Fontaine and the holographic Doctor, so a good foundation was set by this type of character. 

The additional sentience of Minuet comes from programming added by the Bynars, who had added this programming to distract officers like William Riker while they take over the Enterprise in an effort to save the main computer on their own planet. That leads to some heavy handed Riker pimping dialogue, such as this:
Riker - "What's your name, and tell me you love jazz."
Minuet - "My name is Minuet, and I love all jazz - except Dixieland."
Riker - "Why not Dixieland?"
Minuet - "You can't dance to it."
Riker - "My girl."
(From 11001001)

Oh Riker, is there anyone you can't hit on? Of course, with Riker calling the shots on what kind of audience he wanted in the holodeck bar while he plays some jazz, you would hope he could come up with something he would like.

The advanced programming from the Bynars allows Minuet to pick up on visual and audio cues, including such things as responding to Picard in French upon meeting him. Although this helps Minuet seem more real, Riker remains aware of her true nature because she refers to her status as a computer program on multiple occasions. Riker and Picard figure out what is going on with this advanced programming so that the Bynars can be helped (and brought to justice for hijacking instead of asking nicely).

Minuet was difficult to forget, however, as she shows up in a couple other episodes featuring Riker.  The most notable of these is in an alternative reality set up by an alien named Barrash in the episode Future Imperfect. Riker knows Minuet is not real, so the fact that she is his wife in this deception makes it clear to Riker that not is all as it seems.

Minuet was played by Carolyn McCormick, who is most known recently for her 14 years of work as a recurring doctor character on various Law and Order television shows.

Until next time, be sultry but don't listen to Dixieland.


Feedback can be sent to me with future segment suggestions on Twitter @BuckeyeFitzy. Until next time, live long and prosper...

No comments:

Post a Comment