I buy warp speed, photon torpedoes and the transporter. I can rationalize the replicator, universal translators and intra-ship communicators that seem to “know” to contact your intended party a split-second before the sound could possibly have gotten to them. There's something about the holodeck, however, that evades my suspension of disbelief.
I just don't see how light particles can do all the wonderful things a holodeck does. How can someone sit in a holo-projected chair without banging their rear on the floor? And what about when one person walks one way and the other walks the other? One would HAVE to bump into a wall, right?
Despite this (or maybe because of it) the holodeck is one of the pieces of Trek tech I'd most like to try. Sure, it has given us no shortage of trouble over the years, but there's also so much fun. Indeed, almost every one of our TNG/DS9/Voyager friends has had a go beyond the arch. It isn't just the characters they meet there, but the characters they transform into that makes it such a blast. Here, then, are 10 of my favorite holodeck alter egos for our space-faring crewmen.
10 - Brian Boru
9 - Sheriff Worf
No one said these trips to the holodeck all had to be voluntary! In one of Voyager's more high-concept episodes, “The Killing Game,” our crew finds themselves with their memory wiped, acting out World War II scenarios at the behest of the bloodthirsty Hirogen. In the simulation they become members of the French Resistance, and Seven of Nine (the first to “wake up,” as it were) is a saucy chanteuse whose name, if you know even rudimentary French, ought to make you chuckle.
Captain Janeway had quite a few holodeck alter egos. Hey, you try running a crew partially formed of ex-rebels billions of light years away from home! You'd need some R&R, too. Her best holodeck appearances, in my opinion, were as Katie O'Clare (the Janeways came from County Clare) when she visited the town of “Fair Haven.” Whereas Captain Kirk was permitted to love 'em and leave 'em, Janeway's emotional needs had to come with all sorts of ethical baggage. She finally said “enough” and altered the subroutines of a Tom Paris-created holocharacter and what followed was one of the more touching groups of episodes of the series.
6 - Dixon Hill
5 - Captain Proton
4 - Maid Marian
3 – Julian Bashir, Secret Agent
Bashir. Julian Bashir.
2 - Sherlock Holmes
The Sherlock Holmes moments are easy to poke fun at, but they actually were pretty good at fleshing Data out as a character. There were only two full-on Holmes episodes, though Holmes as something of a deductive mentor lingered quite a bit for the android's psyche. (Or, excuse me, neural net.) I don't know about you, but in my memory whenever I'd turn on a rerun of TNG I felt like I was seeing Data wander around Whitechapel. I'll admit, it was a little silly, but now, year's later, I associate these episodes with endless Saturdays at my grandparents' more than any other.
1 - Everyone as the EMH in Photons Be Free
I know I left a lot of fun ones out. Where's Chaotica? And how can I mention Holmes without Watson? Let me know who your favorites are in the comments below.
Jordan Hoffman is a writer, critic and lapsed filmmaker living in New York City. His work can also be seen on Film.com, ScreenCrush and Badass Digest. On his BLOG, Jordan has reviewed all 727 Trek episodes and films, most of the comics and some of the novels.